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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Easy Cape


Wild East Cape bites inshore before winds hit
Striped marlin and roosterfish bunch up just off the beach for some exciting and unexpected action

EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing here said conditions are changing quickly, and in a good way. Last week was a little wild on the tuna, but this week the bite has been on a new wild ride.


“I’m amazed,” he said. “Last weekend we fished Bruce Borggreve's 22nd annual charity marlin tournament held at Rancho Leonero. The purpose of the event is to raise funds to provide educational scholarships for youths in our community. Fourteen boats were signed up but for one reason or another 5 scratched so nine boats in the two-day event were only able to produce four striped marlin. Even though marlin fishing was slow there was plenty of action with 14 limits of yellowfin tuna for the two days.


eastcapemarlin


marlinandtuna
MARLIN AND TUNA are the main targets for East Cape fleet boats, with some crazy bites inside close to the beach, although most tuna were on the outside but winds Friday and Saturday kept many boats from chasing porpoise for quicker limits. MARK RAYOR PHOTOS


“Two days after the tournament I was doing some computer work in my office while the Jen Wren crew was completing some maintenance on the boat. Looking out my window at about 1:30 in the afternoon I could see about a dozen boats out about a mile off our buoy. Just then Diego reported the work was finished and the boat was ready to launch. Now 2 p.m. we jumped in Jen Wren and idled out preparing Halco's and hoochies to catch tuna. Getting to the action several boats around us were hooked up with marlin, not tuna. Shifting gears we broke out the marlin lures. It didn't take 15 minutes trolling and we had a quadruple hookup. Striped marlin showed one to three miles off the beach in front of Buena Vista on Monday and it has been bent rods ever since. The moral of this story is that timing is everything.”


Rayor said that while marlin went silly, that same crazy tuna bite of a week ago settled into a solid bite, and it’s taking a little bit of work to get that 5-fish limit per person.


“Roosterfish have also gotten in the game. While out fishing for tuna the Jen Wren called on the VHF to let us know the biggest frenzy of roosters were going off in front of our place and driving bait out of the water up onto the sand,” said Rayor. “Today (Saturday) while walking the beach I spotted two different spots of roosterfish feeding 10 feet from the sand.”


John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero reported in Sunday, saying the water is 80 to 81 degrees and warming, and they had some wind the past few days. Air was in the low 80s. As for the fishing, he said, “The yellowfin have been on and off all week. The schools of porpoise holding the tuna have moved further offshore.


“The big schools of tuna are further outside 30 to 40 miles,” said Ireland. “The fleet has not been able to get that far out the last three days because of the wind. It was limits for all anglers earlier in the week. The big fish in the 20- to 40-pound range are being taken closer to shore two to three miles off Rincon with hoochies working best outside, and live bait and squid inside.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Bank Pangas, based at Puerto Los Cabos Marina, reported prime conditions are developing.


“Early in the week we saw currents from the north push in water that was in the 78/80 degree range and later in the week it was holding more in the 74/76 range,” said Brictson. “Much of the week we felt north winds, this limited at times where charters went, later towards the weekend winds laid down. With changing currents, also this pushed in slightly greenish off colored waters. Transition period has been unsettled for weeks now, eventually conditions will heat up and we will see some more stable patterns.”


Bait vendors are finding moonfish, jacks and some sardineta, also options of ballyhoo. The most consistent action being found was over the structure. Boats are working areas from off of Red Hill/Palmilla, Gordo Banks and Cardon, La Fortuna, San Luis, north to Vinorama. Some of the best action was very early on the San Luis Banks, anglers working yo-yo jigs did very well for red snapper (huachinango), these fish were quality, average of 5 to 12 pounds. He said pangeros at the various rocky areas found amberjack and some grouper species. They saw amberjack up to 70 pounds, but most were in the 10- to 30-pound range. Yellowtail action was solid but part of that was due to sharks and seals moving onto the Gordo.


“A handful of striped marlin were hooked into, both the off colored changing currents, combined with passing of the full moon seemed to spread this action out, scattered activity for billfish, surely will rebound as soon as water conditions become more favorable. No dorado or wahoo being talked about, though there were some yellowfin tuna accounted for from the super pangas fishing on the northern grounds from San Luis to Vinorama, striking on cut bait and yo-yo jigs, most of these yellowfin were in the 12- to 20-pound range.”


As for the roosterfish, areas just south of Palmilla to Chileno produced good action for roosterfish, some of these to over 30 pounds. Slow trolling live bait was best technique for these powerful gamefish. Also in the mix were a handful of late season sierra, as well as hog sized jack crevalle.


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: 4 striped marlin, 8 yellowfin tuna, 10 leopard grouper, 245 Mexican bonito, 82 red snapper, 5 yellow snapper, 7 African pompano, 5 barred pargo, 24 amberjack, 9 sierra, 12 glasseye pargo, 22 roosterfish, 10 jack crevalle and 40 triggerfish.


jamesandrewswith
JAMES ANDREWS WITH first-ever tagged roosterfishon the Pisces 23-foot Panga Samantha. PHOTO BY GRAY FISH TAG


CABO SAN LUCAS — Pisces Sportfishing reported decent numbers of striped marlin with the top boat being the Tracy Ann, 5 striped marlin released in one day.


“Tuna and dorado were slow, with only a few caught of each, but the inshore fishing was excellent, saidRebecca Ehrenberg. Again, roosterfish, jack crevalle and red snapper, along with some yellowtail, grouper and triggerfish, were the main catches.”


