BIG ROCKY POINT FLATTIES--Ric Felder with a pair of beautiful halibut caught on Stuart Burnett's boat Constancia at the 51 mile reef south of Rocky Point. Photo courtesy Stuart Burnett.
BIG HALIBUT CAUGHT BY PUERTO PENASCO SPORTFISHING BOATS
Nov. 5, 2005, Stuart Burnett, Constancia, Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco), Mexico Fishing Trip Report:
Puerto Penasco fall fishing can be summed up in one word, fantastic! It doesn't get any better than this! There's something for everyone right now.
I launched the Constancia from the main harbor at 7:15 Saturday morning with Ric and two other friends, Dennis and Paul.
We headed straight out to the 16 mile reef and made bait with sabiki rigs. We spent about an hour putting live mackerel in the bait tank, as well as some grunts, croakers and small rose snappers. We caught several horse sardines as well and put them on ice.
I then headed out to the 51 mile reef, running through fairly calm seas at a pleasant cruise of 35 m.p.h. About 40 miles out, I noticed the water started to look very scummy and we started seeing a lot of surface activity. We rigged up and dropped back a few of my personally-built "dorado killer" lures and started trolling. We immediately got a strike and boated about a 12 pound dorado. We trolled the area for awhile, but couldn’t seem to get any other takers. There were many schools of dorado that we could see working the surface in nearly every direction. I was actually surprised to find dorado still around in November, but the water temperature was 78 degrees. I suspect they’ll hang around for a few more weeks if our current weather pattern holds.
We then headed back towards the 51 Mile reef and started seeing large schools of skipjack all around us. We’d cruise right up near a school, then cast metal minnows into the fray for instant hookups. Managed to boat a couple of these, but also lost some lures on break-offs. Pound for pound, nothing fights like a skipjack when hooked on light spinning gear. Although I don’t care to eat skipjack, we kept a couple to use for cut bait.
Mike Auditore on El Gato Blanco caught up with us while we were chasing the skippies. Both boats then headed to the 51.
Mike got set up and anchored and we motored around a bit longer scoping out the bottom.
On our first drop, we hooked up immediately with a large halibut. That was followed by a hookup on a big black seabass. Paul worked the fish for about 35 minutes to get it to the surface. It was so big, that we had to gaff it and bring it around to the back of the boat and two of us worked together and pulled it straight into the boat between the motors. No way we could lift it over the side; we estimated about 225 pounds!
Soon, we had another baby barn door halibut, followed by a smaller black seabass, about 85 pounds. We also caught some large red snappers, a nice-size sardinero or leopard grouper, and several goldspotted bass.
The fishing action wasn’t fast and furious, but was pretty steady the entire time we were at the reef.
There also seemed to be some Humboldt squid in the area. My live mackerel got picked up on the way down. I couldn’t set the hook because I was using a large circle hook, but the line would go slack and I’d feel pressure from the squid. When the squid let go. I reeled up a pretty raked and chewed mackerel.
El Gato Blanco had similar results, boating three black seabass and some red snappers. One of the guys on Mike’s boat was injured when a 16/0 circle hook went completely through his hand while they were landing a big black seabass. They managed to remove the barb and back the hook out, but the poor guy can now whistle through the hole in his hand! I only mention this as a reminder to all of my fishing amigos. Accidents do happen! I can’t over stress the importance of having a good first aid kit on board to handle emergencies like these.
We fished until about 3:45, then washed down some of the blood and mess on the boat before heading back in to Rocky Point. We raced the sunset for the last few miles at 45 m.p.h. and made it back into the harbor just as the sun dropped below the horizon at about 5:45.
Special thanks to Ric for joining me on this trip. It was a pleasure to have another skilled, dedicated fisherman on board my boat. We enjoyed some great food, great fishing and had yet "Another wonderful day on the beautiful Sea of Cortez!"
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Rocky Point and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Rocky Point may be found at Mexfish.com's main Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) page.