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Baja Fishing Report

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Baja wind persists, but spring is coming
And so is the Fred Hall show, March 6-10, with the year’s largest contingent of Baja-related businesses exhibiting; It’s perfect for planning your next Baja adventure

Baja Reports Editor

CABO SAN LUCAS — The billfish season may be slowing down finally after an epic winter and the sportfishers are now looking for smaller game to keep the rods bent. Wind is the primary culprit for the Sea of Cortez side, but when the viento has backed off, the action for yellowtail and has been quite good from Loreto to the East Cape.

GET YOUR ANNUAL PASSPORT for Mexican biospheres through It replaces only the $5 daily wristband. Its primary use for skiff anglers from San Diego is to provide access to the Coronados.

In other news that affects Baja and especially anglers fishing the Coronado Islands, the Sportfishing Association of California has on its website a link that allows anglers to buy an annual biosphere pass for about $20 a year, thereby forgoing the nuisance of the daily $5 wristbands. Go to for the link which is

Of course, coming up March 6-10 is the annual Fred Hall Fishing and Tackle show, which in addition to 400 seminars, and great tackle and boat sales, the show has hundreds of outdoor-related booths and many are travel booths. Nowhere is there such a strong attendance of Baja-related businesses. Be sure to stop by the booths of our Baja/WON supporters that include Tailhunter International, East Cape Guides at the Van Wormer Hotel booth, Hotel Rancho Leonero, Baja Fishing Convoys, Cedros Outdoor Adventures, Hotel BuenaVista, Club Vagbundos Del Mar and many others.

This is the show to spend some time and plan your next set of adventures in Baja and mainland Mexico. Another great company in Mexico just linked up with WON, the Osuna family’s Marlas Sportfishing based in Puerto Vallarta. Of course, the San Diego-based sportfishers Apollo and the Success fish off mainland Mexico for big tuna, so stop by and plan your next big tuna adventure.

And of course, be sure to go by the WON events booth and get the latest monster show copy of WON, and a list of all the charters coming up. There are two trips on the books, one to Cedros Island in September with Cedros Outdoor Adventures, and another just finalized with Baja Fishing Convoys to La Bocana in May.

As for the fishing, let’s start with Cabo. The weather was mostly calm all last week, reported Rebecca Ehrenberg with Pisces Sportfishing. She said there was some wind and chop, but it was fishable. The water temperature varied from 83 to 87 degrees. The marlin action finally slowed down after an amazing fall and winter.

“It was another good week of fishing in Cabo, with small game catches that have kept us busy even though the billfish have slowed,” she said. ”The sierra mackerel have showed up strongly, along with roosterfish and some yellowtail, too. Other catches have included amberjack, skipjack, red snapper, triggerfish. Dorado have also made a little bit of a comeback, compared to previous weeks.”

For marlin this week, the top boat was Pisces’ 31-foot Rebecca, with 3 striped marlin of 150 pounds released in one day at the Cerro Colorado and Chawita areas. The Pisces Bill Collector also had a good day towards the beginning of the week, with 2 striped marlin released at Cabeza Ballena, only about three miles out. The marlin hit on ballyhoo and caballito bait, and were battled by the Kern family from Orange Beach, Alabama.

The Ruthless also released 2 striped marlin, this time hitting on mackerel and caballito bait out at la Herradura and the 95 Spot, with anglers from New Hampshire aboard. Later in the week the Ruthless did well again to release 1 striped marlin of about 110 pounds on caballito bait out of Palmilla, and kept 3 dorado. The dorado hit on a combination of lures (black and red) and caballito bait between Palmilla, Cabo Real and El Tule Areas on the Sea of Cortez side. The crew tagged and released the 5-pound dorado with a Gray Fish Tag Research Tag and kept the two other which were about 15 pounds each. More dorado were caught by the Rebecca, with 3 dorado total of about 15 pounds each. They used mackerel and feather lures at the Punta Gorda area. Anglers were Dan and Kristy Shaw from Wetumpka, Alabama. 





