Baja Fishing Report

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Monday, July 23, 2018
Cedros Outdoor Adventures buys plane

Tuna in bigger grade showing
Bigger yellowfin at East Cape, La Paz, Cabo


160 pounder caught on Spa Buenavista charterboat; 149.6 pounder on Pisces sportfisher; Billfishing and tuna action sizzles at East Cape as Bisbee’s big bucks offshore event expects a big field this week

HOTEL RANCHO LEONERO has been in the thick of things for the East Cape anglers with outstanding billfishing, tuna and roosterfish, and coming up this week ( is the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore Tournament July 31, Aug. 4. Stay tuned for some big catches and big winnings.



EAST CAPE – It looks like the bigger yellowfin are joining the party in Baja California Sur. It’s getting to be that time of year as the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore runs July 31-Aug. 4 and the action for billfish and yellowfin has been outstanding.

Clearly, the beat goes on at the East Cape. Leading off with one of WON’s longtime advertisers, John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero ( said this past week the captains saw 86 to 88 degree water inside, warmer to 90 degrees outside, clean and clear.

Ireland emailed: on Sunday: “Good consistent fishing all week. Limits of dorado and yellowfin for almost all anglers daily. Lots of striped marlin mixed with a few blues. The occasional wahoo. Lots of roosterfish around. Very good bottom fishing with big pargo and amberjack biting again this week. Lots of good bait available, sardine, caballito, and some tube mackerel.”

Specifically, he provided this analysis:

-- Yellowfin: The bite has moved south. Most taken off the white cliffs south of Los Frailles. A few big fish, most 5-15 pounds. Taken on Sardine and Hoochies. Some bigger fish to 50 pounds taken off Rincon. Literally all anglers are limiting out (5 tuna).

-- Dorado: Mostly small to medium-sized fish. Again limits for almost all anglers. Mixed with the yellowfin. The best dorado fishing we’ve had in years. Live sardine and trolled hoochies working best.

-- Billfish: Not much fishing pressure. Lots around. From LaRibera south from 2 to 15 miles offshore. Most taken on live caballito and trolled ballyhoo. Mostly stripers mixed with sails and blues.

-- Roosterfish: Very light fishing pressure. Lots around. 30-50 pounders common. All beaches producing. Very spread.

-- Bottom fishing: Big pargo and amberjack again this week. Chunked skipjack really working.

Alex Valdez at Hotel Spa Buenavista, another WON advertiser, said weather has been just perfect for fishing. Temps were nearing the mid 90s with a few clouds here and there but nothing to worry about. He said the dorado schools also have been seen around the lighthouse near to El Rincón and Frailes and billfishing has been a big target for the hotel fleet’s customers with sailfish, blues and stripers are in the mix.

“It was at its best during this week with the blue marlin. Quite a few were caught and released this week, and we closed a majestic week of fishing with a 160-pound yellowfin tuna,” said Valdez.

HOTEL SPA BUENA VISTA charterboats scored a nice mix of gamefish with dorado schools seen from El Rincón and Frailes and billfishing has been a big target for the hotel fleet’s customers with sailfish, blues and stripers in the mix and threy topped it all off with a 160-pound yellowfin tuna.

MATT PEREZ AND his family fished with Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing on the East Cape and stayed at the Casa De Front Row home and said it was the best fishing trip and vacation they have taken as a family. Safe, clean, fun, great fishing like this, and a top-grade sportfishing operation.

CABO SAN LUCAS – Mike Tumbiero at Renegade Mike Sportfishing said tuna and marlin fishing is solid right now. The bigger tuna are showing on the outside, but there’s plenty of smaller fish for easy limits. Marlin fishing has been good and had some thoughts on billfishing in Cabo.

“Today we released a blue marlin. It came in tail-wrapped so we could’ve very easily killed it and said it died like many other boats here do with blue marlin but we actually swam it on the side of the boat for over 10 minutes and it revived itself. When you’re coming to Cabo to fish marlin please make sure your crew will release all billfish. There’s a percentage of boats here that kill marlin every day and it’s sickening to see. Especially with blue marlin.

