SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 60 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 268 dorado of 10 to 20 pounds, 194 yellowfin tuna of mostly 20 to 40 pounds, 26 wahoo, 4 sailfish, 27 striped marlin, 122 sierra, 24 roosterfish mostly under 15 pounds, 7 amberjack, 18 bonito, 13 cabrilla, and 33 snappers.
Weather in the San Jose del Cabo fishing area was seasonably moderate, with water temperatures at 72 to 75 degrees, and some areas with green water color.
"Anglers have been fortunate that the fishing has been holding up strong," Brictson said. "There is plenty of bait around and giant squid are being jigged up for chum and strip bait. The dorado continue to surprise everyone. Most of them are closer to shore. They are even being spotted feeding by surf anglers right in the surf zone. The average sized dorado is 10 to 20 pounds, and Mexican limits have been the rule rather than the exception."
Winter season wahoo numbers were also surprising for pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo. "This winter is full of surprises," Brictson said. "There are still wahoo holding at Punta Gorda. San Jose del Cabo anglers have been rewarded with catches of up to 5 wahoo ranging to 40 pounds. "
Yellowfin tuna were schooling in a midday bite at Iman and La Fortuna. "They were coming up to chummed squid and sardinas," Brictson said. "The best bet was to drift whole or strip baits. A few tuna went to 80 pounds and many San Jose del Cabo sportfishing charters were accounting for 3 to 6 tuna per trip and some caught even more."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet at Ensenada reported a continuing nice mix of good weather and good fishing for his charters pangas, as catches included red rockcod, lingcod, and Johnny bass, or olive rockfish, caught on baits dropped 100 to 200 feet deep, good counts of calico bass on plastics, and Mexico fishing limits of bonita hooked on the surface with the Ensenada-made aluminum surface jigs.
Anglers fishing at the tip of Punta Banda with Vonny's Fleet panga Capts. Hector and Beto included Trever and Ross Boucher, Luca Dwulfe, Pat and P.J. Welch, Gordon Brohamer, and Brian Foley.
"We had calm seas and good fishing," Villarino said. "They fished deep with dropper loops and anchovies or squid bait. Some very nice bonita were caught on the surface and smoked to take home. Brian Foley also got a 22-pound sheephead."
Villarino noted a winter season Vonny's Fleet special of free tackle rentals through May 1, 2009.
Ensenada fishing area weather was calm in the low-70s, with ocean swells at 3 feet and water temperatures at Punta Banda holding at 57 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the Ensenada boat Bad Dog at Marina Coral reported on an overnight trip to target Humboldt giant squid to be donated to the Orphans of Guadalupe Valley that produced 13 squid averaging about 30 pounds.
Squid action between Islas Todos Santos and the tip of Punta Banda was not productive, as the main bite was found in the dark while fishing about 1,500 feet deep during a move to the 500-fathom curve.
"They were moving around and hunting in the dark of night," Ross said. "We kept the lid on the tank because we learned the hard way that they take aim at you as you walk by and unload a couple of gallons onto your back. However, they learned a new trick. One of them bounced the lid up as another squirted me twice in the chest. Smart."
The following morning, the Bad Dog stopped at several Ensenada surfing spots as Ross' wife Gail went stand-up board surfing, and local fishing produced red rockcod to 4 pounds, bonito to 8 pounds, sandbass, and a rarely seen triggerfish. "I reeled up the triggerfish using the mouth of an urchin that came up in kelp for bait," Ross said. "Juan Lu said he'd never seen that fish in his life; it's truly rare at Ensenada."
Commenting on his wife's surf outing, Ross said, "Gail used to be a normal surfer but today she is a stand-up surfer with special boards. Mitch's Surf Shop in La Jolla is the hub and San Diego's main promoter of the sport.
"We dropped her into the water at the outside of Todos Santos Norte where the famous 'Killers' spot is situated where the waves have been 50 feet in the past. But on Saturday, she and 2 other boat loads of surfers were not happy with the tide and the shape, so she paddled over to 'Chickens' where she caught some waves perfectly shaped for her and her stand-up board."
