Baja Fishing Report

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Sunday, August 19, 2018
Cabo report: Blue marlin move in

San Quintin yellows, dorado going off
Action has been solid for Loreto, Midriff, East Cape, La Paz and Cabo as the hot summer season ramps up; Bigger tuna showing at Iman and Gordo but the cows are still awaited; Black and blue marlin season shaping up nicely; Oso Negro wins East Cape Wahoo Gold Cup with 41.1 pounder

SAN QUINTIN — The yellows never really left the area of Baja California Norte with outstanding action on the forkies and now the dorado, reported K&M Sportfishing.

Kelly Catian said the spearfishing trips have been solid on bug yellows – all you could handle – and when the charters went after ‘em on hook and line, they scored big on the 25 to 30 pounders on the iron.

SAN QUINTIN DORADO and yellowtail action with K&M Sportfishing out of the bay has been outstanding all week. K&M PHOTO

CEDROS ISLAND YELLOWTAIL have been rumbling, with some bigger models to 50 pounds.

Cedros Island has been rolling on the bigger yellows to 46 and even 50 pounds, and runs to the calico-infested kelp areas have turned up 50- to 100-fish days, said Jose Angel Sanchez of Cedros Outdoor Adventures. See below for more information on how you can get in on the WON trip to Cedros in September.

Up the line, the Coronados have been on fire, which is really not big news. It’s been that way for months. As for the rest for Baja, it’s been a tad warm on the Sea of Cortez side, and the fishing has been spectacular.

Here’s a rundown by the weekend:

MARK RAYOR AND his 58-pound yellowfin he caught just north of the Cabo Pulmo Reserve on a chunk squid aboard his Vaquera while on a “busman’s holiday” trip with WON. PAT McDONELL PHOTO

CABO SAN LUCAS — These are the summer doldrums for Baja Sur. Not because the fishing is poor. That is hardly the case. It is because crowds are thin due to the humidity and kids are back in school, but soon the summer will end for the snowbirds up north, the humidity will disappear and the long-awaited tournament season will begin for Cabo. At this point, the season for big marlin and big tuna is shaping up nicely.

This reporter was at the East Cape with friends and spent a great day on the Vaquera with Capt. Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing in Los Barilles and after three days moved over to Cabo for two days for fishing and meetings on the WON Cabo Tuna Jackpot, which will be celebrating its 20th year this Nov. 7-10. The fishing at the Iman Bank, located 90 minutes from Cabo, with 20-year sponsor Brian Solomon of Solomon’s Landing restaurant on his 24-foot cat sportfisher Solomon’s Toy, turned up two tuna hooked, one lost (bit the line) and one was caught, a 75 pounder by this reporter that hit a live sardine. A fun day of fishing Tuesday with flat seas.

Details on the tourney can be found at www.loscabostunajackpot.com and www.wonews.com (see the blog), as it is coming up quick. There are some great features on the website on Mark Rayor who won $138,800 and the 2018 champions North Star on the Estrella Del Norte, the only team to win the event twice. Their other win came in 2012. They are great stories by Rich Holland, who this week was down at the East Cape attending the East Cape Wahoo Gold Cup.

WINNERS OVERALL IN Saturday’s East Cape Wahoo Gold Cup. The No. 5 team included Victor Locklin and Luis Roberto Beltran Cazessus on the boat Oso Negro with Captain Alberto Araiza and deckhand Miguel Verdugo. The winning fish was a 41.1-pound wahoo. VICTOR LOCKLIN PHOTO

ZANE HINRICHS WITH his daughter were pre-fishing Friday on the Jen Wren III before the East Cape Gold Cup Wahoo Jackpot, held the next day out of Palmas De Cortez. There were 52 teams in the event, won by team No. 5 on the Oso Negro with a 41.1-pound wahoo. JEN WREN SPORTFISHING PHOTO

EAST CAPE — Victor Locklin, who was a member of the 2017 Cabo Tuna Jackpot Tourney champions on the Estrella Del Norte was in the winner’s circle again on Saturday, Aug. 25. His team won the 52-team East Cape Gold Cup Wahoo Jackpot with a 41.1-pound wahoo. Locklin was on the boat Oso Negro with just himself and Luis Roberto Beltran Cazessus , one of his teammates during the Cabo Tuna Jackpot.

