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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Good conditions critical for success

La Paz busts loose, then fades with winds
San Quintin bluefin within range, L.A. Bay yellows are wide open as summer slowly emerges; Cedros bass some real jumbos; Cabo marlin and dorado action slowed but not stopped by easterly winds and lower water temps

The stories are coming out of La Paz as the winds settled and the heat is on for fishing and the weather and water in general. A few stories from Tailhunter International tell the tale of the ’tails.

— Dru Toeniskoetter from Los Gatos had never fished in Mexico before, but with Captain Victor of the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz, she hooked a big roosterfish right off the sand using a ladyfish as live bait while fishing with family, including her son Jack. The fish was released.

— While fishing in only about 20 feet of water for rockfish north of La Paz, Josh Suedekamp from Denver, Colorado suddenly found himself hooked up to a big bull dorado that pulled Josh on light tackle off to deeper water before Captain Boli could get it to gaff. It was Josh’s first fishing trip to Mexico.

— Doug and Penny Nuffer from Salt Lake City had a good outing fishing out of Muertos Bay. They hooked a variety of fish including a big dorado and a big dogtooth snapper.

— Captain Victor of the Tailhunter Fleet put Mandy Nuffer of Salt Lake City onto her first-ever roosterfish which they revived and released.

DRU TOENISKOETTER hooked this big La Paz roosterfish right off the sand using a ladyfish as live bait. Son Jack looks on. The fish was released. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

WHILE FISHING IN only about 20 feet of water for rockfish north of La Paz, Josh Suedekamp from Denver, Colorado hooked up to this big bull dorado. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

DOUG AND PENNY Nufferfrom Salt Lake fished with Tailhunter out of La Paz and hooked a variety of fish including this dorado and a big dogtooth snapper. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

“After a number of chilly weeks where it was more like April fishing than June fishing, there was reason for optimism early on,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter. “Just like someone had thrown a switch, the winds died. The waters calmed and cleared. It got hot. It got humid. It felt more like summer… finally!”

Roldan said the fish bit nicely for both the Tailhunter Las Arenas and La Paz fleets with good variety and close in, some within a “stone’s throw” of the rocks or beach.

“This included striped marlin where for two days, almost every one of our pangas hooked at least one striper,” said Roldan. “Dorado between 5 and 30 pounds were suddenly feeding after several weeks of being so lethargic and lock-jawed. A few wahoo started biting again. A couple of big tuna were hooked right up against the rocks in shallow water.”

Inshore, cabrilla, amberjack and pargo; snapper and jack crevalle; as well as big pompano, palometas, dogtooth snapper and even a few yellowtail and sierra bit. Plus all the skipjack and white bonito you wanted, he said. Some big roosterfish were hooked and released.

Later in the week the winds kicked up and brought out the greener water, especially for the Las Arenas fleet, which started producing only a smattering of bluewater fish and the pesky white bonito. But the La Paz boats fared better.

“Dorado still hung in there on the chew. Inshore fishing away from the winds didn’t slow down at all. You could stay in the shallows and hook everything from snapper to cabrilla, which many of our pangas decided to do.”

FISHING OUT OF Hotel Playa Del Sol on the East Cape were WON readers, left to right, Chris Graner, Jason Jamison, Matt Ritze and Matt Wagner.

HOTEL RANCH LEONERO hosted brothers Noah, 17, and Justin, 24, from Austin, Texas. They found, revived and released this juvenile oar fish off the lighthouse. Said Hotel Rancho Leonero owner John Ireland, “It’s definitely the first live oarfish release I know of, and one of the best oarfish photos I’ve seen.”

JEN WREN SPORTFISHING hosted 81-year old Abuela Anne who was having fun with her granddaughter Sophia while aboard the Vaquero off the East Cape last week.

EAST CAPE Matthew Rize, a WON reader and president of Champion Roof Co., said he and others in his group (Chris Graner, Jason Jamison, Matt Ritze and Matt Wagner) had a “great” trip here, reporting that they fished two days and fired off a report to get in their picture before deadline. They fished Tuesday with two boats and scored 2 dorado, 25 and 40 pounds, and 7 yellowfin 15 to 25 pounds while chasing dolphin and bird schools.

On Thursday one of their boats slammed 13 yellowfin of 15 to 40 pounds, and the first hookup was a quad bendo while trolling and the rest were caught on bait. Both days the tuna, he said, were about 40 miles N/NE from Los Barilles. They stayed at Playa Del Sol because Palmas de Cortez was sold out. Speaking of that hotel, it will be hosting its annual Dorado Shootout in July. See more on their website.

John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero weighed in on Sunday and said the water was 76 to 80 degrees and the easterly winds have driven the colder Pacific water up into the Cortez. They had calm mornings and easterly afternoon winds. The air is still cool for mid-June, beautiful with cool mornings and afternoon highs in the 80s.

