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Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Cabo tuna found, La Paz gets a break

Baja poised to kick in with tuna, yellows showing
Fred Hall show in its 73rd year was a monster again at Long Beach and it was good timing as many anglers, lodges, fleets and captains resorts were exhibiting during a round of bad weather down south

LA PAZ — The 73rd Fred Hall show went off full-tilt over five days through Sunday evening at the Long Beach Sports Arena and Convention center with 500 booths devoted to the fishing and boating. It was a good thing most vendors — more than two dozen devoted to Baja fishing resorts and fleets, were indoors promoting their operations because fishing down south was hampered by winds.

Yet, there were enough sporadic bites between blows to warrant this prediction: When the winds stop it’s gonna be good.


DONNA THOMPSON WITH a tasty huachinango (dogtooth) snapper caught just inside of Bahia de los Muertos near La Paz. These grow well over 50 pounds normally. Donna has a place at La Ventana, but is originally from Lakewood, CA. Earlier she caught a huge yellowtail from Cerralvo Island.

FROM PASO ROBLES, Joe Zermati, while fishing the lee side of Cerralvo Island, up tight and close to shore to minimize the winds, hooked into this nice yellowtail while slow trolling a sardine in shallow water.

There were reports of calm days in Loreto where the yellows were big and in quality sizes eating the iron, a 40-pound tuna caught on one of the Jen Wren Sportfishing boats on a crew trip trolling over porpoise (plus big yellows on the high spots just offshore), some beautiful forkies at Cerralvo Island midweek during a wind lull, and the tuna were with the porpoise off Cabo and keeping rods bent.

Off La Paz, it was a hit-or-miss kind of fishing week in the bay, off Muertos and the islands. The windsurfers and kite boarders had fun with the continuing winds, but even on the few days that were fishable, the few anglers out found it less than stellar, although some fish were caught.

“There are some quality fish around, and it seems like they’re just waiting to bust loose and as winter pulls away. It’s like we are two steps forward then fall 1 ½ steps back each week,” said Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International which was at its booth in Long Beach where it was like a five-day party for Jill and Jonathan Roldan and customers who came by.

“It just doesn’t pay to get too excited,” said Roldan on Sunday as he headed for the last day of the show. “Last week, I was optimistic that maybe we were finally getting something going with some hog yellowtail, dorado, wahoo and even a tuna hookup and a marlin hook-up! These are all species we generally don’t see this early in the year. Things seemed like they were picking up.”

Then, he said, Mother Nature took over. The yellowtail bite near Punta Perico and over at Cerralvo Island diminished significantly. Bait got a little harder to find and overall, he said, the crews and anglers were left with a smattering of dorado; some snapper; a cabrilla or two (although a few were trophy-sized) and lots of bonito. And a marlin to get folks excited.

“The coming week looks promising,” said Roldan. “Early, there’s some strong winds, but then they really drop back quite a bit for the majority of the week. That will hopefully kick the fish up again.”



REDRUM SPORTFISHING FLEET veterans Lou and Frank went out from Cabo Marina with low expectations — with it being winter and all, and came back with dinner for the next two weeks.

CABO SAN LUCAS — The Redrum Sportfishing fleet in Cabo San Lucas has been rolling the customers out and back in with great catches of marlin, yellowtail, tuna and even some dorado and wahoo.

“Another pretty good week out there ending on a great note, as we were finding tons of yellowfin tuna,” said a fleet spokesperson. “Some nice marlin were caught at the beginning of the week, even a ‘birthday bucket list’ marlin, a few dorado and even a wahoo. Some various bottomfish and roosters closer in made for a well-rounded plethora of fishes. Redrum vets Lou and Frank went out with low expectations with it being winter, and came back with dinner for the next two weeks.”

sheepheadlikethisSHEEPHEAD LIKE THIS one are always a nice battle for anglers with Gordo Banks Pangas while working the high spots off Puerto Los Cabos.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson at Gordo Banks Pangas said it was another quiet week in Los Cabos, as numbers of vacationers trickled in and tuna were scarce.

“The good news,” he said, “was that just before the weekend sardinas were found schooling near the marina jetty, this has opened some new options, as some nice sierra, jack crevalle and even roosterfish were found along the beach stretches, and hopefully these baitfish will remain in the region for the coming months. Other bait options were caballito, chihuil, ballyhoo and slabs of squid.”

Most local charters are working the grounds from the Gordo Banks to Iman Bank, some scouting as far north as Vinorama. Most common species this week were the Eastern Pacific bonito, red snapper, mostly smaller fish, but all good eating, striking on yo-yo jigs and various baits.

