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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, August 06, 2019
381-pound blue takes Bisbee’s Offshore
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Three Billfish Grand Slams off Cabo


Big tuna under the porpoise off Cabo
East Cape action settling down to simply outstanding, dorado moving in with some bulls to 50 pounds

CABO SAN LUCAS — There are two pretty amazing stories this week, one from Cabo where big tuna over 200 pounds and some others over 100 pounds were caught near porpoise, and there was a great catch-and release story for a marlin on the East Cape.


First things first, the big tuna have arrived in waters off Cabo. In fact, the yellowfin fishing has been solid northward up into the Sea of Cortez for the first time consistently this season. Last week we did not get a report from the area, but overall the billfishing has been outstanding for the fleets, and the tuna are starting to come in over 200 pounds mixed in with 60 to 100 pounders.


“When John Maltman and Nick Kronfeld from England booked their trip with us this summer they expected to tick some fish off their bucket lists, but they never expected what happened this Thursday on the Pisces Ruthless!” reported Rebecca Ehrenberg of the fleet. “The guys were out fishing about 40 miles out at the 240 Spot with Captain Beto Lira and Mate Frank Martinez when something hit the left outrigger that was skipping a cedar plug. As soon as Captain Beto slowed, something slammed the other lure on the left.”


At first the captain thought that the fish were wahoo, because of the strong, fast bite, and especially because Captain Julio on the fleet’s 31-foot Tracy Ann, who was in the area, had just caught a wahoo, too.


“It took them a good hour before they saw the fish, and that long back fin was unmistakable,” said Ehrenberg. "The fish hit at about noon and by 2 p.m. we had the 200 pounder aboard. The other big fish took them another three hours.


“We tried to help the anglers as they were exhausted,” said Capt. Lira, “but it still took us 30 minutes each (mate Frank and Capt. Lira) before we made some leeway and the anglers finally brought them to the boat. By then, the tuna had dragged us another 10 miles offshore."


Ehrenberg added, “At about 6 p.m. the guys were back on the dock and had enough fish to take back home with them to England for years to come! The Tracy Ann that day, Thursday, ended up landing a 100-pound tuna, plus another 5 smaller ones, the wahoo and also released two striped marlin. An epic day for anglers Joey Chapman and Lance Wright. Their tuna hit on a flying fish lure using a kite at the 240 Spot as well.”


In other Baja action:


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TROPHY CUBERA SNAPPER made for a fantastic single day on JenWren Sportfishing’s Vaquera as Jon Schwartz brought his three daughters to the East Cape for some bonding/fishing time. They caught three monster cubera snapper and a huge rooster — among other fish — near the shore.

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A HOTEL RANCHO LEONERO guest scored a hefty wahoo which are now in local waters and being targeted as ocean conditions have settled.

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THIS LURE WAS recovered from a marlin last week in the shallows just off the beach. The marlin swam away and as it turned out the marlin lure was recognized as having been lost by Mark Rayor of the Jen Wren fleet’s Vaquera two months prior.

EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing said in his weekly blog, “For the last four weeks our fishing has been somewhat inconsistent. With hard work we have managed to scratch 'em out and put smiles on anglers faces every trip. Now the tide has turned and gamefish are returning to the party.


“What has been amazing is our spectacular weather. I don't want to jinx the weather or the bite but it is all very, very good. Now, the middle of August, in the midst of our hurricane season we haven't had a tropical storm even look our way. Humidity is down for this time of year, seas are flat and conditions couldn't be better. So far there has been seven tropical storms form in the Pacific and there are three more brewing but it has all headed south leaving us to enjoy the paradise we live in.”


He added, “The waters of the Sea of Cortez are 85 degrees and a beautiful cobalt blue. Live bait has been easy to find and this last week so were game fish.”


East Cape resident Gary Barnes-Webb posted a unique story last week and Rayor relayed it to WON. Barnes-Webb was headed down the beach on his way to work at the marina when he spotted a fish swimming along the stretch of beach in the shallows.


“I stopped to take a close look and noticed that the fish kept circling closer and closer to me,” wrote Barnes-Webb. “I also noticed it was dragging something. Anyway, I took all my clothes off (I was on my way to work remember!) and walked back into the water. Again the fish circled up to me. I managed to make a graceful dive and grab the lure it was trailing. I pulled the fish up onto the beach and freed it from the line which was wrapped round the gills and through the mouth. The lure had quite large shellfish growing on it so it must have been tangled for a while. So I had the honor of catching and releasing a marlin bare handed from the beach while stark naked!"


