CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 47 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo San Lucas charter boats Fish Cabo and Fish Cabo I, with a catch including released fish of: 253 yellowfin tuna of mostly 10 to 20 pounds, 6 striped marlin, 6 mako shark, 5 dorado, and 21 sierra.
"The Cabo San Lucas billfish bite has completely given way to tuna out southwest of the Jaime Bank," Edwards said.
"The tuna schools are running with porpoise. While they are mostly school fish, the bite has truly kept the angler's interest. The first boats on the spot fare very well, usually with easy limit fishing. Jaime Bank tuna are providing superb action." Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was mostly sunny in the mid-80s, with changeable currents and water temperatures ranging from 68 to 69 degrees on the Pacific side around the Jaime Bank and up to 70 degrees running northward to Destiladeras on the Sea of Cortez side. Live bait availability continued very good for mackerel and caballito.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing reported good yellowfin tuna counts on fish of 15 to 20 pounds, plus dozens caught at 35 to 50 pounds, and some seen at over 100 pounds. "We're seeing a major run of yellowfin tuna in the Cabo San Lucas fishing area," Lowendick said. "Large schools of spotted porpoise sometimes acres across are marking the yellowfin schools 20 to 25 miles west of the arch and out behind the Jaime Bank. Our catch reports did not show mass tuna numbers back in the fall of 2007. Let's hope this is the beginning of a major tuna run. All signs indicate increasing tunas and larger tunas moving into our area!"
Boats fishing the Golden Gate Bank continued to release 1 to 5 marlin per outing, and some dorado in the 20-pound class hit trolled lures. Inshore fishing near Cabo San Lucas was strong for sierra mackerel on rocky points from the arch to Sunset Beach. "A nice warmer water trend continues to move into the Cabo San Lucas fishing area and we should continue to see solid action into March," Lowendick said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing reported slower overall striped marlin action but with some fleet boats still releasing 5 to 7 stripers during runs to the Golden Gate Bank, plus very good release action on sierra, with 525 hooked, and good yellowfin tuna fishing including some boats with up to 30 school-sized fish of 10 to 20 pounds for a total of 206 tuna with many released. The Pisces charter boat Tracy Ann scored 8 tuna of 16 to a high of 70 pounds at the Jaime Bank. "Cabo San Lucas is blessed with such good fishing that even when the marlin aren’t biting there is something else going on," Ehrenberg said. "Our final tally on marlin was actually pretty good, with 163 striped marlin caught by Pisces anglers and all but 2 released." Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was clearing and warming after some days of wind, with water temperatures averaging 69 degrees.
Mike Connolly of the Pisces Fleet charter boat Falcon reported tough striped marlin fishing but 18 yellowfin tuna to 25 pounds caught during 2 runs out to 45 miles south of Cabo San Lucas. "As the moon goes away we expect the bite to pick up," Connolly said. "No marlin for us this week. We have not heard any good billfish reports at all."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO:CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 20 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 2 striped marlin, 29 yellowfin tuna of 15 to 25 pounds, 7 boats with yellowfin tuna limits at 20 to 30 pounds, and 2 mako shark of 25 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing super panga Cheer's reported on 4 outings during the week with a total of 8 anglers, for a catch including released fish of: 23 bonito of 6 to 8 pounds, 34 sierra of 3 to 8 pounds, 2 yellowtail to 6 to 7 pounds, and 2 roosterfish of 3 to 4 pounds. The Cheer's trolled live baits along Cabo's Pacific side beaches at the arch and Faro Viejo, north to San Cristobal, and out to about 8 miles in water temperatures of 68 to 70 degrees and some green and windy sea conditions. Anglers fishing aboard the Cheer's included Dennis Turín and Dony Turín of Los Angeles, Calif., Bruce Johnson and Bruce Young also of Los Angeles, Mike Wilson and Pat Wilson of San Francisco, Calif., and Scott Lusk and Debbie Trautmen.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said his pangas fishing at Ensenada's Punta Banda found good bottom action following a period of rainy weather. Another home guard yellowtail was caught, this one a 28 pounder, on Tuesday by Phil Milan of Chula Vista, Calif., who fished with Capt. Beto on the charter panga Vonny I. "We also managed a nice assortment of lingcod, reds, sculpin, and some nice calico bass," Villarino said. "Not bad fishing." Local Ensenada fishing area weather was partly cloudy at 70 degrees, with light afternoon winds to 4 m.p.h., ocean swells at 3 to 4 feet, and the water temperature at Punta Banda averaging 57 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas reported continued very low tourist traffic in the San Quintin area and just 2 boats fishing during the week as Han Yong of Anaheim, Calif., and his trip partner went out with Capt. Hector for mixed rockcods, lingcod, and very large ocean whitefish. San Quintin fishing area weather was good during the week.