Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Roosters wild, weather mild

Paper Mex. licenses no mas
 Big dorado to 66 pounds at East Cape, monster roosters in La Paz as the Sea of Cortez is on a great summer run; L.A. Bay yellows big and wide open 

CABO SAN LUCAS — It was inevitable. Paper Mexican fishing licenses are no longer going be available from license agents such as tackle shops. At this point some shops and fleet offices may still have some licenses but after their allotments are gone will no longer have them for sale at the shops. Sportfishing landings will not be affected as they purchase online licenses for all passengers as well as other needed permits.

The Conapesca San Diego office has closed and Mexican licenses will soon be available only online, various tackle shops and sportfishing fleets in Baja confirmed.

Many tour operators in Baja advised anglers to purchase licenses online prior to coming down for any fishing trips to Mexico. Juan Marcos Of Minerva’s Tackle and Sportfishing in Cabo said it’s no big issue.

“Yes, they did close (the office) but now you can get them at the following web address: You pay with a credit card and print your licenses,” said Marcos. “It is very simple and you can add as many persons to your one-time payment so that you don’t have to do one license per payment. Always you can get them here, or at the docks, let us know and we can get them for you.”

A few suggestions for online purchases. Your U.S. bank may not approve the transaction on the first try and will ask for confirmation via text that it is legitimate. If you okay it, attempt the entire purchase again. If it does not go through a second time, then contact your bank to clear the way. If it does go through be sure to screen grab the license in case of printing problems as backup on computer and phone. But you will need the printed out license on the boat.  The best site for purchase with money staying in Baja for fisheries work is:

This was posted recently on the Conapesca site. “EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY! The CONAPESCA Representative Office in San Diego is being reorganized as part of changes and improvements of the Mexican Federal Government. We are working to implement new procedures to issue Mexican sport fishing licenses online and at this time are no longer issuing licenses when requested in person or by mail. Please consult our web site for updates to this information.”

Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International in La Paz who is our Baja Editor at WON, said, “Right from the beginning several years ago when they stopped allowing us to sell paper licenses and told folks the ONLY way to get them was online. It works fine. We have 500-1,000 clients a year and it's never been a big issue. The biggest issue is the heart attack when they see the price.

“Just had one guy freak on me when he said the one-week license was $24, but when he came to pay with his credit card it was like $499! I told him it's a Mexican website. The $499 is in PESOS! Just divide that final number by 19 or 20 and he'll see it's okay. Happens all the time."

Roldan added, “The fishermen must have a printed copy of the license on them. The receipt won't work if the inspector is being a jerk, nor can showing him the screen on your cell phone.”

CABO SAN LUCAS — Before we get into fishing reports, there is a great story  to report of anglers helping another angler get back on the water. Last Tuesday Jaime JR Gonzales, a longtime Cabo captain and owner of a super panga operating out of Jessica Sportfishing, let a friend borrow his boat, and the panga capsized on the beach. American Zach Morrow of Colorado who for years owned a Cabo charterboat and fished in tournaments and knows JR immediately started a GoFundMe effort with a goal of $15,000 to get JR back on the water and providing for his family..

By Saturday $13,000 had been raised and another longtime Cabo angler Steve Brackmann had taken an advance of $9,000 from Morrow down to JR to get the work started.  The fund was stopped as JR said he had enough to get back on the water after repairs and did nt want to take advantage, is how he put it. Many thanks to all who helped and donated to get JR back on the water.

ZACK MORROW, A longtime Cabo sportfisherman and tournament angler/charterboat owner based in Colorado, started a GoFundMe effort for pangero Jaime Gonzales (JR) who lost his panga last Tuesday when a friend capsized it in surf.  The funding stopped at $13,000 at JR's request. He has enough to get the boat and engine repaired.

The Stars & Stripes Tournament is this week with the massive four-day event staged at the Cabo Hilton. Golf, music, sportfshing and auctions all for the beneft for several charities, but mainly Big Brothers of America. WON Road Trekker columnist Gary Graham is down there this week to cover it all.

In terms of fishing, the following is a Cabo report from Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces who is a big part of the Stars & Stripes organization. She sent this report in Monday morning, in between her duties at the tourney.

“We’ve had great inshore for roosterfish and other small game like sierra mackerel, snapper, amberjack, and yellowtail,” said Ehrenberg. “We are happy to see many more anglers and crews tagging their roosterfish with tags provided by GrayFishTag Research and look forward to seeing some recaptures soon! Inshore action was mostly on the Pacific side, with big roosters showing at the Cerros De Arena Area (near desal plant on Pacific) and Old Lighthouse. Our Pisces 25-foot No Borders made its fleet debut with a very nice approximately 50-pound roosterfish released there on Thursday. Most roosterfish this week were of good size, between 30 and 50 pounds each. Anglers used live caballito bait and lisas mostly along with green hoochies for species like yellowtail, amberjack and sierra.


