Baja Fishing Report

WON Editor Pat McDonell "retired" recently but remains busier than ever. His current WON duties includes the WON Baja weekly saltwater reports, hosting a few WON charter trips, and is the tournament director of the WON / Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot tournament.
Good conditions critical for success
Cabo marlin pop for international tourney anglers; a pair of yellowfin tuna over 200 pounds off Cabo; East Cape, La Paz wahoo adding to a great mix; San Quintin offshore bluefin are biting for K&M boats

CABO SAN LUCAS — Amid reports of two yellowfin tuna of 234 pounds from an East Cape Palmas sportfishers and a 257-pound pounder caught Saturday on the Retriever, a well-known tournament-tested sport yacht out of Cabo San Lucas, it appears the pelagics have arrived as the weather has settled.




TAYLOR WALKER AND her husband caught and released 5 striped marlin on the Karina on Thursday while fishing with the Pisces Fleet off Cabo. The bite for every species had really turned on in the last week with marlin, tuna, dorado and bottomfish, and a big tuna over 200 pounds off Cabo and another cow tuna taken in waters off the East Cape.

At press time, there were no pictures of the two big tuna, but the fish were confirmed by two WON sources, Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces in Cabo and Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing in the East Cape. This is not the traditional big tuna season, that coming in September and October and November during tournament season, but it is an indicator that Baja Sur is firing up as the weather and water conditions have improved in recent weeks. Gordo Banks Pangas’ Eric Brictson confirmed that that San Luis Bank has produced some bigger fish, 40 to 100 pounds. It is not known where the Retriever’s big tuna was caught.

There were also some huge dorado caught on the East Cape, a 50 pounder by a Palmas sportfisher, and a 48 pounder by the Jen Wren fleet’s 35 Cabo Vaquero. That is fantastic news for the local fleets as tourney season nears for that area.

In other Baja news, Cedros Island’s season for big calicos is going on, wahoo are showing among a real assortment of gamefish off La Paz, and in the northwest side of Baja, yellowfin are being taken off San Quintin 150 miles below the border as the tuna are mixed in with their bluefin brethren as water warms.

In related news of those boats going into Mexican waters, a Mexican official confirmed that in addition to the FMM, fishing licenses, passports, registration (and wristbands for the biosphere Coronado islands), private boaters are required to obtain a Temporary Important Permit (TIP) a 10-year private vessel document for $100. The Mexican fisheries official confirmed that on Let’s Talk Hookup during a live broadcast in Loreto in conjunction with the Sportfishing Association of California.

For more information on obtaining the document by mail (only) or any Mexican port office, see the SAC website at caliliforniasportfishing.org. It was previously believed that the TIP document was required only of trailer boaters and those boats that make land into Mexico. It is required of ALL boats in Mexico waters.

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Let’s get to the more fun stuff in Cabo San Lucas. Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet reported the top spots for a surging marlin bite were the 1150 Spot, Cerro Colorado, Chileno, and the San Jose areas. For inshore action, it was the Pedregal and lighthouse beaches before the wind became an issue to the north. Best lures were live cabbies, ballyhoo, green and white feathers and green hoochie lures.

Weather conditions were windy on the Pacific past the lighthouse from the harbor but the Sea of Cortez was calm and warmer with 2- to 3-foot swells at the most. Water temperatures varied from the Pacific to the East Cape side, 82 degrees on Sea of Cortez, Pacific as cold at 68-70 degrees.

The marlin fishing, said Ehrenberg, was amazing, with 261 marlin released by the fleet boats this past week. That is twice the number of last week.

Part of that can be attributed to the light tackle ILLTA Tournament and the start of a Pelagic tournament Saturday. The Day 1 ILTTA tourney, a two-day event featuring teams from around the world, saw 119 marlin released. (Full results were not available at press deadline.)

One of those boats saw 9 marlin released by Wayne Six, Roger Galindo and Diego Menéndez on the Pisces 42-foot Yahoo in the kickoff day of the 79th Annual ILTTA Tournament (International Light Tackle Tournament Association). Pisces has four boats in the event.

“The All Release Tournament came into being in 1946, founded by Dr. “Doc” Roy B. Dean,” said Ehrenberg. “At inception, the tournament was met with some trepidation in view of the fact that tournaments in that day and time were all “on the dock” or “kill” tournaments. Doc’s idea was to have competition between teams of three individuals representing clubs all fishing under IGFA rules. These three-man teams would fish separately; changing boats and partners each day of the tournament. It obviously was a superb idea since it is still going strong.”

Organizing the tourney has been Minerva Smith Saenz of Minerva’s Tackle in Cabo who feels that while Cabo is known for its great sportfishing and big-game money events like the Bisbee’s and the Cabo Tuna Jackpot, it lacks prestige in the catch-and-release world ever since the Rolex tourney moved on several years ago. Hosting this tournament and keeping it in Cabo, Minerva Smith said, is a big step in that direction.

The anglers’ skills are put to the test, as specific rules such as the same tackle, hooks and bait are utilized by all.

“For example, these teams are using only dead ballyhoo bait for all captures and mates are not able to assist the anglers in any way, not even baiting or hooking fish,” said Ehrenberg. “Pisces is very excited to be a part of this tournament, which has not been held in Cabo for several years now.”

In terms of great days on the water for average anglers, the 31-foot Bertram Tiburon captained by Rosendo Gomez caught 5 striped marlin on live cabbies at the 1150 Spot for Liam Walsh, 12, and his father Rick who live in Cleveland. Steve has fished with Pisces with 25 years and wanted to take his grandson out, and he did pretty well, you might say, with all 5 marlin hooked, landed and released.

