Baja Fishing Report

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Tuna 100 to over 200 pounds set the stage
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Huge tuna fire up the troops in Cabo

Cabo billfish bite goes ballistic
Action shifts to Pacific for wide-open action; Cedros yellows and bass bend rods

CABO SAN LUCAS — Rebecca Ehrenberg at Pisces Sportfishing reported that, once again, it’s been one hell of a week in Cabo!

In fact, she said it was their best at this time of year for billfish, with a whopping 132 billfish caught and released between 30 boats, which included sailfish, blue marlin and striped marlin.

Apparently fishing has been divided between the Pacific and Sea of Cortez, with a stronger shift back to the Pacific for billfish toward the end of this week.

ANGLER KEVIN BLAEHOLDER went about 30 miles offshore in search of tuna with Pisces Sportfishing, but instead had the battle of a lifetime and ended up landing this beautiful 597-pound blue marlin.

Ehrenberg said, “Apart from billfish, we still saw good tuna numbers for those that ignored the hot billfish bite and they reaped the rewards; for example, Pisces 25-foot No Borders landed a 110-pound yellowfin.” She continued, “More dorado showed up towards the end of the week — and in decent sizes, ranging from 15 to 30 pounds. We also saw a few wahoo (about 25 pounds) and one spearfish to close out the week, along with a few big roosterfish of about 50 pounds.”

As for fish stories, Kevin Blaeholder landed a beautiful 597-pound blue marlin while targeting tuna, and the crew of the Ruthless, Beto Lira and Carmelo Navarrete, headed to San Jaime Bank. They were trolling at about 30 miles out when the blue hit a yellow/green lure.

Both the crew and angler were slightly disappointed when they hit the dock — because their intent was to tag and release the fish. As Captain Beto Lira said, “We had the tag stick ready as soon as we saw it. But it dove down deep, and although I tried to aid the angler as much as I could with the boat, about an hour and a half or two into the fight, we knew it was gone... This would have been a nice one to see swim away.” Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to bring the fish to the boat by reeling and hand-lining it up for the last hour or so.

After that, Ehrenberg said billfish madness ensued, with 11 marlin released their top day. In four days of fishing on Pisces 31-foot Rebecca, they released 25 marlin, including a nice 250-pound blue that hit on a live skipjack at Punta Gorda. They focused their fishing efforts on their two most productive days about 20 miles south of Cabo. Most of the striped marlin weighed between 100 and 130 pounds. Other days, they headed to the Cerros de Arena area and La Ballena. When here, they also landed dorado, which hit on ballyhoo and sardines. They caught 7 dorado total, with the largest hitting 25 pounds.

Pisces 30-foot Karina also had a productive week, bringing in a nice blue marlin of about 200 pounds (caught and released). The blue hit on caballito bait just before the 95 Spot; there, they also released an approximately 140-pound striped marlin. The next day, Karina found the honey hole with anglers releasing 7 striped marlin between 80 to 120 pounds, each which hit on live and dead bait about 20 miles south of Cabo.

On their best day, Pisces 31-foot Tiburon caught and released 7 striped marlin and 2 sailfish. They too fished about 20 miles south of Cabo and used live and dead bait. The marlin ranged from about 80 to 120 pounds, while sailfish were about 60.

Pisces 42-foot Yahoo also got in on the action, releasing 6 striped marlin that hit on a tigrillo lure, as well as live and dead bait. The next day, anglers released 6 striped marlin using mostly ballyhoo and live bait. Fish ranged from 100 to 120 pounds each.

All boats fishing these two areas, without exception, released upwards of 6 striped marlin each, with live and dead caballito bait and ballyhoo being most preferred.


CARLYLISE CAVE CAUGHT this nice sheepshead off Cedros Island, while Richard Hibbard and his party did well on yellowtail up to 30 pounds.

CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch at Cedros Outdoor Adventures reported Sunday that “variety is the spice of life at Cedros Island right now!”

Said Gatch, “There are such a wide variety of fish that are available to the anglers who visit Isla Cedros that it is occasionally hard to focus on alternate target species because of the island’s international recognition as an epicenter for world-class yellowtail and trophy calico bass fishing.”

Yet, despite the throngs of anglers who come to catch one or both of those species, there are still plenty of folks who arrive with a desire for variety. Carlylise Cave was one of those, and he did not leave disappointed.

As Cave reported, “My goal each day was to catch as many different types of fish as possible — and my boat ended up taking a full array of fish: whitefish, calico bass, sculpin,  yellowtail, pinto bass, bonito, red rockcod, and even a black seabass and a nice sheephead.”

