IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported improved winter season Ixtapa fishing for good numbers on sailfish offshore and plentiful jack crevalle, sierra, and bonito inshore. "Little by little, the bite is taking off," Edwards said.
Capt. Adolofo of the charter boat Dos Hermanos reported 8 sailfish raised and 1 hooked in fly fishing action, and the boat Marfel had 15 sailfish raised and 4 landed on the fly.
"By midweek the blue water was getting closer and captains were reporting 6 to 9 sailfish strikes," Edwards said. "The opportunities were everywhere."
Ixtapa fishing area weather was mostly clear in the low-90s, with water temperatures at 81 degrees inshore and 83 degrees offshore as boats started fishing about 5 miles out.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said most of the sailfish were being hooked around the 11-mile mark. "Each boat is getting an average of 3 to 4 sailfish a day," Kunze said. "The blue water is close and the fishing certainly has picked up."
Angler Ron Smith fished 3 days with Capt. Santiago aboard the charter panga Gitana for 3 dorado plus 18 sailfish released. Inshore fishing produced good counts on jack crevalle and sierra..
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Mike Bulkley of Huntress Sportfishing at Ixtapa reported on fishing by the charter super panga Huntress with Capt. Francisco, for 3 marlin and 6 sailfish raised in fly tackle action with the Watson family of Mt. Pleasant, S.C. "Clean blue water is very close, and dorado and sailfish are starting to show up in good numbers," Bulkley said.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported good panga fishing at the tip of Ensenada's Punta Banda for steady mixed bottom fish plus calico bass, bonita, and some home guard winter yellowtail on the surface. Top outings during the week included a run by Brian Foley of Campo La Joya aboard the charter panga Vonny I with Capt. Beto for a Mexican sportfishing single species limit of 5 calico bass, plus lingcod, Johnny bass, and an 18-pound yellowtail. "They got the bottom fish with anchovies on dropper loops, the calicos on black-silver plastics, and the yellowtail on an aluminum jig cast into a big boil," Villarino said. "We have also had a lot of bonito donated to our Vonny's Fleet fish smoker."
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Shari Bondy of Baja Bed & Breakfast in the Baja Pacific coast town of Bahia Asuncion reported good sea conditions over the Christmas holiday week, with light winds, clear water, and cooling water temperatures at 68 to 70 degrees. Yellowfin tuna catches were slower but yellowtail and cabrilla were, "still around in abundance," Bondy said. Anglers getting lucky on tuna during panga fishing with Capt. Juan Arce of Arce Bros. Sportfishing included Mike Stafford and Tim Young. Shore fishing near Bahia Asuncion produced croaker, halibut, and a few corvina.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Roger Crenshaw, who until recently maintained a home at San Francisquito on Baja's Sea of Cortez central coast, noted recent changes to the area. "San Francisquito has been sold to a Mexico City consortium and they have taken the houses, including ours which we had occupied for 25 years," Crenshaw said. "I don't know where Chary and Javier have gone. It is the end of another era for Baja. I took my 25-foot panga, The Frigate, and drove it to Los Barriles on East Cape to sell to a friend. I took 10 days, had I a blast and stopped at all the places that I had marveled at from the air. My wife and I raised our son in San Francisquito and it will always have fond memories."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 36 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo charter boats Fish Cabo, Fish Cabo I, and Tuna Time, with a catch including released fish of: 98 striped marlin, with all but 1 released, 36 dorado, and 1 yellowfin tuna. Top outings for the week included a 10-marlin release day for the charter boat Tuna Time fishing at the Pacific-side Golden Gate Bank. "Marlin fishing remains excellent at the Golden Gate Bank and will probably continue as long as the mackerel remain," Edwards said. "Almost all of the fish are being taken on live bait, either drifting, slow trolling, or casting to feeders."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-80s, with very good sea conditions on both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez sides. Water temperatures at the tip of Baja ranged from 76 degrees on the Pacific side banks, to 78 degrees at the Gordo Banks on the Cortez side.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 6 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, and 4 dorado of 20 to 25 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing reported most boats with multiple striped marlin releases on the Golden Gate Bank plus dorado hooked from a quarter-mile to a mile-and-a-half from shore along Cabo's Pacific-side beaches. "Double-digit marlin releases have also been common," Lowendick said. "Striped marlin fishing remains outstanding for Cabo anglers. Marlin are being caught by deep drifting live mackerel, and by running-and-gunning to surface pods of crashing marlin under birds. Based on the water pattern, we expect this fishing action to continue well into the new year."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending Dec. 21, 2008, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing noted the crowed conditions around marlin schools at the Golden Gate Bank as Cabo boats cast baits to surface feeding marlin. "The most exciting and frustrating method was to wait until the marlin could be seen feeding on the surface and throw live bait into the area," Landrum said. "It's combat fishing at its finest. Many marlin were cut off by other boats trying to do the same thing."
