SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: As warnings about travel to Mexico during the current swine flu outbreak moderated last week, a small number of anglers did continue to visit popular sportfishing destinations in Baja California and on the mainland.
Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas at Los Cabos reported on 48 combined La Playita fleet pangas fishing out of San Jose del Cabo's Puerto Los Cabos marina, with a catch including released fish of: 89 mixed snapper species, 23 roosterfish, 19 cabrilla, 18 striped marlin, 18 sierra, 17 amberjack, 16 pompano, 14 Mexican bonito, 11 dorado, 10 jack crevalle, 9 yellowtail, 6 yellowfin tuna, and 2 mako shark.
Brictson reported tourist traffic still down due to Mexico's swine flu scare, although official travel advisories had been eased. "Travel alerts are now lowered, and we are seeing a few more tourists," Brictson said, "but overall numbers are still significantly low. This time of year is generally busy."
San Jose del Cabo fishing area water temperatures were at 78 to 80 degrees, as seasonable winds transitioning to the south brought variable water conditions.
"Southern wind patterns push in cooler green Pacific currents," Brictson said. "Consistent warmer weather will stabilize, and clean blue water will be found close to shore throughout summer and into the fall."
Sardina bait fish were not available for the San Jose del Cabo panga fleet, as strong surf scattered bait schools near shore and made netting them hazardous for commercial pangas.
"Sardinas are schooling off the beaches towards East Cape, but they are out of range or in areas with wave action," Brictson said. "The lack of bait and dirty green water really limited the panga fleets. As water clarity improves, inshore action should really heat up."
SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending May 16, 2009, Bob Grimes of San Jose del Cabo reported cold, dirty water, as some pangas ran out 12 to 15 miles in search of marlin or dorado. Inshore fishing produced some yellowtail to 15 pounds, sierra, and smaller roosterfish from Punta Palmilla to El Tule.
Grimes noted local Mexican commercial pangueros fishing for sierra with baited hooks rather than gill nets.
"The commercial pangueros were catching 20 to 40 kilos a day, while using long shanked hooks, heavy leaders, and live sardinas when they were more abundant," Grimes said. "This is a lot better than a few years ago when the inshore gillnetters would simply eliminate the schools of sierra."
Increased enforcement of fishing regulations included a requirement to fillet fish ashore. "It is not acceptable to fillet a fish and leave a piece of skin on the fillet," Grimes said. "They think it's better to take all the guts and bones to the desert to feed the vultures and flies, and when you pay the filleter, you're also paying the trailer driver who hauls the garbage to the dump.
"But, it is hoped that the increased vigilancia from the authorities may limit the depredation of the commercial fishermen on the species supposedly limited for pesca deportiva, primarily billfish, dorado, and roosterfish."
ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said his charter pangas fishing at the tip of Ensenada's Punta Banda continued to catch good counts and some Mexico fishing limits of mixed bottom fish including sandbass, calico bass, lingcod, red rockcod, halibut, and miscellaneous species. Anglers fishing with Vonny's Fleet Capt. Beto on the Vonny I and Capt. Hector on the Vonny IV included Jay Johnson of Ensenada, Leonard Luna, Scott Hudson, and Tony Algen. Ensenada fishing area weather was in the high-70s, with morning clouds, sunny afternoons, light winds, ocean swells at 3 feet, and the water temperature at Punta Banda averaging 59 degrees.
ENSENADA, MEXICO: For the previous week ending May 14, 2009, Villarino reported steady fishing with plastics and anchovy baits for mixed species plus calico bass to 5 pounds for anglers including Brian "Calico" Foley, Peter Fredricson, and Daniel Guervara.
SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending May 17, 2009, Marita Melville of Don Eddie's Landing reported good mixed bottom fish counts including a cow cod for an 8-angler group from San Diego that fished aboard 2 boats with Capts. Juan Cook on the Mona Lisa and Roman Gonzalez on the Sophia. The group fished at the San Quintin 240 spot in 61-degree water and very good sea conditions. Fishing out of Don Eddie's Landing were anglers Norman Ghazal, Hanna Shayota, Louie Dallo, Ralph Dallo, Wally Ghazal, Chris Dallo, Daniel Castruita, and Javier Salgado.
