CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Bob Vanian's 976-Bite – HOT BITE

Bluefin, yellowtail, bass, rockfish and halibut continue to bite!
We are in the middle of February and still have bluefin tuna to talk about in offshore waters that are within 1.5 day range of Point Loma. On Thursday, February 15, 2018 the Mustang out of H&M Landing had a 1.5 day trip with 10 anglers return with 7 bluefin tuna and 3 yellowtail. On Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, the Mustang ran a 1.5 day trip where 21 anglers caught 37 bluefin tuna and 10 yellowtail.


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The bluefin have been running from 20 to 50 pounds with most of the fish in the 30- to 40-pound range. Stops have been coming from stopping on sonar marks, meter marks, spots of breaking fish, kelp paddies and the occasional trolling strike. Looking for offshore areas of relatively warm 64 degree water has been a key in locating bluefin tuna.


Boats fishing in closer to the Mexican coast on 1.5 day trips to Punta Colnett have been doing well on a mix of reds, rockfish, lingcod and bonito and have also had some hit or miss action on yellowtail. The most recent 1.5 day trips fishing the area have found yellowtail hard to locate. When schools of yellowtail are located there has been good action on 15- to 20-pound fish that have been biting best on yo-yoed iron that is dropped down to meter marks or sonar marks.


On Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, the Pacific Queen out of Fisherman's Landing fished the Punta Colnett area and had a 1.5 day trip with 30 anglers catch 150 reds, 120 rockfish and 2 lingcod. The Chief out of H&M Landing fished the same day and had a 1.5 day trip with 31 anglers catch 310 assorted rockfish. The Dominator out of Point Loma Sportfishing was also fishing on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 and had a 1.5 day trip with 22 anglers catch 40 whitefish, 65 rockfish, 110 reds and 5 lingcod.


Boats fishing around the Coronado Islands continue to find good fishing for an assortment of reds and rockfish. Not much is being reported in the way of yellowtail activity but there has been some surface fishing action for a few bonito for boats fishing around the Pukey Point area of North Island.


The best bottom fishing areas have been the hard bottom areas to the north and northwest of North Island while fishing in the 40 to 50 fathom depths. Also productive has been the lower end of the 9 Mile Bank while fishing on the Mexico side of the border. The most recent sportboat trip I know of was aboard the Daiwa Pacific out of H&M Landing that had a morning half day trip targeting rockfish that fished on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 and had 15 anglers limit out on reds and rockfish in catching 75 reds and 75 rockfish.


Boats fishing along the San Diego County coast continue to primarily focus on fishing for sand bass, calico bass, sculpin and halibut. Anglers need to remember that the seasonal 2 month rockfish/groundfish closure remains in effect in Southern California waters until March 1, 2018. Boats fishing off Imperial Beach have been doing well on sand bass and sculpin and have been catching an occasional halibut. The sand bass fishing off Imperial Beach has been good at times and the best area has been fishing the Imperial Beach Pipeline. Fishing the sandy bottom adjacent to the patches of kelp outside of the Imperial Beach Pier has been a likely spot to catch a halibut.


As an example of the fishing the Dolphin out of Fisherman's Landing ran a half day trip on Thursday, Feb.15, 2018 that had 16 anglers limit out on sand bass in catching 80 sand bass.


In the Point Loma region, look for some bass and sculpin to be biting at the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3 and to the southeast of the Whistler Buoy. The Point Loma Pipeline and the hard bottom outside of the Dropoff would also be spots to try for bass and sculpin as well.


The upper end of La Jolla and Del Mar are areas that have provided a chance at some bass and sculpin and also produce an occasional halibut. The afternoon hours have seen some improved calico bass fishing at the kelp at the upper end of La Jolla. Going further north, look for bass and sculpin biting at hard bottom spots outside of Leucadia and Carlsbad as well as while fishing the structure of the Anderson and Buccaneer Pipelines. The structure of the artificial reefs outside of Oceanside Harbor has been producing some bass and sculpin as well. Bass and sculpin have also been biting at hard bottom areas outside of Box Canon, the Barn and San Onofre.


The New Seaforth out of Seaforth Sportfishing had a half day trip that fished on Thursday, Feb.14, 2018 which had 13 anglers catch 29 sand bass, 50 short sized calico bass that were released.


