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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Three Billfish Grand Slams off Cabo
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Tuna 100 to over 200 pounds set the stage


Big tuna continue to show
Cedros forkies to 50 pounds

Cedros Island yellows and bass go off! Cabo What a Journey charterboat scored a 200-pound cow, and the next day loses a 300-pound plus beast; Tropical Storm Ivo on west coast made its presence felt on both sides of the peninsula with wind, rain and swells


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CEDROS ISLAND IS firing on all cylinders for big yellows for anglers fishing with Cedros Outdoor Adventures, just in time for the WON trip coming up for 13 anglers in just over a week.


CEDROSISLAND — Tom Gatch of Cedros Outdoor Adventures reported lodge customers are enjoying wide-open late summer fishing conditions on Isla Cedros. It’s not just yellows, which are up to 50 pounds. It’s the big bass, too. World-class action, a perfect timing for the annual WON trip next week.


“Over the past 10 days, visiting anglers have been treated to a frenzied bite on a variety of popular gamefish,” said Gatch. “As usual, the calico bass action has been nonstop, with most fish ranging between 3 to 5 pounds, although there have been a few that reached the 8- to 9-pound mark.


“The yellowtail bite has been strong too, with fish up to 50 pounds being caught on live mackerel, bottom iron, and hard baits. The halibut have also been on the chew, some of which have weighed out at over 20 pounds,” said Gatch.


Mark Kosmowski and his fishing buddies, Krys and Rich, came down to the Island from Oregon to get a crack at some big forktails, said Gatch.


On their first afternoon after they landed, the trio fished the south part of the island for 15 yellowtail up to 15 pounds. The following day they caught fewer forkies, but they were considerably bigger fish in the 25- to 30-pound class.


Over the next few days, they caught several more yellowtail on live mackerel, as well as yo-yo’d and surface iron. They also took and released an abundance of 3- to 4-pound calico bass on plastic, with Reebs Kelpsassins taking most of those fish; however, they also hooked a 6-pound checkerboard on surface iron.


“Shortly before flying out of Cedros, the group took a three-hour morning trip out, which yielded 8 large yellowtail weighing 25 to 30 pounds that inhaled live mackerel and sardinas,” said Gatch. “It was the perfect conclusion to a fishing trip of a lifetime, as the three anglers flew back to the mainland wearing broad, satisfied grins.”


Fishing buddies for over 40 years, John Parlato and Terry Tenant also paid a visit to Cedros Island with yellowtail on their minds, and they were certainly not disappointed. During their stay, they consistently limited out on big forkies weighing between 24 and 30 pounds using live mackerel and scrambled egg surface iron.


The duo also got into some great calico bass action using red plastics, which mimic the appearance of the red tuna crabs that tend to occasionally cover large patches of the ocean’s surface around the Island this time of year.


Seasoned Cedros anglers, Esvin Hernandez and his dad, Jorge, flew down from SoCal and were also looking forward to catching some more of the trophy-sized yellowtail that the Island is famous for. They not only scored well on big yellowtail using mint and white iron, they also managed to take limits of halibut on several days, some of which weighed up to 20 pounds.


Nonetheless, the biggest surprise of their trip came when Esvin was casting a hardbait from the shore while stalking a large halibut that he had seen chasing bait in the shallows. Suddenly, on his third cast, he hooked up with a huge fish and quickly realized that it was not the halibut that he had been targeting. After a spirited battle, Hernandez ended up landing a 50-pound yellowtail right off the beach.


“Really, a 50-pound yellowtail from shore?” asked Gatch. “Remember, this is Cedros Island!”


In other Baja action:


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WHAT A JOURNEY, a 34-foot Luhrs charterboat in Cabo booked through Lands End Charters hooked big tuna over two days last week over the porpoise, including this 200-pound class fish, and lost a 300 pounder the next day. Things are looking big-fish solid for the WON Nov. 6-9 Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot and other big game tourneys in October and November.

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CABO TUNA ARE getting hefty, and this a 146 pounder caught 37 miles out on a red and black lure was a nice grade of fish for Team WAO (Wide Ass Open) on the Pisces Tracy Ann on a porpoise school. The boat was captained by Roberto Padilla with Mate “Ninja” posing with WAO anglers Ian Peckel, Matt Foster, Mark and Scott Patterson, from Georgia who fish the Cabo Tuna Jackpot.

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THIS 128-POUND yellowfin caught Sunday at the 1150 Spot on the Pisces 28-foot Andrea. At the helm was Capt. Fernando Noya, the mate was Jose Gomez. It was caught by Texas angler Joe McCune of Houston who also caught 2 dorado and two stripers, both released.

