PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Danny Osuna of Marla's Sportfishing at Puerto Vallarta reported on an exceptional day of winter fishing in extraordinarily good sea conditions on March 7, 2009 aboard the charter boat Marla for a catch of 6 yellowfin tuna of 150 to almost 300 pounds.
"One was 150 pounds, 4 of them were around 200 pounds, and the biggest was pushing 300," Osuna said.
"It was an epic trip for the Marla, overnight to about 60 to 85 miles off Punta Mita. The water temp was 66 degrees and the weather was just perfect. The wind was really dead and there was no swell at all. We were just hoping to find some tuna."
Fishing with Osuna and first mate Alvino Osuna aboard the Marla were 4 anglers from Tepic, Nayarit: Amado Aguilar, Oscar Herrera, "Sergio," and "Nacho."
"It didn't take long before we spotted a big school of bait," Osuna said. "There were birds feeding all over and when we got on top of it, it was amazing to see all those big tuna feeding really hard on pipefish.
"We only had the small HX5/2 Avets for casting live bait. The first casts got 2 hookups on some real big fish and we landed one and lost one. The Avets did a perfect job for such small reels.
"So after that, we got the big weapons ready, the 30 Pro Ex and 50 Pro Ex Avets, and the party really got started. This offshore fishing was wide-open."
Osuna reported Puerto Vallarta inshore fishing also very good for roosterfish of 30 to 80 pounds and a good variety of bottom fish including snappers, groupers, pompano, and other species. "We released about 40 roosterfish in 2 days of inshore fishing," Osuna said. "It was a great fishing week."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported good local Ensenada fishing conditions in the mid-50s at midweek, with skies partly cloudy, light winds at 3 m.p.h., ocean swells of 3 feet, and the water temperature at the tip of Punta Banda averaging 56 degrees. Mexico fishing limits of lingcod, mixed bottom species, and 1 yellowtail at 25 pounds were caught by Vonny's Fleet pangas, including an outing by Capt. Beto aboard the Vonny I with angler Victor Castro and his son Victor, both of Mexicali. "The dropper loops with anchovies and squid produced," Villarino said, "and they got the yellowtail on 40-pound test with a quick toss of an aluminum jig."
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: 156 striped marlin, and 48 dorado. The top boat for the week was again the Gaviota VIII with Capt. Juan Dominguez and a catch including released fish of 25 striped marlin in 7 outings.
"The March marlin madness continues," Edwards said. "Usually, March is in the doldrums at Cabo Cabo San Lucas, but we'll take it, and we like it. The Golden Gate Bank is still the mega-marlin hot spot for the Cabo San Lucas fishing area. Mackerel is the preferred bait, but, even sardinAs and caballitos are working well."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Connolly of the Pisces Fleet charter boat Falcon reported on the first 2 outings of 5 trips scheduled with a client from Chicago, with a catch including released fish of: 16 striped marlin, and 3 dorado. "Capt. Manuel had a happy and tired angler," Connolly said. "All the fish came from the Golden Gate Bank. There were lots of birds, and lots of marlin. The water was calm and 74 degrees. "
Connolly noted slightly less marlin activity on the Golden Gate Bank as Cabo San Lucas charter boats chased down feeders over the full moon period. "It is rare when the moon does not have an effect," Connolly said, "but it's difficult to refer to 16 marlin in 2 days as a slow-down. It's difficult to imagine the fishing improving, but when the moon fades, I suppose it's possible, even likely. It's amazing."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-80s, with water temperatures fairly even at about 72 degrees on the Pacific banks and around into the Sea of Cortez. Live bait continued in very good supply on the Golden Gate Bank.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic Sportfishing reported on 55 charters, with a catch including released fish of: 61 striped marlin, 18 yellowfin tuna, 28 dorado, 14 wahoo, some skipjack, and good numbers of sierra, and pargo. Many whales were present on the fishing grounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 8 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 23 striped marlin, 1 hammerhead shark of 30 pounds released, and 3 yellowtail at 25 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of the Baja Anglers fly fishing service noted questions from clients about personal safety in the Cabo San Lucas area, as opposed to Mexico's border areas, and increasing reports of drug-related violence. "Cabo is safe," Hartman said. "I have never felt any danger in Cabo and southern Baja. My wife and our girls take long walks at night along the marina and local beaches and have never felt threatened. Mexico is filled with an incredibly friendly, wholesome people. They are on the most part some of the warmest folks I have ever met. Don’t let the border violence and the scare tactics the media uses keep you and your family away from Cabo and southern Baja."
