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Baja Fishing Report

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Bigger grade tuna show up off Cerralvo
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Summer action goes off


Bud ‘Light’ stalls, doesn’t stop Baja Sur action
La Paz and East Cape and Cabo get right back into the tuna and marlin after a three-day hiatus after storm slips through; blue marlin in the mix now; Bob Bisbee of Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Tournament passes at 84

CABO SAN LUCAS — Cool water off Lands End slowed and tempered Hurricane Bud and by the time it made landfall on Wednesday it was downgraded to a tropical storm of 45 mph winds and 1½ inches of rain over a 12-hour period.


WON was in Cabo all week and aside from the usual downtown street flooding, there were minor issues and by Friday, ports were open and it was business as usual.


That business was fishing, and it has been excellent in Baja Sur for smallish yellowfin tuna, striped marlin, roosters and there were even catches of swordfish and blue marlin as the season cranked up.


On the East Cape, Mark Rayor on Sunday said weekend action on tuna saw quick limits and flat seas.


“The storm was very gentle and our biggest hardship was losing satellite TV signal for a few hours,” he said. “No flash flooding, no debris washed into the sea, no howling winds, as far as storms go I'll take another Bud any day.”


Jonathan Roldan said they lost three days to the storm, and dubbed it “Bud Light.”


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BOB BISBEE’S LEGACY will be his friends and family he left behind in the sportfishing industry, as well as his love of the sport. BISBEE FAMILY PHOTO


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AINA AND BOB BISBEE in a recent photo back in Lucas, Texas where they have lived since 2006. Bisbee passed away on Thursday at the age of 84. BISBEE FAMILY PHOTO


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BOB BISBEE CREATED the concept of the Calcutta or jackpot-style tournament. He started the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament 38 years ago in Cabo and is the richest big game tournament in the world. BISBEE FAMILY PHOTO


Baja and big game sportfishing in general received sad news as Bob Bisbee who started the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament among a group of friends and built it in the biggest and richest fishing tournament in the world, passed away last week at age 84 in Lucas, Texas where he and his wife Aina have resided since 2006.


He had been in ailing health for the past few years, but his son and daughter Wayne and Tricia have been spearheading and expanding the operation in Baja. Bob did attend last year’s tournament, although confined to a wheelchair. Although facing health issues, the news still came as a blow to those who knew him personally and through the sportfishing industry, and fished in his tournaments.


He is survived by his wife Aina, children Debbie, Bob Jr., Wayne, Tricia, Erik and Destiney, many grandchildren and even great grandchildren. He also leaves his sister June and brothers Larry, Gary, George and Bruce.


A message from his family over the weekend noted that the Missouri native moved to California in 1958 where he met and married his wife of 58 years, Aina, in 1960. Orange County was his home for the following decades where much of this time he could always be found at his fuel dock and tackle store on Balboa Island in Newport Harbor.


“In the mid-60s, this SoCal fishing and boating connection led him to many personal and business ventures in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which became his favorite place on Earth. It is also where he created and maintained the majority of his life-long and numerous friendships,” the message read.


Of course, Bob Bisbee is best known and respected for founding the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament in Cabo San Lucas, now in its 38th year.


“Our family graciously thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers that have already begun pouring in,” wrote a family representative over social media. “His wishes are simple, but he did want everyone to know that he couldn’t have asked for more in life than his family, friends and accomplishments.”


A private service was slated June 23 in Texas. A celebration of life will take place in Cabo in October. As details are finalized the family will post them on their website at Bisbees.com/FarewellBob , where comments and pictures can be posted. All will be very much appreciated.


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HOTEL RANCHO LEONERO pangas and sportfishers slammed the yellowfin tuna in quality sizes right after the storm blew through last week. By Saturday at the East Cape, it was limit-style action off the Lighthouse, close to shore. RANCHO LEONERO PHOTO


EAST CAPE — John Ireland reported the water is 75 to 76, down several degrees, but by Saturday the winds were gone, seas flat and tuna and marlin were biting limit-style.