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO: Julio Meza of San Quintin reported dates for the 2009 fishing tournament circuit to be sponsored by the state of Baja California: San Felipe, July 3-4; Bahia de los Angeles, July 24-25; San Quintin, Aug. 21-22; Ensenada, Sept. 18-19; and a final Tournament of Champions at Ensenada on a date to be announced.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 10 outings by Gaviota Fleet and the Cabo charter boats Fish Cabo, Fish Cabo I, and Tuna Time, with a catch including released fish of: 16 striped marlin, and 7 dorado. Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the mid-90s as boats fished in generally good sea conditions mostly from the 95 spot to the 1150 spot, but with no real concentrations of fish found. Water temperatures were at 72 on the Pacific-side banks and 76 to 80 degrees to the southeast and on the Sea of Cortez side.
Edwards noted some improvement in tourist traffic at Cabo San Lucas as Mexico's swine flu outbreak was reported to be easing. "It was another very slow week, but there has been a noticeable change in telephone calls," he said. "It seems that interest is gaining momentum again. Right now, Cabo San Lucas boats are running about 10 percent of the time."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending May 14, 2009, Edwards reported on 11 outings, with a catch including released fish of: 7 striped marlin, 12 yellowfin tuna, and 7 dorado. "It was another very slow passenger week for Cabo," Edwards said. "The sensationalized flu scare continues to keep anglers and tourists away."
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was clear in the high-90s, with water temperatures of 71 to 79 degrees.
For the fishing week ending May 13, 2009, Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing reported drastically reduced angling activity at Cabo San Lucas. "This was the slowest week ever in our history," Ehrenberg said. "That's not because fishing was bad. It just means that the boats were not going out."
The few Pisces Fleet boats fishing during the week found up to 4 striped marlin releases per day, and 1 inshore fishing day by the boat Spartacus produced a mixed catch of: 30 yellowtail, 4 Humboldt giant squid, 6 sierra mackerel, 1 bonita, and 1 barracuda.
Overall, 55 percent of Pisces Fleet boats released marlin during the week, and 90 percent landed all species combined.
Cabo San Lucas fishing area weather was clear, with some wind, and water temperatures averaging 73 degrees as boats fished local areas on both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez sides.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Ramon Druck of the Cabo San Lucas charter sportfishing super panga Cheer's reported on 1 outing during the week with a total of 2 anglers, for a catch including released fish of: 6 sierra mackerel of 6 to 7 pounds, 1 roosterfish of 9 pounds, 1 amberjack of 10 pounds, and 1 jack crevalle of 13 pounds. The Cheer's fished with trolled baits along Cabo's Pacific-side beaches in water temperatures of 69 to 70 degrees and good sea conditions with some clouds. Fishing aboard the Cheer's were anglers Bill Curts and Terry Andrews of Sacramento, Calif.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Jim Dillon of Salvador's Sportfishing reported on 6 outings by the Cabo San Lucas charter boats El Budster, El Budster I, and El Budster II, with a catch including released fish of: 4 striped marlin, 8 yellowtail of 20 pounds, and 13 sierra mackerel of 5 pounds.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Durance Lowendick of Marlin Masters Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported striped marlin action concentrated around the 1150 spot during the week. "The most productive fishing technique at present seems to be slow trolling live baits over and around the seamount," Lowendick said.
Yellowfin tuna were scarce, but some dorado to 45 pounds were caught between the Gordo Banks and the 95 spot. Giant Humboldt squid continued to be abundant at about 200 feet deep around the arch and outwards for several miles.
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Grant Hartman of the Baja Anglers fly fishing guide service reported very good inshore action for the few anglers fishing at Cabo San Lucas during the week, as Baja Anglers founder Dan Dreyer scored mixed dog snapper and colorado snapper to about 25 pounds. "With snappers, you end up catching about one-third of what you hook," Hartman said. "They have incredibly hard mouths. We landed 12 trophy-sized fish that day. We probably had 40 hook-ups."
CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: For the week ending May 17, 2009, George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing at Cabo San Lucas reported tourist traffic still much lower than usual due to Mexico's swine flu scare and ongoing media reports of border violence far to the north. "Hopefully, things will change before everyone here goes broke!" he said. Striped marlin were present from the 1150 spot to the Cabrillo Seamount as boats fishing the area averaged about 2 hookups per outing. Yellowfin tuna and dorado were scarce and scattered. "Fishing from a panga was the way to go this week," Landrum said. "We caught 16 firecracker yellowtail just to the north of the lighthouse."