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Shari Bondy of Baja Bed & Breakfast at Bahia Asuncion reported bonito and barrilete caught to the south, but generally slow fishing for calico bass, whitefish, and some yellowtail to the north at Punta San Pablo. "We heard the yellowtail were farther north, up by Punta Nuevo," Bondy said. Baja coastal fishing area weather was clear in the mid-80s, with calm sea conditions and water temperatures of 62 to 70 degrees.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Brad Murakami of Delta, British Columbia, reported on fishing aboard his 17-foot boat out of Puerto Lopez Mateos with local Capt. Ruben Duran for grouper of 5 to over 13 pounds in the main channel caught while trolling Rapala CD18 plugs with 30-foot leaders and 24 to 30 ounces of torpedo-shaped sinkers. "We would catch them bouncing the lead off the rocky bottom," Murakami said. "We'd do our usual tack from rock pile to rock pile, returning whenever we'd get a bite. We'd also drift live mullet 'lisa' over these same rock piles to change things up, which at times would also be quite effective." Fishing in the Magdalena Bay mangrove channels produced more grouper and "all the spotted bay bass you'd want to catch." Cabrilla were caught at Devil's Curve as a nearby Mexican commercial panga was seen loading up on 3 to 6-pound corvina plus some possible snook while fishing with handlined sardina baits. "A trip north to Santo Domingo in very heavy fog also produced fair fishing for small grouper and corvina with lots of cabrilla, all on live lisa," Murakami said. "Thanks to my friend Capt. Ruben Duran for his great company and his innate ability to find and catch grouper."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said the San Carlos entrada produced sierra, some small yellowtail, and a few grouper to 10 pounds. A few boats fishing the Magdalena Bay mangrove channels reported small snook, grouper, and corvina. "Whale watching continues to be the main attraction for boats at Magdalena Bay and it will continue through March," Graham said. Magdalena Bay fishing area weather was foggy in the mornings, with light winds, air temperatures to 81 degrees, and water temperatures at 66 to 73 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 62 combined La Playita fleet charter sportfishing panga outings from San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 410 Mexican bonito, 142 huachinango, 22 yellowtail, 52 sierra, 3 hammerhead shark, 13 cabrilla, 21 amberjack, and 15 roosterfish. A panga run to the Iman Bank by Brictson and his son Brian Brictson to celebrate Brian's 11th birthday produced 2 yellowtail in the 30-pound class, 1 amberjack, a "bunch" of Mexican bonito, and another yellowtail lost to a sea lion at the boat. "The sea lion bit the entire body off and left only the head," Brictson said. San Jose del Cabo fishing conditions were warming into the 80s, with diminishing winds and water temperatures of 67 to 72 degrees. "Southern Baja actually had more of a feeling of spring this week," Brictson said. Local schools of sierra were quickly depleted by commercial Mexican fishermen. "Nice sized sierra moved into the areas north of Punta Gorda but sure enough the commercial gill netters from the fish camps in this same uncontrolled region did quick work on these fish," Brictson said. "It is incredible that they can still get away with this indiscriminating destructive form of fishing." Striped marlin were still scarce for pangas running offshore, but some 20 to 40-pound yellowfin tuna were reported about 25 to 30 miles out. "These tuna were found with porpoise straight out from Cabo San Lucas to Chileno," Brictson said. "It would be nice if this action moved closer to shore. Of course we are crossing our fingers that the commercial tuna purse seine fleet does not clean these fish out in one quick sweep."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Bob Grimes of San Jose del Cabo reported on fishing off La Laguna together with about 10 other pangas for a catch in slow conditions of 3 small sierra. Some pangas moved to fish for scattered yellowtail plus bonito and roosterfish at Iman and Cardon. Grimes noted that the new boat launch ramp at Puerto Los Cabos was being reserved for local cooperativa boats. "The main ramp is for the fishing cooperativas and is near the mouth of the marina," Grimes said. "Another ramp is hidden by construction and is closed by a chain most of the time. There are many security guards patrolling with golf carts. Some of them say that this ramp is exclusively for home owners at Puerto Los Cabos. Others said the public may launch here but usually the official with the key comes at 9 a.m."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said East Cape sportfishing boats were working mostly northwards for some quality yellowtail caught from Punta Pescadero to Ensenada de los Muertos. "Another promising sign was the few dorado found at the shark buoys a few miles off Punta Pescadero," Graham said. "As the seasonal transition from winter to spring slowly takes place at East Cape, small sardina are beginning to show along the beaches. It’s still way early, but the appearance of bait schools is a good sign of better things coming. Fishing for sierra, small roosterfish, jacks, and ladyfish will definitely increase with the bait spreading up and down East Cape beaches." East Cape fishing area weather was sunny in the mid-80s, with winds to about 10 knots and water temperatures at 62 to 68 degrees. Graham suggested an easy way to predict where bait schools and game fish might be found on East Cape beaches. "When you purchase your bait in the morning for a boat trip ask the pangueros where they are catching it," Graham said. "Then you have a good spot to start with on the days you fish from the beach."