He added, “There are a lot of tricks some of these guys use to convince you that fish is not going to make it. Like sometimes when they grab the bill the stick their hands in the gillraker and yank it out to make him bleed. ‘Senor, the fish is going to die,’ they say. Another comment is that they say ’We have not killed the marlin in over a month, please let me feed my family.’ In reality, they kill one every day with different clients.

Tumbiero said there are plenty of good-eating fish out there in the ocean like tuna, dorado and wahoo. “Please don’t kill marlin. They’re such a beautiful slow growing fish and they’re really not that good to eat anyway.”

THE CREW OF THE RENEGADE MIKE releases a tail-wrapped marlin in waters off Cabo. Release all marlin, said Capt. Mike Tumbiero, owner of the charterboat. Most marlin will recover unless gut-hooked.

The Pisces Fleet is all about releasing billfish. They checked in with a great July 14-22 report, with 60 Pisces boats this week seeing a success rates of 96 percent, said Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces on Sunday.

“Catches have ranged from big dorado, to huge tuna and beautiful blues and striped marlin. Other fish in the mix this week have been nice-sized roosters, jack crevelle, red snapper, among others,” said Ehrenberg. “New to our fleet and the world is our new 37-foot Viking Billfish Tag Team III, a 2018 model which made its charter debut this week. Anglers caught 18 yellowfin tuna that ranged in size from 10 to 20 pounds each on feathers and cedar plug lures at about the 95 Spot, 21 miles from Cabo.

This same day, the 55-foot Pisces’ Flora T, with anglers Nabers, Sale and Woodwick, caught and released 1 striped marlin of about 150 pounds, out from the Old Lighthouse about five miles on caballito bait. They also landed a nice 25-pound dorado and 5 yellowfin tuna of about 10 to 12 pounds each. These hit out by San Jaime on cedar plugs.

The Pisces 31-foot La Brisadid well on July 22, catching and releasing 1 striped marlin of about 100 pounds on caballito bait and a large 40-pound dorado on a green and yellow lure. Both fish hit between the 95 and 1150 Spot and caught by anglers the Domingue family from League City, Texas.

Ehrenberg said the fleet’s biggest dorado of the week though, was caught aboard Pisces 42-foot Yahoo, landed by Cameron Blair from Sunnyvale, Texas. His dorado weighed in at 43 pounds and hit on a purple lure out at the 95 Spot. His group of friends also caught 4 small yellowfin tuna on cedar plug lures. Pisces Yahoo did well later in the week to catch and release an almost 20-pound blue marlin out at the 95 Spot on a tiger striped lure, along with 2 dorados of about 10 pounds and 7 yellowfin of about 8 to 12 pounds each plus 4 skipjacks for anglers David and John McBride, Parker Greer and Taylor Mabry from Woodlands, TX.

The 38-foot C Rod had another stupendous week, with the most marlin caught on one day by any boat this week, on July 23. Anglers Cody, Courtney, and Hugh Mathews along with Jackie Owens caught and released 1 striped marlin of about 100 pounds. They also landed 2 blue marlin of about 200 and 250 pounds each on a green and orange lure and as if that wasn’t good enough, they took home 8 dorado of about 10 pounds each, which hit on feather lures. All fish were caught at about 40 miles offshore at the 140 Spot.

Bill Collector had a great day on the 23rd as well, anglers the Kluge family landed 1 blue marlin of about 260 pounds out at the 180 Spot; it hit on a guacamayo lure, and was released successfully. They also caught 7 yellowfin of about 8 to 12 pounds and 2 small dorado, which they released.

And yesterday (Saturday) it seems to have been our best blue marlin day, with Tracy Ann, Valerie, Ruthless, and Yahoo all landing blues between 200 and 300 pounds each, along with numerous tuna. To use just one of these as an example, Pisces 31-foot Ruthless and anglers Aaron Lord and David Corona caught and released a 200-pound blue marlin, and caught 17 yellowfin tuna. The tuna hit on feather lures and weighed between 15 and 25 pounds each, while the blue hit on caballito live bait; all fish were landed close to the 1150 Spot.

