Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Wahoo make a big appearance at East Cape
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
It’s transition time for Baja Sur

Billfishing busts loose
Blacks, blues marlin arrive on cue


It’s tourney time, starting with Los Cabos Billfish Tournament, then the Bisbee’s as October weather watch continues


Special to Western Outdoor News

CABO SAN LUCAS – The Pisces Sportfishing Fleet had one of those amazing weeks on billfish and with four grand slams for the fleet, plus tuna fishing is spread out and dorado are in the mix as Lands End billfishing is on fire, and just the nick of time.

“Great billfish catches for us,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg at the Pisces office in Cabo.”They were up to 450 pounds, all were released. We also had small tuna, and inshore we were getting lots of rooster fish.”

BILLFISHING went off last week on the blues and blacks, and the Pisces Fleet had four grand slams among its fleet. Biggest fish a 450 pounder (estimated). The marlin big money tournaments  start next week. PISCES PHOTO

In terms of big money tournaments, the timing could not be better. Marlin Magazine’s Los Cabos Billfish Tournament based at Playa Grande Resort celebrates 20 years of competition, and runs Oct. 13-18. The Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore Tournament runs Oct. 18-21, and while it is called the ”Baby Bisbee’s it draws a big field and doles out close to a $1 million.

That is followed by the world’s richest tourney the three-day Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament Oct. 23-27 with check ins and weigh-ins at the Puerto Paraiso Mall and awards dinner at the cruise ship mall. That’s it for October but then comes the 20th annual WON Cabos Tuna Jackpot Nov. 7-10, the largest tourney in Mexico, again based at the Hotel Tesoro with the Saturday awards dinner at the cruise ship pier.

So, of course all eyes are on storms. Hurricane Sergio, following Rosa’s path, kicked up winds and swell as it formed way offshore, but it will move north and downgrade to a tropical storm as moves closer, By midweek it could hit land at Baja’s midsection around Guerrero Negro. Expect heavy rain, again.

Aside from some nice surfing swells, weather was perfect in Cabo last week. But like all Octobers in southern Baja, you watch the weather and hope for the best.

The fishing has really turned on for billfish. The week’s biggest of the Pisces Fleet marlin was a 450 pounder, a blue marlin tagged and released by the 31-foot Cabolero which also caught and tagged and released a 290-pound blue marlin. Anglers aboard were Cindy Tucker, Jeff and Kim Osborne and Trent Tucker of Texas.

Four grand slams is quite a feat. The billfish slam parade started on Sept. 30 the 48-foot Viking Listo scored one 50-pound sailfish on a caballito at the 95 Spot, 2 blue marlin of 250 pounds on caballitos and 1 small 130-pound black marlin on a “rojo” trolling lure. Anglers were Marshall Carrell, Newman Carrell, Payton Carrell and Thomas Carrell, all of Texas.

Two days later, on Oct. 2, the 31-foot La Brisa caught 1 striper, a small sailfish and a blue marlin at the 95 Spot for Eric Hersh, Jim Hannigan, John Capalleti, John VandenBroeck and Rich Belluci of San Jose, CA.

On Oct. 5, the Tracy Ann at the 1150 spot caught 1 striper, 2 yellowfin 15 to 18 pounds, 1 small sailfish of 60 pounds, and 1 blue marlin of 200 pounds for anglers Daniel Ryan, David Turley, Jose Ramon Alucano and Martha Turley of New York.

The fourth Pisces grand slam of the week on billfish came on Oct. 6 by the 31-foot Bertram Rebecca, with a 220-pound blue, a 140-pound black marlin and sailfish of 90 pounds all caught (and released) on live cabbies at the 1150 Spot by anglers Ken Cpic, Brian Lynch and Tom Sisson of Arizona.

In other Cabo action, Accurate reels and Costa sunglasses Pro Staffer and Bay Area salmon/sturgeon deckhand Virginia Salvador was fishing on the Tormenter Ocean with Dream Maker Sportfishing, Captain Jose Paniagua at the helm, and scored her first-ever blue marlin on Saturday. The estimated 250-pound blue was released. She also caught three nice dorado, and kept her limit of two. 

