SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: In the aftermath of concentrated, very close to shore Mexican commercial net boat fishing reported by Gary Graham of Western Outdoor News last week, Los Cabos sportfishing operations assessed the damage to what had been a good bite of school-sized yellowfin tuna at the tip of Baja.
Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said hot action for Mexican sportfishing limits on yellowfin tuna of 10 to 20 pounds was virtually wiped out by the aggressive fleet of purse seiners. Brictson reported on 41 sportfishing pangas out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 166 yellowfin tuna, 124 yellowtail, 122 sierra, 2 mako shark, 9 striped marlin, 36 dorado, 38 Mexican bonito, 18 roosterfish, 28 combined snapper species, and 12 cabrilla. "Only a few straggler tuna are now being caught," Brictson said.
"What a shame that the government still has not put an end to this. All we can do is let the public know what has happened and hope that somehow we can put pressure on the authorities. These juvenile yellowfin tuna could have provided continued action for sportfishing fleets." Los Cabos fishing area weather was mostly calm, with warming water temperatures up to 76 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas described the commercial fishing fleet's attack on local tuna schools, saying, "Yellowfin tuna were the 'rant' fish of the week. At the start of the week, everyone limited out, but on Wednesday the purse seiners started to show up. On Wednesday there were 6 boats. On Thursday, there were 9. On Friday and Saturday there were 13 boats, at least 8 of which were super seiners with spotting helicopters on their decks. They were fishing tuna just 2 miles off the beach. The marines went out and stopped 2 of the boats and chased them away but said that the others all had permits to fish there."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of Baja Anglers said, "They were fishing within sight of the marina. Talk about being pissed, the whole fishing community was up in arms, but the Mexican government considers tuna to be a commercial fish and that means the tuna boats can fish where they please."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing declined to comment on the commercial tuna boats, saying, "You couldn't print it!"
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said, "The tuna seiners moved in and left little but the scales. The schools of fish are now gone and the fish are in their holds. Many of the boats had set nets within 2 miles of Cabo, which was thought to be illegal but apparently is not when fishing for tuna."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: San Jose del Cabo species fishing specialist John Snow, reported slow action during 4 beach fishing sessions for 1 sergeant major caught in green water and rough surf. Five outings with Capt. Pata on the panga Salome produced just 77 fish of 25 species, but including 3 new species, the striped corvina, prickly shark, and Peruvian mojarra.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said all anglers fishing on his beach-launched pangas at the tip of Ensenada's Punta Banda scored Mexican sportfishing limits or near limits on combined red rockcod, lingcod, bonito for the Vonny's Fleet client fish smoker, barracuda, and a nice calico bass limit caught by Brian "Calico" Foley with Capt. Beto on the panga Vonny I. Other anglers fishing on pangas with Capts. Beto, Hector, and Vicente included Roberto Ochoa of Sharter, Calif., Jay Johnson, and Ismael Blanco's group from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. "This week Ensenada had good bottom fish again and good luck for our anglers," Villarino said. Local Ensenada fishing area weather was mostly cloudy in the mornings, with afternoons sunny in the high-60s, some wind to 6 m.p.h., ocean swells at 3 feet, and the water temperature at Punta Banda averaging 58 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the Ensenada sportfishing boat Bad Dog at Marina Coral reported on an interesting and informative run to the 238 spot and 250 spot about 40 miles off Ensenada where a good sonar look showed few fish on the bottom. "We arrived at gray light and completely and accurately explored this area on 'The Boot' or 'Inner Bank' as it is also called, to find that it is actually a table top of 277 fathoms, a rise from much deeper water, and that there is no 238 according to my Furuno 1100," Ross said. "After several hours of watching the video screen I found no fish on this bank, something that every Ensenada commercial rock fisherman wanted to know. We made several drops in hopes that the little blue fuzzy marks were fish, but there were no bites for us." Ensenada offshore fishing area water temperatures were at 56.5 degrees, with pea green color.
The Bad Dog also fished at the Banda Bank in 57-degree, off-blue water for a catch of: 12 starry rockfish, 2 lingcod, 6 southern rockfish, and 1 Humboldt squid at 20 pounds. Noting the abundance of squid and scarcity of fish offshore of Ensenada recently, Ross said, "The commercial Mexican fisherman are returning with boat loads of Humboldts. The squid dominate their lines. We metered plenty of them. We could have boated all we wanted. It is my personal opinion that these squids have dealt a devastating blow to the rockcod marine resource on the Banda Bank. We did not catch one vermilion rockfish and all our fish were under 4 pounds." Following Mexican commercial fishing reports of batrays at North Isla Todos Santos, the Bad Dog got 1 bite on a fish that could not be stopped. "These fish frequently disguise themselves on your dinner plate as scallops," Ross said. "With a boat load of kelp flies crawling all over us we pulled the anchor and returned to our slip with a story about 'the one that got away.'"