Santa Rosa anglers David Pajon, Efrain Lomeli, Jessica Lomeli, Keri Pajon and Patrick Crozat fished on the 33-foot Berram Valerie and scored five striped marlin, 70 to 120 pounds, while working the Cerro Colorado area with live and dead cabbies.

In other Baja action:

ENSENADA — Edgar Sanchez of the Hotel Marina Coral marine store said the Reel Adventure, a private sport yacht owned by Wes Price, was scouring the area for gamefish in Todos Santos Island where they managed 2 yellowtail around 14 pounds using live sardines. Barracuda were also in the count with 5 aboard. On the bottom the Reel Adventure gang fished for red snapper, groupers and boccachio between 5 and 8 pounds. It was a decent day for them on Saturday with sunny afternoon skies, and flat seas.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson sounded a little more optimistic this week as his Gordo Banks Pangas out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos saw more anglers arriving, greeted by great ocean conditions and improved fishing.

“Most all of the fishing action is now in the direction of San Jose del Cabo and to the north,” said Brictson. “The striped marlin bite came on strong this week, as these fish were found spread out throughout the zone, anywhere from two to 10 miles from shore. Bait supplies consisted of mainly moonfish, ballyhoo and some caballito, with lots of smaller skipjack and some bolito found schooling on the fishing grounds. The majority of the marlin were striking on various baitfish, though they would also hit trolled lures, the stripers were weighing in the 70- to 120-pound range.”

Dorado, he said, are now in the mix.

“After a long absence we were now hearing of more reports of dorado being seen, some landed, most were smaller, but we did hear of a couple of nice fish found further offshore that were in the 20-pound class. We do expect to find more of these gamefish moving in, as water conditions are now more favorable. No reports of wahoo, though the way the water shaping up, something could develop on that at any time.”

Many charters are still working the yo-yo jigs off of the rocksy high spots for Mexican bonito, red snapper, cabrilla and amberjack, though this action is providing some quality eating fish, most of these fish were under ten pounds, he reported. Inshore, there were jack crevalle, a few pargo and roosterfish to over 30 pounds though the annual migration of the mass schools of mullet has yet to appear.

“Mullet is what normally will bring in the main run of the quality roosterfish, but everything seems to be running a bit later than normal this season, included this marlin bite that now is happening,” he said.

On the San Luis Bank anglers were finding chances at quality yellowfin tuna up to 100 pounds with no big numbers yet, “But every day we have seen these tuna brought in and all of them seem to be at least 40 pounds with the majority being over 70 pounds striking mainly while drift fishing with strips of squid. A handful even hit on yo-yo jigs. Some days were better than others, the factors of sea lions, sharks and crowds came into play. But this week we saw more tuna action than in the past couple of months, so that is a promising sign.”

He said this is the time when they should start seeing more amberjack and dogtooth snapper close to shore during June and July, before moving further offshore to the high spots as summer progresses

The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 98 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 9 dorado, 44 striped marlin, 19 yellowfin tuna, 4 dogtooth snapper, 15 leopard grouper, 210 Mexican bonito, 70 red snapper, 12 amberjack, 45 roosterfish, 12 jack crevalle and 90 triggerfish. 

DOUG AND PENNY NUFFER from Utah with Captain Gerardo scored these two big pompano plus the huge dogtooth that Penny hooked and battled and pulled from the rocks while fishing with Tailhunter International in La Paz.

JOHN EHLERS FROM Aurora, Colorado fishes several times of year with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and was just outside of Muertos Bay when he got this huge cabrilla to jump on a yo-yo jig in shallow water.

HIS FIRST ROOSTERFISH is a big one for Dave Waite who was fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz. The roosterfish hit a big ladyfish that was being slow trolled just off the rocks at Punta Arenas and after a tough battle the fish was released strong.

HE ONLY HAD one day to sneak in to fish, but Colton Matson from San Diego snuck in a day with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and came back with two legit dorado plus an assortment of other fish.

LA PAZ — “The size of the pompano this year is incredible,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter. “Doug and Penny Nuffer from Utah with Captain Gerardo caught two big pompano plus a huge dogtooth that Penny hooked and battled. She pulled it from the rocks and refused to give up the rod to Doug who really wanted to take the rod from her!”

Roldan said the fishing is still erratic. You just never know what you are going to get each day.

“I have come to the conclusion that given the present conditions of the way fishing has been the last two months, it’s not June or summertime fishing. What we have is really early springtime fishing. This is more like April fishing than June fishing. The reality of things is that, air temps are cooler. Water temps are cooler than normal as well. The winds are taking their time in getting the heck out of town and keep being pesky while turning up waves and clouding up the water. But, don’t get me wrong. There’s no lack of sunshine or action.”

He continued, “On the water, everyone is catching a variety of fish. But, like the weather, it’s erratic. Good, but erratic. Everyone is getting bent but from day-to-day, it’s hard to know what’s biting. One day there’s dorado and tuna. The next day it’s big pompano or snapper. A hundred yards away, a panga gets yellowtail and sierra… cold water fish. One day there are big roosters popping up and the next day, the same area is inhabited by voracious bonito and jack crevalle. Wahoo come and go. I think this past week, I counted more than a dozen different species of fish. No one is not catching fish. It’s just hard to tell anyone what they will catch.”


