SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: As Mexico's swine flu outbreak caused a drastic reduction in vacation travel to the country, Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas at San Jose del Cabo described the drop in local sportfishing activity, saying, "It looks like a ghost town. We were entering the busy spring season and now we have been shut down by this swine flu."
Brictson noted that no cases of swine flu had been reported at Los Cabos. "We have not heard of any local cases," he said. "But everyone is following the situation with extreme precaution. We hope it passes quickly so the economic impact is limited."
For the San Jose del Cabo fishing week ending April 30, 2009, Brictson reported on 57 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 92 yellowfin tuna, 29 dorado, 22 hammerhead shark, 5 wahoo, 2 striped marlin, 3 yellowtail, 23 amberjack, 42 mixed snapper species, 28 bonito, 20 sierra, 18 cabrilla, and 25 triggerfish.
Yellowfin tuna counts of 3 to 6 fish per boat were found from San Luis to Vinorama for pangas jigging up abundant squid bait and drifting squid strips for tuna of 40 to 70 pounds. "Lots of juvenile hammerhead shark and a few dorado of 15 to 35 pounds were also found in the same region," Brictson said. "A handful of wahoo in the 10 to 40-pound class were also found roaming the same banks and were hooked on yo-yo jigs and strips of squid, but not on the standard arsenal of high speed trolling lures."
Sardina bait fish continued scarce at San Jose del Cabo, as pangas fished with squid caught easily at La Laguna and other areas. "The commercial pangueros reported small squid balled up on the surface at the Inner Gordo Bank," Brictson said. "They were able to scoop them up and use them to catch quality-sized huachinango."
San Jose del Cabo fishing area weather was mostly calm, with improving water clarity and water temperatures at 73 to 75 degrees.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Daniel Sanchez of San Jose del Cabo reported slow fishing for his boat Maverick, fishing out of Puerto Los Cabos marina with Capt. Adolfo Sanchez for a catch including a jack crevalle of about 20 to 25 pounds hooked on a trolled live sardina about 4 miles of Punta Palmilla. "There wasn't enough bait in the area," Sanchez said. "We could buy just 15 sardinas after a hour of waiting."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Randy Morishita of Carlsbad, Calif., reported on an overland Baja run from the U.S. border, down the San Felipe road, and down highway Mex 1 to Los Cabos, where fishing with his son Matthew produced cabrilla, grouper, sierra, large triggerfish, yellowtail, pargo, a huge barred pargo caught by Capt. Tony's son Axel and some amberjack caught by his friend Axel. "The big fish all bit jigs," Morishita said. "Live bait was available just one day."
Morishita also reported the San Felipe road paved all the way to La Costilla, with work continuing to the Laguna Chapala turnoff on Mex 1.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported Ensenada fishing area weather as partly cloudy in the low-60s, with light breezes, ocean swells at 3 feet, and water temperatures averaging 58 degrees. Vonny's Fleet charter pangas fishing at the tip of Ensenada's Punta Banda caught a good mix of bottom fish plus halibut on the sand flats inside the bay. Anglers fishing with Capt. Beto on the panga Vonny I during the week included Frank Cabeza, Anthony Cabeza, and Alec Lagorria of Los Angeles, Calif.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the Ensenada boat Bad Dog out of Marina Coral reported good numbers of yellowtail seen during 2 local fishing trips inside Bahia de Todos Santos, but the fish reluctant to bite in water temperatures of about 58 to 59 degrees.
At Isla Todos Santos, Ross, said, "At 0600 we found yellowtail blowing up all around us just a mile from where the island splits in half.
"They were chasing small anchovies. You could see their backs coming out of the water and their tails splashing. Juan Lu threw Tady 45s at the boils to no avail. Over and over, they wouldn't bite the iron.
On the Bad Dog's second outing for local yellowtail, Ross said, "We arrived on the same numbers at daybreak and found that the volume of fish had diminished greatly. More boats showed up. Pangas were running and gunning on birds but they caught nothing, just like us. At one point, the yellows came up right next to the boat and the trolled Rapalas ran right over them to no avail."
In deteriorating sea conditions to 5 feet and 15 knots of wind, the Bad Dog finished the day by bottom fishing at Bajo San Miguel for a catch of 4 vermilion rockfish of about 3 pounds, 4 lingcod, 3 sculpin, 1 gopher rockfish, 1 copper rockfish, and 1 starry rockfish.
