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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Loreto yellows going off between blows


Apollo/WON run scores a 321 pounder off Puerto Vallarta
Loreto’s Puerto Escondido Marina announces first annual Robert Ross tourney for May 17-19; yellowtail season is on in the region

PUERTO VALLARTA There is something truly amazing about the waters off Puerto Vallarta when it comes to huge yellowfin tuna. The amount of bait perhaps, especially squid that larger tuna don’t have to work very hard for. Whatever the case may be, 300-pound tuna are a potential catch every time you throw out a caballito or drop a squid over the rail, or float a balloon and wait for a blowup.


the321pounder
THE 321 POUNDER that highlighted the WON charter on the Apollo on a 3 ½-day run out of Puerto Vallarta by Las Vegas resident and general contractor Jeff Vogl. Pictured are, from left, crewman Jake Kertzman, Giavanni Cruz, Jeff Vogl, and Capt. Jay Lorenzo Cruz. PAT McDONELL PHOTO


In the past three years of WON charters at Puerto Vallarta, a 300-pound yellowfin has been caught on each trip, the latest a 321 pounder by Jeff Vogl of Las Vegas, Nev. last week on the 65-foot Apollo captained by Jay Cruz on a 3 ½-day run to the waters north of Banderas Bay with 14 anglers. The trip was hosted by this writer and Rick Ozaki of West Coast Marketing and was sponsored by Avet reels and Graftech rods.


There will be more on the trip next week. While the fishing was not as good as past trips, it did produce five fish, all over 140 pounds, two were over 200, including a 232 pounder by Jeremy Lara of Escondido (his first-ever big tuna) on a flylined cabbie bait and the 321 pounder by Vogl that slammed cabbie bait under the balloon.


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RICKY TREVOR WITH Outpost Charters in Puerto Escondido (Loreto) was “back in the saddle” after some winter time off in the states and nailed a nice yellow aboard Cast N Reel. Winds have been a factor in recent weeks, with few windows of opportunity. But the yellowtail are in the usual spots. The Robert Ross Fishing Tournament was just announced. The inaugural event (tuna,yellowtail, dorado, billfish release) May 16-19 is detailed at robertrossfishingtournament.com.


LORETO — Rick Hill of Pincheysportfishing.com said, “the yellowtail season, at least the hardcore part, has just started in the waters off Carmen Island's northeast tip. Punta Lobo and further out at the "50 spot" has been the go-to spot since the winds died down. Yellows from 18 to 27 pounds were hitting the decks for most of the boats making the ride. Closer to town the smaller yellows and cabrilla are whacking sardinas along the coast and around Coronado Island.” Ricky Trevor of Outpost Charters fired off a pic of a big yellowtail he caught on a run out of Puerto Escondido between blows.


Marina Puerto Escondido, recently expanded, is getting into the tournament business to promote its facility with the first annual Robert Ross Fishing Tournament May 17-19 with $1,000 entry, and three kill divisions for tuna, yellowtail and dorado (biggest single fish), a catch and release billfish division (single winner) and a Kids Division. Registration is the first day with a dinner for teams, two days of fishing and a Sunday dinner ceremony. See more at robertrossfishingtournament.com where you can enter online.


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THE BILL COLLECTOR scored a swordfish and six yellowfin tuna on a run out of Cabo San Lucas, last Tuesday. DREAMMAKER CHARTERS PHOTO


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ETHAN AND HIS father Chris Schaffnerof Oregon had a superb day on the water with Mike Tumbiero, owner and captain of the 35-foot Cabo charterboat Renegade Mike. RENEGADE MIKE PHOTOS


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ANGLERS DAN AND Kurt with their 187-pound yellowfin taken aboard the Pisces Andrea on a run outside. Kurt, left, is holding the " brujita" lure that the fish hit on.

 

CABO SAN LUCAS — Even in Baja, a swordfish is a rare catch and last week, the Bill Collector, a Pisces charterboat out of Cabo, caught one as well as some nice tuna, reported Grace Cote at Gricelda’s Smokehouse.