The sandy bottom adjacent to some of the structure spots talked about above would be good spots to try for halibut and also look for halibut at the sandy bottom adjacent to the structure of the sunken NEL tower and the Yukon shipwreck outside of Mission Beach. Sandy bottom areas off Ponto Beach, the Golf Ball, San Onofre and the San Clemente Pier are also areas likely to produce a halibut.


There have been reports of hit or miss fishing for squid for bait at night while fishing outside of the Scripps Pier and at other areas between La Jolla and Oceanside.


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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com. Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of timely and accurate information.


Jim Niemiec's Blog

SCI’s Hunters Convention moves back to Reno in 2019
SCI’s Hunters Convention is the world’s largest gathering of hunters, outfitters, guides, fishing destinations, jewelry, hunting accessories, world-class art and taxidermy. For outdoor enthusiasts, this venue has become the “Greatest Show on Earth,” and this past week more than 20,000 sportsmen and their families jammed the isles of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Safari Club International was started back in the early 1970s when C.J. McElroy gathered a few of his hunting buddies together at a Tail O’ Cock restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. As SCI grew in membership across America and other hunting countries around the world, it was time to show case the world of hunting and start conservation and educational programs in the support of wildlife and hunters’ rights.

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OLYMPIC SHOOTING SPORTS MEDALIST —Kim Rhode, multiple-time Olympic medalist, shows off the new Beretta Mdl.690 Victoria Sporting 1 grade over/under that she helped design to WON’s hunting editor Jim Niemiec. WON PHOTO BY TONI NIEMIEC


This year’s show was awesome, to say the least. There was representation from all the continents and the vast number of safari outfitters from Africa, South America, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Europe, Mexico and the United States was impressive. It was a gathering of shooting sports and big game angling outdoor enthusiasts. This show is open to the general public and in addition to being able to talk to the top outfitters in the world, there are many informative hunting seminars and the chance to bid on hunts, firearms and wildlife art that were put on the auction block to benefit wildlife around the world.


Not only does this venue open up the vast world of hunting, it lays a very strong foundation for hunter education and conservation. Western Outdoor News spent two full days walking the isles of this show and honestly, this hunting editor does not believe that was enough time spent talking with outfitters, guides and representatives from the many great destinations out there.


One major highlight of a Hunters’ Convention is to be able to talk to so many different people representing so much of the great outdoors there is around the world. One could only dream about booking a hunt or exotic fishing trip with so many options available, all gathered together in one huge building. Most attendees book hunts for the next hunting season and in some cases, hunts had to be booked two to three years in advance to secure a permit to harvest a coveted trophy animal. For sure, this convention does open one’s options to pursue the hunting or fishing trip of a lifetime. Being able to compare outfitters, guides, costs, and destinations before having to make a commitment makes for a much more informed decision.


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WILDLIFE ART AT SCI is truly awesome.WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

By far, the greatest representation at this year’s convention was from Africa, while Mexico, New Zealand and Canada offered many options; and surprisingly there were hundreds of U.S. hunting and fishing ranches and lodges represented as well. WON had an opportunity to visit with many lodge owners and hunting guides over the course of walking the seemingly miles of isles that filled the convention floor.


Meeting up with longtime friend Wayne Long, Founder/CEO of Multiple Use Managers (MUM’s), topped off this editor’s time at the show, as we reminisced about the good old days of hunting hogs and turkey up at Dye Creek Ranch, elk hunts in Colorado and the famed Santa Rosa Island Roosevelt elk and giant mule deer hunting off the California coast. There was also time spent with Arturo Malo, owner of Baja Hunting, as we compared last season’s notes on pheasant, quail and black Brant hunting in Baja Norte. WON also caught up with Tony Punch of Rata Maire Deer Hunting on the North Island of New Zealand, only to learn that big game numbers continue to improve on both islands with many more hunting options now available as compared to this hunter’s last visit just five years ago. There were concerns shared with Joe DaSilva, owner of Cape Town Hunting Safaris and Tours, about the severe drought around Cape Town and the value of the rand vs. U.S. dollar. Western Outdoor News will follow up on the drought conditions in South Africa in the near future.


WON also spent time in the Beretta booth visiting with Kim Rhode, California’s premier Olympic Medal Shotgun pro. We talked about her next shoot and the introduction of the new Beretta Mdl. 690 Sporting 1 Victoria grade shotgun that Rhode helped design for women shotgun enthusiasts. Rounding out visiting with the above hunting friends was time spent with master guide Ron Gayer of Indian Rock Ranch, as we talked about the upcoming spring turkey season conditions and the number of turkeys along the foothills of the western slopes of High Sierras.