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Ken Jones of Long Beach, Calif., and his group drove down Baja's highway Mex 1 for a 3-day trip to Puerto Santo Tomas Resort south of Ensenada, finding "dead calm" seas, hot weather in the high-80s, water temperatures averaging 55 degrees, and mixed bag fishing with Capt. Marcos for treefish, rockfish, lingcod, sculpin, and whitefish. Jones' group, including Bret Hambrick, Chris Gessel, Rudy Ortiz, and Brian Smith, also went out in kayaks for encounters with hundreds of porpoise moving northwards along the Baja coast and northward migrating California gray whales swimming just outside the kelp beds at the resort. "A few large spouts followed by a small one made it clear the calves were in tow," Jones said. "No problems were encountered during the drive to Puerto Santo Tomas. "We just missed the TJ drug cartel shootout so we couldn’t figure out the troop carriers moving north as we moved south. We had absolutely no troubles with checkpoints and an easy border crossing Monday afternoon. Both ramps at Puerto Santo Tomas now are repaired and in great shape for visitors, and as always, Sam Saenz was a great host."
ERENDIRA, MEXICO: John Garcia of La Quinta, Calif., reported on a 4-angler Baja run to fish at Castro's Camp south of Ensenada, with fishing aboard the charter boat Castro II at 250 to 300 feet deep about 12 miles off the coast producing a catch of about 20 mixed rockcods to 7 pounds, lingcod, sheephead, and 1 Humboldt giant squid. "The ocean was a little rough with swells," Garcia said. "We had engine problems and had to come in early. I had a better day when we fished here last fall and we filled 2 large ice chests."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Marita Melville of Don Eddie's Landing said San Quintin fishing area water temperatures were warmer at up to 59 degrees, with some hot weather days and bottom fishing producing good counts of ocean whitefish, lingcod, sheephead, and mixed species. Fishing commercially, San Quintin Capt. Jaime "Guero" Cervantes and his brother Capt. Martin Cervantes had a good mixed bottom fish run to a spot about 20 miles northwest of Isla San Martin. "They caught a good variety and returned to home base by 6 p.m.," Melville said. "It was a perfect day for fishing at San Quintin." Capt. Juan Cook also took sportfishing client Gene Hong of Cerritos, Calif., out for a wide-open bite on large lingcod and red rockcod in flat, windless water at 57 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of the Pedro's Pangas sportfishing service at San Quintin said, "We are still getting nice Mexican limits of rockcod and lingcod at the 240 spot and Ben's Rock." Pedro's Pangas Capt. Hector made a run to Isla San Martin and found spring yellowtail schooling but not biting. "I am heading out with Hector with a variety of jigs and Rapalas and live bait," Hillis said. "I'll find out what to bring down for the yellowtail."
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Eduardo Villegas of La Bocana on the semi-remote Baja central Pacific coast said fishing with his dog Gabyno was hampered by strong winds but action close to the beach of La Bocanita produced calico bass on Krocodiles and 20-pound line. "The good fishing season is now arriving," Villegas said, "although the previous period saw slightly slower action due to cool temperatures." Other anglers fishing near La Bocana reported catches including some corvina. Local Capt. Juanchys Aguilar was fishing for halibut in the estero.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Jose Angel Pacheco of Cedros Outdoor Adventures said local fishermen at Isla Cedros off the Baja central Pacific coast reported wind keeping boats from fishing for 3 days, but calm seas by Thursday with boats going out and expected to return to the island by 3 or 4 p.m. "No one went fishing the last 3 days," Pacheco said. "But today is calm."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported continued surface action for small yellowtail and a few sierra at the main San Carlos entrada, along with more Pacific winds farther offshore. "There is still a pretty good lump outside that is preventing much fishing activity for the local Magdalena Bay fleet," Graham said. Fair action was found for halibut on sandy beaches, and a few grouper and pargo were caught in the Magdalena Bay mangrove channels north of Puerto Lopez Mateos. Some corvina were feeding on the surface at Boca Santo Domingo to the north, but Graham said, "Water temperatures in the Magdalena Bay esteros remained low and there was little fishing activity this week." Magdalena Bay fishing area weather was sunny in the low-90s, with water temperatures at 62 to 70 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 46 sportfishing outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo San Lucas charter boats Fish Cabo and Fish Cabo I, with a catch including released fish of: 30 striped marlin, 18 dorado, and 220 yellowfin tuna. High boat for the fleet was the Fish Cabo I with a 4-marlin release day on the Gordo Banks. Cabo San Lucas fishing area water temperatures were marked by a strong break running to the southeast, with 75 to 76 degrees from the Cabo harbor eastward and 7 degrees cooler on the Pacific side. Most boats fished the Cortez side, centered on the Gordo Banks, with live mackerel producing the best results when available. Edwards noted that the fleet of Mexican commercial boats that had been fishing as close as 2 miles from Cabo San Lucas had taken most of the yellowfin tuna in the area.