Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, July 02, 2019
Paper Mex. licenses no mas
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Close in, huge fish

Roosters wild, weather mild
It’s prime time on the water, but the weather feels like spring or fall as East Cape gets best of both worlds; La Paz cranks up intensity with 50- to 70-pound roosters

EAST CAPE — Summer conditions for water — but not the air temps and humidity — made for a great combination for East Cape anglers this past week. John Ireland at his Hotel Rancho Leonero reported the waters temps inside were 80 to 81 degrees on the inside, 83 to 85 degrees on the outside and the water was clean and clear. The fishing? Red hot.

“The air has been unbelievably pleasant for this time of year with highs in the 80s with cool mornings,” said Ireland. It’s the coolest July I can recall.”


HOTEL RANCHO LEONERO anglers started to get into the bigger dorado of the season, but there was also epic roosterfishing and tuna, and the marlin bite went off as well for stripers and some bigger blue marlin.

As for the fishing on the East Cape, Ireland was pretty excited for his hotel guests. It was another solid case of tuna being on the bite, especially later in the week, he said, mixed with great striped marlin action, roosters on the shore and big dorado coming in. It’s game on just a few minutes away.

“Some big bull dorado were taken and we had strong and consistent striped marlin fishing mixed with quite a few blues,” said Ireland. “Big roosters in the 50-pound-plus class are being released daily. Big pargo and amberjack are coming to the cleaning table daily. We even had a 27-pound yellowtail taken this week!”

The yellowfin are with the porpoise, he said, fast moving critters holding 15- to 50-pound tuna 15 to 30 miles offshore. Most boats are limiting and the bite only got better the later it got in the week.

As for the billfish, Ireland said, all boats targeting them are getting at least one a day and had quite a few blue marlin brought to leader and released, and some sailfish mixed in from La Ribera to Frailes only one to six miles off the beach — typical East Cape billfishing that made the region famous. Some things never change!

With a local one-day dorado tourney coming up at one of the hotels, it’s good news that a few nice dorado came in to give the tournament organizers something to pin hopes on.

Inshore action for boats out of the Hotel; Rancho Leonero saw the pez gallo really start to get with the program, with 50 pounders being released daily. Plus, there are pargo of 20 to 25 pounds, Ireland said, and they even had a big yellowtail caught of 27 pounds, a rarity this time of year.

JUST OFF THE rocks near Las Arenas,roosterfish were raging and Anabel Lucas from San Diego shows off a big rooster caught and released on live bait by Lucas, who was fishing with the Tailhunter fleet.

CAPTAIN JORGE WITH the Tailhunter fleet in La Paz gives a thumbs up to the camera as a happy Will Lauber from Denver poses with his first rooster just off Punta Perico. Caught on live bait, the rooster was released.

MAX MOORE, 14, Encinitas was soaking a mackerel in the shallows off Espirito Santo Island while fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz when he got bit by this dogtooth snapper. He also landed dorado, white bonito, triggerfish, cabrilla and pargo in the same area.

LA PAZ — Dorado and roosterfish are on a rampage off Las Arenas with the type of roosterfishing not seen by Tailhunter International Fleet’s Jonathan Roldan since he came down to the region.

“In all my years here, I have never seen this kind of rooster season. We are catching and releasing as many fish in one week as we might catch in several months of fishing,” said Roldan. “Overall, we caught a lot of different species again like snapper, pargo, jack crevalle, marlin, sailfish, several types of bonito, yellowtail, tuna and others. However, the hot shots this week were two species: dorado and roosterfish.”

Dorado started off sluggish but the dodos have hit their stride in recent weeks as water has started to become consistently warm.

“It seems like the fishing here is finding its stride,” he said. “There are still patches of cold, green water. There are still erratic currents that push the bite and the baits off the mark. But this past week it was a lot more consistent although still not fully up-to-speed. Nevertheless, we saw more and larger dorado in the counts, especially for our Tailhunter La Paz fleet that fishes north from the city towards Espirito Santo Island and around Punta Coyote and Punta Mejia.

