Baja Fishing Report

Click here for Baja Fishing Report

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

Showtime this week as spring arrives in Baja
It’s Del Mar Fred Hall week; Loreto yellows go off; East Cape is ready to rock as conditions get primed; La Paz’s Cerralvo and Espritu Island turn out some quality yellows with dorado close to home; Cabo tuna come closer

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan and Jill Roldan of Tailhunter International will both be at the booth this week through Sunday at the Fred Hall show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Thursday through Sunday. While they are eager to see you, they are antsy to get back down to their home and get the season started. It’s time to rock and roll. In fact, it’s already started as spring officially arrived.

ERIKA AND CAROLINE COOMBER on spring break from San Diego found some calm water on the back side of Cerralvo Island with Captain Victor from the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and got bent on some fun yellowtail like this one landing several fish between 20 and 25 pounds on live bait as well as jack crevalle.

SKIP COOMBER FROM San Diego was working the backside of Cerralvo Island near La Paz with Captain Victor from the Tailhunter Fleet and got into some hog yellowtail like this using live bait. He and his daughters got 5. They lost 3 to the rocks and he said one spooled him on 40-pound test that didn’t go into the rocks, but headed into deep water.

“We definitely had a better week of fishing which happened to coincide with better spring weather finally arriving with some surprising catches,” said Jonathan. “Maybe the fish woke up for spring! Early in the week, waters really settled down nicely and some nice quality yellowtail came to chew and seemed to pop up in several places.

“These 20- to 30-pound forkies were hitting live bait, jigs and dead bait on the back side of Cerralvo Island, just outside of Bahia Muertos (Suenos); Punta Perrico; as well as Espirito Santo Island. Quite a few fish, including bigger ones, were lost in the rocks insofar as many of these fish were biting in shallow water either right off the rocks or over shallow structure and reefs. The same areas produced jack crevalle, small roosters, bonito, pargo and cabrilla. A wahoo was lost as well!”

Roldan added that the surprising catches were right in the Bay of La Paz, pretty much right out in front of the hotels and malecon waterfront.

“Fun, 10- to 15-pound schools of dorado showed up literally just a few hundred yards out front in shallow water. It might have something to do with the patches of floating sargasso weed that moved in, which we usually don’t see until about May or so when waters warm. The sargasso draws baitfish which hide in the weeds as well as flying fish that lay eggs in the floating paddies. This draws the dorado in searching for food. A good sign of an early season! Fingers crossed.”

As far as getting south for the season after being on a 3-month show tour of the western states this winter with a few more shows to go, Jonathan said he and Jill are ready for some sunny Baja weather.

“It’s been a brutal winter up north as well as in Baja and I have a feeling that winter isn’t quite done with us just yet!”

In other Baja action:

CABO SAN LUCAS — Grace Cote at Dreammaker Charters and Gricelda’s Smokehouse said few charterboats have been fishing as it’s spring break, and those kids don’t have fishing on their agenda.

“They only drink and party,” she said. “But the anglers going out are catching a lot of snappers, so that’s what’s happening locally, plus for about three days now the tuna have arrived, a bunch of 20 to 40 pounders. Last night I stayed at the smokehouse waiting for the boatThe Office, and they had 13 yellowfin. Capt. Jeff Hamm of the Carpedium for the last few days has also been catching loads of yellowfin as the warm water has come closer to us. Jeff had 24 tuna yesterday (Saturday). So yes, the fishing has gotten a lot better.”

THE EAST CAPE is ready to go off as conditions are prime for billfish, dorado, marlin and roosters, says Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing. JEN WREN SPORTFISHING

EAST CAPE — If you think owning three sportfishing boats you charter, living on the beach and competing in fishing tournaments is the ultimate dream, well, you might be right. But it’s not all roses and bent rods. Just ask Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing who is trying to get ready for the East Cape fishing season which looks like it’s going be as spectacular as last season, which was one of the best in 20 years.

First, the fishing prospectus: “My old man used to tell me ‘If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all,’ said Rayor. “Looking back I don't think he was referring to fishing reports but I haven't posted one in a few weeks. So, I'm sitting here in front of my computer and find there is a lot to talk about. Our weather has been much nicer than earlier in the month. Air temperature is very comfortable. Now we are just getting a breeze and conditions have been fishable. The water is 70-71 degrees and clear.