Yellowtail and sierra were caught inshore by boats fishing in cooling water temperatures. "The cooler water has brought the beginning of the yellowtail and sierra fishing," Landrum said. "Cabo San Lucas pangas working rocky points on both the Pacific and the Cortez sides were able to get into decent fishing for both species, as well as some nice pargo."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending Dec. 17, 2008, Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported 100 percent of charters releasing from 1 to 12 marlin, plus 1 stray sailfish landed by the charter panga Sirrus. Top outings for the week included a 12-release day for the boat Bottom Line, and a 10-release day by the Valerie. In total, Pisces Fleet boats landed 160 striped marlin during the week, with all but 3 released. Dorado were caught by 13 percent of Pisces boats, and just a few yellowfin tuna were reported.
Ehrenberg also noted 2 mako shark landed at 40 and 50 pounds. "Sharks have become a novel catch at Cabo San Lucas as their numbers have been decimated by commercial fishing boats," Ehrenberg said. "We ask anglers to release all sharks that they catch."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy, with calm seas and water temperatures averaging 79 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 69 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 234 dorado to 25 pounds, 88 yellowfin tuna, 4 striped marlin, 23 wahoo, 7 amberjack, 16 sierra, 41 triggerfish, 14 roosterfish, 9 cabrilla, and 18 pargo. San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was at 80 degrees, with some gusty south wind, patches of green water color, and cooler water temperatures of 68 to 72 degrees. Dorado action slowed down as water temperatures dropped toward the end of the week. Some tuna of 30 to 60 pounds were caught within a mile of Punta Gorda. "Tuna could be seen feeding and were striking readily," Brictson said. "Dorado and wahoo were mixed in and many wahoo were lost on cut mono lines."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Bob Grimes of San Jose del Cabo reported on 2 days of panga fishing with Capts. Jaime and Jose of Caboplaya.com for a combined catch of 2 wahoo off La Fortuna plus 1 dorado of 10 pounds. Another day aboard the 15-foot aluminum boat of Grimes' son Dave produced 1 wahoo, plus small 1 dorado of 10 pounds released.
"Officials are checking limits of fish and fishing licenses at the new marina at Puerto Los Cabos a couple of days a week," Grimes said. "This may stop those sportfishermen who keep 20 baby dorado when they hit a school of them, but not much is being done to stop the longliners and drift gill netters."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Beach-launched aluminum boat angler Torrance Eddy of Buena Vista reported on a run with Fred and Jack Taylor of Pacific Grove, Calif., fishing about 1.5 miles off La Capilla for good action on sierra. "They were there again," Eddy said. "They were a bit smaller, but we caught 6 and probably would have caught more had the wind not blown us off the water after less than 90 minutes of fishing."