PISCES ACTION IN Cabo has been solid with great weather. Wahoo are showing, and the roosterfish action has been very good just off the beaches.

She added, “The marlin bite was better beginning the week, with up to 4 marlin caught and released per boat, mostly out of Punta Ballena, Chileno and the Old Lighthouse area. Anglers used live caballito and trolled ballyhoo bait. Dorado showed up a bit more compared to last week but still nothing particularly impressive. A few wahoo this week, including a very nice 54 pounder aboard Pisces 35’ Bill Collector 2 that hit on a Rapala lure. Tuna has been scarce, but a few boats caught some footballs on cedar plugs.”

Ehrenberg at Pisces said great weather conditions were expected this week, warm weather on Sea of Cortez, with a bit more breeze and one day of up to 17 mph winds on the Pacific. Water temps on Cortez side up to 80 F, while the Pacific had temps as low as 69 F.

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan Tailhunter International said some days they had spectacular fishing, the best fishing of the season as temperatures soared to a record 107 degrees one day. Other days? Well, you can’t get ’em every day. But when they got ‘em it was crazy good, especially on roosters.

“Many folks caught the fish of a lifetime; or their largest, or their first or the most they have ever caught and that was great,” said Roldan. “But, there was just no getting a handle on what was biting. One day the bite was in one spot and the next, it was shut down. Clear blue water one day become green dirty water with current the next day. One panga rips up the fish and the boat next to it can’t get a bite. It was that kind of week.”

NINA MORENO FROM San Antonio Texas is 12 and caught a limit of dorado while fishing with her dad and the Tailhunter fishing fleet from La Paz.

TIM AND ANGELA FARRELL from Oceanside were fishing with Captain Moncho of the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and got in on the pargo liso (mullet snapper) bite off Cerralvo Island where the fish came into the shallows to spawn.

DOUBLE HOOK-UP! Captain Moncho of the Tailhunter fleet poses with one roosterfish before releasing it while Ron Burgess from Temecula works another big roosterfish just off Cerralvo Island. Over five days, they caught and released 31 roosterfish.

He continued, “For our La Paz Tailhunter Fleet the week started well. This is where we’ve been getting yellowtail, amberjack, pargo and cabrilla and snapper. Plus lots of great eating white bonito. Really weird because these are all cold water fish, except for the bonito! And it’s already 100 degrees and the end of June and beginning of July. For example yellowtail are a fish we usually don’t see much of after April or so.

“However, yellowtail between 15 to 25 pounds have been biting now for almost three weeks. By far our La Paz fishing north of town has been the most solid fishing most of the month. The weird thing, however, is that almost in the same spots where we were hooking the cold water fish, we were also hooking dorado which are warm water fish! The dorado ran 10 to 25 pounds and these are the kinds of fish we should be hooking this time of year. But with the presence of both fish, this means there’s a thermocline in the water column with warm waters about 81 degrees at the surface, but below that is a very chilly thermocline holding colder waters. This was confirmed by our scuba divers who ran into the colder water about 20 to 40 feet down. Very unusual.”

For the Tailhunter Las Arenas Fleet, fishing was great in the hooking, but the catching was kinda tough in some cases. Roldan said the big pargo liso were schooling and those huge mullet snapper are 10 to 30 pounds and are really difficult fish in the shallow waters, but these fish are normally schooling in these big groups in the colder waters of March and April.

“All of a sudden, here they are,” said Roldan. “The thing with them is that they are tough tough to catch. I have often told folks that if you get 10 hookups and get 2 or 3 to the boat, it’s about par. So, folks were coming back saying what a tough day they had. Then, I’d find out they really hooked 6, 8, 10 pargo but busted them all off! That’s good fishing… but bad catching!”

They also had tuna biting, all 100-pound plus beasts and 1- to 2-hour battles ended with broken lines, or a shark would take two bites and destroy the fish at the finish line. Heartbreaking.

The big news was that Las Arenas/ Muertos Bay lived up to its rep as the “Roosterfish Capital of the World,” where world record roosterfish up to 150 pounds have been caught on this beach area.

“Well, this week, I’ve never seen the roosters go off like they did,” said Roldan. “ I estimate almost 100 roosters were hooked and released between 5 and 70 pounders!” said Roldan. “On a single day alone, our Tailhunter Las Arenas Fleet had 8 pangas on the water and got 35 roosterfish! That’s unheard of! One of our boats caught and released at least 10 fish. This doesn’t even include the fish that were lost or broke off!”