ACCURATE AND COSTA PRO STAFFER and Bay Area salmon/sturgeon deckhand Virginia Salvador was fishing on the Tormenter Ocean with Dream Maker Sportfishing with Capt. Jose Paniagua at the helm and scored her first ever blue marlin Saturday of 250 pounds, and was released. The next day she scored a 60-pound tuna. 

“Today one of my dreams came true,” she said the next day on a FB post. “I caught my very first billfish, a blue marlin estimated to be 250 pounds, I have never fought so hard in my life! The pictures never do the experience justice. Over an hour of fighting and I finally got to see this amazing animal face to face. I caught it on my brand new Accurate Boss Valiant 600! Talk about breaking it in with style! I will never ever forget this and how grateful I am to have finally experienced it.”

LA BOCANA -- Marty Levy of La Verne, CA and friends Dave Schaefer of Chino Hills and Mike Vizier of Ontario who all belong to the Inland Saltwater Anglers Club fished La Bocana recently, and Levy fired off this report, exclusive to WON:

“We just returned from a 6-day trip (4 days of fishing) to La Bocana with Baja Fishing Convoys. La Bocana is located about 100 miles southeast of Cedros Island. The area is protected and run by a fishing cooperativa and the fishing is tightly controlled. The town is quite isolated so the sportfishing is virtually untapped. You have to allow for a day of travelling each way. The usual route is to drive to Ensenada, take a plane to Guerrero Negro airport and drive about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to get to La Bocana. There are quicker ways to get there via a private plane.

LA BOCANA was a great spot for variety pack fishing on Baja’s West Coast for Marty Levy of La Verne, Dave Schaefer of Chino Hills and Mike Vizier of, Ontario, CA. They all belong to the Inland Saltwater Anglers Club (ISWAC).

“What really attracted me to La Bocana is that you can do three types of fishing,” continued Levy. “You can do light line fishing in the estuary (about a 15 to 30 minutes away) for juvenile grouper, triggers, sand and spotted bass, corvina, etc. You can go inshore (about 30 minutes away) for yellowtail, grouper, white seabass, sierra mackerel and big calicos). And you can go offshore, weather permitting, (a two-hour ride) for wahoo, tuna, billfish, dorado, etc. You can even split your day between the estuary and inshore fishing. You can also go surf fishing right from the lodge, just a three-minute walk to the water.”

Levy said on the first day they started off going offshore to target wahoo. That was the time Hurricane Rosa was churning, so high seas shot that idea down for the entire trip since fishing is done with three anglers in a panga.

“So we turned back to go fishing inshore,” said Levy. “Inshore is shallow, the depth doesn’t seem to ever go deeper than 70 feet. For the day we caught many calicos (3- to 6-pound range), about 7 white seabass, 8 yellowtail, a few groupers, along with assorted barracuda, sand bass, bonito, etc. We used mostly plastics, Salas 6xJrs, and Colt Snipers. That evening I went surf fishing and caught spotted bass, small groupers, sculpin, and small halibut. This would be the mix we would catch every evening we surf fished.”

On day two they worked the estuary in 15 feet of water and nailed a mix of triggers, calicos, spotted bass, and corvina. When the fishing slowed down in the late morning, they went inshore where they again caught the same inshore mix as the previous day.

“On day three we headed right out for inshore fishing,” said Levy. “It turned out to be our best day. We caught 15 yellowtail, 6 or 7 sierra mackerel, 2 white seabass, 25 calico, 2 small snappers, and 1 needlefish. We then decided to go with X-Raps and again caught yellowtail, sierra mackerel, and picked up 2 grouper. One was released, you are only allowed to keep one grouper per boat per day.”

On their final day they worked the estuary for plenty of triggers, corvina, spotted bass, small grouper. “We used small plastics, small hard baits/jigs, etc. Gulp shrimp also works well and the even bit on motor oil grubs. At around 10:30 we headed inshore again. We caught several more yellowtail and nice calico. After a while we decided to troll. We were able to pick up a few more yellowtail, calicos, sierra mackerel and 3 more groupers. All in all, it was a great trip. Lots of action, no dull spots. We are already planning on returning next year.”

