SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Jim Anderson of San Bruno south of Santa Rosalia reported very active winter surface action for 30-pound class yellowtail from the north end of Isla San Marcos all the way out to the bajos. "The big forkies decided to come up to the surface and go wide-open," Anderson said.
"From the north end of Isla San Marcos clear out to the deep reef the birds and fish were going nuts. I really don't remember having seen so many active surface feeding fish for a long time.
"They were breezers which kept on the move for a good part of the day. We would watch the direction of the moving fish and then intercept them and throw a live mackerel in the feeding path with great results. When the fish scattered a little we found it effective to set up a drift in the general area of feeding with a flylined mackerel and when that slowed down it also proved successful to slow troll a live bait in the general area of feeding activity. Since they were surface feeding in deeper water, several boats were able to go down to 40-pound test line and still manage to keep the fish from going to the bottom. This has to be the most exciting fishing in the world when you can actually see the fish taking the bait and screaming off on the clicker before you put the reel in gear with a solid connection."
Very good yellowtail action continued on the approaching new moon tides, but Santa Rosalia boats were hampered by strong winter winds. "The wind came up early and made conditions unworkable very quickly," Anderson said. "The wind is still blowing and shows no sign of slowing down until at least Monday or Tuesday of next week. So the fish are biting, the tides are great, and now if the wind will just do its part."
Inshore fishing along the Baja coast produced very good winter action for basses and some firecracker yellowtail. "As we move into the spring season and the wind starts slowing down, fishing could get very good," Anderson said. Santa Rosalia fishing area weather was in the high-60s, with water temperatures at 54 to 55 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said no charter pangas were beach launched during several days of rain and rough sea conditions but inshore Ensenada fishing waters were settling by midweek. "Sorry, this week the rain kept us off the water," Villarino said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the boat Bad Dog at Marina Coral reported on a run to the 500-fathom mark outside the Banda Bank about 15 miles from the marina for wide-open action on Humboldt giant squid in the 40 to 50-pound class. "My meter showed these squid like I have never seen before," Ross said. "They were thick from 500 feet to 1,500 feet and showed as small blue dots, 1,000 feet of voracious marauders for miles. Last year they showed on the meter as a string of them at a certain depth, usually 500 feet. Now, they are a 1,000-foot wall for miles. Every drop was a hookup. We had 3 going all the time. We left them darting underneath the boat." Bottom fishing on Ensenada's Banda Bank produced limits of salmon grouper and vermilion rockfish to 4 pounds, including a first-fish ever 4-pound vermilion rockfish for Ross' grandson Jeffrey. "Jeffrey had never caught a fish before, so his cranking on a 50 Wide was quite the challenge but he did great with a flawless effort," Ross said. "The squid were huffing and puffing on the deck and Jeffrey took a direct shot from a squirter which doused him from head to toe." Very deep bottom fishing at 1,500 feet for blackgill rockfish produced no action. Also fishing aboard the Bad Dog were Gail Ross and Juan Lu. Ensenada fishing area water temperatures were at 56 degrees.
ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Tere Castro of Castro's Camp at Erendira on the Baja coast south of Ensenada reported 8 boats fishing in improving sea conditions after a period of storms for good counts of rockcod, lingcod, and mixed species bottom fish. "The weather has been really good now, and it's looking like a promising week," Castro said. "We've also been seeing a lot of bonitas but they are still not biting." Water temperatures in the main fishing areas off the Baja coast averaged 57 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Marita Melville of Don Eddie's Landing reported on a commercial fishing run for the hotel restaurant by San Quintin pangueros Jaime Garcia and Jose Manuel Calderon for a catch of 277 pounds of rockcods and 44 pounds of whitefish. "They went commercial fishing for the restaurant," Melville said. "They were fishing out by the 240 Spot in 280 feet of water. It was sunny and slightly windy when they went out."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Jeff Peterson of Lopez Sportsman's Lodge at Puerto Lopez Mateos said charter fishing during the week included several outings by the twin-hulled charter boat Baja Californian with Bill Munson of Burlington, Wash., manufacturer of the boat, and Munson's son Jesse. Petersen said, "They came in search of the magic of the mangroves. Bill caught cabrilla, cochi, pompano, roncacho, and bacoco, species presently swimming with the whales." The Lopez Sportsman's Lodge charter panga Sonia Ann also fished together with the Baja Californian, with Capts. Chico Hernandez and Guti Agustin Davis. After fly fishing the Magdalena Bay mangrove channels, the Munsens also fished Mexican panguero style with handlines. "Bill announced, 'Tomorrow we have agreed there will be no more white man fishing. We want to catch them as you do,'" Petersen said. "Further fly rod fishing was out of the question. The fishing was as magnificent as the mangroves. The Munsons met fish they will meet again." The Baja Californian and Sonia Ann fished at locations including Boca de Soledad near Puerto Lopez Mateos and Vuelta del Diablo, or Devil's Curve, located in the mangrove channels going southwards toward San Carlos.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 49 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo San Lucas charter boats Fish Cabo and Fish Cabo I, with a catch including released fish of: 53 striped marlin, 1 dorado, and 36 mostly school-sized yellowfin tuna. "While billfish counts have slowed a bit they are still pretty good for February," Edwards said. "Instead of just running out and catching a handful the crews are having to work harder for the fish. The best fishing area for Cabo San Lucas boats continued to be the Golden Gate Bank, but due to falling water temperatures I would expect that to change for the coming weeks." Cabo San Lucas fishing area water temperatures to about 10 miles out from the Baja coast were down to about 63 to 65 degrees on the Pacific side banks and around land's end into the Sea of Cortez at the Gordo Banks. The week's high boat was the Fish Cabo I with 5 striped marlin released in 2 outings.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing super panga Cheer's reported on 3 outings during the week with a total of 5 anglers, for a catch including released fish of: 6 yellowtail of 8 to 10 pounds, 73 sierra of 4 to 7 pounds, 18 roosterfish of 4 to 7 pounds, 1 amberjack of about 7 pounds, 1 dorado of 9 pounds, 1 white tip shark of 45 pounds, and 1 bonito. The Cheer's fished locally along Cabo's Pacific beaches and out to 9 miles in very good sea conditions and water temperatures of 69 to 71 degrees. Anglers fishing aboard the Cheer's included Mike Wilson and Dan White of San Francisco, John Cione and Shanon Pyle of San Diego, and Johann Monschhe of Norway.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing said, "We are finding lots of dolphin schools and numerous 20 to 40-pound yellowfin tuna behind the San Jaime Bank on the Pacific side and around the Gordo Bank in the Sea of Cortez. This week should produce very solid action for tunas." Striped marlin mixed with migrating California gray whales were found off the west side beaches. "So anglers in this area are getting treated to some great whale watching while they troll for their marlin," Lowendick said. Dorado fishing was slower, but with a few scattered fish in the 20 to 40-pound class caught.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 12 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 12 striped marlin, 3 yellowfin tuna of 10 to 25 pounds, 5 mako shark of 30 to 35 pounds, and 28 sierra of 5 to 10 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the previous week, Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet reported a 75 percent catch rate for billfish, 25 percent for yellowfin tuna, 9 percent for dorado, and 91 percent for all species combined. "Cabo San Lucas had a bit of a slowdown on marlin fishing this week for the first time in a long while," Ehrenberg said. "The Golden Gate dropped off and boats moved to the Cortez side and land’s end where they found yellowfin tuna and less hungry marlin that needed more coaxing. However, boats then returned to the Golden Gate and started producing the number of fish that we have grown accustomed to. Basically, we had a couple of wobbly days and then it was back on." Pisces Fleet catches included a total of 105 striped marlin during the week, with 104 released, and 91 school-sized yellowfin tuna. Inshore fishing improved for roosterfish, skipjack, amberjack, and sierra, plus some smaller mako shark. Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy, with water temperatures averaging 69 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Connolly of the Pisces Fleet charter boat Falcon reported on 2 Pacific side runs north to the Golden Gate Bank for a total of 12 striped marlin released in flat seas and a water temperature of 71 degrees. "There was no bird life at all at the bank and no feeders, just a steady bite on slow-trolled mackerel," Connolly said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said Capt. Roberto Sandez of the charter boats Rebecca and Valerie and Capt. Edgar Rentaria of the boat Libre will be named two of the world's top billfish release captains for 2007 during an awards ceremony hosted by The Billfish Foundation this month. Sandez, with 456 striped marlin releases during the year, will be cited as the top release captain for that species, and Rentaria's award will be for his 8 Pacific shortbilled spearfish releases. "I want to congratulate our captains," Ehrenberg said. "This is a great program that encourages the captains to release. Of course, Roberto actually released more striped marlin, but not everybody fills out a release card. Edgar released 2 Pacific shortbilled spearfish the same day. These are becoming even more rare and when caught they are not often released."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja fly fishing guide service reported good action for over a dozen sierra while guiding Rick Behrens of Lake Stevens, Wash., aboard the Cabo San Lucas charter panga Santi with Capt. Victor. "We caught most of our sierra on an olive-and-white bait fish pattern but we did find that tan worked as well," deBrown said. "Both patterns had a lot of flash in them to attract the sierra."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 41 combined La Playita fleet charter pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 205 roosterfish, 315 Mexican bonito, 195 sierra, 14 striped marlin, 7 dorado, 5 mako shark, 11 hammerhead shark, 14 huachinango, 13 amberjack, 3 yellowtail, and 15 cabrilla. Brictson noted that the very good action for roosterfish during the week included too many fish that were not released. "The sandy beach of La Laguna just to the south of Punta Gorda had big numbers of juvenile roosterfish of 4 to 12 pounds and anglers found wide-open action while slow trolling with live baits," Brictson said. "The majority practiced catch-and-release, but to our surprise and dismay scores of these game fish were gaffed, clubbed, and thrown into the fish boxes. The people know who they are and should be ashamed. Local skippers and crew members should come to their senses and realize these fish and worth much more alive than dead." San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was sunny in the high-70s, with water temperatures of 65 to 69 degrees, strong currents and north winds on some days, and few anglers present. Sardina bait supplies were spotty with just mackerel available at times. Many striped marlin were seen from Cabo San Lucas to the Gordo Banks, but they were reluctant to bite. The humpback and California gray whale migrations were at their peaks. "La Playita pangas did a mix of searching for striped marlin offshore, jigging for Mexican bonito off the rock piles, and trolling close to shore for sierra and roosterfish," Brictson said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Bob Lewis of San Jose del Cabo reported slow fishing during an outing from the Puerto Los Cabos marina aboard a friend's boat, finding just bonita on slow-trolled bait at the Inner Gordo Bank, no sierra along the beaches, and finally some cabrilla for dinner on the Punta Palmilla rock piles. "We saw only 3 or 4 other boats in our area so either the fleet was somewhere else or there were not many out," Lewis said. "There had been reports of dorado and marlin out at the Gordo Banks but we saw none. The north wind kicked up very brisk at around 10:30 so we moved inside."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: East Cape beach launched tin boat angler Torrance Eddy of Buena Vista reported on an outing from Piedras Gordas beach near the Pemex station for a catch on trolled jointed Rebel Fastrac lures of about 10 skipjack-like fish of 1 to 1.5 pounds in the first hour, a sierra measured at 29 inches at Rancho Leonero, and a wide-open bite on 5-pound bonita about one-third of the way back across the bay towards Hotel Palmas de Cortez. "At about 9 a.m., 150 yards northwest of the large rock that is just about always out of the water next to shore at Rancho Leonero, I had a big strike," Eddy said. "This fish was very strong and required patience in tightening the drag, but I was successful in boating the large sierra. I'd swear it was 30 inches when I caught it but it had shrunk in the next 5 hours to where the tape measure read it at 29 inches. At that point in time I thought I saw wind heading my way so I started heading back on a bearing toward Palmas de Cortez. About 1.5 miles on that bearing, I ran into an open bite on bonita. Here, they call them 'bonita blanca' or 'white bonita.' These ran around 5 pounds. A very good day, especially for February. While catching the bonita, there was a cruiser near me also catching a few, but with my one rig I was out catching them because, I'm sure, I was using a Rebel Fastrac."