"I didn't hear or see anyone who caught a yellowtail for either day of fishing," Ross said. "They can be caught, but you have to be real lucky right now. I did meter large meat balls of bait fish at 500 feet. There were no bonito, no barracuda, and no squid. This will change in the coming weeks of spring."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 39 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo charter boats Fish Cabo, Fish Cabo I, and Tuna Time, with a catch including released fish of: 5 striped marlin, 72 dorado, 64 yellowfin tuna, and 4 roosterfish. Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was clear in the low-90s, with water temperatures of 73 to 76 degrees.
Edwards noted the drastic effect of the current swine flu outbreak on travel to Mexico and sportfishing traffic in the Cabo San Lucas area.
"The swine flu has had an enormous impact," Edwards said. "Cancellations have been rampant for the past several days."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing reported 25 percent of charters releasing striped marlin during the week, for a total of 10 marlin, 47 percent with football yellowfin tuna, including some with release action on up to 40 fish, and 25 percent landing dorado, usually just single fish. The only broadbill swordfish so far this year, 178 pounder caught 23 miles south, was also reported by the boat Bandido.
"With the swine flu scare we have had a lot of cancellations," Ehrenberg said. "Cabo San Lucas is geographically isolated and flights coming from the U.S don’t go through Mexico City. We are all feeling confident."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the previous fishing week ending April 22, 2009, Ehrenberg reported marlin slow to bite in heavy concentrations of juvenile squid, but mixed inshore species filling out the catch as 40 percent of charters landed up to 26 yellowfin tuna of 8 to 15 pounds, 28 percent caught up to 6 dorado as large as 35 pounds, inshore fishing produced cabrilla, skipjack, bonita, squid, sierra, pompano, and 1 mako shark, and just 4 striped marlin were released.
"The marlin are around but they are not hungry," Ehrenberg said. "They are inhaling tons of baby squid in the water. No wonder.
"Jose Ramon and Luis Cota of our boat Rebecca were fishing 10 miles southeast of Cabo when they found a red stain in the water about 500 meters in diameter. It was a patch of baby squid being attacked by pelicans, dolphins, seagulls, seals, frigate birds, yellowfin tuna and skipjack. They hooked up 17 yellowfin tuna and then trolled around the baby squid and hooked a striped marlin which they successfully released.
"There were so many squid that with a gallon bucket the deckhand caught 15 babies which were let go."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 9 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 1 striped marlin, 1 striped marlin lost, 16 yellowfin tuna of 15 to 18 pounds, 5 dorado of 20 to 30 pounds, 33 yellowtail of 12 to 20 pounds, 20 sierra mackerel of about 3 to 6 pounds, 3 pompano of 4 pounds, 1 roosterfish of 15 pounds, 2 bonita, and 1 Humboldt squid of 20 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing reported continued cool water temperatures on the Pacific-side banks, with little marlin action, but some schools of yellowfin tuna at 20 to 40 pounds found to the west of the Jaime Bank. "They are providing our anglers with lots of action and some great tuna fillets," Lowendick said. On the Cortez side, striped marlin were released from the Gordo Banks area and northwestward for about another 30 miles.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending May 26, 2009, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported some striped marlin caught in warmer water around the 1150 and 95 spots, yellowfin tuna of 5 to 15 pounds found with porpoise just south of the Jaime Bank, and dorado scattered throughout the fishing area as boats picked off a couple of fish per outing. Local inshore fishing continued good for sierra and yellowtail from the arch to the Cortez side. "When the wind blew hard, the water really greened up and most of the action moved to the Cortez side," Landrum said. Cabo San Lucas fishing area water temperatures were at 64 to 67 degrees to the west and 70 to 71 degrees on the Cortez side.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported 45 boats fishing during the week.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the East Cape fishing week ending April 23, 2009, Felipe Valdez of Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 21 boats, with 48 anglers and a catch including released fish of: 5 striped marlin, 61 dorado, 46 roosterfish, 1 shark, 8 snappers, 4 ladyfish, 1 pompano, 3 skipjack tuna, and 28 sierra. East Cape fishing area weather was in the high-70s, with water temperatures of 71 to 75 degrees, as fleet boats fished 4 to 10 miles out. Inshore fishing was good for roosterfish from the hotel southwards to the Punta Arena lighthouse as conventional and fly fishing anglers landed up to 5 fish of 5 to 30 pounds per outing.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the East Cape fishing week ending April 23, 2009, Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 70 charter boats from combined fleets including Hotels Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, Punta Colorada, Buena Vista Beach Resort, Rancho Leonero, and Martin Verdugo's Beach Resort, with 233 anglers and a catch including released fish of: 31 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 141 dorado, 16 pargo, 27 cabrilla, 16 roosterfish, and 1 sierra.