CABO SAN LUCAS — Tropical storm Ivo made life tough during the week, but the way the billfishing has been lately, it won’t be long before the blues, blacks and stripers and even sailfish get back on the bite. Last week there were three grand slams (three billfish in one day) on two Pisces boats.


One developing bite has been the yellowfin tuna, the larger grade fish, although the schoolie tuna are getting bigger under the porpoise. Too late for last week’s Baja report here was the inside dope on a 200-plus pound yellowfin caught by the charterboat What a Journey, a 34-foot Luhrs owned by Greg Arizpe and which books out of Lands End Charters. It was a two-hour battle, and what is even more important, they fished the same area of porpoise the next day and hooked and lost an even bigger yellowfin, well over 300 pounds, said Arispe. Javi Abaroa is the captain, one of the top young guns of the Cabo scene.


“The tournament (Cabo Tuna Jackpot in November) should produce some nice ones,” said Arispe. “Looking forward to it.”


There would be more big fish, one has to surmise, as most charters with visiting tourists simply are not wanting to deal with such big fish when marlin are nearby and plentiful, so they are not targeting them. Some more hardcore fishermen and crews in Cabo certainly do, and an example of that recently resulted in a 146 pounder 37 miles out on a red and black lure.


“They were actually fishing with the kite and got a 15 pounder on that, and this big fish,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Fleet. As she noted, the guys on the boat annually fish the WON tourney, and call themselves WAO, Team Wide Ass Open. They were fishing on the Pisces 31-foot Tracy Ann, Captained by Roberto Padilla with Mate “Ninja” with WAO anglers Ian Peckel, Matt Foster, Mark and Scott Patterson, from Georgia.


Pisces’ Ehrenberg on Sunday sent a quick report and a photo of a 128-pound yellowfin caught earlier that day at the 1150 Spot on the 28-foot Andrea. At the helm was Capt. Fernando Noya, the mate was Jose Gomez. It was caught by Texas angler Joe McCune of Houston. He also caught 2 dorado and two stripers, both released, at the 1150 Spot.


The countdown to the 21st annual Cabo Tuna Jackpot Tournament continues. Go to www.loscabostunajackpot.com for the current roster (updated every week or so), and it’s time to start getting in your entry forms or adding jackpots. And booking the Tesoro, as the deadline for room discounts is Sept. 30. If you need wiring info, email lori@wonews.com and she will send you the details.


team18winning
TEAM 18’S QUINN MILLER fishing on the cruiser Don Roberto took home the Volkswagen and the Suzuki 140hp engine with a 30.8-pound wahoo at the Wahoo Shootout at the East Cape held Saturday out of Palmas.

EAST CAPE — The Van Wormer hotels held their East Cape Wahoo Shootout on Saturday. Reports were slim, but Team 18’s Quinn Miller and his guys fishing on the cruiser Don Roberto took home the Volkswagen and the Suzuki 140 hp engine with a 30.8-pound wahoo. That fish was not the biggest wahoo caught that day, though. Victor Locklin caught a 35.2 pounder, but his charterboat Oso Negro had engine trouble and couldn’t get Locklin back in time for weigh-in at Palmas De Cortez. Talk about a costly breakdown! Locklin has won several Baja tournaments over the years, including the Cabo Tuna Jackpot two years ago.


As far as overall conditions for the week, John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero told WON that conditions cooled off late in the week with Tropical Storm Ivo dumping rain throughout Baja Sur. By Friday, the water temps had dropped, and water from the arroyos muddied the water.


“We had very good fishing early in the week, very similar to last week – with wahoo, dorado, billfish, roosterfish all biting,” said Ireland. “After a few days, we will get back to that.”


He added that wahoo were the big target for the week, with fish 20 to 70 pounds off Vinoramas and the Iman Bank — and most boats took at least one. Rapalas, Marauders and live caballito were all working.



Ireland said that while large schools of smaller- to medium-sized dorado have seen anglers releasing two or three for every keeper off the wahoo areas — Vinaramas and Iman Bank — with some big bulls taken on marlin lures and rigged, dead ballyhoo.



Apparently billfishing for the bigger grade black marlin has continued to be been good too, with a nice mix of blacks and sails in the billfish grounds off La Ribera. Every third or fourth hookup of a billfish was a black, said Ireland, before Ivo mixed up the deck of cards.


Inshore, the amberjack and pargo have been solid, and Ireland said they had a dozen black grouper taken last Monday, caught on squid or skipjack 450-600 feet down.