Ensenada fishing area water temperatures were at 57.5 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas at San Quintin reported continued slow tourist activity but fishing productive at the 240 and 15 spots for a mix of big bonita, lingcod, and yellowtail. Anglers fishing with Pedro's Pangas during the week included Sam Lunde of Solano Beach, Calif., who went out with Capt. Hector on the charter boat Paloma. "They loaded up 2 days," Hillis said. "They used blue-white jigs and live bait at times." Hillis also noted that Pedro's Pangas is offering a winter special 10 percent discount on all boats.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Kelly Catian of K&M Offshore Sportfishing reported good yellowtail action on jigs throughout the water column plus good counts of bottom fish at the 15 spot and Isla San Martin. "A spot west of the island produced big red rockcod on every drop," Catian said. Bottom fishing by Duane Diego's group also produced an extremely large Johnny Bass or olive rockfish. San Quintin fishing area weather was glassy calm, with a west swell and water temperatures averaging 61 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Brent Watson of Imperial, Calif., reported good fishing at San Quintin for a mix of red rockcod, whitefish, lingcod, other bottom species, during 2 days of fishing, one of them with San Quintin's Capt. Miguel guiding, and another day without a guide. "We also metered a school of yellowtail, but no love," Watson said. "We were fishing water anywhere from 150 to 300 feet deep." San Quintin fishing area weather was "amazingly" calm in the mid-70s, with water temperatures in the high-50s.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Mike Borden of El Cajon, Calif., reported a good session on quality bonita of 6 to 9 pounds during a run off the Baja coast by his boat Fish Magnet. "I got on board in Ensenada, and on my trip to San Diego found a spot of bonita at 31.54 116.50, which is abeam the tuna corrals off Punta Salsipuedes," Borden said. "I landed 6 bonita in 40 minutes of fishing, all alone on very light tackle. A lot of happy gringos should be spanking these bonita in a few weeks if the fish find the Coronados."
Baja coastal fishing waters between Ensenada and San Diego were clear green and calm, with the water temperature at 61.7 degrees.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Paul Montgomery of Vista, Calif., reported on a 1.5-day fishing run down the Baja coast aboard the San Diego charter boat Dominator by his group from the Rancho Bernardo Anglers Club, with good action for Mexico fishing limits of bottom species found off Punta San Jose.
We arrived at our first spot around 5 a.m. Sunday," Montgomery said. "Everyone immediately hooked up with giant squid which was a lot of fun but not our intended species since it is illegal to bring them back from Mexico.
"The day started out fairly slow but improved as the current picked up. Frank D'Anna and his crew did a great job of putting us on fish and keeping lines straight. Everyone had their limit of fish, a mixture of rockcod, lingcod, and very large whitefish."
Baja coastal fishing weather was calm and ended with a spectacular sunset. "We had a great crew and a great time," Montgomery said. "I would highly recommend the Dominator. It is a very comfortable boat to fish on, the bunks are extra wide so you have room to sleep and store extra clothing, and it has a large galley so everyone can eat at one time."
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: For the week ending Jan. 15, 2009, Shari Bondy of Baja Bed & Breakfast at Bahia Asuncion said good fishing weather at 80 degrees prevailed, with calm seas, no wind, and clear water, as local charter panga runs by Capt. Juan Arce of Arce Bros. Sportfishing caught Mexican limits of yellowtail at 20 to 30 pounds. "They fished at San Pablo by jigging irons, and they got their limits of calico bass and bonita as well," Bondy said. Shore fishing produced good action for croaker and corvina caught just before sunset. Good numbers of California gray whales were present as the annual migration proceeded down the Baja coast.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported more California gray whales arriving at their winter breeding grounds at Magdalena Bay, and on the Pacific beaches, surfers riding out on jet skis. "Both the whales and surfers have overshadowed fishing at Magdalena Bay this week," Graham said. A few corvina, sierra, grouper, and pargo were caught inside the bay, and continued firecracker yellowtail were reported under birds at the San Carlos entrada. "However, the fishing went pretty much unnoticed because of a lack of anglers in the Mag Bay area," Graham said. Magdalena Bay fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the high-70s, with water temperatures at 67 to 73 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 57 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo charter boats Fish Cabo, Fish Cabo I, and Tuna Time, with a catch including released fish of: 178 striped marlin, 1 mako shark, 42 dorado, and 1 sailfish. "The billfish bonanza at Cabo San Lucas just keeps on going and it took an upward spiral this week following the full moon," Edwards said. "This is just incredible fishing for striped marlin." The top boat for the fleet was the Gaviota VIII with Capt. Juan Dominguez and 30 billfish landed in 5 outings, with all but 2 fish released.
