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Baja Fishing Report

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Wednesday, May 02, 2018
Tuna action spreads out in Cabo region
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Baja scene warming up on all fronts


Updated! East Cape rebounds as wind settles
Dorado debut at Loreto as yellowtail bite continues to bust loose;
Puerto Vallarta tuna goes 362 pounds
on the Apollo with WON trip coming up;
La Paz yellowfin go off big time!

BY PAT McDONELL

LORETO — Jay Yadon at Outpost Charters in Puerto Escondido said a few fish are around, but the debut of dorado in the waters off Puerto Escondido and Loreto to the north is significant. 


WON ’s Pat McDonell will be down there this week, prefishing for yellows with friends Marty Dufek and Chris Wheaton before the Fishin’ For The Mission annual charity tourney the next weekend directed by Wheaton out of La Mision Hotel, and hopefully getting in some offshore tuna and marlin action outside Isla Catalan one of those days on the water. 


“The yellow bite has been very off and on lately,” said Outcast Charters’ Yadon on Sunday night. “They seem to be biting one day and gone the next. We have had the best luck at Isla Catalan. The south end has been holding yellowtail and grouper. The dogtooth snapper bite has been consistent on the north side of Catalan if you are able to get the fish out of the rocks. 


“We have been slow trolling live mackerel on the surface and been getting the big snappers to come up. The hard part is getting them up before they break you off in the rocks. The water is only 34 to 50 feet deep so you have your work cut out for you.” 


As for the dorado, it’s a start: “We caught the first dorado of the season a few days ago,” said Yadon.”It wasn’t huge but it was a dorado about 10 to 12 pounds. It looks like we are going to have a great dorado season this year based on the amount of bait and sargasso in the water. The temperatures around Catalan have been 78 to 79 degrees so we are keeping our fingers crossed.” 


That was in Puerto Escondido. To the north off Loreto, Rick Hill from Loreto Tours said “The bite on the east side of Carmen Island's favored spots has slipped off this week, encouraging more boats to check other rockpiles. Yellowtail are still the main attraction with most fish just under 20 pounds. The numbers have slacked off with most spots giving up a few fish for the earliest boats. San Bruno and Candeleros were hit- and-miss depending on what day you worked them at least as far as good-sized yellows.” 


And he did hear of the dorado. “It’s still early, though,” said Hill. 




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OUTPOST CHARTERS WITH the Cast N Reel out of Marina Puerto Escondido has been on the yellows, and although the bite can be hot one day and off the other, it’s still great prospects. The water is warming, and the first dorado were caught last week. OUTPOST CHARTERS PHOTOS

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THE TRES MARIAS islands of Puerto Vallarta continued to crank out some special yellowfin, and the Apollo came into Puerto Vallarta last week with a 362-pounder for 85-year-old Jon Roffoni. WON’s 2 ½-day charter sponsored by Yo-Zuri is slated for May 28-31. APOLLO SPORTFISHING PHOTO


PUERTO VALLARTA — The Tres Marias Islands continued to crank out yellowfin, and the Apollo came into Puerto Vallarta last week with a special yellowfin, a 362-pounder for 85-year-old Jon Roffoni. Jodie Morgan, owner of the Apollo, told WON the action has been great for the Apollo all spring long and super cows have been common. There was another 300 pounder of the same size on that same trip. 

The season is in its final weeks before the boat heads to San Diego, and it’s been special for sportfishers like the Apollo, and one of the final shots for big fish at the islands will be a WON 2 ½-day charter May 28-31, hosted by former WON Editor Pat McDonell. He will be on the boat with 12 anglers and a rep from Yo-Zuri who will be on board to take photos and will have fluorocarbon giveaways for the guys.


EAST CAPE — John Ireland told WON that Hotel Rancho Leonero anglers on their fleet of super pangas and cruisers based at the new marina are seeing a great bite on the yellowfin and also the small roosters. 