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas sportfishing panga Cheer's reported on 4 outings during the week with a total of 2 anglers, for a catch including released fish of: 3 yellowtail of 8 pounds, 1 shark lost, 6 bonito of 3 to 5 pounds, some sierra of 5 pounds, 31 more sierra of 3 to 9 pounds, 2 yellowfin tuna of 6 to 7 pounds, 6 skipjack of 3 to 5 pounds, and 2 Humboldt giant squid of 30 to 35 pounds. The Cheer's fished with trolled lures, hoochies, and fly fishing tackle up to 3 miles off Cabo's Pacific side beaches and off Cortez side beaches in water temperatures of 69 to 72 degrees and mostly good sea conditions. Anglers fishing aboard the Cheer's included Bill and Patty Lynd of Green Valley, Ariz., fishing 3 days, and Martyn Plas of Holland.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of the Baja Anglers Cabo San Lucas fly fishing service reported good inshore action close to Cabo that included an outing by angler Dan Dreyer of Payson, Ariz., for a day's count of 18 roosterfish, multiple jacks and sierra, and 4 dog snapper to over 30 pounds. Offshore fish counts were reduced by the fleet of Mexican commercial seiners working very close to Cabo San Lucas. "We did have a few great days of yellowfin fishing," Hartman said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing reported steady striped marlin hookups on both sides of the arch at spots including land's end, the 95 spot, 1150 spot, and the Gordo Banks. Some larger dorado were caught to a high of 60 pounds but the solid yellowfin tuna bite was pounded apart by Mexican commercial fishing boats working within sight of land. Inshore fishing produced California yellowtail, roosterfish, jack crevalle, amberjack, and continued Humboldt giant squid, although Lowendick said, "It appears they are also being targeted by the commercial netters."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Connolly of the Pisces Fleet charter boat Falcon said his boat took the week off, but Keven Puhl of the boat Success fished on his panga near the Cabo San Lucas arch for a week's catch of over 150 yellowtail. "This is an example of the fishing that can be had inshore in Cabo San Lucas with persistence, and of course, some skills," Connolly said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 8 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 16 yellowfin tuna of 15 to 20 pounds, 2 boats with Mexican sportfishing limits of yellowfin tuna of 15 to 20 pounds plus more tuna released, and 3 dorado of 15 to 25 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather in the low-90s, with some cloudy days and wind but no rain, flat seas on the Cortez side, and water temperatures warming strongly on the Cortez side to as high as 82 degrees found at the Cabrillo Seamount late in the week. Live bait was scarce for Cabo baitsellers as boats worked hard for snagged caballito at the mouth of the marina. "I heard of quite a few instances of bait boats charging as much as $5 per bait," Landrum said. "That is high but not bad if it is the right bait, but the fish definitely preferred mackerel, and the caballito are not in very good shape after being snagged. In other words, bait was scarce and expensive." Striped marlin were plentiful within 5 miles of Cabo San Lucas but stuffed with squid. Dorado appeared in increasing numbers as water temperatures improved, and a strong run of 8 to 20-pound yellowfin tuna 2 to 5 miles off the beach was decimated by the fleet of commercial Mexican purse seiners guided by helicopters.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the week ending April 28, 2008, Eddie Dalmau of Van Wormer Resorts reported on 168 East Cape charter fishing boats from Hotels Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Punta Colorada, with a catch including released fish of: 216 striped marlin, 88 sailfish, 261 dorado, 60 roosterfish, 2 wahoo, 12 cabrilla, 76 pargo, 4 pompano, 48 squid, 15 skipjack, 24 sierra, and 2 mako shark. East Cape fishing area weather was in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 72 to 75 degrees. "Most anglers are reporting seeing many more striped marlin than are actually being hooked," Dalmau said. "The problem is that since there is so much squid in the water, the marlin are not interested in what is being tossed right in front of them. Mike Rieser of Baja Fly Fishing Co. is reporting lots of roosters and jacks along the beach between Los Barriles and Boca Salada."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: East Cape resident tin boat angler Torrance Eddy of Buena Vista reported a first-ever sailfish release during an outing out of Hotel Palmas de Cortez hosted by Pepe Murietta of Van Wormer Resorts board the 35-foot boat El Patron with Capt. Jose. "We got our bait, 15 to 20 dead ballyhoo," Eddy said.