Rayor ready this post and added a photo of the shellfish-encrusted lure, and he recognized it was a lure he had lost on his boat the Vaquera about two months ago.


“What are the odds?” wondered Rayor.


John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero said under clear skies and flat seas there were some spectacular East Cape catches.


“A good week of fishing” said Ireland. “A wide variety of species have been biting all week. Yellowfin, dorado, wahoo, sailfish, striped marlin, blue marlin, big pargo and amberjack, and lots of roosterfish over 50 pounds.”


He added the dorado fishing was the best of the season and the boats were going 40 miles south with schools of 5 to 20 pounders mixed with some big bulls.


The yellowfin are quality in the 20- to 50-pound class, most taken off Rincon on live cabbies or squid. “Boats are soaking bait for a couple of hours and picking up one or two. Wahoo are mixed in with the dorado, in the same areas as billfish. Most 20 to 50 pounds, a few 70 pounders were being caught and released,” he said.


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchy Sportfishing reported the emphasis was on competition this past weekend.


“There’s a big state sponsored tournament this weekend here and it’s actually the state final event and the fish have been kicking things up a bit. Marlin, dorado and all the ‘other species’ have been participating for anglers in a big way. The streets all around the marina area are choked with cars and rigs with trailers. I haven't seen a crowd like this since spring break. The final numbers will have to wait due to report deadline so stay tuned.”


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RETIRED FIREFIGHTER CRAIG BRASWELL of Chico, strains to hold up a hefty roosterfish estimated at 60 pounds that hit Craig’s little sardine right close to the rocks as they were fishing for shallow water pargo and cabrilla. The fish battled and pulled the panga around on light tackle for almost an hour which is why Craig says, “I could barely lift the fish!” The fish was released.

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A CRAZY MIX of fish for Trevor Akiyoshi and Ryan Vorisek as they hold up some of their catch. It included dorado (summer fish), pompano (spring fish) and pargo liso (mullet snapper…a winter fish). Dad Mike Akiyoshi with the photobomb. They are from Upland. They were fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz.

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International reported, “There is no doubt that this has been an incredibly crazy year for weather as well as fishing! It seemed that winter took forever to leave and summer to take hold and given the types of fish we’re catching, summer is still reluctant even though we’re now half into August.”


He said the week started somewhat sluggish and got better as it progressed. Lots of cloudy days (similar to San Diego gray skies of summer) kept things cooler which was appreciated by many of the anglers.


“We even had about a 30-minute downpour one afternoon like a mini tropical hurricane that caused a lot of flooding and winds then quickly blew out,” said Roldan.


He added, “Early in the week, we had the usual smattering of dorado mostly in the 10- to 20 pound class. But we continued to show up with unusual cold-water fish like pargo liso (mullet snapper), amberjack, giant dogtooth snapper, cabrilla, pompano, jack crevalle and even sierra.


“But, then the kicker showed up late in the week. Not only did 20- to 100-pound tuna show up (most fish lost after long battles on light tackle) but we started getting yellowtail!"


He said that in 25 years he has never seen yellows caught this late. “Mostly by May, these cold-water fish are long gone! I’ve given up telling folks what they’re gonna catch these days!”


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CEDROS ISLAND FISHING for calicos, big yellows and halibut has been spectacular the past two weeks, reported the folks at the Cedros Outdoor Adventures at the Baja Magic Lodge. PHOTOS COURTESY OF TOM GATCH

CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch at Cedros Outdoor Adventures said in his weekend report the past 10 days have produced the kind of fishing that Cedros has been legendary for.


“Huge schools of bait boiling on the surface have provoked kamikaze attacks from large bonito and hungry yellowtail. Boats report encountering massive numbers of red tuna crabs and swarming krill, which also cajoled an assortment of other species into a feeding frame of mind,” reported Gatch.


He said that in addition to the sizable number of calico bass being caught, many anglers have also been surprised to find that the “yellowtail” they thought was on the other end of their line actually turned out to be a big ocean whitefish in the 7- to 9-pound class.


In terms of fish stories here’s a few:


— Tom Wilkins and his daughter, Kaitlyn, both longtime visitors to Isla Cedros, brought mom along this time, and the whole family ended up having an epic fishing adventure. In addition to hooking and landing numerous calicos, Kaitlyn topped off her catch with a monster checkerboard that really made her day.


— The next day, Kaitlyn and Tom tied into a bonanza of yellowtail. Tom Wilkens said, “The massive schools of baitfish crashing the surface sounded like heavy rain, and there were boiling calico bass as far as the eye could see.”


