CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported all fleet charter boats catching from 1 to a high of 11 striped marlin during the week, with a total of 200 stripers landed and all but 4 successfully released.
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was excellent, with water temperatures averaging 72 degrees, as Pisces boats and most of the Cabo fleet fished either at the Pacific-side Golden Gate Bank or closer in at Faro Viejo.
"Every single Pisces Fleet boat caught at least one marlin," Ehrenberg said. "The sheer number of striped marlin present at Cabo San Lucas continues to be impressive. Hundreds of marlin are sometimes visible, chasing sardines and mackerel. The marlin continued to bite even with the full moon this week."
Eighteen percent of Pisces Fleet boats also landed dorado of 18 to 25 pounds, as the seasonal dorado bite slowed in cooling water temperatures. "Dorado fishing will start to decline as Cabo San Lucas heads into the slowest months for this fish species, January and February," Ehrenberg said.
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather at midweek was still sunny with calm seas.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the previous week ending Jan. 7, 2009, Ehrenberg reported angler numbers in the Cabo San Lucas fishing area down about 20 to 30 percent, but striped marlin numbers continuing very strong as 89 percent of charters released marlin, 39 percent landed dorado, and 100 percent landed all species combined.
Top runs included a 23-release day by the charter boat C Rod, and 14 releases by La Brisa with anglers Marco Ehrenberg and Carlos Narro.
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was calm, with water temperatures at 73 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 14 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 31 striped marlin, 13 yellowfin tuna of 15 to 25 pounds, and 14 dorado of 20 to 25 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 44 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo charter boats Fish Cabo, Fish Cabo I, and Tuna Time, with a catch including released fish of: 103 striped marlin, 30 dorado, and 3 yellowfin tuna. The top outing for the week was a 7-release striped marlin day by the charter boat Fish Cabo I. "The striped marlin action continued right through the full moon phase at Cabo San Lucas and marlin catches remained high for the week," Edwards said. "The green mackerel is the bait of the month. The live bait supply remained good right through the full moon and could be replenished at the Golden Gate."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-80s, with very good sea conditions on both the Sea of Cortez and Pacific sides as most boats continued to fish the Pacific-side Golden Gate Bank. Water temperatures averaged 73 to 75 degrees on both sides of Cabo San Lucas.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic Sportfishing reported on 46 boats, with a catch including released fish of: 36 striped marlin, 5 yellowfin tuna, 52 dorado, 10 pargo, 8 wahoo, 10 sierra, and a mix of inshore catches including bonita, jack crevalle, parrotfish, and roosterfish. "Most guests requested eating fish instead of marlin. They were very happy with the dorado," Garcia said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Connolly of the Cabo San Lucas charter boat Falcon said his boat was still idled for an engine installation, but an outing to the Golden Gate Bank aboard Capt. Kevin Pahl's boat Success produced 31 striped marlin releases for anglers Corne Kruger, Nick Kruger, and Peter DeLange of Namibia. "They are professional hunters but had never done this sort of thing before," Connolly said. "That's an indicator of how good the fishing was."
Marlin action at the Golden Gate Bank was more spread out, in water temperatures averaging 75 degrees. "Boat traffic at the Gate was down quite a bit and the fish were widely scattered up to 10 miles off the bank," Connolly said. "This meant there was a good chance to fish a bird spot without sharing it with others. This obviously allows for a much softer approach and increases the chance for a more sustained bite. It was very pleasant angling and surprisingly good for the full moon phase."
"All the marlin were taken by casting mackerel near pelicans and hoping the marlin got to the bait before the big birds did. This did not always happen. All the pelicans were released unharmed. If you look for them, there are yellowfin tuna around, with some running to 50 pounds near the temperature breaks.
"Next week I get my boat back!"
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing super panga Cheer's reported an outing anglers Jessica, Tim, and Mike Wilson of Seattle, Wash., for a catch including released fish of: 3 dorado of 8 to 10 pounds, and 5 roosterfish of 3 to 5 pounds. The Cheer's fished with trolled live baits in water temperatures of 71 to 73 degrees and very good sea conditions without wind on the Pacific side northwards from Faro Viejo.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending Jan. 11, 2009, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported continued excellent striped marlin action on the Pacific-side Golden Gate Bank as most boats averaged 2 to 10 releases per day by casting bait to marlin feeding along with seals, pelicans, and frigate birds. "This resulted in many hookups on both marlin and on pelicans," Landrum said, also noting the increasing numbers of marlin seen closer to Cabo San Lucas as the annual southwards migration progressed.