"At about 8 a.m. we came upon a pod of sperm whales and our skipper slowed down, allowing us a very good look at these magnificent creatures. Over the next couple of hours we trolled through scattered areas of feeding dolphins and Chantale Bergeron of Buena Vista and I each boated and released a good-sized sailfish. It was my first sailfish and I was so excited that I kissed its dorsal fin, covering myself with slime, and then gave Chantale a big hug. She has yet to forgive me."
The outing also produced 1 larger possible tuna unbuttoned after a few seconds, a striped marlin that could not be released, a 1 large dorado lost, and another sailfish caught by Joanne Guay of Canada. Also aboard El Patron were, deckhands, Julio and Victor. "We enjoyed a great day on the water and I believe the rarity of 3 sailfish on the same boat during the month of April," Eddy said. "All the other boats we saw coming into the dock appeared to have enjoyed a good day of catching as well."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja fly fishing service at East Cape reported beautiful local fishing weather in the high-80s, water temperatures at 70 to 76 degrees, and inshore and offshore fishing producing a mixed bag including plentiful roosterfish, jacks, marlin, dorado, and sailfish. "Baja had it all," deBrown said. "The beach continues to hold smaller roosterfish. Some of the spawning schools of jack crevalle are starting to break up, but it does not last very long as they quickly go back to their business at hand. Offshore, we have large numbers of marlin and sailfish, but these fish have been a little tricky, as they are stuffed with squid."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported good sailfish action for East Cape sportfishing boats, but yellowfin tuna counts reduced by commercial net boats. "Billfish took center stage at East Cape this week with the best April showing of sailfish in recent memory," Graham said. "There were enough shots to cause some anglers to complain about something akin to tennis elbow. But, as in Cabo San Lucas, the tuna seiners seem to have scooped up the current crop of football-sized tuna, leaving only a few scales here and there." Dorado counts were lower for mostly singles. East Cape fishing area weather was sunny in the mid-90s, with water temperatures at 66 to 78 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Larry Cooper of Baja Enterprises said the East Cape charter boat En Caliente fished at locations including Los Barriles, El Cardonal, Isla Cerralvo, and La Ribera for a combined catch including released fish of: 7 marlin, 9 dorado to 35 pounds, 4 yellowtail of 20 to 30 pounds, over 40 skipjack released, 12 skipjack tuna or "bonito blanco," and a Pacific barracuda uncommonly seen on the Cortez side of Baja. "Inshore, the roosterfish are hitting sardines and fast-retrieved surface poppers," Cooper said. "May promises to be even better. Warm water to 80 degrees has already been noted which means an early blue and black marlin season."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing reported south side La Paz fishing weather in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 76 to 78 degrees at Isla Cerralvo and also at Las Arenas and Punta Perico on the Baja shore. "This week, we are now in the hot weather season," Hernandez said. Tortuga Sportfishing pangas at the offshore buoys found good numbers of dorado of 25 to 35 pounds plus many marlin mixed with sailfish. "We're releasing as many sailfish as marlin," Hernandez said. "Pangas fishing nearby areas brought in pargos of 20 to 35 pounds." Live bait was available in all fishing areas in seas that were completely calm at times. Anglers fishing on Tortuga pangas out of Ensenada de los Muertos included Tom Wong of Taiwan, his son Jerry Wong of Rowland Heights, Calif., and Don Rockefeller of Huntington Beach, Calif.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International at La Paz said, "We had a mixed fishing week with lots of different species. Some days it was inshore fish like pargo, roosters, cabrilla, sierra, and smaller yellowtail, and on other days the offshore stuff like dorado, marlin, and sailfish. The big pargo were just incredible. There is no shortage of variety as La Paz waters get warmer." Roldan also noted a special airfare offered by Alaska Air for flights between Los Angeles and La Paz at $119 one way. "That's almost half price," Roldan said. "You have to purchase tickets May 8th and use them by June 25th." Information, Riplipboy@aol.com."
LORETO, MEXICO: Patty Zapata of Loreto's Hotel Oasis, reported good weather during the week and 12 hotel pangas fishing at La Choya between Islas Coronado and Carmen, and Lotó between La Choya and Punta Tintorera, for a catch including released fish of: 38 yellowtail of 20 to 36 pounds, 4 red snapper of 6 to 8 pounds, and some cabrilla to 8 pounds. Anglers fishing out of the Hotel Oasis with Capts. Ismael Murillo, Jesús Osuna, Alejandro Savín, and Alejandro Ruíz included Troy Alarcon, John Malloy, John Andreotti, Robert Couto, Curtis Davison, Robert Borrel, Michael Malloy, and Jack Stafford.