Moyers noted the long period, from December 2008, without reports, citing a lack of sportfishing action at East Cape as the cause. "Typically, we open the Smokehouse up in January," Moyers said, "but 2009 is so far from a typical year that we wonder if things will ever get back to normal. Apart from the local population, East Cape has been like a ghost town until very recently. We simply have not had sufficient personnel to get out on the docks where we compile the fish report data."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja fly fishing service at East Cape reported air temperatures in the low-80s, water temperatures of 74 to 76 degrees, and good beach fishing for roosterfish and jack crevalle, but with very few visitors in the area due to Mexico's swine flu outbreak.
"All the swine flu news has left East Cape beaches and hotels pretty empty this week," deBrown said. "We all need to take it seriously, but here in Baja we are much safer than in the big cities on the mainland. To my knowledge we have no reported cases here in Baja."
Beach fishing at East Cape produced shots at roosterfish of 10 to 40 pounds.
Striped marlin were abundant offshore, but not biting due to heavy concentrations of squid in the water.
"Some East Cape fishing boats are getting 1 or 2 marlin on lures that represent squid, but this number should be higher," deBrown said. "Last Friday we saw over 50 marlin between jumpers, trailers, and sleepers. We saw schools of marlin feeding on surface squid but they were up and down fast.”
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of the Vista Sea Sport diving service and East Cape boat Jen Wren reported good action for striped marlin during an outing on Saturday, April 26, 2009.
"Marlin were feeding everywhere we looked about 4 or 5 miles off Punta Colorada and 13 miles from my front door," Rayor said. "When they came up on bait balls you could have thrown a Corona bottle in and got bit. We released 7 marlin. Six of them came on jurelito baits and the other on a lure.
"We were lucky to get the bait in the morning. Most of the other East Cape boats only had ballyhoo which were not quite as effective."
Fishing aboard the Jen Wren were anglers Tom and Christine Corbit, and Valerie and Mark Wise, all from Charlotte, NC.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending April 26, 2009, John Ireland of Rancho Leonero reported East Cape weather mostly calm in the low-90s, with water temperatures at 72 to 75 degrees and very good dorado action found, especially around a dead whale.
"A piece of floating whale blubber has produced dorado for 5 straight days," Ireland said. "At least 40 local East Cape boats have pulled daily limits from under it. I haven't seen one taken under 20 pounds. Literally thousands of dorado were taken from it over the last week. East Cape anglers are also picking up dorado very close to the beach. It was a really great week for dorado fishing."
Inshore fishing produced lots of 2 to 10-pound roosterfish along most East Cape beaches, plus pompano, and still plentiful sierra.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Simon Cazaly of the Vista Sea Sport diving service at East Cape said the week's sea life sightings were led by big numbers of leopard grouper, or cabrilla in Spanish. "In the Cabo Pulmo marine park, it was all about leopard grouper," Cazaly said. "It was very difficult to find a dive site that wasn't completely inundated with them. When leading a group of divers, it can be difficult to point out the smaller, macro life when surrounded by hundreds of pounds of big fish whichever way you turn. At times I got the impression that it would be easier to just sit still in one place rather than try and fight my way through, not really a bad predicament to be in, I might add!"
Cazaly reported water temperatures at depth averaging 72 degrees, with 25 to 30 feet of visibility. Other sea life sightings included free swimming Panamic moray eels, guitarfish, Cortez and diamond stingrays, and nudibranchs.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing at La Paz reported good fishing weather in the 80, with days of good action for dorado offshore, and larger snappers, including large mullet snapper, broken off in the reefs.
Species caught in good inshore fishing action included cabrilla, mixed snappers, and good numbers of amberjack.
