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Baja Fishing Report

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Time to Fish Hard, Party Harder
Cabo Tuna Jackpot in its 21st year runs Wednesday to Saturday this week and offshore is where the bigger tuna over 200 have been located, but they are mixed in with smaller fish on the porpoise on the outside

CABO SAN LUCAS — It’s time to get your tuna on, as the 21st annual WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot runs this week, Wednesday to Saturday, Nov. 6-9, staged out of the Hotel Tesoro and IGY Marina with more than 150 teams and possibly a record $1 million in prize money, a first for the tourney.


To get updated reports on the team numbers and recent catches, go to the Facebook page Cabo Tuna Jackpot or wonews.com, on the tourney blog. The big fish – the super cows of 300 and up or even the high 200s – are not being caught or reported, but there have been healthy tuna of 167, 182 and 220, 250 pounds recently caught by charterboats during the two-day 2nd annual Pelagic Rockstar 20-boat tourney held Saturday and Sunday.


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THE PISCES 32-FOOT Sea Bum captained by Tito Oloascoaga scored this 220-pound yellowfin Nov. 1 for angler Mario Ruiz.

The biggest fish of the week was a 220 pounder caught Nov. 1 by the 32-foot Pisces charterboat Sea Bum captained by Tito Oloascoaga, and the angler was Mario Ruiz who endured a long battle. As this was being written, the results came in for the Rockstar tourney without details on the payouts. The 22 boats recorded 9 tuna each day, 2 wahoo and 2 dorado the second day after 2 wahoo were caught the first day.


The winner of the Rockstar tourney was the boat Por Que No with a 166.3 pounder while fishing outside more than 40 miles on the temperature break on the porpoise. The second place fish was a 162.7 pounder the first day by the Chino Bonito, which won last year’s Rockstar and Bisbee’s tourneys. Third place tuna was a 161.7 weighed in the second day, Sunday, by Wyatt’s Torch. The tourney had a total payout of $170,000. No individual team payout information was available by press time.


A fish on the Pisces C-Rod could not make the 6 p.m. deadline and was reported to be in the 250-pound class. It was caught on the outside. Another fish of 200 pounds was not in the tourney but was unloaded and carted away down the malecon Sunday night before anyone could get any information. Things are secretive around tourney time.


“The season’s fishing is not slowing down any time soon,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Fleet. “We had an almost a 100 percent success rate for our boats this week, with a total of 108 boats out and 106 catching fish! There were 291 billfish released, which included striped marlin, blue marlin around 200 to 250 pounds and sailfish. There were 160 tuna caught this week; including a cow-sized 220-pound yellowfin caught on the Sea Bum. The Tracy Ann also hit the dock with a nice 181-pound tuna caught by anglers Rolla Ogle and Harrell Minzenmayer. Other yellowfin caught ranged from 15 to 45 pounds mainly.”


Ehrenberg said dorado numbers this week did go down somewhat, with 40 fish caught total. Other catches this week included wahoo mainly, some skipjack and bonita and even a pair of roosterfish sprinkled in.

In other news. The Bisbee’s final Black & Blue Marlin Tournament results were posted and can be found on their website Bisbees.com. We reported the basics last week as three teams claimed over $1 million each.


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WAHOO ARE ON the target list off Cabo for tourney anglers this week with the Cabo Tuna Jackpot which has optionals for dorado, wahoo and tuna. These were caught off Puerto Los Cabos with a Gordo Banks Panga.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas in San Jose Del Cabo filed a Saturday report and as usual, hit the nail on the head.


What is apparent is the Gordo is not, or has not, been holding huge tuna, and this Cabo Tuna Jackpot will be all about finding the porpoise on the outside temp break. At least that is the talk of the town.


“Fall season is now at its peak, as scores of anglers are arriving daily, many of them now preparing for tournaments, including the WON Tuna Jackpot scheduled for this coming week,” said Brictson. “This Sunday was the Los Cabos Iron Man event, which means many streets and Highway closures, adding to already congested logistics or trying to get anywhere. Fall weather patterns started off calm this week, before the north winds picked back up midweek, even had one day where there was light, scattered rainfall. Ocean water temperature ranged 80 to 84 degrees with moderate swells and at times swift currents.”


Bait is always a concern for local fleets with so many boats clamoring for it who have not planned for the tournaments by bringing slabs of squid, flying fish or ballyhoo.


“There’s always heavy pressure this time of year on local bait resources, we are now seeing a combination of sardinas, slabs of squid, caballito, ballyhoo and some skippers able to find chihuil. Surprisingly supplies are holding up better than we would imagine, and it will be interesting to see how supplies hold through this month,” he said. “Charters are scouting out all directions, most local sportfishing fleets are fishing grounds from the Gordo Banks, Iman, San Luis and as far north as Vinorama.


“Action has been spread out and changing from day to day as to where the bite is best. Early in the week, the best action proved to be for wahoo near Vinorama, finding the chihuil baitfish was the secret to success – not always easy to obtain these candy baits as it's more of a super panga deal on certain high spots with specialized rigs. Not many wahoo were striking the trolled lures at this time, best chances were on slow trolled trap-hooked baits and early morning before too many boats congregated. The wahoo were averaged in the 25- to 35-pound class. High boats brought in five, others one, two or three, of course many other were lost for the normal wahoo reasons.”


