SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Species fishing specialist John Snow, who has a record of hundreds of types of fish caught from the surf or from a panga at San Jose del Cabo, reported good results during 10 surf fishing sessions and 5 outings aboard the panga Salome, with 167 specimens caught or observed, including the following fish and non-fish species:
Balloonfish, banded wrasse, bighead sand perch, blue striped sea chub, bumphead damselfish, brown sea urchin, burrito grunt, chestnut moray eel, Clipperton grouper, Cortez damselfish, deepwater serrano, dorado, finescale triggerfish, flag cabrilla, flag serrano, giant hawkfish, giant Mexican needlefish, goldeneyed tilefish, green jack, highfin sand perch, jack mackerel, largemouth blenny, longfin croaker, Mexican goatfish, Mexican night sergeant, mutton hamlet, orangeside triggerfish, Pacific creolefish, Pacific mackerel, Panamic porkfish, Panamic sergeant major, paper nautilus, round herring, shortfin scad, skipjack bonito, speckled flounder, spotfin porcupinefish, spotted lizardfish, and tinsel squirrelfish.
San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was near 80 degrees, but with lower water temperatures in the low-70s. "The water temperatures have dipped, causing all sorts of changes in the fish populations," Snow said. "The surf produced 46 fish and an outstanding 20 different species in 10 outings over 7 days."
Snow's catches and observations included 4 new species, the baqueta or gulf coney, bumphead damselfish, Pacific hake, and the brown sea urchin which was washing up on the beach in great numbers. Top catches included a Giant Mexican Needlefish of 37 inches hooked from the beach. "But the fish of the week was the 12-inch bumphead damselfish, Microspathodon bairdii, also caught out of the surf," Snow said.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 71 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 354 dorado to 25 pounds, 69 yellowfin tuna to 20 to 50 pounds, 43 wahoo mostly of 15 to 25 pounds, 9 striped marlin, 133 sierra, 64 Mexican bonito, 8 amberjack, 11 cabrilla, 19 pargo, and 42 roosterfish. San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the high-70s, with north winds to 20 m.p.h., green water currents, and water temperatures cooling at 70 to 72 degrees.
La Playita pangas fished closed to shore at Punta Gorda for dorado, tuna, and lingering wahoo despite the north wind and lower water temperatures. "This January has proved to be one of the best in many years of fishing at San Jose del Cabo," Brictson said.
Good numbers of humpback and California gray whales were present in the San Jose del Cabo fishing area, as well as manta rays, porpoise, and sea lions. Boats fishing the 95 spot and outwards from Punta Palmilla averaged 1 or 2 striped marlin per outing as the migrating fish began moving around the point at Cabo San Lucas and into the Sea of Cortez.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Ensenada's Vonny's Fleet panga sportfishing service reported a few showers during the week, but pangas out fishing again by Thursday in good, light Santa Ana wind sea conditions. Lester Ellet of Whittier, Calif., fished with Capt. Beto on the Vonny I for his Mexico fishing limits of calico bass, olive rockfish or Johnny bass, red rockcod, and lingcod.
"The bass were caught on black-silver and green-brown plastics and one of them hit a small aluminum jig," Villarino said. The bottom fish were caught with anchovy bait on dropper loops and 30-pound line.
Ensenada fishing area weather was partly cloudy and calm in the mid-60s, with ocean swells at 3 feet and the water temperature at Punta Banda averaging 57 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the boat Bad Dog at Ensenada's Marina Coral was planning another overnight Humboldt squid trip over the weekend and noted some squid fishing observations made during his last trip:
"For the past 4 years, Humboldt Squid were very prolific at this time of the year, but there are some changes," Ross said.
"The deep canyon between Punta Banda and the south tip of South Todos Island traditionally provides a late season harvest, but today there is no evidence of squid there on my meter. While it is thought that Humboldts remain deep during daylight hours, they have surfaced here and been caught by the hundreds during all sunlight hours. In fact, we did find them here at the beginning of the afternoon a few weeks ago. They charged the boat, and then disappeared. The canyon appears to be empty. This area is 7 miles from my slip in Marina Coral on the way to open ocean and the only 900-foot deep area until you pass the island. The Ensenada sportfishing fleet have caught thousands of daytime Humboldts here.
"Last Friday night we saw for the first time what appeared to be baby Humboldts following the hooked Humboldts to my boat. They were about a foot long.
"The Banda Bank was covered in some type of bait fish down to 50 feet from the surface. This was at night and it was thick for miles. We dropped squid jigs into the mass and did not hook anything. It could have been sardine or krill. It was an extraordinary amount of life covering at least 16 square miles without interruption.