THIS BULL DORADO of 48 pounds on the Vaquero was not the only big slug to come out of the East Cape. Three other big dorado and two 200-pound tuna also came to the scales, it was reported by Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing. JEN WREN PHOTO

KEVIN SULLIVAN SCORED a 48-pound bull dorado on the Vaquero while fishing with the East Cape-Los Barilles-based Jen Wren Sportfishing fleet. JEN WREN PHOTO

EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing via his weekly blog sent to WON on Saturday reported calm seas continue to prevail but they are starting to feel more humidity in the air.

“Water temperature has crossed into the 80s and conditions couldn't be better,” said Rayor. “Striped marlin and yellowfin tuna have been providing most of the action but dorado and roosterfish are also getting in the game. Noticeably absent for a time have been wahoo but not many have noticed or had time to miss them.

“Last week two tuna over 200 pounds came to the scales. One fell for a cedar plug and the other came to a skipping a Yummie Flyer. Skipping baits from a fishing kite is one of the most effective ways I know to catch cow tuna. For the cows we turn to the kite. When there is no wind the AFTCO kite with a helium balloon works well. When there is a stiff breeze I like the Boston sled kite. Over the last few weeks we have had some monsters crash on the bait and miss. It is a heart stopper to watch it happen but so far we have had to settle for the schoolie 20 to 30 pounders. We will keep skipping 'em and I know there will be a cow in our near future.”

FRED KNILANS CAUGHT some big calicos with his group while fishing last week with Cedros Outdoor Adventures. The season is starting off strong with the calico bite going off.

CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch sent in this report to the Cedros Outdoor Adventures web page, and it’s a clrear indication that calico fishing that has been legendary at the west coast Baja Island is back on track, in a big way. The lodge is open and groups are flowing through the operation, taking advantage of the direct flights from San Diego/Otay Mesa’s Brown Field to the island.

Reported Gatch, “The coast of Southern California was engulfed in a gloomy fog during the first full week of June. However, the lucky anglers visiting Cedros Island were enjoying banner fishing while drifting aimlessly under sunny skies during the opening week of our 2019 fishing season. The primary focus so far has been on calico bass, which have been readily inhaling artificial baits, including plastics, hard baits, and flies.

“Saltwater fly fisherman, Jordan Cavanaugh, from Fountain Valley, was on trip number 7 to the island; having become habituated to the fantastic fishing at Cedros many years ago. During his several days of fishing with a 9-weight fly rod and a variety of orange and red streamers, he ended up catching and releasing enough calico bass up to 5 pounds to wear his arms out by the time he got back into port each day. Cavanaugh also reported catching several small halibut on white streamers, which bodes well for the months to come as the water continues to warm.

Gatch continued, “SoCal fishing buddies, Jim Petrella from Palm Desert, and Fred Knilans of Orange County, were throwing some of Knilans’ hand-poured plastic jigs and hard baits to hook and release nearly 150 calico bass on Wednesday that ranged upward to a whopping 7.5 pounds. Petrella indicated that the sea was blanketed by hordes of red crabs, which often will impair the bite after many of the fish become glutted with them. Nonetheless, the intrepid duo scored incredibly well; and also fished off of nearby Natividad and Benitos Islands where the red crabs were less prevalent, and they brought even more fish over the rail.

“Even though we are barely into June, 2019 appears to be full of promise, especially as the months progress and larger pelagic species behind that multitude of red tuna crabs begin to move into our region.”

Go to Cedrosoutdooradventures.com for more on the island and the operation and the latest fishing reports.

LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com said the yellowtail are thick on the high spots near shore and the off the islands, and the cabrilla are also on the bite, from top to bottom and nearshore. It’s game on.

“Acres of yellowtail and some huge cabrilla are all of the story for this week,” said Hill. “Catching the 'tails is still a little tricky as usual. The scuba guys are seeing tons of them. The big cabrilla are in the rocks out at Punta Lobo and along the back side of Carmen Island.

“Out at the fringes of our easy fish zone are schools of small dorado. I think everyone is waiting to see if the dodos and billfish come in closer before we start seeing fillets at the cleaning tables.”

There is plenty of time to get in on the fun with the 29th annual Fishin for the Mission Charity Dorado Tournament held at La Mision Hotel July 11-13. Signups are at La Mision Hotel on the malecon the evening of Thursday, July 11 on the second floor patio near the bar. Fishing is for two days, Friday and Saturday with the combined weight of the 2 biggest fish per team determining the winners in both the Dorado Class and Other Species Class. Entry is $250 per team and that gets you a tournament bag with various giveaways as well as 4 performance tournament shirts, 4 dinner banquet tickets at La Mision Saturday night, July 13, and 4 raffle tickets. There is also free beer and water provided to the participants at the signups, both days of the weigh in, and at the banquet. It is a great tournament with a long history of helping the town of Loreto. A discounted room rate at La Mision Hotel is also given to members of the tournament that week.

For more information about the tournament, there is a Facebook Group- Fishin for the Mission with up to date information or you can email tournament director Chris Wheaton at luhrs32reeltime@aol.com

MIDRIFF The boat Tony Reyes just returned from 4½ days of fishing in the Midriff Islands area in the Sea of Cortez with a chartered trip from Phenix Rods, reported Tom Ward of the Long Fish Tackle shop in Orange,

“Weather was nice and fishing was great,” said Ward. “Fish were eating jigs both casting and trolling. Blue and white seemed to be the best color for casting and the pink and the mackerel MR111 Mirrorlures worked best for trolling.

The count was: 256 yellows, 75 bass, 11 pargo, 11 sheephead, 206 lingcod, 20 grouper, 1 black seabass, 1 halibit, 7 cola escoba, 8 sierra, 1 golden cabrilla and 284 assorted fish released.

