Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Time to fish hard, party harder
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Tuna central off Baja Sur

200 pounders at scale indicate there are big fish to be had off Cabo
Here comes the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot, with 150 boats expected in its 20th year and almost $700,000
in cash; Last year’s big fish was a 338 for
Team North Star on the Estrella Del Norte

CABO SAN LUCAS — Team Chinito Bonito was fresh off its win in the Bisbee’s Black & Blue the week before and kept the lucky roll running with a pair of 200 pounders Saturday and Sunday to sweep a tuna tourney in titles and tuna optional money on the eve of the 20th annual Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot.

The event by Pelagic clothing had 18 boats in its first year and Capt. Evan Salvay’s two fish of 243 pounds the first day on porpoise 30 miles out from Cabo, and a 218 pounder Sunday sealed the win for the Chinito Bonito team from SoCal. That team, firing on all cylinders, is entered in the Cabo Tuna Jackpot, starting Wednesday, with fishing Thursday and Friday. A field of 150 boats was expected to start off outside the famed Cabo arch at 7 a.m. those days.


TEAM CHINITO BONITO which won the Bisbee’s Black & Blue title last week, took the Pelagic Rock and Roll Tuna Tourney title on Sunday and won most of the optionals in the 18-boat event in Cabo. It shows the quality of the tuna on the porpoise schools with their first the first day of 243 pounds and a 218 the second day. MARIO BANAGA PHOTOS

THE PISCES’ BILL COLLECTOR brought back this 310 pounder Oct. 29. It was caught by Charles Wortham.

There have been some quality tuna on the porpoise in recent weeks. There have been two 300 pounders and at least four 200 pounders at the scales around the marina. A 310 pounder was caught Oct. 29 by the Bill Collector, a Pisces fleet charterboat booked by the angler of record, Charles Wortham.

This is not to say there is a steady parade of big and small tuna coming in. Or billfish for that matter. It has been slow close to home in Cabo as the water is in transition from summer to fall. This is when it settles and big tuna begin to move onto the banks.

For the record, the Finger Bank has been on fire for striped marlin, but that is a 50-mile run. This reporter did the run Sunday on Solomon’s Toy with owner Brian Solomon, and WON’s Billy Egan. We had four marlin of 60 to 200 pounds on flyined mackerel, and left the fish biting in the hopes of scoring other species, but we found no tuna on five schools of local porpoise going up and back. The porpoise holding seem to be 20 to 30 miles out.

There are enough big fish coming in to stir up interest in the Tuna Jackpot that begins Wednesday, Nov. 7. For example, Minerva’s Tackle had a great video on its Facebook page from Saturday after the Bisbee’s. It had a video of a 200-pound class fish coming into the docks. Tim Johnson fished on the Minerva V with Capt. Carmelo and first mate Manuel and posted this report.

“This is my third trip with you guys and my second trip with Carmelo,” wrote Johnson. “We started out the morning heading about 20 miles offshore. Captain Carmelo found a huge school of porpoise and the hunt was on. I was standing next to him at the wheel when the big fish took off on the captain's rod. I gave it everything I could muster for the first 90 minutes when Manuel gave me about a 10-minute break and Carmelo put the harness on me to help me out. Three hours and 45 minutes it took to land this beautiful yellowfin tuna. It is by far the biggest fish I have ever caught or seen in person.

“We will be back again next year to fish again. The response at the dock was great. How cool it was to be the center of attention all thanks to the wonderful people at Minerva's. This was definitely a bucket list accomplishment. Many thanks and we look forward to next year. Hooked for life!”

BIG STRUGGLING ROOSTERFISH won’t sit still for a camera shot, but Marcus Totemeier from Washington and Captain Victor from the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz are doing their best so they can release the fish quickly. Both men are big and this rooster was estimated at about 60 pounds when caught just offshore from Bahia Muertos. They were able to release the fish which swam off strongly.

DARREL ZAUNER WITH his daughter Marni had a good outing fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet nailing 2 wahoo and a tuna and losing a big dogtooth snapper as well. The Zauners are from Montana. They were with Captain Pancho and were just outside of Bahia Muertos.

LA PAZ — “We had an up-and-down week here,” said Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International. “We had some of the prettiest postcard days, but also some days when the sun was out but the winter winds were blowing making it tough to fish. Oh, and a full moon as well. I will officially now say we have passed from the warm water season into the cooler off-season. Winds are starting to blow erratically now. Some from the north, some from the south. It changes from day-to-day and can even change several times during the same day.