LORETO, MEXICO: Bill Erhardt of Loreto reported his first striped marlin of the season, released about 30 miles out from the downtown marina aboard his boat Soledad in 3 to 4-foot seas with water temperatures ranging from about 72 to 78 degrees. "The striper was estimated at 110 pounds," Erhardt said. "He was hooked up around 7 a.m. and sent on his way by 7:30. I continued to fish but for only a short time as the seas continued to build." Two other outings by the Soledad produced 7 small dorado to about 15 pounds. "Inshore east and south of Isla Carmen the water is green and there are so many large rays on the surface that it is risky to cruise at speed," Erhardt said. "Outside, the water is clear and blue." A boat fishing out of Puerto Escondido south of town reported 4 dorado and 2 yellowfin tuna. "These are the first yellowfin tuna I have heard of in the Loreto area this year," Erhardt said. "The few other Loreto boats venturing out in search of pelagics have been scoring on dorado into the 30s."
LORETO, MEXICO: Mike Casey of Palm Desert, Calif., reported on a panga outing out of Juncalito south of Loreto with Capt. Manuel Torres of Torres Sport Fishing, with 13 yellowtail of 20 to 37 pounds and a pargo at 17 pounds caught at Isla Catalan. "A great guide and a great day of fishing," Casey said. "Manuel has a fast super panga with a 150-h.p. four-stroke motor and he continually put us on the fish." Information, firstname.lastname@example.org, 011-52-613-135-2257.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company reported Loreto fishing area yellowtail into their spring spawn, with the bite expected to pick up soon. "The yellowtail are either just entering their spawn, actively spawning, or post spawn and actively feeding," Bolles said. "From my observations the yellowtail are still spawning off Isla Catalana and off the northern part of Isla Carmen, but the fish at San Bruno are just off their spawn and are feeding on everything and anything. Boats that fished there yesterday limited out easily. Every single bait was inhaled by a fish. After the spawn it's prime fishing."
LORETO, MEXICO: Walt Kainz of Camarillo, Calif., reported steady yellowtail fishing at Isla Catalana south of Loreto. "I ran into Bill Erhardt and fished alongside his boat Soledad for a short while," Kainz said. "We spent most of our time fishing various spots of Catalan Island. Even the pangas were there most days when the wind was down. The yellowtail were steady and at times wide-open. We had some cabrilla and pargo mixed in which made for some nice table fare."
LORETO, MEXICO: Earl Roberts of Calexico, Calif., reported on a run to the northeast side of Isla Carmen aboard Jim Duggins' boat Slam Dunk for a catch of 4 yellowtail of 26 to 36 pounds. "The key was to get out early and buy bait, mackerel and jurelitos, instead of spending the morning making bait," Roberts said. Also fishing aboard the Slam Dunk were Fabiola Camou of Mexicali, her daughter Fabiola, Armando Larios of Mexicali, Armando's father, and Nicole Roberts of Calexico.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Marv Perrigo of Mulege reported local boats finding good yellowtail action during runs north to Isla Tortuga. "Several Mulege fishing boats did very well at Isla Tortuga," Perrigo said. "Art Whittley of Mulege also landed a 31 pounder on my boat Dock Holiday in 140 feet of water at Punta Santa Rosa. Art picked this fish up off the bottom in 72-degree water using live mackerel bait."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Patti Higginbotham of Mulege said, "Mulege fishermen have been heading both north and south this week. Zack Thomas, with a boat load of friends and family, headed south to Punta Teresa and Punta Santa Rosa, missing the yellows but entertaining the crew with some pintos of decent size on live bait and jigging. Zack is the author of a new and greatly useful book for Baja fishermen, The Anglers guide to Trailer-Boating Baja." Other outings by Mulege sportfishing boats included, John Haberman for pinto bass to the south, and Gary Bendix with John Dinning on the center console boat Two Dogs with a 4-yellowtail count, plus 2 nice cabrilla at Isla Tortuga. Water temperatures were seen to 74 degrees. Higginbotham also noted the Mulege Dorado Fishing Tournament scheduled on May 30-31, 2008, with all profits supporting local charities including student scholarships, the volunteer fire department, and the Rotary dental clinic. Information, Mulegefishingtournaments.com.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Jim Anderson of San Bruno south of Santa Rosalia reported mostly slow fishing at the nearby Isla San Marcos yellowtail bajos, but much better action for boats running outside to Isla Tortuga. "The fish have been really active at Tortuga Island," Anderson said. "This week we found cabrilla and yellowtail feeding on the surface pretty close to the island in shallow, clear water. It is a real heart-stopping experience. Since the water is so clear, it is really exciting to see large schools of yellowtail and cabrilla all around your boat and you almost forget to throw a bait since it is so mesmerizing. Bait has been the biggest challenge as the Spanish mackerel have started disappearing and are being replaced with oversized green mackerel. They do add a lot of excitement in the morning while making bait since five or six 2-pound fish at the same time on your bait rig amounts to quite a pull."