"Striped marlin have begun to show was just off the Cabo lighthouse on the Pacific side," he said. "Bait has begun to stack up along the flats at the point and many Cabo San Lucas boats have been saving time by fishing there instead of running to the Golden Gate Bank. The closer fishing has not been quite as good, but that should change soon."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of the Baja Anglers fly fishing guide service at Cabo San Lucas said very good striped marlin action during the week included a run by the charter boat Flying Fish III with Capt. Alex for 14 releases by anglers TJ Nogula and Dean D'anna of Michigan. "They fought their fish on stand-up 30-pound tackle," Hartman said. "The marlin fishing is just spectacular. If you want striped marlin on the fly, get down to Cabo San Lucas now."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported beautiful sea conditions for his charter pangas fishing at the tip of Ensenada's Punta Banda, with calm seas, winter water temperatures averaging 57 degrees, and very good bottom fishing plus lots of bonita biting on the surface.
Anglers fishing with Capt. Beto on the panga Vonny I included Jay Johnson of Ensenada, John Oliver of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Fernando Alvarado of Maneadero, Baja California, who used anchovy and squid baits on dropper loops for Mexico fishing limits of red rockcod, whitefish, treefish, and lingcod as large as 14 pounds. "It was pure bottom fishing, with one hook," Villarino said. "They filled the ice chests with a good assortment of fish. The weather was beautiful. The fishing was good and fun, and they got some excellent food."
On Wednesday, Brian "Calico" Foley of Ensenada also fished on a Vonny's Fleet panga for a wide-open catch of bonita to 12 pounds on jigs, plus his Mexico fishing limit of red rockcod on the bottom.
Ensenada fishing area weather was calm at 70 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the Ensenada boat Bad Dog reported on a 140-mile rough seas fishing day out of Marina Coral, missing on his first attempt to win the First Albacore of the Year award of the San Diego Anglers Fishing Club, and settling for a single Humboldt giant squid caught at the outer edge of Bahia de Todos Santos.
"Mike Kraus went out only to return sans albacore," Ross said. "He did catch 2 yellowtail off an offshore kelp paddy.
"I started my trip on the 31 line at first light and began trolling a 7-Strand pattern of 7 lures, all in Midnight color, with 2 smaller lures daisy-chained in front and a Moldcraft Lil Bird in front of it all.
"The sun came up over the mountain to fill the cobalt blue 59-degree water on the 31-degree line and the huge full moon was on the opposite horizon, quite a sight. We trolled west to just short of an area called The Bumps.
"The wind was whistling in the lines at a good 20 knots and the swells grew out of the east to 10 feet. The big ones would fill the foredeck. Anything that could become loose was rolling around. The warmest water I found was 60.2 degrees.
The wind did not let up and the swells were relentless. I opted for the roller-coaster ride back to Ensenada's Todos Santos Bay.
I decided to try my spawning hole for squid in the gap between the Punta Banda rocks and the south end of South Todos Santos Island and I found them on the meter. Juan Lu and I both dropped to the 900-foot bottom. Juan Lu got hooked up and fought a 31-pound Humboldt squid to the surface.
"I reeled up with nada. It was full of squid all over the place but they wouldn't bite in the afternoon sun. We returned to the slip with 1 squid for the day after 140 miles of driving in hazardous conditions."
PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Sam Saenz of Puerto Santo Tomas Resort, on the Baja coast just south of Ensenada, reported minimal sportfishing activity during the first few weeks of 2009. "Just 1 lone sportfisherman came to Puerto Santo Tomas over the weekend," Saenz said. "Edward Marcel caught his full Mexican limit of good quality fish by midday. The bottom fishing was excellent."
Marcel's catch included mixed rockcods, lingcod, and sheephead, all found about 2 miles north at the rock called Islote located in Bahia de Soledad just north of the resort.
Saenz also noted the road from highway Mex 1 into Puerto Santo Tomas in good condition. "The Puerto Santo Tomas canyon road has been graded, correcting damage caught by the rains," he said.
Baja coastal fishing weather at Puerto Santo Tomas was excellent, with light Santa Ana winds producing very calm seas.