In other Baja action:

DEBBIE WALDEN FROM Lakewood was out visiting her sister Donna Thompson, right, this past week near La Paz. Donna has lots of experience on big Baja fish and they were out at the north end of Cerralvo Island when they hit breaking yellowtail. This guy hit and both ladies had fun tag-teaming it to get it to the boat.

ROGER THOMPSON FORMERLY from Long Beach has a house at La Ventana near La Paz and was slow trolling a sardine in about 20 feet of water when this hog yellowtail hit. He got 3 to the boat and lost a freight train he couldn’t stop on a Salas jig.

LA PAZ — Tailhunter International’s Jonathan Roldan who will be again with his wife Jill Roldan greeting anglers in their Hall Show booth at Long Beach March 6-10, Wednesday to Sunday, said that back home in La Paz it was “a strange week.” It’s all about weather windows and bait.

Roldan said, said, “The two variables of weather and bait played a big part in success on the water as it usually does, but perhaps even more so in the winter months when winds can be strong and bait can be scarce. It was no different this week. At times the winds blew strong and consistently. Gusts up to 30 knots at times pushed a lot of white water around which made it hard to find, let alone get, live bait. But that’s how it is during these months and a big reason not many folks are out fishing even when the sun is out most times and the daytime air temps are running in the 70’s which is great for the snowbirds in town.

Roldan added that the weather was “chilly” by Baja standards and there were even little bouts of rain here and there.

“Most of the fishing was picky at best with a mixed bag of small cabrilla, jacks, some snapper and bonito, although many of them were the white bonito which are actually pretty good eating and a lot of fun,” said Roldan. “But, not fun if you’re in a bouncing boat and getting sprayed with white-water. A lot of the fishing relied on dragging Rapalas or lures trying to get a hook-up when we couldn’t get the bait.”

However, he said, what a difference on the days when they did find bait… even when the weather was less than desirable.

“We had some exploratory boats we sent out of La Paz with some of our regulars who took a chance on the weather and hooked into some surprisingly decent dorado which aren’t very common this time of year. Each of our pangas got a handful and lost others. Additionally, again using bait, but slow trolling in shallow water, in a chum line of sardines, fat yellowtail popped up and ripped some rods too with some fish that couldn’t be stopped, especially with the rocks so close rising up from the bottom.”

GORDO BANKS PANGAS trips early in the week saw decent wahoo action close to shore off of Punta Gorda and on the Iman Bank, as these fish ranged up to 40 pounds and were striking on slow-trolled baits and some on yo-yo jigs.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks at Marina Puerto Los Cabos said snowbirds flocked to the Cabo area with chilly conditions north, but even Cabo felt a drop in temp with lows at night down to 52 and highs that barely hit the mid-70s.

“Winds were still predominately from the north, a bit unpredictable from day to day, but overall not as bad as previous weeks,” he said. As for the all-important bait, the limited schools of sardinas that had appeared inside the marina channel area last week were quickly all netted “and now this resource is gone once again.”

Anglers were relying on slabs of squid, ballyhoo and also some mackerel, sardineta and chihuil.

“Actually despite the cooler weather this week the all-around fishing action was improved over last week, still a bit sporadic from day to day where the action was best. Fleets have been fishing from Chileno, Palmilla, Gordo Banks, Punta Gorda and north to Iman Bank. Water temperatures cooled off some, down to the 70 to 72 degree range, though clarity remained good. The most constant action in recent days was found closer to shore.”

Brictson said the billfish action was scattered, with no concentrations being found, though the striped marlin are spread out through the area. With the conditions not so favorable on the Pacific, most of the Cabo San Lucas fleet is also fishing in the direction of San Jose del Cabo.

“There were encouraging signs for yellowtail action,” he said. “We have not seen a strong run … in several years. Inshore areas off of Chileno, Santa Maria were producing good numbers of smaller sized yellowtail while trolling hoochies and smaller Rapalas, most of these fish were in the 3- to 8-pound class, but at least we are seeing them. Typically these smaller fish appear first, then we will start to have the larger yellows move in on the same grounds. Hopefully this will be the case in the coming month.”