“Some red crabs were starting to be seen at times drifting to the surface, this could develop into something if we start to see this on a more consistent basis. An occasional amberjack or leopard grouper was highlighting the bottom action, no yellowtail reported,” said Brictson.

The yellowfin tuna became very scarce in recent weeks, though just the past few days there were some tuna seen breezing the surface on the Gordo Banks, as well as on the Iman Bank, but very few were actually hooked into.

“But we did see a handful of yellowfin brought in, and these fish were in the 30- to 70-pound class. Dorado also became very scattered after the inshore water became so off-colored greenish, though a few dorado were being accounted for, anglers were lucky to find one, sizes to 15 pounds.”

As for the striped marlin, they were scattered with one or two landed for the week. Bait schools are more spread out now, so the marlin seem to not be congregating on any particular hot spot.

As for the weather, Brictson said it should keep warming and big crowds are expected this week with special events tied to the annual Carnival.

The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 62 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 8 striped marlin, 13 dorado, 4 yellowfin tuna, 1 golden cabrilla, 320 bonito, 210 red snapper, 5 baqueta grouper, 6 leopard grouper, 9 roosterfish, 8 jack crevalle, 5 yellow snapper, 4 amberjack, 9 golden eyed tilefish, 12 glasseye snapper, 35 sierra and 90 triggerfish.



francisco3FRANCISCO MARTÍNEZ DAVIS of Nemenchas Sportfishing and tours out of Loreto Marina posted these pics of big yellows on Sunday. The pangas have consistently been scoring fish on the yo-yo iron.

LORETO — Rick Hill at said big yellowtail have been hooked at La Cholla before the wind gets rolling in the afternoon. We are talking quality fish.

“It's a good thing this is a pretty wide spot because most of the fishing crowd has been parked out there most of the week,” said Hill. “Deep fishing with mackerel in a spot with a sharp bottom has been the story with most boats landing at least a few yellows in the 20-pound range.”

He added that the afternoon breezes have been only a minor discomfort.

Several photos of the bigger yellows were posted on Sunday by Francisco Martínez Davis of Nemenchas Sportfishing and Tours out of Loreto Marina. They have consistently been scoring quality yellows on the yo-yo iron.




GONZAGA BAY GAVE up nice leopard grouper to Jimmy Decoursey and Jon Heaps, fishing with Capt. Juan Cook.

GONZAGA BAY — Capt. Juan Cook was fishing this past weekend and reported on Facebook he fished March 9 and 10 with Jimmy Decoursey and Jon Heaps.

“Weather is cool but there are fish here, Jimmy caught a few big leopard grouper and my friend Jon did likewise,” said Cook. “We saw schools of sierra mackerel and corvina. We are going tomorrow, looking for yellowtail. Fish on!”

CEDROS ISLAND — It’s show season for Jose Sanchez and his wife and partner Melanie Lamaga at Cedros Outdoor Adventures and their Baja Dreams Lodge. They were at the jam-packed 20-foot COA booth at the Fred Hall Show all week through Sunday and will be at the 4-day Fred Hall Del Mar show at the end of the month. This should be a great season for the operation, with the new 7-passenger twin prop Navajo Chieftan a no-border-hassle travel option out of Brown Field, and two new private bluff-top cabins to go with the Baja Dreams Lodge. The website has a lot of details on the operation, so go to and check it out. I will add that the average trip costs about $1,800, or $400 more if you opt for the COA Chieftan plane flight from Brown Field. It’s an incredible trip as you go after calico bass, yellowtail, halibut and later in the season, yellowfin tuna and dorado.

As a reminder, WON has its 2019 hosted charter going to the island, Sept. 6-9, and the cost for the annual trip is $1,800, which includes all transport to and from the lodge, meals, 2 ½ days of fishing, and filleting. For booking that trip, contact

For all other trips, check their website at and call them at (619) 793-5419 or stop by the COA booth at the Del Mar show and book the best dates.

ENSENADA — Wes Price, owner of the Hotel Coral and Marina marine and tackle store was at the Fred Hall show in Long Beach and said he fished Sunday and caught one yellow in the bay, but said the fishing is still obviously up and down. Echoing that was Capt. Louis Prieto of (Parker, 250 hp) who also stopped by the WON booth at the show and said as soon as the wind settles, the local charterboats will get a consistent catch of the yellows, “because they are there. It’s just this wind.”

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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.

It’s time to send us those reports!

The winter is on the wane, winds are settling and the Fred Hall show in Long Beach is over (two more shows to go in Bakersfield and Del Mar this month) but it’s time to go fishing and we’d like to hear from you after your travels, or even during.

Just fire off a quick report or and we’ll include those pics and stories in the next issue of WON and on the Baja Blog each week. Guides and resorts are welcome to send them off as well.

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