Another interesting week of fall Santa Rosalia fishing with great inshore bites, and so-so beyond that due to adverse weather conditions.
The weather...well let's say for most of the week, windy. With the exception of last Sunday and today it’s been a no-go for all the boats out of San Lucas cove trailer park.
I did run a few of those days all the way out to Tortuga Island. Took my time while doing so. Stiff west northwest winds blew from 10 with gusts to 20 knots, seas 2-3 feet, air temps little warmer 72-degree mornings, close to 90 during the days and low humidity overall.
Santa Rosalia water temps still quite warm 80-84 degrees, with good vis of 35-60 feet.
I’ll start with the inshore Santa Rosalia fishing report first, for it was the main focal point this week. Most boats stayed close to shore, with water conditions more favorable and the large variety of species it wasn’t a bad choice.
Take your pick is the name of the game. Troll plugs and feathers by the haystack and cliffs north for sierra, dorado (also mahi-mahi or dolphinfish), cabrilla, and pesky skipjack. Troll south of San Bruno to Punta Chivato for small yellowtail, cabrilla and a host of others. Stop and jig plastic grubs or small spoons and catch a bunch of spotted bay bass. Cast spoons for good numbers of corvina at the entrance and bay of San Lucas cove!
Isla San Marcos fishing report: With unstable seas, few if any boats fished the bajos during the week. On the one calm day last Sunday everyone ran to the other island for sailfish, while they’re still here. I did get one report from a boat that fished Friday of a yellowtail caught, but little else.
Now at the end of this week the billfish bite at Tortuga has somewhat slowed up, but still a few around. This week I made three runs there.
Last Sunday with Randy Reddingius of Encinitas and Zach Swallows of San Marcos, picked up the guys at the regular o-dark thirty and made for Santa Rosalia marina to take care of the bait. We caught a good mix of mackerel, bigeyes, and with that done took a nice smooth 50-minute boat ride to the Isla.
Our fist plan of attack was of course, try and scratch up some bottom bruisers, maybe some sawtail or leopard grouper. Fished iron and dropper loop baits only to produce one small yellowtail. It’s been a strange year out at Tortuga during this late September and October. Usually bottom fishing is nothing short of banner this time of year.
Plan B, break out the shock leaders, pin on some live mackerel and start slow trolling. Didn’t take but 3 minutes and here we go again, double hook up on sails, Zack's first too. Nice fish of about 90 pounds.
We trolled bait for another 2 hours with four other boats, two from the cove and the others from Punta Chivato. All caught and released multiple sails, one striped marlin, and one blue marlin.
Our count for the day was 2 to leader and 3 jumped off.
The next day we tried to make a trip to fish San Marcos island but got blown back to camp by strong winds.
On Wednesday saw the arrival of my good friend Rich Marsell of Fallbrook and his buddy calico bass aficionado John Turner of Redondo Beach. Both these guys have forgotten more about fishing Calicos with plastic than most people will ever know, so one doesn't have to guess what the fishing format was going to be during the next few days.
Got a two-and-half-hour start before sunrise to ensure we’ll be at the Tortuga when it’s still dark. Just a little light breaking on the horizon, we start casting our lures, soon as the first fish bites they all seem to want in too. The pre-sunrise bite or gray bite as we call it was fast and furious. Once the sun pops up it tends to slow up a bit so you just have to make more casts. Every once and a while you’ll hit pockets of fish.
With the two days fished there, the count was 65 leopard grouper (cabrilla) 6 clown hawk fish (chino mero) 1 barred pargo 2 bonita and 1 sailfish that we baited on the way back. All the fish except for some larger cabrilla to eat where released.
On other Santa Rosalia area fishing news, a buddy who lives at shell beach Punta Chivato, by the name of Tuna Twin has been fishing out on the bajo named for the point.... reported good yellowtail with six fish to 24 pounds and one nice 26-pound sawtail grouper for him and his wife.
Got a real busy week coming up with the owner of COMSA coming here for the first time with his group of 8 people. For me that means cooking and this time fishing trips have been planed, one day in the Boston Whalers and one day on our island's Maria de Pillar supply ship, a 65-foot striped down shrimper. That should be fun.