ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported Mexico fishing limits of lingcod, red rockcod, and mixed bottom fish, plus some big winter yellowtail caught by his pangas between periods of rainstorms and wind during the week. "We managed to go fishing," Villarino said. "We also got 8 surface-slapper yellowtail of 22 to 35 pounds with the aluminum jigs. Not bad."
Scoring big on yellowtail with Capt. Beto on the charter panga Vonny I were Doug O'Hara of La Canada, Calif., and Jorge Taylor of Rancho La Bufadora at Ensenada, who cast Vonny's Fleet's Ensenada-made aluminum jigs on 40-pound line.
Also fishing during the week were anglers Kevin Carranza, back from Iraq, Sergio Lopez of Downey, Calif., and Tom Daggett and Dick Cullen, both of Wisconsin.
Ensenada fishing area weather was mostly cloudy in the high-50s, with ocean swells at 2 to 3 feet, and water temperatures at the tip of Punta Banda averaging 54 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the Ensenada boat Bad Dog at Marina Coral reported a blank at his favorite Humboldt giant squid hole, but a local catch at spots around Ensenada of: 1 bocaccio, 2 lingcod, 1 blue bass, and a hot session near Punta San Miguel for 10 bonito of 8 to 13 pounds.
"We arrived at my secret Humboldt squid hole in Todos Santos Bay and metered the squid in the 900-foot deep canyon," Ross said. "They were cruising at 400 feet in the dark. We lowered Ahi lures with blinking lights to the 400-foot mark but they wouldn't bite .
We headed for "Killers" to check out the surf for Gail, and Mike Kraus reeled up a bocaccio in 30 feet of water and Juan Lu caught a bass.
"A Mexican captain reported the bonito bite continuing at San Miguel.
"I broke out my hottest set up of 7-Strand lures as a daisy chain, with 2 Tuna Clones in front of a larger one, all in the color Carrot Top, and a Moldcraft Li'l Bird in front of it all. We immediately got bit within a mile of the Mexican captain.
There was no surface sign and hardly any birds, but the bonito were on the meter at 50 feet.
"After boating 10 bonito, we left the bite and headed for some rockcod spots in the bay and caught 2 lingcod for dinner at Bahia de Mariscos Ensenada."
Ensenada fishing area water temperatures averaged 56 degrees, with green color following periods of stormy weather. Some whales were seen in the area. Also fishing aboard the Bad Dog was Gail Ross.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas at San Quintin reported improving weather during the week as sportfishing boats departed from the Old Mill launch ramp area to fish around the 240 and 15 spots for good counts of lingcod and mixed rockcods. "The weather turned around for us," Hillis said. "Boats are getting out of the bay, and the fishing at San Quintin is pretty much the same, with hotspots continuing to be the 240 and 15. We had some great action."
MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said offshore fishing for boats running out of Magdalena Bay was hampered all week by high winds and rough seas along the southern Baja Pacific coast, but local fishing produced sierra and smaller yellowtail at the San Carlos entrada. "There was still a decent bite, with enough to deplete a fly box," Graham said.
Fishing inside the Magdalena Bay mangrove channels produced a few leopard grouper, snappers, and bass.
The California gray whale migration continued, but with fewer tourists present. "It seemed there were more whales than tourists this week," Graham said.
The Magdalena Bay segment of the Baja California Sur statewide Governor's Cup fishing tournament was scheduled at Puerto San Carlos on March 7, 2009.
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 65 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo San Lucas sportfishing charter boats Fish Cabo, Fish Cabo I, and Tuna Time, with a catch including released fish of: 53 striped marlin, 104 dorado, 1 wahoo, 29 yellowfin tuna, 1 mako shark, 2 snappers, 66 sierra, and 6 roosterfish. The top fleet boats for the week were the Gaviota IV with Capt. Octavio Castillo, and the Gaviota V with Capt. Victor Cota.
Overall striped marlin fishing was slower. "Cooler water currents are having an affect," Edwards said. "The catch numbers reflect a considerable change. Crews will have to work much harder to make their catches."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-80s, with water temperatures at 73 degrees on the Pacific banks and 75 to 76 degrees at the Cabrillo Sea Mount, as most boats fished a wide area from the Gordo Banks to the Golden Gate Bank. Mackerel live bait was still abundant on the Golden Gate Bank, but was harder to catch.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending February 12, 2009, Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported winter sea conditions making it difficult for boats to fish the Golden Gate Bank on some days, as many boats switched to the Sea of Cortez side and overall striped marlin counts dropped.
"This week was the first significant drop in marlin catches in months," Ehrenberg said. "Winter finally showed its face and it was hard to get there. Some boats opted for the Sea of Cortez to avoid getting passengers seasick.