“The result is that the waters have cooled or are getting mucked up. Bait is getting increasingly harder to find and the bait guys either can’t find it or you have to wait until they get enough to sell. Folks get impatient, but what you gonna do? Go fish without bait? That’s the way it is this time of year.

“We pretty much aren’t doing much fishing with our La Paz fleet the last week-and-a-half or so. The outside waters are just too unpredictable; fish are scattering now, and bait has become an issue, so, most of our fishing is with our Tailhunter Las Arenas Fleet.”

Roldan said that on the days they could get bait, there’s still some stray 10- to 25-pound tuna hanging out.

“A few dorado here and there. Still some of those nice big pargo liso and big dog snapper in the rocks, although we didn’t get any to the boat this week and lost all of them in the rocks on busted lines.”

However, he said, wahoo are still around. Dark Rapalas are still the best option to get them.

“We got some 20 to 40 pounders hooked up this week. Also, I was really surprised that we got so many and so many large roosterfish as well. Really not a very prominent time for roosterfish, but I guess they’re still there. Pretty much any of our anglers this week who wanted to get one hooked up at least one and all of them were respectable legit fish.”

BAHIA ASUNCION — Shari Bondy at the La Bufadora Inn and sportfishing operation here reported it has been a frustrating fall in Bahia Asuncion for fishing charters.

“After years of canceling charters due to hurricanes in September, this year I didn’t book any and got anglers to switch to October. Turns out September was beautiful and lots of great yellowtail fishing but no guests! Then we had to reschedule the first two weeks of charters in October due to hurricanes.... sheesh!

“October is the new September it seems with water temps just warming up here the last couple weeks of October which is when the bigger yellowtail started to show up. Better late than never I guess! Our first charter this month yielded some nice ‘tails and the guests got 7 different species in one day!”

Bondy added that the bonito are plentiful and huge and calico fishing has been terrific.

“The wahoo and tuna are just beginning to show here now with our local angler Ross Zoerhoff now having caught 3 in his little tin boat and lost some too,” said Bondy. “The weather is perfect and we look forward to a fantastic November-December.”

GORDO BANKS PANGAS fishing out of San Jose Del Cabo’s marina is all about the tuna right now, as this panga anglerette “Tiffany” well knows. PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC BRICTSON

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson is a busy man this time of year at Gordo Banks Pangas in Marina Puerto Los Cabos.

“Very busy times continue and will not taper off until after Thanksgiving,” he said. “Weather patterns are now more typical for the fall season, low temperatures about 70 degrees and highs near 85 degrees. North winds have become more prevalent, picking up early in the week, lightening a bit over the weekend. Ocean swells were moderate and water temperatures varied from 79 to 82 degrees. Reports of north winds stirring up currents and pushing in off colored waters.”

As for bait, he said there have been various options available, with caballito, slabs of squid, ballyhoo, chihuil, small skipjack and miniature size sardinas being found in limited quantities near Chileno. There’s very heavy pressure on all bait resources this time of year, always the same situation during this time frame.

Local San Jose del Cabo fleets are fishing mainly in the vicinity of Iman and San Luis banks. The action for yellowfin tuna was much tougher this week, through much of the week the winds created very fast drifts and made that form of drift and chum fishing that much harder. There were limited yellowfin tuna in the 40- to 90-pound class accounted for, some days they found better numbers of football sized tuna, white skipjack and bonito, but even the smaller grade of fish became elusive. Most days the best chances for tuna were early in the day, then very sporadic.

“We did see an increase of dorado that ranged to over 20 pounds still just one or two here or there, but at least we’re seeing some decent respectable sized fish,” said Brictson. ”Wahoo were hard to predict, as they normally can be, but these fish are definitely in the area, mainly on the grounds from Punta Gorda to Vinorama. These fish become increasingly finicky at times of heavy concentrations of boats. Anglers were taking wahoo strikes incidentally while drift fishing for tuna, as well as on various Rapalas, skirted jet heads, trap hooked chihuil, caballito and ballyhoo also were working. No wide-open action, but charters were accounting for one or two of these fish when targeting these specifically.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 235 charters for the week. Anglers reported a fish count of: 9 striped marlin, 8 sailfish, 58 dorado, 41 wahoo, 155 yellowfin tuna, 145 bonito, 190 white skipjack, 18 red snapper, 14 amberjack, 13 barred pargo, 16 yellow snapper, 12 dogtooth snapper, 18 cabrilla, 12 sierra, 12 roosterfish, 10 jack crevalle, 4 mullet snapper and 180 triggerfish.