“Bud the Hurricane turned out to be a dud!” said Ireland. “Light winds to 20 mph, and maybe an inch of rain. The storm passed directly over the East Cape. It’s been all about the yellowfin since the storm. The first day fishing after the storm was yesterday (Saturday). Four boats went out. All anglers caught limits of yellowfin.”


One of the hotel’s pangas was fishing live bait for roosters off the beach at the lighthouse and took limits of yellowfin 30 to 64 pounds. Outside Pulmo Reef Park, anglers were limiting on football-sized tuna under the porpoise.


Ireland said that earlier in the week prior to the storm, there were “Lots of billfish, yellowfin, and an improved dorado bite, and the inshore fishing was really good with some big gallos and huge pargo!! Two over 30 pounds.”


Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing reported on Sunday: “Once Hurricane Bud with winds of 130 mph was downgraded to a tropical storm before center-punching Cabo San Lucas it was all hands on deck on the East Cape with everyone pulling boats out of the water in preparation for Bud’s arrival.” On Saturday, Rayor had a day off from clients and had limits of yellowfin by 10:30 and the season’s first blue marlin.



He added, ”Besides not having any damage the best news about the whole event is that gamefish never lost their appetite. Inshore water did turn off color and temps did drop but off shore yellowfin tuna are as aggressive as ever plus more blue marlin are starting to show. Now the coast is clear. The sticky humidity in the air is gone and the sea is like a pond. It is back to happy anglers with bent rods and full fish boxes.”


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THE PISCES FLEET saw the storm stall the bite for about three days, and then they were back on the tuna, striped marlin and roosters The Andrea was a heavy hitter of the fleet. A father-and-son duo celebrating the son’s graduation from med school scored marlin, tuna and a big rooster. The other photos were of the BajaMark and La Brisa, with the Yahoo showing off 6 striped marlin flags, accompanied by Cabo’s mascot, Pancho. PISCES PHOTOS


CABO SAN LUCAS — In terms of fishing in Cabo, WON was there all week planning the 20th annual Nov. 7-10 WON/Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot. The port was closed Tuesday afternoon through Thursday but was open on Friday and the boats scored easily on the tuna and marlin.


“Although we had the storm,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg at Pisces Sportfishing, “fishing was still good before and today after as well. Marlin fishing was still strong and tons of tuna this week, about 100 of them on our boats all week.


Ehrenberg added that despite the lost three days of port closure, “our boats still caught more fish than last week, with tuna numbers growing immensely. We’re hoping this storm may bring a few more mahi-mahi around, as this week again, we only saw one caught.”


The best day for marlin for the week was before the storm, on the 10th, with all Pisces boats catching upwards of three striped marlin each. The top marlin boat for the week was the 42-foot Yahoo, with 6 striped marlin caught and released. The marlin were caught out at Destiladeras, and weighed about 130 to 150 pounds each. Anglers were Elise and Thad Devier from Louisiana.


This same day the Pisces 31-foot Tracy Ann caught and released 5 striped marlin, which ranged from 100 to 140 pounds mostly, with the largest of about 160 pounds. The crew used caballito bait and sardines out at Destiladeras. Anglers were Ashley and Shelby Adaway and Tracy and Travis Allred from Texas.


“Then we had the 28-foot Adriana catch and release 3 striped marlin too and the 28-foot Andrea, caught and released 3 striped marlin as well,” said Ehrenberg. “The Andrea had anglers Henry and David Ansley from Saint Simons Island, Georgia, a father-and-son duo, who fished three days with us and basically got the best of every species up for grabs in Cabo at the moment. They released their marlin all between 100 and 150 pounds out at Destiladeras, which hit on mackerel and sardines. The next day they fished again with the Andrea and caught 9 yellowfin tuna; this time at about 22 miles south of the Old Lighthouse, on cedar plugs. The tuna were a decent size, ranging between 15 and 25 pounds each. And as if this wasn't enough, their last day they decided to stay closer to shore and look for some roosterfish. They did just that, with 2 roosterfish caught and released on a half day of fishing, aboard our Pisces Panga, Samantha. The roosterfish were caught out from Chileno on caballilto bait. The largest of the two was a beautiful 45-pound fish, while the other was about 8 pounds. Of course both were successfully released.