"At my favorite spot outside the Banda Bank, precisely on the top of the 500-fathom curve about 6 miles west of the bank, I metered Humboldts at 1,500 feet. However, it was a thin line and a short one at that. The masses of the past were not on the meter. I could not get the main herd to rise to the lights. We dropped down and loaded 13 of them onto the boat in 2 hours with two of us fishing. This was quite a contrast to past years when I would meter miles of squid, sometimes in double rows at different depths."
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas at San Quintin said some strong winds passed through the San Quintin fishing area, but boats were catching good numbers of rockcods and whitefish, plus yellowtail.
Anglers fishing during the week included Daisy and Adam Ramirez of Santa Barbara, Calif., who fished aboard the charter boat Paloma with Capt. Hector for a catch of: 3 yellowtail of 15 to 18 pounds, 6 large whitefish, and 7 bocaccio.
Tricia McKeon of Wisconsin and Scot Toliver of Alaska fished aboard the boat Coyote with Capt. Miguel for: 1 yellowtail of 20 pounds, 30 large whitefish, 6 red rockcod, and 2 large lingcod.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Brian Harnack reported on a run down the Baja coast with a 24-angler group including his son Andre aboard the charter boat Pacific Voyager with Capt. Mark Oronoz for good action and Mexico fishing limits of red rockcod, large whitefish, lingcod, and mixed bottom fish.
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported the annual California gray whale migration at its peak and many whales present in their Magdalena Bay breeding grounds. "The whale watching season is in full force," Graham said. "Every day more busses arrive with tourists and their cameras for a close personal experience with these giants. The whales are a few hundred yards in front of the San Carlos pier.
Magdalena Bay was also hosting the local segment of the state-wide Governor's Cup fishing tournament. "These tournaments attract many local families seeking cash prizes while introducing many of them to sportfishing for the first time," 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 44 sportfishing trips by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo charter boats Fish Cabo, Fish Cabo I, and Tuna Time, with a catch including released fish of: 106 striped marlin, 47 dorado, 3 roosterfish, and 4 yellowfin tuna. "The striped marlin madness continues at Cabo's Golden Gate Bank," Edwards said. "There should be no change as long as the water temperatures and the biomass of mackerel feed continue."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-80s, with good sea conditions, and water temperatures holding at 74 to 75 degrees on the Pacific banks and 76 to 77 degrees on the Cortez-size Gordo Banks. Most boats continued to fish with live mackerel baits, abundant on the Golden Gate Bank.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 30 outings, with a catch including released fish of: 55 striped marlin, 9 wahoo, 20 dorado, and good numbers of pargo and sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing super panga Cheer's reported on 4 outings during the week with a total of 5 anglers, for a catch including released fish of: 6 yellowtail of good sizes, 19 dorado to 15 pounds, 8 roosterfish of 8 to 10 pounds, 1 amberjack of 27 pounds, and 1 skipjack of 8 pounds. The Cheer's fished with trolled lures and live baits along Cabo's Pacific-side beaches and outwards to about 1 mile in water temperatures of 73 to 75 degrees, light winds, and good sea conditions.
One on trip, the Cheer's also fished the Cortez side for dorado without results, but then switched to the Pacific side for a hot bite on 8 dorado of 12 to 14 pounds all found near a floating dead seal. Another dorado trip to the Cortez side with fly fishing client Paul Kim produced 6 dorado on the fly.
Anglers fishing aboard the Cheer's included Marcus Brede and Jurgen Konig of Germany, Cliff Johnson, Danny Sanchez, and Paul Kim of Seattle, Wash.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Connolly of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing boat Falcon reported a total of 12 striped marlin released during the week on the Golden Gate Bank. "We used a variety of fishing methods," Connolly said. "Casting on the bird schools often resulted in hooking a pelican, so we usually worked the edges to avoid this as much as possible. Avoiding the hundreds of young pelicans has to be a consideration, so we used sinkers to take the baits down on the drift whenever we metered marlin or they bit off our bait rigs which happens a lot."
Several reports were heard of smaller wahoo caught near the beach in 100 to 200 feet of water. "Some boats released as many as 15 wahoo," Connolly said. "They were sierra-sized fish of 8 pounds. Another angler hooked 3 wahoo of about 2 to 3 pounds on Lucky Joe bait rigs. Surprises on the ocean never end."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 11 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 20 striped marlin including 1 at 180 pounds and an 8-release day by the David Bogle party of Arkansas, 1 dorado of 25 pounds, and 47 sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing reported continued excellent striped marlin action for Cabo San Lucas boats. "We have had numerous outings with double-digit releases on the Golden Gate seamount in the Pacific," Lowendick said. "It does appear that there is a migration of striped marlin now toward the Sea of Cortez," Lowendick said. "The Gordo Banks fishing area has been productive for dorado, yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds, and nice wahoo."
