Baja Fishing Report

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Summer, humidity and big game come to Baja Sur
A 254-pound yellowfin is hooked on a porpoise school 25 miles off Cabo, blue marlin and bull dorado catches surge as Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore begins the big game tournament season this week

CABO SAN LUCAS — Summer and the sort of conditions in Baja that signal it’s time to use heavy line and hydrate, arrived in the form of big-fish catches here and other areas of Baja Sur.

The Pisces Fleet’s Rebecca Ehrenberg reported Sunday night that while the schoolie tuna fishing off Los Cabos has cranked up several notches with warmer water, the most impressive tuna was caught by the charterboat Fin Addict, captained by Tito Oloascoaga and mates David Martinez and Tupacc Trejo.


BIGGEST TUNA IN Baja waters, for a few months at least, is this 254-pound yellowfin caught on a lure trolled/skipped under a kite 25 miles south of the lighthouse while running with a porpoise school. The Fin Addict was captained by Martin Oloascoaga and mate David Martinez and Tupacc Trejo. Anglers were Terry Beck and family. The fight took one hour. PISCES PHOTO

BIG DORADO ARE being caught off Cabo San Lucas as water outside and to the south warms. This bull dorado was caught by customers of Capt. Mike Tumbiero, owner/operator of the charterboat Renegade Mike last week.RENEGADE MIKE PHOTO

On the Fin Addict paying for the right to pull on pelagics was Terry Beck who pulled for an hour on the 254 pounder after it was hooked while the crew skipped a lure under a kite while running with porpoise about 25 miles off the Old Lighthouse. Which is to say, pretty much straight out from Cabo. It is one of the biggest taken so far this year in waters off Cabo.

The tuna and other schools of smaller yellowfin running with porpoise are a nice indicator that summer is finally underway, and the countdown begins for the big-game tuna and marlin tournament season in the fall. And, to further spice things up, bull dorado were being caught in waters north of Cabo on the Sea of Cortez side.

Pisces had several photos showing bull dorado taken last week (along with excellent striper releases), and Mike Tumbiero on the charterboat Renegade Mike (a 36-foot Bertram) sent in pictures of several big dorado, all caught on one trip. And, that’s not all. With the warmer water have come wahoo, caught on the banks up beyond the Gordo, such as the Iman and Vinorama. Not in big numbers but Gordo Banks’ Eric Brictson said the fish were quality in size. Big tuna, big wahoo and big dorado.

“The WON Tuna Tournament can’t get here soon enough,” said Ehrenberg of the 21st annual event Nov. 6-9 that drew 163 teams last year.

First things first. The first high-end tourney of the season is this week’s Bisbee’s Offshore, which runs Aug. 1-4 with two days of fishing August 2 and 3 for a variety of pelagics. The great news is, the blue marlin are solidly in those waters and are showing well near Cabo as well, said Ehrenberg.

“All blue marlin caught have been between200 and 250 pounds and are found at the 1150 and 130 spots mostly and hitting on lures (colors: purple, guacamayo). Pisces anglers released a total of 55 billfishthis week,” she said.

She added that an incredible Billfish Grand Slam by anglers Calvin Warriner and Calvin Warriner III from Colorado aboard the Pisces 31-foot La Brisa was accomplished with the tagging and releasing in one day of a sailfish, striped marlin and a blue marlin.

Let’s go back to the tuna fishing. The yellowfin are on quite a run off Cabo, said Ehrenberg.

“Boats looking for them have found upwards of 10 yellowfin per boat on average, with fish between 10 and 35 pounds each, and total numbers for the fleet hitting 224 fish. Dorado numbers are holding this week as well, with nice-sized bull doradomaking for some fun catches, mostly hitting on live bait.”

For full reports and a ton of great photos, go to and you can follow the daily catches on their Instagram and Facebook social media platforms.

Top locations off Cabo were the 130, 95 and 1150 Spots, Los Arcos, and Destiladeras. Top baits were live caballito and ballyhoo; best lure colors were guacamayo, blue/white, purple. Top lures for tuna were cedar plugs and feathers. Weather conditions were prime: Sunny, mostly calm, 3- to 5 -foot seas, and 80 to 83 degree water temps.