“Those areas not only produced some great shallow-water fishing for the pargo, cabrilla, amberjack and snapper, but the shallows also produced dorado without having to go too far off or venturing to some of the other high spots, or finding the floating sargasso weed the dorado could also be found around.

“The biggest story continues to be the roosterfish for the La Arenas fleet scattered from the Punta Arenas lighthouse down to Boca de Alamo then also around Espirito Santo Island. Fish are running 10 to 70 pounds and actually schooling in big groups and boiling on the surface in feeding frenzies! Anglers coming down to just catch one fish for the bucket list end up hanging 2 or 3 in a single day and losing others.”

ENSENADA — Edgar Sanchez at Hotel Marina Coral filed a report he received from local anglers. Fishing out of the Coral, the Papa Loco, captained by Enrique Lutheroth, headed out early to north of the Banda Bank and by 12:30 p.m., and using pink Orca plugs, caught three nice bluefin where the water temps were about 68 degrees. The action in many of the waters off Baja Norte were seeing massive numbers of bluefin boiling on the small bait, which many said looked to be tiny mackerel. Few bluefin were caught on bait and the troll, although yellowfin in some schools now moving north were hitting the cedar plugs and other trolled lures. And dorado to 20 pounds were also now being reported in warmer waters outside. More on that can be found in WON saltwater reports by Merit McCrea here in WON, and on Bob Vanian’s website with daily reports.


PISCES SPORTFISHING ACTION off Cabo included some striped marlin and roosterfish action as well as some solid yellowfin bites.

CABO SAN LUCAS — Pisces Sportfishing’s Rebecca Ehrenberg reported late Sunday that the week at Lands End began with nice hot weather and warming seas, on the Cortez side at least. The week’s water temperatures on the Pacific side remained at about 70 degrees while the Cortez was several degrees warmer, up to around 80. But again, as the week progressed temperatures with winds decided to cool again, between 70 to 75, even on the Cortez, “keeping the charter crews on their toes,” as she put it.

“The marlin bite slowed a bit, with up to 2 marlincaught per boat and the boys had to work hard to land them (all released),” said Ehrenberg. “They used live bait, mostly caballito and some lisas to get them to bite. It was nice to see somedorado, though, even if not in huge amounts. Mostly the dorado ranged from 8 to 15 pounds and hit on ballyhoo and lures. Porpoise and tuna schools were easy to find this week, if you traveled the 25 to 35 miles to find them, that is. But it paid off, as boats caught up to 15 tuna each with fish ranging from 10 to 25 pounds each, usually hitting on cedar plugs. A few wahoo were sprinkled into catches as well, those in the 35- to 40-pound range.”

She added that inshore action remains good; yellowtail, sierra mackerel, roosterfish, jack crevalle, triggerfish and some grouper were caught this week and they had an “exciting recapture” of one of their tagged and released roosterfish by one of their captains while surf fishing 35 kilometers northwest of where it was hooked and tagged four days earlier on the charterboat Caliente.

“Speaking of roosterfishing, the Pisces 35-foot Bill Collector 2 a lso did some inshore fishing this week, with anglers Derek Stevens, John Voigt, Stephen Alarcon and Trevor Jones tagging and releasing 3 roosters that were tagged, and which will provide important data for the Center for Gray Fishtag Research,” said Ehrenberg. “The roosterfish weighed approximately 30, 50 and 60 pounds each. They hit on live lisa bait at Los Arcos area on the Pacific. They guys also caught and released 1 striped marlin and 9 white bonitoon green/white hoochis.” In a late report, a 500-pound blue marlin was caught on just 30-pound line and 60-pound leader in a 30-minute fight on a the Team Galait Viking, an 80-foot sportfisher, on Saturday. For a full report and video of Bob Hixson’s catch and release, go to for all the details.