An 8-hour trip to the 95 spot, 1150 spot, and Gordo Banks by the charter boat Marlin Master X produced a catch including released fish of: 2 striped marlin, 14 dorado to 40 pounds, 2 wahoo of about 40 pounds, and 6 yellowfin tuna to 65 pounds. "We feel this solid fishing action should continue into the coming weeks with more and more emphasis on the Sea of Cortez," Lowendick said.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending January 25, 2009, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported continued very good striped marlin counts at the Golden Gate Bank in water conditions heavy with sea life. "The marlin were coming up on small bait balls," Landrum said. "As soon as the pelicans and frigates started to dive, the seals started feeding as well, and then suddenly there would be half-a-dozen or more marlin swirling. Live bait tossed into the feeders almost guaranteed a marlin hookup."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of the Baja Anglers fly fishing service at Cabo San Lucas reported some days on the Golden Gate Bank with up to 12 striped marlin hooked on the fly and up to 6 landed for release. "The marlin are still stacked at the banks," Hartman said. "The bait balls are getting smaller, so they don’t have quite as much to eat and they seem to be taking the fly much better than before. Single-hook Deceivers that mimic the bait are the best bet."
Hartman noted the benefits of having his clients hook their own fish. "I want you to fish your own line," he said. "We teach you how. You might not catch as many marlin, but doing it yourself is extremely satisfying when you catch that fish of a lifetime."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending January 21, 2009, Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing reported 100 percent of the week's offshore charters landing from 1 to 15 striped marlin. "The pangas stayed closer to shore, and our San Jose del Cabo boats had different results, but in Cabo, marlin is king," Ehrenberg said. "The last 5 months have been a dream at the Golden Gate. The marlin seem reluctant to leave the area." Top marlin release counts for the week included a 15-release day for the C Rod, 11 for the Tracy Ann, and 10 for La Brisa. Cabo San Lucas fishing area water temperatures averaged 74 degrees, with calm sea conditions.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported steady north winds hampering boats in the East Cape fishing area. "The wind can be tough to work around," Graham said. "This is not the time to plan a trip around fishing at East Cape. Fish are still here, a few dorado, maybe a marlin or two, and all the sierra you want, but that wind can be tough."
Beach fishing in mixed conditions produced some good action. "There were lots of fish off the beach at times," said Baja On The Fly guide Lance Petersen. "They were feeding on really small bait, but nonetheless, we caught small roosterfish, jacks, pompano, and even black skipjack.”
East Cape fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the high-70s, with water temperatures at 67 to 73 degrees and northwest winds at 11 to 15 knots.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company reported lots of wind in the Loreto fishing area, but yellowtail still present at Isla Coronado for fly fishing clients, and bottom fishing good for conventional tackle anglers. "We're getting lots of wind," Bolles said. "Maybe it will calm down and then we'll go out looking for fish again."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Ron Grant of Crestline, Calif., reported on a fly-down trip to Mulege's Hotel Serenidad, with some wind present, and local fishing generally slow. "There are yellowtail north of Isla San Marcos, but most boats out of Mulege are not making the long run," Grant said. Tourism in Mulege was very slow. "There is a very noticeable lack of tourists or travelers in the area," Grant said. "The Hotel Serenidad had only a couple of rooms rented each night. This past week not a single airplane landed on the airstrip. The Saturday Night Barbecue served less then 15 dinners. It's the slowest I have ever seen it in all the years I have been going to Mulege."
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Jim Anderson of San Bruno reported strong and persistent winds for boats in the Santa Rosalia fishing area. "The wind gods seem displeased this week and the forecast is for continued high winds until at lease Sunday," Anderson said, as he referred to the well-known Tres Virgines volcanic cones north of town. "We are busy looking for a virgin to sacrifice in the volcano, but so far none have volunteered."
Earlier, fishing for large yellowtail was productive in calm seas at the north end of Isla San Marcos.
Anderson, as well as Syd Lindsay of San Lucas Cove, noted that the Mulege Yellowtail Tournament was postponed due to the windy conditions. "The tournament has been postponed to the coming weekend," Anderson said. "The tides would be more productive by February 6-8th anyway, as they will be really flat this coming weekend and fishing would have been a challenge even if no wind had appeared."
