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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019
300 pounder leads tuna march into Cabo

White seabass still on fire at San Quntin
East Cape wahoo; Cabo’s big tuna; dorado, tuna and wahoo at La Paz and Cabo’s tournament season is upon us with the fishing just fine

SAN QUINTIN/LA BOCANA — The WON 12-person charter to La Bocana with Baja Fishing Convoys beginning this weekend is all set to go, and solid action on calicos, yellowtail and wahoo on the outside await the hosted group.

JAIME’S PANGAS IN San Quintin were among the charterboats still hammering away the quality white seabass.

This is the first-ever WON charter to this locale, situated south of Guererro Negro and north of Mag Bay, with the camp on the beach where the 10-mile estuary/boca empties into the ocean. A full report by this writer will be forthcoming in a future issue on the entire camp and five days of inshore and offshore fishing. For more on the La Bocana camp, go to

Up the west coast 150 miles from the border, action off San Quintin Bay continued to churn out a solid bite on white seabass, and these are not small fish, many being lifetime bests for those making the 150-mile drive down to the Old Mill and fishing with any one of several charter companies. Jaime’s Pangas and K&M posted several pictures on Facebook over the weekend. This is the time to get that big seabass.

CABO SAN LUCAS — The 21st annual WON Los Cabos Tuna Tournament is a month out and between now and the Nov. 6-9 event produced by WON will be several other tournaments targeting billfish and tuna as well as wahoo and dorado. It’s prime time for all those species.

The internet has been abuzz about the bigger yellowfin under the porpoise, with fish in the 250-pound range followed by a 225 pounder and a 150-pound class fish on Pisces Sportfishing boats. There have been several tuna weighed that have been over 200 pounds.

The biggest of late were caught Oct. 3. The 228 pounder was taken by Richard Nagel from West Palm Beach, Florida on the Pisces 24-foot charterboat No Borders.

“It was caught on a Yummee Flyer (under a trolled kite, the lure skipping the water) and the fish just exploded on it, going 5 feet out of the water to eat it,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces. “It was a six-hour fight and Richard said it was one of the strongest fish he’s ever caught. They hooked this fish, and another of about 150 pounds that got off after about an hour and a half. They hooked them late in the afternoon, at 30 miles offshore, and they returned to the dock at 9 p.m. where our fillet guys and Mario (with a camera) were patiently waiting.”

As for the fishing overall, well, the big bucks tourneys of Marlin Magazine, the pair of Bisbee’s Offshore/Black & Blue events, Pelagic’s tuna event and the WON Cabo Tuna Jackpot Nov. 6-9 are sure to have great action if this continues.

“Out boats released 227 billfish this week and these included blue marlin, averaging between 200 to 300 pounds, striped marlin around 120 pounds mostly and sailfish of about 80 pounds. Add to this, tons of mahi mahi and some cow yellowfin tuna and you’ve got yourself a week of incredible catches.”

GORDO BANKS ACTION off Puerto Los Cabos featured solid dorado action and a few yellowfin. The big tuna have not yet moved onto the banks but are under the porpoise on the outside. They are a bit late this year for their debut at the Gordo, said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said the busy fall season is here with more coming for the tournament season, and as for storms the ”coast is clear” as far a tropical storms as of Saturday, “a relief for all of the visiting anglers and fleet operators as well,” said Brictson.

The water temperature in the 83-84 degree range and clear blue water is close to shore. Bait has consisted of sardinas, being netted near the marina jetty areas, also some caballito, ballyhoo and slabs of squid are available. The main fishing grounds have been from Palmilla Point to Iman Bank and in between.

“The action for yellowfin tuna slowed way down, as more black skipjack were schooling on the same tuna grounds,” said Brictson. “Early in the week a handful of yellowfin up to 70 pounds were landed, but after that it was more dorado and wahoo dominating the action, though over the weekend the tuna action did seem to start back up near the Iman bank, as several yellowfin tuna in the 40- to 60-pound class were accounted for. A new group of dorado moved in, especially off of Palmilla Point, where limits were the rule for fish of 10 to 20 pounds. They were striking trolling lures as well as baits.

“Wahoo became more active as well, areas to the north of Punta Gorda, as well as off of Palmilla produced wahoo to over 40 pounds, trolling Rapalas accounted for the majority of strikes, some charters accounted for up to three ‘hoos, which is good for this early in the season,” said Brictson.

He said he heard of some larger bull dorado on the Pacific, up to 40 pounds, though not in big numbers.