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-80s, with water temperatures at 74 degrees on the Pacific-side Golden Gate Bank, and 76 degrees on the Sea of Cortez-side Gordo Banks. Most boats continued to fish the Golden Gate Bank with a mix of caballito and mackerel live baits.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 35 boats, with a catch including released fish of: 45 striped marlin, 35 dorado, 6 wahoo, and good numbers of inshore sierra.
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, 1 sailfish, 17 dorado of 25 to 25 pounds, 1 hammerhead shark of 30 pounds, 10 sierra mackerel of 5 pounds, and 1 red snapper of 10 pounds.
Dillon noted one outing by the El Budster with no fish caught, due to the clients' preference for making a long run to search for scarce tuna. "It was explained that they would have to go 25 miles out to try and find the tuna," Dillon said. The people were also told that they might not catch anything."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing super panga Cheer's reported on 3 outings during the week with a total of 5 anglers, for a catch including released fish of: 11 dorado of 8 to 25 pounds, 1 wahoo of 30 pounds, 6 yellowtail of 7 to 8 pounds, 1 shark of 30 pounds, 1 small bonito, 7 sierra of 3 to 4 pounds, and 2 roosterfish of 6 pounds. The Cheer's fished with trolled live baits and lures on the Pacific-side beaches northward from Faro Viejo and outwards to about 2 miles in water temperatures of 70 to 73 degrees and very good sea conditions. Anglers fishing aboard the Cheer's included Rick Howell, Mike Baldwell, and Joanne Baldwell, all of San Francisco, Calif.; and Mark Brede and Jurgen Konig of Germany.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported continued red-hot striped marlin action at the Golden Gate Bank, plus dorado, and yellowfin tuna of 20 to 30 pounds. "We had many double-digit release days in the past week," Lowendick said. "The solid action is continuing. This pattern, with good water temps into the mid-70s, should continued in the near term." Yellowtail were also caught at the Cabo San Lucas arch.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending Jan. 18, 2009, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported continued plentiful striped marlin present on the Golden Gate Bank during the full moon period, dorado close to the Pacific-side Baja shore, and yellowfin tuna still scarce. "Boats that got into the tuna had great action by using cedar plugs and dropping live bait ahead of the moving fish," Landrum said. "Elsewhere the tuna bite was sporadic, with occasional small, scattered schools throughout the Cabo San Lucas area."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported just a few boats fishing out of East Cape, mostly on days with less wind. "There were very few visitors in the East Cape hotels again this week," Graham said. "There were only a boat or two heading out to fish on the non-windy days. Most of the East Cape locals have had to be content with catching sierra, small roosterfish, and jacks before the north wind cranks up. East Cape fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-70s, with water temperatures at 67 to 73 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja flying fishing guide service at East Cape reported a couple of days last week with relatively light winds, but few people fishing. "With the wind blowing and not many people in the hotels, the beach is pretty quiet," deBrown said. "My neighbor got out early in front of the house and caught a few nice sierra from the beach before the wind drove him home. This afternoon I spent about an hour on the beach and I was able to land 1 small rooster fish and 1 small jack, and I also was bitten off by a half-dozen sierra. With the winds and the lack of guests in the East Cape hotels, not many boats went offshore. I did hear a report of some dorado close to shore from Palmas de Cortez to the slides."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing at La Paz reported mixed weather for his charter pangas fishing the Las Arenas side south of the city, with slightly warming air temperatures, some light rain on Monday morning, and plenty of wind. Tortuga Sportfishing pangas working sheltered waters around Punta Perico caught a mix of yellowtail, cabrilla, pargo lisa, and pargon. "We have no problems with bait," Hernandez said. "We have great amounts of bait in the same areas where we are fishing."