For more tuna in the week, we saw Pisces 38-foot BajaMark have two good consecutive days of tunas, with 13 yellowfin tuna on one day and 9 on another. The 13 yellowfin were caught by anglers Michael Wonser and Preston Reeves from Chatsworth. The fish were caught about 20 miles out of the Old Lighthouse and weighed between 10 and 12 pounds.


The Pisces 31-foot Ruthless also impressed with their tuna catch on a half-day run, landing 16 yellowfin of about 6 to 8 pounds each, about 21 miles out from La Herradura on cedar plugs and feather lures. Anglers were Bill and Kaden Jawitz. Other boats, including Tracy Ann and Bill Collector landed between 25 and 30 yellowfin tuna each!


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GARY PHILLIPS AND wife Deb from Oceanside, along with friends Bob and Tina Dameron of San Diego fished with captain Chame Pino of Gordo Banks Pangas on Tuesday and scored this nice rooster estimated around 70 pounds, which was released. GARY PHILLIPS PHOTO


SAN JOSE DEL CABOSending in a report to Baja@wonews.com was Gary Phillips and wife Deb from Oceanside, who along with friends Bob and Tina Dameron of San Diego fished with legendary captain Chame Pino of Gordo Banks Pangas on Tuesday before the storm threat closed the port. They scored a nice rooster estimated around 70 pounds.


“Bob got on the board with his first marlin out at Destiledera bank,” said Gary Phillips, and added, “Conditions were great as we missed the wind from the two hurricanes brewing down south. All fish were released.”


Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas in Marina Puerto Los Cabos said the storm of last week was minor, and on the positive, they look for the scorched desert mountainous landscape to turn lush green within days.


“This turned out to be a shortened week for sportfising, with moderate crowds of anglers in town, but we were only able to launch Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, before Red Flag conditions closed all port operations. There were scores of world class surfers in San Jose Del Cabo for the International Pro Event annually held at Costa Azul and even this contest had to be postponed due to heavy storm swell conditions of up to 15 to 20 feet.”


By Saturday, there was no swell. Flat. That’s Baja for you.


This week started out much the same for anglers, with the striped marlin action being the most consistent bite found, this was near the Iman and Desteladera banks where large schools of batfish congregated on these same grounds, mainly sardineta, with a small percentage of mackerel mixed in. This frenzy had kept the billfish on these grounds for a couple of weeks now.


Brictson said fleets were arriving in big numbers from all directions to get in on the action. Sizes of the striped marlin ranged from 60 to 150 pounds.


“These fish were striking best on bait, either while slow trolling or drifting. Though by Tuesday the bait schools seemed to all but vanish and it proved much harder to find the stripers, though many were hooked into, they appeared to be spreading out in search of their food supply. We also heard more stories of sea lion and shark factors.”


He said pangeros saw no yellowfin tuna, dorado or wahoo action to speak about. A handful of small football sized tuna were found while open water trolling, there were also scattered reports of tuna being encountered with moving porpoise further offshore of Cabo San Lucas, mainly smaller fish and proving to be hit or miss. Before the storm arrived there was a flurry of missed wahoo strikes on trolled lures reported, some lost right near gaff. Dorado were absent as well. Maybe this new storm surge has pushed in a new group of gamefish, with weather now settling we will find out this coming week. It could take some days for water temperatures to warm back up.”


As far as roosters, before the storm they had charters that released roosterfish that were in the 75-pound range.


“These were found near el Cardon,” Brictson said. ”Some nice sized amberjack were seen close to shore on these same grounds, only to have hook ups lost to the rocks. We look for the next few weeks to bring big opportunities for roosterfish, dogtooth snapper and amberjack.”


The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 28 charters for this week. Anglers reported a fish count of: 22 striped marlin, 3 yellowfin tuna, 13 yellow snapper, 7 surgeon fish, 18 cabrilla (leopard grouper), 2 amberjack, 11 roosterfish, 1 broomtail grouper, 12 barred pargo, 8 pompano,18 jack crevalle, 5 sierra and 25 triggerfish.


