CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 68 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo San Lucas charter fishing boats Fish Cabo, Fish Cabo I, and Tuna Time, with a catch including released fish of: 121 striped marlin, 57 yellowfin tuna, and 106 dorado. Top charters during the week included 5 runs by Capt. Juan Dominguez on the Gaviota VIII for a fish count of 20 striped marlin, 3 tuna, and 106 dorado.
"The marlin madness at Cabo continues into the new year," Edwards said. "A good bite on dorado added to the billfish bonanza."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-80s, with water temperatures ranging form 75 degrees on the Pacific side to 78 degrees on the Cortez-side Gordo Banks. Most boats continued to pound the striped marlin bite on the Pacific-side Golden Gate Bank with live mackerel baits caught on the fishing grounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the 2008 Cabo San Lucas fishing year, Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet reported a total of 7,042 striped marlin landed, of which 98.6 percent were released. "Cabo sportfishing captains with more than two decades of experience agreed they have never seen marlin fishing so good for so long in one fishing location, the Golden Gate Bank," Ehrenberg said. "For 2008, our top month was November, when we had 2,045 marlin. Our slowest striped marlin months were March and July, tied at 110 marlin each.
Blue marlin action at Cabo San Lucas was slower overall, with just 26 blue marlin landed by Pisces boats during 2008. "Research points to commercial fishing being the culprit for this decline," Ehrenberg said.
Top fishing months were October for blue marlin and sailfish, September for dorado, and March for yellowfin tuna. Seventy-seven sharks, mostly mako, were landed during the year.
"There were no surprises in Cabo San Lucas fishing patterns, except for the sheer number of striped marlin during the last 2 fall seasons," Ehrenberg said. "Tuna catches were fewer, as most boats are not willing to spend the time and fuel necessary to look for them."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending Dec. 27, 2008, Ehrenberg reported 100 percent of Pisces boats landing fish, including almost all boats with 1 to 20 striped marlin per day on the Golden Gate Bank, 36 percent landing up to 4 dorado of 15 to 25 pounds, less than 10 percent with tuna, and an unusual 160-pound thresher shark landed by the boat Adriana.
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was clear and mostly calm, with water temperatures averaging 76 degrees as most boats fished at the Golden Gate Bank.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing reported continued very good action on the Golden Gate Bank. "Most of our anglers are getting multiple marlin releases," Lowendick said. "Several boat had double-digit releases this week." Yellowfin tuna of 20 to 35 pounds were also caught between the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks, and good numbers of dorado were found throughout the fishing area. "On a troll between the Golden Gate Bank and the Sunset Beach lighthouse our boat the Marlin Master X landed 17 dorado to 35 pounds," Lowendick said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 10 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 13 striped marlin, 17 dorado of 20 to 25 pounds, and 2 mako shark of 40 pounds released.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending Dec. 26, 2008, Grant Hartman of Baja Anglers reported more wide-open marlin action on the Golden Gate Bank including a run by Mike Conteras of Houston, Texas, for 7 striped marlin released on light tackle aboard the charter boat Flying Fish IV with Capt. Arturo. "These were all billed fish," Hartman said. "They grabbed the bills and took the circle hooks out. That's good fishing. Some boats get higher numbers, but they grab the leader and break the fish off. I think a true fish caught is a billed fish with the hook taken out."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending Dec. 26, 2008, Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic Sportfishing reported on 36 boats, with a catch including released fish of: 89 striped marlin, 55 dorado, 29 yellowfin tuna, 3 wahoo, and a good assortment of inshore sierra and pargo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending Dec. 28, 2008, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported striped marlin spreading out from the main concentration of the past several months at the Golden Gate Bank. "The marlin have moved off the bank a bit," Landrum said. "With the number of Cabo San Lucas sportfishing boats working the area and causing traffic problems at times, some boats have been working south toward the Jaime Bank and have been finding marlin there as well, not in the same numbers, but the fishing pressure is less. In addition to slow-trolled, drifted, and cast live baits, this week the plastics have also been working fairly well, with the best color being Petrolero."