Sixty-two percent of Pisces charters released marlin during the week, 58 percent caught dorado, 12 percent landed yellowfin tuna, and 99 percent caught all species combined. Of 90 striped marlin landed, 88 were successfully released.
Top outings during the week included a run by the Pisces charter boat Bill Collector for a catch including released fish of: 7 striped marlin, 2 mako shark, 1 dorado, and 1 pargo.
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was settling, with boats again running north to the Golden Gate Bank, as water temperatures averaged 72 degrees.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 35 charters during the week, with a catch including released fish of: 43 striped marlin, 13 wahoo, 31 dorado, 16 yellowfin tuna, and good counts of sierra.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing super panga Cheer's reported on 2 outings during the week with a total of 6 anglers, for a catch including released fish of: 5 yellowtail, 19 Humboldt giant squid 4 to 30 pounds, and 14 sierra of 6 to 8 pounds, all caught during a hot bite on live baits and hoochies at Faro Viejo. The Cheer's fished on Cabo's Pacific-side beaches and outwards to about a mile with trolled live baits, hoochies, and yo-yo jigs in water temperatures of 70 to 72 degrees and very good sea conditions. Anglers fishing aboard the Cheer's included John Cione, Bob Cione and Josh Smott, all of San Diego, Calif.; and Paul Mallegol, Greg Mallegol, and Eric Ernest, all of Florida.
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: 8 striped marlin, 9 dorado of 25 to 35 pounds, 22 sierra of 4 pounds, and 7 mako shark of 20 to 30 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing reported solid striped marlin at the Pacific-side Golden Gate Bank, dorado on the Sea of Cortez-side Gordo Banks, inshore yellowtail near the arch, and roosterfish at Sunset Beach.
"Most of our clients are releasing multiple striped marlin on Golden Gate Bank trips," Lowendick said. "We've had as many as 9 releases in an 8-hour trip. In the Sea of Cortez this week, the Marlin Master I had 23 dorado hookups and the Marlin Master II had 18 hookups. That's superb action on fish to 35 pounds.
"California yellowtail action is solid in the rocky outcroppings off Land's End and large schools of roosterfish are working the rocky shorelines. Cabo San Lucas water conditions appear stable for at least the next several weeks."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending February 15, 2009, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported early morning air temperatures seen down to 58 degrees, some wind and chop, and water temperatures even at about 72 to 73 degrees. Cabo San Lucas sportfishing boats running north to the Golden Gate Bank averaged 3 to 5 marlin per trip and boats fishing closer in averaged 1 or 2 strikes per day. "A lot of Cabo boats focused on numbers instead of size and targeted other species," Landrum said.
Dorado counts were up, as hot bites were found around a dead whale, a floating piece of rope, and other small debris. "The dead whale delivered a large number of dorado," Landrum said. "The rope, found just off the Hotel Solmar, produced a great number of fish until someone decided to pick it up and take it home. Also found floating was half a bucket, and the number of dorado around it kept quite a few anglers happy."
Inshore fishing for winter sierra mackerel to about 8 pounds continued to improve at local Cabo San Lucas fishing locations.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 72 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 3 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, about 1 to 4 yellowfin tuna of 25 to 50 pounds per boat, several dorado of 8 to 20 pounds per boat, 3 hammerhead shark, 13 wahoo, 234 Mexican bonito, 142 sierra, 38 roosterfish, 1 golden jack, 4 pompano, 18 pargo, 11 amberjack, 13 cabrilla and 18 triggerfish.
San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was cooler, with some choppy sea conditions, water temperatures at 68 to 72 degrees, and water clarity varying from day to day. "Stronger north winds were more dominant and pushed in cooler, murky water," Brictson said.
Pangas targeted dorado and yellowfin tuna from La Fortuna to the Iman Bank with sardina live baits. "The bite was on and off, and lots of chum was required," Brictson said. "But the commercial pangueros were able to net fresh supplies of sardinas every day."
Brictson noted reports of a juvenile whale caught in a commercial fishing net near Los Frailes. "Fish and Game personnel were never able to locate the whale," Brictson said. "It's a shame that commercial gill net activity is still taking place indiscriminately along the more remote coastal stretches."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported plenty of winter winds in the East Cape fishing area and mixed results for yellowtail and pargos, as Mexico's SAGARPA agency increased local enforcement of federal fishing regulations.
"SAGARPA oversees fishing regulations and licenses," Graham said. "It has installed a new port captain for East Cape at Los Barriles
"In addition, there are 2 full-time employees, Jorge Castro, whose job it is to sell licenses, and a super panga captain who will be in charge of enforcement.
"The boat dispatchers at East Cape hotels will have the required Mexican fishing licenses available for purchase and SAGARPA intends to begin enforcement of fishing regulations immediately."