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jim Sammons of La Jolla Kayak Fishing said 3 Baja group kayak fishing trips were planned for 2008 on May 3-8, July 6-15, and Oct. 2-7, with panga supported fishing out of East Cape's Hotel Punta Colorada. "These trips are filling faster than ever," Sammons said. "With its proximity to the fishing grounds Hotel Punta Colorada is the first choice for the kayak fishing angler. We are now limiting our trips to 4 persons per support panga. If the group is larger than 4 we will get another panga. This will allow more attention to the clients, more efficient moves from spot to spot, and more fishing time. Our trips appeal to the entry level as well as experienced kayak fisherman, with at least 2 guides on the water to assist." Information, 619-461-7172.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said pangas fishing at Punta Perico on the Las Arenas side south of La Paz had catches of bonito, sierra, pargo, and roosterfish plus some yellowtail into the 40-pound class. Some yellowfin tuna were also seen off Isla Cerralvo. "There's some pretty unseasonable fishing going on right now," Roldan said. "Despite windy winter-like conditions, Punta Perico off Ensenada de los Muertos continues to kick out some hefty yellowtail close to shore. That means fishing less than 100 yards off the point and often in water less than 50 feet deep. Turning a fish from heading back to cover is often easier said than done! These yellowtail are willing to eat sardines and yo-yo iron. This is a bit early in the season for these fish. Generally, the yellowtail really don't start chewing until March or April, but no one is complaining. More surprising are the schools of yellowfin tuna that have no business popping up around Isla Cerralvo, especially the north point."
MULEGE, MEXICO: East Cape fishing guide, Baja Beach Captain Mike Reichner, said he has relocated to Mulege and has a house on the river complete with a 28-foot super panga. "The house came with a gorgeous 28-foot super panga with all the bells and whistles. It sits at our dock when not out plying the mar," Reichner said, adding that his wife recently read the Baja novel King of the Moon, set in a remote Baja fish camp of the 1960s. "I suggested to my wife that she read King of the Moon, and it impacted her much like it did me when I read it many 'moons' ago," Reichner said. "She didn't put it down for the past 2 days."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko at the south end of Bahia de los Angeles reported Midriff fishing area weather in the mid-60s, with persistent north winds, some rain, winter water temperatures at about 58 degrees, and fishing steady for bottom species and some yellowtail on the northern reefs. "The water temperature is as cold as it gets here at Bahia de los Angeles," Vazquez said. "It's weird to see everything so green and many of the arroyos running with water, especially south of El Rosario." Traffic on Baja's Mex 1 Transpeninsular Highway was unusually light, which Vazquez attributed to repetitive media coverage of roadside crime incidents. "Baja is still as safe as ever," Vazquez said. "There is not much traffic but I guess that is to be expected until the media has something else to report." Vazquez noted that soldiers at the Mex 1 checkpoint north of Santo Tomas were again using a dowsing rod to inspect vehicles. "They are using witchcraft now to check the cars. A guy goes around with a dowsing rod and they check 10 cars at the time. I guess they do about the same amount of busts so it must be working. At least the wait is not as long," Vazquez said. The new electrical power line to the village was having some intermittent outages. The Camp Gecko website also had a new webcam video feed with frequently updated wind information and images of the bay from about a mile south of the village, gecko.mystarband.net.
ROCKY POINT, MEXICO: Ric Felder of Phoenix, Ariz., reported on an offshore run out of Rocky Point by his boat End of the Line with Shawn Gustafson and Bill Hayden for a catch in windy conditions of: 1 white seabass, several yellowtail of 8 to almost 20 pounds, many goldspotted bass and ocean whitefish, and several red snapper. "We had a bumpy ride out with a following sea in 2 to 3-foot, tightly-spaced whitecapped chop," Felder said. "We arrived at the first spot and 3 boats were already fishing. On the second drift we had a double hookup and Shawn picked up a nice white seabass on a large jig and I brought in a good red snapper. We made several drifts and had triple hookups each time on large goldspotted bass and ocean whitefish." At Cholla Bay, casting to the rocks from shore with metal jigs and white leadhead grubs produced a few good-sized spotted bay bass but no targeted corvina, pompano, or flounder. "There were still no bait schools visible but there were several groups of birds circling a couple of hundred yards offshore," Felder said. "Once we get another 8 to 10 degrees of water temperature in the shallows the action should get good again." Felder also noted that he has launched a website with Rocky Point fishing information, reports, and photos. "The website is dedicated to fishing the waters of Rocky Point," Felder said. Felder's website, Ricsrockypointfishing.com.
