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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Big tuna under the porpoise off Cabo


381-pound blue takes Bisbee’s Offshore
Loreto bull dorado move in for consistent action, Cedros Island going off on yellowtail, bass

EAST CAPE — The great fishing seen over the past month at the East Cape did not translate into big catches for the most lucrative tourney that the region hosts annually.


The 20th annual Bisbee’s East Cape Bisbee’s Offshore Tournament was held over two days for the first time ever, and while the number of boats at the Aug.1-4 tourney was up just slightly from last year to 66 teams, the total jackpot increased to a record $790,000. This year the fishing was reduced to two days instead of three at the request of teams.


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TEAM EL SUERTUDO WON the Bisbee’s Offshore Tournament Aug. 1-2 at Hotel Buena Vista with a 381-pound blue marlin the first day of fishing. Tuna, billfish and dorado were targeted. No dorado were weighed that met the 30-pound minimum by the 66 teams. Only one billfish over 300 was weighed in although billfishing in general for stripers was very good over two days. Pictured is angler Bruce McDermott and El Suertudo captain Greg DiStefano.

That said, WON Road Trekker columnist Gary Graham was at the tourney based out of Hotel Buenavista and provided some basic tourney details as of Sunday evening. Billfish, tuna and dorado were all targets and there were Release Categories, and points could be earned for striped marlin and sailfish, with bonus points for black or blue marlin. There was only one qualifying 300-pound blue or black marlin weighed in, a 381 blue the first day by El Suertudo, which won $270,000 the first day and since no qualifying marlin over 300 were weighed in the second day, won the lion’s share of the prize money. Total payouts were not available by press time.


The biggest tuna was a 60-pound, 8-ounce yellowfin by Team Hotel Buenavista the second day with angler Esaul Valdez of the hotel heading up the team. The first day saw a 58.8-pound yellowfin by Team Snafu that won them $18,700. No dorado that met the 30-pound minimum were caught. Bisbees.com or its FB page will have the full details when posted this week.


In other Baja action:


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchy Sportfishing reported they had a big splash of big dorado and all within reach of the local pangas.


“Big fish and lots of them, at least for the first few days of the week,” said Hill. “Things slacked off enough to keep our feet stable and minds focused on the coming weekend's Baja state-sponsored tournament final. It's been a few years since we had good numbers of 48-inch dorado at the fillet tables and weigh scales.


“Weather is perfect Baja summer with variable and brutal force! Lots of bait and action wherever you want to fish!”


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RABBI SHELLY DONNELL has been a long-time visitor with Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz. The rabbi was out with Captain Pancho and dropped a knife jig down called a Nomad Jig from Australia and went bendo on this huge dog-tooth snapper (pargo perro) outside of Bahia Muertos.


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JOE TREVES FROM Los Angeles gets a hand from son Matt and Captain Gerardo of the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz with an 80-pound tuna he wrestled off Cerralvo Island just east of Bahia Muertos that ate a live sardine on light tackle.

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HIS FIRST ROOSTERFISH was a dandy. Dave Payan visited from Roy, Utah and was out with Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz and right-off-the-bat hooked this big roosterfish not far from the Las Arenas lighthouse. The fish was released.

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RICK CARLTON AND Bruce Husson from San Diego with a rare white marlin hooked just outside of Bahia Muertos fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz. The fish bit a small live sardine and was released swimming strong.


LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International charters said he is still flummoxed over fishing in the area.


“Still crazy trying to figure out our fishing,” said Roldan. ”It seems we move two steps forward then one step back each week. We get excited about jags of fish like dorado, or marlin or tuna. And just when we’re all fired up, things change again.


“Every day, you can take your pick of words to describe the fishing and everyone has a different adjective for the day and it runs the full gamut from ‘awesome’ and ‘fun’ to ‘erratic,’ ‘anemic' or ‘crummy’! And the boats can be right next to each other and you’ll get completely different results from boat-to-boat, location to location and from day-to-day. Bottom line, everyone is catching fish. But not everyone is catching fish ALL the time!”


Roldan said that while it is now August, it still feels more like late May or June fishing, and it’s deceiving because the waters are blue, the days are hot and humid and it feels really tropical.


“I mean it looks like summer. It feels like summer. But the fishing isn’t summer. It’s more like springtime fishing. Just check out the variety of fish. We should be catching mostly bluewater / warm-water fish like dorado, tuna and billfish. And indeed, the dorado are probably 60 percent of the catch. But, it’s hardly wide-open on the chew. Dorado are scattered and we’re picking them up here and there.


“However, we’re still getting cold-water fish like the big mullet snapper (pargo liso), sierra (winter fish), snapper, cabrilla, amberjack and even an occasional yellowtail. Mix in the occasional billfish, plus bonito, jack crevalle and even the sporadic beast tuna of 50 to 100 pounds and there’s action to be held most day, for most boats. Here’s the deal…if you’re only coming down and fishing 1 day…you could have a great time or be that boat that just misses it. If you’re fishing 2, 3 or 4 days, you’ll have an off-day or two, but you’ll be going home with fish.”


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CEDROS OUTDOOR ADVENTURES is enjoying great weather and fishing. Jose Sanchez said that among other things they do for the island community was that they proudly support, with some prizes, the Cedros Island Kids Fishing Tournament. “It was a great effort from the organizers who we thank and congratulate for a great event,” said Sanchez.

CEDROS ISLAND — The summer season is in full gear now here.


“There is so much good fishing right now at Cedros: easy limits of yellowtail by most of our boats (mostly live bait and blue on white jigs), hundreds of calico released at the common spots, and other species available accompanied by an unbelievable spectacle of abundant sea life and dynamic interactions around the island that is keeping our clients entertained, amused and fascinated about this fantastic place,” said Jose Sanchez at Cedros Outdoor Adventures.