East Cape fishing area weather was cloudy in the low-80s, with water temperatures at 67 to 73 degrees.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of East Cape's Hotel Rancho Leonero reported 2 to 3 boats fishing per day, with good inshore results on sierra, pargo, and bonito, plus 3 to 4 dorado and some striped marlin to the south off Los Frailes, as about half of charters running to the area released marlin.
"We've had some very good fishing this week," Ireland said. The inshore bite is strong, and we've had calm mornings, with afternoon winds coming out of the southeast.
"Most of the dorado were taken on the troll, 4 to 7 miles out. There were some quality fish of 20 to 35 pounds.
"There are also some big amberjack of 30 to 40 pounds being taken inshore on Rapalas and iron just off the Punta Arena lighthouse by inshore fishermen and kayakers fishing on the first drop-off."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported cool temperatures and windy weather for his pangas fishing the La Paz and Las Arenas sides. "It's fortunate that our better fishing is inshore right now, out of Muertos Bay," Roldan said. "Despite the winds, the fish have been biting. You'll want a sweatshirt or jacket for the cool mornings and evenings."
Tailhunter pangas caught yellowtail of mostly 12 to 20 pounds, but including some fish of 30 to 40 pounds while fishing with live baits on rocky drop-offs near Punta Perico.
"The same areas produced amberjack and pargo, and also sierra where the sandy beach drops off to deeper water," Roldan said. "Closer to shore, a mix of jack crevalle, roosterfish, and pompano was taken. We also got a few dorado! There must be some warmer water here and there!"
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing at La Paz reported some calm fishing days for his pangas on the Las Arenas side south of the city, but winter winds returning at midweek, with cool air temperatures greeting the Carnaval holiday period.
Tortuga Sportfishing charter pangas did well with good catches of yellowtail and pargo lisa, or mullet snapper in Spanish, while fishing near the Baja coast at Punta Perico. Sierra were caught at Punta Arena, and similar action was found out at Isla Cerralvo.
"We also saw marlin in our fishing areas this week, although we were not able to hook any," Hernandez said. "We're finding live bait easily every day, so we're able to fish as we normally do."
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Loreto's Baja Big Fish Company reported slow yellowtail action during a period of wind, as boats began looking for the bite again at midweek. "We have some boats out," Bolles said. "Those boats that did go out this week reported slow action. Last week was pretty windy. Not much chance to go out."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Patti Higginbotham of Mulege reported plenty of live bait available but slow yellowtail fishing as 16 boats competed in Mulege's recent 2-day Marty Robison Memorial Yellowtail Tournament.
"Sixty anglers had calm seas," Higginbotham said. "Live bait was easy outside the Mulege lighthouse, and also off Haystack for the San Bruno and San Lucas Cove anglers.
"But after a hard day of fishing from Isla Tortuga to all points south, the high hopes didn't match the light catch."
With some boats returning with few or no yellowtail, the tournament winners were: first place, Kara Dodge, 34.6-pound yellowtail caught off Wilber's Hole about 8 miles from Mulege; second place, Mark Burbey, 25.2-pound yellowtail; third place, Fermin Rosas, 24.8-pound yellowtail; other fish category, Gene Lee, 31.1-pound grouper.
"On day two, we had warning that the weather would be iffy," Higginbotham said. "Most boats stayed close in. Some San Lucas Cove boats made it out to the 110 bajo at Isla San Marcos, and the boat Off Course braved the high seas at Isla Tortuga.
"But the weigh-in became a bore for our photographer, Don Snowden. All records from day one stood.
"Although the delicious banquet fish dinner at La Jungla served more than 100 people and the numerous raffle prizes soothed most ruffled feathers, it seems the decline in fishing can't only be blamed on full moons, or rough weather. The increase in commercial trawlers, longliners, and shrimpers, along with nets, and even we sportfishermen searching the same few reefs and holes day after day may be taking the local Mulege fishery down to dangerously low numbers.
"This nonprofit fishing tournament donates all monies to the Mulege volunteer fire department, dental and eye clinic, repair and maintenance of the launch ramp and dock, and the Mulege scholarship program. We thank our local sponsors and Ballyhoo, Hook Line and Sinker, Cabella's, and MirrOlure for their continuous support."
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Jim Anderson of San Bruno, just south of Santa Rosalia, reported some improvement in yellowtail fishing, but the bite still slow overall.
"Things started to perk up a little this week," Anderson said. "It was difficult to find live bait a couple of days, but most boats that made the trip to the north end of Isla San Marcos got to at least see someone in the fleet catching an occasional yellowtail. But the fishing was certainly not a wide-open bite by any means."
Anderson noted a local Mexican panga fisherman with a good early bite for 4 quality yellowtail, but with action stopping as the fleet arrived.
"When the other boaters arrived, things slowed down to a occasional bite," Anderson said. "Some fishermen are completely unaware that they scare the fish or put them down by moving into the feeding zone with wide-open motors. They are unaware of how sensitive these yellowtail are to boat traffic and speeding motors."
