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Baja Fishing Report

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018
San Quintin yellows, dorado going off
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Black and blue marlin showing off Cabo

La Paz sees best week of year; big tuna at El Seco
Bucket lists and big fish for Tailhunter anglers; East Cape saw the wahoo go off El Seco off Loreto turns up 310-pound yellowfin; Gordo cow tuna starting to show


LA PAZ – While the wahoo were going off on the East Cape, Loreto turned up a 310-pound yellowfin, Cabo’s marlin scene went off on the biger bue and blacks, it was the overall bite off La Paz that had center stage for he week.

“Forget the full moon or big moon!,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International. “I think we just had the best week of our 2018 season. More tuna, bigger dorado, wahoo, billfish, and everyone who wanted a roosterfish got at least one! On top of it, maybe the best weather of the year with sunny days; cool nights and flat blue waters!

“I don’t know how long it will last, but it was sure good this week and maybe it’s shaping up to be a the kind of fall we had last year in 2017 when we had two months of fishing like this.”

STACY FLORENCE from Kansas City was out with Captain Gerardo of the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and caught limits of tuna and still had time so they went looking for roosterfish and caught this gem just outside of Muertos Bay near the rocks. The fish was released.

CAPTAIN ADOLFO from the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz took Garrett Sills from Salt Lake City out’ve Bahia de los Muertos with the flyrod. Garrett is himself and guide and on a small 8 wt flyrod had a blast on the water tangling with big dorado and 20-30 pound yellowfin tuna. “Wore me out!” he laughed. All of the fish except one were on the flared.

VITO CIPPONERI from Stockton, CA got a load of tuna and dorado by 10 a.m. fishing with Captain Jorge of the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and thought they’d look for roosters and immediately got double hookups just off the rocks at Punta Perico landing two like this.

For the Tailhunter La Paz fleet, everyone got limits or near limits of dorado. Fish ran in the range of 10 to25 pounds and it was pretty much a sure thing . Could not miss, said Roldan,

“The fish were scattered over a wide range and no matter which way you went out of the bay, you would eventually hit some dorado. Add to that some pargo, cabrilla, some billfish and roosterfish hookups and even some unusual yellowfin tuna up to 40 pounds and, despite the occasional slower day or boat, most of our clients were releasing fish or coming back early.”

The Las Arenas fleet of pangas saw fishing “nothing short of spectacular most days, he said.

“Yellowfin tuna in the 10- to 20-pound size were just outside of Bahia Muertos. Most of the time, it was all you wanted! Limits by 9 or 10 a.m. then go find some other species or come in back to the beach! It was that good,” said Roldan. “Go out a tad further, just down the beach and out a ways, the fish jumped to 40 to 60 pounders.”

Roldan said it was stupid good fishing and he said one customer, Garett Sills, a flyfishing guide from Salt Lake City, told him, “I”ve never seen tuna crashing that thick before…and big ones boiling right next to the boat and the water was so shallow I could see the bottom! I’ve caught lots of 30- and 40-pound salmon, but they were right about tuna being strong. My arms are still shaking!”

In the same tuna areas, dorado up to 40 pounds and schools of smaller dorado would range in or could be found not far away.

“I threw my flyrod and the fish would fight each other to get it after two or three strips,” said Sills. “Amazing!”

Roldan said that others would go looking for roosterfish “and in a year when we have not caught many roosters, everyone who wanted a rooster caught one, or two! Fish up to 60 pounds were right there. One day we caught 8 roosters. That was more than we’ve caught in the last two months.”

The flyfisherman said he caught caught every species on his Baja bucket list his first day out,” dorado, tuna, roosterfish, pargo, cabrilla. It was awesome!”

Roldan said he hoped the action would hold, but some tropical thunder and lightning storms were projected to come through.

“Most times it’s in the afternoon and evenings. As long is there’s not a lot of wind, we should be okay,” he said.