“Bait was puddled up in volume but as the moon became full it seemed to dry up. Now as the full moon passes I'm starting to see bait again. I don't believe moon phase has much impact on our summer fishing but in the winter there are bigger tide swings. That is my only explanation for why we can't get 'em to go right now.

“We are sighting dorado, wahoo and marlin every day. Seeing and catching are two different things as it has been mostly show but no go. The good news is the groceries are here. It is just a matter of time before they get hungry and rods start to bend. My bet is one more week and we will be knee deep in gamefish.”

As far as the mechanical aspects of keeping three sportfishers on the water and ticking like Swiss watches, lately it’s been a battle.

“We have had more than our share of mechanical problems,” said Rayor. “I started thinking last night. We aren’t even really operating for the season yet and had a new turbo stud break. Had to drain the coolant, remove the exhaust, remove the turbo, extract the broken piece, replace the gasket and install the turbo. Next we had a new high pressure fuel pump leak. Had to remove the raw water pump, R & R the fuel pump which entailed fuel lines, O-rings and what not. Then, we had a new torsional coupler that attaches the transmission to the motor fail. Had to dis-assemble the dripless shaft packing, separate the shaft coupler, push back the transmission, replace the torsional coupler and put it all back together again.

“Next, the rubber plug went missing on Jen Wren lll’s trailer hub and the bearings filled with salt water. Now I’m scratching for bearings and seals to repair it. Lastly the electronic processor on the throttle control of Vaquera went south. Repair is above my pay grade but I was able to get it diagnosed. The boat has to come out of the water and go out of service while we get a new processor.

“I haven't been able to get a boat to operate for more than two days without having to pull it out of the water and do a major repair. None of this had to do with wear and tear or lack of maintenance. I guess it is just our time to pay the piper. The bright side is we are getting all the kinks out now before our season gets in full swing.”

East Cape Guides posted the following: “Come join us at the San Diego Fred Hall Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. We will be at the Baja's Van Wormer Resorts' booth to answer all of your questions and get you on the water in the 2019 season. This is the last show of the season, so come join us this week, March 28-31.”

BUENA VISTA — Brian and Paula Ross, Richard Brashears, and Mitzi Lazzareschi from Gardnerville, Nevada had a couple of stellar days mid-week. They boarded the Dottie BII and headed south for the warmer waters past Los Frailles. This group brought in snapper, four wahoo and a couple really nice dorado.

Buena Vista Beach Resort’s Luis Enrique Fraijo reported warm, sunny to partly cloudy conditions but somewhat inconsistent weather, so there were not many anglers on the water earlier in the week. But their guests Brian and Paula Ross, Richard Brashears, and Mitzi Lazzareschi from Gardnerville, Nevada had a couple of stellar days mid-week. They boarded the Dottie BII and headed south for the warmer waters past Los Frailles. This group brought in snapper, four wahoo and a couple really nice dorado.

“They also spotted marlin and manta on the surface and at least a hundred whales,” said Fraijo “The snapper were caught on Rapalas, a couple of the wahoo were baited on the surface and the others were caught trolling dead ballyhoo.”

Fraijo added that Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort “is proud to have had the opportunity as one of only three IGFA representatives in Baja, the only one on the East Cape, to weigh, document and verify the application process to submit for a World Record Pacific sierra that weighed in at 11 pounds, 7 ounces; 37.5 inches! This beauty was caught by fly fisherman Theo Anest near the lighthouse, off the coast of La Ribera.”

LORETO — The yellowtail bite is going on at full tilt pace with better weather. Rick Hill of reported, “Lots of boats are hitting every spot all around the Loreto area with good results and some captured yellows getting close to the 30-pound mark. Even with the full moon this week catching mackerel was no problem. The problem with the mackerel was that the yellows were boiling on schools of sardina and getting hooked up wasn't easy. Cabrilla have been fooled by iron tossed into the boiling battles but few yellows are hitting the jigs.”

THE GORDO BANKS all-around fishing out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos in San Jose Del Cabo did improve the past few days into the weekend, the highlight being some hog sized amberjack in the 50- to 70-pound class, also a few nice 25-pound yellowtail were brought in, taken over the structure near San Luis Bank.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks pangas said the water is now averaging 71 to 73 degrees and is slowly improving in color and the main baits being used are caballito and ballyhoo, with no sardinas being found and not much going on with slabs of squid now. It is the time of year, he said, where anglers use more yo-yo style jigs off the bottom spots.