“We had very good fishing one day and slow the next,” said Ireland. “The dorado have finally arrived, and quality yellowfin are outside under the porpoise. Striped marlin, sailfish and a few blues are biting off the La Ribera to Frailles dropoff. A few wahoo taken this week off the white cliffs at Vinarama. The dorado are in the 10- to 25-pound class, spread out and are taking trolled lures and ballyhoo.”

The yellowfin, said Ireland, are at 15 to 50 miles. They are quality tuna to 70 pounds and very spread out under the porpoise with the northern warmer water the best bet. Trolled hoochies, cedar plugs, chunk squid, live sardine and caballito are all working. The billfish, mostly stripers, are off the La Ribera Bank and down to Frailles.

Said Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing in his weekly blog, “Our week started out with beautiful weather and action packed fishing. The day before yesterday an upwelling of cold, ugly green water developed along the shoreline out to 20 miles from San Jose del Cabo north almost past Punta Perico. Every year in June this phenomena occurs. Normally the condition is not this severe and stops to the south at Cabo Pulmo or the Punta Arena Light house. This year it has stretched across Palmas Bay past Punta Pescadero which is a little unusual.

“The ugly water hasn't affected the marlin bite and they are still active off La Ribera and the Lighthouse. It has negatively impacted the yellowfin bite. Typically this only lasts a week or 10 days before conditions are back to normal. We certainly hope it is the case this year.”

LORETO Rick Hill of reported, “The calendar is telling us that it's dorado time and the air temps are signing the same tune, too. Dorado are here but the closer to town you are the smaller the fish. That is typical and the boats wanting the bigger versions will be finding them far out to the east. Similar story for billfish with most being targeted out past Carmen Island. Closer to town the resident fish, cabrilla and smaller yellowtail, are hitting sardina as they have been doing since May. Stay tuned for more dorado as the days slide by.”

CORRECTION: The first annual Robert Ross Tournament held recently at Marina Puerto Escondido drew 28 boats, not 25 as was previously reported.

THE PISCES SCENE off Cabo was hampered by easterly winds but there were still marlin, dorado and roosterfish. The weather and distance kept the boats from going outside for tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS — Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing said the week’s water temperatures, although not drastically lower due to easterly winds to 20 knots on the Pacific and afternoon winds in the Sea of Cortez, fell to around 76 degrees from 82 degrees of the week before, and that made things a little tougher.

“With this said though, we did begin to see the dorado finally start to show up, and in slightly bigger numbers,” said Ehrenberg. “On the East Cape there were reports of a few dorado of about 50 pounds each which is great news especially with the Dorado Shootout Tournament coming up in Los Barriles, July 20. Marlin numbers totaled 126 releases this week, down from last week (but in all fairness this also has a lot to do with the two tournaments that took place then, the Pelagic and ILLTA). Tuna were scarce, mainly because anglers preferred not to go out the 40 miles to find them with the weather conditions. Instead, they stuck by closer for the marlin or headed inshore for roosterfish, sierra mackerel and snapper, which were very productive. For example, we had 8 roosterfish released on one boat on its best day.”

For the marlin reports, go to

Roosterfish are prime targets, and the Pisces 27-foot panga Tres Amigos caught and released 2 roosterfish, of about 15 and 30 pounds each out of the Old Lighthouse. Anglers Michael and Randy Davis, and Nathan Bingham also caught 3 red snapper on caballito bait. The next day Tres Amigos did well again, with 2 roosterfish, 20 and 30 pounds each hitting on caballito in this same area, released. Anglers kept 1 big sierra mackerel, of almost 15 pounds on live caballito.

Results of the Pelagic tourney held recently are as follows: In the Billfish Division Team Tejas (last year’s winner) took first place with 25 striped marlin released over the two days; this won them a whopping $130,320, as they were in all the jackpots as well. Cloud 9 took second place with 16 striped marlin released, earning them $7,200 and Pisces 72-foot Tag Team took third place with 15 striped marlin released for $2,880.

GORDO BANKS PANGAS is seeing a lot of variety on the banks and coast, but no big tuna bite has emerged, at least consistently, as summer weather begins to emerge. Roosterfish are usually targeted in July, so fingers are crossed.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Bank Pangas said, “The weather is progressively heating up, high temperatures into the lower 90s. Later in the week we saw more marine cloudy and overcast conditions. While Pacific waters are still cool, in the upper 60s, off San Jose del Cabo the ocean was 80 degrees and the winds were unpredictable. Earlier in the week we felt breezes predominately from the north, laying down midweek, then later in the week it was the south wind that was more of a factor.”

He added, “The fishing action last week was very encouraging, as we saw more numbers of yellowfin tuna, continued quality action for striped marlin, a few dorado finally showing up, as well as options inshore for roosterfish and for a mix of bottom species. This week with weather patterns a bit more unstable we had much more scattered overall action, changing from day to day, but the tuna action and marlin proved more elusive and even the bottom produced minimal fish. There were some highlights though, with anglers catching and release trophy sized 50-pound roosterfish, even landing a couple of wahoo, dorado, sailfish and striped marlin and an occasional nice sized amberjack or red snapper.”