Early in the week, Brictson said, there was decent wahoo action found close to shore off of Punta Gorda and on the Iman Bank, the fish ranging up to 40 pounds and were striking on slow-trolled baits, with a few taken on yo-yo’d jigs.

“Later in the week the wahoo bite seemed to vanish, but dorado action was very good, and same deal, striking various baitfish. There were more dorado found closer to shore and often the bite was better later in the morning. These fish ranged up to over 15 pounds and many boats scored as many as three, 4 to 5 dorado, this has to be considered very good considering this is not the normal season for these gamefish which much prefer the warmer currents.”

Inshore action also produced a few roosterfish to 15 pounds, jack crevalle to 20 pounds, sierra, bonito and needlefish. Off the bottom the most common fish were smaller red snapper, some hogfish, triggerfish and an occasional leopard grouper or amberjack.

The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 84 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 8 striped marlin, 115 dorado, 24 yellowfin tuna, 22 wahoo, 45 bonito, 230 red snapper, 12 baqueta, 12 hogfish, 9 leopard grouper, 6 roosterfish, 8 jack crevalle, 24 yellowtail, 4 amberjack, 14 golden eyed tilefish, 10 glasseye snapper, 12 sierra and 65 triggerfish

HOTEL BUENAVISTA’S MARCO GARCIA, a professional deckhand aboard the Dottie B II, took a trip on his own this week and landed a two solid yellowtail.

EAST CAPE — Enrique Fraijo at Hotel Buenavista said that there have been a few good days but winds are still fairly persistent and will be for the next several days, “but that doesn’t mean folks aren’t catching fish!” Hotel Buenavista’s Marco Garcia, a professional deckhand aboard the Dottie B II, took a trip on his own this week and landed a couple of really fine yellowtail.

The Allegria with four anglers aboard including local Ian Gibson, and a panga carrying hotel guest Troy Mackinnon from Calgary, Canada set out this morning heading offshore. Yesterday Troy brought in a nice cabrilla off the beach.

Fraijo said no matter the weather or fishing, the East Cape social life continues.

“On Wednesday, more than 30 local friends and neighbors of Hotel Buenavista got together and brought their fresh catches to the hotel’s El Navigate beachfront restaurant. They shared lots of laughter and fish stories and enjoyed an amazing variety of fish dishes (dorado, sierra, pompano and pargo to name a few) expertly prepared and served by the kitchen staff.”

LORETO — Rick Hill at said, “We are starting to see some consistent yellowtail action at most of the popular water holes around the area. Many fish are 15 to 20 pounds with only a few bigger fish being hauled out of the rocks. Mackerel and sardina are the go-to baits with the bigger yellowtail wanting the bigger meal. The water temps are still a little above normal indicating the winter changes aren't complete just yet. Soon we will be fishing deeper spots for bigger fish.”

Rene Olinger at Baja Pensinsula Adventures said her pangas out of Loreto Marina on Thursday and Friday went to San Bruno and caught three large yellows and a cabrilla each day before the wind picked up. On Friday at Choya they nailed 8 nice yellows.

Capt. Ricky Trevor at Outpost Charters in Marina Puerto Escondido said he took out Cast ‘N Reel on Friday. It was tough to get bait, and while they had no yellows, they ended up with some small pargo and triggerfish

LONG BEACH As a reminder: This year the March 6-10 Long Beach Fred Hall Show, CCA and Daiwa will be offering a pre-show seminar on Friday, March 8 on Surf Fishing from California to Cabo. Bill Varney, Cabo surf master Wes Brough and Corey Sanden of MC Swimbaits will speak. The seminar cost includes an update from CCA California, raffle prizes and admission to the Fred Hall Show. Tickets are available online at The seminar begins at 11a.m. on Friday, March 8 with entrance directly into the show at 1 p.m.

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Have a great trip to Baja? Share your tales of fishing and travel with other WON readers by sending reports to and send a photo or two.

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