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the fishing week ending May 14, 2009, Felipe Valdez of Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 27 boats, with 63 anglers and a catch including released fish of: 8 striped marlin, 7 sailfish, 93 dorado mostly under 15 pounds, 26 roosterfish, 17 jack crevalle, and 2 cabrilla.
East Cape fishing area weather was in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 73 to 81 degrees. Most boats fished southwards off the Punta Arena lighthouse in good concentrations of striped marlin that continued to be difficult to hook.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the week ending May 14, 2009, Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 117 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 342 anglers and a catch including released fish of: 34 striped marlin, 11 sailfish, 157 dorado, 4 yellowfin tuna including one fish of 52 pounds, 22 roosterfish, and 1 mako shark. East Cape fishing area weather was in the low-90s, with water temperatures of 68 to 83 degrees. Overall fish counts were lower for the East Cape area. "The dip in counts could have something to do with the moon being full so we’ll just stick with that and look forward to next week," Moyers said.
Tourist traffic at East Cape was in recovery from the severe dip caused by Mexico's swine flu scare. "Many have rebooked and are arriving daily," Moyers said.
EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For the week ending May 18, 2009, John Ireland of Rancho Leonero reported "spotty, inconsistent fishing all week" as Rancho Leonero boats found variable action led by a good run of roosterfish inshore. "We are having one of the best roosterfish years I can recall," Ireland said. "They are mixed with jack crevalle. Most boats are coming back inside in the early afternoons for a guaranteed bite on jacks and gallos."
Offshore boats fished 9 to 40 miles out for inconsistent action on billfish plus dorado found on debris.
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Gerardo Hernandez of Tortuga Sportfishing reported continued summer-like weather for his pangas fishing the Las Arenas side of La Paz, but with some fog in the main fishing areas of Isla Cerralvo, the buoys, and the immediate area of Ensenada de los Muertos.
Tortuga Sportfishing pangas did well on pargo, wahoo, and good numbers of amberjack at 20 to 30 pounds while fishing at the island. Around the buoys, the action was scattered, but some dorado to about 30 pounds were caught.
Smaller roosterfish continued near shore, and some pangas did well on larger pargos.
Sardina bait fish were in good supply at Isla Cerralvo, and some caballito baits were also available that were used with good results on the larger snappers
LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported a very good variety of species caught during the week, as 3 pangas' action for a single day of fishing included sailfish, yellowtail, yellowfin tuna, cabrilla, snapper, pompano, roosterfish, bonito, jack crevalle, amberjack, pargo lisa, dorado, and pargo perro.
"There's just so much variety in the water here," Roldan said. "There were also a lot of marlin outside by the buoys that just wouldn't eat, and we're seeing wahoo free-swim through. The better fishing would seem to be with our Las Arenas fleet. We're fishing Cerralvo Island, Punta Perico, Bahia de la Ventana, Boca del Alamo, and the outside buoys."
Boats fishing the La Paz side hooked fewer fish overall, but these included larger roosterfish into the 50-pound class.
LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Loreto's Baja Big Fish Company reported more emphasis on offshore fishing by local boats as the summer season approached. "We're getting into our high season for dorado, sailfish, and marlin," Bolles said. "Although Loreto boats have been getting dorado for the past month, the sportfishing fleets began targeting offshore species almost exclusively only this week."
Local boats found dorado while fishing about 35 miles from Loreto on a line east of Punta Lobos on the north end of Isla Carmen. Dorado were also seen closer to town between Islas Carmen and Coronado.
Boats fishing out of Puerto Escondido to the south also reported dorado at the south end of Isla Carmen and southwards toward Isla Catalana.
"Limits have been the norm all week. Anglers fishing to our south are reporting increasing sizes and frequency of dorado, and plenty of sargassum weed," Bolles said. "We have been sending boats out with live mackerel and sardinas. The sardinas are working well at keeping the dorado near the boats. The larger dorado may be targeted with flylined live mackerel cast beyond the perimeter of the school. The mackerel will automatically go vertical and attract the larger dorado below the smaller fish."
Sailfish were also present in good numbers and were hooked consistently.
"Sailfish have been caught as close as 8 miles," Bolles said. "Typically they will move in just ahead of the dorado, as they appear to be able to tolerate cooler water. With the sailfish starting to move in close, we expect the dorado to follow."
MULEGE, MEXICO: Danny Sedivec reported on 3 days of very sluggish fishing in very heavy bait concentrations during a trip to Mulege, with marlin and dorado seen while trolling offshore from north of Isla San Marcos to Punta Santa Rosa in the south, but no fish hooked and the total catch being a 35-pound roosterfish hooked and released at Punta Concepcion on the final day.