Dorado remained scarce and scattered, with boats only seeing one or two fish for all groups of charter’s per day, and Brictson said he heard of more numbers on the Pacific, but even there the dorado were not nearly as numerous as previous months. More marlin appeared, even in the direction off of San Jose del, though the billfish were much more active towards Cabo San Lucas and on the Pacific.


“We even had some sailfish and at least one 180-pound class blue marlin was accounted for. With the warmer water there are still chances at the larger-sized black and blue marlin,” Brictson said. “Yellowfin tuna were elusive, being targeted on San Luis Banks as wells as Gordo Banks, though very few were actually landed this week. Most of the tuna we did see were in the 60- to 90-pound range, and a few smaller 10- to 20-pound fish. These yellowfin hit a wide variety of baits, not on lures. Drift fishing with squid or using chihuil and live skipjack produced strikes. Heavy pressure, combined with lots of natural food source and swift currents, now have these fish skittish and finicky – of course, on any given day they could become more aggressive, as there are definitely still yellowfin through the area.”


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 140 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 1 blue marlin, 2 sailfish, 14 striped marlin, 18 yellowfin tuna, 11 dorado, 52 wahoo, 4 barred pargo, 10 leopard grouper, 38 Mexican bonito, 8 yellow snapper, 2 dogtooth snapper, 8 sierra, 6 Pacific golden eyed tilefish, 4 rainbow runner, 4 jack crevalle, 24 roosterfish and 25 triggerfish.


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JEFF WEDEKIND IS the owner of Chinook Shores Lodge in Ketchikan, Alaska. He came down for an end-of-the-season getaway and sunshine to fish in La Paz and was out with Tailhunter Sportfishing when he hooked this dandy bull dorado just 50 yards from the beach there at Bahia de los Muertos.

LA PAZ – Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported that on the good side, the sun was out all week and the snowbirds from Canada, Alaska, Europe and colder areas are filtering into town. On the downside, it wasn’t the best for fishing.


“Northern winds ramped up and it’s just the start,” said Roldan. “This is what happens during the colder months. Two days we couldn’t even go out because the Port Captain shut down the port to all boat traffic and there were several other days when it would have been better if we had just not gone out at all.”


He added, “The strong winds have the waters stirred up and dirty. It brings in colder, greener waters as well. Additionally, the currents and waves are up so makes for a less-than-comfortable day of fishing. Plus, if the waves are crashing the shallow areas, it makes it hard to get bait. However, kudos to our anglers and captains for hanging in there. They braved the rougher seas with tight grins and still caught some fish.”


Roldan said there there weren’t a lot of fish caught unless you’re counting bonito, jack crevalle and needlefish. However, some of the largest dorado of the season were hooked as well as a few wahoo and tuna. They even had several marlin hookups as well (fish were lost).


“The better fishing was with our Tailhunter Las Arenas fleet, where it’s a bit more protected. I imagine as the winds increase and become more frequent, we’ll be doing most of our fishing from that area.”


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CEDROS OUTDOOR ADVENTURES hosted Steve Leiphardt and his fishing buddies, Jason Welsh and Craig Murakami, who were in search of big yellowtail last week, and encountered a wide-open bite on quality grade forktails up to 47 pounds with most in the 30- to 40-pound class.

CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch of Cedros Outdoor Adventures said the island Gatch, a freelance outdoor Baja writer. “As time passes, it has become obvious that recent efforts to preserve and maintain the Island’s unique marine environment have begun to pay off in grand style.


“This year, visitors fishing around Cedros Island have been treated to a spectacular array of species. These have not only encompassed the trophy-sized yellowtail and calico bass that made the Island famous, but also include big broomtail grouper, black seabass, golden dorado, fat California halibut, chunky ocean whitefish and a plethora of other incidental species that were caught over the past few months.”


Steve Leiphardt and his fishing buddies, Jason Welsh, and Craig Murakami, paid their first visit to Isla Cedros in search of big yellowtail last week, and encountered a wide-open bite on quality grade forktails up to 47 pounds that exceeded their wildest dreams.


Leiphardt reported, “Most of our yellowtail were in the 30- to 40-pound class, and we caught most of them while slowly trolling live mackerel on 30- to 60-pound test fluorocarbon leaders. To top things off, we also fished around Christmas Island on our last day, where we caught and released a bunch of big calico bass.”


LORETO — “Three days of wind put the damper on fishing this week and when we got back out on the hot spot, the fish had blown off to new secret coordinates,” said Rick Hill of pinchysportfishing.com. “Good bottom fishing and back to little dorado. This coming week looks good and reconnecting with the bigger versions will be the challenge. Looks like it is time to break out the serious bottom rigs!”


SAN QUINTIN — High spots like Ben’s Rock and the 240 Spot turned up big yellows for the fleets out of the bay, as Facebook posts indicated the season is far from over for Jaime’s Pangas and K&M Sportfishing. As for the white seabass action, there were no reports of recent catches, but it has been an up-and-down bite.


To contribute to Baja reports, send them to Baja@wonews.com.


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SOAKING A DEAD MACKEREL just off the Punta Arenas lighthouse near La Paz across from Cerralvo Island, Roger Thompson got a big-time bite from this hefty yellowtail. He also got several others, but wasn’t able to land them. Roger is from the Long Beach area, but has a place nearby in La Ventana.

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