Inshore pangas caught good numbers of small roosterfish, plus some larger sierra, yellowtail, and a few good sized pargo.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported continued very good bottom action for his charter pangas fishing around the tip of Ensenada's Punta Banda, with catches in calm sea conditions including lingcod, whitefish, red rockcod, sandbass, and calico bass. "The dropper loops with anchovies and squid bait have been very productive," Villarino said. "We've been using plastics in black-silver and green speckle on the sandbass and calicos with very light tackle."
Anglers fishing on Vonny's Fleet pangas during the week with Capts. Beto and Hector included Patrick Brennan, Jimbo Caputa, and Jay Johnson of Ensenada.
Ensenada fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-60s, with light winds, ocean swells at 4 feet, and the water temperature at Punta Banda averaging about 56 degrees.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending Dec. 25, 2008, Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported some yellowfin tuna and dorado still present about 10 miles off Magdalena Bay, but few boats out fishing. "There are only a few visitors at Magdalena Bay and even fewer who are interested in going offshore," Graham said. "Even inshore fishing took a back seat to Christmas festivities." Magdalena Bay fishing area weather was clear in the high-70s, with water temperatures at 72 to 76 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 108 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 432 dorado of 15 to 40 pounds, 26 wahoo, 18 yellowfin tuna, 8 striped marlin, 6 hammerhead shark, 28 sierra, 15 roosterfish, 18 triggerfish, 9 amberjack, 13 bonito, and 24 pargo.
San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was sunny, with water temperatures holding in the low-70s.
"Water conditions are still favorable enough for surface species such as dorado, tuna, and wahoo," Brictson said. "Mackerel bait fish are moving into San Jose del Cabo fishing waters and some sardina baits are being netted off Punta Palmilla, although sizes are small and supplies are limited."
Dorado fishing was best with slow-trolled live and dead baits. "Mexico fishing limits were fairly easy," Brictson said. "Most anglers released as many as they kept."
Late-season wahoo were found in fishing locations including Punta Gorda, El Cardon, and La Fortuna, although Brictson said, "We're expecting this to be the final hurrah of wahoo activity at San Jose del Cabo this season. With dropping water temperatures, these fish will certainly be seeking out warmer southern regions."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: San Jose del Cabo species fishing specialist John Snow reported on 13 surf fishing sessions and 4 outings with Capt. Pata on the panga Salome, for a total of 218 fish caught of 55 species, including 3 new species: Cortez damselfish, Stegastes rectifraenum; blunthead triggerfish, Pseudobalistes naufragium; and oceanic pufferfish, Lagocephalus lagocephalus.
"Surf fishing was wide-open," Snow said. "This is the first time I have actually caught more species off the beach than out at sea."
Snow also noted low cost airfares to San Jose del Cabo found for March on Volaris. "I bought a one-way ticket for 348 pesos!" Snow said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Randy Morishita of Cabo Extreme Fishing, reported good late-December panga action with Capt. Tony Miranda aboard the sportfishing charter boat Hooker at the Gordo Banks including a 35-pound yellowfin tuna, first-ever dorado caught by his son Matthew, and a wahoo landed on 20-pound line with 30-pound monofilament leader. "We weren't prepared with wire-leader," Morishita said. "I thought I was sawed-off for sure. We got chopped off more than several times. All our fish were enticed with flylined sardinas."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending Dec. 25, 2008, Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported perfect weather and sierra biting actively at "anything thrown to them."
"Just a few miles offshore, there are dorado still about," Graham said. Very few East Cape boats were fishing offshore, however.