Eddy also noted the landing of a sailfish by another boat very close to shore inside Bahia de Palmas. "As we were returning, we were about 100 yards from another boat that was hooked up with a fish," he said. "As we passed it, both Fred Taylor and I were fairly certain that it had boated and unfortunately clubbed a very small, maybe 50-pound, sailfish."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Robert Wilhelmy of La Ribera reported nonstop action on skipjack and sierra aboard his boat Mako-Hook Up with Randy Doyle of Redding, Calif. "Randy is also a pro bass fisherman," Wilhelmy said. "He used a Rapala crank bait that was painted up to attract fish here, and also the hooks were changed to stop the rusting. They almost always get sierra when nothing else is working."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Fly fishing tackle angler David Lee commented on his earlier report of good sierra action at East Cape, noting that his wife Candida also used spinning tackle for sierra, pargo, ladyfish, jacks, and halibut, plus other species. Lee also said that his fly tackle catches of sierra were made without wire leader. "I don't use wire for sierra when using the flyrod," he said. "In two trips down there, I have not lost any sierra due to bite-offs on flies, but I think having a large plug hanging out both sides of a sierra's mouth is just asking for a bite-off from the sierra's friends."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the week ending Dec. 20, 2008, John Ireland of Rancho Leonero reported about 2 or 3 boats fishing per day, in clear, mostly flat 75-degree water, for Mexico fishing limits of dorado, plus striped marlin, sierra, amberjack, pargo, and roosterfish. "There was very light fishing pressure all week" Ireland said, "but we are enjoying better than normal fishing. Schooling dorado are 2 to 10 miles directly off the hotel. As usual at this time of year, the sierra are plentiful and roosterfish are being taken off the beach right in front of the hotel."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported windy offshore sea conditions, but pangas fishing close to shore on the Las Arenas side catching 4 to 12 sierra per day, plus some cabrilla or leopard grouper, smaller mixed snappers, some roosterfish, and even a few dorado. "When the winds died down, some boats went out to the south end of Isla Cerralvo and 2 wahoo were hooked on Rapalas," Roldan said. "We've also had reports of yellowfin tuna breezing out there, but we haven't hooked them." La Paz fishing area weather was sunny in the mid-70s.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jon Jen Charters at San Carlos noted a slower 2008 billfish season as compared to the previous year. "This year we released only 50 billfish, and last year over 180," Jon Jen said. "I do know a longliner was 25 miles out with its cable. You wouldn't even know it was there. It is 10 to 15 feet deep in a different temperature level, with a hook every 15 feet. The word got out that it was loaded with billfish and dorado, and it disappeared the next morning."
Local fishing around San Carlos was good for yellowtail on the surface and mixed bottom fish including goldspotted bass, snappers, and groupers.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 33 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 31 dorado, 7 yellowfin tuna, 1 blue marlin, 8 striped marlin, 1 mako shark, 16 sailfish, and 6 jack crevalle. Ten inshore super pangas had a catch of: Mexico fishing limits plus multiple releases of sierra, 8 triggerfish, 9 pargo, and 11 jack crevalle. "Mazatlan billfish action has been good, and inshore fishing for sierra has been exceptional," Edwards said. "Easy limit fishing has been the daily rule of thumb."
Mazatlan fishing area weather was clear in the mid-80s, with calm seas, light breezes, and water temperatures averaging 76 degrees inshore and 79 degrees offshore.
Aries Fleet offshore boats fished about 20 miles west and southwest of Marina El Cid by trolling rigged baits for both dorado and billfish.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Flota Bibi Fleet reported good fishing in the mangrove channels near Mazatlan for snook, red snapper, yellow snapper, and black snapper. "We are also catching miscellaneous fish such as mojarra, grunts, and jack crevalle," Hernandez said. "Live bait has been best. We've been fishing anywhere from 6 to 20 feet deep."
Although few tourist anglers were present at Mazatlan, boats running offshore found good action for sailfish, dorado, and bonita. Inshore boats caught jack crevalle and yellow snapper.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk of Master Baiters Sportfishing & Tackle at Puerto Vallarta reported wahoo of 50 to 80 pounds present at the offshore Roca Corbetena fishing spot but shy of the traditional wire leader used for the sharp-toothed species. "Lures are your best option," Gabruk said. "They’ve been line shy of wire and that includes inside your rig as well. If you’re going to fish wahoo without wire leader, you’ve got to be quick on the pole. If the hook gets past the mouth, then you’ve just lost your lure and fish."
The offshore El Banco fishing spot had variable water temperatures of 76 to about 80 degrees, with about half the boats getting a shot at blue or striped marlin plus some yellowfin tuna of 60 to 150 pounds. Closer to shore, the El Morro and Islas Marietas spots produced sailfish, dorado, roosterfish, and Mexican needlefish, plus jack crevalle, and assorted species.