Finally, bull dorado are in waters off Muertos Bay after a three-year absence. These are 20 to 45 pounders.

“Where’d they come from? We haven’t seen dorado of that size in three years,” said Roldan.

EAST CAPE — John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero had a short report on Sunday. Why? He was out fishing a small two-day tourney at his hotel, and his team won the event.

“We released another 4 marlin today (Sunday), with a nice size blue that got off,” said Ireland. “That makes eight releases in our two days fishing, with a nice bull dorado in the mix. Literally every fish with the exception of the dorado was on the ballyhoo!

“Big schools of tuna are under the porpoise on the outside with a better bite early in the week, and a little more picky biters later in the week. The fish were between 5 and 35 pounds and a few larger grade,” added Ireland.

Mark Rayor of Jen Wen Sportfishing said in his weekly blog on Sunday that, “East Cape weather has been fantastic. Tomorrow (Monday) will be the first day of July but it feels like late May. Yes, the sun is intense but we are not experiencing the stifling humidity that normally comes with it.

“The Sea of Cortez has been like a pancake day after day with hardly a ripple on the blue 81- to 85-degree water. Fish are almost jumping in the boat, pleasing anglers. Yellowfin tuna have been the main event. Some days we have to work harder than others but we have been coming home with limits most of the time. A very good striped marlin bite and a few roosterfish have also been in the mix.”

Rayor went on, “Porpoise schools are holding the tuna and being found in every direction from 20 to 40 miles offshore and beyond. Chunk squid has been the hot bait but Halco lures, cedar plugs and hoochies have also been working. Stripers found on the tuna grounds have been very aggressive and jumping on live baits and ballyhoo. We have been finding the roosterfish away from the shoreline in 40 to 80 feet of water.”

JEN WREN GOT it done on the yellowfin tuna on the East Cape. These anglers were fishing on the 35 Cabo Vaquera. Conditions have been perfectly flat.

Buenavista Beach Report’s Luis Enrique Fraijo reported to WON that tuna were closer to shore in the 12- to 28-mile range for most of the past week, with a couple days of fish over 40 miles out. The marlin bite? On fire!

“A few blue marlin have been spotted, and swordfish, too.” Said Fraijo. “We’re seeing sharks on the surface, mantas, and huge dolphin and dorado schools. Big bulls are starting to show just south of La Ribera, near the lighthouse. Bottom fishing has also improved substantially, with a lot of snappers, amberjack and pompano being caught. Captains said the marlin favored ballyhoo and mackerel, this week, along with some lures. Squid was by far the favorite for the tuna, but also cedar plug chains.”

Carol and David Metzger fishing out of Buenavista with longtime friends Linda Giller and Kenn Dougherty had a blast fishing three days aboard the Lilliana with captain Marco Yepiz and deckhand Daniel Sandez. They brought in tuna and dorado, and caught and released several marlin.

“We couldn’t be any happier with our trip,” said David Metzger. “Everything was amazing. We were here for our anniversary. It wasn’t our first trip here, and it won’t be our last.”

Chris Margoli, Greg Button, Bill Saunderson and Ed Lamasters had a really good time fishing aboard the Dottie BII with longtime friends and favorite crew Vicente Cosio and Marco Garcia. They spent their day landing tuna limits, dorado and releasing marlin.

“These guys know exactly what they’re doing,” said Button. “Sometimes when the bite slows down, they make a couple changes on lures, Rapalas and bait, or move to a different spot, and ‘boom,’ there you go. We are always happy to fish with these guys.”

Adam Peters visiting from Utah had a terrific day aboard the Nath & Mitch out of Hotel Buena Vista, fishing with captain Omar Sandez. They played around patiently with some smaller roosterfish for a little while, then caught and released a beauty, close to the 60-pound mark.

In other East Cape news, Matthew Clifton of Scorpion Sportfishing reported much the same as above, but he had a nice fish to report, a 66-pound dorado landed aboard El Regalo on Tuesday. “We are seeing some nice-sized dorado on trolled lures and ballyhoo,” said Clifton. “We are hoping that the action for these great gamefish continues to improve.”

A 66-POUND dorado was caught aboard Scorpion Sportfishing’s El Regalo on Tuesday. The East Cape Dorado Shootout is coming up the 20th at Palmas so the timing is fantastic to have these slamming ballyhoo on the troll.


Coming up: The Van Wormer hotels have three major one-day tourneys coming up. July 20 is the Dorado Shootout, followed by the East Cape Gold Cup Wahoo Tournament Aug. 24, and then the Tuna Shootout Oct. 26. They all have $500 entry fees per team, and then optionals. At the third Annual Wahoo Gold Cup at Hotels Palmas De Cortez and Playa Del Sol, the winning team will take home a 2019 Volkswagen Gol and a 140hp Suzuki Outboard engine. Details are on the hotel website.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said winds have been fairly light and ocean temperatures now in the 80-degree range towards San Jose del Cabo, with the clarity still fluctuating some due to unpredictable currents. The season’s first named tropical storm, Alvin, is now far off to the west of the Baja Peninsula, not causing any impact on land at all, if anything it just increased the heat and humidity a bit.