Ireland concluded by saying that roosterfish will be back when waters clear. “Before Ivo hit, the pez gallos were up to 60 pounds, patrolling along most shores,” he said.


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JOHN McVAY FROM Los Angeles with Captain Jorge from the Tailhunter International fleet show off some nice tuna caught just outside of Bahia Muertos on light tackle and live bait.

LA PAZ — It’s about time, said Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International.


“It’s almost the end of summer, and for once, it felt like summer and fished like summer here in La Paz. Air temps were in the high 90s with lots of humidity, and waters were blue with a surface temp of about 84 degrees. We even dodged our first real storm of the season.”


Roldan said it is chubasco weather. They had storm system Ivo to the south and offshore to keep an eye on, but fortunately, it went outside and up the coast on the Pacific side. However, it did leave them with quite a few cloudy days and, at the end of the week, really strong winds and waves.


Fishing-wise, Roldan said that dorado were the main target this week, and it’s a typical summertime bite. The fish are scattered all over and can be found pretty much anywhere — including close to shore, off-shore, under buoys or floating debris, under seaweed, or under the birds.


“Once you find the spot, it can get pretty crazy,” explained Roldan. “Or, you pick at a few all day long.”


He added that the fish are decent-sized, mostly between 8-20 pounds with some larger ones up to about 25 or 30 pounds. The same areas are producing bonito and jack crevalle, and marlin have also been seen cruising through the schools to feed.


But according to Roldan, “More exciting are the tuna that pop-up and drop out, then pop up again. It’s hit-or-miss, but the fish seem like they’re here.” He said that sometimes the fish are moving too fast to get on them, and sometimes, just staying too deep. But when they come up, they’ve been quality 20 to 40 pounders.


“Most of the tuna are on the Cerralvo side of things near Las Arenas/Muertos Bay. The same areas saw an increase in wahoo… finally! They’ve been scarce since early spring, so hopefully they’re coming back in time for the fall bite.”


connieandless
CONNIE AND LES scored a nice trio of yellowfin tuna fishing with Gordo Banks Pangas out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported the week started off with calm weather patterns, though far off of Southern Mexico there was a low-pressure system developing, as most people by now are well aware.


“This season has been very quiet for tropical storm strikes on the Los Cabos region, so everyone was anxious, watching forecasts closely,” said Brictson. Starting Thursday morning through Saturday there were local port closures due to stormy ocean conditions, though Tropical Storm Ivo stayed over 300 miles away, paralleling the Baja coast towards the north. Seas were up to three meters, and sporadic wind gusts ranging 15 to 30 mph swept through, bringing scattered thundershowers.


Brictson said it was great to finally receive the rainfall, though unfortunate for anglers who were not able to fish during shutdown conditions.


“While it was a shortened week for sportfishing operations, the first half of the week was decent — with caballito, ballyhoo, moon fish, and slabs of squid available for bait,” he said. “There were also large schools of baitfish like bolito and small skipjack on the same popular fishing grounds.”


Added Brictson, “The main target species were dorado, yellowfin tuna, and billfish. They didn’t get much off the bottom except some early morning jig action for various pargo, cabrilla, and a few amberjack. Most charters were targeting the surface action, with clean blue water close to shore and ocean currents in the 80 to 84 degree range. The majority of the charters were working areas from off of Palmilla Point to the Gordo Banks, Iman and San Luis — and a few ventured to Vinorama.”


Brictson said yellowfin tuna congregated around the Iman Bank and to the inside, though getting them the bite was not easy. It seemed to him the best chances came early in the day while drift fishing strips of squid. He explained that tuna are finicky nowadays as they have lots of natural food sources to gorge on and are becoming wiser to the boat pressure every day, as fleets as far away as Buena Vista are fishing these same grounds. Most of the yellowfin tuna were in the 20- to 65-pound range, and anglers were fortunate to land one or two. They saw higher numbers of dorado while trolling various lures and baits, though not as numerous as previous weeks. The majority were juvenile sized and had to be released, though a handful of nicer-sized keepers were in the mix as well.


As for large marlin, Brictson says this is the best time of year to catch them, as blue and black marlin are attracted to local waters by black skipjack, bolito, dorado, and smaller yellowfin tuna.


“A few lucky anglers caught black marlin up to 400 pounds early in the week, and quite a few blue marlin were landed as well, most in the 120- to 250-pound range. Finally, striped marlin between 50 to 70 pounds were hanging around too, caught using trolling lures or bait.


