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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Loreto yellows going off between blows
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Baja wind persists, but spring is coming


Pacific winter yellows, Cabo tuna and wahoo shine


Coming up is the March 6-10 Fred Hall show in Long Beach, and most major Baja operations and travel companies will be there to plan your next adventure

By Pat McDonell


CABO SAN LUCAS — It is the season that will not end, we hope it won’t!


 Grace Cote at Dreammaker Charters and Gricelda’s Smokehouse in Cabo San Lucas said the fishing has been very good, and has been for some time, on the striped marlin for those who want to target them for catching and releasing on mackerel, while wahoo in big sizes are on the bait schools, and the yellowfin tuna are running with the porpoise 30 miles out, in perfect sizes for most anglers, 40 to 60 pounds. 


And the town is still buzzing about the 800-pound black marlin that was hooked on the Pisces charterboat Caliente a week ago but was lost after a 1 ½-hour spectacular fight. 


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MICHAEL DOORMAN FISHING off Cabo aboard the Knot Working, scored some serious tuna, and the fishing was also solid for bigger wahoo of 40 pounds and up. GRICELDA’S SMOKEHOUSE PHOTOS


“Fish has been fun, with lots of marlin for catch and release, and the wahoo bite has been good, 40 pounds and up, and lots of bonita,” said Cote. “The tuna were caught late the other day, very late, by Michael Dorman who was aboard the Knot Working. He didn’t get back to the smokehouse in time for me to receive the tuna, so they left them in the kill bags with lots of ice and at 6 a.m. Thursday and good old Chuy (Grace's brother) picked up all the fish for filleting and to vacuum pack.”


There have been other reports of bigger yellowfin coming off the banks, and it would not be wise to discount the reports as that bite on tuna over 150 pounds continues for those targeting them at the Gordo and other nearby banks. But most of the action for charterboats is centered on the tuna being hooked trolling over porpoise schools.

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The Pisces Fleet's Rebecca Ehrenberg posted this report late Monday afternoon: 

"The marlin bite this week has still been found relatively close to Cabo with successful locations ranging from the Old Lighthouse to Los Arcos and furthest out at San Jaime and Golden Gate Banks," she said. "And although the marlin action has still been fun, again this week with the best boats releasing up to 4 marlin each, the dorado have headed elsewhere. The tuna have been somewhat scarce to come by, but then again we have had started to see an increased number of sharks being caught and released near by too. The skipjacks have moved into the marlin fishing grounds though, so there is still chances at landing an eating fish along with the marlin release, or heading closer to shore for small game like grouper, sierra, amberjack, red snapper and triggerfish."


She added, "Similarly to last week, our 35-foot Valerie was one of our most consistent vessels with a very varied catches. To start off the week, the crew and anglers did well to release 3 striped marlin between 100 and 140 pounds each on mackerel bait at Los Arcos. They then searched for some tuna and were lucky to find one, about 15 pounds, hitting on a green lure out at San Jaime. Anglers were Brian and Carolyn Bassindale, from Canada. They closed out the week, Feb 14, with another 3 striped marlin released, hitting on mackerel again, this time at Golden Gate Bank, by anglers from Missouri. Midweek, Mike McCoy went out again with the Valerie and chose to stick closer to shore. He caught 7 grouper and 3 nice red snapper by chumming at Migrino."


Ehrenberg told WON the 31-foot Rebecca was one of the top marlin producing boats this week, with their best day looking at 4 striped marlin releases. The marlin weighed between 80 and 140 pounds each and hit on mackerel out at San Jaime. Angling family, the Unolt’s also released 1 small mako shark there. Anglers Scott Crawford and Wilson Colquhoun from Scotland aboard the Rebecca also did well to release 3 striped marlin this week, again at San Jaime and who then headed closer to Los Arcos area and kept 9 triggerfish by chumming.


"The Ruthless did well with marlin this week too, releasing on their top day 4 striped marlin." she said. "They found the marlin at Los Arcos, and they hit on mackerel bait, for anglers Colton Nogosek and Cory Pardon form North Dakota. Toward the end of the week, the Ruthless headed to the Old Lighthouse in search of marlin and they were successful; releasing 3 striped marlin between 120 and 140 pounds each, on mackerel bait. Anglers were the Boucher’s from Seattle."


In other action, the 31-foot La Brisa also caught and released 3 striped marlin at Golden Gate midweek, and 28-foot Andrea found 1 striped marlin of about 110 pounds that same day at Los Arcos, and headed to Golden Gate too but found skipjack there, one of about 15 pounds that hit on a tigrillo lure. They also caught and released one mako shark of about 40 pounds which hit on mackerel.  

"The Adriana released 3 striped marlin that day, too, but they headed to San Jaime instead, where the fish, ranging between 80 and 100 pounds, hit on mackerel bait. Then later in the week, Adriana anglers looked for some fun inshore fishing and they got it, with 7 ladyfish, 3 triggerfish, 7 babosas, and 2 huachinangos caught by chumming close to Migrino."