“Hot off the press this afternoon (Sunday),” said Ireland. “All our boats are limiting out on yellowfin 20 to 65 pounds off the Iman Bank, 1 ½ miles off Vinorama, all on sardines. And I mean all boats.” 


The air temps are starting to ramp up with days in the high 80s, and the mornings in the 70s. The only issue for the spring continues to be the wind which started last Tuesday and went through Thursday, but by Friday the north blow had settled. It looks like a clear week of May 6-13 so that wide open bite on Sunday looks solid for several days. 


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GRANT AND CARIE CHRISTIANSON from San Diego nailed some nice yellowfin on a run out of Hotel Rancho Leonero on the East Cape last week. HOTEL RANCHO LEONERO PHOTO


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SCORPION SPORTFISHING ON the East Cape saw quality sized tuna (45 to 65 pounds). This weekend was highlighted by the Dia de Los Ninos fishing Tournament. The kids always have a blast. Here, Jorge Castro and Jorge Jr., of Los Barriles, followed by Oscar Verdugo and Anderson Verdugo of Los Barriles; and the third photo is of John and Ted Connolly of Sausalito, CA. SCORPION PHOTO


Action for East Cape boats has been entered around yellowfin and wahoo off the lighthouse and on the Iman Bank, while inshore the small roosters were showing, especially for some fly fishers. Marlin, said Ireland, are fairly common on good offshore days (no wind) but are getting little pressure because of the great numbers of yellowfin found off porpoise schools outside, and at the northern edge of the Cabo Pulmo sanctuary border on the squid chunks.


 As for bait, Ireland said, sardine and caballito are available for sale and the ‘dines did the trick on Sunday for easy limits on the 30 to 65 pounds. You might say it’s “game on” at the East Cape. 


LA PAZ --  Ina report send too late for the WON print version but inserted here in the updated web blog, The Baja Pirates Fleet weighed on Tuesday, Warren Lai and Keith Kao along with Captain Caco show off their yellowfin catch caught out at La Renita using sardines on 30-pound test.

 

”The yellowfin bite continues to be amazing. All of the north structure points are yielding up 40- to 80-pound yellowfin,” said Baja Pirates’ Leonard Phillips.


Also in La Paz, Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International filed a Sunday report for the first week of May, a week that ended with a lot of promise. He followed that up with a report a day later that indicated the promise had turned into reality. And just in time as WON's editor Blake Warren is headed south to fish with Tailhunter on Monday. Perfect timing.


“Tuna went off today for the first time all year,” said Roldan. “We got a smattering yesterday (Saturday), but today (Sunday) they were WFO with 20- to 40-pound fish and 4 to 8 tuna per panga!” 


“The end of last week, it seemed like the fish were ready to go even with a full moon and windy conditions. However, that’s what you get when you start guessing on Mother Nature,” said Roldan. “The week started out pretty scratchy. We had to work hard to find and get fish. It wasn’t for lack of trying by the anglers or captains. It’s just the way it was.” 


He added, “Big waves and winds didn’t help. We did have some action, so don’t get me wrong. Thankfully, pargo, cabrilla, jack crevalle and big bonito kept rods bent when nothing else was happening but there just wasn’t any quality to the fish…nothing really to put in the ice chest or bring back to the restaurant!” 


Roldan said on Saturday that by the end of the week, the 9th inning as he put it, the fish mounted a late-inning comeback. 


“Some slugger 15- to 30-pound yellowfin tuna showed up for our Tailhunter Las Arenas/ Muertos Bay fishers,” said Roldan. “For many, it was their first experience on yellowfin and we lost some fish after some rough battles. Also, we got wahoo bit and we also got our first marlin as well plus amberjack and a big dogtooth snapper out of the rocks. The biggest thing was finding bait and waiting for winds to abate. It was a tough time for any of our fly fishers. Not even worth it, and they went to conventional gear and had fun.” 