Now would be a good time to make sure you attend next year’s show that will be held Jan. 15-18, 2019 at the Reno Convention Center. Plans are also underway to move the SCI convention back to Las Vegas in 2022 for the 50th anniversary of SCI.


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special weekly supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Baja Reports - by Pat McDonell

Baja Reports: East Cape – Marlin in the winter? You bet
The mild winter has kept the winds off the water, the temps higher than normal and the pelagics like marlin are just offshore for the few charters going out; it all points to an epic season

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THE EAST CAPE in winter? It doesn’t look too windy. Spring is coming, and with it the promise of another incredible season inshore and offshore, says Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing.


EAST CAPE — “From the perspective of a fisherman, not a wind sailor, for the last couple of weeks our weather has gone from excellent to spectacular,” said Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing. “According to the almanac, the spring equinox starts March 20. Looking out my window I'd say spring is already here. Punxsutawney Phil doesn't agree and has returned to his burrow for another six weeks.”


He joked that the lack of typical winter wind has proved frustrating for the windy crews.


“Kite boarders and wind sailors who rely on the wind for their sport have taken to cycling on mountain bike trails in our hills. There has been a traffic jam at the Los Barriles bike shop.


“The lack of wind has reminded me of Jimmy Buffett's, ‘Son Of A Son Of A Sailor.’ Unlike Jimmy, I fell in love with the East Cape and have tossed 'out my anchor' but like Jimmy, 'I'm just glad I don't live in a trailer.'”


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THE EAST CAPE — It looks slick and primed after a mild winter. Pictured is the Vaquera of Jen Wren Sportfishing.


Lack of north wind for days on end backs up Rayor’s theory that spring has arrived. More evidence is the high 60 temperatures after dark and 80-degree daytime temps.


“Phil can stay in hibernation, I'm getting ready to go fishing!” said Rayor.


The fish count has followed the weather and has gone from very good to wide open. There is still little traffic as anglers are not prepared for the great conditions this early in the year but the few boats departing in the mornings are returning with their laundry out, said Rayor.


“Three to five marlin released has been the norm this week with dorado, a few yellowtail and snapper in the daily reports,” he said, adding, “This is only the second week in February and anglers are already killing it. Last year yellowfin tuna showed up in March and never left. From all the signs I'm seeing with excellent conditions and an abundance of bait, this is going to be the year we have been waiting for.”


Ray will be exhibiting and answering questions and taking reservations at the PCS Sportfishing show in the Orange County Fairgrounds.


“The show is intimate and gives anglers good opportunity to spend time with exhibitors,” said Rayor. “I pulled some strings and got us located directly across the aisle from the bar. Stop by for a visit and I'll buy ya a beer.”


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PISCES SPORTFISHING CHARTERS last week had a 97 percent success rate on a variety of species, mainly striped marlin, dorado and small yellowfin, athough a blue marlin was in the mix as well as bottomfish.


CABO SAN LUCAS — The Cape region enjoyed another week of great weather and fishing in Cabo this week, with 63 boats on Pisces charters catching one species or another, topped by striped marlin at the Golden Gate, while dorado were showing up in greater numbers and small tuna were outside.


The Pisces 31-foot Rebeccastarted off strongly with the only blue marlin caught by any boat this week. Anglers Greg and Jack Sullivan from Tucson caught and released an estimated 500-pound blue that ate a ballyhoo on a run outside Las Margaritas. The Rebecca was captained by Rosendo Gomez, who is usually on the 31-foot Tiburon, but was covering for the regular captain, J.R. on this day. They also caught and released 2 striped marlin of about 130 pounds each, and were hooked on live mackerel at the Golden Gate Bank.


“And with an amazing introduction to the fleet, we had the newcomer, Pisces BajaMark, a 27-foot Boston Whaler, captained by Luis Lieras, catch 6 striped marlin that ranged from 100 to 140 pounds each,” reported Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing. Californians Andrew and Dan Avila released 5 of the marlin, which ate live mackerel at the Golden Gate Bank. They also caught 1 grouper of about 12 pounds, 8 red snapper and 3 triggerfish by chumming closer to shore inside the bank.