The captain was Alberto Araiza and deckhand was Miguel Verdugo. The team won a new car. No more details were available by press time. More details will eventually be found on the Van Wormer Resort website.

GORDO BANKS PANGAS anglers are getting into some quality yellowfin. The cow tuna are due to arrive any day now, but the fish now are in the 70- to 100-plus-pound size at the Iman Bank. ERIC BRICTSON PHOTO

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson weighed in on the weather and fishing for his Gordo Banks Pangas fleet operating out of Puerto Los Cabo Marina. He said the weather remained with five weeks left of the tropical storm season.

“Weather continues to be very warm, increased humidity as well, some afternoon rain squalls to the north of San Jose del Cabo, a normal pattern for this latter part of summer,” said Brictson on Saturday. “Minimal wind, primarily only slight afternoon breezes, moderate swells.”

“Local fleets are now mainly concentrating their efforts on fishing grounds from the Gordo Banks, Iman and San Luis banks,” he said. “Anglers were using slabs of squid, sardinas, as well as skipjack and small tuna for baits. Iman and San Luis were the best places to find a nicer grade of yellowfin tuna. Every day these grounds are producing tuna to over 70 pounds. No huge numbers, fish were also finicky and shy with the ever-present boat pressure, but with patience and consistent drifting and chumming over these high spots there were good chances of hooking into yellowfin. The Gordo Banks produced mainly a smaller grade of tuna up to about 12 pounds. It is the time of year that we normally see the cow-sized tuna appear on these famous grounds.”

Brictson said the Gordo Banks and on the grounds near Iman there were several black marlin catches reported this week, the fish hooked into while slow trolling larger rigged baits, the white skipjack proved especially effective, and the fish that were landed weighed in the 200- to 300-pound range.

He said only a scattering of mostly smaller-sized dorado were being found. Over last weekend and at the start of this week, there were wahoo being hooked into while trolling Rapalas and other lures on the normal grounds from Iman to San Luis, and a handful of charters got into this action with a couple of wahoo landed and others lost in the 15- to 40-pound class. As the week progressed, this action faded out as some anglers did target this action but could not entice any strikes. The ocean temperature warmed this week, back up into the 81 to 87 degree range, and too warm of water often will make species such as wahoo more lethargic and less active, he said.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 57 charters for this week. Anglers reported a fish count of: 3 dogtooth snapper, 3 black marlin, 2 sailfish, 17 dorado, 7 wahoo, 96 yellowfin tuna, 14 bonito, 8 yellow snapper, 6 amberjack, 17 red snapper, 9 cabrilla (leopard grouper), 3 roosterfish and 42 triggerfish.

JORGE ROMERO HAD a good day fishing with Tailhunter Sportfishing. He was only 100 yards offshore from the beach just outside Muertos Bay and caught a huge cabrilla and 30- to 40-pound tuna on sardines then got a wahoo dragging a Rapala back to the beach. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

LA PAZ — Summer is rolling out with some solid fishing as the town empties of tourists as kids and families head back to school. Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said hot and humid weather with temperatures in the high 90s and warm waters kept the fishing on the high counts, although afternoon localized tropical electrical and thunderstorms did pop up now and then, although usually after everyone was already back from fishing.

“For our Tailhunter Las Arenas/ Muertos Bay Fleet, it lived up to its reputation with the fishing spot literally about 100 yards off the beach and tuna breaking within sight of where we launch our pangas,” said Roldan. “Tuna ranged in size from 10 to 50 pounds, but the same area also produced some nicer dorado in the 15- to 25-pound class as well. The same area also seems to be the hot spot for wahoo as we had several biters of wahoo in the 30-pound size and a number of fish that got bit off.”