“Fishing was slow for a couple of days,” said Cote. “Then we started getting tuna, sierra and lots of bonito. Plus, plenty of catch-and- release marlin, and we had bottom fishing outside the lighthouse for stripers. And today, the Bill Collector caught a swordfish and 6 yellowfin tuna.” There were no other details on the swordfish catch at press time.


On Saturday, Mike Tumbiero of Renegade Mike Sportfishing took a run with customers on his 35 Bertram Renegade Mike and said, “Fishing had been good to great for most of January but for some reason today (Feb. 2) the fish seemed to be down all day. We managed to get at least one billfish and dorado to make a day of it but I am a little worried for Monday and Tuesday. As a matter of fact I tried to move Monday to later in the week but no can do as a longtime angling client had a full itinerary for his family and grandkids. Hopefully things will turn around for the better as conditions did not really change but for some reason the fish just did not want to show themselves today.”


Chris Schaffner of Oregon fished with Tumbiero with his young son Ethan after the Saturday trip and said on a Facebook post that evening: “Day one of Cabo fishing is over. Big thanks to Renegade Mike Tumberio for his hard work and being so good with Ethan. If you're going to Cabo this is the guy you go with, period. He works hard to put you on the fish and is a fun guy to boot. Fishing was slow for everyone but we managed to get Ethan his first dorado and striped marlin, which was released scared but unharmed. Stopped by the Tiki Bar before we left and as always they did an awesome job preparing the dorado three different ways! Damn I love it here!”


Tumbiero responded to the comment: “Contrary to what some people may say, as I am a little rough around the edges, I just love having kids on the boat and turning them onto their first big game experience. This young man is quite an accomplished fisherman as his dad runs a top-notch charter operation in Oregon. It was a joy to fish with them and look forward to doing it again and watching Ethan grow.”


Pisces Sportfishing Fleet’s Rebecca Ehrenberg said the bigger yellowfin tuna continue to the bite — on Sundays. The porpoise are holding fish, and they are not footballs, the yellowfin in the 40- to 70-pound class with bigger grade fish over 100 pounds also in the packs.


“Another good week of fishing in Cabo, and looks like if you're looking for big tuna you should head out on a Sunday,” she said. “For over a month now, we have caught yellowfin tuna over 150 pounds on every Sunday of the month! This week was no different, with anglers Dan and Kurt from Los Angeles landing a 187-pound yellowfin!”


She added that overall, marlin action is still on, with multiple releases at the Finger Bank and up to 4 stripedmarlin released per boat closer by to Cabo, between the Old Lighthouse and Golden Gate. Smaller game this week included sierra, skipjack, grouper, needlefish and amberjacks.”


Again, top Finger Bank action by the Pisces captains was headed the 42-foot Caliente with 16 striped marlin weighing between 90 and 140 pounds, hitting on live mackerel bait by angler Samuel Frankenthal from Texas. Return anglers Gene and Darlene Lavengco on the Bill Collector did well again (they were in Cabo for the beginning of the Finger Bank bite), releasing 14 striped marlin of about 90 to 180 pounds each, also on mackerel.”


actioncloser
THE ACTION CLOSER to shore off of Punta Gorda had faded out, but this week this action rebounded for both wahoo and dorado. The key was to have live chihuil for bait, slow trolling within one mile of the point, still hit or miss, but some boats did account for multiple wahoo as well as dorado. GORDO BANKS PHOTO


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas at Marina Puerto Los Cabos reported weather has been pretty good for February, with temps into the upper 70s. There is scattered early cloud cover burning off later in the day and plenty of warm sunshine. As for fishing, the marlin are within reach after being concentrated for months up the Pacific side and recently moving directly outside Cabo and now spreading out on the banks outside Marina Puerto Los Cabos.


“Striped marlin action is now heating up off of the San Jose del Cabo area, anywhere from three to five miles straight out from the marina,” reported Brictson. “On these grounds is where schools of mackerel and sardineta are congregated, attracting good numbers of billfish. Many charters are drift fishing baits down deeper where the stripers are feeding, there has been some surface action going on as well. Many boats were reporting multiple chances for marlin, these fish are ranging in sizes from 60 to 100 pounds. A few dorado also coming from these same grounds. Water temperatures have been in the 70- to 75-degree range, fluctuating currents moving in and out.