Panga fishing this week Brough sierra and amberjack, like 23-foot Panga Samantha who caught 2 sierra on hoochi lures at Los Arcos and 4 amberjack on Caballito close to Predergal area. Anglers were Brian Wright and Peter Kid from Scotland.

*** 

As a reminder, the Fred Hall shows are coming in March, and the Long Beach five-day run is the one to go to plan your next Baja adventure. Tailhunter International from La Paz and Mag Bay, Cedros Outdoor Adventures, Rancho Leonero on the East Cape, Baja Convoys and a dozen others will be exhibiting. Pus, there are a ton of great seminars.


Be sure to grab a copy of the WON Hall show supplement next week to check out who is coming, and the program at the door will have a map and booth numbers to make it easier to find them on the massive Long Beach Convention show floor. Fredhall.com has the dates of all its three shows in SoCal at Long Beach, Bakersfield and Del Mar.


In other Baja action:


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FROM ROCK SPRINGS, Wyoming where temperatures have been well below zero, Janie Robison came down to La Paz looking for a little sunshine and fishing. In addition to this yellowfin tuna taken just out of Bahia Muertos, she also got dorado, small roosters and bonito. TAILHUNTER PHOTO


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DONNA CORONA HELPS Janie Robison with her dorado taken just outside of Bahia Muertos on a trip with Tailhunter International. TAILHUNTER PHOTO


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GUY NAZARENO HOLDS a big snook that was actually pulled out of the Mag Bay mangroves by his 5-year-old daughter, Natalie. And Tailhunter International’s own Jorge Romero holds up a nice corvina.


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ROCKER TED NUGENT walked around the Salt Lake City Sportsman’s Show at the Salt Palace to talk conservation and getting kids involved in the outdoors and stopped by the only Baja booth at the show, and chatted with our Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International. Can you say “Cat Scratch Fever!”


LA PAZ — Tailhunter International had its first Mag Bay trip, popular among those who like to fish La Paz and then spend a day or two at Mag Bay on the Pacific side. It’s a great combo offering and a chance to avoid winter wind.


“There was good action in the bay with lots of action on a variety of fish including pargo, cabrilla, snook and corvina,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter. In a photo he fired off from Utah where he and Jill are at another sportsman’s show, Tailhunter customer Guy Nazareno holds a big snook that was actually pulled out of the mangroves by his 5-year-old daughter, Natalie. Tailhunter pangero Jorge Romero was also depicted holding a nice corvina.


As far as La Paz, Roldan said the winds came back this week and it was on the chilly side.


“However, fortunately the two best days when the winds laid down were the two days we had folks out on the water!” said Roldan. “The first day, as is often the situation during these windy months, bait was hard to find so we had to drag lures. Still, some good action with lots of bonito to bend rods. The second day was much better and live bait was available and our folks got more bonito, but also small roosterfish and even dorado and tuna which are pretty unusual this time of the year during the colder windier months.”


Roldan and wife Jill have been on the tackle show exhibition run through the western states and Utah was their most recent spot. He wrote in a post, “Day 3 here in Salt Lake City at the spectacular Great Western Hunt and Conservation Show. We've got hunters and fishermen from all over the world here... Alaska, S. Africa, New Zealand, S. America... even Russia and Asia! And of course, we at Tailhunter, the only ones from Baja, Mexico at the Salt Palace.


He had a nice visit at the booth with former rocker Ted Nugent to talk about conservation and getting kids involved in the outdoors.


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GORDO BANKS PANGAS has seen a handful of yellowfin tuna taken off of the Gordo Banks, drift fishing with squid and sardines in the 80-pound class. Also a few wahoo were biting on the grounds from Punta Gorda to the Iman Bank, including one of about 70 pounds on Friday. Not normally the time of year for wahoo, but with the conditions how they are, there are some wahoo in the area.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas at Marina Puerto Los Cabos reported the weather patterns seem to on a warming trend, and it’s actually feeling like spring already, mostly clear sunny skies, with highs of 80 degrees.


“This next week the forecast looks to be slightly cooler, hard to predict now, transition periods from winter to spring, on and off changes,” he said. “The water clarity improved closer to shore this week, water temperature seemed to warm slightly, now in the 71 to 75 degree range, offshore area the warmest. Though much of the more consistent fishing action has been closer to shore.”


Brictson added, “There were a couple of days where limited supplies of sardinas were located, this was inside the marina channel, of course the word traveled and now we see none again, at least it was a sign that these schooling baitfish are moving back into the region, needs to be some kind of control, more preserve zones are required as well. There are mackerel in the area, but a little more hit or miss from day to day, also slabs of squid, as well as ballyhoo and chihuil rounding out bait options.”


Brictson said the highlight for the week was a handful of yellowfin tuna that were taken off of the Gordo Banks, drift fishing with squid and sardinas, these tuna were in the 80-pound class. Also a few wahoo biting on the grounds from Punta Gorda to the Iman Bank, including one of about 70 pounds on Friday.