LORETO — Coming up is the 28th installment of the Fishin For The Mission charity dorado tournament in Loreto hosted out of La Mision Loreto hotel on the malecon just walking distance from the Loreto Marina. This year’s event will take place July 5-8 with sign ups on July 5, fishing on July 6 and 7, with the banquet and awards Saturday night July 7. Each year this tournament raises about $10,000 for the town and locals with most of that going directly to the Mission of Loreto but also helps out with the local Internado School/ orphanage.


This is a fun family event that has become a tradition in Loreto. Tournament entry is $250 per team and this gets you a discounted room rate at La Mision, a tournament bag filled with goodies, 4 performance moisture wicking tournament shirts, free pizza at the sign ups, raffle tickets for a bunch of great prizes, an excellent banquet set around the La Mision pool, and all the beer and water you can drink. There are prizes for first through third for teams in both the dorado and other species class and there are 4 frame ready fishing photos graciously donated from photographer and TV personality Bill Boyce. There are still boats available to charter and it’s not too late to sign up.


For more information contact tournament director Chris Wheaton by email at luhrs32reeltime@aol.com or join the Fishin for the Mission Facebook group to keep up with all of the info and photos of the event at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1574199182874541/


In terms of recent action, Jay Yadon at Outpost Charters in Marina Puerto Escondido said action was slow all week due to the storm, and on Saturday they hoped to see dorado under the debris churned up by Hurricane Bud, but no luck. “We got some cabrilla and amberjack, but no dorado,” he said. “We need a few more for the water clear up.” Stay tuned.


Rick Hill of Loretotours.com reported in Saturday: “Lots of rain for the first half of Friday caused by the tropical depression. No big deal. The port was closed for the day but we are back in business. Going out tomorrow (Sunday) along with probably every boat in town looking to check out the reported catch of dorado off Carmen Island. Don't anybody get too excited … the report was of just one medium dodo! The serious searching starts in the morning.”


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TIM WEAVER FROM Arkansasis actually a superior court judge and told WON he was just happy to get out of the courtroom even if Hurricane Bud kept him from fishing for a few days with the Tailhunter Fleet off La Paz. When Tim finally got out on the water, he was actually fishing in the shallow rocks for pargo and cabrilla when this 50-pound class tuna whacked his live bait. He had caught small tuna before, but Weaver said, “This one did a number on me! I had no idea they were this strong!” Note the rocks in the background. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

LA PAZ — The story of the week was “Hurricane Bud” the storm that was… or was not! The week started well with a continuation of some really great fishing for Tailhunter Las Arenas and Tailhunter La Paz Fleets.


“Nice sizable 30- to 80-pound tuna from the north end of Cerralvo Island continued to bend rods, test wills, backs and break hearts at the same time,” said Tailhunter’s Jonathan Roldan. “Marlin started to show including our first blue of the season, an estimated 300 to 350 pounder.” Additionally, nice dorado, amberjack and even some yellowtail kept the variety going, and for the La Paz fleet, he said, there were lots of snapper, pargo and huge cabrilla continued unabated plus legit 10- to 25-pound schools of dorado.


Then, Hurricane Bud decided to crash the party. The port was closed and then… not much happened. Bottom line after 30 mph winds and some rain, three days of fishing were lost. The storm petered out with the cold water and land as it crossed over from Cabo.


“Bud turned into ‘Bud light,’” said Roldan. “I guess we should be thankful. On Friday, the port remained closed and the rain left, but the aftermath of winds to about 45 miles per hour kicked up the whitecaps in the bay and rattled windows and bent trees. But that was it. Grateful it wasn’t worse, and I’m sorry for the folks who were here who lost fishing days and had their vacations messed up. Most of them kept great attitudes and understood that weather is an unavoidable variable with fishing. But, we still felt badly for them.”


Saturday, the fish bounced back. The water was a little off closer to shore but blue water was easily found, probably owing to the fact that we really didn’t get much rain.


“However, even without having to go far, our captains found dorado, pargo, cabrilla, snapper, jack crevalle, bonito and even some of those hefty 50- to 60-pound tuna!


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CONTRIBUTE! Baja reports can be sent to WON at Baja@wonews.com. Deadline for the next issue is Sunday morning.


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