Anglers fishing with Tortuga during the week included the Annington family of Houston, Texas, who landed mixed inshore fish including a pargo lisa at 30 pounds.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said La Paz had lots of winter tourists and whale watchers heading for Magdalena Bay on Baja's Pacific coast, but few anglers and divers. La Paz fishing area weather was at 70 degrees and breezy.
"The California gray whales are in at Magdalena Bay so we're running a lot of trips out there now," Roldan said. "Quite a few La Paz tourists are here for the whales and not many for fishing."
A few boats fishing close to shore in windy conditions found sierra, cabrilla, and pargo. "We had some light line anglers do pretty well," Roldan said. "They had fun but lost a lot of fish in the rocks. Almost every cast was another hookup and they planned to release most of the fish anyway."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Loreto's Baja Big Fish Company said the downtown launch ramp was repaired recently, with an extension put in to cover the well-known hole at the lower edge of the concrete. "The ramp was repaired during the extreme negative tide," Bolles said. "The cement was extended to fill in the notorious hole at the former cement line. During afternoon low tides, pulling out large boats remains difficult."
Winter fishing at Loreto continued good for inshore species over rocky areas including yellowtail on heavier tackle caught deep on local high spots.
"Your best bet for light tackle fishing with 12 to 20-pound test line will be to go for small 8 to 12-pound yellowtail from El Bajo area and the lighthouse at Isla Coronado and in between," Bolles said. "You'll also find cabrilla, pargo, roosterfish, and sierra mackerel. Sardinas are the bait of choice. Dorado are still caught occasionally, hugging the coast where the warmer water is.
"For fishing with 30 to 80-pound test, larger yellowtail have been caught consistently off the bottom at Punta La Cholla. The bottom is roughly 100 feet or less. On Friday there were many boats out and the bite was wide-open. On Sunday the two-dozen or more boats that fished that location brought in 1 to 2 yellowtail and occasional triggerfish, pinto bass, or whitefish."
Loreto fishing area weather was variable , with some days of wind and clouds, and other days calmer. Live bait at the downtown Loreto marina was priced at $20 U.S. for 15 mackerel or bigeye, $20 for about 24 jurelito, and $15 for a freshly netted bait tank of sardina.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Syd Lindsay of San Lucas Cove just south of Santa Rosalia reported the local tin boat fleet doing very well on 20 to 35-pound yellowtail at the Isla San Marcos bajos, but very few visitors in the area and no charter boats available. "Where are all the SoCal fishermen?" Lindsay said. "The bite is wide-open. Every boat is returning to the cove with plenty of fish."
Semi-permanent tin boat anglers returning to San Lucas Cove with 3 to 7 yellowtail per outing included Gary Schell and Joe Archibald of Vancouver Island, David Hughes of Sacramento, Calif., and Jim Green of Montana. "And there are others," Lindsay said. "This is the place to be right now, but I know of no boat for hire at this time and the Mulege tournament is just 10 days away."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore at San Felipe reported hazy weather in the mid-70s and very few tourists in town, but with some visitors arriving by motorcycle and bicycle from distant points north. "They were all, strangely enough, headed for Argentina," Meders said. "Two of them had come down from the Yukon. Needless to say, they all looked very healthy and in shape. Things have slowed way down in San Felipe after the Christmas and New Year's vacationers have gone home
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 15 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats fishing out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 5 striped marlin, 4 sailfish, 2 mako shark, 2 dorado, and 4 yellowfin tuna of 50 pounds. Two inshore super pangas had a catch of: 45 mojarra, and 20 snappers.