In other Baja action:

LOTS OF BULL dorado were for the taking by Taylor Kooiman and Geoff Wilkinson from Los Angeles. Fishing with the Tailhunter Fishing Fleet in La Paz, they said they hooked another 12 fish and released them all before 9 a.m. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

TREVOR HEFNER PULLED this nice dogtooth snapper (pargo Colorado) out of the rocks near Bahia Muertos fishing a sardine with the Tailhunter Fleet. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

FROM LOVELAND, COLORADO, Kelly Jimenez has been fishing eight years with Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz and landed (and released) this big roosterfish just off the shore near Bahia Muertos with Capt. Pancho. She and her daughter also caught and released 14 smaller roosterfish. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International charters and WON’s Baja Editor for several years weighed in on Sunday. In a nutshell, he said it feels like summer!

“Hot, humid Baja, the way it’s supposed to be… finally!” said Roldan. “Very tropical conditions with daytime temps in the high 90s to low 100s now and lots of humidity. Everyone has their AC going which has caused some intermittent short power outages in town, but overall a nice time to be on the water and hitting the beach.”

He said that with the tropical conditions, they are getting some brief, but sometimes very strong rainstorms with flash flooding, lightning and thunder in the later afternoons and evenings that blow through certain areas then quickly dissipate.

“For the fishing, the dorado are finally the focus of our efforts as the waters have warmed and turned blue, although there’s still some colder green patches around,” Roldan said. “Schools of dorado or individual fish ranging from 5 to 30 pounds have been the norm. If you find the right spot, you can load up on limits in short order and/or catch-and-release as fast as you can let a fish go and hook up another one!”

Roosterfish are still around although not as many are showing up in the counts. That could be the result of more people targeting “meat” fish like dorado and other species.

“We’ve had some 30- to 60-pound roosters, but then other days when it’s not uncommon to catch up to a dozen smaller roosters from a school and release them all,” he said.

He said tuna are not in the game, around yes, but popping up and down just as quickly before pangas can get on them. A few marlin were hooked and released.

DAVID MOLINA AND his party at the Cedros Outdoor Adventures Baja Magic Lodge scored plenty of bass, but the yellows were the number 1 targets and they did not disappoint. The group caught a 32-pound and a 46-pound yellowtail, and the final day, in just 2 ½ hours, they got into a wide-open yellowtail bite, taking 23 yellows in the 20- to 30-pound grade. PHOTOS COURTESY OF COA

CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch of Cedros Outdoor Adventures and the Baja Dreams Lodge said the full range of fishing is now on display at the island.

“As each week goes by, the opportunities to catch a wide variety of species in the rich waters surrounding Cedros Island continue to expand,” said Gatch, who reports and posts anglers’ experiences after staying with COA. “That is one of the reasons why it remains a unique sportfishing venue that draws anglers from virtually every corner of the globe.”

He added, “This week, two groups came to the island with totally different intentions. Vince Cinquini and a few of his fishing buddies, all of which are dedicated calico hunters, landed with tackle boxes stuffed with plastic and ended up having the time of their lives catching and releasing quality calico bass up to 6 pounds or more during their trip.”

Gatch said David Molina and his party, however, had come to Cedros with a totally different target in mind, they were after the forktails.

Molina reported, “We were set up with blue/white 6x Salas surface irons as our primary weapon, with some Rapala stick baits as backup. We used our Sabiki rigs to pick up some mackerel on the way to the fishing grounds. There was so much life we were pretty sure that it was going to be fairly easy pickings. We also ended up encountering large bait balls all day long, which sometimes looked as big as a football field as hordes of the fish circled our boat. The diving birds joined in, and then the bonito showed up from below. It was a full-blown feeding frenzy as far as the eye could see.”

Molina continued, “In about 10 more minutes we were into the yellowtail and I ended up landing the first of two yellowtail in the 12- to 15-pound class. A little later, I tied into a beautiful 32-pound yellowtail and had thought that I was pretty much done for the day… but suddenly I hooked into something that nearly emptied my spool and after an exhausting 35-minute battle, I had a 46-pound yellowtail on board.”

Molina concluded his report to Gatch by saying, “We weren't sure if we were going out on the last day since we needed to be at the airport by 10 a.m. but we didn't go to Cedros to relax so of course we went out even though we only had 2.5 hours and that was probably the best decision we could have ever made. Long story short, in that short time we brought in 23 yellows all in the 20- to 30-pound grade. We could have easily hit limits if we didn't farm at least four or had another 10 minutes on the water.”