The Pisces 28-foot Adriana also had some luck this day, catching 6 striped marlin and releasing them all, with the biggest being about 150 pounds. Anglers Greg Lien and Brian Jablonski from Minnesota also caught 3 grouper of about 15 to 20 pounds at the Golden Gate Bank.


The 42-foot Yahoo and its anglers from Massachusetts caught 3 striped marlin, two of which were about 130 pounds and the other about 170 pounds. “One of the biggest we’ve seen this year,” said Ehrenberg. The fish were all released at the Golden Gate. On a trip earlier in the week, the Yahoo targeted dorado specifically and found 5 of 'em, ranging from 10 to 20 pounds each at the Las Margaritas and Pozo Cota areas.


As far as tuna go, they have been around, but outside.


Captain Erick Orozco of the 42-foot Pisces Hot Rod had a successful day, although he had to go out 30 miles out to the 180 Spot to find the yellowfin. Anglers from Texas caught 11 yellowfin, all on feathers and cedar plugs. The tuna ranged in size from about 10 to 15 pounds.


Total catches for Pisces boats this week were: 71 marlin, 164 tuna, 79 dorado and 160 others. Water temps were about 75 degrees.


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THE ACTION FOR the larger grade of tuna to over 100 pounds faded out on the Gordo Banks, mainly due to the conditions turning over with greener water, reported Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas. However, tuna was turning up at the Iman Bank for customers like this angler.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Much has been written about the mild winter, and although the water temperatures are now in the low 70s, the winds have been light, allowing for consistent access to the nearby banks.


“The weather continued to be a bit unpredictable from day to day, as is normal for this month of February,” said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas, based at Puerto Los Cabos Marina. “Recently we have seen warmer conditions, and earlier in the week we had much morning cloud cover; it finally burning off later in the day, and by Friday we saw more sunshine, highs up into the 80s. Wind was lighter as well and anglers had great ocean conditions most days.”


Brictson said ocean water temperatures are still ranging from 70 to 75 degrees. Clarity was a bit off-colored on the Gordo Banks and towards the north. Most fishing action was centered from Iman Bank, at Punta Gorda, straight off of San Jose and towards Santa Maria.



As for bait, sardinas were being netted near Cabo Real and towards Chileno. Strips of squid and some rigged ballyhoo were also being used. Mackerel and sardineta schools were still on local grounds and have been another bait option.


“The action for the larger grade of tuna to over 100 pounds faded out on the Gordo Banks, mainly due to the conditions turning over with greener water. There were some yellowfin tuna coming up on the Iman Bank earlier in the week, but these fish proved very elusive and not many were hooked up,” said Brtictson. “Midweek, there were sizable pods of porpoise encountered, from 2 to 4 miles outside of San Jose del Cabo and towards La Laguna, and the yellowfin tuna were traveling with them.”


Charters were able to land from one or two, on up to 10 tuna in the 20- to 35-pound class, all depending on where you were at a given time, as these schools were moving quickly and had to be chased around. Dropping various baitfish into the action was the best bet, as very few were striking on lures.


Dorado action continued, the majority of these fish found within a couple of miles of shore, and most of these were under 10 pounds with an occasional exception of a fish up to 15 pounds. They're striking on bait best, with a smaller percentage coming on lures.


He said that along the shoreline, particularly near to Cabo San Lucas off Chileno, there were some decent-sized sierra hitting on slow-trolled sardinas, with a few up over 8 pounds. Also, there were a handful of juvenile-sized roosterfish.


Brictson said that there was more activity with the pelagic red crab, as some days they were found drifting to the surface and were netted and used for bait, with some decent catches of red snapper coming in, though this was not a for-sure consistent deal from day to day.


“Commercial fleets were eager to get a supply of the red crabs, at times saving some in make shift live tanks to be used for the next day, in case they were not found on the surface,” said Brictson. “So we will follow this action closely. This was the same scenario last year during approximately this same time frame.”


Other bottom action was slow, besides the red crab bite with the huachinango, red snapper. A few bonito, cabrilla (leopard grouper), barred pargo, medium sized amberjack, yellow snapper and triggerfish were reported.


The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 61 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 2 striped marlin, a wahoo, 76 yellowfin tuna, 105 dorado, 3 amberjack, 9 yellow snapper, 8 barred pargo, 14 Eastern Pacific bonito, 68 sierra, 6 roosterfish, 11 cabrilla (leopard grouper), 110 huachinango (red snapper) and 40 triggerfish.