"Mazatlan was very slow on anglers this week," Edwards said. "But even in conjunction with the full moon and lack of anglers, Aries Fleet still averaged better than a 50 percent billfish catch rate for offshore waters."
Mazatlan fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-80s, with good sea conditions and water temperatures at 75 to 76 degrees. Most offshore boats fished 15 to 25 miles southwest of Marina El Cid.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk of Master Baiters Sportfishing & Tackle reported yellowfin tuna averaging about 60 pounds still present and being caught on small lures at El Banco and Roca Corbeteña. "Moving more into the new moon phases, the tuna are finally taking baits again," Gabruk said. "There has been a bunch of bait in the water. If you’re not running baits that mimic the natural baits you may come back empty handed. The saying that 'Elephants Eat Peanuts, Too' applies here. Three-inch baits of pink or combinations with pink are working well, much better than trolled skippies." Boats fishing during the week included the super panga Mi Jenny with Capt. Chema, with a catch including released fish at Sayulita of 3 dorado and 5 large mackerel during an 8-hour trip. Fishing closer to shore at Sayulita and other locations including Islas Marietas and Punta Mita produced a nice mix of dorado, sierra, sailfish, roosterfish, bonito and skipjack, and jack crevalle.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Jose Antonio Sanchez of Tijuana reported on a family trip to mainland Mexico, with stops at Mazatlan, San Blas, and Puerto Vallarta.
At Mazatlan, Sanchez and his father, Fernando Sanchez fished the Mazatlan mangrove channel La Sirena with live shrimp baits for a mix of smaller pargo, jack crevalle, and ladyfish.
At La Tovara, near San Blas in the state of Nayarit, Sanchez' group observed many types of fish, as well as crocodiles, iguanas, white and gray heron, and turtles.
At Puerto Vallarta, the group fished out of Sayulita, 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta by car, for good action with Capt. Fidel Ponce that included 10 dorado caught at a floating palapa fish attractor placed by Ponce about 10 miles out. "We fished with live mullet and live small skipjack at the place locally called Chorita," Sanchez said. "The fishing was awesome, very funny, with lots of fish and almost endless activity. I highly recommend Capt. Fidel Ponce."
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IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said Ixtapa boats continued to score well on sailfish, as 83-degree blue water remained close to the beach. Seventeen pangas were fishing 4 days in the Tournament Anglers Association tournament, with the 2-day points leader, John Jackson, releasing 7 sailfish.
"In the TAA point system, the angler gets 150 points per fish when the leader is touched within 5 minutes," Kunze said of the tournament's progressive and challenging rules. "Points are deducted for every 5 minutes after that. No points are given for a fight of one-half hour or more. All of this is while using circle hooks and a maximum of 20-pound line."
Ixtapa Zihuatanejo fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 78 to 83 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Earlier, Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported slightly slower fishing over the full moon period as Ixtapa Zihuatanejo sportfishing Capts. Fito on the Pescador, Adolfo on the Dos Hermanos, Temo on Secuestro de Amor, and the boat La Bamba reported a combined total catch during the week including released fish of: 23 sailfish, 10 dorado, 4 bonito, 1 sierra, 1 tripletail, 1 mero, and 1 marlin lost. Ixtapa fishing area weather was mostly sunny in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 83 degrees inshore, and 85 degrees offshore, with blue water beginning as close as 1 mile out.
CANCUN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 12 outings by the El Cid Caribe sportfishing fleet at Puerto Morelos near Cancun, with a catch including released fish of: 45 king mackerel, or peto in Spanish, 5 Atlantic barracuda, 2 triggerfish, and 3 dorado. Cancun fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-80s, with calm seas and water temperatures warming to 79 to 80 degrees throughout the area as Cancun charter boats fished mostly with bigger ballyhoo baits.