Last but certainly not least, is an impressive tuna caught aboard Pisces 35-foot Knot Workin’. The yellowfin was caught out about 12 miles from the Old Lighthouse, where they caught 4 tuna of about 10 and 15 pounds and were ready to head home. Captain Tito told Mate Pepe Escamillo to bring in his lure and as he was doing so, at about 15 feet from the boat, a huge tuna flew out from the depths “just like a Great White explodes onto the surface,” said Captain Tito, and took his lure. It took an hour to fight it, but it was successfully landed and weighed in at 149.6 pounds for anglers were Laine, Luke, Meredith and Steven Kristynik from Bryan, TX.

“We truly appreciate return anglers and are happy to be celebrating our 40th Anniversary here at Pisces Sportfishing this year!” said Ehrenberg. “We would certainly not be here without your trust, loyalty and continued support. If you have fished with us you can enter our 40th Anniversary Giveaway by sending us your best fishing story with Pisces, along with a photo for a chance to win a day of fishing on our 37-foot Viking Billfish Tag Team III.” They are including round-trip airfare and luxury accommodations, so check out details here:

PISCES ACTION WAS OUTSTANDING! Here, angler Cameron Blair and crew show off their 43-pound dorado caught aboard Yahoo, and in another photo, crewman Esteban Balderas of the Bill Collector is shown releasing their blue marlin; also, the crew and anglers of the Knot Workin’ with their 149.6-pound yellowfin tuna; finally, angler Wayne Hopper about to release his roosterfish aboard the panga Angmar.

LA PAZ – Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported that thundershowers are on the way as of Sunday, which might mean a few cancellations, so use trip insurance. He said the tuna at Isla Cerralvo were giving anglers all they could handle on light line, and dorado are “everywhere.” That said, every day was different.

Roldan reported, “One day the dorado would go crazy. The next day in the same spot, the dorado would be finicky. Another day, the tuna would bite like mad dogs and the next day, they acted like whipped puppies. Roosterfish were the same. So were the inshore fish like pargo and cabrilla. But everyone caught fish!”

He added, “It was the same with the weather. One day hot and sunny with blue waters like a picture postcard. The next day, it would be cloudy and choppy. The next day, cloudy but still and oppressively humid followed by sunny and windy days. And this affected the fishing, too. The best thing was just let the captain take you to whatever is biting.”

As Roldan pointed out, those who fished 2 to 4 or more days probably got into several really good days of fishing and a nice load of fish to take home.

“Yes, the tuna came back at Cerralvo Island off Las Arenas/ Muertos Bay,” said Roldan. “ If you looked at the ‘number’ of fish we caught, you would think fishing was bad. But, if you knew the whole story, fishing was actually pretty good. We’re losing three out of every four tuna that we hook. These fish are beasts to most people. They are tough, savage 40- to 80-pound fish. Everyone wants to catch one. Few folks have ever had the experience of catching one! It’s one thing to want to catch one and another to be bent over in the sun for an hour or two on a straining rod and tortured line on a fish that yanks off 100-yard bursts in a single run. It’s heartbreaking then to lose a fish like that…and we lost many of them! And to hook one then get another one and lose it after a long battle can just crush you. Or to get it so close where you can see the fish then have it pull loose, and there’s nothing you can do.”

The problem is the light line, 30-pound flouro leader needed to hook them, “so you’re already at a disadvantage on these fish as well. It would be nice to hang fish on heavier line…even 50 pound test would make a huge difference, but then you won’t get bit!”

A few comments about tuna fishing:

-- “Please, Jonathan, for the rest of my trip, I only want to catch small dorado!”

-- “My arms and back are still sore from three days ago!”

-- “Thirty minutes into the fight, my fingers started to cramp and I started seeing white spots in front of my eyes.”

-- “’Tuna fishing is fun,”’ they said. I think childbirth is more fun!”

JOHN “SPIKE” IVINS IS well-known in the Southern California fishing industry as a former deckhand for many years on the long range boat Red Rooster III. He and his wife, Jamie are great fishermen and know how to pull on tuna and ran into the 40- to 80-pound tuna off Cerralvo Island near La Paz with Tailhunter Sportfishing. Even Spike said these fish were tough as their first 3 pulled or came unbuttoned, but then got their last 2 fish and back to the beach. Jamie also got a dandy roosterfish as well.