In other action, Richard Hibbard and his party did well on yellowtail up to 30 pounds, and flew out with a cooler full of fillets for the barbeque!

Calico king Fred Knlins returned with his buddy Grant Noble and cleaned up on the big calicos over the six days they were fishing Cedros. Most of the fat checkerboards inhaled 7-inch MC Swimbaits. They also took 22 yellowtail, topped by Fred’s 30 pounder.

John Gilkerson was on his fifth trip to Cedros with a party of 11 anglers, 5 of who had never been there before. He reported that the group did well on the yellowtail between 16 and 52 pounds, as well as on calico bass up to 10 pounds, which were taken on plastics and spinnerbaits. He also mentioned that his fellow anglers, who had never fished in saltwater before, were amazed at the skill of their panga captain, who could consistently tell them the type of fish they had just hooked simply by the way it was fighting.

EAST CAPE — John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero reported another very good week of fishing.

“The tuna really showed up this week,” he said. Some big fish were taken both inside and outside under the porpoise — with lots of 40 to 50 pounders and quite a few up to 100 about 30 miles offshore both north and south. Inside off the lighthouse and Rincon produced some nice fish as well. “The tuna are picky biters,” Ireland explained. “The boats are using 30-pound fluorocarbon with caballito, slow trolled ballyhoo, cedar plugs and hoochies.”

The marlin fishing this week was apparently very good as well. Ireland said most boats were releasing at least three, and about every third or fourth fish was a blue or black (with a few sails mixed in). “As usual, the La Ribera bank south to Frailles has been loaded with billfish,” Ireland said. Anglers trolled ballyhoo, live caballito and darker-colored marlin lures.

As for the dorado it was all spread out, with the best bites happening south. Most anglers were catching limits at an average of 10 pounds per fish. Some big bulls were taken too (around 35 pounds) — caught on hoochies, trolled feathers, live caballito, chunk skipjack and squid.

Ireland said that not as many wahoo were biting as last week but still a good amount. Anglers saw action south off Vinaramas and the lighthouse, producing fish up to 60 pounds.

There wasn’t much fishing pressure on the inside either — most anglers are outside chasing the pelagics. Some big amberjack, pargo and pompano were taken again this week on chunk squid and skipjack.

Ireland concluded by saying there was very light fishing pressure on roosterfish too, with a few big gallos up to 60 pounds along the beach.

LORETORick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com reported that they are still sitting out the bad weather — which, for the most part, consists of threatening clouds and some thunder.

“It’s not the kind of climate that inspires an urge to go offshore for visiting sportfishing enthusiasts, although the commercial handline guys are out every day hauling in assorted reds, snappers and firecrackers,” said Hill.

He added that the tiny dorado are still thick and hungry, but the bigger ones are keeping a low profile.



TROY ANDERSON OF Denver, Colorado poses with his monster cubera snapper; Dave Mullholland of Salt Lake City, Utah holds this big-boy dog-tooth/cubera snapper, caught in the shallow high spot off Punta Arenas; and first-timers Mike and Linda Williamson from Discovery Bay, California show off these two hefty cubera snapper/pargo perro, caught over the rocks with live bait.

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International reported that it was a pretty solid week of fishing, especially if you wanted to catch dorado!

“It was pretty hard not to hook one, unless you were targeting other species,” he said. As is typical this time of year, the dorado could be found in numerous spots around Cerralvo Island, Espirito Santo Island, Punta Perrico, Punta Mejia and Bahia Muertos — as well as localized spots like floating buoys.

Roldan reported that the fish were mostly in the 10- to 15-pound class, with lots of smaller ones getting released — though anglers hooked some larger fish (up to 30 pounds) too.

“Fishing can be a daily 'pick-pick-pick' with a fish or two here and there,” he said. “Or, it might be pandemonium if you hit a school and the school crashes the boat with every rod getting bent simultaneously in a wild melee of jumping and fighting fish!”

Roldan admitted there wasn’t too much in the way of tuna this week, but that could also be because the dorado are so easy to find right now and the tuna are fast-moving. Or, it could be that it takes full focus to chase them down or find a spot (especially when the boats around you are getting bent on dorado)!

According to Roldan, of greater interest are the big dog-tooth/cubera snapper that have shown up in the shallows outside of Bahia Muertos. “Using whole bonito or needlefish, these toothy armored beasts have been biting almost every day,” he said, “although it takes a Herculean effort and a lot of luck to pull one out of their rocky hiding places, and maybe only 1 per day is getting back to the beach for the big photo session.”

Roldan reported that these fish have been 40 to 50 pounds or more, and they even got one that was 68 (apparently just a few pounds short of the IGFA world record)!

