Baja Fishing Report

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Huge tuna off Loreto 424.6 pounds
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Quality tuna on the Gordo

Conditions changing in Baja California Sur
Loreto’s huge tuna still creating a buzz and WON is headed to Loreto’s El Seco pinnacle with Outpost Charters to see if the tuna 300 and 400 pounds are still around

THE 424.6-POUND yellowfin was caught on the third day of fishing, on Monday at El Seco, a high spot off Loreto by Jorge Lazo of Tijuana, a crewman with on Robert Ross’ 37-foot Boston Whaler Rampage. The day before, Lazo caught a 319 pounder on the 40-foot Outpost charterboat Cast N’ Reel.

LORETO — As you read this, WON is headed to Loreto to fish El Seco with Outpost Charters after several huge tuna were caught over three consecutive days at a pinnacle 50 miles southeast of Puerto Escondido in the Sea of Cortez.

The biggest tuna over three days was a 424.6-pound beast caught last Monday by Jorge Lazo of Tijuana. That big fish is a mere 3 pounds off the world all-tackle record of 427 pounds. It was caught and reported just hours after this newspaper’s deadline, but it was reported online in an update at and social media throughout the week.

Lazo the day before had caught a 319 pounder at that pinnacle called El Seco. And the day before that, Saturday, a 212.5 pounder was caught by the group from Outpost Charters (

El Seco is a little-known and largely inaccessible pinnacle 50 miles from Puerto Escondido, a natural bay and anchorage 15 miles south Loreto. El Seco rises from 2,500 feet deep to a mere 14 feet or less. The beauty of the spot in terms of yellowfin tuna is you can anchor on it, and chunk frozen squid.

This week the winds will blow, Jay Yadon of Outpost Charter said. But by this Monday Outpost Charters will be back out at El Seco. The big fish are likely to still be there.

“Coming here this early, I think they will stick around a while,” said Yadon. WON was headed down Sunday and weather permitting will be on the Cast N’ Reel on El Seco on Monday, so stay tuned for details

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In other Loreto action closer to town. Rick Hill of said, “Fishing has been coasting along with the continuation of the firecracker bite at Coronado Island. Wind has put the damper on distant adventuring for bigger fish. Cabrilla and a few sheepshead ended up on the fillet table. Triggerfish, pintos and huachinango always bite on cut bait. Massive numbers of sardinas point to a recovery of better fishing this coming season.”

In other Baja action:

ADOLFO GONZALEZ WAS just outside of Bahia de los Muertos with Tailhunter Sportfishing and hooked the yellowtail on a mackerel then decided to slow drag a Rapala and hooked up the wahoo.

PAUL MELEWSKI FROM Colorado was out fishing for some snapper, pargo and cabrilla over the reefs in Bahia los Muertos with Tailhunter pangeros and instead hooked up these pair of dorado.

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan is on the show circuit with his wife Jill at the Tailhunters International Western States tour, but he’s in touch with his panga crews in La Paz.

He reported Saturday, Not many folks fishing this week which is pretty typical now that the holidays are over. Most of the holiday visitors have left and town is pretty mellow again, not that it was ever very bustling. But, by the same token, not many folks fishing either. Too bad because it was actually a pretty decent week for weather and the few trips we had out all resulted in some surprising fish.”

He said there were the usual jacks and snapper, but also in those same spots close to shore and over the rocks they got yellowtail and wahoo. In the bay, there’s still some dorado cruising around, too.

Adolfo Gonzalez was just outside of Bahia de los Muertos and hooked a yellowtail on a mackerel then decided to slow drag a Rapala and hooked up a wahoo in the same spot within minutes!

And, Paul Melewski from Colorado was out fishing for some snapper, pargo and cabrilla over the reefs in Bahia los Muertos while staying at Rancho Costa near La Paz and instead hooked up a pair of dorado.

EAST CAPE — Despite great weather (again) there has not been much fishing action to report, to report, said Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing. So, he posted a fun blog on what makes a fish bite. Is it the wiggle?

“Early in the week our weather was beautiful,” said Rayor. “The sea was calm with hardly a ripple. Walking the beach in the morning I could see a huge volume of sardine in crystal clear water that stretched for nearly a mile. The last several days it has been windy, the surf has been pounding. Water temperature has dropped to the low 70's. Still in shorts and flops I have been forced to long sleeved T's in the morning.