“Also we heard of a handful of cow-sized yellowfin tuna being encountered offshore traveling with porpoise, so we expect to start seeing these large tuna to make their way towards the Gordo Banks soon, as they are running behind schedule this year.”

The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 102 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 3 sailfish, 5 striped marlin, 22 yellowfin tuna, 325 dorado, 24 wahoo, 12 leopard grouper, 14 Mexican bonito, 16 yellow snapper, 12 bigeye jack, 12 barred pargo, 8 pompano, 5 sierra, 9 amberjack and 75 triggerfish.

ON HIS SECOND trip to Cedros Island,Tony Cherbak, his son, Joe, and their fishing buddy, Joe Seidenthal spent four days on the island with Cedros Outdoor Adventures and racked up limits of yellowtail up to 18 pounds on trolled mackerel.

CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch of Cedros Outdoor Adventures and the Baja Magic Lodge fired off a great overall season and weekly rundown of the Baja Magic Lodge’s action.

It has been a very productive fishing season at Isla Cedros this year,” said Gatch. “So far, the many species taken have included hard fighting yellowtail up to 53 pounds, quality grade halibut over 20 pounds, trophy sized calico bass up to 10 pounds, large ocean whitefish weighing 6 pounds or more, a few nice broomtail grouper, and even a black seabass that weighed 109 pounds. Now, for the second week in a row, golden dorado have also made that list.”

On his second trip to Cedros Island, Tony Cherbak, his son, Joe, and their fishing buddy, Joe Seidenthal spent four days on the island and racked up limits of yellowtail up to 18 pounds on trolled mackerel. As it turned out, they didn’t use too many of the lures they brought with them, since there was so much live bait available. To top things off, Cherbak and Seidenthal ended their trip with a couple of sweet, golden dorado up to 20 pounds.

Later in the week, first-timers, Matt Shanahan and his friend, Mike Patti, both from San Diego’s North County, scored well with daily limits of big yellowtail weighing between 25 and 32 pounds along with a large 40 pounder. Shanahan also weighed in on the success of a couple of the other boats on their final day at Cedros.

“The Fish & Chips fished the west side of the island, and they caught and released 50 calico bass. Also, the Sushi Bar caught 8 nice yellowtail that ranged ranging from 25 to 35 pounds.”

FIRST DAY FISHING and first time fishing in Mexico, Steve Salbeck was with Captain Moncho of the Tailhunter Fleet just off Punta Perico when he hung this huge dog-tooth snapper out of the rocks.

YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER your first! John Gibbs and Wiley Randolph have been fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz for years and finally hung their first wahoo — on the same day! Captain Pancho poses with them at Bahia Muertos. Nice pargo on the table, too.

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter InternationalSportfishing said they could not have asked for a better week. Mild and sunny, cool breezes, and great fishing conditions as October arrived.

The fish were on their game finally!” said Roldan. “Whether you fished with our Tailhunter La Paz Fleet or our Tailhunter Las Arenas Fleet, there was no shortage of great action. Occasionally, one boat might be off-target, but for the most part, it was all the dorado you could possibly stand!”

He said limits or near-limits of dorado were common with lots more released for being too small or over-limits.

“We had some boats on some days back on the beach by 10 or 11 a.m., with happy anglers ready to hit the pool, get a nice lunch and a siesta! If there was any difference between our two fleets, the dorado seemed larger for our Tailhunter Las Arenas Fleet, and our La Paz Fleet had a lot more smaller fish. Most were 10 to 15 pounds with occasional 20 to 35 pounders, with larger fish lost.”

He said while dorado were going off, the highlight of the week were jags of yellowfin tuna that finally popped up with the Las Arenas fleet using live bait with the fish as small as footballs but as large as 50 pounders.

“I wouldn’t go so far as saying we have a ‘tuna bite’ starting up, but it’s encouraging to finally see some tuna in the boxes,” said Roldan. “Even better was that we finally hit some wahoo as well. We’ve been getting teased by biters for that last week or two, but none of the fish stuck and it’s been months since one was landed. We lost a few more this week, but at least we also got some onto the gaffs and onto the fish cleaning tables. They were nice 20- to 45 pound ‘hoos!”

EAST CAPE — Matthew Clifton at Scorpion Sportfishing reported Oct. 6 that the area has had red hot marlin fishing with most boats scoring multiple releases of striped and blue marlin throughout the week.

“The wahoo bite also went off for a couple of days as well with some boats landing several per day,” said Clifton. “Smaller dorado continue to dominate the inshore action. We are encouraging release of the smaller dorado. Boats heading out to find tuna on porpoise were successful when located, landing limits of 30- to 40-pound class tuna.”