Additional species this week included roosterfish, jack crevalle, big bonito, sierra, pargo, snapper, pompano, amberjack and rainbow runners.

MIKE BELL POSES with his 70-pound white seabass.

RYAN WADA OF California and Todd Kuwaye of Hawaii caught their first white seabass fishing with Capt. Oscar Catian aboard K & M Charters’ 25' Parker. The guys used live bait and Krocodiles to land 9 fish total.

SAN QUINTIN BAYCapt. Juan Cook reported that San Quintin was wide open on white seabass, but things settled down this past week. “It was crazy while it lasted,” said Cook.

His best catch came when anglers Ed Atkinson and Mike Bell stayed an extra day to go fish white seabass, which paid off when Bell landed a 58-inch by 27-inch fish (estimated at over 70 pounds).

GORDO BANKS PANGAS brought in this hog-sized amberjack off the bottom.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson at Gordo Banks Pangas said that the tropical weather is now officially upon them. They’re seeing sporadic afternoon thundershowers (which are common during this month) — but Hurricane Juliette was barely felt, as it followed a path far off to the west.

Overall, Brictson said the ocean conditions were pretty favorable with some moderate swells, though the wind did pick up later in the day. In recent days, there have been quality-sized sardinas being netted and brought down from the north. Anglers are meeting these bait vendors on grounds such as La Fortuna and Iman Bank. The other bait options were slabs of squid, caballito and ballyhoo, as well as bonito and skipjack found on offshore grounds. These areas continue to see the most consistent action, and charters from the East Cape are even making the long two-hour run daily.

However, according to Brictson, the main action has been for dorado and yellowfin tuna, with an occasional wahoo, a limited mix of bottom species and some scattered billfish action. He said that significant boat pressure on these same grounds, combined with large concentrations of natural food sources, has made the yellowfin tuna more finicky from day to day. The best chance for tuna was with sardinas and strips of squid, though a few struck on larger baitfish. The catches ranged from 1 tuna to over 5 per boat, and from 15 to 70 pounds, with most between 20 and 60 pounds.

More numbers of dorado were found closer to shore than the yellowfin bite. Brictson said there were still big numbers of very small-sized dorado, with a smaller percentage of keepers in the mix. Like the yellowfin, sardinas were the best bet for bait, along with strips of squid for drift fishing and hoochies and feathers for trolling.

Off the bottom, the highlights were a few hog-sized amberjack up to 95 pounds and one 57-kilo grouper hauled up by local hand-liner. A scattering of pargo, pompano and triggerfish rounded out the bottom action. A few smaller-sized roosterfish were found trolling inshore, as well.

Though most anglers were targeting the tuna, a couple of black marlin hook-ups were reported this week too. Unfortunately, the biggest ones ended up being lost after hours of battling — but some smaller-sized blue and striped marlin were also reported.

The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 68 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 6 striped marlin, 5 blue marlin, 275 dorado, 8 wahoo, 145 yellowfin tuna, 6 leopard grouper, 14 Mexican bonito, 15 yellow snapper, 8 barred pargo, 8 pompano, 15 amberjack, 12 roosterfish, 4 jack crevalle and 38 triggerfish.

MIDRIFFTom Ward of The Longfin reported that the Tony Reyes returned Friday evening from another 6-day trip into the Sea of Cortez. They started fishing at Snake Island, throwing jigs and trolling — managing to land some yellowtail — before moving to Salsipuedes Island, where they found some cabrilla and bottom fish.

Early the next morning, the excited anglers headed to the reefs, where big yellows were waiting for them and biting instantly as the baits neared the reefs. Though they encountered some wind and rain throughout the day, they waited it out and got some even bigger yellows in the 30- to 40-pound range. The grouper were also biting, with many being hooked but not landed. As Ward explained, “100-pound test is the minimum needed for these brutes.”

The next day, they brought in more yellowtail and a large grouper, as well as medium-sized cabrilla and yellows. At Refugio point, a few boats even got some good-sized red snapper. They rounded out the trip on Friday with a visit to the Enchanted Islands, finding barred pargo and big cabrilla (some over 25 pounds). The boat returned to San Felipe with a group of happy anglers!

The totals were: 264 yellowtail, 213 cabrilla, 91 bass, 19 pargo, 7 sheephead, 13 barred pargo, 10 grouper, 1 white sea bass, 1 halibut, 9 sierra, 3 dorado, 22 lingcod, and 189 misc. & released fish.

Go to tonyreyes.com for more information.


GRACE COTE OF Dream Maker Sportfishing Charters and Gricelda's Smokehouse said big dorado and tuna like these started showing early in the week.

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