ERENDIRA, MEXICO: Quinn Carney of Corona, Calif., reported almost nobody sportfishing at Erendira south of Ensenada, but good action found on both the surface and the bottom during a run with Capt. Fernando Castro of Castro's Camp. "I was the only boat out," Carney said, "but I caught 6 bonita over 10 pounds and 10 lingcod at 7 pounds or better, with a mixed bag of other bottom species. The wind picked up by mid-afternoon, but by then I was exhausted. It was a great trip! I'm going back in February."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas reported no yellowtail but a good mix of bottom fish caught including 6 large lingcod, white fish, mixed rockcods, salmon grouper, and 1 very large Johnny bass during an outing by Capt. Miguel at the 240 spot with anglers Dan Fisher, Tony Mallen, and Brent Watson of San Diego, Calif.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Marita Melville of Don Eddie's Landing reported very slow tourist activity in the San Quintin fishing area. "Tourism is always bad at this time of year, but this year it is horrible," Melville said. "Even though we had very good fishing in 2008, anglers are not as plentiful as in past years. In 2008, we especially had an abundance of white seabass up to 76 pounds. Yellowtail and yellowfin tuna were also plentiful until December. On Dec. 22, 2008, Kurt Rembrandt's boat caught 22 yellowtail in 1 day. We are hoping that tourism picks up in the next couple of months."
Don Eddie's Landing announced special winter room rates of $25 for 2 beds, $35 for 3 beds, and $45 for 4 beds, available through March.
Melville noted that Don Eddie Marquez of Don Eddie's Landing recommended the Tecate route for anglers driving to San Quintin from the U.S. border.
"Tecate is a good alternative route to San Quintin to enjoy the facilities that Nancy and Jim Harer at the Old Mill and Don Eddie at Don Eddie’s Landing have to offer," Melville said. "You will enjoy beautiful scenery from Tecate to Ensenada and Ensenada to San Quintin. The 64-mile, paved drive from Tecate to Ensenada avoids Tijuana and Rosarito and crosses through beautiful wine country.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Bob Hoyt, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said fishing activity was very light at Magdalena Bay as the California Gray Whale migration approached its peak and local boats catered to the whale watching crowd.
"A rapidly growing number of whales has begun arriving at Magdalena Bay from the north," Hoyt said. "Every year the number of whale watchers seems to grow. Magdalena Bay fishing almost comes to a standstill while the town puts on a short lived, eco-friendly image that quickly disappears when the ‘big guys’ leave."
Magdalena Bay fishing area weather was clear in the high-70s, with water temperatures at 67 to 73 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: San Jose del Cabo species fishing specialist John Snow reported on a surf fishing trip to Roca de Patrick, using a new sliding sinker rig with a baited hook tied directly to the end of his line, for a 2-hour catch of 10 fish including Cortez damselfish, flag cabrilla, giant hawkfish, largemouth blenny, and Mexican night sergeant. "The absolute rock bottom tide was working, and I went down to check out the structure," Snow said. "I used frozen shrimp, cut bonito, and squid heads made to look like small octopi."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 57 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 342 dorado, 32 yellowfin tuna, 9 hammerhead shark, 11 wahoo, 122 sierra, 2 sailfish, 14 striped marlin, 68 roosterfish, 13 amberjack, 7 cabrilla, 19 red snapper, and 29 triggerfish.
Southern Baja fishing area weather was sunny in the mid-70s, with northerly winds, water temperatures at 68 to 72 degrees, and green water color near shore caused by currents and turbulence.
Striped marlin fishing was expected to improve in the San Jose del Cabo area as the Pacific-side southerly marlin migration rounds the tip of Baja and moves into the Sea of Cortez.
"Mackerel bait fish are congregating off San Jose del Cabo and are attracting more striped marlin as they start to move toward the Sea of Cortez, after providing months of wide-open fishing for Cabo San Lucas," Brictson said. "The San Jose del Cabo fleet has found feeding striped marlin 4 to 5 miles off Punta Palmilla."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported very little sportfishing activity at East Cape as winter fishing conditions prevailed in the southern Sea of Cortez. "There are few guests at the East Cape hotels so most of the charter fishing boats are not heading out," Graham said. "North winds blew most of the week at East Cape, creating lumpy water along the beach that prevented even the tin boat fleet from getting in a couple of hours of fishing before the relentless wind started pounding the beach."