EAST CAPE --Capt. Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing reported from Los Barilles Sunday night, “We experienced our first north wind of the season. It only lasted a couple days and was not severe but is a reminder our fishing season will shortly be coming to a close. A month from now sea temps will rapidly drop as north winds become stronger.

“Right now conditions and fishing couldn't be better. We did have a couple of slow days early in the week but the tuna have come back to the party. Wahoo that have been absent for a few days are also back.”

John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero said the water is 86 to 88 degrees, still very warm and flat and clear although the region had brief rains early in the week and Friday was a little bumpy. Other than that, high 80s for air but cooling afternoon breezes, bent rods and flat seas.

HOTEL RANCHO LEONERO fleet anglers reported great tuna action on the East Cape, with limits on fish 10 to 50 pounds.

“Again this week, it really is all about the tuna with limits for almost all anglers daily,” said Ireland. “These are nice fish, between 10 and 50 pounds and that is keeping the attention centered on the tuna, although a few boats are going well fishing the bottom ledges and picking up big pargo, pompano, and wide variety of other species.”

Ireland said billfish are being absolutely ignored although a lot of tailers were reported off Punta Pescadero.

“Some nice wahoo and good-sized dorado have been taken this week, but not many, with most of the fleet staying on the tuna,” Ireland said.

In other East Cape news, charity and fishing came together at the
12th Annual Casting 4 Souls charity event held last week in Los Barriles. “Close to 4,000 people were given a brand new pair of shoes, socks, clothing, sunglasses, belts and a bible, said Eddie Dalmau at the Van Wormer Resorts office. “This event would not be possible without the help of all the volunteers. Each year they come from all over the U.S., joining the local community and many employees of Van Wormer Resorts for this event. Special thanks to Fishersofmen Westcoast, Angler Chronicles (radio and TV shows), New Balance, AFTCO, Soles 4 Souls, ACV Logistics and to my good friend Jack Mcculloch for your support each and every year.” 

If you would like to donate or be a part of next year’s event, email or

SHOES AND NOT FISHING was the priority last week at Palmas De Cortez on the East Cape. The 12th Annual Casting 4 Souls in Los Barriles saw close to 4,000 people given a brand new pair of shoes, socks, clothing, sunglasses, belts and a bible. Each year volunteers like Anglers Chronicles (television and radio shows) come down to Baja from all over the U.S., joining the local community and many employees of Van Wormer Resorts.

 A NICE HAUL OF YELLOWFIN while fishing with Gordo Banks Pangas out of Puerto Los Cabos Marina is shown. Most action on skittish 30 to 60 pounders centered on the Iman Bank.

“The coming weeks will be very busy,” said Eric Brictson at Gordo Banks Pangas based at Puerto Los Cabo Marina. “Weather patterns are changing, with a slight chill now early in the morning, although it is still very humid. We have had intense sunshine, but no rain this past week, just scattered tropical clouds and increased swells due to a distant hurricane (Sergio), with relatively light winds. Ocean water temperatures were in the 86 degrees range; still very conducive for fueling storms.”

He said that as angling pressure increases they are going to see how supplies of sardinas hold up, as this has been the main baitfish now being used.

“Also the slabs of squid makes a good combination and option to have, if available,” he said. “As we move into the fall season there will be more opportunities of looking for other larger baits like chihuil, small skipjack, caballito and later on sardineta and mackerel.”

Local fleets centered on the Iman Bank with yellowfin tuna being the most common gamefish, ranging in sizes from 10 pounds to 70 pounds. The bite was tough this week, the tuna would come up, but were very finicky and would strike at sporadic times, he said.


“Most charters were doing well to land a couple of tuna while on other days anglers landed as many as five or more. Many of the yellowfin landed on these grounds averaged in the 25- to 60-pound class, quality fish, just not in any significant numbers. These fish have been on these same areas for the entire summer and are becoming wiser to the increased boat traffic.

“We expect action to start spreading out some and hopefully we will see more dorado moving in, but so far they have been scarce, an occasional one or two dorado in the 2- to 12-pound range. Wahoo action has been limited, though we are seeing a few fish brought in from the areas near Iman to Vinorama, most of these were under 30 pounds, striking on lures as well as rigged chihuil.” Expect to see more as the water cools in the coming weeks.