Beginning the week off strong was the Bill Collector with Texas families Owens and Hauck. They did well to release 4 striped marlin. The fish ranged in size from 70 to 140 pounds each, and hit on dead caballito bait, slow -rolled, out of the 1150 Spot. The next day, Bill Collector did well again with 2 striped marlin released on live caballito bait out of Punta Gordo. Later in the week, again, 1 striped marlin released, this time only 6 miles off of Palmilla, hitting on ballyhoo bait. Closer to Cabo, around Santa Maria area, they also caught 1 bonita on a feather lure, 2 skipjacks on green/white hoochis, and 12 triggerfish which they kept for anglers from Ohio.


The Tracy Ann caught the most marlin in one outing this week, finding their 5 stripers from the 1150 to the 95 Spot. They trolled dead caballito and also managed to spot a few marlin close to the surface and cast live bait.


All fish were quite close in size, from 100 to 120 pounds for anglers Scott and Wesley Williams from Dallas, Texas. They also caught one of the only dorado of the week, which weighed about 15 pounds.


For inshore action this week, 23-foot Samantha started off the week with 2 roosterfish and 1 jack crevalle released, and 2 red snapper. Anglers were Yesenia Bassulto, Pisces Apparel Store Manager, and her husband Alberto, along with Dave Adams from Tormenter Ocean Apparel Co. The roosterfish hit early on, at the Old Lighthouse on live caballito and weighed about 10 to 15 pound each. The jack crevalle was about 20 pounds and the red snappers averaged about 10 pounds as well.


FIRST TIME FISHING. First day out. First time in Mexico. Right off the bat 18-year-old Ryan McConnell from Arizona (he got a graduation present trip from his family) hits this 57-pound wahoo fishing with Captain Armando from the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz. Captain Armando is a big guy. Yes, Ryan is still a foot taller which makes the fish look small. Ryan is on his way to Northern Arizona State University on a scholarship in the fall.


LA PAZ Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter said they had a very different, strange, good, anemic, erratic week! His words, actually.


“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “I think the only thing we didn’t get was rain! Fishing changed from day-to-day and boat-to-boat. Anglers worked really hard for fish one day and the next it was 180 degree difference. One boat would be bendo and pulling on fish all day and the boat right next to it spent the day eating lunch and drinking their beers waiting for a bite. One boat would catch tons of bonito. The boat next to it would have tuna, wahoo and a marlin and zero bonito. It would be windy and choppy one day and the next flat as glass… or calm in one spot and a mile away like a washing machine. We had winds from the north, south, west and east that changed daily! A wild unpredictable week for sure!”


He said there was no shortage of action or species, but the captains had to put in some extra effort.


“We still had great inshore action on several species of pargo as well as cabrilla, amberjack, jack crevalle, bonito, triggerfish, sierra, and those big pompano. If that’s what you wanted, you could do that all day long and have a blast. Roosterfish were still around although a little stickier this week than last where the roosters seemed to be everywhere and willing to chew. With all the winds, the waters were a little turned over with a lot more turbidity and a little green so the fish were more finicky. We did get more than a few, however, and all released.”


Roldan added, “The blue water species were a little trickier as well. We got more marlin in the water and had our best marlin week with stripers moving in. A lot of fish sighted, but weren’t quite interested in biting… just yet. However, we hooked several with most getting released.”


The tuna were a conundrum. The big 40 to 100 pounders were still there.


“Everyone saw them busting and breaking water and foaming but they weren’t always willing to eat,” said Roldan. “In fact, most of the time, they would eat everything but the bait that was on the hook. Guys dropped down from 60… to 50… to 40…and finally getting fish on 30-pound fluoro leaders. But, if you hang a 100-pound fish on 30-pound, you’re already at a huge disadvantage.


“One of our guys hooked a big fish on 30 and fought it for nearly 4 hours and it towed the panga almost 10 miles up the island. They got it near the panga at color and my captain estimated it at almost 200 pounds! Just as they were near to gaff, the line broke! Heartbreak!”


As for dorado, they are getting more plentiful and bigger for both fleets coming on with more sargasso weed building up north of the city.


LORETO — The Robert Ross Inaugural Tournament was in the books last week at  Marina Puerto Los Cabos with 28 teams and Team Tag from Pisces taking the team title with 20 marlin releases, it was reported on last week. Now, it’s back to normal action, with pangas going after yellowtail and pargo with dorado expected to debut soon.


Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com said nearshore waters are bobbing with many large rafts of sargasso grass, and offshore are big dorado and solid numbers of billfish.


“It's hard to guess when the summer action figures will work their way closer to our workable area but if they are hungry we still have tons of baitfish everywhere you look,” said Hill. “The local boats are still working over, picking away at the yellowtail and the cabrilla are still hitting the fillet tables as they have been for the past two months!


It's countdown to dorado in Loreto!”


martindownsmidriff
MARTIN DOWNS SCORED this 400-pound black seabass on a recent Tony Reyes mothership trip to the Midriff.


MIDRIFF — Tony Reyes’ boat the mothership Tony Reyes just returned from a 6-day trip led by chartermaster Jerry LeCompte from Glendale, Arizona. The trip, said Tom Ward, owner of the Longfin Tackle shop in Orange, recorded 242 yellows, 224 cabrilla, 106 bass, 83 pargo, 6 sheephead, 1 amberjack, 11 sierra, 4 grouper and 3 corvina.


The week previous the boat landed a 400-pound black seabass on a charter led by Calstar rods’ Gary Gibbs. Martin Downs caught the monster, which is a legal target in Mexican waters. For more info on the trips that run out San Felipe, go to www.thelongfin.com and www.tonyreyes.com.


Contribute to the Baja report by sending information and photos to baja@wonews.com.


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