Tony is running trips through the first week of November out of San Felipe and then he will be fishing from La Paz during March of 2020. For information go to www.tonyreyes.com or www.thelongfin.com .

SAN QUINTIN — K&M Sportfishing, featuring the Catian family and chartered 25-foot Parkers, got into the bluefin for the first time this season. They posted a deck awash with tuna on Sunday. They were hitting the red iron, reported Kelly Catian. For information visit www.kmfishing.com or call 011521(616)109-1869 or email capitanm2@yahoo.com.mx.

L.A. BAY — For the full report on the trip, go to bajafishingconvoys.com and see all the great photos and descriptions of the food, the travels and great times made possible by Baja Fishing Convoys. Orchid Martinez said Baja Fishing Convoys have two more trips for BOLA this year. While the Aug.1-5 trip is full they have space on the Sept. 24-28 trip. Give Orchid a call at (619) 483-7315 or email her at orquideaviaja@gmail.com.

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Get your report in WON. When you get home, send in reports to WON at baja@wonews.com. Deadline is Sunday morning.

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Billfish go off for Cabo anglers as winds subside
It’s starting to click on throughout Baja as summer is almost here; L.A. Bay Special Report: Yellowtail everywhere!

CABO SAN LUCAS — Cabo San Lucas may have turned the corner at least for fishing as the marlin bite busted loose with the Pisces Fleet recording 122 striper releases in one week.

“This week’s fishing was very successful, especially if you were looking to catch marlin,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet. “The week did start off slightly slower for the billfish, but picked up nicely by midweek, with several boats returning with up to 5 marlin release flags each. And although the weather was a little gloomy and the wind did pick up on some days, it was mostly on the Pacific side (marlin fishing, she said, has been farther south or on the Sea of Cortez). Even with this, the inshore fishing on the Pacific was also fruitful, with roosterfish, sierra mackerel, snapper and yellowtail being the top producing fish. We also saw a few boats determined for tuna, find them in decent numbers.”




PISCES SPORTFISHING WAS all over the board off Cabo San Lucas in seeking out great action billfish, yellowtail, tuna and more as the weather started to settle. The north winds have been difficult to deal with but water is starting to warm as summer approaches. PISCES PHOTOS

To get the full boat counts, go to piscesportfishing.com for more photos and information and details about the sportfishers.

It has been a slow season so far for tourism in Cabo, and with summer coming and the start of the hurricane season, the general feeling is the big crowds will not be coming until the fall fishing tournaments. Bad for business, but great for fishing opportunity!

This is the prime time for fishing as the bite on striped marlin, blue marlin, dorado and the bigger tuna will soon move onto the banks. We are already seeing it. In other words, it‘s a great time to head south. Dorado, said Ehrenberg, are starting to come around. Not in big numbers, but the biggest dorado of the week were caught on the Pisces panga Cabolero. They caught two nice 20 pounders between the 95 and 1150 Spots that hit on ballyhoo bait. They also caught and released 1 striped marlin off Chileno Bay and 3 skipjacks. Roosterfish are on the beaches for the folks who want a nearshore battle.

ENSENADA — Edgar Sanchez of the Hotel Marina Coral marine store said the bay has seen lots of barracuda with a mix of yellowtail between the harbor and Todos Santos Island.

“Trolling Rapalas until you get hooked up then casting surface iron has been working,” said Sanchez. “Large bonita and yellowtail are also breezing one to two miles past the island in deep water under the birds. It is necessary to run-and-gun to be successful. The water temps are averaging between 59 and 64 degrees.”

GORDO BANKS PANGAS are starting to feel the heat of summer and the yellowfin tuna. The hotter it gets, the bigger they will become. Included in the photo with the two yellowfin was a toad amberjack for the angler. GORDO BANKS PHOTOS

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Charters with Gordo Banks Pangas out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos are working the fishing grounds from Red Hill, Palmilla, Gordo Banks, Iman, San Luis and to Vinorama. The most consistent catches have come from bottom structure, red snapper and Mexican bonito most numerous, using iron yo-yo style jigs, also drifting baits down deep has been producing some quality catches. A handful of grouper species and amberjack were accounted for, some over 30 pounds said Eric Brictson of the fleet.

“Early in the week there was limited action for yellowfin tuna found on the San Luis Bank, tuna to over 80 pounds were landed while drifting with strips of squid, but this action faded during the week, though the yellowfin were still seen at times showing on the surface, but just not all that interested in biting,” said Brictson. “But with the conditions becoming more favorable, anything could happen on any given day. Other tuna were found further offshore traveling with porpoise, but this was a hit-or-miss deal from day to day and these fish were much smaller, mostly under 20 pounds.” He said dorado and marlin are starting to move onto the grounds, a great sign for the area. As for roosters, they are biting in small numbers but as he said, “We also look for this bite to really break wide open in coming weeks, as this is always the local peak season for roosterfish in the latter part of June.”

MARK PISANO FROM San Diego hooked this unusual fish off La Paz with Tailhunter. It is a milkfish, somewhat related to tarpon and ladyfish. It was caught just outside of Las Arenas. Schools are often seen in the area, but rarely hooked because they don’t take bait. However, this one was caught on a live sardine. TAILHUNTER SPORTFISHING PHOTO

LA PAZ — Cold winds stalled the action for dorado that are showing in good numbers now, but not biting so hot.