THE CHEN GROUP fishing with Gordo Banks Pangas scored a nice tuna and some bottomfish last week despite some tough conditions brought on by winds, and cooler waters that resulted.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas at Marina Puerto Los Cabos said the season’s first major hurricane developed and passed off to the west of the Baja Peninsula. Hurricane Barbara reached close to Category 5 strength, but luckily for everyone this storm followed a path far enough offshore to not cause any impact with land.

“We did feel an increase in humidity and ocean swells increased noticeably,” said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas. “Another significant weather factor was the strong south winds that picked up early in week, once again pushing in cooler greenish currents, dropping water temperatures into the 68 degree range. Now the winds have resided, but the damage has been done and we now have to patiently wait for conditions to rebound, which presently is a day to day process, now the water is starting to look a bit cleaner and is up to the 72-73 degree range.”

He said that anglers were using caballito, moonfish mainly for bait, finding very tough fishing conditions all around. Surface action was extremely slim after Monday. Anglers that did work hard off of the bottom structure accounted for a mix of red snapper, Mexican bonito, cabrilla, triggerfish and amberjack, though this action was not consistent and changed daily.

“A handful of quality fish were taken,” said Brictson. “We saw amberjack and roosterfish to over 40 pounds also one nice grouper of about 70 pounds, though most charters averaged just a handful of fish in combination. Anglers were using various baits, as well as yo-yo jigs for this action off of the rocky high spots. The action for tuna, dorado and billfish came to standstill due to the green cold water, though the week started off with a few marlin being found, one blue marlin of an estimated 250 pounds was released, and a scattering of striped marlin were also accounted for. We do expect for conditions to rebound quickly and then we anticipate much improved action.”

LORETO — The 29th annual Fishin for the Mission Charity Dorado Tournament at La Mision Hotel runs July 11-13. You can still sign up at La Mision Hotel on the malecon the evening of Thursday, July 11 on the second floor patio near the bar. Fishing is for two days, Friday and Saturday, with the combined weight of the 2 biggest fish per team determining the winners in both the Dorado Class and Other Species Class. For more information about the tournament, there is a Facebook Group: Fishin for the Mission with information or you can email tournament director Chris Wheaton at

In general Loreto fishing news, Rick Hill of emailed WON, saying, “We are baking down here this week but so far no shaking! (in reference to weather and earthquakes). Marlin and some yellowtail have been the attendees this week with dorado on the small size and not eager to bite. I think the dorado are a little picky about the water quality and clarity near the shoreline. Near the town the water is a bit green and murky. Anybody with dreams of good dorado catches might have to travel out to blue water, at least until the water settles down.”

MIDRIFF The mothership Tony Reyes just returned from a 6-day trip to the Midriff area in the Sea of Cortez.

Tony Reyes anglers experienced some fog and a little wind, which hampered the fishing somewhat,” said Tom Ward of Longfin Tackle in Orange, which books the popular trips that run out of San Felipe and La Paz. “There was plenty of live bait for a couple of days was available. A big black seabass of 400 pounds was caught on a dropper loop at La Guardia island and the yellowtail are getting larger each trip as the summer months are here; the giant white seabass are eating live bait quite well, with many being lost to the reefs.”

The 4½-day count: 217 yellowtail to 32 pounds, 191 cabrilla, 9 pargo to 14 pounds, 122 bass, 3 white seabass to 64 pounds, a 400-pound class black seabass, 9 groupers, 3 sheepshead and 311 assorted fish, released. For more on these trips, go to WWW.TONYREYES.COM and WWW.THELONGFIN.COM .

FORMER SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAN and veteran long-ranger Dale Ortman and his son-in-law Casey Coffman fished with Cedros Outdoor Adventures and after several days of fishing, Dale several small yellows, 9 sheepshead up to 14 pounds and released over 200 calico bass over 4 pounds. A nice way to introduce Casey to saltwater fishing.