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STEVE REICH FROM San Diego got out to the south end of Cerralvo Island just off Punta Arenas near La Paz and got into some feisty yellowfin tuna using chunked bits of squid while fishing out of Muertos Bay with Tailhunter International.

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan and his wife and business partner Jill are headed to Long Beach and Del Mar for the March Fred Hall shows, and he is keeping up with the action down south while on the outdoors sports road show in the western states. Not much has changed in the last two weeks, he said.


“Our fishing report this week is almost identical to last week,” said Roldan. “Not many folks are fishing this time of year. Typical windy days and then great sunny days, and the key is really figuring out which days will be windy or not. On the days it’s windy, there’s two choices: either stay ashore and figure a different day to fish or go out and fish inshore, where we’re catching the usual structure fish like pargo, cabrilla or snapper. Just a little outside, bonito, sierra and jack crevalle add to the catch. Maybe the occasional dorado too.”


He added, “However, on the calmer days when we can move off just a bit further, especially over to Cerralvo Island, there’s yellowtail, big dog tooth snapper and some decent 15- to 30-pound yellowfin tuna. Slow trolling deep-running Rapalas, live sardines and chunked frozen squid have been working best.”


Roldan said a customer, Steve Reich from San Diego, fished out of Muertos Bay and got out to the south end of Cerralvo Island just off Punta Arenas near La Paz, where he got into some feisty yellowfin tuna using chunked bits of squid.


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THE PUERTO ESCONDIDO Marina is expanding rapidly with the depth to accept larger vessels to 150 feet with drafts of 12 feet of more. It expanded in January and another expansion in March will bring the marina to more than 100 slips.


LORETO — Rick Hill of pinchysportfishing.com and loetotours.com reported San Bruno is the high spot for the yellowtail action.


“Fishing continues to bubble along at the high spots north of Coronado, but this week it moved further off to the San Bruno high spot,” said Hill. “Good numbers of pintos, reds and huachinango are being caught on both cut bait and live mackerel.”


He added that big numbers of yellowtail are also on scene but only a handful were hungry. There is so much food in the water it is hard to figure how any yellow could be hungry!


In other news, Puerto Escondido Marina continues its aggressive expansion, opening up access to a vast area of the Sea of Cortez’s outer banks and islands to sportfishing on larger charter and private boats.


The key element for Loreto-based sportfishers is safe dockage in a region of Baja that is susceptible to hurricanes., and Marina Puerto Escondido is providing that. In January the marina accepted its first 150-foot yacht, and since 2017, had undergone expansion to take in boats with a draft of just over 12 feet and up to 200 feet in length. In March, 80 new slips will be coming on line for a total of 100, and more importantly, the natural harbor of Puerto Escondido offers nearly 360-degree protection from storms.


This writer visited the marina with Jay Yadon of Outpost Charters, which operates two sportfishers out of the marina, and saw the new docks and the amenities for guests with a rooftop restaurant and pool, a 50-ton travel lift, laundry service, a marina store and office space for charter and eco tour companies. For more info, see Marinapuertoescondido.com, or contact harbormaster Javier Fuerte at harbormaster@marinapuertoescondido.com


ENSENADA — From the Vonny Fleet pangas in Punta Banda comes this report from Ivan Villarino: “One of this week’s lucky fisherman was Sal Hernandez and Robert Conell from Los Angeles with limits of bottom fish reds, johnny bass, calicos and one nice yellowtail on the Vonny 1 with Capt. Beto Zamora.


PUERTO VALLARTA — Stan Gabruk of Masterbaiters Sportfishing and Tackle here said, “For the last few weeks I’ve discouraged people from taking fishing trips longer than eight hours. Now, as we surprisingly see that water temperatures have jumped back to comfortable range at Corbetena and other fishing grounds as high as 80 degrees, it’s almost like late-fall fishing as we even have dorado in the area. Yep, I said dorado! The Marietta Islands are showing signs of life and of course, short day trips will guarantee some arm burning action for both young and old alike.


“This week the previously dead fishing grounds of Corbetena and El Banco are showing that this area is never really ‘dead,' just sleeping. Yellowfin tuna from 30 pounds up to 60 pounds or maybe larger. Striped marlin at 120 to 175 pounds are not big, but fun to fight and then release. Sailfish are also in the area and they’re all hungry. With 80-degree water temperatures and plenty of bait in the area, anything is possible. Throw in jack crevalls, bonito, skippies and more means anything is possible, so stay tuned.”