Brictson said the action on the San Luis Bank for the Mexican bonito and red snapper while working the yo-yo jigs proved much more difficult in recent days, the weather did not help at times, the tuna had been hitting early in the week on trolled caballito and strips of squid, yellowfin ranging from 20 to 80 pounds but this action came to a standstill later in the week.

“This transition period can often be like this, sometimes it is not until mid-July before conditions really stabilize and we finally have more consistent day to day action,” said Brictson. “These next couple of weeks is when we historically see some of the largest sized roosterfish of the season. We expect to see a mass migration of mullet baitfish to move in any time, this in turn brings in more of these inshore gamefish.”

The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 70 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 1 sailfish, 7 dorado, 2 wahoo, 7 striped marlin, 19 yellowfin tuna, 2 dogtooth snapper, 11 leopard grouper, 98 Mexican bonito, 32 red snapper, 14 amberjack, 24 roosterfish, 22 jack crevalle, 4 yellow snapper and 70 triggerfish.

SAN QUINTIN CHARTERBOATS have been getting into the yellows at the high spots like the 240 and on the outside the bluefin like these are within range of K&M Sportfishing’s Parkers. K&M SPHOTO

SAN QUINTIN — Kelly Catian of K&M Sportfishing reported the bluefin are within range and it’s now their turn to nail them.

“Since all of this bluefin moved in a few years back, we've been patiently waiting and hoping they would fill in down here,” said Catian. “It was tough watching all the epic fishing up north in San Diego and not seeing them at all down here. We'll, now it's our turn.” He said his friend Duane Diego, a San Diego-based guide, has been feeding them information on the temp breaks and possible location of the fish as the season progressed, and it finally paid off.

Other charters out of San Quintin have been hammering the quality yellows on the usual high spots, like the 240.

JUAN COOK, A guide, fished with customers from Imperial Valley who came down for some yellows at L.A. Bay. They were Juan Bottello, his son Allen and longtime fishing friend Curt Benner.

L.A. BAY Capt, Juan Cook reported that last week the wide-open yellowtail bite continued its torrid pace.

“I was out with my new friends from Imperial Valley, Juan Bottello and his son Allen and their longtime fishing friend Benner, and we had wide open yellowtail fishing and a few leopard groupers,” said Cook. “Great balmy weather, flat and blue and lots of fish to be caught. A great time.”

MIDRIFF Tom Ward of Longfin Tackle in Orange reported, “The boat Tony Reyes returned Friday evening from a chartered trip led by Clarence Becker of Victorville, a long-time Sea of Cortez angler fishing on these trips for over 30 years. They had very good weather according to Capt. Tony Reyes and were able to catch bait a couple of times during the trip. Cabrilla were hitting Mirrorlures on the troll as well as jumping on cast lures and flylined live bait.

“Medium size grouper were caught trolling the Nomad lures and the Mirrorlures. The last day of the trip big groupers were biting on big baits, small yellowtails and barracudas, with only 3 big ones being landed and many more lost. A minimum of 100-pound test is recommended for these fish as anything less just does not do the job on these powerful groupers. Weather in the Midriff islands is starting to warm up.”

The count: 475 yellows, 417 cabrilla, 20 pargo, 9 sheephead, 2 lings, 21 grouper and 1 halibut, 17 sierra, 4 amberjack and 223 assorted fish, released. For information about the trips see or

JORDAN KAVANAUGH WITH a Cedros Island calico he caught on a fly, one of about 100 he hooked and landed and released during his stay with Cedros Outdoor Adventures.

CEDROS ISLAND — Jordan Kavanaugh reported in after a trip with Cedros Outdoor Adventures.

“A great time as usual at COA, only me fly fishing and Fred and Jim fishing hard baits and plastics. Great guys, and amazing fishermen, it was a pleasure to share the lodge with them,” said Kavanaugh. “Also, as usual, everyone at COA was amazing. Last but not least the #1 Capt. in Baja (and upcoming fly fisherman), Toro DeLa Torba, put me on fish all week. Bass were tough, but we scratched around 100 calicos, 4 halibut, 2 sheephead, and 1 sargo. Bass went to close to 7 pounds with an average between 2 to 4 pounds.

“Fred Knilans and Jim, fishing conventional gear, went off on the big bass, with 4 or more over 6.5 pounds and up to an 8-pound tanker for Fred at Isla Natividad. Toro and I went to the north end of the island to fish boilers and caves and walls, scratched some fish here but nothing amazing. Fished a massive bass boil in the afternoon, and farmed something really big down deep, fish busted 20-pound fluoro clean. Got 3 halibut on the fly later in the day.”

Kavanaugh continued, “Went across the narrow sea to Isla Natividad and then Chester Rock off Point Eugenia. Scratched some more bass here and there, ended the day with the biggest fish of the trip, close to 7. Fished Friday morning before flying out, maybe another 10 plus bass and 1 more halibut on the fly, none of the halibut were photo worthy.”

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