Santa Rosalia fishing area weather was windy again at midweek.
Bahia de los Angeles Fishing & Sea of Cortez Midriff
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Rod Mebius of Kino Bay, on the Mexican mainland coast near Isla Tiburon, reported boats fishing just a couple of days per week during a period of strong winds and rough seas.
"When boats do get out fishing, it has been spotty for yellowtail, but good for the various sea basses," Mebius said. Most of the yellowtail fishermen head for San Pedro, and the bottom fishing guys are going to the various offshore islands."
Mebius noted some improvement in tourist business at Kino Bay. "There appear to be quite a few Americans here again this year, so it sure helps the local economy," he said.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of the San Felipe Title Company bookstore reported sunny skies and good weather in the mid-60s, with winds calming after an overnight blow. "We have blue skies and people are browning up nicely," Meders said.
San Felipe was scheduled to celebrate the Carnaval holiday over the weekend. "The usual festivities will take place with the parades taking pace on Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday afternoon," she said. "It looks like we should have very good weather this year. It usually either rains or there are hurricane force winds, even though everyone is still game and shows a lot of spirit."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bryan Replogle of San Carlos reported another first place finish in the local yellowtail tournament for his boat Margarita V, with a total weight of 240 pounds of fish landed during 2 days of fishing. The largest fish in the tournament, at 25.4 pounds, was caught by the second place team, Mr. Ed.
"Luck was with me again," Replogle said. "On day two, we came back from 70 pounds down against Steve Calvert's Catch-22 team. On the first day, they were back at 11:30 with 10 fish at 198 pounds! But on day two, somehow they got skunked, while we caught 6 fish farther out.
"Steve and the tournament sponsors put together an excellent event with almost four times last year's pay-out. Next year should be even bigger."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 21 Aries Fleet offshore sportfishing boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 1 striped marlin, and 1 mako shark. Three inshore super pangas had a catch of: 35 cabrilla, 25 triggerfish, 8 jack crevalle, and near Mexico fishing limits of mojarras.
With fishing much slower in the Mazatlan area, Edwards said, "The cooler water had a dramatic effect. Offshore fishing has been 'fishing' without catching. Nothing is working right now."
Mazatlan fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-80s, with cooling water temperatures at 71 degrees inshore and 72 to 73 degrees offshore.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk Master Baiters Sportfishing & Tackle reported improved fishing for yellowfin tuna at El Banco. "El Banco is alive with tuna," Gabruk said, "and they’re lining up to take bait. There's plenty at the bank. For the last couple of days yellowfin tuna have blanketed the region 15 miles northwest of the high spots. This week the seiners gave vacationing anglers a shot. They had come in as close as the Marieta Islands."
Marlin, tuna, dog snapper, and sailfish were present at Roca Corbeteña. "With its varied underwater terrain, many fish species call this area home year-round," Gabruk said. "If you’re in a down day at El Banco, start your way out to Corbeteña. The area between the two locations is fertile ground that gets ignored a lot."
Closer to shore, good catches of dorado at 25 to 45 pounds were made at Punta Mita and Islas Marietas, in addition to jack crevalle, bonito, skipjack tuna, and mixed species.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Mazatlan's Flota Bibi Fleet said, "Deep sea fishing showed down during the last weekend, but this week has picked up. Inshore fishing is much better for spotted rose snapper, triggerfish, jack crevalle, parrotfish, green chili, amberjack, grunt, and mojarra." Flota Bibi Fleet boats fished with shrimp and squid baits.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Mike Bulkley of Huntress Sportfishing at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo reported slower offshore fishing with increased wind and chop. "The blue water has moved offshore to the 15-mile line and very few dorado or tuna have shown up," Bulkley said. Despite conditions, offshore boats still had about 2 to 4 sailfish shots per outing.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported improved action for blue marlin and black marlin for Ixtapa fishing boats, and good numbers of sailfish present but reluctant to bite. "Many boats had an opportunity for the trophy fish," Edwards said. "The largest fish of the week was a 240-pound blue marlin caught by the Gringo Loco." Inshore fishing was good for a mix of sierra, bonita, and jack crevalle, although roosterfish remained scarce.
Ixtapa Zihuatanejo fishing area weather was clear in the high-80s, with mostly calm sea conditions and water temperatures at 77 to 80 degrees inshore, and 82 degrees offshore, and with green water color out to 10 miles.
"The water goes from green to greenish-blue outwards from 10 miles," Edwards said, "and that is obviously having an effect on the sailfish bite."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said, "Overall fishing for both inshore and offshore is picking up, and the improving trend should continue as we get out of the full moon phase." Good concentrations of bait fish plus jack crevalle, sierra, black skipjack, and birds were present inshore. Ixtapa fishing area weather was clear in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 78 to 83 degrees.