Brictson and his crew are hoping for more days on the water with better weather and steadily improving action this coming week.


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 38 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 2 black marlin, 9 striped marlin, 7 blue marlin, 115 dorado, 3 wahoo, 22 yellowfin tuna, 4 leopard grouper, 7 Mexican bonito, 5 yellow snapper, 2 barred pargo, 2 pompano, 2 amberjack, 2 dogtooth snapper, 2 roosterfish, 6 jack crevalle and 24 triggerfish.


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SAN QUINTIN CALICO and black seabass at San Martin Island led the way for Capt. Juan Cook and his Imperial Beach anglers Bill Claverie, Jim Hay-Ton (beard) and Ramon Ramirez. Hay-Ton locked into this black seabass of 160 to 170 pounds.


SAN QUINTIN BAY — Capt. Juan Cook reported a great week of fishing top to bottom on his Parker 23, but Aug. 22 and 23 were the most notable days.


“I was out fishing with my new friends from the Imperial Valley, Bill Claverie, Jim Hay-Ton and Ramon Ramirez both days,” he said. They thought it was to be another very cool, foggy day, so they looked for halibut, but it was slow. They decided to fish for calicos at San Martin island before deep dropping for lings and reds.


On Aug. 23, they fished for calicos with everyone catching plenty and releasing them and then started fishing near the island for lingcod. As Cook explains it, “Jimmy Hay-Ton hooked a huge fish and, after a 25 to 30 minutes of the fight, landed a big black seabass estimated at 160 to 170 pounds. After that, we returned to deep dropping for a nice count on the bottom fish.”


MIDRIFF The mothership Tony Reyes charter group quickly got into the legendary Midriff bites.


Capt. Tony Reyes Jr. reported back, “We started at the Snake Island area, checking all the reefs in the area. Anglers brought to the boat medium-sized yellowtail and some bottom fish. We were all excited because the first day, Monday night, we got close to Isla San Francisquito, where we found plenty of live bait, and on Tuesday morning everybody got up ready to go and catch fish. There were plenty of yellowtail on the reef from 15 to 20 pounds that morning. In the afternoon, we fished the same area, and at the end of the day, we decided to fish one more morning there to catch more yellows. We recommend if they catch fish early in the morning to bring them to the boat, to keep them in prime condition, load more live bait and go out again.”


Reyes said Tropical Storm Ivo on the West Coast brought a lot of local weather to the Sea of Cortez side, as Wednesday was breezy with regular swells, and guides tried to do the best they could to safely put anglers on the fishing spots.


“On Thursday we went all the way up to Refugio Point for live bait to catch red snappers and cabrilla, and there were not many, but plenty of good size pargo and big cabrilla,” said Capt. Reyes. “ We spent all day here because of bad weather. At night we had to load the pangas aboard and move north. Because of bad conditions, we just pushed north to San Felipe.”


The group had limits of yellowtail, a good catch of huachinango and cabrilla (even though it not high season for them, according to Reyes), and there was a 90-pound grouper by Jack Mangan, a long-time fan of Tony Reyes trips booked out of Longfin Tackle in Orange. There was a lone dorado of 15 pounds, and a sheephead of 10 to 14 pounds.


For details on open spots in the next trips and the upcoming schedule, go to www.tonyreyes.com or www.thelongfin.com.


LA BOCANA — The 12-person Daiwa- and Turner’s Outdoorsman-sponsored trip in October with WON has now sold out. This is the time of year to get down to this fantastic fishery and fish camp. Baja Fishing Convoys has other trips to La Bocana planned, as well as other remote Baja spots. If interested, call Orchid Martinez at (619) 483-7315.


LORETO — Rick Hill of pinchysportfishing.com said the week was short due to Tropical Storm Ivo which petered out by the weekend, but not before dumping heavy rain late in the week.


“The ‘week of the shorts’ sums up this past week and mostly because of the weather,” said Hill. “We had a tropical mini burst roll in at the end of the week cutting off fishing trips. The other shorts ended up in the fish box on ice.


“Most of the close-by and easy dorado are ‘shorts’ in my book. I'd like to see more 40-pound fish or at least 40-inch models! Lately it’s big numbers of 24-inch dodos and only a visual of distant big fish.”


Rene Olinger of Baja Fishing Adventures pangas agreed, and confirmed the fleets endured rain and other issues with Tropical Storm Ivo last week, so there wasn’t much to report by Sunday, but last weekend and Monday the dorado were biting around Coronado Island and that will likely resume as waters settle to the normal summer conditions.


* * *


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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