CRAIG AND CATHY CORD had quite a day with Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz. From the Imperial Valley where they have a huge farm and ranch, Cathy hooked two big tuna. She fought the first and after more than an hour, the hook actually straightened. Her second fish got taken by a shark after another long battle. Then, she and Craig got a double hookup and, in the middle of the fight, a whaleshark decided to visit the panga and “hang out.” They had to maneuver their lines over and under the big animal as well as the panga. Craig got his fish to the boat, but Cathy regretfully came unbuttoned.

BRIAN REID FROM WACO, Texas has been fishing with Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz for years trying to get a nice bull dorado unsuccessfully. He spent a day fishing the far side of La Paz Bay and got several nice bulls like this one then topped it off with several 60-pound tuna as well.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO – Things are quiet in Cabo. Few tourists with the heat and no new storms on the horizon, but good fishing as the swell and winds early in the week decreased into the weekend.

“The wind had pushed in greener water, especially closer to shore, also cooled the water a few degrees. Though now the water is becoming bluer with each passing calm day, with water temperatures is back up averaging 78 to 83 degrees,” said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas. “Finding the live sardinas has been tougher this week, some days hardly any could be located, other days there were sufficient supplies. Caballito still have been readily available, though some morning the bait moved into netting range later than at first light.”

There were still options of mullet for bait as well, he said, and these seem to be working best for the roosterfish, which are still in the area, but this is now the latter part of the season for these gamefish,” he said. “Some anglers are starting to use strips of squid for targeting the yellowfin tuna, bought from local super markets, and this always becomes another option this time of year when the sardinas become scarce.”

GORDO BANKS Pangas have been scoring a mix as seen here. Yellowfin is the No. 1 target, the main center of activity from the Gordo Banks to the Iman Bank.

Yellowfin is the No. 1 target, the main center of activity from the Gordo Banks to the Iman Bank. Good numbers of the smaller football sized tuna have moved onto to both grounds, ranging from a few pounds to about 15 pounds mixed in with black skipjack and the Eastern Pacific bonito. The best chance of hooking into a larger grade of yellowfin has been near the Iman Bank, as every day a handful of tuna in the 50- to 70-pound class have been accounted for.

“These fish were finicky, and a couple of yellowfin much larger were seen and even hooked into, though were lost due to extended battles on lighter-than-ideal tackle,” said Brictson.

He added, “After seeing good numbers of dorado last week, though most were smaller in size, this week they were much fewer, no particular area that they were more concentrated, best chance at a nicer sized dorado seemed to be further offshore where charters were targeting billfish. Marlin action was limited, though a couple of blue marlin in the 200-pound. class were accounted for, also a few late season striped marlin and a few sailfish.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 58 charters for this week. Anglers reported a fish count of: 3 sailfish, 3 striped marlin, 2 blue marlin, 2 wahoo, 22 dorado, 265 yellowfin tuna, 190 bonito, 6 yellow snapper, 14 red snapper, 9 cabrilla (leopard grouper), 4 amberjack, 55 roosterfish, 22 jack crevalle and 34 triggerfish.

CEDROS ISLAND – Jose Angel Sanchez of Cedros Outdoor Adventures reported that while calicos are continuing be easy to catch, fish-wise yellowtail bite are quickly improving. Our group of Stoked on Fishing got great footage of yellowtail up to 46 pounds, and halibut, and our current guests are close to reaching limits while I am writing this at 1 p.m. of Sunday. In general, it’s a little more work than we are used to by this time of year, but everyone is getting some fish and a great experience.”

He added, “Our plane, that we named Atlahua, from the Aztec goddess of fishermen, is running fantastic, and although we are still learning about its power and capacity it’s sure a VIP gift for its comfort and convenience flying from the U.S. We are working to get things settled with routes and more predictable times, and it will be the best addition to our great quality service.” The lodge has seen an expansion in its 10th season, with the 8-seater Piper Apache and two cabins for two people each. With more capacity and now direct flights from Brown being added in addition to existing commercial flights from Ensenada, bookings are up by 22 percent from last year.