— Patrick O’Leary, his dad, Michael, and fishing buddy, Bill Gallagher encountered similar conditions. O’Leary reported that they used their bait rigs to get small mackerel, then fly-lined them out to meet schools of hungry forkies. The trip yielded limits of yellowtail in the 35- to 40-pound class. On another day, Patrick brought a 48-pound yellowtail over the rail. The trio also caught and released a bevy of calicos while yo-yoing Colt Snipers through the water column, as well as several large ocean whitefish.


— Cedros aficionados Adam and Donna Walker returned to the Island with a party of six, and over a 6-day period took over 60 yellowtail in the 20- to 30-pound class, as well as a countless number of calico bass between 4 and 6 pounds that were promptly released.


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GORDO BANKS PANGAS are scoring yellowfin and dorado in local waters of Marina Puerto Los Cabos. The dorado took a while to arrive and the tuna are biting too, with some bigger yellowfin mixed in. It’s game time!

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson at Gordo Banks at Marina Puerto Los Cabos said the forecast appears to have tropical systems drifting off to the west, away from any contact with land.


“The next six weeks are historically the time when storms can strike this region,” said Brictson on his website GordoBanksPangas.com. “Water temperatures have recently ranged from 77 to 83 degrees, there have been two-meter swells and some south winds later in the day, but the overall ocean conditions have been favorable for anglers, with clean blue water now being found close to shore.”


Starting on Monday the yellowfin tuna finally decided to bite, this action was on the grounds from La Fortuna, Twenty-Five Spot, to Iman Bank.


“These yellowfin were ranging in sizes averaging 30 to 65 pounds, though we did hear of one tuna of about 100 pounds being landed Friday. Some charters had as many as four tuna, others felt fortunate with just one, but at least these tuna were becoming more active. The fish were hitting on sardinas, squid and some on chunk bait from skipjack or bolito.”


Dorado action was wide open on these same grounds, often not giving the tuna a chance to even get to any baits. Problem was that most of these dorado have been very small, but occasionally some larger fish were mixed in.


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 69 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 2 sailfish, 1 black marlin, 4 striped marlin, 4 blue marlin, 450 dorado, 52 yellowfin tuna, 8 leopard grouper, 45 Mexican bonito, 14 yellow snapper, 1 island jack, 3 amberjack, 8 roosterfish, 6 jack crevalle and 38 triggerfish.


LA BOCANA — Three of 12 spots on the La Bocana charter with Baja Fishing Convoys remain for Oct. 12-17. It will be hosted by Orchid herself, and former WON editor Pat McDonell, who will be writing a feature on the group’s experience. The ejido co-op facility is dialed in by resident locals and offers great boats, oceanfront cabins, fantastic meals (yeah, lobster galore) and the $2,095 price includes the round trip flight from Tijuana to Guerrero Negro, 5 nights and four days of fishing and meals. There will be sponsor giveaways as well by WON. The fish at La Bocana is professionally processed, vacuum-sealed and flash frozen for $2 per vacuum seal bag. As for the fishing platforms, they are high-end super pangas.


To book your spot on the WON trip in October, contact Cameron Gauci at Cameron@wonews.com. Go to www.bajafishingconvoys.com for more details, and check out the various online posts and videos on La Bocana and other Baja Convoy hotspots.


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SAN QUINTIN LINGCOD fishing was “limit-style spectacular” out of San Quintin Bay for these anglers fishing with Capt. Juan Cook on the 11th. The yellows and white seabass took a break with colder water but conditions were already turning back to warmer temps by Sunday.

SAN QUINTIN — Capt. Juan Cook reported Sunday night that while the water turned over and yellows became tougher to get, and white seabass were not on the plate, the sand bass and calico bass and especially the lingcod fishing was spectacular, with limits for all his anglers Saturday.


Cook celebrated his birthday by getting limits for longtime friend Jerry Spencer and his friends. Weather is very cool, he said, so they went deep and nailed full limits on the Aug. 11. WON’s Pat McDonell will be fishing with Cook on Wednesday of this week and will have a report on the San Quintin Bay operation and a rundown on the area in general.


MIDRIFF — No report was available from the Longfin on the most recent trip. For details on open spots in the next trips and the upcoming schedule, go to www.tonyreyes.com or the www.thelongfin.com.


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Contribute to the Baja reports in WON by sending them to baja@wonews.com or patm@wonews.com and please attach a photo or two. Deadline for the next issue is Sunday morning.


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