East Cape fishing area weather was clear in the high-70s, with water temperatures at 67 to 73 degrees and north-northwest winds at 9 to 12 knots.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja fly fishing guide service at East Cape reported tough beach fishing conditions and local boats concentrating on near shore sierra before the arrival of daily winds. "We saw very strong winds from the north the entire week," deBrown said. "The beach was very difficult unless you got up very early and took advantage of the lull on a couple of mornings, but by mid-morning the winds were back. The real catch off the beach at East Cape is the sierra. We have very good sierra fishing to the north and south. The East Cape tin boat fishing fleet started at dawn if the wind allowed them to launch and most are back in by about 10 in the morning." The very few East Cape boats fishing offshore found some dorado and marlin.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Daugherty of East Cape Guides said he will lead an East Cape fishing seminar to be given at The Rod Rack in Hayward, Calif., on Jan. 24, 2009, from noon to 2 p.m. "If you are thinking about a fishing trip to Cabo San Lucas or the East Cape, or you just want to know more about Baja fisheries, this seminar is for you," Daugherty said. Subjects to be covered include: run-and-gun Baja style fishing; trolling and bait techniques for marlin, tuna, dorado, wahoo, and roosterfish; catch-and-release techniques; lures, tackle, and rigging; rods and reels; and hotels and boats. Information, EastCapeGuides.com.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported very windy fishing conditions at La Paz, but with some anglers toughing it out for good counts on sierra plus cabrilla, mixed snappers, some roosterfish, and a few dorado. "No complaints," Roldan said, "but it was a really windy fishing week in La Paz, with Santa Ana-type winds flailing the whole area. The kite and wind surfers in the channel out by La Ventana are just loving this as the winds funnel between the Baja peninsula and Isla Cerralvo.
"For fishing, we hugged the Baja shoreline and kept most of our anglers in the Muertos Bay area happy. Fortunately, bait is plentiful and close. Sardinas on a bait hook will get almost all species to bite. It's nice to be on the water. There are not many people to share the fishing holes with!"
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of the San Felipe Title Company bookstore at San Felipe reported warm early morning weather in the high-60s, with clear blue skies and very little wind. Local rumors indicated a possible banning of ATVs on the beach. "That sounds just great to me," Meders said. "There is plenty of space for quad-ing in the desert. If only they would also ban them in the middle of town. During Semana Santa my heart is in my throat every minute, with small children darting in and out of traffic on those things." Meders also noted a pelican kill on the beaches running south from San Felipe. "There is a great mystery going on," she said. "Dozens of dead pelicans have been found. I am going to try and find someone who might know what is causing this."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bryan Replogle of San Carlos reported up-and-down fishing in seasonable winter conditions. "It's the same old story in San Carlos this year," Replogle said. "Some days are hot, and some are not. One thing that has held true is that the fish are often up in the afternoons around the full moon. The fish are still just outside the San Carlos harbor. There are not many, nor any good, fishing reports yet from the island due to the wind." For the previous week, Replogle reported a very good day on the water, saying, "Thirty fish today! My arms almost stopped working. It was a historic bite! They were fighting over the jig."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jon Jen Charters at San Carlos reported variable yellowtail action close to town, plus whitefish and grouper. "Sometimes the bite is hot-and-cold but the fish are close and guys are getting broken off," Jon Jen said, also noting the addition of glass bottom boat service in February, as well as a new website booking service shared by San Carlos charter fishing operations including Jon Jen Charters, Dakota, Hattie Annie, Catch-22, and Masatun. Information, Fishingsancarlosmexico.com.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 10 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 6 striped marlin, and 4 dorado. Seven inshore super pangas had a catch of: 20 triggerfish, 2 sierra, 54 snapper, 1 dorado, 1 hammerhead shark, 1 corvina, 8 jack crevalle, and 45 mojarra. "Mazatlan had very slow angler activity this week," Edwards said. "The full moon and cooler water have taken a toll. As the moon gets darker, hopefully the offshore fishing will rejuvenate."