“Dorado were seen all over, especially for our La Paz fleet but they just weren’t interested in eating,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter Adventures. “They should be going gangbusters, tearing after any bait in the water, but instead they acted like someone peed in the pool. Same with the big tuna we have been dealing with. We did get a few in the 50- to 90-pound class and broke off even more. But it’s hardly been the action we’ve seen the previous few weeks. Again, fish were breaking and eating, but just wouldn’t eat any hooked baits. And definitely would not eat any lines over 30-pound test which put anglers at a critical disadvantage if they got bit.”

However, if you were just looking for fun action, he said, there were tons of big bonito to contend with that ripped lined and bent rods. Especially great for first-timers and families! All you wanted.


L.A. BAY WAS on fire for the group last week that was hosted by Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys. No worries about travel or where to stay or boats, just eat, drink and fish the Sea of Cortez. BAJA FISHING CONVOYS PHOTOS

L.A. BAY — Baja Fishing Convoys escorted another trip to Bay of L.A. Orchid Martinez and staff met the 8 anglers in San Diego and loaded transportation vehicles, crossed the border, got visas, and the adventure down Mex. 1 began.

They stopped for lunch at Parcela 12, a favorite spot south of San Quintin and after a curios shop stop in San Nicolas for fun trinkets, they made L.A. Bay before 6 p.m. and set up at the beachfront Los Vientos Hotel. They checked in and met at the bar for some drinks and more conversation while the cook prepared delicious enchiladas.

“The next three days our group fished till they dropped and caught a diverse amount of species of fish,” said Martinez. “Yellowtail, grouper, black seabass, perch, bonito, barracuda and cabrilla were the usual suspects on this trip. We fished the islands just south of Angel de La Guardia and the coasts just south and north of BOLA. Yellowtail were everywhere and were anywhere from 50 to 100 feet deep and were caught with live bait on a dropper loop as well as yo-yo jigs.

“At some spots there were so many yellowtail that our lines could not get past them to catch anything else! Grouper and black seabass were down deep. Many of us got rocked by what we all think were giant grouper. Even some casualties like broken rod tips occurred. These fish meant business! Luckily our whole group took plenty of rods and gear to replace all damaged rods, lines and lures. We all know that the best way to lose gear is on a great big fish!”

The group decided to do daily jackpots. Day 1 winner was a 35-pound yellowtail caught by Lisa. Day 2 was a 26-pound grouper by Desi. Day 3 was a 21-pound grouper by Johnny. Half of the jackpot winnings were given to the boat captain on that panga which gave them more incentive to join in on the fun.

“On the first day of fishing, after we were done for the day, we went to a beautiful bay for swimming, beach-combing and some delicious sashimi prepared by our boat captains,” said Martinez. “We taught our guests how to find clams just inches under the sand. They were excited to have had that experience.”

For the full report on the trip, go to bajafishingconvoys.com and see all the great photos and descriptions of the food, the travels and great times made possible by Baja Fishing Convoys. Martinez said they have two more trips for BOLA this year. While the Aug.1-5 trip is full they have space on the Sept. 24-28 trip. Give Orchid a call at (619) 483-7315 or email her at orquideaviaja@gmail.com.

EAST CAPE — John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero said last week the area saw great weather, perfect in fact. Low 80s, warm, flat, clear blue water.

“Overall a good week of fishing,” said Ireland. “Later in the week there were big, solitary tuna are being taken daily on live bait close inshore off Rincon. Lots of striped marlin are around, and while picky biters midweek, the bite has improved the last couple of days with the fish very close inside and spread from Pescadero past Frailles. The fish are small, 30 to 80 pounds. The lightest marlin I’ve seen in years. The inshore fishing has been consistent with medium-sized roosterfish and big pompano being taken.”

Yellowfin remain the No. 1 target. The bite was wide open early in the week but it slowed midweek as the porpoise that were holding the tuna moved farther outside.

Inshore there have been lots of big pompano to 10 pounds taken off the lighthouse on live mullet, caballito, and sardines.

Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing chimed in via his weekly blog sent to WON.

“There is not much more a person could ask for,” said Rayor referring to the weather. “This last week gamefish have really become a moving target. One day yellowfin are 50 miles offshore the next day 15 to 20. Striped marlin concentrate in an area one day and spread out everywhere the next. Roosterfish bite some days but are impossible to find sometimes. Gamefish are here but is kind of like the ups and downs of the stock market right now. There have been days we didn't go more than 15 miles to find action but others we have had to go the distance. It is notable that sailfish have been on scorecards and also blue marlin are starting to show. Yesterday a blue was caught and released by one of the fleet boats and we had a dandy take a quick drive-by through the pattern of lures we were trolling. On the other hand dorado and wahoo are not making much of a showing. All in all fishing is pretty good and we have been able to find action everyday. We like finding our own fish but it is a big ocean and the target has been moving so fast some days we have to listen closely to the VHF radio and rely on info from our friends.”

LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com said the jacks are in town!

“Yellowtail are the draw in good numbers on the reefs, but also showing — although in smaller numbers — are amberjack and roosterfish. Nobody has mentioned the toro which is also a jack. Dorado are being talked about and they are way out to the east but we haven't seen one close to town.”

In other Loreto news, for those of you interested in a fun, low-pressure tournament that raises money to help others, the 29th annual Fishin for the Mission Charity Dorado Tournament is going to be held at La Mision Hotel in Loreto this year July 11-13. Signups are at La Mision Hotel on the Malecon the evening of Thursday, July 11 on the second floor patio near the bar. Fishing is for two days, Friday and Saturday with the combined weight of the 2 biggest fish per team determining the winners in both the Dorado Class and Other Species Class. Prizes are photos donated by Bill Boyce for the top 3 teams in each class. Price is $250 per team to enter and that gets you a tournament bag with various give-a-ways as well as 4 performance tournament shirts, 4 dinner banquet tickets at La Mision Saturday night, July 13, and 4 raffle tickets. There is also free beer and water provided to the participants at the signups, both days of the weigh in, and at the banquet. It is a great tournament with a long history of helping the town of Loreto. A discounted room rate at La Mision Hotel is also given to members of the tournament that week.