In other Baja action:

CABO SAN LUCAS -- Pisces Sportfishing is celebratings its 40th year of business and the deadline for its contest is Sept. 15, and the giveway prize for entering is a two- night stay at one the Pisces properties, Harmony. Just enter on their social media platforms: Instagram or Facebook, and follow simple instructions on the post. Go to Pisces for details. The tropical storm season is here but in its final month, then the tournament season begins with the big four events, the Los Cabos Billfish Championship, the Baby Bisbee’s, the Bisbee’s Black and Blue, and then the Nov. 7-10 20th annual Los Cabos Tuna jackpot produced by WON. Signups are coming in and the Early Bird Deadline is Sept.7. You can get details at or the official website

One thing is clear, the bigger tuna in 200- to 300-pound class sizes appear to be showing on the Gordo Bank, as one fish seen on Facebook last week was well over 300 pounds, landed by a local pangero, and several were lost on lighter tackle. There were few details as of presstime, however, on that fish.

Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces said the bite was still ls still slow overall. “Mostly inconsistent but big catches still showing up, so that’s nice!” she said. “Most noteworthy was a 400-450 pound black marlin caught and released by Pelagic Owner Ron Kawaja on 37-foot Tag Team III.

JUMPING MARLIN, a 400-pound black on the Pisces Tag Team III.

A STRIPED MARLIN is released with group aboard Ruthless.

 DORADO AND FLAGS are raised aboard the Pisces Ruthless.

LORETO -- Robert Ross of San Diego, who has a home in the remote community of San Cosme just south of Puerto Escondido, hooked a monster tuna last Wednesday, Aug. 29 well over 400 pounds at a seamount south of Catalan Island locals call El Seco. He was on his 37 foot Outrage, and after several hours lost the fish, hooked on a sardina, to a bent hook. Meanwhile his crewman was hooked up to a big tuna and Ross took over that fish and it weighed 310 pounds on a digital scale back at Ross’s home. The report was sent to WON by Jay Yadon of Outpost Charters in Marina Puerto Esondido. Yadon is Ross’ son-in-law. 

As Yadon noted, and WON has reported, Loreto’s big tuna have returned. In January several big fish over 200 pounds including a 319 pounder and a 424.6 pounder (a pending 80 pound line class record) were landed at El Seco. All told this year, seven fish over 200 pounds, three over 300 and of thoe a 400 pounder have been caught and digitally weighed.

THE EL SECO SEAMOUNT south of Catalan Island got back in the news last Wednesday as Robert Ross (seen hooked up but not with the fish on the beach) of San Diego hooked and lost a huge yellowfin to a bent hook after several hours. Two fish were hooked on sardines on Ross’ private boat, and after Ross lost his fish he took over for his crewman and finished off a 310 pounder. OUTPOST CHARTERS PHOTOS.

In terms of a more general report for the region, Rick Hill of reported, “Still waiting for the annual wahoo visit on our southern end. It hasn't yet happened or else maybe nobody is talking! It would be a long ride from the Loreto marina so I don't think too much traffic would be clouding up the waters off Catalana Island.”

He added the dorado scene remains unchanged; big ones are being spotted chasing bait schools while airborne but only little dodos are hitting the fillet tables.

“Hot weather, good water temps and no hurricanes so far! Roosterfish are active along most of the coastline with San Bruno being the first "go to" spot.”

SAN JOSE DEL CABO – Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Panga with the final six weeks of the tropical storm season, the next several weeks is when all eyes will be focused on the tropical weather forecasts.

As for fishing, “Anglers were finding sardinas a bit harder to find, these schooling baitfish had been found off the northern shoreline near Vinorama, then off of the San Jose del Cabo Estuary and now they are finding them off of Chileno. This means bait netters are back tracking south, then back towards the marina in order to supply the sportfishing fleet, which have been fishing in the direction of the Gordo Banks, La Fortuna, Iman and San Luis Banks. Other bait option continue to be slabs of squid, also some skipjack, bolito and chihuil be found on the offshore grounds and used for slow trolling.”

