WINTER GROUPER FISHING ON NORTHERN CORTEZ REEFS.
Feb. 16-17, 2007, Jesse White, boat Just Hammered, Rocky Point, Sonora, Mexico (Puerto Peñasco):
Jeff Boyd and I fished aboard our boat "Just Hammered" at Rocky Point on February 16th and 17th.
On February 16th, we got a late start out of Rocky Point after stopping by JJ's Cantina to enter into Phase 1 of their annual fishing tournament.
After launching from the Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) marina at around 9 a.m., we headed out to make some bait. We bounced around various shallow bait reefs looking for some decent sized baits, but it took us some time to put a couple of larger baits in the live well. At one of these stops, Jeff boated a nice 10-plus pound halibut, which made for some great eating after the fishing day.
We headed out to some of our favorite Rocky Point fishing reefs at 15 to 22 miles out and began to drop the live baits. Fishing was pretty slow, but the current was anything but slow! I guess the "extreme tides" were hitting the area this weekend and the swings were very severe. I think the tide had around 20 feet of vertical change from low to high tide. We had a hard time staying where we wanted to be on the reefs on our drifts. The high tide was at around 1:30 p.m. that day and low was at 7:30 p.m.
We didn't have any luck until around 4:30 p.m. on the outgoing tide when Jeff finally had a hookup on a goldspotted bass bait. He boated a nice gulf grouper which tipped the scales later at 68.9 pounds. Twelve minutes later he boated a decent pinto bass that weighed 19 pounds. That was it for our fishing on Friday, as we needed to head to the tournament weigh-in.
On February 17th, we got an earlier start and decided to make the trip to the 51 mile reef area, as the seas weren't bad.
However, the seas began to change even as we headed out. We were able to get out there at a decent speed, but knew getting in would take much longer with the direction of the swells and winds.
We fished some cut bait and put a few nice calico bass in the boat with this, but had no luck on the live bait rigs, as we were getting pushed around pretty quickly from the sea conditions. After an hour or so, we made the call to head back in to Rocky Point because the conditions were worsening.
When we got within 20 miles or so of shore, the conditions improved enough for us to have time to fish for about an hour at the closer reefs before weigh-in at Rocky Point. At around 4:00 p.m. we dropped down the live bait rigs in 120 to 130 feet of water and I had a nice hookup within about 10 minutes. After a nice fight, I boated a 71.8 pound gulf grouper just in time to head to the scales. This fish was 14 ounces short of the jackpot fish for the weekend, getting beat out by a black sea bass that must have had a slightly larger lunch than my grouper. Ha ha!
All in all, it was another great weekend of fishing on Mexico's Sea of Cortez, with the water temperature at around 61 to 62 degrees.
The hurricane-like winds came in on Sunday and the water was about as rough as I have seen it down there until late afternoon on Monday. The high winds made it pretty nasty in town, with the blowing sand making it tough to be outside. But, it still beats the heck out of work!