Their Tailhunter La Paz Fleet that fished the inner and outer bay fared a bit better, finding action in the rocks for snapper, pargo, big cabrilla and lots of big triggerfish, plus a smattering of dorado and lots of huge bonito. 


“Then, like our Las Arenas fleet, the end of the week capped it off nicely when bigger dorado in the 10- to 30-pound class showed up and decided to chew! Way fun, especially for a lot of our first-timers to see these big mahi charging through the water and hit the baits. We saw schools of boiling tuna, but all moving too fast to jump on them.” 


Then Sunday came, with limits of the tuna. 


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TRACI WEAVER IS an accomplished fly fisher from Oregon, but when big winds and waves made it tough, she grabbed a conventional rod for the first time. She said, “I didn’t even know which side was up and the handle seemed to be on the wrong side!” However, her first biter turned into a trophy dogtooth snapper just off the rocks at Punta Perrico near Las Arenas with Captain Moncho of the Tailhunter Fleet. TAILHUNTER PHOTO


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FROM SAN DIEGO, Rebecca Coxsey fished in La Paz for the first time with Tailhunter Sportfishing and got her first dorado and had fun with lots of bonito and pargo as well. She thought it was pretty funny that the dorado matched her bikini. The fish was caught just outside of Bahia de los Muertos. TAILHUNTER PHOTO


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TUNA WENT OFF Sunday off of Muertos Bay for the first time all year. Tailhunter pangas got a smattering Saturday, but on Sunday the yellowfin were WFO with 20- to 40-pound fish and four to tuna per panga! Here, Craig Hoffman puts another one on the gaff. In the other photo, his dad, Rob, gets his first in the boat. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

 THE BAJA PIRATES FLEET had a great weekend on the tuna. Here,  Warren Lai and Keith Kao along with Captain Caco show off their yellowfin catch caught out at La Renita using sardines on 30-pound test.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas at Puerto Los Cabos Marina said there are lighter crowds of tourists now, and the climate has been very pleasant, though they are dealing with spring season transition period. It can get good, really fast. A few weeks ago a 343-pound yellowfin was taken by a local sportfisher group at the Gordo, but conditions switched. 


“We can see rapidly changing weather patterns move in and out of the region,” reported Brictson. “Last week we had great ocean conditions and the yellowfin tuna action on the Iman Bank was very good, with many quality fish in the 40- to 70-pound class landed, with even some reaching the 100-pound mark. 


“This week began just fine, with some nice yellowfin tuna still being landed off of the Iman Bank, even a couple of yellowtail over 30 pounds … by Tuesday the north winds kicked up and continued through most of the week. This stirred up conditions, pushing in off-colored currents, though water temperatures still remained in the 74 to 75 degree range. With the wind there was also more ocean swell and this made it a bit more challenging for the commercial pangeros to net sardinas off of the shore near Vinorama, though overall they were able to find sufficient supplies. Other bait options were caballito out of the marina area, still no signs of the annual migration of mullet or moonfish showing up.” 


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VICTOR LOCKLIN FISHED out of Puerto Los Cabos in search of the big yellowfin tuna after a 343 pounder was caught on the Gordo, but conditions changed and he scored some smaller grade fish, though. Locklin was on the team that won the 2017 Cabo Tuna Jackpot on the Estrella Del Norte.


 With the tuna bite coming to a standstill the charter boats were now scouting out other options, which proved to be limited. Offshore there was only sporadic reports of marlin being seen. The better option seemed to be working shallow rocky reefs for a mix of bottom species, though most of these were smaller sized fish in the 15-pound range. 


“All good eating, just not consistent from spot to spot. Most common were yellow snapper, bonito, leopard grouper, spotted rose snapper, barred pargo and an occasional yellowtail or amberjack. A mix of yo-yo jigs and bait were used off the bottom, but bait was a bit more productive most days.”