For more information about the tournament, there is a Facebook Group- Fishin for the Mission with up to date information or you can email tournament director Chris Wheaton at luhrs32reeltime@aol.com

MIDRIFF The Tony Reyes mothership came back from another six-day run to the Midriff area. Mitch Forward, the chartermaster, with Tony Reyes Jr. at the helm of the ship, led the group to a great week, said Tom Ward of the Longfin Tackle in Orange who books these great low-cost, high-fish trips out of San Felipe. They caught 296 yellows to 28 pounds, 358 cabrilla to 20 pounds, 95 spotted bass to 15 pounds, 32 pargo to 15 pounds, 1 white seabass, 25 grouper to 45 pounds, 3 sheepshead to 12 pounds and assorted other fish all released. Go to longfin.com for details on trip openings this summer.

Get in on the fun of being in WON. When you get home, send in reports to WON at baja@wonews.com

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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 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.

Wild East Cape bites inshore before winds hit
Striped marlin and roosterfish bunch up just off the beach for some exciting and unexpected action

EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing here said conditions are changing quickly, and in a good way. Last week was a little wild on the tuna, but this week the bite has been on a new wild ride.

“I’m amazed,” he said. “Last weekend we fished Bruce Borggreve's 22nd annual charity marlin tournament held at Rancho Leonero. The purpose of the event is to raise funds to provide educational scholarships for youths in our community. Fourteen boats were signed up but for one reason or another 5 scratched so nine boats in the two-day event were only able to produce four striped marlin. Even though marlin fishing was slow there was plenty of action with 14 limits of yellowfin tuna for the two days.


MARLIN AND TUNA are the main targets for East Cape fleet boats, with some crazy bites inside close to the beach, although most tuna were on the outside but winds Friday and Saturday kept many boats from chasing porpoise for quicker limits. MARK RAYOR PHOTOS

“Two days after the tournament I was doing some computer work in my office while the Jen Wren crew was completing some maintenance on the boat. Looking out my window at about 1:30 in the afternoon I could see about a dozen boats out about a mile off our buoy. Just then Diego reported the work was finished and the boat was ready to launch. Now 2 p.m. we jumped in Jen Wren and idled out preparing Halco's and hoochies to catch tuna. Getting to the action several boats around us were hooked up with marlin, not tuna. Shifting gears we broke out the marlin lures. It didn't take 15 minutes trolling and we had a quadruple hookup. Striped marlin showed one to three miles off the beach in front of Buena Vista on Monday and it has been bent rods ever since. The moral of this story is that timing is everything.”

Rayor said that while marlin went silly, that same crazy tuna bite of a week ago settled into a solid bite, and it’s taking a little bit of work to get that 5-fish limit per person.

“Roosterfish have also gotten in the game. While out fishing for tuna the Jen Wren called on the VHF to let us know the biggest frenzy of roosters were going off in front of our place and driving bait out of the water up onto the sand,” said Rayor. “Today (Saturday) while walking the beach I spotted two different spots of roosterfish feeding 10 feet from the sand.”

John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero reported in Sunday, saying the water is 80 to 81 degrees and warming, and they had some wind the past few days. Air was in the low 80s. As for the fishing, he said, “The yellowfin have been on and off all week. The schools of porpoise holding the tuna have moved further offshore.

“The big schools of tuna are further outside 30 to 40 miles,” said Ireland. “The fleet has not been able to get that far out the last three days because of the wind. It was limits for all anglers earlier in the week. The big fish in the 20- to 40-pound range are being taken closer to shore two to three miles off Rincon with hoochies working best outside, and live bait and squid inside.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Bank Pangas, based at Puerto Los Cabos Marina, reported prime conditions are developing.

“Early in the week we saw currents from the north push in water that was in the 78/80 degree range and later in the week it was holding more in the 74/76 range,” said Brictson. “Much of the week we felt north winds, this limited at times where charters went, later towards the weekend winds laid down. With changing currents, also this pushed in slightly greenish off colored waters. Transition period has been unsettled for weeks now, eventually conditions will heat up and we will see some more stable patterns.”

Bait vendors are finding moonfish, jacks and some sardineta, also options of ballyhoo. The most consistent action being found was over the structure. Boats are working areas from off of Red Hill/Palmilla, Gordo Banks and Cardon, La Fortuna, San Luis, north to Vinorama. Some of the best action was very early on the San Luis Banks, anglers working yo-yo jigs did very well for red snapper (huachinango), these fish were quality, average of 5 to 12 pounds. He said pangeros at the various rocky areas found amberjack and some grouper species. They saw amberjack up to 70 pounds, but most were in the 10- to 30-pound range. Yellowtail action was solid but part of that was due to sharks and seals moving onto the Gordo.

“A handful of striped marlin were hooked into, both the off colored changing currents, combined with passing of the full moon seemed to spread this action out, scattered activity for billfish, surely will rebound as soon as water conditions become more favorable. No dorado or wahoo being talked about, though there were some yellowfin tuna accounted for from the super pangas fishing on the northern grounds from San Luis to Vinorama, striking on cut bait and yo-yo jigs, most of these yellowfin were in the 12- to 20-pound range.”

