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Baja Fishing Report

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Winter brings unpredictable weather but there’s still opportunity
BY MEGAN McDONELL

Special to Western Outdoor News


Though it’s winter and the fishing action is a bit slower, you can still find some nice billfish and tuna in Cabo, dorado in La Paz, yellowtail in Loreto and calicos at San Martin island.


CABO SAN LUCAS — Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet reported great fishing again this week in Cabo, which included steady billfish catches of up to 6 marlin released per boat, and still some nice cow-sized yellowfin tuna showing up late in the season.


anglersbattled
ANGLERS BATTLED THIS yellowfin for almost eight hours aboard Pisces’ 28-foot Adriana.


The fleet’s top marlin boat, Pisces’ 35-foot Bill Collector 2, went 6 for 8 on striped marlin, plus an approximate 12-pound dorado kept. The total billfish releases for the fleet numbered 72, while the dorado numbered 45. The top dorado boat was Pisces’ 31-foot Rebecca, which had an epic day for anglers from Saginaw, Michigan landing 10 dorado in one day, ranging from 10 up to 30 pounds. They also released 4 striped marlin!


Ehrenberg reported that small game catches have continued to produce as well, although the sierra mackerel did slow compared to last week. “We have started to see more grouper, red snapper, jack crevalle and roosterfish showing up,” she said. “Pisces’ 24-foot panga Tres Marlins, for example, had 1 approximately 10-pound roosterfish released, 1 jack crevalle released and 1 grouper on a half day with Emerson and Tim Scharnberg from Canada.”


However, according to Ehrenberg, the biggest surprise of the week was the 200-pound yellowfin tuna caught by anglers Bob Mitchell, Scott Croasdale and Bret Koehler from California and Colorado aboard Pisces’ 28-foot Adriana. “The anglers, who were celebrating Brett’s 50th birthday, began their fight with the monster tuna at approximately 11 am,” said Ehrenberg, “and did not hit the dock until 8 pm. They fought the fish on a 30 Penn International with 60-pound test! The tuna hit a yellow/green lure in a school of porpoise at Golden Gate. The guys also caught a small dorado.”


Added Ehrenberg, “We had 256 tuna caught total for the fleet, with the top tuna boat Pisces’ 31-foot Tracy Ann landing 22 in one day –ranging from 10 to 25 pounds each – plus 1 striped marlin released too!”


More details on the fleet and catches can be found at www.piscessportfishing.com.


EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing reported that it’s a pretty quiet off-season for them on the East Cape, as few anglers are around due to the winds.


“It’s the dead of winter here – with a lot of cold, windy days and not many anglers,” said Rayor. "I did hear that last week a couple of wahoo were picked off near Punta Arena and a nice tuna near Cabo Pulmo.”


Eduardo Verdugo of Verdugo’s Sportfishing seemed to have better luck last week on his charterboat, the Anzuelo.


“Last week, we found good dorado,” he said. “There are some striped marlin, jurel and sierras. We hope today they find something good.”


In other news, many East Cape operations and others from throughout Baja will be at the Fred Hall Long Beach and Del Mar shows in March. That includes Hotel Rancho Leonero, which will reopen next month.


LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said his pangas experienced the usual winter chill last week, with lots of wind and waves. However, they did have a few windows of opportunity – especially earlier in the week when the winds laid down enough to get some anglers out.


"In fact, we had folks fishing with our Las Arenas/ Muertos Bay Fleet and, for the first time of the year, with our La Paz Fleet,” said Roldan on Sunday. "It’s still a bit chilly, but at least the wind diminished enough to head out. Surprisingly, despite it being winter, we got into some decent dorado biters. These are warm-water fish! But, here it is, the end of Jan. and some 8- to 15-pound schoolies were on the chew. In fact, our La Paz boats found some nice jags of fish near the mouth of the bay where the water was warmer and loaded on limits in about an hour!"


Roldan added, "This was total bonus fishing because many of the folks fishing were first-timers and visiting from chillier areas of the U.S. and Canada. In addition, there were some nice schools of bonito to keep rods bent, including some of the tasty blue and white bonito.”


Plus, there were catches of cabrilla, snapper, pargo and jack crevalle to round out the fish boxes.


Other than fishing, Roldan said most of the action on the water is tourists coming to either swim with the whale sharks or to whale watch, as the whales are just starting to arrive up at Bahia Magdalena.


nemenchas1

nemenchas1a

nemenchas1bNEMENCHAS FISHING REPORTED a strong yellowtail bite this week in Loreto on the rockpiles. They were eating the Pacific lures, as you can see in this montage they posted late last week.