SAILFISH AND BLUE MARLIN have moved in just in time for the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore tournament next weekend. In the other photo is a nice tuna taken on the Accurate TwinSpin. A 50-pound amberjack made Ken Czanecki's day. MARK RAYOR/JEN WREN PHOTOS

EAST CAPE — With the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore Tournament here this week, Aug. 1-4 with two days of jackpot fishing for big bucks, the fishing is prime for bigger dorado, billfish and tuna, and solid inshore fishing for non-tourney anglers. It’s very clearly summer now, with temps in the 90s and humidity is a factor. The East Cape enjoyed a rather mild early summer but now it’s “that time of year.”

John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero said water temps are 82-85 degrees, warmer on the outside, clear and flat. As for fishing, said Ireland, guests had a good week out of the hotel.

“The dorado bite has improved, still lots of striped marlin mixed with blues and a few sails. Much bigger tuna all taken this week, not as much quantity but bigger quality, with the fish closer to shore off Rincon. Big roosterfish were released all week, 50 pounders were abundant. Not much fishing pressure inshore, anglers staying inside are catching big pargo and amberjack.”

The billfish will be a hard target for the Bisbee’s and the blue marlin are in the mix, with boats targeting billfish getting four to five stripers and then taking a blue marlin, from the inshore bank down to Frailles.

“Dorado saw a better week with schools of fish in the 10- to 25-pound class mixed with a few bigger bulls,” Ireland said. “They are closer inside, one to three miles off the lighthouse down to Rincon in the same areas as the tuna. Trolled hoochies and live and chunk bait are both working.”

He said the yellowfin were off Rincon, close to Pulmo Park just off the beach one to three miles, with the bigger fish 60 pounders and the smaller grade 20 to 25 pounds on chunk squid or live caballito.

Inshore roosterfishing has been “very good with all the beaches north and south of Leonero holding fish, some in the 50-pound plus range. Both live cabbie and flies have been working well,” said Ireland.

Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing said East Cape weather has gone from very nice but hot too, and it’s no fun to be in the sun.

“While it is still comfortable after the sun goes down in the evenings daytime humidity is stifling,” said Rayor. “The fifth tropical storm of the season has passed in the Pacific and it is the time we are very vigilant and preparing to be ready if one heads this way.”

He said sea conditions have been mixed, with windy conditions one day and calm seas the next, so it just depends.

“I'm asked almost everyday ‘How's the bite?’ Right now that is a hard one for me to give a straight answer. It just depends. Looking at the photos I'm posting this week one would think fishing is good. Best I can say is ‘it depends.’”

Luis Enrique Fraijo at Hotel Buena Vista had a ton of great reports and summed it up, saying,We had such a beautiful week here at Hotel Buena Vista, hot summer days with a cool, afternoon breeze blowing from the southeast. Water temps are in the low to mid 80s, with lots of baitfish in the water around nearly all the fishing sites,” said Fraijo.

He added, “Big dolphin schools are seen all the way from Punta Pescadero, south to El Rincon, with lots of tuna underneath. The billfishing has been amazing. The bite is not too far from shore. Blue marlin, striped marlin, sailfish, a few wahoo and dorado are also past the lighthouse, south of Hotel Buena vista. Just a few steps from our beach you can see the roosterfish chasing bait along with schools of jack crevalle. These two fish are great for action. They are good, strong fighters, and most importantly, they are all released.”

GORDO BANKS PANGAS saw open water trolling done offshore, with blue marlin strikes being reported daily, particularly around the 1150 spot, with also some striped marlin and bigger dorado to over 40 pounds.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 66 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 7 striped marlin, 4 blue marlin, 5 wahoo, 235 dorado, 24 yellowfin tuna, 9 leopard grouper, 32 Mexican bonito, 14 red snapper, 7 yellow snapper, 8 amberjack, 9 roosterfish, 15 jack crevalle and 85 triggerfish.

Eric Brictson at Gordo Banks Pangas said they saw tropical conditions, high temperatures averaging 90 degrees, and south wind early in the week, settling down over the weekend.

“There was the development of Tropical Storm Dalila, and this system moved far to the west, with no impact on land, though there were local tropical disturbances flaring up early in the week over the mountainous region north of San Jose del Cabo and in La Paz, where they had major thunderstorms,” said Brictson. “It’s the time when this tropical actives increases.