Anderson noted Mexican commercial gill net fishing boats working yellowtail and cabrilla at Santa Rosalia area islands. "On one net pull, we watched as they loaded 4 pangas full of mature fish that are in pre-spawn stage with large egg and sperm sacks," Anderson said. "It used to be that they avoided getting too near the rocks for netting, but they have figured that process out and now each boat has a diver who goes overboard and lifts the net over the rocks and checks to make sure that no fish are escaping." Sign-ups were coming in for the annual Isla San Marcos Yellowtail Shootout fishing tournament on May 16-28, 2008. Information, JAnder7339@aol.com.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Marianne Smith of Seattle, Wash., reported the catch of an uncommonly seen fortune jack during a long distance sailboat trip stop at Isla San Marcos aboard the boat Gallant Fox. "My husband caught a beauty about 7:30 a.m. while fishing with a jigging lure off our anchored boat in 20-foot depth," Smith said. "A small school of these hungry fish swam quickly past, about 14 inches from mouth to fork of tail, roughly 2 pounds in weight, silver-rose color throughout, no teeth, and deeply-forked tail, dark but still rosy. The raw flesh was rosy-pink, firm, white when cooked, and excellent."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko south of the village at Bahia de los Angeles reported good spring weather in the high-80s, with calming north winds, relative humidity at 40 percent, and steady bottom fishing locally, plus some yellowtail northward on the Baja coast at Punta Remedios. Water temperatures at Bahia de los Angeles were still cool at 61 to 63 degrees, with many stingrays remaining in the area but few visitors present. "But there are lots of marines, Mexican navy boats, helicopters, and Hummers," Vazquez said. "Maybe there is a war we don't know about." The central Baja desert in the Midriff area was turning from spring green to summer brown, and the access road to the village from Baja's highway Mex 1 was in good condition.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Baja traveler and author Graham Mackintosh noted the catch of an unknown species of jawfish evenly covered with small dots during his long camping stay at Isla Angel de la Guarda while researching his most recent book, Marooned, With Very Little Beer. "The fish is loosely referred to as a 'lingcod' at Bahia de los Angeles," Mackintosh said. "It is very common around the island and Bahia de los Angeles, easy to bring up 2 or 3 at a time on cut bait. It often comes to the surface from 30 or 40 feet deep in trouble with its innards swollen and protruding."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Dana Kerby of Baja Sportfishing, Inc., reported on the season's first Midriff islands fishing trip by the panga mothership Andrea Lynn, returning to San Felipe on April 24, 2008, with charter master Marty Wood and 17 anglers, with a catch of: 102 cabrilla, 105 yellowtail, 3 grouper, 3 leatherback, 253 spotted bay bass, and 155 miscellaneous fish. The Andrea Lynn fished in mostly good weather at locations including San Francisquito, Isla San Lorenzo, Cardonoza, Punta Diabo, Ensenada Grande, San Luis Gonzaga, and the Golden Reef. Midriff water temperatures were still cool, with slower fishing at southern locations. The Baja Sportfishing, Inc., panga mothership Erik was returning to San Felipe from a trip to Guaymas for maintenance, repairs, and renovations. "New air conditioning units will be installed in the next few weeks," Kerby said. "The Erik will be better than it ever has been."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes Sr. of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours said this year's Dia Del Marino celebration at San Felipe, scheduled May 30-June 1, 2008, would include live music on Friday, a triathlon, rowing, fishing tournament, dancing, and crowning of the event queen on Saturday, and dancing, exhibitions, a parade of ships and boats, and a photo exhibit on Sunday, all accompanied by plenty of food and the usual ding-dong, let-it-all-hang-out Baja hoopla that San Felipe is famous for. The annual San Felipe Shrimp Festival was scheduled to be held concurrently with the opening of the fall commercial shrimp fishing season, and would include the presentation of free trip, fishing tackle, and other prizes for the season-long fishing tournament being held this year on the Tony Reyes panga mothership Jose Andres.
