Santa Rosalia, Mexico:
Rare Winter Striped Marlin Caught By Mexican Pangueros

Feb. 16, 2007, Mike Kanzler, Isla San Marcos, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, Mexico:

Good fishing in Baja's Santa Rosalia area continued for the first part of the week, but winds shut us down for the latter.

The Isla San Marcos fishing area had a great streak of weather for nearly a week-and-a-half. However, since Tuesday it's been blustery and chilly, and winds in the 15 to 25 knot range have dropped daytime temperatures into the low 70s, with morning air temperatures dipping to 50.

Water temperatures are still 60 to 62 degrees. The water off Santa Rosalia is very soupy with decaying plankton and or reminiscences of red tide, making the water visibility here a mere 10 to 15 feet at best.

I did get two days of fishing in, last Sunday and the following Monday.

Sunday's fishing trip was with Danny "Piojo Loco" Chiquete and his son Erving.

After a quick stop on the bait grounds, we rolled up to the bajos of Isla San Marcos. There was a good group of boats working the deeper bajo, mostly commercial pangas and few sportfishing boats.

Birds were working about a mile east of the deep bajos. Once there, I noted a strangeness in their feeding method. The birds seemed to be dipping and gulping, rather than diving. This usually means small fish and/or squid. I could see neither clearly due to size. Nonetheless, the depth sounder was lit up. Not with bait fish, but with those solid hoops with separation. Once the bait hit the water it was clear, big yellowtail!

We fished the morning bite for a total of 8 nice yellowtail in the 25 to 30 pound class. Most of these forkies were taken with slider sinker rigs and some on flylined Spanish mackerel baits.

Monday's fishing trip off Santa Rosalia was with Pat Doyel and Charles Lightfoot and also their doggie Jack, from Veron, British Columbia, who were down for some Baja camping and fishing.

With our weather still holding, all of us including doggie Jack, made for the bait grounds. After loading up on Spanish mackerel, we headed out to the bajos of Isla San Marcos.

When we got within sight of the fleet fishing at the deep bajo, we decided to join it. There were no birds working, but seeing fish caught on other boats keeps you interested.

Pat and Charles totaled for 6 yellowtail in the 25 to 32 pound class. Doggie Jack had blast too when I drove the boat through a nice school of porpoises. It was funny hearing the dog whine, bark, talk? The porpoise sure where clicking and popping too.

One highlight of the day was seeing my friends and Mexican commercial fishing counterparts, "Rigo" Mendoza and Leon Nuñez Valdez from San Bruno. They drove by me on the bajo with a marlin tail hanging over the gunnel!

I had to do a double take and then call him over to see the fish. It was a striped marlin and from the looks of it, about 100 pounds. He told me the marlin picked up a live Spanish mackerel that was flylined on his handline. Then the battle ensued leaving only a few line burns for the effort. A marlin is super rare this time of year. This was 62 degree water. It's Old Man of the Sea fishing stuff down here daily I guess. Not much in the way of fishing rest of the week.

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