“There were moderate ocean swells and southern winds the first half of the week, and this contributed to stirring up water conditions once again, greener currents along the shoreline, clean blue water found further offshore. Ocean temperature is now in the 78 to 85 degree range, off of San Jose and towards the north offshore, is where the water is now warmest.”

He said conditions are now cleaning up closer to shore, and added that it’s crazy how all through the month of July conditions were changing back and forth. It is now the season when things can change rapidly, both with the fishing action and the weather.

Bait vendors offered a mix of caballito, mullet, ballyhoo and slabs of squid. More open water trolling was done offshore, with blue marlin strikes being reported daily, particularly around the 1150 spot, also some striped marlin and nicer sized dorado to over 40 pounds.

“Most of the larger dorado reported are out on the marlin grounds. But that will change soon,” said Brictson. He added, “We had a surprise to see some activity by wahoo, a handful of these speedsters were landed while trolling offshore waters, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen these fish so that is a great sign. Along the shore there were still roosterfish and jack crevalle, though that action became less consistent and actually more anglers are opting to target the dorado which have been the main bite for local charters.”

LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchy Sportfishing reported another week of hot weather and a little less than stellar fishing.

“If you don't mind catching short dorado then the action is easy,” he said. “Pargo and yellowtail are filling the gap as usual. The big schools of toro have moved on down the road to unknown locations. Roosterfish are hitting sardina and mackerel along the coastline from Punta Colorado past San Bruno. Not much interest in chasing and dealing with the sprinkling of billfish outside Punta Lobo.”

BOB FRANCY SCORED a 53-pound white seabass on a bass/rockfish trip with Capt. Juan Cook on a run Saturday out of San Quintin Bay. It was not a total shock. Francy and his guys got limits of white seabass the previous day coming back from a bass and rockfish trip. JUAN COOK PHOTO

SAN QUINTIN — Capt. Juan Cook, now back at San Quintin Bay after a stint in Gonzaga and L.A. bays, started off the summer on the West Coast with a helluva catch. On July 26 Cook said he was back on the water with Bob Francy, Mike Muehl and Mike Morrell and they had limits of calicos and sand bass from 1 to 7 pounds, then on the way home they found the white seabass, and put three of them on his Parker charterboat.

On the July 27 the fishing was slow but they saw some big fish while bass fishing, and Francy got a nice surprise when he scored a 53-pound white seabass.

“It was a great way to finish their trip and Mr. Francy fishes San Quintin Bay every season and brings 18 of his closest friends,” said Cook, “ and all the other Francy boats did well with multiple seabass and lots of reds and bass and lingcod to 14 pounds.”

On Sunday, Cook took his family fishing. They found great sand bass fishing and nice rockfishing for reds, but no white seabass.

PUERTO VALLARTA — Stan Gabruk of Masterbaiters Sportfishing and Tackle here said they have seen a massive invasion of bait throughout the area. Water temps jumped to late summer levels and big tuna are biting at Corbetena.

“What we’ve seen is a lot of debris in the area,” he said. “Seaweed and floating debris coming down from the mountains via the rain engorged rivers. One of challenges this week is the drastic increase of the water temperatures. We’ve seen the water jump from 82 to the present 87 degrees! This is getting a little on the warm side and is a concern. With drastic temperature increases like this, it’s a sign of southern currents coming up from South America. You’d think this would be a help, but when it’s too warm, fish move. Right now the fishing at Corbetena, while not bad, has slowed considerably the last few days.

“Now don’t take this as an indication of what’s going to happen tomorrow because in the next hour or so everything could change. So this ‘snapshot’ is a fleeting moment, keep positive. Black marlin are still in the 500-pound range, stripers have all but moved out as you’d expect with their cooler water preference. Sailfish are picking up in numbers and size. “

Gabruk added, “Yellowfin tuna have probably gone down to cooler water. They’re out there, you’ll just need to get that downrigger working. Normally 130 to 150 feet is a good place to start. Your electronics will tell you what depth to set to, just look for the temperature break and start there. My last information was they’re still in the 60- to 200-pound range, just depends on your luck at the time. The whole area between Corbetena and El Banco is like this.”

KIM, JAKE AND Greg Coggins fished with Jody and Jordan Hepton aboard the Lilliana with crew members Marco and Danny on a run out of Hotel Buena Vista and caught this beauty of a wahoo, not to mention they released more than a half dozen marlin and landed plenty of tuna. HOTEL BUENA VISTA PHOTO

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