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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Close in, huge fish

La Paz finally gets some summer consistency on dorado
East Cape Shootout pays out big money and a car to Team 52 Card Pickup/El Loco for its 25.1-pound dorado in rough conditions

LA PAZ — La Paz has had some great catches in the past few months, but anglers like a little consistency, and the waters have been anything but normal for this time of year.

Normal water temps are above, but cold water below has kept the bite from exploding day to day. Finally, the summer season seems to be unfolding on the dorado, the true indicator.

celebratinghisCELEBRATING HIS BACHELOR party, long-time Tailhunter Sportfishing angler Leif Dover from Atlanta brought his buddy, Brian O’Neil with him. Their first day fishing out of Las Arenas/ Muertos Bay they loaded up early on dorado then went chasing pargo and snapper in the shallows.

IT’S SUMMERTIME, BUT big mullet snapper (pargo liso) have been showing up and spawning in the shallows near Cerralvo Island and just outside of Bahia Muertos and Las Arenas. Mark Buchanan and Diana Hernandez from San Diego hooked into several of these over the reef.

“It’s finally feeling more like summer-time with both the hot weather and the warm, bluer waters, and the fishing is almost there,” said Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International. “We still had some flurries of crazy winds, but overall, it’s seemingly more typical. It’s just that it seems like this fishing season, it’s taking its sweet time getting up to speed.”

He said dorado are traditionally the best indication of warmer months.

“We’ve had them on-and-off with our La Paz fishing fleets, but strangely, it’s not been quite so good with our Tailhunter Las Arenas fleet until about a week or so ago when the dorado seemed to have finally gotten into the game,” said Roldan. “This past week, some boats were limiting on the dorado by mid-morning with most fish in the 10- to 25 pound class. Catches were rounded out with bonito, skipjack, jack crevalle, and rockfish like cabrilla and snapper.”

Roldan did add that there “must be some cold water around” as they are still hanging some big dogtooth and mullet snapper that they normally stop seeing about April and are usually spawning in schools during the springtime.

“It’s rare to have them this deep into the summer,” he said. “But, anglers were still catching them or at least hooking these powerful fish and getting broken off in the rocks. No wahoo to speak of this week. We had a few tuna hooked up, but lost them and billfish as well. Most folks were concentrating on the easier dorado bite. Only a few roosterfish as well, but again, that’s probably a function of the fact that the dorado are taking over everyone’s focus.”

LONGTIME CEDROS ISLAND aficionado, Reebs Lures manufacturer Mike Ryba, brought his son and a fishing buddy to the COA’s Baja Magic Lodge. On their last day fishing they went up to Punta Norte and ended up having an epic day with nine full hours of a wide-open bite on big, trophy size calicos. Ryba managed 2 fish that weighed 9 pounds, and all ended up with several 8 pounders.

JAIME SCHOOP, HIS son, Edward Schoop, and their fishing buddy, Jeff Penrod fished Cedros Island and in three full days of fishing boated 16 species of fish, which included calico bass, sheepshead, halibut, bonito, sand bass, croakers, and of course, yellowtail. They ended up limiting out on halibut on two of the days, with the largest tipping the scales at 17.5 pounds. They also caught tons of calicos and caught and released over 400 fish up to 5 pounds or more.

CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch of Cedros Outdoor Adventures and the Baja Dreams Lodge filed a great report for the early season action as calicos, halibut and yellowtail keep rods bent.

“The acceleration of the hot, summer fishing around Cedros Island continues to put smiles on the faces of our visiting anglers, many of whom have never been to the Island before. While most seasoned veterans know what to expect when fishing in the region this time of year, it is always entertaining to watch the looks of amazement appear as first-timers suddenly realize the size and volume of fish that they will be catching on their Isla Cedros fishing adventure.”

He added, “Longtime Cedros aficionado, Reebs Lures manufacturer Mike Ryba, brought his son and a fishing buddy to the Island near the beginning of the week to get a taste of the action, and they were duly impressed.”

Ryba said, “The three of us departed Brown Field (in the new COA plane) in San Diego at 7 a.m., landed on Cedros a little before 10, and were able to get out on the water and fishing by 11a.m.