CEDROS OUTDOOR ADVENTURES at Cedros Island has expanded its lodge capacity with two view cabins and also recently purchased an eight-seat Piper Apache with flights from Brown Field and the response has been a flurry of bookings for the new flight service. The fishing has been great on big calicos, and yellows like this to 46 pounds.

LORETO – The heat is on, and so is the dorado with added reports of yellowfin on the porpoise outside. Rick Hill at Loreto said, “Most of this week's fishing happened under overcast skies, making the hunt for dorado less dangerous for our tender-skinned northerners! Cake on the sunscreen and keep the ice-cold beverages handy is the late July favorite song we have been singing.”

“He added, “Small to medium-sized striped marlin have been working the area between Carmen and the two southern islands. Dorado are getting bigger but it as hit-and-miss most of the week. Mackerel are available for bait but most boats are stocking up on sardinas between 7 and 8 a.m. at the marina. The trolled lures that have been getting hit have been small to medium sized with blue being the current favorite.”

No word on big tuna lately at El Seco from the boys out of Marina Puerto Escondido.

SAN QUINTIN BAY/CORONADOS – The Coronados is wide-open on the yellows at Pukey Point and Middle Grounds. Pukey has a load of fish and is thick with bait. Use surface iron, live bait or cast-drop with Colt Sniper. Tons of seals, but so what? There’s tons of fish! Pat McDonell of Carlsbad and WON BASS Director Billy Egan and young son Liam Egan had all they could handle on 10 to 15 pounders and lost the bigger fish to the seals on McDonell’s 18-foot Robalo. That was Friday. As for San Q, it’s pretty dated (old) but Capt. Juan Cook in Saturday, July 22 reported that he and Richard Casteneda of Cass Tours won the Pesca La Baja Tournament bottomfish category with a lingcod. Details and format were unclear, but Richard’s friend Joe Borsino caught a 19.4 pounder (what kind of fish we are not sure about) and won first place. Cass and Cook, a guide, came in 6th and 7th. Joe won $50,000 in pesos and another $17,000 in pesos for the Big Fish side bet, plus a rod and reel. Contact Juan at San Quintin Bay Sports Fishing at 011-521-616-109-6877.

MIDRIFF -- The Longfin Tackle shops Tom Ward reported the Tony Reyes mothership returned Friday evening from a 6-day trip from San Felipe, headed by chartermaster David Dang of Valley Village, CA.

The week saw a few days of light winds making fishing a little difficult. They fished Snake Island, Refugio, San Francisquito and the Enchanted Islands areas. The totals were: 229 yellowtail, 399 cabrilla, 128 bass, 11 pargo, 2 sheephead and 12 grouper.

L.A. BAY -- Great dorado and yellowtail fishing on the deep iron and bait. But, hot as hell.

PUERTO VALLARTA – Stan Gabruk at MasterBaiters Sportfishing reported,

“There is good news and bad news, the good news is we have marlin, tuna, sailfish, dorado and more. The not so good news is where they were yesterday isn’t where they are today! That’s the frustrating part … You can hit the same location five days in a row, two will be incredible, three will have you scratching your head.”

Gabruk said Corbetena and the surrounding area has been a “frustration dream the likes I haven’t known since I was married!” Five boats in the area, and two will catch fish. The other three can’t figure out what the heck happened.

“This week we had a day where a 600-pound black marlin was boated, a 150-pound yellowfin tuna with sailfish in the area,” said Gabruk. “Cubera snappers are here for the jiggers to 50 sailfish as mentioned earlier are running the area as well, no news of any boated sailfish for now. Dorado are most likely in the area, we’ll know for sure when somebody catches one. For now I think Corbetena could be a great location, but if it isn’t, have a full fuel tank and move north.”

In other news, Master Baiters is planning luxury four-person, 2 ½-day trips to Tres Marias Islands for the big yellowfin.

“It’s first class trip, first class food and accommodations on a beautiful, professionally maintained fishing yacht,” said Gabruk, adding the crews speak English. Get more on the trips at


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