Baja's Santa Rosalia area had a week of just unbelievably beautiful weather and good fishing at Tortuga Island!
We have had some of the best boating weather around, dead flat like a mill pond, and no wind, although we've had fog the last two days and this can make low light navigation a little tricky.
Santa Rosalia air temperatures have been in the high 40s to low 50s for the mornings and to 75 to 80 degrees at midday. Water temperatures at Isla San Marcos are 60 degrees to 61 degrees, and up to 63 degrees around Isla Tortuga. Water visibility in some areas has been good to 30 feet, but other areas have less than 10 feet. It looks like a touch of red tide is also also present.
Right after a full or new moon phase passes here at Santa Rosalia, it tends to really shut down yellowtail fishing at Isla San Marcos for a few days. The reason for this is tides, or the lack thereof, and with this a lack of current, and with that, any kind of steady fishing action.
This area of Mexico's Sea of Cortez can have two tides a day, or four tides. When it's four tides of less than one foot of difference, this which makes for poor currents and poor fishing.
This is the time to make the fishing run out to Isla Tortuga, which sits out in the main current stream of the Sea of Cortez. When everywhere else has no current, there will be some moving out there.
The first day I fished this week was on Monday at Isla San Marcos. It was a slow day and only two yellowtail were caught.
On Wednesday, my buddy Doug Moranville of Branding Iron Custom Silkscreens in La Jolla, California, and also part time resident at Punta Chivato, met me at the San Lucas Cove trailer park. The fishing plan was to load the bait tank and run for the Turtle.
Once there, we noticed the mirror-like waters, with no current even out here. We fished the morning at Isla Tortuga until about 10 a.m., with only a 10 pound sawtail grouper to show for it.
That was from working the whole west side of the island. All we could hope was that maybe the other side was doing something.
As we neared the northeast side of the Island, I saw two pangas and some boats from Punta Chivato and Mulege and they were catching fish. One thing was not the norm. The fish were being caught on the bottom in 300-plus feet of water.
We put 7 nice yellowtail on the boat in the 25 to 27 pound class, most of which Doug caught.
After 1 p.m., we made for my favorite Baqueta fishing spot. I'd never seen the water like this in all the times I've fished there. We had 100 percent zero boat movement! The only time the boat moved was when Doug hooked up. He caught two nice Baqueta, 18 and 30 pounds, a pretty good first Isla Tortuga trip for the year 2007.
The next day I was right back out with Ben Guess of Menlo Park, California, and friend Gary Willson of Reubens, Idaho. They totaled 9 yellowtail in the mid-20 pound class, all caught with live bait.
I had one more fishing run, with Danny Chiquete, in fog most of the way. Too bad the bite died, but we still managed 5 yellowtail including one over 30 pounds which I got on the same spot as the one that blew my back out. This one tried too!
The current was running making Baqueta fishing much harder, but Danny did get one about 20 pounds.
We left Isla Tortuga at around 12 noon, as did most of the boats. However we kept our leftover bait and got into a surface bite in the late afternoon, scoring on another 3 large yellowtail plus 5 shorts in the 12 pound range.