“Before the sailors got their way anglers were finding action with small dorado and sierra mackerel. A few grouper and a striped marlin or two have also been in the count.

“More than 40 years ago I was on an albacore charter departing from San Diego with 18 of my best fishing buddies. Five guys would rotate trolling feathers until getting a hook up and then we would chum anchovies and fish with live bait. It didn't take long to see that a Paco washed out yellow and white feather was stopping the boat every time we trolled. We started passing that rod to one of the angers up in the rotation to keep it in the water. Stop after stop it was the first and sometimes the only jig bit. I rooted through my tackle box and found a Paco the same pattern but the albies didn't want it.

“I started to wonder if it is more the way a jig swims or wiggles than the color that attracts fish. A few years later graduating to long range fishing catching wahoo was a blast. The same technique of trolling for the first bite and then stopping the boat was used. The difference was the most effective method after stopping was throwing a jig and retrieving it as fast as you could.

“Always worried about having the hot color jig I started carrying cans of spray paint in a rainbow of colors. When one color jig seemed to get hot I'd break out the spray paint. The theory sounded good but duplicating the pattern of the "hot" jig never seemed to put extra fish in my box.

“The conclusion I have come to is fish are colorblind and until one tells me differently I'm sticking with that belief. They can't tell green from blue from yellow. All the fancy colors catch the anglers not the fish. It is the way a bait swims, vibrates or wiggles that attracts the bite.”

Concluded Rayor, “Fishing Halco Laser Pro's the last few years has further confirmed my belief. Halco has somehow figured out the wiggle and every color gets bit equally. They come in a huge variety of patterns but I haven't found one yet that doesn't work or one color that works better than another.”

CABO SAN LUCAS — Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters has sold his charter booking business in Cabo and several areas in Mainland Mexico and is retiring. His final weekly report was sent to media outlets and WON on Friday. We wish him all the best.

“The fishing on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas continues to offer some sensational fishing and catches and Captain Roberto Marquez of Fish Cabo filed his report on a day’s fishing at the Finger Bank, where the billfish did everything but jump into the boat for the anglers,” said Edwards.

“According to Captain Marquez, the feeders were all over the area with bird schools of feeding marlin in every direction and they were eager to bite. It was a light tackle fisherman’s dream and if a fish got away, it was very easy to get re-bit and stay in the action all day long.”

Marquez reported in for both Fish Cabo and the Gaviota Fleet, saying, “We had really good weather and sea conditions both coming and going. Back closer to Cabo, the dorado continued to fill in the daily action for many of the anglers and there was still a good scattering of marlin to be caught. The overall fish reports tallied for 53 days fished reflected 26 stripers, (19 released) 118 dorado, 2 wahoo, 4 skipjack, 1 shark, 3 sierra and 4 leatherback groupers.”

Cabo Climate : Some scattered clouds for some of the week with other days of sunny & clear skies and an average daytime temps of 80 degrees and nights at 63.7. Humidity ratio averaged 56.28 percent.

Sea Conditions : Nearly flat-calm seas throughout the area with a gentle surface breeze from the westerly directions at about 7 mph. Sea temp from the Finger Bank andsoutherly across the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks all at 74-75 degrees. Cabo Falso to Gorda Banks and 15 miles above, all at 75 to 77 degrees.

ONE HELLUVA BIG WAHOO was caught by this angler on a panga out of Puerto Los Cabos Marina while fishing with Gordo Banks Pangas. It looks to be one of the last of the season as conditions in Baja Sur are finally “winterizing.”

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas out of Puerto Los Cabos Marina said the very unusual weather and fishing conditions for this time of year are a boon to the few anglers who are down after the holiday season. That prime situation appears to be finally changing with cooler water moving in.

“Locally we continued to enjoy great winter time weather patterns, with mostly sunny days and high temperatures in the upper 70s,” said Brictson. “Light winds and minimal swells made for great conditions on the ocean, as anglers were targeting a variety of gamefish species.