“It was a beautiful day and we managed about 25 to 30 mid-sized calicos each, most of them were taken on my Kelp Sassins plastics and swimbaits. The wind picked up a little later in the afternoon, so we headed back in.”

Ryba continued, “On the second day we went back to San Augustine to fish the kelp and boiler rocks for more calicos and ran into plenty of big, full speed biters that weighed up to 7 pounds. Needless to say, we ended up staying in and around that spot for most of the day.

“We planned a trip to Isla Natividad for our third day, but the wind was up and when we approached the Island we were greeted by hordes of red crab. It was so bad we took two casts and left for the south point again. Once there, we continued catching nice size calico bass for the rest of the day. We also tried to nail a few yellowtail but, unfortunately, the large bonito were outcompeting them and were always the ones who ended up with our jigs hanging from their mouths.”

He concluded his report by saying, “On our last day fishing we went up to Punta Norte and ran into some wind and a moderate swell, but we eventually made it around the point and ended up having the day of our dreams. We enjoyed nine full hours of a wide-open bite on big, trophy size calicos that left us panting for a break. I managed 2 fish that weighed 9 pounds, and we all ended up with several 8 pounders. We flew out of Cedros the next morning and were back in the States by 11:30 a.m. Overall, I would say that our trip was a 10 on the Richter scale!”

Gatch added that later in the week, Jaime Schoop, his son, Edward Schoop, and their fishing buddy, Jeff Penrod came to Cedros Island and encountered a smorgasbord of exciting angling opportunities.

“In three full days of fishing, we boated 16 different species of fish, which included calico bass, sheephead, halibut, bonito, sand bass, croakers, and of course, yellowtail,” said Schoop. “We had some red crabs show up during the trip that slowed the yellowtail bite, but Cedros is so much more than just yellowtail. We ended up limiting out on halibut on two of the days, with the largest tipping the scales at 17.5 pounds.”

Schoop finished up by saying, “We also caught tons of calicos and caught and released over 400 fish up to 5 pounds or more. We all really had a blast!”


ROY THUN OF Valencia and his son Garrett had an ideal fishing trip to the East Cape where on the second day on the water they scored some huge roosters, going four for six on the pez gallos, 40 to 80 pounds.

TEAM 52 CARD PICKUP and the El Loco charter crew with winning 25.1-pound dorado in the annual East Cape Dorado Shootout, held Saturday. That fish was worth some serious money.

EAST CAPE The East Cape season continued to sizzle and WON reader Roy Thun of Valencia and his son Garrett had an ideal fishing trip recently to the East Cape.

Fishing on Sunday was tough due to less than ideal bait, but on Monday, the fishing gods smiled on us,” said Roy. “We got nice healthy mullet and our panga skipper, Juan Carlos, took us to one of his rooster hunting grounds. We were the only boat there and within 10 minutes I was hooked up.

“We went four of six. I caught a 50-plus pounder. My son landed two huge pez gallos, with Carlos estimating them at 70 and 80 pounds.”

In other East Cape action, in the annual one-day Dorado Shootout held Saturday out of Palmas De Cortez, 125 teams competed in brutal weather conditions Saturday, with few dorado caught, but one 25.1 pounder by Team 52 Card Pickup won $145,000 in side pot money and a VW Amarok. Anglers were Aldo Ojeda, Chris Moyers and Jimmy Dias on the cruiser El Loco 1.

For the most part, East Cape weather and fishing was excellent — except for tournament days. Two weeks ago the El Senoritas ladies only tourney was slammed by wind, and ditto for Saturday for the Shootout. But otherwise on the East Cape, it was flat calm and beautiful with prime fishing.

John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero said the water temps were 86 to 87 degrees and the water was clear blue and air was in the high 80s and low 90s.

“It was another good week of fishing in the East Cape,” said Ireland. “A very strong billfish bite all week, with big roosterfish in the 50 plus-pound class, released daily, with yellowfin plentiful outside under the porpoise, and some big tuna were taken daily off Rincon, and some dorado were taken there, too.”