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com reported this week, “Looks like a bite may be developing between the northwest tip of Carmen Island and Coronado Island. That's a large slice of water, but there is a string of rockpiles the whole way. This is where the yellowtail were biting on our more comfortable days this week.


Yellows from 12 to 25 pounds on live mackerel with most boats landing at least 3. Snapper and some pintos rounded out the catch."


The Nemenchas fleet sent in some great photos of that islands action on the rockpiles, with quality fish. That’s good news for the tournaments. First up, there’s the Second Annual Robert Ross Fishing Tournament May 15-17 (visit www.robertrossfishingtournament.com for more details or to register) and the Fishin’ for the Mission Yellowtail Tournament July 10-11. For the latter, La Mision Hotel is offering tournament participants a discounted rate for the weekend (email Alan Ceseña at concierge@lamisionloreto to book a room).


twoleopardgrouper
TWO LEOPARD GROUPER brought in by an angler with Gordo Banks Pangas.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported an overall cooling trend this week and expects similar weather throughout February.


With cooler and gusty ocean conditions, the fishing action slowed this past week too.


Said Brictson, “The best action out of San Jose del Cabo seemed to be straight out front, from Palmilla to the Hotel Zone and north towards Punta Gorda. The grounds to the north, where fleets do regular concentrate their efforts, have been turned over with greener cooler currents and better-looking water – and more schooling baitfish are presently right off of the Marina entrance.”


Brictson added that there continued to be sizable schools of mackerel and sardineta, as well as more black skipjack moving in on these same grounds. Apparently bait vendors have limited supplies of caballito, ballyhoo and slabs of squid.


According to Brictson, the yellowfin tuna action stalled out through the week, and dorado became scarcer with each passing day.


“Early in the week a few wahoo were reported,” he said, “but as the week progressed with not so ideal conditions, the surface action slowed way down. Billfish action was very slow as well; some days the striped marlin would be more active, but the very next day they could not be found.”


There wasn’t much going on close to shore either – just a handful of sierra and a few roosterfish. As for bottomfish, there was a good mixture – nothing too large but a few quality leopard grouper around 15 pounds, plus some yellow snapper with other pargo and cabrilla species.


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 58 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of 10 striped marlin, 29 dorado, 1 yellowfin tuna, 6 wahoo, 32 sierra, 8 roosterfish, 13 cabrilla, 9 bonito, 32 red snapper, 12 yellow snapper, 4 barred pargo, 1 halibut, 1 yellowtail, 2 amberjack and 26 triggerfish.


thiscalicobass
THIS CALICO BASS was caught at San Martin Island north of San Quintin Bay with K&M Sportfishing on the surface iron. The yellowtail fishing has also been solid on the surface and yo-yo iron.


SAN QUINTIN BAY — Captain Juan Cook reported that it was consistent ‘tails last week – all on surface iron. “Lings and reds are a little slow,” he added, “but the calicos are biting at San Martin Island.” He said that while he did not get out, the boats of other fleets like Garcia’s and K&M were getting into some quality yellows and the bigger calicos on the surface jigs.


ON THE ROAD TO BAJA — Katlyn of the Vagabundos del Mar Boat & Travel Club reported that for those traveling south to Baja by car or RV, the new highway 5 is pretty much all paved, except for maybe a mile. There’s still some bridge work going on and a few detours – but otherwise, things are looking good!


Said Vagabundos member Fred Schiel, “Just came up Hwy 1 to Hwy 5, Jan 20-21, from Loreto. I’ve traveled the highway and road many times since the early 70’s – the road is great. The new Hwy 5, although still under construction and repair, is great! We made it to San Felipe in about nine hours. It‘s a pretty road with scenic beauty. Still a rough road and potholes below San Felipe. Still some detours around washed-out bridges. Still a Baja adventure!”


PUERTO VALLARTA Stan Gabruk owner of Master Baiter´s Sportfishing & Tackle reported in their latest newsletter that they’re seeing some warming after a winter chill.


“The strange thing about this is the warming is very warm and several summer species that would or should be moving out, aren’t,” said Gabruk. “For that reason we still have dorado in the bay, stripers at Corbetena and sailfish off Punta Mita. Nothing is automatic, many days are hit or miss. But to have warm water species at this time of the year is a blessing for the visiting angler visiting PV.”


At Corbetena, they’re still seeing striped marlin at 150 pounds, possible freak blue marlin to 250 pounds, as well as sailfish and dorado eight miles north of the rock.


North of El Banco there have been some rumors of black marlin in the 200-pound range. Gabruk said yellowfin can also be found in the area.


To contribute to Baja reports, send them to Baja@wonews.com.


• • • • •

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