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Roger Bruce of Las Vegas, Nev., at Martin Verdugo's Beach Resort, reported East Cape fishing area weather with 55-degree nights, days to 80 degrees, and enough wind to keep him off the water. "Windy and no fishing," Bruce said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Simon Cazaly of East Cape's Vista Sea Sport diving service reported on a dive trip to El Cantil and El Bajo at Cabo Pulmo by Vista Sea Sport dive master Diego for sightings of large leopard and golden grouper, dog snapper, Panamic porkfish, yellow snapper, and a school of small Pacific manta rays. "The highlight of the dive was the school of mantas swimming in formation high above the divers," Cazaly said. "Diego said he enjoyed the dive so much he just didn’t want to come up to the surface." East Cape diving conditions at Cabo Pulmo had 25 to 30 feet of visibility and water temperatures of 65 degrees at depth.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing said midwinter La Paz south side fishing conditions continued good last week, with very light wind, air temperatures in the 70s, more good yellowtail action, lots of big pargo broken off in the rocks, but still very few anglers in the area. "We're fishing at Punta Perico and Isla Cerralvo, and the best action is for the yellowtail," Hernandez said. "We have good fishing for the few people that have been arriving in La Paz these past weeks. There are just as many pargos as yellowtail, but they are so strong they are difficult to land. We also have a lot of sierra but the fishing is for the yellowtail."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said pangas fishing the Las Arenas side of La Paz continued to land quality yellowtail out of Ensenada de los Muertos. "It's been a really nice fishing week at La Paz for the most part," Roldan said. "The yellowtail range from 15 to 25 pounds mostly, but there are some 40-pound slugs in there as well. The school of big yellowtail that moved in off Punta Perico continued to put on a show this week." South side pangas were fishing close to shore just minutes from the launching beach. "The same fishing areas are also kicking out the pargo lisa and sierra," Roldan said. "And there are bonito scooting around for fun action." La Paz side fishing was hampered by north winds. "The reason we're not fishing straight out of La Paz more often is the wind," Roldan said. "When the wind shuts down I can only believe there will be more of these yellowtail in spots that we can fish, especially around Isla Espiritu Santo. For now, the yellowtail are literally 50 yards off shore and 5 minutes away from our departure beach."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said Loreto fishing area water temperatures went through an unusually cold period as low as 56 degrees with generally slow action. "Fishing has been very slow due to the cold water temperatures and the rough surface conditions this season," Bolles said. "This year we observed the coldest sea temperatures ever with lows measured at 56 degrees where we are used to lows of 61 degrees. Our local Loreto fishery simply went off bite. As the weather improved last week we were hoping for the big yellowtail to start eating but they did not." Smaller yellowtail of 5 to 10 pounds were plentiful and biting consistently at Isla Coronado. Inshore fishing for resident cabrilla and pargo was also generally slow, but better going southwards toward Bahia Agua Verde. Earlier, several days of good yellowtail action on 25 to 36-pound fish were scored by Loreto boats fishing at La Cholla on the north end of Isla Carmen. "So far La Cholla is the only location that is producing the large yellowtail," Bolles said. "Trips to Punta Pulpito have been disappointing with small firecracker yellowtail the result. Yellowtail like that can be had at one-tenth of the distance off Isla Coronado."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Baja Beach Captain Mike Reichner of Mulege reported water temperatures recovering to 63 degrees after dipping to a low of 58 degrees, and generally slow fishing for local boats. "I launched my boat to flat seas yesterday and fished many waypoints without a grab," Reichner said. "It seems this holds true with just about all boats fishing Mulege and nearby waters. I have to believe the half-dozen Mexican commercial shrimp boats anchored right off the river's mouth and dragging sometimes only a few hundred yards offshore have something to do with the absence of fish. Bodies of small fish and parts of others floating everywhere are evidence of the massive bycatch that these boats discard. What a shame!" Reichner said his fishing in the Mulege area included a run to Punta Chivato and the south end of Isla San Marcos. "In spots that would typically yield a fish or two we tried live bait, jigs, and dragged Mirrolures for a time to no avail," Reichner said, also noting that markers have been put into the Mulege river channel to guide local boats. "Now on a 1-foot tide a substantial boat can make it up without running aground, sometimes," he said.