In other words, the yellows are quality and biting on the iron and live mackerel, calico bass fishing is world class, and pretty soon dorado or yellowfin – likely both – will “up” the offshore ante.


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GORDO BANKS ANGLERS got into dorado for consistent action last week.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Distant tropical storms Erick and Flossie headed far off to the west last week, causing no impact with land and by Sunday there was a new storm, Gil, expected to follow the same direction off to the west. Conditions are slowly evolving. Swells have been moderate, winds mainly out of the south later in the day, unpredictable from day to day when the breeze might pick up. Ocean temperatures are ranging from 80 to 86 degrees. High daytime temperature were averaging 90 degrees.


“The last few days there were sardinas found schooling just to the north of the marina jetty, so this has been a bonus bait option as well as caballito, ballyhoo and slabs of squid,” said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas. “Dorado, spread throughout the area, particularly around the Iman Bank, were smaller in size, though a handful of larger fish to over 20 pounds were mixed in. There has been a lot of catch and release going on. Most charters were easily getting their two dorado limits.”


Yellowfin are still in the small size and reluctant eaters in the 15- to 25-pound class when they did hit a bait or lure.


“A few wahoo were reported, found trolling in open water on marlin and dorado grounds. Marlin action slowed down compared to previous week, though there were still chances at striped and blue marlin – also we saw at least one sailfish, have yet to report any black marlin this season. Bottom action consisted mainly of triggerfish, with an occasional leopard grouper, amberjack or snapper. Some days various shark species were also hooked into while trying the bottom action. Most charters are now concentrating more on surface bite.”


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 72 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 2 sailfish, 3 striped marlin, 2 blue marlin, 6 wahoo, 255 dorado, 8 yellowfin tuna, 11 leopard grouper, 12 Mexican bonito, 16 red snapper, 1 Pacific golden eyed tile fish, 4 yellow snapper, 9 amberjack, 6 roosterfish, 4 jack crevalle and 90 triggerfish.


CABO SAN LUCAS — No report from Cabo was available by press time. For full reports go to Piscessportfishing.com and you can follow the daily catches on their Instagram and Facebook social media platforms.


SAN QUINTIN — Capt. Juan Cook reported that while the white seabass bite that had blown up last week had slunk out as of the weekend, the yellowtail, rockfish and calico scene was still excellent on trips out of the bay to the usual reefs and high spots. WON is planning a run to the area the middle of the month to get a shot at the yellows and maybe find a white seabass. This has been prime time along the northern Baja coast for the big croaker. Castro’s Camp in Erendira posted pictures of big seabass just before the weekend.


MIDRIFF — The mothership Tony Reyes that runs out of San Felipe returned from a 6-day chartered trip led by David Dang from Valley Village, Calif. with 21 anglers.


“Yellowtail were between 15 to 45 pounds as well as some medium-size groupers were landed,” reported Dang. “Weather was breezy and humid with lots of changing currents making fishing a challenge sometimes. Plenty of live bait was around, resulting in a great red snapper bite at el refugio (La Guardia island) and some nice barred pargo were found at the Enchanted Islands.”


Dang added that white seabass are still biting with the largest being a nice 53 pounder for this trip. Yellowtail continue to bite yo-yo jigs (blue and white and green and yellow) and live bait. the MirroLures, Rapala X-Rap and Nomad lures working best for trolling for the cabrilla. For details on open spots in the next trips and the upcoming schedule, go to www.tonyreyes.com or www.thelongfin.com.


PUERTO VALLARTA — Stan Gabruk of Masterbaiters Sportfishing and Tackle here said El Banco is like this: “'What goes up, must come down,' or so the old saying goes. In the world of fishing, the equivalent saying would be ‘Fishing is Fishing.' What that means is you never really know what the conditions are going to be until you get out there. That was the case this week. After last week and the drastic increase in water temps, the fish were shocked and they took off. Now with the same water temperatures, we’re seeing our deep-water fishing grounds of El Banco / Corbetena are beginning to look like 15 years ago. Even inside the bay has seen some surprising species, throw in a trash line and abundant bait and you’ve got close to a fisherman’s dream.”


Gabruk said that El Banco after years of disappointing fish counts is showing a stronger and stronger pulse.


“It looks like the “good old days,” he said. “We’re seeing yellowfin tuna in the 40 to 60 range to possibilities of over 100 pounds of pure arm-burning action. Finally I can suggest El Banco and a 12-hour trip to fish city. Corbetena is much the same, but the tuna are just a touch smaller. At both locations we’re seeing blue marlin moving in. For now, the blues are about 300 to 450 pounds and they’re taking bait and they’ll be increasing in size as the weeks and months move forward. Dorado, yes dorado, in the 25-pound range have been boated off the high spots of El Banco, but not many yet.”


CORONADOS — Great yellowtail fishing for the skiff guys. Bob Vanian at 976BITE.com for the latest. Dorado have moved into the outer waters, and yellowfin are starting to move up. A good one-two-three (yellows, yellowfin, dorado) punch for a trip, and a fourth possible target if you run onto bluefin with poppers ready. The Sportfishing Association of California has posted a method to get the Mexican Conpesca website annual biosphere passes converted to English. It’s still a little confusing, but at least you won’t try to throw your computer out the window trying to get the document paid for ($20) and printed out. Make copies. Instructions are:


Download Google Chrome.

— Once Google Chrome has been downloaded, open the one-year permit link above on Chrome.


— Once on CONANP homepage, right click

– Click the Translate to English option

– Follow Instructions on CONANP page thoroughly

– Remember to print and download CONANP picture ID


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