“It’s not normally the time of year for wahoo, but with the conditions how they are, there are some wahoo in the area. Not many dorado being accounted for, but every now and then a boat will come in with one or two, more of these found closer to shore, sizes up to 15 pounds.”


He said the most numerous fish were the various bottom species, different pargo, snapper, grouper, amberjack and even a few smaller yellowtail in the mix. Red snapper on pieces of squid was a good bet in recent days, more of these under 5 pounds.


Brictson said the marlin bite was more spread out, but charters are finding striped marlin off of San Jose del Cabo grounds, as well as the 950 and 1150 spots. It appears that many of the stripers that were on the Pacific are now moving in the direction of the Sea of Cortez


“At this point is all about them following their food supply,” said Brictson.


The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 69 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 11 striped marlin, 22 dorado, 15 yellowfin tuna, 13 wahoo, 32 bonito, 245 red snapper, 14 baqueta, 2 sheepshead, 4 pompano, 12 leopard grouper, 10 roosterfish, 4 yellowtail, 5 amberjack, 14 sierra and 110 triggerfish.


EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing was at the Pacific Coast Sportfishing Fesitval in Orange County over three days until Sunday, and he said he wasn’t missing anything down south with all the wind, although he did tell WON on Sunday from the show that the tuna are still around.


“There are rumors of yellowfin at Punta Pescadero and the southern end of Cerralvo when weather allows you to get there,” said Rayor.


LORETO — Capt. Ricky Trevor at Outpost Charters in Marina Puerto Escondido reported the winds have been relentless but there are good numbers of yellowtail at the usual high spots, and that Thursday the situation should start to improve. Rick Hill of pinchysportfishing.com said, “Lots of people are in town but most are whale watching and doing kayak trips. The fishermen have been busy on the low wind days trying to catch up with the ‘catch.’"


“Yellowtail have been more scattered so most boats are filling up the ice box with some good-sized pinto bass,” said Hill. “Mackerel and sardina are available with the mackerel being the choice for deep fishing for the tails.”


The beautiful, and recently expanded Marina Puerto Escondido located 15 miles south of Loreto is celebrating its arrival as a big game fishing and tourism destination by hosting its 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. Robert Ross is successful businessman in the U.S. and Mexico and a resident of the southern Loreto area near the new marina. Ross has a reputation as one of the top big game anglers in the world, who splits his time between his homes in San Diego and Loreto. Ross has been profiled recently in sportfishing magazines concerning his huge tuna catches off Puerto Escondido including a tuna that weighed 470 pounds from El Seco, a multi-peaked seamount located southwest of Catalan Island.


BAHIA ASUNCION — Shari Bondy is in Guerrero Negro hosting various whale watching groups, but she said reports from back at the bay for guests at her and her husband’s La Bufadora B&B have been very good, indeed.


“The fishing for yellowtail has been the best it’s been all season,” she said in a Sunday report to WON. “Big yellows and easy limits.” It can also be added here that San Quintin (K&M charters) and Colonet (S.D. sportboats) have been spanking the yellows at the high spots when weather allows.


LONG BEACH As a reminder: This year at the March 6-10 Long Beach Fred Hall Show, CCA and Daiwa will be offering a pre-show seminar on Friday, March 8. “Surf Fishing from California to Cabo” will take a look at equipment, rigging, baits and techniques to find surf fish from Santa Barbara to Cabo San Lucas.


Presenters include light-line expert Bill Varney, Cabo surf master Wes Brough (the most sought-after surf fishing guide in Cabo) and Corey Sanden (MC Swimbaits), an expert on finding, baiting and catching halibut in the surf and bay. The seminar will also include an update from CCA-California, raffle prizes and includes admission to the Fred Hall Show.


Seats are limited and will sell out quickly. Tickets will become available online at www.fredhall.com/tickets . The seminar begins at 11a.m. on Friday, March 8 with entrance directly into the show at 1 p.m. Additional raffle tickets will be available for sale at the event with proceeds benefiting the Coastal Conservation Association California.


Have a great trip to Baja? Share your tales of fishing and travel with other WON readers by sending reports to Baja@wonews.com and send a photo or two. The Fred Hall show is coming up the first week of March, and every major or minor operation will be there to answer questions.




Cabo Tuna Jackpot: Reserve your team number by March 1


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CABO SAN LUCAS — The Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot deadline to reserve your team number from last year has been moved up to March 1. More details on the Nov. 6-9, 2019 Tuna Jackpot will be forthcoming, but the Wednesday through Saturday schedule will remain the same, and the same sites are expected to be used for parties, check-in, and weigh-in.


To sign up and reserve your current team number, send in $100 to Western Outdoor News. Go to Wonews.com and go to Events, and click down to the Cabo tourney and go to “Reserve your number” and use the entry form. Full boat and team info is not needed to reserve your 2018 number.


We will reserve teams’ 2018 team numbers until MARCH 1, and then we start assigning numbers in sequence — unless your 2018 number is still available or you request a number still available. Your signup contact is lori@wonews.com. Note on any entry or check that you are requesting a specific number.


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