MIKE McCASLAND OF Upland and some friends fished with Oscar Ochoa at on the FISH-On, a 25-foot Mako out of Los Barilles for the Lynn Rose charity tournament. Great fishing and well-run event by Rose for charity and fun.

EAST CAPE — Mike McCasland of Upland, CA and friends fished with Capt. Oscar Ochoa at on the FISH-On, a 25-foot Mako out of Los Barilles during the recent Lynn Rose charity tournament.

Ken Taylor at East Cape Charters told WON that the annual tourney was a great success in raising thousands of dollars for local kids’ charities.

“Mike has been fishing this event since its inception almost 30 years ago. The weather and water were rough during the prefishing and the event, getting beat up quite a bit he weathered through (pun intended). Though not so successful during the tourney the last day of the charter he made the decision to go north all the way to the Island and was rewarded with this nice dorado.”

Taylor and his are new supporters of WON’s Baja coverage. See them in the classified section of WON and their website.

In other East Cape action, Rayor of Jen Wren and his three boats are headed to the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot this week, but they left behind a great bite.

“We are starting to turn the corner toward winter,” he said. “Air and water temperatures are starting to drop and the stifling humidity is diminishing. We are also experiencing more days with wind from the north. Game fish don't care and rods are still bending as they have all year. Wahoo pop up and bite well for a couple days then move off. Dorado have been hard to find but there are a few good ones coming to the scale. Marlin and sailfish have been very consistent but the main event has been the ridiculous tuna bite. Drifting on high spots has not been as effective but porpoise schools offshore with working birds have been giving up the tuna.”

He added, “October brought excellent fishing all month but I'm glad it is over. In just the month we suffered more mechanical failures than the sum of the last 2 years. Parts are parts and we went through a lot of what we had stockpiled. The short story is 3 alternators, one turbocharger, one marine head, one diesel transfer pump, 2 torsional couplers, one prop shaft and propeller. On Halloween I thought we blew a transmission and had one of our spares un-crated ready to install but it turned out to be a second torsional coupler. Aside from all of this we are on our third 15 hp outboard motor on our shore boat.”

He added, “Yes, parts are parts and with a month full of tournaments we were lucky to have what we needed to not miss a days fishing. Hats off to my crew who worked long and hard after hours keeping everything together. Toughest single day they arrived at 6 a.m., fished all day and then snapped a prop shaft close to home. They gimped in, put the boat on trailer and worked until 1:30 a.m. doing the repair and doubled back at 6 a.m. to go fishing again. Parts are parts.”

MIDRIFF — The Tony Reyes mothership just returned from another trip into the beautiful Sea Of Cortez enjoying great weather except for some Santa Ana winds Wednesday, reported Tom Ward at the Longfin Tackle in Orange, CA.

“Bait was plentiful and working well in conjunction with throwing jigs and trolling MirroLures,” said Ward, who was relayed the information by Capt. Tony Reyes Jr. when the boat docked in San Felipe. “This was a Phenix Rod charter and is the last trip of the year. Next season begins in April and the trips are filling fast as there is only one sportfishing boat from San Felipe now when in the past there were up to five boats.

“This is the third year that Tony Reyes has been the only sport fishing operation sailing from San Felipe and the fishing quality and quantities have been steadily climbing to numbers not seen for many years. Tony expects this trend to continue as he promotes conservation and a catch and release policy of undersize fish as well as adhering to the generous fish limits set by the Mexican government.”

The count from the trip: 403 large and medium sized yellowtail, 343 large and medium size cabrilla, 126 bass, 9 sheephead, 18 sand bass, 8 grouper to 110 pounds, 2 black seabass, 7 whitefish, 25 cola escoba, 1 dorado.

LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchy Sportfishing at said fishing continues in the autumn mode with most of the local boats staying close to town.

“The coastline has been productive for sierra and roosterfish while the more adventurous boats are whacking cabrilla around the further off points, rock piles and bays,” said Hill. “The in-town distractions this week focused around the "Day of the Dead" celebrations and the first of this season's cruise ship days. Weather and water could not be better!”

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