CEDROS ISLAND — Former Southern Californian and veteran long-ranger Dale Ortman and his son-in-law Casey Coffman flew into Cedros Island on Tuesday, July 2 so that Casey could enjoy his first saltwater fishing experience in a true angler’s paradise at the Cedros Outdoor Adventures’ lodge.

Reported Tom Gatch for the COA: “On the first day, Casey hooked up with several smaller yellowtail around 10 pounds that, although certainly not the biggest available, gave him a whole new perspective on what it felt like to fight a true saltwater game fish. The duo also took 9 sheephead, one of Dale’s favorites, which weighed in at between 10 and 14 pounds on that trip.”

The next day, however, Ortman was fishing with a live mackerel and, after a spirited battle, connected with what turned out to be the bonanza catch of the entire trip; a huge white seabass that maxed out the captain’s 50-pound scale, but was estimated to weigh at least 60 pounds or more.

“After several days of fishing, Dale estimated that he and Casey also caught and released over 200 calico bass over 4 pounds,” reported Gatch. “They flew back to the mainland Friday with coolers full of fresh fish fillets and broad smiles on their faces. Needless to say, Casey also returned home with a whole new perspective on the art of saltwater angling.”

L.A. BAY — Capt. Juan Cook is sending in regular reports from the Bay and the word is, it’s wide open on the yellowtail and occasionally there is a big surprise hookup, such as giant seabass and even some gold grouper, a rarity. The internet is ripe with reports of various anglers just down for the season recording yellowtail limits by 10:30 a.m. using iron, and live bait with dropper loops and topwater iron when the fish come up. Typical size is 15 to 20 pounds.

Join in on the reporting, send your information and a photo or two or com by Saturday and we will get your report in the weekly newspaper and the Baja Fishing Reports Blog at

Blue marlin, light line


Special to Western Outdoor News

CABO SAN LUCAS — On Saturday, July 6, Bob Hixson went out fishing on his Team Galati 80-foot Viking Skybridge. He and his wife Amanda headed up the Sea of Cortez side to Destiladeras area, about 35 miles from Cabo. They saw schools of tuna around 25 to 35 pounds, the water was 83 degrees and the weather was perfect. They had already had 4 striped marlin bites on their trolled ballyhoo but couldn’t land any of them. Suddenly, something hit the ballyhoo again. This time, it was a different bite

THE BLUE MARLIN leaps as angler Bob Hixson of Team Galati battles the estimated 500-pound blue marlin off Cabo on just 30-pound main line and 60-pound leader. The 80-foot Skybridge Viking crew and Hixson were fishing for striped marlin using ballyhoo. PISCES PHOTO

Captain Brad Richards explained, “We looked and there was a hole… literally a hole in the water where the fish took the bait. We had no idea what it was, and we were definitely not expecting this.” As the anglers and captain looked back at this hole wondering what size fish could have done that, they had their answer: a 500-pound blue marlin, maybe bigger, that leaped just meters from the boat.

Hixson grabbed the reel, a 30-wide Shimano Tyrnos on a custom Biscayne rod. This reel was in no way rigged for this size of a fish; it had 30-pound main line and a 60-pound leader. Hixson and Capt. Richards put their skills to the test. At 15 minutes of fighting the marlin and expertly backing down and maneuvering an 80-foot boat to keep up with it, they had it at the leader. The mate grabbed the leader, but the fish took off again.

Richards said, “It was almost as if the marlin didn’t even know it was hooked! It never dove down deep. It seemed like it was just thinking it had something stuck on its mouth and was trying to shake it loose. We only had 6 pounds of drag on it, too. It’s amazing even to me that we managed to catch and release this fish like we did.”

Within another 15 minutes, Hixson had the blue back at the leader and this time they didn’t miss their chance. A perfect release and a fish of a lifetime after a 30-minute battle on 30-pound line.

* * *

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