Inshore action he said has continued to be surprising as cooler water fish that they don’t normally see except in the winter and spring when waters are cooler were caught, including pargo liso (mullet snapper), pompano, and big cabrilla.

As for the Tailhunter La Paz fleet, there are dorado to be had. There’s smaller fish schooling right in the bay with larger fish out towards San Juan de la Costa and around the point at Punta Mejia.

“The smaller fish are as small as 5-pound “doraditos” that we mostly toss back, but fun to catch and up to about 20 pounds on the outside,” said Roldan. “There’s also some roosterfish biting around Bonanza Beach. But dorado are 90 percent of the catch with some days better than others.”

MIDRIFF — Wow, what a 6-day trip! Capt. Tony Reyes Jr, fired off a great report from the Tony Reyes mothership out of San Felipe to Tom Ward of the Longfin Tackle in Orange, the booking agent for these popular trips. He told WON, “Weather on this trip was better and cooler, fishing San Lorenzo Island, Snake Island, the coast from Punta Remedios to Punta Final, we had live bait for three days. Enchanted Island had big groupers and barred pargos, most biting on live mackerel.”

The count for the trip was incredible. The group scored 186 yellows to 33 pounds, 55 smaller grade yellowtail up to 15 pounds, 55 cabrilla to 20 pounds, 107 cabrilla to 6 pounds, 127 spotted bass to 6 pounds, 100 pargo and barred pargo to 28 pounds, 1 15-pound white seabass, 30 dorado to 18 pounds, 10 grouper of up to 108 and 120 pounds, 4 broomtail grouper up to 14 pounds and 188 assorted other fish.

LORETO — "Bigger fish, closer to town" is the story of the week in Loreto, said Rick Hill at Loreto Tours. “Last week's biggest dorado weighed in at 42 pounds and that was a tournament winner.”

The Puerto Escondido boats found "lots of fish" but their location was outside between Carmen and Catalana islands.

“By the end of the week we were scoring limits of dorado around Danzante Island, which is very close and within the normal fishing range of all the boats. The close-in fish were big with many running 25 to 30 pounds. This is shaping up to be a hugely better season than we have seen for three years!”

CEDROS ISLAND — Cedros Outdoor Adventures reported big yellowtail and 100-calico days are the norm for this part of the season at the Baja Magic Lodge.

Be aware, there are some slots still available for the WON 2018 hosted and sponsored charter. Former WON Editor and current Baja Reports Editor Pat McDonell is going with the group to the island, Sept. 14-17, and the cost is $1,720, which includes all transport to and from the lodge, use of tackle, three meals a day, 2½ days of fishing and filleting and packing. For booking this upcoming trip, contact Kevin@wonews.com.

CORONADOS — Wide open on the yellows. If you cant get bit there, hang up your rods and reels. Seals are your best friend so throw the iron with heavier line. Trolling Rapalas, iron, sardines and macks are all working.

Contribute to Baja reports at Baja@wonews.com.

WON’S PAT McDONELL fished with Brian Solomon (middle) and caught a 75-pound yellowfin on Brian’s 24-foot boat Solomon’s Toy this past Tuesday at the Iman Bank.


SAN DIEGO — The Cabo Tuna Jackpot, produced by WON, will celebrate its 20th year on Nov. 7-10, and CTJ Director Pat McDonell will be on the radio with Let’s Talk Hookup’s Pete Gray and Rockcod Rick Maxa on the Sunday, Sept. 8 show, 7 to 9 a.m. on 1090-AM. It is also the 27th anniversary for the radio show.

Download the Mighty1090 app to listen live anywhere or listen to the show at your convenience. McDonell will discuss Baja fishing, and the history of the event, and the upcoming tournament that he began with WON back in 1999.

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