Hernandez also noted that tourists and anglers continued to be few at La Paz.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gary Evans of Irvine, Calif., reported on a panga outing from Ensenada de los Muertos for a catch with his brother Bill Evans of La Paz for a catch at the shark buoys including 2 dorado of about 42 and 45 pounds. The day's catch also included a Mexican hogfish, or sierra, that had been feeding on the bottom. "When I cleaned it, it was full of shells," Evans said.
LORETO, MEXICO: Bill Erhardt of Loreto reported on 3 days of fishing aboard his boat Soledad for a mixed inshore and offshore catch of 5 dorado to 20 pounds, 10 yellowtail, and no marlin.
"I fished each day early for yellowtail and the balance of the day trolling feathers offshore for pelagics," Erhardt said.
"Many clumps of seaweed are appearing in the waters off Loreto. I found one well-formed paddy northeast of town that was holding a large school of dorado. I worked the paddy with marlin feathers and caught the 5 dorado including a bull around 20 pounds."
Loreto fishing area weather was calming in the 80s, with sea surface temperatures offshore at 74 degrees. "It is a pleasure to be on the water whether you are catching fish or not," Erhardt said.
LORETO, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending April 24, 2009, Don Bear of Loreto reported continued good yellowtail fishing in flat seas and water temperatures of 69 to 71 degrees. During 3 outings by Bear's boat with Capt. Paulino Martinez a total of 39 yellowtail were caught at fishing locations including the San Bruno bajo and the north end of Isla Carmen between La Cholla and Punta Tintorera.
"Paulino’s yellowtail fishing method all 3 days was to locate sardina schools on the fish finder and drop baits with sliding egg sinkers and long leaders above and below the sardinas," Bear said. "As we drifted away from the sardinas, strikes became scarce and we’d re-locate them. It proved to be very successful."
Bear noted very few charter sportfishing boats active at Loreto. "Most of the pangas are locals fishing commercially or local gringos," he said.
MULEGE, MEXICO: Patti Higginbotham of Mulege reported local boats finding some yellowtail at fishing locations spread out between Isla San Marcos and Punta Pulpito, in water temperatures of 71 to 74 degrees. John Dinning's boat Mi Mujer returned from the south end of the island with 2 yellowtail and 6 jigs lost.
Higginbotham's boat Strange Lady ran south to fish between Puntas Santa Teresa and Pulpito for 5 yellowtail in the 30-plus pound class.
The Mulege Dorado Fishing Tournament was scheduled for May 29-30, 2009, with an anglers' meeting on May 28, 2009. Information, Mulegefishingtournament.com.
SANTA ROSALIA, MEXICO: Ed Duitsman of Hinkley, Calif., reported on a trip to Santa Rosalia with an outing to Isla Tortuga by his boat Daycare producing some small yellowtail near the Santa Rosalia marina and a large yellowtail caught by his son Cory Duitsman in windy conditions at the island. Water temperatures were at 64 to 65 degrees. At the marina, Hinkley's boat fished with 4 girls from the San Bruno orphanage aboard. "They loved it," he said. "They caught lots of nonstop small yellowtail, bass, croaker, rockfish, and miscellaneous fish. We used only light trout gear."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko south of Bahia de los Angeles village reported local weather in the mid-70s, with moderate west winds from the west at night, water temperatures at 63 to 67 degrees, and fishing mostly slow for yellowtail, but with some caught at the Guadalupe bajo to the north, and some grouper caught around the islands. "The water inside the bay is heavy with plankton," Vazquez said. "Fishing for bass is slow."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of the San Felipe Title Company Bookstore reported perfect weather in the high-70s, with light breezes, and local concerns about the possible spreading of the mainland Mexico swine flu outbreak. "There are now 2 unconfirmed cases in Tijuana," Meders said. "So far at San Felipe, you see a few people wearing masks. Between all the already bad press because of the drug cartels, and now this, poor Mexico seems to be working through some kind of bad-karma episode. We are praying and affirming and meditating on the fact that sooner or later the pendulum must swing the other way."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bryan Replogle of San Carlos reported local boats still getting some yellowtail near town and also out at Isla San Pedro Nolasco, but the focus on reports of marlin and dorado approaching the Midriff area. "The billfish have been spotted within 12 miles and baby dorado are just offshore," Replogle said. "A terrible case of 'pelagic fever' has broken out in San Carlos. It seems that the only antibiotic of ballyhoo is sold out in Tucson and that the symptoms are causing individuals to overly analyze Terrafin for warm currents, and to spend ample time in the local cantinas."