"As a whole, the fishing was terrible," Sedivec said. "We did see lots of marine life including hundreds of dolphins, pilot whales, manta rays, and sea turtles. There were tons of bait fish in the water and in places it was so thick you could almost walk on them."
BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: Art Pina of Tucson, Ariz., reported on a long Sea of Cortez run aboard Mike Berry's 25-foot boat from Rocky Point to Isla Angel de la Guarda off Bahia de los Angeles, where they found very tough fishing until they met the San Felipe panga mothership Andrea Lynn and got some local tips.
"I sure want to thank the crew of the Andrea Lynn," Pina said. "They were very nice to us. They even fed us."
On May 16, 2009, Pina and Berry made the 4.5-hour run from Rocky Point to the island and caught just 1 skipjack and 1 yellowtail.
"We did not know anything about the island," Pina said of the 3-day adventure. "We found a nice cove at Isla Mejia. About 1 a.m. that night, I noticed some lights. It was the Andrea Lynn from San Felipe.
"In the morning, we saw all the pangas going up and down the coast.
"After dropping iron all day and catching only a few goldspots, we went over to the mothership to ask for advice. The captain and the crew were great and they had all the info we needed. We bought some diving plugs from them and started catching yellowtail, and we stayed there until Monday morning."
On the return trip to Rocky Point, Pina said they stopped to fish near port and also got lucky with a 55-pound gulf grouper.
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tom Ward of The Longfin Tackle Store reported on 6-day Midriff Islands fishing trips by the Tony Reyes Fishing Tours panga mothership Tony Reyes, returning to San Felipe on May 15, 2008, with 24 anglers and a catch of: 52 yellowtail to 15 pounds, 41 cabrilla to 15 pounds, Mexico fishing limits of spotted bay bass to 3 pounds, 25 Humboldt giant squid to 25 pounds, 4 grouper released, 27 sheephead to 14 pounds, 18 white seabass to 20 pounds, 25 pargos to 12 pounds, 4 golden grouper released, and many miscellaneous fish released.
Capt. Tony Reyes reported lots of heavy fog in the Midriff as the boat fished in cool water temperatures averaging about 60 degrees at Islas Partida, Salsipuedes, and Encantadas, and also at Punta Final, San Francisquito, and Refugio.
"Up north, the water was a little warmer and we caught a little more variety of fish," Reyes said. "Most of the yellowtail were caught on MirrOlures. On the bottom we used lots of chunk bait. Soon, there will be more live bait and the fishing will be better in the warmer water."
SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of the San Felipe Title Company bookstore in downtown San Felipe reported "full bore" summer-like weather in the 90s with the relative humidity at 35 percent. "But it feels higher than that," Meders said. "Yesterday, there was rain north and south of town, but we didn't get any here in the center. We did see some heat lightning and heard some distant thunder. Everyone is trying to hold back from putting on the air conditioners because of the expense."
Few tourists were present at San Felipe as Meders said the proverbial "Baja cannon" could be fired in "any direction" without fear of hitting anyone. "But Memorial Day weekend will probably fill up the town," she said. "Many people have been complaining about mosquitoes, something I haven't heard much about before. Everyone needs to make sure that there are no little pools or containers of standing water around anywhere."
ROCKY POINT, MEXICO: Esther Johnson of Santiago's Ocean Services at Rocky Point noted the slowdown in tourist travel to the area due to Mexico's swine flu scare and media reports of border violence. "Tourism has been down quite a bit," she said. "However, things are looking up. Grouper, red snapper, and sardineros are running here as close as 20 miles from Rocky Point. I have lived in this beautiful beach front community for over 13 years and have not seen any problems with drug cartels. And no one has the flu. I really encourage people that are looking for good fishing, good food, and friendly people to come to Rocky Point."
SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Jon Jen Charters at San Carlos reported yellowfin tuna of 10 to 76 pounds caught in good numbers most of the week. "Most boats reported 2 to 10 fish," Jon Jen said. Good numbers of sailfish were also present in the area, but only a few anglers were in town due to Mexico's swine flu scare. "Our charter fishing week was swined, pigged, or flu'd out the window," Jon Jen said. "You could fire a cannon down the street of San Carlos and be guaranteed not to hit anyone."