“The bait situation remained steady for sardinas and caballito, the larger baitfish, caballito, being found inside the marina area, while sardinas were schooling along the rocky beach stretches from Palmilla to Cabo Real. Offshore of the hotel zone there were concentrations of mackerel and sardineta. Water temperature is now in the 73 to 75 degree range, we have seen a cooling trend and also inshore areas were no longer as clean and blue, more greenish current starting to push in. This is common for this transition period. Warm water species of fish will now start to migrate towards southern regions and cooler water species will become more prevalent.”

For the moment, the main target species continued to be dorado and yellowfin tuna, as early in the week the yellowfin tuna action was very good, with both Palmilla Point and La Fortuna producing tuna in the 15- to 25-pound class,” he said. “Drift fishing with fly lined bait was the main technique. There were problems with sea lions and sharks taking their share of hooked up fish, particularly near La Fortuna. The tuna bite was much slower later in the week, as more skipjack were showing up on these same grounds and winds increased some.”

Dorado action has been good now for the past month, even though most of these fish are not giants, averaging 5 to 15 pounds.

“At least we finally saw more numbers of these popular gamefish,” he said. ”They have been found in smaller sized schools on the same grounds as the yellowfin tuna, as well as closer to shore, more often within a mile of shore”

Brictson said they have been striking best on a variety of baitfish, with a smaller percentage coming on trolling lures. This action for the dorado also tampered off later in the week, compared to the first part. This is mid-winter now and just about time these tropical species start searching out waters further south.

Wahoo action came to a halt, with only a handful of these fish reportedly hooked up this past week. But the few caught were quality. What a season, now on the wane.

“The combination of it being very late in the season now, with cooling currents, becoming greener are all factors,” said Brictson. “Though the relentless spear fishing activity now going on close to shore off of Punta Gorda has been a major issue as to the more limited action for the conventional rod and reel anglers. This area is already a fragile fishery, dealing with ever-increasing pressure, it is shame that authorities allow this to even go on.”

The billfish action off of San Jose del Cabo, which had just started up the previous week, came to a standstill, he reported, as the greener water seemed to be a factor, though off of the Pacific the fleets did report much better chances for striped marlin. A few thresher sharks also now being reported, as well as makos.

“Along the shoreline there were more juvenile-sized roosterfish showing, which should be released on every possible chance. The annual run for sierra is overdue, heavy gillnet pressure on the Pacific is also another situation to deal with. More closed off sanctuary zones, such as Cabo Pulmo, are needed locally.”

Bottom fishing beginning to show better signs of producing, though strong currents are still plaguing preferring areas. Best catches were made in waters ranging 60 to 120 feet, using various whole and cut baits, catches included leopard grouper, yellow snapper, surgeonfish, amberjack, bonito, triggerfish, barred pargo and dogtooth snapper.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 82 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 4 striped marlin, 1 black marlin, 2 sailfish, 9 wahoo, 9 sierra, 195 yellowfin tuna, 245 dorado, 13 amberjack, 19 yellow snapper, 10 barred pargo, 22 Eastern Pacific bonito, 25 white skipjack, 255 black skipjack, 38 roosterfish, 29 cabrilla (leopard grouper), 3 dogtooth snapper and 105 triggerfish.

CEDROS ISLAND — Cedros Outdoor Adventure Jose Angel Sanchez said the will be at the various shows, meeting anglers and loyal customers and going over his quality operation. The Baja Dreams Lodge is constantly improving, as is the entire operation, and 2018 dates are filling fast. The WON charter hosted by WON’s Pat McDonell will be held Sept. 14-17. Last year’s trip was, in one word, “epic.” Limits of yellows to 40 pounds and close-by yellowfin tuna (not big, footballs, but slammed the surface iron) and calico bass on the surface iron. The limits came so quick on all species, boats came in early to preserve the fish, or dropped off fish and went after dorado. If interested in the trip, contact to secure your spot. Also, be aware, the private flight for up to three anglers from Brown Field in San Diego is now formally offered to customers. Get details at www.cedrosoutdooradventures.

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Would you want your trip to be included into our Baja report? Each week over the weekend we compile reports from anglers and operations, so all you need to do is write a few notes and attach a photo of your fish and e-mail to  Reports here are compiled from phones calls, emails, social media and personal fishing trips of WON Staff.

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