LA PAZ – The season is changing, with dropping sea and air temps and the humidity is slacking off, thankfully.

“But the surest indicator is that the north winds that blow during out winter off-season months have started to pick up which will surely continue the cooling trend,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International. The fishing, not so co-incidentally, also seemed to take a bit of a change as well.”

The ever-present yellowfin tuna of the season took a bit of a slow-down, as the tuna are still around and being caught, but not in the previous week’s volume, said Roldan. Most were in the 10- to 30-pound class with a few 40 to 60 pounders.

“There were some 100-plus pounders hooked at the south end of Cerralvo Island, but all of those fish were lost,” he said. “Still, we had to work a lot harder to find the tuna this past week whereas in other weeks, the tuna were voracious. Some days, some pangas did not get any tuna at all which have been our bread-and-butter fish most of the season…at least for our Tailhunter Las Arenas Fleet.”

However, remarkably, the bite was far better for their Tailhunter La Paz fleet which usually relies on a steady dorado bite to bend rods and fill fish boxes. However, this past week, the tuna bite was actually much more solid and dependable with 25- to 40-pound yellowfin taking up perhaps 50 percent of the catch. Whereas in normal years, we see only a handful of tuna for the La Paz fleet, this past week, our pangas were getting 2 to 10 yellowfin per panga.

WALT MENDA from Sacramento was out with Captain Jorge of the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz when the small football tuna started to bite so he grabbed his light 25-pound rig. But, as often happens that’s when the big boy bit and this hefty yellowfin ended up being a two-hour battle.

'ROB CHAMBERS FROM Utah made his first trip to La Paz to fish with Tailhunters and did the single day hat-trick starting out with his first wahoo…then a big bull dorado and finally finishing with his first roosterfish just outside of Punta Perico that was released. He also threw in a few football tuna!

LORETO – Rick Hill of reported: “The tropical storms did not swing by Loreto this time but we ended the week with some pre-winter gusts. Dorado are still working the coastline from the airport to Puerto Escondido.

Small 18-inch roosterfish have been putting on the show close to shore for anyone dangling a sardina on their hooks. It seems like most people are getting bored with the dodos and getting the itch for yellowtail season. We always have yellowtail but distractions of the summer fish will change the course of most boats. As far as weather, we are getting slightly lower daytime temps with the highs just under 90.”

Capt. Ricky Trevor on the Cast ‘N Reel with Outpost Charters out of Puerto Escondido reported, “Basically with the storms it’s hit and miss with the wind. Water temps are sticking around 86/87 and the water color is a little off but there is still a good amount of dorado around, and lots of tuna if you can find the porpoise and birds. We’re spotting several sailfish a day and more blue marlin are rising.”

SAN QUINTIN BAY/CEDROS – Hurricane Rosa last week and now Hurricane Sergio this week (Rosa came ashore as a tropical storm, as will Sergio) are headed for mid-Baja. Cedros had a lot of rain and roads that looked like rivers, but there was no severe damage to the town or the Cabo Magic Lodge operated by Cedros Outdoor Adventures. In a later look at the storm, it is slow moving and  will make land around Friday with only about 50 MPH winds, and will likely come in farther south than believed, well below Cedros Island. Good news. 

CLUB VAG ROAD REPORT: Amy Halverson of Club Vagabundos sent in a road report concerning Highway 5 after the heavy rains from Rosa.

“Mexicali to San Felipe is open. After that, it’s not passable,” she said. “We are recommending not to take this road south of San Felipe. South of San Felipe the road goes from bad to worse and the dirt section after Coco's is horrible. Lots of road construction starting just south of South Beach all the way to Puertecitos. There is a detour as the road is being completely replaced with culverts under the road eliminating all the dips for water runoff. You will travel right next to the construction, but it is very bumpy and dusty. The road south is nice once you pass Puertecitos but then is really bad again as you cross from Coco's to Hwy 1. Seems like they just stopped the construction of the new bridges. Driving south of San Felipe in a motorhome or car is not recommended.

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