Santa Rosalia, Mexico:
Yellowtail Active For Boats Fishing On Isla San Marcos 110 Bajo

Oct. 23, 2004, Mike Kanzler, Isla San Marcos, Santa Rosalia fishing, Baja Sur, Mexico:

Here we are with October nearly over and the weather feeling more like winter already. Overall, there's a nice increase in yellowtail action and with a steady drop in water temps it's only going to get better.

This week, Santa Rosalia saw 50/50 fishable days with the start having clear skies and warm Indian summer conditions of 78-degree morning lows and 85-degree afternoons with nice calm seas. The end of the week had overcast and strong west northwest winds, 68-degree lows and 78-degree highs, and seas of 3-4 feet. Santa Rosalia water temp is starting to drop too, 76-78 degrees inshore and around the island, 78-80 degrees offshore. Already the cooling water has made a big difference in the yellowtail activity.

This week, the first part anyway, I fished only local isla waters. Needed some yellowtail for grill and smoker so that I could do this week's menu for the visiting vice president of COMSA, J. Alejandro Alvarez, and his group.

The trend of late has been to scratch for bait around the San Lucas cove area or make the long run up hill to Santa Rosalia marina.

Instead, I got up 2 hours early and parked the boat on anchor, put the bait light out, right in front of the gypsum loading pier. It takes about 15 or so minutes for things to start happening when you use a bait light. First, little zooplankton gather, then small fry along with others like halfbeaks, needle fish, and flying fish. After that, the grunts and hopefully the bait you want to catch. Within an hour-and-a-half, I had 35-plus bigeye scads. Success! Didn't burn any gas, which is bonus.

I took a short 4-mile run up to the bajos of Isla San Marcos. Started at the panga reef but, didn't do very much. Tried a few spots around the vicinity and nothing doing. Well, when all else fails, go to the spot everyone who's ever fished here knows, the famous 110. Been kind of avoiding this place of late due to the plague of triggerfish I've encountered there in the past few weeks.

Put the first bait down and, wham! Missed the hook set. That was no triggerfish! The next bait got hit just as quick, this time hooking the fish. After nearly getting pulled out of the boat using a locked-down (drag tightened by hitting it with a PVC pipe) 80-pound outfit, half way to the boat damn fish came unbuttoned...crap!

All you can do about that is shrug it off and pin another bait on. The very next drift, got bit like clockwork. This time everything went in my favor with a healthy 25-pound class yellowtail. Fished till about 10:30 and finished the morning with six extra fish, for a total seven yellowtail of 22-25 pounds. Two of the fish I gave to a panga buddy fishing a ways off, for without my Mexican partner onboard I need to play by the regulations, 5-fish limit on yellows, plus that's all I needed anyway.

I did make another run on Thursday right before the arrival of the COMSA company's guests for the fishing trip we had planned for Saturday.

However, right from the start while fishing for bait, I noted small swells coming from the north...not a good sign.

With bait made, I still headed out for the reefs off the north end. After all it's only a 15-minute run and it wasn't windy...yet.

Once on the spot, I saw great meter marks on my depth-sounder, a big bait ball with little horse shoes around the edges of the ball, just like the simulator mode!

I dropped a quick bait down and got picked up instantly. Went to set the hook...nothing there, like the whole rig got clipped off. Found out what too, those damn sharpnose sharks. Between them, the squid, triggerfish, and a seal that showed up, it was time to change venues.

I took a little run out to the panga reef, dropper-looped a bait to the bottom at 200 feet, and 10 ticks later had a fat yellowtail on the deck. Did get another two fish before the seal followed me and crashed my party. Picked up and made back tracks for the spot where I started...everything changed while gone. Managed one more yellowtail and cabrilla of 6 pounds, and with that the morning was done.

Friday, it's off to the Casa de Aisita to start preparing the comida for the VIPs. Thank the stars no sushi! Too much work. The appetizer consisted of my signature Isla San Marcos baked clams on the half shell, followed with a teriyaki lightly-smoked yellowtail salad, and a main course of marinated yellowtail medallions and fresh scallops grilled over mesquite, served with saffron rice, steamed vegetables and a Dijon mustard dill sauce. The grand finale, dessert, grilled pineapple sprinkled with coarse-ground black pepper and a tequila, orange, honey reduction sauce (has a whole bottle of tequila silver!) topped with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, got up at 2:30 a.m. With Danny, we departed for the bait catching part to insure we had at least 100 pieces for the planed trip on the 65-foot Maria de Pillar, COMSA's supply ship.

The first thing I noticed when I got up was the trees bent from the wind blowing at 15-20 knots! It had to be done. Anchored up and proceeded to catch the needed bait and by 5:30. Once at the first of three spots, we started catching a few triggerfish and cabrilla, but was just a tad bit hard to stay on the reef so we moved to another and put the anchor down to stay put. Here we caught the fancy orangeside triggerfish which the ladies onboard took a liking to. Danny, the only one fishing live bait, hooked something big. I saw the long hooked fins of a big jack crevalle. I don't normally keep these, but under the circumstances, at least it was another such fish. By the way if you think it was me, you're highly mistaken. If I want meat that dark I prefer cow, thank you.

What started as a bad morning ended up being a great day, which had some of the nicest people, J. Alexjandro Alvarez, Consejero y Accionista, COMSA, and his wife Dolores; Carlos Hurtado, Sub Secretario De Hacienda, his wife Claudia, Manuel Hernandez, Bienes Raices, his wife Maria Elena, Enrique Rodriguez, Turismo, all of COMSA.

Other Santa Rosalia fishing news, inshore has still had pretty steady action, with most of the boats fishing there because of weather or not catching enough bait. Sierra have been a little spotty, dorado seem to be gone from the area from water temp drop, bass good bet, cabrilla, pargo and corvina here and there.

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