East Cape fishing area weather was clear at 80 degrees, with water temperatures at 76 to 80 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the week ending Dec. 26, 2008, John Ireland of Rancho Leonero reported beautiful fishing weather at East Cape, with flat calm water at 75 degrees, and air temperatures in the low-80s. About 2 boats per day were fishing out of the hotel, with anglers taking Mexico fishing limits of dorado of 10 to 40 pounds. "Dorado schools are located 5 to 10 miles off the hotel," Ireland said. "Small hoochies and sardinas are working."
Inshore fishing produced sierra, jack crevalle, and smaller roosterfish in front of the hotel, plus some pargo and good action on grouper off La Ribera.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing at La Paz reported some winter winds on the Sea Cortez for the final week of December, as Tortuga pangas fishing the Las Arenas side south of the city worked mostly close to shore around Ensenada de los Muertos and Punta Perico for a mix of sierra, pargo lisa to 15 pounds, good-sized pompano, and some cabrilla.
"On days when the weather allowed us to get out to the south end of Isla Cerralvo we caught good numbers of wahoo," Hernandez said. "We continue to have plenty of sardina bait fish close-by, so we are not having to run to distant locations."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported continued very good inshore action around Ensenada de los Muertos for cabrilla to 5 pounds, pompano on the beaches, dog snapper to 20 pounds, pargo lisa to 15 pounds, mostly wide-open sierra, roosterfish, and some late season dorado.
"Some dorado seem to have forgotten that it's supposed to be winter," Roldan said. "We're having a great week of fishing here. The inshore continues to be very good, with pangas not having to go very far."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company reported New Year's Eve partiers still on the Loreto malecon at mid-morning on Jan. 1, 2009. "They're still at it," Bolles said.
Loreto fishing area weather was calm after a period of winds, with good light tackle and fly fishing action available at Isla Coronado.
"Expect firecracker yellowtail in the 8 to 10-pound range, sierra mackerel, pargo, the occasional dorado, as well as cabrilla," Bolles said. "There are also nice roosterfish and many people are reporting having caught their first significant gallo along the shoreline off the lighthouse beach and to the small islote off the main island. The roosterfish are 5 to 30 pounds with many in the upper end of that range."
Good-sized yellowtail of 20 to as large as 40 pounds were caught off points on the north end of Isla Carmen at locations including Punta Perico, La Cholla, La Vaca, and La Cinquenta. "They're coming from the bottom," Bolles said. "They taking live mackerel, caballito, and platanos, as well as iron jigs. Getting limits has been obtainable if you can avoid break-offs, smart fish that steal your bait, and the sea lions stealing your fish in some places."
Fishing at the downtown Loreto marina produced good morning action on small roosterfish, sierra, and barracuda. "In addition, there has been a consistent bite of 10 to 15-pound bonita off the northeast corner of the marina breakwall in the early hours, between 5:30 and 6 a.m.," Bolles said.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore reported clear skies and air temperatures in the low-50s as the town celebrated the holidays during the last week of 2008. "There were many, many, many parties all around San Felipe last night," Meders said, "and enough fireworks to start a small war."
Meders noted the generally slow year for local businesses during 2008. "Let's hope this year will be a lot better for the people of our little town," she said. "This Christmas was very hard for so many. My friends who sell curios on the street told me they weren't able to have any real Christmas for their children at all.
"For a comprehensive overview of what is going on in Mexico, and particularly in Baja in particular, go to the news spot on the website of Sanfelipe.com.mx. It spells out all the problems plainly and offers some really good ideas for solutions. If each one of us would just contribute a couple of things it would help us move a step forward."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bryan Replogle of San Carlos reported yellowtail to 20 pounds caught directly in front of the harbor beginning at about quarter-mile out. "Some bonita and large sierra are also being caught off of Punta San Antonio, along with a good bite for pargo, cabrilla, fortune jack, and calamari," Replogle said. "Winter fishing doesn't get any better!"