“The all-around fishing did improve the past few days, the highlight being some hog sized amberjack in the 50- to 70-pound class, also a few nice 25-pound yellowtail were brought in, so this is encouraging to see these larger game fish species showing up, taken over the structure near San Luis Bank.”

Also there were plenty of the tasty Eastern Pacific bonito to keep anglers busy, a few even up to 15 pounds.

“Some of the big amberjack actually grabbed onto bonito that were hooked up, these are hungry and aggressive fish, very powerful as well,” he said. As for yellowfin, he said, “Only one or two yellowfin tuna were seen all week, and dorado were scarce as well. Perhaps with a slight warming of the water we might see more of these fish, and a chance that maybe even the wahoo will wake up. The water is still greenish, but not as bad as it had been, it is on a clearing trend now, and a lot can happen in a matter of a few days this time of year.

“Action was scattered for striped marlin, though as the water clears we should see this improve, even in the off colored water there were reports of striped marlin, just no big concentrations at this time, at least off of the San Jose del Cabo grounds.”

The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 60 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 2 striped marlin, 5 dorado, 1 yellowfin tuna, 1 wahoo, 7 yellowtail, 13 leopard grouper, 205 bonito, 34 red snapper, 15 roosterfish, 3 surgeonfish, 4 barred pargo, 9 yellow snapper, 22 amberjack, 9 golden eyed tilefish, 5 glasseye snapper, 12 baqueta grouper, 9 sierra, 8 jack crevalle, 1 broomtail grouper and 110 triggerfish.

CEDROS ISLAND — Jose Sanchez at Baja Dreams Lodge Cedros will be at the Cedros Outdoor Adventures (COA) booth Thursday through Sunday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and will offer special discounts to showgoers.

“It’s $50 off if you book your trip during the show by bringing $600-$800 with a check, cash or card,” said Sanchez, adding that the season is going to start in early May for groups. Sanchez will be in the booth all four days of the Del Mar show this week. He told WON that the Premium Guide Service with the added fishing time with the use of the COA private plane has been an incredibly popular option. “It’s almost full for the season, but we still have lots of open seats on the Ensenada flight where we pick you up in San Diego,” said Sanchez.

He added that his goal this year before he heads back to the island is to beef up the free loaner and rental gear for the lodge. “I will be working on purchasing extra gear; free-to-use rods, reels for rent, and lures for sale at cost at the island so you can travel light and have the most useful tackle for Cedros species.”

ENSENADA — Wes Price at the Hotel Coral Marina store said the wind was up much of the week but when it laid down, the yellowtail bite was very good for yellows under the bird schools. No reports were available from San Quintin, Erendira and other northwest Baja areas. The winds and a big swell curtailed the action for the most part.

JOIN WON in a spectacular Baja adventure

LA BOCANA — There are only 12 spots in a special WON charter to La Bocana on the west coast of Baja in October, and they are filling and we want to wrap up this trip’s roster quickly. The Del Mar show this week will be a great place to check out the trip’s details at the booth of Baja Fishing Convoys.

The area is unique, a spectacular fishery, especially during the time period of the trip, Oct. 12-17. The $2,095 per person price includes flight from Tijuana to Guerrero Negro, 5 nights and four days of fishing.

La Bocana is on the west coast of Baja and offers a large variety of fish species because of its location at the mouth of a massive estuary that is legendary, with some groups enjoying catching dozens of different species, splitting time between fisheries inshore, offshore and the estuary and relaxing in the beachfront cabins and enjoying incredible cuisine.

The facility has a full-service restaurant with a full bar. While meals are not included in most trips, they are on the WON charter. Hosting the trip will be Baja Reports Editor Pat McDonell, and Orchid Martinez, owner of Baja Fishing Convoys who will be in her booth at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

To book your spot on the WON trip in October, you must contact Cameron Gauci at For all BFC trips, go to for details.

* * *

Contribute to the Baja report here and at each week by sending any information during or right after the trip to or .

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Reader Comments
Be the first to comment!
Leave a Comment
* Name:
* Email:
Website (optional):
* Comment:

Advertise with Western Outdoor News