Baja Fishing Report

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019
East Cape update: Tuna under porpoise

East Cape boats range far for porpoise tuna, marlin
Yellowfin tuna under the porpoise outside with marlin and dorado in the mix near Cerralvo; La Paz kicks it up a notch higher with good conditions bringing in a nice mix of cabrilla, yellows and some bigger dorado now arriving

LA PAZ — Rosario Hastings from Washington had never fished although her husband has fished with Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz several times. She was also nervous about going out in a panga. However, her first fish turned out to be one of the larger dorado of the young season. She fought a bull for almost two hours and refused to hand-off the rod in action just outside La Paz Bay.


ROSARIO HASTINGS FROM Washington scored her first-ever fish when she battled this bull dorado on a Tailhunter panga over two hours. The scream of joy is real as Captain Boli struggles with the gaffed fish. They were fishing just outside of La Paz Bay.

This scene is happening more and more in Baja Sur as better weather conditions for spring and warmer water have brought forth the pelagics the region is known for. The East Cape also kicked things up a notch this spring as the yellowfin were found under the porpoise on the outside with football sized fish to eager-to-die 25 pounders mixed in on the hoochie spreads.

It was the calm seas that provided the opportunity to range far and wide for boats from the East Cape to La Paz and north to Loreto.

“It was quite a nice mix of fish this past week with nice sunny weather and relatively calm seas,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International based in La Paz. “Most of the fishing action centered over the inshore reefs and rocks where a plethora of different species kept rods bent… and hearts broken as fish often took frustrated anglers into the rocks. So, sometimes fishing was good, but the actual ‘catching’ was not as good with so many lost fish! But, it still made for some fun times.”

Inshore species ran the gamut from big cabrilla to several species of pargo including pargo mulatto (barred pargo); pargo liso (mullet snapper); dogtooth pargo (dogtooth snapper) plus red and yellow snapper. Add to that a real nice jag of some big pompano; some brutish jack crevalle, common and white bonito and quite a few hawkfish also known as China maru that are similar to cabrilla but with bright blue designs on it’s face and flanks.

“In the same areas, we lost some big yellowtail that couldn’t be stopped on both iron and bait plus slow-trolled Rapalas and Yo-Zuris, but those same lures also produced a couple of nice wahoo in shallow water up to about 35 pounds,” said Roldan.

He added that dorado action is also picking up with some larger fish taken near Espirito Santo Island where sargasso weed is starting to appear which attracts bait fish and consequently more dorado as the waters get warmer. “Daytime temps have been really pleasant in the high 80’s,” Roldan said, “and it’s starting to get a bit humid but conditions for the coming week look good.”

In other Baja action:


RICH HOLLAND AND Phil Desautels fished with Martin Verdugo’s Beach Resort fleet on the East Cape and found limits of yellowfin to 25 pounds under the porpoise.

EAST CAPE — Rich Holland of Laguna Niguel was on a trip to the East Cape last week through the weekend and got into a nice tuna flurry that had started a few days before the group he was with arrived. Before last week, the East Cape was in a holding pattern for pelagics. No more, although boats had to range far northeast for tuna, dorado and stripers near Cerralvo.

Holland and buddy Phil Desautels, a north coast river guide, scored limits of yellowfin on Friday with fish up to 24 pounds. They were staying at Martin Verdugo’s Beach Resort and fishing with Capt. Alfredo Lucero was brother Bocha.

“Alfredo and Bocha found the porpoise 40 miles out and chased them out to 58 miles,” said Holland in a Facebook post. “Phil Desautels got the first and two quads later we were rolling. Cedar plugs at first then we finished up with hoochies and headed back to Martin Verdugo’s Beach Resort to wrap up the birthday festivities. Two other boats in our group were close enough to call in and they scored too!”

In a follow-up Sunday night, Holland said “One of Phil’s group’s boats had two dorado up below Cerralvo on Saturday, and the group had released several stripers and baited as many. Strictly catch and release on the marlin,” he emphasized.

John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero kicked in a WON report Sunday, saying the water temps were warming with the air, the water at 76 to 78 and the air in the low 80s mid-day, clear, flat and light afternoon breezes. Perfecto conditions.

“We had very good inshore fishing with a wide variety of species being taken,” he said. “Red snapper, pargo, cabrilla, grouper, pompano, sierra, white bonito, nice sized roosterfish to 50 pounds are biting aggressively.”

Most boats are fishing north around Cerralvo Island. The fleet is catching lots of bottom and top fish almost all on sardine. Good action, he said, with all anglers pulling on fish all day. Yellowfin were taken under porpoise midweek, far south and outside.


CHRIS WHEATON POSTED after the second day of the Loreto Los Rancheros yellowtail tournament held over the weekend where he caught this18-pound leopard grouper (cabrilla) that won biggest “other species” division for the tournament. In the other photos, his father Bob Wheaton and friend Marty Dufek show off their second day’s catch which included some nice yellows.