Ireland added, “Over the past three weeks the fishing has returned to our normal wide-open July. Roosters 50 to 75 pounds are being released daily, biting both north and south.” As for billfish, he said, “There’s lots of striped marlin mixed with quite a few blues. Approximately one of every four fish released have been blues. Fishing the Dorado Shootout, every team I talked to had released at least one billfish. It was best off the drop off from La Ribera to Frailles while slow-trolling ballyhoo.”

In other East Cape action, Buenavista Beach Hotel’s fleet welcomed back Andrew Pereira, Betina Velez, the McIntee brothers, and all the crew members of the “Stoked on Fishing” television show.

“We had four days of intense excitement with anglers aboard our entire fleet,” said Luis Fraijo of the hotel. “From our super pangas, to the center consoles, to our cruisers, we saw it all and it was great. Hundreds of dolphins, manta rays, turtles, several kinds of sharks, blue marlin, sailfish, striped marlin, lots of tuna, dorado, wahoo, lots of roosterfish, and a 35-pound cubera snapper!”

He said dorado schools have been spotted near El Rincon, and the same for tuna, very close in compared to a few weeks ago.

“Lots of roosterfish activity all over the shoreline from Hotel Buena Vista to La Ribera. Ballyhoo, squid, mackerel, caballito and camiseta were preferred baits for tuna and marlin,” said Fraijo.

Going the distance also worked out for some folks. Felipe Valdez and the McIntee Brothers, Shae and Ryan adventured all the way to the Cerralvo Island with great results. They found a guy selling sardines and vamonos! The rest was history, lots of tuna in the 35- to 60-pound range.

And Andrew Pereira Jr. fishing alongside Andrew Sloan aboard El Cazador with Captain Manny Bocardo were slow trolling a mackerel near El Rincon and hooked and landed a 88-pound yellowfin tuna.

Other success stories saw Bob Fechtig aboard the Yanet catching tuna, marlin, and big roosterfish, and Bob Middleton fished with his favorite crew aboard the Vagabundo. He landed a bunch of tuna and caught and released a few billfish. The highlight of this trip was a blue marlin estimated weight around 350 pounds.

Coming up in tournaments is the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore Tournament with two days of big bucks fishing, slated Aug. 1-4.

PISCES CABO ANGLER Whitney Becker with a 44-pound dorado on the Tag III charterboat.

A BLUE MARLIN is released on the Pisces Sportfishing’s charterboat Bill Collector on a run out of Cabo San Lucas.

CABO SAN LUCAS — Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet reported in on Sunday with a great marlin report and a mass of great photos as they had great weather and a great week of summer action. Go to for the full fish report and photos.

“This week of fishing in Cabo was great overall, with a slight lull the first two days of the week, but then as water warmed even more, the fishing got hot!” said Ehrenberg. “Pisces 31 footer Tracy Ann anglers Guy Serio and Amy Schweers released 6 striped marlin in one day, and then released 2 blue marlin and a striped marlin the next. Pisces 42-foot Hot Rodand the Powell family from Texas also released 5 striped marlin in one day this week, and many other boats did great with a mix of billfish which included blue marlin, striped and sailfish averaging 2 to 3 per boat.”

Blue marlin were in the 200- to 250-pound range mostly, while the striped marlin were averaging 110 pounds. Pisces totaled 92 billfish caught and released this week.

“Dorado numbers were the best we’ve seen all year, finally making us feel like the summer fishing is here,” she said. “There were 30 dorado caught total this week, including a nice 44 pounder caught by Whitney Becker on the Pisces 37-foot Tag Team IIIon Sunday and an approximate 50 pounder caught on the C Rod, early in the week. We also saw a few nice wahoo and yellowtail, too.”

She said tuna numbers were also good, although not many boats searched for them, so they recorded just 100 tuna. Inshore fishing remains good, with jack crevalle, sierra mackerel, a few red snapper and still some nice roosterfish around, including a 45 pounder tagged and released on Pisces 24-foot Tres Marlins panga for angler Richard Pevey from South Carolina who ticked that fish off his bucket list. Another 45 pounder was tagged and released on the Pisces 31-foot Tracy Ann as well.