Main species being found were the yellowfin tuna, hitting on the strips of squid and sardinas, ranging in sizes from footballs, up to 80 pounds.

BIGGER TUNA APPEAR to be showing on the Gordo Bank, as one fish seen on Facebook last week was well over 300 pounds, likely landed by a local pangero. Also, several were lost on lighter tackle.

THE TUNA BITE for the Gordo Banks Panga fleet kicked up a notch on the action last week, said Eric Brictson. GORDO BANKS PANGAS PHOTOS

“Fish were finicky, some days being more active early, other days later in the day, moving around to the various spots, trying to find some cooperative fish,” said Brictson. “Catches ranged from one or two yellowfin, up to ten. It’s a matter of being on the right sport, at the right time and having sufficient supplies of bait. This is normally the time of year where we see the largest of cow sized yellowfin tuna start to lurk around the local high spots. There were a couple of reports in recent days of large fish being lost after extended battles on the grounds near the Gordo Banks, presumably these were thought to be big tuna. The same Gordo Banks is now producing some action for larger marlin, including one fish landed mid-week from a 22-foot panga that was an estimated 500-foot black marlin.”

Only an occasional dorado are being found, most of these under 15 pounds found fairly close to shore. Water is now clear and blue within one mile of shore, ocean currents are warming, now averaging 82 to 86 degrees. Moderate swells, could be increasing with all of the storm activity to the south, will depend on how close these system pass off of the Southern Baja Peninsula.

CEDROS ISLAND -- Scott Dewitz logged into Facebook late last week and wrote, “We just got back from fishing with the Cedros Island gang. What a great trip including the flight over and back with our skilled pilot Andrew. The staff and owner Jose are so friendly and accommodating and the fishing guides really know how to put you on the fish. The weather was great and the lodge was super nice and comfortable. Everything was perfect. I hated to leave but I will be back next year. Make sure that you ask Jose to share his story with you and how he and his wife (Melanie) put this all together, it's truly a story of inspiration, and doing the impossible, just fascinating. I hope Jose writes a book about it.”

CEDROS ISLAND has been solid for hook and line and spearfishermen at the Cedros Outdoor Adventures Baja Magic Lodge.

Louie Ozwnn posted on FB: “Finally back from Cedros Island spearfishing trip. Great time and great place to dive and fish. The trip turned into a fishing trip because the diving wasn't that good on this trip. Only one of four guys was able to shoot a fish. Mike Matta was the lucky one. Might have to go back and redeem myself next year. Luckily we turned to line fishing and did pretty well. Also flying at 5000 feet in a private plane down and back up the Baja coast was a real adventure. The fish we caught were yellowtail. Great for poke, and sashimi.”

EAST CAPE—John Ireland reported that the East Cape wahoo action has been outstanding, calling it the “Week of the Wahoo” for his Hotel Rancho Leonero anglers. He said the water is clear and flat, 84 to 87degrees.

“The air is very pleasant for August, highs in the low 90s. But it was another big week for us, with lots of wahoo for us. The dorado are biting again and there’s not much pressure on the billfish. Inshore is producing big pargo amberjack and pompano. It’s very very good fishing. The bite was further south this week, the white cliffs south of Frailles were producing the wahoo and tuna. The dorado are very spread. Trolled Rapalas were deadly on the wahoo this week. Bart Hall fishing one day caught 3 wahoo in the 20- to 30-pound class.”

HONEYMOONERS ASHLEY CHAUDIERE and Chris Keithly of Bonnie Lake, WA had a heckuva day on the wahoo on a run out of Hotel Rancho Leonero on the East Cape. RANCHO LEONERO PHOTO

JOHN IRELAND, owner of Hotel Rancho Leonero, was on the water and caught a nice pargo and said he was heding back out for bigger game after filing his report for WON. It’s been a spectacular week for his guests on the water.

Contribute to the Baja reports each week by sending photos and reorts to Deadline for the next issue of WON is Sunday.

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