Striped marlin action at the Pacific-side Golden Gate Bank produced 4 to 6 releases per day on light tackle or fly fishing tackle, and many mako shark were also present. "These mako shark are fun on light gear," Hartman said, "but with all the marlin around, everyone just ignores them. I have seen a few mako go over 200 pounds."
Inshore fishing near Cabo San Lucas produced good catches of sierra to over 12 pounds on both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez sides, plus roosterfish mostly under 15 pounds but with some present to over 50 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending March 8, 2009, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported Golden Gate Bank striped marlin action ranging from hot to very hot as Cabo charters crowded together on the fish. "It was combat fishing most of the time, with boats running to feeders as they popped up," Landrum said. "But there were so many birds and bait balls coming to the surface, it was no problem catching fish."
Landrum described hooking marlin with both sardine and mackerel live baits caught on the bank. "I did well using dead sardines," Landrum said. "There were scales drifting around, so they were chasing sardines. A Sabiki rig with clear wing flies caught sardines, and Lucky Joe rigs with red-yellow yarn caught small mackerel. The problem with sardines is that they do not stay alive in the bait tank and they are lightweight so the birds get to them. A quarter-ounce sinker under the chin got the bait down away from the birds."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported on 49 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 356 sierra, 182 bonito, 22 yellowtail, 19 pargo, 18 triggerfish, 16 cabrilla, 15 amberjack, 14 roosterfish, 11 dorado, 7 pompano, 3 wahoo, 3 yellowfin tuna, 2 striped marlin, and 1 mako shark.
La Playita pangas concentrated on inshore and bottom fishing as water temperatures averaged 68 to 72 degrees.
"After enjoying excellent winter fishing at San Jose del Cabo into the first part of February, things are back to what you would normally expect for March," Brictson said, "a mix of inshore and bottom species."
Brictson noted fewer than normal numbers of tourists present in the Los Cabos area, probably due to the problems with the U.S. economy and bad publicity about violent crime in Mexican border areas. "The problems relate to incidents in border towns," Brictson said. "There have not been any reports of similar crimes in the Los Cabos area. This remains a safe travel destination."
Near shore fishing was concentrated on sierra mackerel centered off Chileno. "Much of the fleet is fishing in this area," Brictson said. "And the local rock piles have been up-and-down for cabrilla, snapper, amberjack, and yellowtail using weighted baits and yo-yoed jigs."
Live sardina baits were in good supply along the Baja coast from Chileno to San Luis. Whale numbers off the tip of Baja were slightly lower.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja fly fishing guide service at East Cape reported some overcast skies and light winds, but mostly favorable fishing conditions during the week, and the bite led by active dorado. "We've had very good numbers of dorado," deBrown said. "On Friday, I found part of a dead seal with as many dorado as one could imagine under it. We stopped the motor and did not turn it back on until two-and-a-half hours later."
Some East Cape anglers did well on yellowtail using deep soaked bait, and beach fishing produced shots on roosterfish in the 20-pound class. "We're starting to see some excellent opportunities," deBrown said. "Today, a guest had many great shots at roosters, and one very nice fish of about 60 pounds chased a school of mullet right to our feet."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending March 7, 2009, John Ireland of Rancho Leonero reported East Cape weather in the low-90s, with calm seas and water temperatures warmer at 68 to 73 degrees.
Dorado including some fish to 50 pounds were in a strong bite around a floating sea lion off the Las Arenas lighthouse. "Fly fishermen in 2 Rancho Leonero pangas released 50 dorado of 10 to 40 pounds yesterday," Ireland said. "The dead sea lion is holding a huge school, as many as anglers' arms can take."
Striped marlin were present south of the lighthouse, and yellowtail of 20 to 50 pounds were caught on deep mackerel baits or jigs directly in front of the hotel. "Last year, we had a full month of wide-open yellowtail," Ireland said. "With luck, this year we'll have a repeat." Roosterfish and sierra were also active on East Cape beaches.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Simon Cazaly of the Vista Sea Sport diving service at East Cape described his first dive after being away for the past few months.
