Christmas came a few days early for us Santa Rosalia fishermen this year and after the long seven straight days of unfishable waters, it was none too late.
The weather was half-and-half this week. The first part of the week saw great water conditions, with light southern breezes from Monday until Wednesday.
Air temperatures were in the cool, low-50s here on Isla San Marcos, which is always about 5 to 7 degrees warmer than the Baja coast.
When I made my run to San Lucas Cove to pick up some clients, there was a noticeable temperature drop. Alan Lewis said the temperature was 47 degrees there!
Now, for the weekend, the winds are back. Sea surface water temperatures are just the way I like it, cooled off to 66 degrees, and with clear 30 to 40-foot visibility.
On Monday morning, I was up at 0430 a.m. Yeah! No wind! I made a beeline for the San Lucas Cove trailer park, where some friends up from Santispac where waiting to go fishing.
Once Gordy Muller an his buddy Fred where aboard, we ran out of the cove for the bait grounds. With about three-dozen freshly caught mackerel in the tank, we headed out for the bajos of Isla San Marcos. While en route I saw birds working bait balls on the surface about halfway out in the channel, a good sign. If this should continue farther out up on the reef, fishing would surely be interesting.
Within a quarter-mile of the panga bajo, we saw few birds, including my favorite, the boobies, where working bait that was being chased by big yellowtail feeding!
It took all of half-an-hour to catch 4 and lose 3 fish, fly-lining mackerel and I using surface iron, nice fish too high-20s and a pair over 30 pounds in the box, and it's only 0730 a.m.
We where only just getting going! The rest of the morning had us chasing birds up and down a 2-mile stretch, and we finished up the day of fishing taking 11 yellowtail for 15 hookups. Three of these I got while fishing the surface iron when I wasn't gaffing or bleeding my clients' fish. A surprise was the lack of boats, for there was only one other panga and a tin boat out of camp. Once the word gets out, the whole fleet will be here tomorrow. It was a great way to start the week after such a long downtime of not fishing.
Back at the trailer park at 11 a.m., my fishing buddies were loading up their coolers for the trip back to Santispac, and I was sitting at Alan Lewis' famous Voodoo Lounge, shooting the breeze and telling yarns of the fishing day. A car rolled up with two younger guys getting out. It was Sean Ward and Chris Wise, both whom work at Fisherman's Landing of San Diego. Not far behind was Sean's dad Kevin Ward who captains the Searcher for owner Art out of Fisherman's, and with him the whole Ward clan down for Christmas at San Lucas Cove. After exchanging greetings I made the suggestion of fishing the next morning with Kevin's nephews and son, while Alan would take Chris.
So the next morning, I was on my way to the cove, with the water as flat as a mill pond. I picked up my load of passengers, Sean, Mitch, Clark, and Ross, made the bait, and ran for the panga bajo, while Alan took a route for the 110.
On the reef, I noted a lack of birds working, but not a lack of boats! Boats from everywhere were there, from the Cove, San Bruno, Santa Rosalia, Punta Chivato, and even Mulege.
A quick radio call to Alan told me I needed to move. At the 110 bajo Alan and Chris had 5 fish to my nil. After my first fish hit the deck, we finished the morning with 8 for 15 hookups, and all of Chris' cousins had caught their first yellowtail, some at the 30-pound mark too! Alan and Chris caught seven.
Last day of fishing was a lip-ripper special run. It isn't all that often that I get to fish with guys that really know how to. We slammed them, more fish on the bait than iron, but all on the surface. Chris and Sean, who have fished fable spots like Guadalupe, Cedros and Alijos, said they never fished a place such as this, where you can constantly catch 25 to 30-pound yellowtail that fight as these fish do. That's what I've been trying to tell people for years.
Finally a good week, well half a week anyway. If it ain't blowing, there're big yellowtail that can be caught on the surface.