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 45 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 10 striped marlin, 17 sailfish, 26 dorado, 1 mako shark, and 26 yellowfin tuna. Inshore super pangas had fast action for easy Mexico fishing limits of sierra plus numerous releases into the triple-digits for light tackle and fly fishing anglers. "The inshore sierra bite continues phenomenal," Edwards said.
Mazatlan fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-80s, with mostly calm seas, light breezes, and water temperatures averaging 72 degrees inshore and about 76 degrees offshore.
Offshore boats fished from 20 miles outwards from Mazatlan, working southwest with rigged mullet baits for billfish and dorado, and feathers for tuna.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Flota Bibi Fleet reported good deep sea fishing for striped marlin, sailfish, mako shark, dorado, and yellowfin tuna. "There's a little bit of everything, including stripers above 120 pounds," Hernandez said. Top outings during the week included a trip by the charter boat Fish Finder for a catch including a 42-pound dorado, a 5-foot 8-inch shark, and 11 skipjack tuna. "Both of the bigger fish were caught on fresh mullet," Hernandez said. "We have great fishing from 15 to 25 miles off both Mazatlan marinas."
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk of Master Baiters Sportfishing & Tackle reported clear skies and good sea conditions as Puerto Vallarta transitioned into the winter fishing season. "By the second week of January the majority of the larger yellowfin tuna and black marlin will have moved out," Gabruk said. "But blue marlin and striped marlin will stay in the Puerto Vallarta area. At El Banco, the tuna are running into the 80-pound range. Roca Corbetena has been seeing tuna jumping but not taking baits during the last few days.
"El Morro is alive with bonito, mackerel, needlefish, roosterfish, and jack crevalle. There is always smaller game fish action there and it's cheap on fuel. Just remember to keep your distance from the game reserves and reefs.
"The area 8 to 15 miles out from Punta Mita has many sailfish and some blue marlin, roosterfish, and mahi-mahi, but it's been a job to get them to take bait.
"The real story in 2008 was the lack of yellowfin tuna. Normally, from mid-July to the end of December, we’re looking at tuna in the 200-pound plus range on a daily basis. There's a lot of speculation that the commercial seiners are killing the run. If you’re going to blame anyone, they’re a good target. This year there were several tuna over 300 pounds and many more in the 250-pound range, but nothing consistent. Last summer, big tuna were a no-brainer, but the average this whole year ran in the 80 to 175-pound range."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Mike Bulkley of Huntress Sportfishing reported on 5 outings by the charter super panga Huntress with a catch including released fish of: 26 sailfish, 1 blue marlin, and some quality dorado. "Capt. Francisco had a banner week," Bulkley said. "The blue water is everywhere. Catches are being made as close as 3 miles, and on out to the 100-fathom line."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said the Ixtapa fishing area continued to have very good sailfish action during the week, with 82-degree blue water just off the beach and most catches being made at 7 to 10 miles.
Some blue marlin and dorado were landed by the fleet, but yellowfin tuna were not reported.
"Capt. Mecate on the Aqua Azul averaged 7 sailfish a day," Kunze said. "Many other Ixtapa Zihuatanejo sportfishing boats are doing almost as well."
Fly fishing tackle angler Andre Padovanti of Canada hooked 2 sailfish on 4 shots with Kunze guiding aboard a beach launched panga with Capt. Ramon.
"Inshore fishing is holding steady with lots of sierra and smaller jack crevalle," Kunze said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported Ixtapa fishing boats averaging 6 sailfish strikes per day, plus several dorado of 20 to 30 pounds landed per day. Inshore fishing produced some roosterfish, plus large jack crevalle, locally called "yellowtail jack," and Pacific sierra, called "Spanish mackerel."
"The fishing continues to be red hot in Zihuatanejo," Edwards said. "The waters have warmed up and really improved the sailfish bite, but somehow put a damper on the marlin, as none were reported this week."
Ixtapa fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the high-80s, with calm seas and water temperatures averaging 82 degrees inshore and about 85 degrees offshore.