"Cerro Verde, just north of Los Barriles, is ideal for refamiliarizing because it's sheltered from the elements, starts off shallow, and gently slopes down just about as far as one might care to go," Cazaly said.
"Two minutes into the dive, the familiar shadow of a diamond stingray on the sand patch informed me that I was back where I belong, under the ocean surrounded by blissful blue solitude with just the sound of my bubbles and my silent underwater neighbors for company.
"I checked out some of those old friends. Several large green and jewel morays peered out from under rocks and allowed me to pet them gently as I passed by.
"At 60 feet, the water temperature was a cool 67 degrees. Visibility was 25 to 30 feet, perfect for hovering above the reef and letting life pass me by. Grunts arrowed down past my head from all angles, garden eels danced in the sand, and together with my dive partner, Becky, we slowly waltzed amidst it all.
"The highlight of the dive was a stunning juvenile Cortez angelfish, watchfully chaperoned by its parent. This fish has yellow and blue curved bars on the rear portion of its body so brightly colored that a Jackson Pollock painting would appear dull in comparison, truly a magnificent fish.
"Heading back to shore, we were greeted by a solitary smoothtail mobular manta ray on our safety stop. It circled around for 3 minutes and almost seemed disappointed when we waved our farewells and slowly headed back up to the surface."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported some winds in the La Paz fishing area but pangas fishing on both the north and south sides getting into yellowtail of 10 to 15 pounds. "There are also definitely mossbacks in the 30 to 40-pound range," Roldan said. "We haven't see the full brunt yet."
Yellowtail were caught north of the city at the El Bajo seamount and also out at the north tip of Isla Cerralvo. On the Las Arenas side to the south, they were caught off Ensenada de los Muertos and Punta Perico.
Yellowtail were caught on sardina baits, and also on mackerel, caballito, and heavy yo-yo iron, and pargo lisa, dog snapper, roosterfish, and sierra were also in the mix.
Roldan also noted the recent unseasonably good fishing for dorado in southern La Pas waters. "Normally, we don't see dorado this early at La Paz," he said. "We've had limits or near-limits on several days. The bite is close to shore, about 100 to 200 yards off the Punta Perico rocks. There are also some dorado outside, by the inner buoys."
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing at La Paz reported some cloudy skies early in the week, but clear and windless weather in the 80s by midweek. "The sea is very calm," Hernandez said. "But it's also calm for tourists. Very few are arriving in La Paz, although the fishing has been very good for large pargo lisa, large dog snapper, and yellowtail to 40 pounds around Punta Sur of Isla Cerralvo."
Along the Baja shore at Punta Perico, Tortuga Sportfishing pangas caught yellowtail and pargo lisa, plus good numbers of sierra.
"Live bait is available close to our fishing areas, both at Isla Cerralvo and at Punta Arena, and this helps our daily fishing," Hernandez said.
LORETO, MEXICO: Bill Erhardt or Loreto reported on a run north from town for a catch of 7 yellowtail averaging 25 pounds at Punta Pulpito. "The fish were breezing on top under birds," Erhardt said. "They went down by mid-morning as the wind came up."
Another run south to Isla Catalana produced no fish, although yellowtail were reported in the area, as well as closer to Loreto.
"Yellowtail action has picked up out of Loreto over the last couple of weeks, mostly around Isla Carmen and north of town, but some boats launching out of Puerto Escondido have also been scoring to the south," Erhardt said.
An early-season marlin also hit a mackerel bait fly-lined for yellowtail at San Bruno by Rob Douglas of Loreto, but overall, Erhardt noted very few boats fishing in the Loreto area.
"I saw no other boats at Isla Catalana, and at Punta Pulpito I shared the bajo with a single panga and Randy Hamman's boat Jig's Up," Erhardt said.
"There are hardly enough fishermen around to make it worthwhile for the bait co-op, so sometimes bait is available for sale at the marina and sometimes it is necessary to jig up your own."
Loreto fishing area water temperatures averaged 69 degrees at Isla Catalana and about 66 degrees at Punta Pulpito.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Jim Anderson of San Bruno followed up on his earlier report of increased fishing regulation enforcement in the Santa Rosalia area.
"The marineros have been very busy inspecting papers and checking boats," Anderson said. "If you are planning on fishing in the Santa Rosalia, San Lucas Cove, or Mulege areas, make sure you are properly registered and licensed.