ROCKY POINT, MEXICO: Ric Felder of Glendale, Ariz., reported on a windy weekend outing from Rocky Point aboard his boat End Of The Line, fishing about 25 miles out with Bill and Edna Hale of Casa Grande, Ariz., and using a wide variety of baits including small corvina, sierra, spotted bay bass, goatfish, grunts, and mackerel, for a catch in the last hour of the day of: 7 white seabass of 25 to 35 pounds, 2 lost white seabass, and 1 grouper lost. "With the sun setting and after over 12 hours on the water, we decided to head in, and we put the boat on the trailer in Rocky Point just shy of 9 p.m.," Felder said. Art Pina's boat Big Daddy fished with Shawn Gustafson 40 to 50 miles out of Rocky Point for a catch in windy conditions of good numbers of goldspotted bass plus a nice flounder. "Shawn reported several areas with tough conditions due to the winds and they were unable to drift as effectively as they had hoped," Felder said.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jon Jen Charters of San Carlos reported local boats scoring 1 to 5 yellowtail per trip in 65 to 68-degree water at Isla San Pedro Nolasco. "Most boats limited in a short time and some were back by noon," Jon Jen said. On Thursday, Jon Jen's Capt. Abel returned after 4 hours with 6 yellowtail and 5 more yellowtail lost. Capt. Fernando Almada of Catch-22 Sportfishing returned at 1 p.m. aboard the charter boat Pez Vela with 15 fish. "Water temps are starting to get here," Jon Jen said. "We are expecting some south winds on Tuesday and my predictions is we will have our first marlin and dorado this week."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bryan Replogle of San Carlos-Guaymas said, "Water temperatures are up to 76 degrees on the surface. Any day now, dorado and marlin." Breezing fish were feeding on bait in the San Carlos fishing area as Replogle reported 1 yellowtail landed on 20-pound line and 3 more jigged up later at Isla San Pedro Nolasco. "Several hundred spinner porpoise came by the island so close that they tempted a line of 20 seals to try to join in on the frenzy a mile off," he said. "The water has warmed up enough to get the yellowtail turned on, with fish being caught on the troll and jigging." An earlier outing produced 10 yellowtail on 15 hookups, plus a killer whale seen just behind the running boat at 16 knots. "It came to within 5 feet of the boat. I guess the birds aren't the only creatures that pick off the scraps as you clean fish," Replogle said.
Replogle also reported on a freshwater bass fishing trip to Lake Obregon, or Presa Oviachic, about a 2-hour drive from San Carlos. "Heading south a few miles past the Yaqui River crossing you'll come to the first stop light and gas station on the right," Replogle said. "Just back from that on the northeast mountain side of the highway you head along a road with the golf course visible from the highway on the right. About 40 minutes up the road you'll hit the dam. Stay to the left and drive around the dam outlet and the hill until you see the first dirt road on the right. Take that a mile to the fish camp and the lake. Boat launching is usually good. There is a bass club with better launching facilities to the right of the dam. Search the fishing forum on Sancarlosmexico.com for the thread on bass fishing and a link for a guide and access to the club. Most fishing right now is down 10 to 30 feet with plastic worms. Spinner baits and crank baits, especially in shad colors work if the fish are higher up in the water column during the mornings and afternoons. You may find a morning topwater bite."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Lalo Munoz of Masatun Charters at San Carlos said his charter boat Sueltame averaged 10 yellowtail per outing, all on jigs, plus a 6-foot mako shark landed on Monday with anglers Martin Othon, Osman Calymayor, and Armando Flores. San Carlos fishing area weather was sunny in the high-70s, with the water temperature averaging 67 degrees at the south point of Isla San Pedro Nolasco.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 23 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 3 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 19 dorado, and 1 Humboldt giant squid. Five inshore super pangas had a catch of: 13 baqueta, 8 pargo, 7 corvina, 7 jack crevalle, and 6 lengua. "The fishing remains quite difficult at Mazatlan and continues to make for some very long and uneventful days for anglers and crews," Edwards said. Mazatlan fishing area weather was mostly clear in the high-80s, with calm seas and water temperatures at 73 degrees inshore and 74 degrees offshore.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Jim Penn of Mazatlan Oceanfront Inn said he has fishing charters available both at nearby islands and at the freshwater bass lake of El Salto. "I also can provide great accommodations at our ocean front bed and breakfast," Penn said. "We get many groups of fisherman for a day or two of fishing at El Salto and maybe a near shore trip." Penn said Mazatlan area offshore fishing has been slow for marlin, dorado, and tuna. "Tuna have been absent for the most part since February when we had an excellent bite for 3 days until the seiners wrapped them," he said. Inshore fishing produced just moderate counts of sierra, jacks, and pargo, but good float tube action for corvina. "We are starting to see some roosterfish, as the water is finally warming," Penn said. "The corvina bite north of town has once again been good. Most days you can expect to land at least 5. I went 3 of the last 4 days from the surf in my float tube and landed up to 25 fish each day to 20 pounds." Mazatlan Oceanfront Inn information, Mazatlanoceanfrontinn.com, 011-52-925-608-8350.