LORETO — Rick Hill of pinchysportfishing.com and loretotours.com said yellowtail to the 30-pound range have been filling up fish boxes this past week.

“Still no stellar bite but most areas have been productive for the first boats dropping bait,” he said. “Early seems to be the key and with the daytime sun and temperatures getting more like summer, early might be the only time you would want to be fighting a big-shouldered yellowtail. Cabrilla are getting more active every day for boats chumming with live sardina. No problem with live bait, ice or cold beer!”

There are few Baja areas that stage more tournaments than Loreto. All year, just about every week or every few weeks. The results of the Los Rancheros Yellowtail Tournament were not available by deadline Sunday but IGFA rep and Fish’n for the Mission tourney director Chris Wheaton who annually fishes the Los Rancheros event reported he caught an 18-pound cabrilla to win the “Other Species Division” and said yellowtail were around but were not particularly big for competitors, 15 to 20 pounds. He was down fishing with his father Bob Wheaton and friend Marty Dufek for the tourney based at La Mision Hotel that was small, 21 anglers, and was won by a 20-pound class yellow.

Coming up May 17-19 is the inaugural Robert Ross Fishing Tournament at the recently expanded Marina Puerto Escondido. Anglers will be competing for a minimum payout of $8,000, though the tournament will also offer daily and species-specific money awards. Teams of four will compete for cash prizes and free entry into the Grand Final Calisureños Tournament, held in Loreto in August. The grand prize is an $8,000 minimum payout and Suzuki outboard motor; first place payouts for dorado, tuna and yellowtail are $4,000 each, minimum.

There are also brown bag pots (ranging from $500 to $5,000) and cash prizes for smallest fish ($500) and largest fish ($1,000) caught. Visit www.robertrossfishingtournament.com for more information.

QUALITY GORDO BANK yellowtail last week. The tuna also started to show on the Gordo, as well as other spots to the north.

CABO/SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Various reports and posts with few details indicate the tuna (mostly footballs) are still on the outside under porpoise, and marlin, nearly all stripers this time of year, are within 20 miles of port. The weather and water conditions are now switching over and look for more roosters to show. Mike Tumbiero of Renegade Mike posted a live video of his customers after a trip in which they raised several marlin for the day, and hooked and released two.

Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas in Puerto Los Cabos Marina said a handful of yellowfin tuna were found on the grounds from Iman, San Luis and Vinorama, as a couple of tuna between 80 and 100 pounds were accounted for, with most of these caught by local pangeros specifically targeting these fish for commercial value.

“Offshore there were reports of striped marlin activity from around the 1150 spot, this is just starting to develop and we expect to see this bite come on strong though the entire month, this is always the main season for stripers on these local ground off of San Jose del Cabo,” he said.

“This week we felt a warming trend with different currents pushing in towards the Gordo Banks zone and this helped wake up the action some. Large whale sharks were also sighted on these grounds, slowly cruising around, not spooked of the any boat traffic, being larger than most boats themselves. No huge numbers of any particular gamefish species were being landed, though a variety of fish were being seen, including yellowtail to 30 pounds. Early in the week some boats had as many as three yellowtail, since it has slowed, though these yellows are still in the area, and a downrigger proved to get the best results, though not all boats use this method. Free swimming wahoo were spotted, but not on the bite, some tuna were seen working the surface, but they proved difficult, although there was an occasional hook up reported. Jigging off the bottom produced some bonito and snapper.”

Closer to shore there was a variety of shallow water structure species found, drift fishing with sardinas worked well for this action. Species included sierra, yellow snapper, African pompano, triggerfish and a handful of amberjack. He said weather conditions were excellent with daytime highs reaching the mid-80s. Swells were slight, winds minimal, ocean temperatures ranged from 70 to 75 degrees through most of the region, with the warmest currents found outside of San Jose del Cabo and towards the Gordo Banks.

The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 64 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 4 striped marlin, 6 yellowfin tuna, 11 yellowtail, 11 leopard grouper, 210 bonito, 22 red snapper, 12 mohara, 18 yellow snapper, 8 African pompano, 15 amberjack, 85 sierra, 10 glasseye pargo, 12 roosterfish and 95 triggerfish.

ENSENADA — Yellowtail are still happening under the birds on Ensenada Bay. There’s a nice number of yellowtail around crashing on anchovies. Throw the iron. If you want to go, Google Sergio’s or Gamefisher to start. Good operations.

MAG BAY — Bob Hoyt from Mag Bay Outfitters said the weather is starting to warm up and so is the water. “Lots of sardines so signs of maybe an early season. The school size tuna are here and the yellowtail bite is okay. Some grouper but not real big, about 25 pounds.”

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