ROCKY POINT, MEXICO: Art Pina of Tucson, Ariz., reported on a trip out of Rocky Point aboard his boat Big Daddy for good action on jigs about 240 to 380 feet deep at a spot 41 miles to the southwest and a catch of: 32 goldspotted bass of 6 to 7 pounds, 2 grouper to 27 pounds, a big fish lost on a broken rod, and the fishing stopped by a bite of Humboldt squid.
"All I took was my jigging tackle," Pina said. "Arturo, who works at the marina, needed bait. We made lots of greenbacks, but my jig outfished his live bait 4 to 1. I hooked up with a big fish, but 20 minutes into the fight he broke my rod. I grabbed another rod and started another drift, but my jig had not gone 10 feet down when I felt the line go slack. Up comes a 3-foot squid. The fishing was over. They would not let the jigs hit bottom."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jon Jen Charters at San Carlos reported boats fishing almost daily for about 1 to 2 yellowtail per outing, plus Humboldt giant squid including a very large specimen boated by Capt. Abel on the JonJen II. "Abel said it was an eerie thing once you brought one to the boat and all the other squid were all around it, some huge buggers," Jon Jen said. "They caught one that took two people to handline it in. It was at least 8 feet long."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 22 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 10 striped marlin, 2 mako shark, 1 sailfish, 13 dorado, and 26 yellowfin tuna of 30 to 45 pounds. Six inshore super panga trips had a catch of: 20 snappers, 6 barracuda, 4 jack crevalle, 49 triggerfish, and 50 mojarra. "The inshore panga fishing at Mazatlan continues to have a wide variety, but the sierra have disappeared for now," Edwards said.
Mazatlan fishing area weather was clear in the low-80s, with mostly calm seas and water temperatures at 74 to 76 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Mike Bulkley of Huntress Sportfishing at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo reported a week's catch including released fish for the charter super panga Huntress of 55 sailfish, and 1 blue marlin. "Capt. Francisco continued his catching streak," Bulkley said. "He had several 6-sailfish days. The Stansfield family of Carlisle, Pa., had 12 sailfish in 3 trips."
Clear blue water remained close to shore, as Ixtapa sportfishing boats worked 10 to 15 miles out. "There are definite offshore currents looping in from outside the 1000-fathom line and the sailfish seem to be concentrated in these areas," Bulkley said, "but dorado are scarce with only a few being hooked."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported sailfish sluggish on the bite, but so numerous that Ixtapa boats still managed 1 to 6 strikes per day. "But compared to the number of billfish being seen, that is a a very slow bite ratio," Edwards said. "Capt. Temo Verboonen said the overall bite moved around from day to day. Billfish are jumping everywhere, but it takes luck to find the biters."
Inshore fishing improved for jack crevalle, bonito, pompano, and roosterfish.
Ixtapa fishing area weather was clear and calm in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 82 to 83 degrees.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said sailfish action was a bit slower, due to several possible factors. "The water cooled down a couple of degrees," Kunze said. "We also had a small earthquake, which really shuts off the bite. And, we had a barometric pressure drop. A barometer drop is tough on the fish. They go deeper to balance out the pressure and hate to come up for a trolled bait."
Blue water was still close to the beach as Ixtapa Zihuatanejo fishing boats averaged 1 or 2 sailfish hookups per day on about 5 to 7 fish raised.
Capt. Adolfo of the charter panga Dos Hermanos reported 2 roosterfish caught and lots of jack crevalle of 15 to 20 pounds present at Saladita north of town.
Ixtapa fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 78 to 83 degrees.
CANCUN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 15 outings by the El Cid Caribe sportfishing fleet at Puerto Morelos near Cancun, with a catch including released fish of: 35 peto or king mackerel, 3 dorado, 2 sailfish, 1 wahoo, 9 bonito, 1 Spanish mackerel, 2 Atlantic barracuda, 7 amberjack, and 1 tuna. Cancun fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-80s, with light winds and water temperatures at 78 to 79 degrees.
MEXICO: Andrew Burton of Manzanillo on the Mexican Pacific coast south of Puerto Vallarta reported no fish caught offshore during an outing aboard a local charter boat. "Fishing failed to produce a hookup with anything at all, except for one small Spanish mackerel caught when leaving the docks of downtown Manzanillo," Burton said. "The pitiful fishing contrasted sharply with the success obtained the following day by Marco Virgen Ballesteros and his sportfishing boat Vicas, fishing no more than 10 nautical miles off the Manzanillo lighthouse for 2 dorado and 1 sailfish landed, 3 strikes by sailfish, and another sailfish brought to the boat and released."
Mexico coastal weather at Manzanillo was near-perfect, with clear blue water at 81.5 degrees, as Burton's boat trolled at an average speed of 3.7 k.p.h. "We were seriously trying to save fuel and waste time," he said.