"For those of us who have traveled to Mexico for years, it was easy to get a little complacent because no one ever checked, and we were often told not to worry about it. But it looks like those days are over and they really are getting serious.
"I have heard that it is affecting the Mexican fishermen as well, and they have stopped going out until they can obtain all the proper paperwork."
Anderson also corrected the phone number given earlier for Capt. Rigo Ojeda of San Bruno who is offering sportfishing guide services in the Santa Rosalia area. Ojeda's correct cell phone number is, 011-52-1-615-104-9850, he said.
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Rod Mebius of Kino Bay on the Mexican mainland Midriff Area coast reported very good fishing for local boats during the week as reduced winds allowed catches of yellowtail along the west side of Isla Tiburon. "The good fisherman are getting several yellowtail, with some over 20 pounds," Mebius said. "Bottom fishing was also very good for sand bass, goldies, and a few squid."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bryan Replogle of San Carlos had no reports of good action out at Isla San Pedro Nolasco. "But some fish have been coming in from close, from Haystack to Deer Island," Replogle said. "The schools are getting tough to catch, probably because they are focused on small bait or even spawning."
Replogle also reported "the best day of bass fishing in my life" during a freshwater fishing trip to Presa Oviache north of Obregon, with a catch of about 40 bass to 5.5 pounds. "Another boat said they caught bass to 7 pounds on topwater poppers," he said.
On an earlier trip out of San Carlos, Replogle reported 2 yellowtail, and 4 yellowtail were landed by another boat as Isla San Pedro Nolasco. "It seems that there is a lot of small bait to compete with," he said.
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jon Jen Charters of San Carlos reported steady bottom fishing for goldspotted bass and whitefish, but yellowtail action up-and-down, with some boats catching a up to 6 fish of 18 to 25 pounds, and others blanking. San Carlos fishing area water temperatures were in the high-50s to mid-60s, with murky water color.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported somewhat improved fishing for 26 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 16 striped marlin, 13 mako shark, 1 sailfish, and 3 dorado. Nine inshore super pangas had a catch of: Mexico fishing limits of mojarra, 97 barracuda, 25 pargo, 1 corvina, 1 mako shark, 15 burros, 70 triggerfish, 5 loras, 1 baqueta, and 35 roncachos.
Mazatlan fishing area weather was mostly sunny in the mid-80s, with calm seas and water temperatures at 75 degrees inshore and 78 degrees offshore. Most offshore boats fished with trolled mullet rigged baits about 20 to 30 miles southwest of the marina.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Bill Heimple of Star Fleet at Mazatlan reported good action on striped marlin during the early part of the week, plus some dorado and mako shark.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said Ixtapa sportfishing boats averaged about 1 or 2 sailfish per day, with dorado sparse, but with improved action on blue marlin, as about 30 percent of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo boats got a shot at a blue during the week and a few were leadered by the fleet daily.
"The 81-degree water is only 5 or 6 miles out, but boats are getting the most action from 18 to 20 miles out," Kunze said. "Cooler water at 78 degrees should move in from the north within the next couple of weeks, and this will bring the blue marlin."
Kunze noted Mike Bulkley's charter boat Huntress with Capt. Francisco holding onto its position as the fleet's high boat with 30 sailfish strikes and 10 releases in 5 outings. "When they find fish they are still getting double and triple hookups," Kunze said. "But as with all the boats, the sailfish are short biting the baits."
Capt. Santiago on the charter boat Gitana averaged 2 sailfish releases per outing plus a blue marlin landed. The private boat Moonlight landed a 500-pound class blue marlin, and a 56-pound dorado the following day.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Mike Bulkley of Huntress Sportfishing at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo reported 2 sailfish releases per day for Capt. Francisco. "The sails are smaller and are short striking the baits so hookups are harder," Bulkley said. "Blue water is still close, but we have been fishing the 16 to 24-mile area." Outings during the week included a 6-sailfish release day for angler Pete Howell of Maryland.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported more scattered fishing conditions at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, as greener water and fluctuating water temperatures pushed fish outside the 15-mile mark. "The blue and black marlin have moved offshore, and the sailfish have been scattered about too," Edwards said. Inshore fishing was good for light tackle jack crevalle. Very few anglers were present in the Ixtapa area.
Ixtapa fishing area weather was clear at 90 degrees, with calm seas and water temperatures at 79 degrees inshore and 81 to 82 degrees offshore.