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Jim Anderson of San Bruno south of Santa Rosalia said surface yellowtail action for 25 to 30-pound fish picked up on good tidal currents for boats fishing the Isla San Marcos bajos. "After suffering through a windy and cold winter things are really starting to warm up," Anderson said. "The yellowtail have decided to move closer to the surface to feed. While some boats were still fishing deep and catching fish, there is little that can compare to big yellowtail when they take flylined bait and scream off line at an alarming rate. You may want to have an exam by your favorite medical professional before embarking on this kind of a trip." Local outings during the week included kayak anglers Art Whitting of Chula Vista, Calif., and Brad Messmer of La Jolla, Calif., who took their kayaks to the bajos 2 days on the panga of local Capt. Francisco Mesa for a combined catch of 7 yellowtail. "This is extreme fishing at its best as these fish pull really hard but these guys were up to the task," Anderson said. "Anyone interested can call Francisco at 011-52-615-160-1031, or if you can't get him you could try me at 011-52-615-153-9082."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore by the bay reported midwinter northern Sea of Cortez weather in the high-70s and the desert coming alive with spring growth. "San Felipe has been having some real spring weather and the desert is absolutely getting into its glory," Meders said. San Felipe was preparing for the big crowds of Semana Santa and the Baja 250 race. "It's all happening together, great for the vendors but absolute sandpaper on the nerves," Meders said. "But it's only once a year and so many people rely on these two things to get them through summer and beyond so we are not going to complain." Local activities included a gala called "Bitchy Bingo" that featured drag performances by a group from San Diego and raised over $9,000 for San Felipe's animal rescue center. "They gave us two drag shows. We were entertained by 'Cher,' 'Tina Turner,' 'Whitney Houston,' and others. The costumes were spectacular and the audience enthusiastic," Meders said. "I have heard nothing but rave reviews. Well done Rescue Center!"
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jon Jen Charters at San Carlos reported warmer water temperatures and improved yellowtail counts, with boats scoring 3 to as many as 8 yellowtail of 18 to 26 pounds. The charter boat JonJen II fished daily for at least 3 yellowtail per day. "The water temperatures for yellowtail are 60 degrees for avoidance, 65 degrees for ideal, and 70 degrees for avoidance, meaning the optimum temperature is 65 degrees, a Jon Jen Charters captain said. "Right now the temperatures are at 62 degrees. During the San Carlos yellowtail tournament it was 59 degrees with some 60. That could explain a slower than usual bite." Bottom fishing by San Carlos boats was also good for large goldspotted bass, locally called "calicos."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 29 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats fishing out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 137 yellowfin tuna, 61 skipjack tuna, 1 dorado, 1 mako shark, and 4 striped marlin. Eight inshore super pangas reported a catch of: 28 baqueta, 19 cabrilla, 15 triggerfish, 10 conejo, 15 lengua, and limits of lora. "While Mazatlan billfish catches are slow the tuna fishing has more than improved and highlighted the offshore action this week," Edwards said. Mazatlan sportfishing boats found the best tuna counts about 25 to 30 miles out on porpoise while fishing with a variety of feathers and surface iron. Mazatlan fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-80s, with water temperatures cool at 65 to 66 degrees inshore and warming to 68 to 69 degrees offshore.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Danny Gomez of Dhamar Sportfishing confirmed that the California yellowtail landed by his charter super panga Dhamar the previous week at Isla Marietas was his first-ever yellowtail caught in Puerto Vallarta waters. "I caught a lot of them when I was young in Baja but in 15 years, I had never before seen a yellowtail at Puerto Vallarta," Gomez said. Several other California yellowtail have been reported this winter in cool water temperatures along the Mexican Pacific coast as far south as Ixtapa Zihuatanejo.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported water temperatures of 73 degrees inshore warming to 80 degrees about 30 miles out and fish counts dropping off for Ixtapa Zihuatanejo charter boats. A combined 7 trips by Ixtapa sportfishing captains produced a catch including released fish of: 2 sailfish, 5 dorado, 5 sierra, 5 jack crevalle, and some bonito. "Cold green water continues to put a damper on the fishing in Ixtapa," Edwards said. "Offshore fishing has been hit-and-miss." Good inshore action was reported by Capt. Adolofo of the charter boat Dos Hermanos, with a high count of 14 roosterfish during a run north to Saladitas. Ixtapa fishing area weather was sunny in the mid-80s, with calm seas.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said, "Fishing in 86-degree weather beats shoveling snow, but even though the seas are calm and the sun is shining, the fishing at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo remains on the slow side." Top outings during the week included Steven Ryan fishing with Capt. Margarito on the charter boat Gaby for a blue marlin of 240 pounds plus 4 dorado of 20 pounds. Two outings by Capt. Santiago on the Gitana produced a catch including released fish of: 1 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, and 2 dorado. "Inshore action is still a hit-or-miss situation but find the birds and the bait and you get some very exciting jack crevalle action," Kunze said.