GORDO BANKS PANGAS saw increased numbers of dorado showing up, though the majority were smaller sized fish, but again a couple of much larger bulls over 50 pounds were reported from a cruiser fishing near Cabrillo Seamount, but also scattered throughout the region, striking on a variety of trolled feathers and rigging baits.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 57 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 1 blue marlin, 29 dorado, 27 yellowfin tuna, 1 broomtail grouper, 1 pompano, 1 porgy, 8 leopard grouper, 26 Mexican bonito, 16 red snapper, 4 yellow snapper, 11 amberjack, 15 roosterfish, 32 jack crevalle and 24 triggerfish.

Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said summer is progressing, with light winds and stable conditions and as of Sunday there no storms moving in.

“We are seeing mostly sunny skies, high temperatures in the mid-80s, but with the combined heat index it is feeling more like 95 degrees,” said Brictson. “Ocean conditions turned over yet again to start the week following strong south wind, this laid down the next day and since the conditions have rebounded, back up to 80 degrees and also blue within a couple miles of shore.”

Most of the fishing action for local fleets was concentrated from the Iman Bank and north to Vinorama where the water was cleaner. Using caballito, moonfish, ballyhoo and strips of squid, anglers were working the bottom structure for a few red snapper, bonito, cabrilla and amberjack, though this action was spotty, he said.

Some small yellowfin tuna were found near Vinorama, trolling hoochie type lures, drift fishing with strips of squid and also some on yo-yo iron.

“We saw increased numbers of dorado showing up, though the majority of these were smaller sized fish, but again a couple of much larger bulls weighing over 50 pounds were reported from a cruiser fishing near Cabrillo Seamount, scattered throughout the region, striking on a variety of trolled feathers and rigging baits.”

He said that shoreline anglers still had chances at roosterfish, though numbers were less now than in previous weeks, more jack crevalle than anything else.

“Best chances at billfish seemed to be straight offshore of San Jose del Cabo and towards the 1150 spot, though we did not have many anglers that did try this option, we heard of reports of some blue marlin strikes,” said Brictson.

LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchy Sportfishing reported that everything from triggerfish to billfish are on the daily menu this week.

“Dorado are working the current lines that run north to south with fly-lined sardina being the best bait,” he said. “Still running small the dodos are plentiful and you can always find a "taker" in the bunch.

Hill added, “Bigger dorado are farther out in the offshore blue water. Finding the bigger models hasn't been easy with very spotty results for the boats traveling outside. Large schools of toro have been working the coastline outnumbering the roosters 20 to 1!”

MIDRIFF — The mothership Tony Reyes just returned from a chartered trip out of San Felipe to the famed waters of the Midriff, led by longtime chartermaster Mike Cross from Mission Viejo.

“They had good weather on the trip to the fishing grounds, fishing in the Snake Island area Monday morning,” said Tom Ward at Longfin Tackle in Orange which books the trips. “On Tuesday they fished around San Francisquito where they caught plenty of live bait. The big white seabass were biting on the reefs at about 200 to 300 feet but heavy currents moved in along with some strong afternoon breezes making fishing difficult. Next they moved north and big yellows were plentiful, eating jigs, with blue and white the best colors, and live bait. La Guardia Island’s north end held some good grouper fishing with many being broken off. The last day they fished around the Golden Reef, enjoying perfect weather but slow fishing.”

The count: Limits of yellows, 203 cabrilla, 329 bass, 3 pargo, 19 sheephead, one 84-pound black seabass, 3 white seabass, 2 broomtail groupers, 1 amberjack and 264 assorted fish, released.

L.A. BAY’S YELLOWTAIL cooperated on a family outing for Capt. Juan Cook. He is now operating for the rest of the summer out of San Quintin Bay.

L.A. BAY — The fishing here is still excellent but the heat is on. Charter captain Juan Cook took his family out fishing in L.A. Bay and worked a spot they call La Mancha seven miles from town.

“Marciela quickly hooked up on a nice yellow. The next day I went fishing by myself, yellowtail and pargo, then picked up my family from the beach for a joy ride to Isla la Ventana where we had good fun and fishing.”

The heat is building in L.A. Bay, so it was time to make the summer move to the west coast.

“I’m back in San Quintin Bay to start my summer season here,” said Cook.

* * *

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