San Felipe, Mexico



May 8, 2005, John Carroll, Puertecitos, Baja California, Mexico Fishing Trip Report:

I just returned from a two trailer boat fishing trip to Puertecitos and the areas south to Calamajue. The roads were nice until 25 miles from Puertecitos, which took about three hours to complete, not nice to the trailer or boat.

I launched my Robalo R235 with Scott Donaghe, Tony Crawford all from Chula Vista.

The other boat was a Striper 2600 with Mike Corrao and Sal Giannio.

Each of us took an extra 20 gallons of gas and would need more by the end of the trip.

We launched Monday morning at Puertecitos to perfect sunshine and no wind with lots of life including Birds, Bait and Whales everywhere. Scott had just done a fly fishing trip to East Cape and commented that he saw more life in ten minutes here than in three days there. Water temperatures ranged from 68 to 71.5 degrees all the way down to Calamajue. Water color was streaky and never better than a lime green to deep green.

We got to the Golden Reef and found one other boat doing some Whitefish and Bass on the high spot. We had no bait so worked the iron and plastics hard for a nice Yellow and a 26 pound White Seabass. We came in to one of the Encantadas and caught lot's of Triggers, Bass and one nice 15 pound Leopard Grouper on a Plastic with 15 pound P-line. We went further south to about five miles south of San Luis and found thousands of birds feeding on bait. Well guess what? equal amount of fish below doing the same thing...feeding! All the Sierra and small Yellowtail you wanted and more. Scott was fishing the Fly and really having a ball. Tony got jealous and started to use the Fly for the first time and hooked up as well. The Sierra were all over from three miles below Punta Final to Puertecitos. Called it a day and rafted up for the night inside of Willard. Great anchorage for a small boater. We ate Ribeyes with beans and Wine.

We immediately made friends with the local fish camp and traded some stories. Tony grew up in Rosarito and commercially fished for a time so he really hit it off with these guys especially with a father and his son.

We fished all the way down to Calamajue the next day for a mixed bag of small Bass. Water was ugly Barracuda brown color and turned up with a little wind here.

Off to the points just below Punta Final where we caught more White Seabass, Goldies, Triggers and of course Sierra. I free dove the shallows and saw loads of Grouper, Cabrilla and White Seabass in tight to the rocks. There is a lot of Sargasso in these areas with lots of it floating already. I ended up shooting a few Cabrilla and just swimming around in awe of the life in tight to the rocks.

We ran back up to the Encantadas and found a spot of Totoaba that went wide open for a time, of course all released fish. We called it a day and ate Fillet Minon with Bacon wrapped Shrimp, Scallion onions and lots more Wine.

Tony went ashore with the locals and came back with wild stories and more importantly more gas for Mike's boat.

Up early Wednesday on the path to the Golden Reef as it seems to hold the most promise for big fish. Our bait search thus far has been fruitless. About five miles or so out I saw some bait jumping and found it to be big Sardines. We immediately made 20 plus pieces before the Mac's moved in and took over. All the Sardines died within minutes but the mac's were big and hardy.

We went a little further and found a good spot and put out baits where Scott went bendo and pulled the hook. A Mako came into the corner so we went into Shark mode. I put out the proper gear and got a mellow bite that just started slowly sinking out, put it into gear and set the hook five times hard. Weird fight if this is a shark. Turned out to be a big Squid that pulled away at the corner.

We got to the Golden Reef through a little wind and chop to find the Erik there and about three pangas from Puertecitos. Talked to a couple of Gringos and they said the fishing was great the day before at Angel yesterday but today sucked thus far. We put out our Mac's and the fish went nuts. I was a bit Snake bit this morning with Scott just putting the wood to em and Tony holding his own. Scott had four Yellow's and another big Seabass, Tony had three yellows and a few Bass. I had two breakoffs and a few beers.

I changed my setup from a dropper loop to a six foot leader to a 12/0 hook in the nose and a 6/0 stinger. This worked well and I was quickly making up for down time. The highlight of the trip was using my vast Baja knowledge to continue catching fish well after we only had dead bait. The best part was using a Salas 6X JR and pinning a Mac to one of the trebles with a stinger hook to the tail. Go to the bottom and slow wind back to the boat...huge results. Gave some of our dead bait to a panga from the Erik and they got into em too.

We ended up anchored up on the hotspot due to a mishap on sixty pound tackle. Scott hooks into a big one next and this one isn't giving in. He is pretty tired and hands it off to me. We stopped fishing our Trinidad sixteen and twenties as the fish were getting bigger and this one was hooked on sixty pound tackle on a Calstar 6455XH. After about a ten minute battle the fish peels off every bit of the line I made back and got comfortable on the bottom again. Another ten minutes and up pops an estimated 180 pound Black Seabass. We put a gaff into its mouth and tried to release the fish. A Panga from the Erik came over and proclaimed the fish dead. We kept it off the stern for about ten minutes hoping he was wrong and finally brought it aboard. We then went over to the Erik and asked them to fillet it for us. These guys went into action for us and used their power lift or crane to take the fish over to their boat. We came back three fish later (twenty minutes) and got the fillets from them. We gave them a case of beer and tried to give them some other stuff but they simply said no thanks. I would fish that boat any day just from this simple contact that I had with them. By the way we gave them the coordinates for bait and exchanged more information with them in the hopes we could both benefit.

We got a call from a contact in Puertecitos and the wind was coming up so we departed for shore areas. Ended up behind San Luis in a cove filleting fish for two hours in what seemed like Gale force winds coming over the island. Then they just disappeared and was beautiful again. Called it a day early and back at Willard by five.

Tony and Scott hailed the local Panga guys as we needed more gas for Mike and now Ice for the boats. They came over and took them into town even though they had no intention of going there today. They were gone for two hours or so and returned to thirty plus knot winds. We invited the two Pangueros (father/son) over for dinner but the father said his son would eat our Motor and that the wind was far to much for his comfort (banging into our boats) so off they went. Another beautiful meal of Chicken, Seabass, Rice, Beans, Sausage and other stuff... oh yeah more wine and blended Margaritas.

Winds were fierce all night long and no need for watches this night because not much sleeping was done. Woke up late to a steady but manageable wind. Pangueros came over with Pargo and Clams for us but we had decided to end our trip and get off the water.

Damn good idea as we had to hug the shore all the way back up and the wind changed no less than six times from the South to the West to the North back to the West and then finally the South. We got up to Puertecitos around eleven and there was barely any wind here so we fished some more.

We could see the wind getting closer and went for the ramp. In the time it took for my buddies to walk from the Beach to the truck and then drive to the ramp the wind had gone from near zero to thirty. With the wind and waves straight from the South it was a feat to get in there. One time was all we needed and off we went. Mike had the same luck and we all gathered on shore to give thanks and watch as the wind steadily built and built. Some of the locals came over to check on us and express their interest in our safe return. What a town of like minded people.

Went to San Felipe and stayed at the Cortez ate dinner at El Nido and enjoyed Cinco De Mayo. Foggy morning for me as celebrations went late at the local bar playing pool with Tony. Came home through Tecate saving us nearly sixty miles and found a new border crossing had opened there.

(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from San Felipe and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for San Felipe may be found at's main San Felipe page.