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported continued variable spring fishing conditions at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, with fish counts up and down. "On better days, captains are reporting 2 to 4 shots at sailfish, with some dorado mixed in," Edwards said. An inshore fishing run to Las Saladitas by Capt. Adolofo found wide-open sierra mackerel, and other reports included jack crevalle, locally called "yellowtail jack," and small roosterfish. "Tomorrow the annual billfish tournament starts with an expected field of 100-plus boats," Edwards said. "We should get a good idea of the bite." Ixtapa fishing area weather was mostly clear in the high-80s, with calm seas, variable water color, and water temperatures at 81 degrees inshore and 85 degree offshore. Live baits were in good supply.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze of Zihuatanejo, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said Ixtapa fishing conditions were unchanged as offshore boats averaged 1 to 2 sailfish per day, few dorado were caught, and yellowfin tuna remained too far off shore to target. "This weekend our annual 3-day sailfish tournament starts, with an expected 140 boats pounding the water from Friday until Sunday," Kunze said. "After a few days to let the water calm down from the tournament I really expect the fishing to take off. May is one of our best months for the large tuna and blue marlin."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Mike Bulkley of Huntress Sport Fishing at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo said a trip out to 19 miles by the charter panga Huntress with Capt. Francisco Rauda produced 2 sailfish on a double strike for anglers Chris Green and his son Sam Green, 11, of Oregon City, Ore. "Sam also boated 2 nice bonito for marlin bait," Bulkley said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Steve Willis of Napa, Calif., reported on a mid-April trip aboard Irvin Blanco's panga Zapatito Gordo with Capt. Jaime Martinez for a catch 25 miles out of 1 sailfish released and 1 sailfish that bled. "One sailfish, unfortunately, was not releasable," Willis said. "I can't say enough for the effort Irvin and Jaime put in. They tried everything on a pretty slow, very hot day, and it eventually paid off. There were very few tourists in Zihuatanejo and even fewer fisherman." Ixtapa fishing area weather was calm and windless, with clear blue water at an estimated 80 to 82 degrees.
CANCUN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 16 outings by the El Cid Caribe charter sportfishing fleet at Puerto Morelos near Cancun, with a catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin, 1 sailfish, 2 grouper, 18 dorado, 1 wahoo, 6 king mackerel, 3 Atlantic barracuda, 2 pargo, 1 triggerfish, 1 yellowfin tuna, and 1 amberjack. "It was another upbeat fishing week at Puerto Morelos with the reporting of the first blue marlin of the season, taken aboard the Pescadora II," Edwards said. Cancun fishing area weather was at 90 degrees, with some scattered thunder clouds, some easterly wind and chop, and water temperatures stable and even at 82 degrees.
MEXICO: John Garcia of La Quinta, Calif., commented on his group's experience of paying a "mordida" bribe to Mexican police in Tijuana during a recent Baja trip to fish at Castro's Camp south of Ensenada. "It was interesting to read Pat McDonell's article in Western Outdoor News, "Is Baja really safe," Garcia said. "We left Friday morning and stopped for early dinner of lobster in Puerto Nuevo. We passed through Ensenada and the military checkpoint without any problems. It does make you somewhat uneasy looking at what appears to be teenage Mexican soldiers caring rifles. We took the beautiful toll road both ways. The stay at Castro's was nice. The people are very friendly and accommodating. The little town of Erendira, that is about 16 miles off Highway 1, has several stores where you can buy anything you may need or forgot to bring. On the way back we stopped south of Ensenada near the turnoff to the Bufadora for breakfast of menudo. It was great and the homemade corn tortillas were hot and tasty. As we drove through Tijuana, we encountered traffic. We didn't know that it was the same weekend for the semiannual Rosarito-Ensenada bicycle race. We decided to cross the border at Otay.
"On the way there, we were stopped by the Mexican police. The reason they stated was for the tinting on the vehicle's windows. The tint on the windows of our vehicle was factory-applied. I knew this was just an excuse for them to stop us as many vehicles with darker tinted windows whizzed on by us. I have been subjected to these type of actions before and I know that the police are looking for a bite or 'mordida.' I speak Spanish and I told them that we were just tourists on a fishing holiday and that it was not right for them to be harassing us. The policemen asked if were carrying any weapons such as guns or knives.
"Unfortunately, my brother-in-law, for fear that he might be searched, said that he still had a pocket knife in his jacket that he carried on the fishing boat. They proceeded to tell us that this was a violation that amounted to a significant fine. He first stated that we would have to follow him to the police station. But, he then inferred that we could, however take care of this now. My brother-in-law went to their vehicle to speak to them privately and I later found out that he gave them $100 so they would let us go. The reality is that we were taken advantage of, and given the situation, they had the upper hand. I don't know if this would discourage us from driving to Baja to fish again. Mexico needs to deal with this and all the other things going on now with the drug wars. Otherwise, they are going to feel the pinch on their tourism dollars and the people who depend on it."