ROCKY POINT, MEXICO: Art Pina of Tucson, Ariz., reported on 2 runs out of Rocky Point to the 51-mile reef aboard Mike Berry's 26-foot boat, fishing in flat seas with jigs and live bait for a catch of nothing but good-sized goldspotted bass. "We saw plenty of whales and lots of dolphins," Pina said. "We both jigged all day and all we caught were goldspotted bass. We tried live bait and got the same results. There were plenty of boats both days. Maybe they had a better day, but you can't beat just being there. Catching fish is a plus." Rocky Point fishing area water temperatures were at 58 to 60 degrees. "The wind calmed down and we made it back at an average of 24 m.p.h., all in all a great weekend," Pina said.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: For the previous week, Craig Collins of Rio Rico, Ariz., reported good action for 7 yellowtail of 18 to 20 pounds plus a 24-pound white seabass at Punta San Antonio on the coast 3 miles north of the marina during fishing on his boat No Sniveling with Fernando Almada of Catch-22 Sportfishing. "We tried to get to San Pedro Island, but returned to smoother water at Punta San Antonio," Collins said. "I caught the last yellowtail on a fast cranking iron under fish boiling near the boat in 100 feet of water. It was a great day on the water and great to have the fish show up on the coast." San Carlos fishing area water was clear green at 57 to 59 degrees. The San Carlos Second Annual Rescate Yellowtail Tournament was scheduled for Feb. 15-17, 2008. "We expect a great turnout and lots of yellowtail," Collins said.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 13 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats fishing out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 8 striped marlin, and 1 yellowfin tuna. Six inshore super pangas had a catch of: 5 totos, 8 baquetas, 6 pargo, 8 triggerfish, 4 conejos, 18 loras, and 3 lenguas. "Cold water continues to make the fishing difficult at Mazatlan," Edwards said. "The boats were searching far and wide for fish. However, there was some light at the end of the tunnel as the boat Aries III reported a 5-marlin release day." Mazatlan fishing area weather was in the low-80s, with water temperatures at 64 degrees inshore and 67 degrees offshore. All billfish were hooked on rigged baits.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: In a winter season with several California yellowtail apparently landed outside their traditional sport caught range on the southern Mexican mainland coast, Danny Osuna of Marla's Sportfishing at Puerto Vallarta reported a yellowtail landed aboard the charter boat Arca de Noe with Capt. Scott Osuna and anglers Jimmy Baker, Julie Baker, and Bob Bloeser. "This was an amazing catch of our first yellowtail ever caught in Puerto Vallarta waters," Osuna said. "It was at the Islas Marietas in a 75-degree water temperature." Overall inshore fishing was good for Puerto Vallarta charter boats, with catches of African pompano, amberjack, jack crevalle, roosterfish, bonita, sierra, and some pargo. "The fishing has been very active and the way things are going we're hoping to catch more yellowtail next week," Osuna said. Yellowfin tuna feeding on mixed size squid were also caught in good action offshore at Roca Corbeteña during several outings by the Marla's charter boats Arca de Noe with Capt. Scott and Marla II with Capt. Alonso Osuna.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said Ixtapa fishing action slowed during the week as cold currents pushed blue water out to the 18-mile mark and charter boats averaged about 1 or 2 sailfish per outing. "Most of this is due to boats staying in the more traditional areas from about 9 to 14 miles out," Kunze said. "Capt. Margarito on the boat Gaby has been fishing 22 and 25 miles out and said there are a lot of fish out there, with a 5-sailfish per day average proving his point." Dorado counts also dropped for Ixtapa Zihuatanejo sportfishing boats but more yellowfin tuna were caught in cooling water temperatures. "The tuna and the expected soon-to-follow blue marlin should give us some excellent action over the next couple of weeks," Kunze said. No inshore fishing results were reported.