John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero said the water is 83-84 and it was clear and flat all week. The guests had a decent week of fishing. There was a strong dorado bite as well as billfish, and a few wahoo were taken, and lots of big roosters with yellowfin taken daily. Sardinas were the bait of choice and plentiful. The dorado were bigger this week from 5 to 12 pounders to 20 to 25 pounders, most on ’dines off the lighthouse.

While yellowfin are under the porpoise when you can locate them (which is not all the time, at least this past week) the close-in action has been solid, said Ireland.

“Inshore and bottom fishing has been very good, with big pompano to 10 pounds, dogtooth snapper to 20 pounds, amberjack to 35 pounds,” said Ireland. “And roosters, although they have seen light pressure with all the other species, they are quality fish as big as 50 pounds.”

Finally, the Buds and Suds tourney was held last week out of Hotel Buenavista. No specific results, but the Jen Wren Sportfishing charterboat Vaqureo took all the daily options for the charter team, likely with a nice yellowfin. No other results were available from the tourney, but Capt. Mark Rayor did post on Facebook his charter guys took the bulk of bucks.

LORETO — No big changes this week, said Rick Hill of Pinchysportfishing,com. Just great weather and cabrilla action.

“The weather continues to be spectacular and the returning boats have been doing well on decent-sized cabrilla,” he said. “Smaller dorado are an easy pick for the rookie boats, especially the Isla Coronado-bound pangas.”

He added, “Sardina continue to be abundant and action has been good with trolled hardbaits. The small 6-inch jointed deep divers work well for cabrilla in the 5-pound range. Chumming sardina helps fire up the rocky points and get the cabrilla boiling.” Chumming live sardina on top of the pargo rocks works well but hook a dead one if you want to enjoy some pargo tacos later!”

MIDRIFF — The mothership Tony Reyes based in San Felipe returned from another 6-day trip into the Sea of Cortez, reported Tom Ward, owner of Longfin Tackle in Orange which books the popular trips.

“The trip was chartered by Phenix Fishing Rods that charters the boat several times a year,” said Ward. “Capt. Tony Reyes called it another good trip with good weather and the temperatures are cooling down a bit. They fished San Lorenzo Reef which had a good mix of cabrilla, bass, yellowtail and some broomtail groupers. Live bait was no problem the entire trip as it has been no problem for the last couple of months.”

Ward said Capt. Reyes relayed that the anglers fished El Diablo Point and had some big yellowtail up to 42 pounds. Refugio Point held a lot of medium-size cabrilla, mostly hooked with small lures, blue and white, and green and yellow.

“Bottom fishing was great with an 85-pound black seabass being landed as well as some good size pargo, red snapper and lots of Mexican lingcod. The last day at the Enchanted Islands provided some nice barred pargo, lots of cabrilla, some pinto bass groupers, which are unique to this area. They had good weather on the sailing north to San Felipe. Several anglers on the trip, said Ward, were fishing with line too small to handle the large fish being hooked, making it a challenge to land the bigger fish with many being lost.”

The count: 190 yellowtail, limits of cabrilla, 340 bass, 96 pargo, 5 pinto bass, 10 barred pargo, 5 grouper, 1 black seabass, 1 pompano, 4 sierra, 2 amberjack, 56 Mexican lingcod, and 2 dorado. There were 217 assorted fish released.



L.A. BAY PRODUCED a nice variety. Here, Eddy Campbell with his white seabass, Tony Osuna with a yellowtail, and Aaron Pavloff with a grouper pulled from the shallows while fishing the Daiwa stick baits.

BAY OF L.A.WON readers Eddy Campbell, Tony Osuna, and Aaron Pavloff reported to that they fished three days at the end of the month with Captain Ismael from Guillermo’s Place.

“We caught a large variety including dorado, yellowtail, white seabass, cabrilla, grouper, and even hooked a marlin for a brief time,” reported Pavloff. “The trip was organized through Baja Fishing Convoys. The pictures are of Eddy and his seabass, Tony with a yellowtail, and Aaron with a grouper pulled from the shallows while fishing the Daiwa stick baits.”

RICH AND TIM from West Palm Beach, Florida with their 225-pound yellowfin caught on a Yummee Flyer on the 24-foot Pisces charterboat No Borders Oct. 3. Juan Gonzales and Ryan Caughren crewed.

ON OCT. 3 the Bill Collector connected on this 153 pounder for Ronnie Hittesdorf with Juan Carlos Lopez and Esteban Balderas the Pisces crew.

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