“Anglers found similar bait choices, caballito, moonfish, ballyhoo and slabs of squid being the main deal,” said Brictson. “For the past week now the most consistent action was centered around the Iman Bank, this is where yellowfin tuna were schooling, though catching these tuna was not easy, with best chances earlier in the morning, drift fishing with strips of squid, as well as a few fish striking slowly trolled caballito. Anglers were fortunate to land one or two of these yellowfin, sizes ranged from 20- to 80-pound. The tuna are hanging around these high spots, but are finicky, with heavier boat pressure. So far we have not heard of any reports of tuna being found on the Gordo Banks, it is the time of year coming up when we would normally seeing some of the larger yellowfin make an appearance on these famous grounds.”

GORDO BANKS PANGAS were getting into the swing of summer with a mix of bottomfish and tuna, but the action for bigger game has been a bit slow on the banks. Roosterfishing has been very good. No pics on these as they were all released.

He said billfish action seems to be more scattered as well, with the majority of the striped marlin now on their migration north, following their preferred mackerel food source towards SoCal waters.

“It’s still early in the season, though we will start to see more chances for the warmer water species, such as black, blue marlin and sailfish,” said Brictson. “This week we know of at least blue marlin that was lost after a four-hour battle on a smaller sized panga, this fish was estimated to be about 400 pounds. Only an occasional dorado is now being found, some closer to shore, other in open offshore waters, weights up to 25 pounds.”

He said mullet are not in the shore areas in large amounts yet, but roosters 20 to 35 pounds have been in the nearshore spots anyway.

The local shore anglers reported a couple of nice snook and corvina the past week off of the el Faro region of La Playita. Baitfish concentrating along that stretch attract some quality fish this time of year, said Brictson. 

L.A. BAY -- Wide open on yellowtail as limits are being taken by 10 a.m., reported many anglers, and also Capt. Juan Cook. We would provide more info, but that is about it n a nutshell. Lot of bait, lot of fish, in quality sizes, 18 to 20 and bigger on bait, iron. Prime time.

LORETO — Rick Hill of reported that marlin, dorado and yellowtail are all in the region now.

“The dorado are all over with the average size not inspiring a concerted effort to load up,” said Hill. “Marlin seem to be a lot of work in the hot sun which puts most local boats fishing for the 15-pound average yellows at San Bruno.”



NEMENCHAS SPORTFSHING Tours of Loreto had a great day this week as they posted several pictures from northern Loreto areas. Yellowtail, dorado and billfish (sailfish in the photo) are in the house! reported Capt. Julio César Martínez. Not great photos, but you get the idea.

The upcoming Fishing For The Mission tournament is coming up at the best time for the dorado action. The Nemenchas Sportfishing Tours Fleet has been nailing all kinds of big fish, yellows, dorado and sailfish, reported Capt. Julio César Martínez who is fishing in the 29th annual event that runs July 11-13.

For more information about the tournament, there is a Facebook Group, Fishin For The Mission, with up-to-date information. You can e-mail tournament director Chris Wheaton at

MIDRIFF — Tom Ward of Longfin Tackle in Orange reported the mothership Tony Reyes returned from a 6-day trip led by chartermaster Gary Gibbs of Redondo Beach and Calstar rods of Gardena. They had good weather and plenty of live bait from the San Francisquito area.

“They fished the main islands in the Midriff Island chain,” said Ward. “Giant white seabass up to 68 pounds were caught with the live bait with many fish being lost trying to get them off the bottom. Big yellowtail were also hooked, up to 33 pounds, from the same area. Cabrilla are large and biting trolled Mirrorlures and live bait.

The count: 356 yellowtail, 234 cabrilla, 262 bass, 19 pargo, 13 seabass , 4 broomtails.

CEDROS ISLAND -- See the photos below. White seabass have been targeted by customers at the Baja Dreams Lodge run by Cedros Outdoor Adventures which is seeing its first full grous arrive. There have been several smaller groups nailing the big calios, but its WSB and yellowtail time now, and of course the big calicos,


CEDROS EARLY BIRDS are getting the croakers. Jose Angel Sanchez of Cedros Outdoor Adventures sent some photos of the big white seabass that are on the chew just as the season officially begins. “The white sea bass are biting!” he said. “These are some that have been captured this week. They are biting with live bait and white plastics.”

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