“We do expect that after this weather front moves though this weekend that conditions will rebound and the all-around action will improve,” he said. “It is not uncommon to have these type of patterns during this time frame. It keeps the climate very comfortable, but does not help the fishing stay on track.”


MIDRIFF ISLANDS — Tom Ward of Longfin Tackle in Orange said the mothership Tony Reyes, just returned from a 6-day trip with 25 anglers of the "Let’s Talk Hook Up" charter.


“They went to San Esteban Island where water temperatures were in the 60s with light winds in the morning which made the fishing difficult,” said Ward. “They then went to Rasa and Partida islands which provided the best fishing areas of the trip. Trolling was very productive with Mirrorlures and Rapalas.”


Yellowtail were spotty and seemed to be a bit bashful this trip, he said. Cabrilla fishing continues to be outstanding as it was last year.


“Tony attributes this to the fact that he is the only sport boat fishing the Midriff Island area of the sea of Cortez when there were five boats fishing it a few years ago.”


CABO SAN LUCAS — I’ll paint you a picture of Cabo this week: the weather has been beautiful, with sunshine every day and not too much heat, a bit of a breeze to cool off afternoons and fish in your cooler for lunch or to take home. Even though catch success rate did drop a bit this week, the tuna numbers are still steady and we saw many boats having fun with the smaller game fish too. These catches included roosterfish, snappers, groupers, and more.


To start off the week, Pisces 31 ft. Cabolero, released 3 of their 5 dorado caught, as the smallest were only about 5 pounds each. The others, which they kept, were about 15 pounds. These hit on feather lures and mackerel out of San Jaime. They also found luck with the tunas here and landed 3 nice football sized yellowfin. these hit on feathers, cedar plugs and white/blue lures. Anglers were the Mackintosh family from Alberta, Canada.


Pisces 60 ft. Shambala with Captain Enrique Sandoval and anglers from Los Gatos, CA, caught 14 yellowfin in total on their day out. The fish hit on feathers and cedar plug lures at San Jaime and were all small football sized fish.


As usual, the 31 ft. Pisces Tracy Ann did well to find tuna this week, with 11 yellowfin caught by anglers Derek Purves, Martin Williams and Steve Nikol on May 4. The tunas ranged in size from 5 to 23 pounds each and were found out at the 11:50 Spot, hitting mainly on cedar plugs. This group of anglers, compromised mainly of Scots, English, and a lone Welshman, fished with Pisces throughout the whole week, on both the Tracy Ann and one of our pangas, Poseidon, with Captain Rigo. The group split themselves onto both boats daily, depending on what they were looking to catch, as some were looking for roosterfish, and others, to land their first marlin. Stuart Malcolmson, from Edinburgh, wrote to me about their experience this week:


Thank you for a brilliant week in Cabo, we have had an exceptional week with Pisces, thank you and the team… Rigo has been exceptional all week and a lot of laughs where had. His expertise in rooster and snapper was superb. Julio and Martin [on the Tracy Ann ] really stood out with our guys and their work ethic and the effort to catch the fish was amazing to watch as they cast at free swimming marlin. We had the good fortune of catching 5 marlin for the week, 9 roosters, 29 tuna (up to 20 pounds) and numerous grouper and trigger fish [sierra mackerel and skipjacks too]. All in all, fishing on Poseidon and Tracy Ann has been fantastic and we hope to visit again in the future.”


The fishing grounds for this fine group of lads, ranged from the 11:50 Spot to San Jaime for marlin and tuna, and from Los Arcos to Cerros de Arena for smaller game fish.


Pisces boats caught 139 fish total this week, with 12 being marlin, 63 being tuna, 14 being dorado and 50 being smaller game fish. All marlin were released, and catch limits well respected.


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Baja and mainland Mexico reports from readers are appreciated when you return from your trip, or during. Just send any information or attached photos to Baja@wonews.com . Reports for the paper and wonews.com should be sent by Sunday mornings.


 


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