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jon Jen Charters of San Carlos reported variable water temperatures between 65 and 71 degrees as local anglers awaited the arrival of billfish and dorado. "We have some blue water and lots of debris," Jon Jen said. "The last hearsay report was yesterday of small dorado at 25 miles." Two runs to Isla San Pedro Nolasco produced depth sounder sightings of fish and several yellowtail hookups, with some landed. "Panga fisherman were doing very well with live bait, loading up on big yellowtail one after another," Jon Jen said.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 6 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 1 broadbill swordfish, the second reported for the season, 1 sailfish, 1 mako shark, 3 striped marlin, 18 dorado, and 2 yellowfin tuna. Eight inshore super pangas had a catch of: 17 baqueta, 109 snappers, 24 lora, 17 triggerfish, 10 barracuda, 1 dorado, and 10 grouper. Mazatlan fishing area weather was mostly clear in the high-80s, with light winds and water temperatures at 74 degrees inshore and 78 to 79 degrees offshore. Marina El Cid offshore boats fished southwest from about 22 miles outwards.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Flota Bibi Fleet reported very few anglers present at Mazatlan, as offshore fishing was improving and inshore trips produced a mix of red snapper, triggerfish, gulf coney, croakers, parrotfish, "rabbitfish," jack crevalle, grunts, and other species. Mazatlan water temperatures averaged 77 degrees, with the port open daily.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Danny Osuna of Marla's Sportfishing reported on an 80-mile run by the charter boat Marla for good action of 28 yellowfin tuna of 60 to over 100 pounds at a spot off Isla Magdalena, the center island in the Tres Marias group.
"We had a super overnight trip to the tuna grounds," Osuna said. "The weather was just perfect, just a little north breeze, a flat sea, and clean water. We had an epic catch. It was a perfect combination.
"We ran to the 1,000-fathom drop-off where we found a lot of sea life, bait, tuna, everything. We set our lines out and in no longer than 2 minutes we got hammered by a double header. We had the boat full in 1 hour and 10 minutes.
"We spent the night out there, and the next day it was a wide-open bite again. Just crazy. The tuna were hitting live caballitos and Marauders."
Fishing aboard the Marla were California anglers Todd Fresser, Kevin Seeger, and Kimm Hogue.
Inshore fishing near Puerto Vallarta was a little slower, but still produced good numbers of smaller snappers, jacks, pompano, sierra, and a few roosterfish.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk reported good concentrations of feeding yellowfin tuna located a long 80-mile run away from port at Islas Tres Marias, spotty action at the closer El Banco and Roca Corbetena offshore high spots, and good numbers of roosterfish, dorado, and mixed species closer to shore at Islas Marietas and Punta Mita. At Islas Tres Marias to the north, Gabruk said, "The tuna are there and taking bait. This is highly unusual. Normally the tuna season starts as the water temperatures head up towards 84 degrees in early June. We’ve also seen blue, black and striped marlin up north for the whole winter."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said Ixtapa Zihuatanejo fishing boats averaged about 1 sailfish per outing, as blue water varied between 18 to 30 miles out. The local sailfish tournament was postponed to the weekend of May 22, 2009. "This was done in solidarity with other sporting events in Mexico, due to the swine flu," Kunze said. "There is no swine flu here, but the federally mandated program is shutting down all sporting events."
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported tough offshore fishing conditions with green water extending outwards about 40 miles. Inshore fishing continued good for jack crevalle, skipjack tuna, and bonito. Ixtapa Zihuatanejo fishing area weather was clear and calm in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 75 to 76 degrees near shore and 81 degrees offshore.
CANCUN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 9 outings by the El Cid Caribe sportfishing fleet at Puerto Morelos near Cancun, with a catch including released fish of: 13 dorado, 6 sailfish, 2 yellowfin tuna, 3 red snapper, 1 grouper, and 1 barracuda. Cancun fishing area weather was mostly cloudy in the high-80s, with some rough sea conditions, several days of port closures, and water temperatures stable at 80 degrees. El Cid Caribe boats fished mostly with trolled ballyhoo baits on the surface and weighted ballyhoo on the bottom.