Jon Jen Charters was running a special of $360 per person, 4-person minimum, for 2 nights, 2 days of fishing, bait, ice, breakfast, lunches, and 2 dinners. Information, email@example.com.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: In a fishing week diminished by Mexico's swine flu scare, Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on just 3 Aries Fleet offshore charter boats out of Mazatlan's Marina El Cid, with a catch including released fish of: 5 dorado, and 2 yellowfin tuna. No inshore super pangas went out. "The overall report is depressing, but we are looking forward," Edwards said. Mazatlan fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-90s, with mostly calm seas and water temperatures averaging 80 degrees inshore and 83 to 85 degrees offshore.
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: For the previous week ending May 14, 2009, Edwards reported on 4 offshore boats, with a catch including released fish of: 1 sailfish, 2 striped marlin, and 5 dorado. Two inshore super pangas had a catch of: 3 sierra, 1 red snapper, and Mexico fishing limits of barracuda. "The Mazatlan area is another that has been hard hit by the swine flu media frenzy that has devastated the sportfishing and hotel industry," Edwards said. "Normally, this is a fairly busy time for Mazatlan."
MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernandez of Mazatlan's Flota Bibi Fleet reported good numbers of dorado and skipjack tuna present offshore, and a late-season striped marlin seen. "We think it's late for them, but he showed on Sunday," Hernandez said.
Inshore boats did well on triggerfish, snappers, and grouper. Mazatlan fishing area water temperatures averaged 80 degrees.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO: Stan Gabruk of Master Baiters Sportfishing & Tackle at Puerto Vallarta reported few tourists present in the area due to Mexico's swine flu scare, even as media attention waned. "The talk on the news services has stopped," Gabruk said, "but the underlying fears of Americans and Europeans remain. The real tragedy is what's happening to local businesses and hotels. Puerto Vallarta is still slow, and that condition could remain until November when the tourism high season returns. If you’ve ever said 'I wonder what it was like before Puerto Vallarta got discovered,' now is the time to see. A hotel with airfare is crazy cheap. You can experience our world class fishing grounds and be about the only boat out there."
Very few boats fished out of Puerto Vallarta, but yellowfin tuna, marlin, and dorado were reported outside of El Banco.
Northwards at the distant Islas Tres Marias, Gabruk noted increased enforcement of the protected zone around the islands.
"I’ve heard of more people being stopped by the military," Gabruk said. "Fifteen miles is what they can enforce. They do enforce 12 miles. Sometimes they let you get away with 10 miles. So far, every boat has been let go after some serious hassle. Don’t be pushing any envelopes here. Don’t let the one that got away be your sportfisher!"
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Ed Kunze, reporting for Baja On The Fly, said the Ixtapa sportfishing fleet averaged less than 1 sailfish per outing as captains concentrated on yellowfin tuna in clear water between 16 and 25 miles out. "A few blue marlin are in the same area and small dorado are also in weed lines close to shore," Kunze said.
Gred Eynon of Vail, Colo., ran north to Troncones and Saladita with Kunze and scored on green jacks, sierra, and black skipjack. "The jack crevalle schools were moving too fast to get a fly to them," Kunze said. No roosterfish were seen in the area.
IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Earlier, Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported yellowfin tuna farther offshore at about 50 miles, sailfish beginning at about 30 miles, and scattered dorado at 28 miles.
Inshore boats continued to do well on bonito, jack crevalle, skipjack tuna, sierra, and some roosterfish. Few boats fished during the week.
Ixtapa Zihuatanejo fishing area weather was calm in the high-80s, with water temperatures at 82 degrees inshore and 84 to 85 degrees offshore. "The tuna and sailfish have migrated farther offshore to areas that are generally out of reach for an 8-hour fishing day," Edwards said.
CANCUN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 6 outings by the El Cid Caribe sportfishing fleet at Puerto Morelos near Cancun, with a catch including released fish of: 2 barracuda, 1 sailfish, and 26 dorado mostly of 25 to 35 pounds. Cancun fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the low-90s, with lighter winds and water temperatures at 83 degrees.
For the previous week ending May 14, 2009, Edwards reported on 5 outings, with a catch including released fish of: 9 dorado, 1 sailfish, 1 barracuda, 1 king mackerel, and 1 amberjack. Cancun fishing area weather was partly cloudy in the high-80s, with winds to 20 knots and water temperatures even at 83 degrees, as boats fished mostly with rigged ballyhoo baits.