Gabruk said the area from Punta Mita to El Morro and the Marietta Islands is finally showing life. Pompano are hanging out around El Morro to the Marietta Islands of good size from 15 to 30 pounds, while amberjacks are picking up in numbers and size around the Marietta Islands. Dorado to 30 pounds are hanging around the buoy at the point. Yellowfin tuna in the 30-pound range are running with spinner dolphin.


“Kick in jack crevalle, bonito and possibly sailfish, and you’ve got great fishing in an eight hour day,” said Gabruk. “Well worth your fuel dollars to take a chance at some fun-sized fishing. Frankly, anywhere from Punta Mita out 6 to 10 miles off the point at a heading of 300 you could also run into a striped marlin of 120 pounds or even a nice sailfish.”


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Would you want your trip to be included into our Baja report? Each week over the weekend we compile reports from anglers and operations, so all you need to do is write a few notes and attach a photo of your fish and email to baja@wonews.com . Reports here are compiled from phones calls, emails, social media and personal fishing trips of WON staff.


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We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special weekly supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Surf Fishing Round-Up

Halibut fishing was much improved
Catch of the week was a 32-pound halibut, reported Hook, Line and Sinker in Santa Barbara. The fish was taken near the harbor on an anchovy-pattern 3-inch Big Hammer swimbait. The halibut fishing in general was much improved. Catches were reported from several beaches, including Goleta, East Beach, Graveyards, the harbor and Gaviota. Hard jerkbaits and cut, salted anchovies have also been working. The perch have also been active. Jalama, Gaviota, East and Carpinteria beaches have all been kicking out limits.

MALIBU — The halibut bite perked up this week, reported Wylie’s. Anglers reported more fish along the sandy beaches along Malibu and over the sand patches in the rocky coves. Most of the fish have ranged from short to about 24 inches. Cut anchovy has been the top bait. Spoons and hard jerkbaits have been the best artificials. The reefed beaches like Pescador and Matador have been holding a mix of calico bass, yellowfin croaker, leopard sharks and sheephead.


REDONDO BEACH — Spots of striped bass popped up along Torrance Beach, reported Just Fishing. Halibut anglers throwing Flash Minnows hooked the fish. The stripers have been roaming along south bay beaches all winter. The halibut bite was also on the upswing. You have to weed through the shorts but there are some legal fish in the mix.


SEAL BEACH — The barred perch bite was the best prospect this week, according to Big Fish. Anglers reported limits at Bolsa Chica and Huntington beaches. The fish have ranged from ½ to 1 pound. The worm bite has been hot with both bloodworms and lugworms working well. The grubbers are also getting bites with motor oil, root beer and clear/red flake grubs. A mix of piling perch and sargo are keeping anglers on the Belmont Pier busy.


NEWPORT BEACH — The barred perch bite along the peninsula continues to improve, according to Ketcham Tackle. The stretch from the Wedge to the piers kicked out a few fish pushing the 2-pound mark. The street jetties are also holding good numbers of perch. Carolina-rigged grubs have been the best locator. Look for more quality fish along this stretch as spring approaches. The better halibut fishing has been along River Jetties and Newland. Slow-rolled Krocodiles and white Fluke baits fished on a bullet head have been taking fish.


DANA POINT — Good halibut catches were reported along this stretch, according to Hogan’s Bait and Tackle. Some anglers landed as many as 4 halibut in a session. Three of the fish were short with the fourth at 24 inches. Top producers were Flash Minnows and a trap-rigged whole anchovy. Catches were reported from Salt Creek, Doheny, the pier, State Park and below Cottons Point. The barred perch have also been on the bite but the fish have been small, mostly palm-size. Gulp! Sandworms have been tough to beat.


OCEANSIDE — The barred perch action has been the best bet, according to Pacific Coast. Anglers are finding good schools on most beaches. The bulk of the fish have ranged from ½ to ¾ pounds with the occasional kicker mixed in. Top spots have been the Oceanside Jetty, Army/Navy Academy, South Carlsbad and Cardiff. Grubs, Gulp! Sandworms, lugworms and mussel have been the top offerings. The spotted bay bass have been active in the lagoons. Small swim and jerkbaits have been getting bites.