Mazatlan fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-80s, with calm seas, clear water, and water temperatures in decline at 72 degrees inshore and 73 degrees offshore. Aries Fleet offshore boats searched for fish over a wide area.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Flota Bibi Fleet reported striped marlin and shortfin mako shark as providing the best fishing opportunities during the week, with some sailfish, tuna, hammerhead shark, tripletail, and skipjack tuna also caught. Fleet boats fished 15 to 30 miles offshore from both Mazatlan marinas, with the best results on mullet baits. Inshore fishing produced red snapper, jack crevalle, goggle-eye, mojarra, sierra, triggerfish, and orangeside triggerfish, all on shrimp bait.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk of Master Baiters Sportfishing & Tackle reported seasonable winter fishing conditions in waters surrounding Puerto Vallarta, with yellowfin tuna to about 80 pounds still present around the El Banco and Roca Corbeteña offshore spots; El Morro and Punta Mita with sailfish, dorado, roosterfish, striped marlin, and blue marlin; and inshore spots around Bahia de Banderas with a mix of snappers, school-sized tuna, jack crevalle, and sierra.
"The winter season at Puerto Vallarta is moving in full force with tourism and cooler water temperatures," Gabruk said. "The fish will be on the smaller side. At Corbeteña, 5 miles south of the rock has been working well.
"El Morro and points north of Punta Mita are still the hot spots for marlin or plenty of sailfish, dorado, and roosterfish. Don’t expect to boat Moby Dick in the bay but smaller fish under 30 pounds. As we enter winter, locations north of Punta Mita will most likely be a big producer."
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Rick Morely of Niagara Falls, Ont., reported on 2 days of fishing at El Moro and Islas Marietas, with dorado and roosterfish caught and sierra plentiful. "Pangas reported large catches of Spanish mackerel which kept anglers busy and the dorado action was plentiful out farther in the blue water," Morley said.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said very good sailfish action continued in 83-degree blue water just a short ride from shore. "We were in the full moon phase last week. The great fishing we have now is going to get even better," Kunze said.
Ixtapa fishing boats averaged 4 to 6 sailfish per day, plus about 1 dorado of about 20 pounds, as the best action was found between 12 and 13 miles out.
Top boats included the Nautilus with Capt. Martin, who had a 9-release day on sailfish and averaged 5 releases per day during the week. Capt. Santiago on the charter panga Gitana scored 19 sailfish releases in 3 outings.
Inshore boats did well on sierra and jack crevalle. "The only thing missing is roosterfish, but they'll be back in May," Kunze said.
Ixtapa fishing area weather was calm in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 78 to 80 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Mike Bulkley of Huntress Sportfishing at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo reported a good week for the charter super panga Huntress, with 11 sailfish releases in 3 outings plus occasional dorado. "The blue water remains close," Bulkley said. "Excellent catches are being made from 4 to 22 miles out." Anglers fishing aboard the Huntress during the week included Bill and Heather House of Gilbert, Ariz., who released 2 sailfish and landed a 40-pound dorado.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: For the week ending Jan. 9, 2009, Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported exceptional sailfish concentrations beginning at just 3 miles out, as Capt. Adolfo of the charter boat Dos Hermanos I completed a 19-day run with a single client for a count including released fish of: 193 jack crevalle, 202 bonito, 128 sierra, 48 green jack, 47 needlefish, 24 sailfish, 22 grouper, 18 pompano, 10 dorado, 5 roosterfish, 3 red snapper, 3 palometa, 2 bonefish, and 1 rainbow runner. "Ixtapa fishing right now is exceptional, and with a wide variety," Edwards said. Ixtapa fishing area weather was clear in the high-80s, with calm seas and water temperatures at 78 degrees inshore and 82 degrees offshore.
CANCUN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 11 outings by the El Cid Caribe sportfishing fleet at Puerto Morelos near Cancun, with a catch including released fish of: 13 Atlantic barracuda, 10 bonito, 7 peto or king mackerel, 1 red snapper, and 1 triggerfish. "The full moon had an effect on the Cancun fishing area," Edwards said. "After a ho-hum week, the fishing should pick right back up." Cancun fishing area weather was mostly cloudy in the low-80s, with light easterly winds and water temperatures steady at 79 degrees.
MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly noted increased rates for Mexican fishing licenses in 2009, now costing 140 (about $9.80) per day, 290 pesos ($20.30) per week, or 540 pesos ($37.81) per year. But Graham noted that although the cost of Mexican fishing licenses increased about 8 percent over 2008, the value of the Mexican peso declined against the U.S. dollar by about 31 percent. So, for anglers paying in pesos at the current exchange rate, "It will be cheaper than last year," Graham said.