“Other bait options in the marina have been caballito, ballyhoo and squid,” said Brictson. “Also many of the super panga charters are catching their own chihuil on the Inner Gordo Bank. The Inner Gordo Bank is where there has been a quality grade of yellowfin tuna holding, though the bite has been sporadic, though every day we are seeing a handful of these tuna accounted for by the combined fleet, these fish have been in the 60- to 100-pound class. Anglers were having success while drift fishing with strips of squid, as well as on chihuil.”


He added, “The action closer to shore off of Punta Gorda had faded out, but this week this action rebounded for both wahoo and dorado. The key was to have the live chihuil for bait, slow trolling within one mile of the point, still hit or miss, but some boats did account for multiple wahoo as well as dorado. Wahoo were of mixed sizes, some less than ten pounds, to fish near 50 pounds. Most of the dorado were in the 5- to 15-pound class, a few pushing 20 pounds. Good action considering that we are now in the midst of winter and these species are not always a normal catch for this time of year.”


Bottom action remained spotty, with more triggerfish and small snapper than anything else. Some commercial pangeros had connections for imported red crabs and they reported some nice hauls of red snapper.


“Maybe we will start to see these crabs on our local grounds, the best for snapper action,” said Brictson. “This coming month we usually start seeing some more consistent activity for nicer sized fish off of the bottom structure. Hoping for improved yellowtail migrations this season.”


Inshore there were a few sierra, jack crevalle and some juvenile roosterfish, still early in the year for these species, no sardinas makes it tough to find schooling sierra. The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 55 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 32 striped marlin, 58 dorado, 18 yellowfin tuna, 38 wahoo, 16 bonito, 48 red snapper, 5 cabrilla, 8 yellow snapper, and 4 barred pargo.


captjuancook
CAPT. JUAN COOK took customers out to the high spots off San Quintin Bay before the storms hit and the result was a solid showing on quality yellows on the iron. The seals made an appearance too, but Cook said there were plenty of fish.


SAN QUINTIN BAY OFFSHORE — Punta Colonet was solid on the high spot reefs for forkies, but the only boats getting them were the 1 ½- to 2 ½-day boats out of San Diego before the storms hit. In San Quintin, Capt. Juan Cook took out customers he called “Rosarito” Jimmy, “Cousin” Pauly and Mark “da' Spook (retired)” on crispy cold mornings early last week and scored fish during warm sunny days and by Saturday they had 14 yellowtail and on Sunday they went 6 for 10 on hookups, as sea lions were a problem. “But there were plenty of fish in the area,” said Cook.


CEDROS ISLAND — The WON charter to Cedros Island is on the books and has several open spots available for Sept. 6-9. The cost of $1,800 includes all meals and 2½ days of fishing and transportation to and from the island from Brown Field by van and commercial flight. The trip for a total of 12 people will again be hosted by Pat McDonell. Cameron Gauci of WON is handling the bookings. Reserve your spot before they are all gone. Email Cameron@wonews.com for details.


BAHIA ASUNCION — Shari Bondy, who with her husband owns and operates the La Bufadora Inn at Baia Asuncion, said that when the weather allows the pangas to fish, yellowtail are abundant. That pretty much says it all. The main attraction for Inn guests are whales, and the grays are in full migration mode. Great spot to stay and see the whales” on tours.


LA PAZ — It’s the offseason, so few boats are out. Jonathan and Jill Roldan of Tailhunter International are on the show tour in the western states and will end up at the Fred Hall shows in Long Beach and Del Mar before getting home to La Paz Bay. Jonathan told WON on Sunday, “Not many anglers around these days. Early in the week it was pretty chilly, cold and windy. Conditions got a little better as the week went on.”


He said bait has been an issue because of the rough water so his captains have relied on slow-trolling dead bait and lures inshore where it was more protected. Catches included bonito, jack crevalle, snapper, cabrilla and barred pargo.”


* * *


Pat McDonell is the former editor of WON and directs the annual Cabo Tuna Jackpot as well as reports weekly on Baja. You can contribute Baja reports by emailing WON and McDonell at Patm@wonews.com or BajaReports.com. Reports are compiled all week but are finalized Monday morning for the print edition.


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