SOLANA BEACH — The barred perch fishing has been the best bet, reported Blue Water. Anglers are finding biters on most beaches. Good catches were reported from Cardiff, Del Mar, Torrey Pines and Mission Beach. Lots of palm-size fish with a few in the 1-pound class. Grubs, Gulp! Sandworms, mussel, lugworms and cut anchovy all working. Look for the quality to improve as the spawn approaches. The leopard shark bite has been good at the lagoon and river mouths. Dog Beach has been a hot spot.


— Compiled by Gundy Gunderson

Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

Baja Gasoline with perks?
Before Mex 1 (Benito Juarez Transpeninsular Highway or Carretera Transpeninsular Benito Juarez) was completed in 1973, gasoline was a concern for Baja travelers. Back then, the availability and quality of both gas and diesel were of major concern.

When driving down the narrow, two-lane asphalt ribbon of a road, the best advice was “never pass a gas stop because of the scarcity of gasoline.” Many were just that — gas stops — where in some cases the gas was poured out of a 5-gallon can or pumped from a barrel.


highlightingthebraveHIGHLIGHTING THE BRAVE new world of gasoline stations in Mexico is Grupo ORSAN.


Over the years, a government-granted monopoly of Pemex stations started popping up, and over time, shortages and occasionally contaminated fuel happened less frequently.


Several years ago, the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto promised to eliminate the Pemex monopoly and it was finally implemented a year ago on January 1, 2017. The result was angry crowds, unhappy and fearful of shortages and higher prices. This was reported in my Road Trekker article on January 11, 2017 titled “It's the economy stupid…” John Carville 1992:


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When I drove down the peninsula in June of last year, I didn’t notice much of a difference in the service stations, nor did I see anything that reflected a change. It seemed like ‘business as usual.’


However, on my frequent flights back and forth throughout the summer and fall, there were signs of change. Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing sent me a photo of a Pemex Station sign with the prices marked in large numbers.


“First time I’ve ever seen prices of fuel advertised like this in all the years I’ve been living here,” Rayor marveled.


Highlighting the brave new world of gasoline stations in Mexico is Grupo ORSAN. According to their website, they operate 145 service stations in the states of: Baja California Sur, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Hidalgo, State of Mexico, Veracruz, Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche and Quintana Roo and at the end of 2017, Grupo ORSAN signed an Alliance with the Exxon - Mobil Company to operate its stations in the Bajío region under the Mobil brand.


Four of their stations in the greater Los Cabos area are easy to spot with their big Red O trademark and the Pemex name. And all their employees wear spiffy green T-shirts and caps that sport the “Red O” as well.


However, what caught my eye was the “gas rewards card” that offered points for the purchase of gasoline products which can be redeemed for items listed on the card.


Orsan gives out prizes in other ways besides reward points. When they first opened in the spring of 2017, they raffled off a car and other big-ticket items like televisions as an introduction to their stations. Raffle tickets were given out with gasoline purchases. Unfortunately, my tickets weren’t chosen.


Of interest is the fact that Orsan was a major sponsor of a dorado, tuna, and wahoo fishing tournament held in November with a purse of $22,000 USD that was split among the top three winners; the cost was only $195 to enter. More events are promised in 2018.


howeverwhatcaught
HOWEVER WHAT CAUGHT my eye was the “gas rewards card” that offered points for the purchase of gasoline products which can be redeemed for items listed on the card.


If you spend time in Los Cabos and need gasoline, it might be worth your while to ask for an Orsan Rewards Card to get in on the perks. “Dar me un tarjeta, por favor!”


On my return home in the Roadtrek last November, there were a few additional revelations regarding individual stations. The peso-to-dollar exchange rate varied at service stations ranging from bank rate to much less, and somewhere in between.


The cost of fuel per liter varied as well. When questioned, one answer I received was that stations in remote areas were being charged higher delivery fees. In my case, I usually selected stations that were more remote because they were usually less crowded. However, that strategy should be revisited since larger towns may offer lower prices along with other perks to compete.


I remember a time when many San Diegans drove to Tijuana because fuel was so much cheaper in Baja than it was in the U.S. Now that has changed —  the price of both diesel and gasoline are about the same in the two places.


Hopefully, the deregulation will encourage competition that will result in savings and of course additional perks for the many visitors who choose to drive Mex 1.


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