As for the roosterfish, areas just south of Palmilla to Chileno produced good action for roosterfish, some of these to over 30 pounds. Slow trolling live bait was best technique for these powerful gamefish. Also in the mix were a handful of late season sierra, as well as hog sized jack crevalle.

The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 60 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 4 striped marlin, 8 yellowfin tuna, 10 leopard grouper, 245 Mexican bonito, 82 red snapper, 5 yellow snapper, 7 African pompano, 5 barred pargo, 24 amberjack, 9 sierra, 12 glasseye pargo, 22 roosterfish, 10 jack crevalle and 40 triggerfish.

JAMES ANDREWS WITH first-ever tagged roosterfishon the Pisces 23-foot Panga Samantha. PHOTO BY GRAY FISH TAG

CABO SAN LUCAS — Pisces Sportfishing reported decent numbers of striped marlin with the top boat being the Tracy Ann, 5 striped marlin released in one day.

“Tuna and dorado were slow, with only a few caught of each, but the inshore fishing was excellent, saidRebecca Ehrenberg. Again, roosterfish, jack crevalle and red snapper, along with some yellowtail, grouper and triggerfish, were the main catches.”

Beginning the week off strong was the Bill Collector with Texas families Owens and Hauck. They did well to release 4 striped marlin. The fish ranged in size from 70 to 140 pounds each, and hit on dead caballito bait, slow -rolled, out of the 1150 Spot. The next day, Bill Collector did well again with 2 striped marlin released on live caballito bait out of Punta Gordo. Later in the week, again, 1 striped marlin released, this time only 6 miles off of Palmilla, hitting on ballyhoo bait. Closer to Cabo, around Santa Maria area, they also caught 1 bonita on a feather lure, 2 skipjacks on green/white hoochis, and 12 triggerfish which they kept for anglers from Ohio.

The Tracy Ann caught the most marlin in one outing this week, finding their 5 stripers from the 1150 to the 95 Spot. They trolled dead caballito and also managed to spot a few marlin close to the surface and cast live bait.

All fish were quite close in size, from 100 to 120 pounds for anglers Scott and Wesley Williams from Dallas, Texas. They also caught one of the only dorado of the week, which weighed about 15 pounds.

For inshore action this week, 23-foot Samantha started off the week with 2 roosterfish and 1 jack crevalle released, and 2 red snapper. Anglers were Yesenia Bassulto, Pisces Apparel Store Manager, and her husband Alberto, along with Dave Adams from Tormenter Ocean Apparel Co. The roosterfish hit early on, at the Old Lighthouse on live caballito and weighed about 10 to 15 pound each. The jack crevalle was about 20 pounds and the red snappers averaged about 10 pounds as well.

FIRST TIME FISHING. First day out. First time in Mexico. Right off the bat 18-year-old Ryan McConnell from Arizona (he got a graduation present trip from his family) hits this 57-pound wahoo fishing with Captain Armando from the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz. Captain Armando is a big guy. Yes, Ryan is still a foot taller which makes the fish look small. Ryan is on his way to Northern Arizona State University on a scholarship in the fall.

LA PAZ Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter said they had a very different, strange, good, anemic, erratic week! His words, actually.

“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “I think the only thing we didn’t get was rain! Fishing changed from day-to-day and boat-to-boat. Anglers worked really hard for fish one day and the next it was 180 degree difference. One boat would be bendo and pulling on fish all day and the boat right next to it spent the day eating lunch and drinking their beers waiting for a bite. One boat would catch tons of bonito. The boat next to it would have tuna, wahoo and a marlin and zero bonito. It would be windy and choppy one day and the next flat as glass… or calm in one spot and a mile away like a washing machine. We had winds from the north, south, west and east that changed daily! A wild unpredictable week for sure!”

He said there was no shortage of action or species, but the captains had to put in some extra effort.

“We still had great inshore action on several species of pargo as well as cabrilla, amberjack, jack crevalle, bonito, triggerfish, sierra, and those big pompano. If that’s what you wanted, you could do that all day long and have a blast. Roosterfish were still around although a little stickier this week than last where the roosters seemed to be everywhere and willing to chew. With all the winds, the waters were a little turned over with a lot more turbidity and a little green so the fish were more finicky. We did get more than a few, however, and all released.”

Roldan added, “The blue water species were a little trickier as well. We got more marlin in the water and had our best marlin week with stripers moving in. A lot of fish sighted, but weren’t quite interested in biting… just yet. However, we hooked several with most getting released.”

The tuna were a conundrum. The big 40 to 100 pounders were still there.

“Everyone saw them busting and breaking water and foaming but they weren’t always willing to eat,” said Roldan. “In fact, most of the time, they would eat everything but the bait that was on the hook. Guys dropped down from 60… to 50… to 40…and finally getting fish on 30-pound fluoro leaders. But, if you hang a 100-pound fish on 30-pound, you’re already at a huge disadvantage.

“One of our guys hooked a big fish on 30 and fought it for nearly 4 hours and it towed the panga almost 10 miles up the island. They got it near the panga at color and my captain estimated it at almost 200 pounds! Just as they were near to gaff, the line broke! Heartbreak!”

As for dorado, they are getting more plentiful and bigger for both fleets coming on with more sargasso weed building up north of the city.

LORETO — The Robert Ross Inaugural Tournament was in the books last week at  Marina Puerto Los Cabos with 28 teams and Team Tag from Pisces taking the team title with 20 marlin releases, it was reported on last week. Now, it’s back to normal action, with pangas going after yellowtail and pargo with dorado expected to debut soon.

Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com said nearshore waters are bobbing with many large rafts of sargasso grass, and offshore are big dorado and solid numbers of billfish.

“It's hard to guess when the summer action figures will work their way closer to our workable area but if they are hungry we still have tons of baitfish everywhere you look,” said Hill. “The local boats are still working over, picking away at the yellowtail and the cabrilla are still hitting the fillet tables as they have been for the past two months!

It's countdown to dorado in Loreto!”

MARTIN DOWNS SCORED this 400-pound black seabass on a recent Tony Reyes mothership trip to the Midriff.

MIDRIFF — Tony Reyes’ boat the mothership Tony Reyes just returned from a 6-day trip led by chartermaster Jerry LeCompte from Glendale, Arizona. The trip, said Tom Ward, owner of the Longfin Tackle shop in Orange, recorded 242 yellows, 224 cabrilla, 106 bass, 83 pargo, 6 sheephead, 1 amberjack, 11 sierra, 4 grouper and 3 corvina.

The week previous the boat landed a 400-pound black seabass on a charter led by Calstar rods’ Gary Gibbs. Martin Downs caught the monster, which is a legal target in Mexican waters. For more info on the trips that run out San Felipe, go to www.thelongfin.com and www.tonyreyes.com.

Contribute to the Baja report by sending information and photos to baja@wonews.com.

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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 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.

Easy Cape
After a slow seasonal start, things went a little crazy on the East Cape this week with quick tuna limits under the porpoise as the action has gone wide open; La Paz also seeing a wild bite on tuna and huge roosters with crashing fish that brings back images of tales of Ray Cannon on Sea of Cortez; Pisces Team Tag wins inaugural Robert Ross tourney in Loreto


THE EAST CAPE bite on the yellowfin was crazy good for all the area sportfishers. In these photos, Hotel Rancho Leonero’s John Ireland and crew hold up some quality yellowfin, and Billy Maddox of Long Beach poses with 52-pound dorado he caught last Saturday on a Leonero boat.

THE YELLOWFIN FOR the East Cape-based Jen Wren Fleet out of Los Barilles were wide-open eaters with porpoise schools that ranged from 10 to 30 miles out and offered super quick limits on hoochies and cedar plugs. The bite started in close the previous Sunday and just kept rolling through the week. From left, Jack Nilsen of Accurate, Richard Jensen of Spotfishing Financial and Wayne Shimabukuro.

THE REEL ADVENTURE crew from the Hotel Coral Marina Store in Ensenada timed their trip to the East Cape just right with great weather and yellowfin tuna under the porpoise 26 miles out for Steve Richardson, Greg Taylor and Wes.

EAST CAPE — The fishing on the East Cape has blown wide open warming waters and reports of easy tuna limits, marlin arriving, dorado to 52 pounds and roosters. La Paz boats also weighed in with tuna to 100 pounds and roosters to 95 pounds. Loreto saw 25 to 45-pound yellowtail.

It’s game on in Baja Sur on the Sea of Cortez. It’s all about conditions, and the East Cape has been ready to bust open for weeks, and last Sunday it did with yellowfin moving in to within 10 miles under the porpoise. It was a wild scene thereafter with tuna spread out from 10 to 30 miles out.

“The East Cape has busted loose!” proclaimed John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero on Sunday. “It’s limits of yellowfin for all anglers and the billfish have arrived and there’s some dorado up to 52 pounds, and a couple of wahoo are being taken daily. Plus we had good roosterfishing with the bigger ones coming in this week.”

Ireland, owner of Hotel Rancho Leonero, took a run out one day last week. He had an 11 a.m. appointment to make, so he ran his boat out at 7 a.m. from the Ranch, taking an hour to reach the porpoise schools 10 miles away. They spent 1½ hours and had 12 fish aboard before rolling back in. Mission accomplished.

The tuna have been 10 to 50 pounds depending on the vast spread of porpoise schools you troll hoochies and cedar plugs over. If they are the small ones, you keep looking. It doesn’t take long, said Ireland. “It’s limits for ALL anglers.”

Another very good sign overall for the fishery is the appearance of big dorado. They are no in big numbers, but a 52 pounder on Saturday by Leonero guest Billy Maddox of Long Beach created a stir at the dock.

Billfish are a big draw for the East Cape, and this past week they debuted with the stripers mixed in with sailfish, and anglers targeting them are getting at least one, with the fish spread from La Ribera to Frailes on the outer bank working best.

“It’s been light pressure, though,” said Ireland, with most people targeting the yellowfin.”

The Reel Adventure crew based at the Hotel Coral Marina Store in Ensenada timed their trip to the East Cape just right. Good weather, great fishing.

“We went to Martin Verdugo’s at East Cape and caught some nice small to medium grade yellowfin tuna under the porpoise 26 miles out,” said Wes Price, whose sportfisher is named Reel Adventure, which is kept at the Hotel Coral Marina. They fished with Ronnie Verdugo on one the hotel’s cruisers. “We had perfect weather while it’s been cold and rainy at home. The group was made up of Steve Richardson, Greg Taylor and Price. “Great time at the East Cape!”

In other Baja action:

FROM MONTANA ON their first trip to Mexico, Ken and Peggy Miller, were out with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz when Peggy hooked this yellowfin tuna estimated in the 80-pound-class.

WESTERN OUTDOOR NEWS Editor Blake Warren scored a 55-pound rooster that day, his biggest ever.

JED HINKLE IS a former state senator from Montana and caught-and-released this huge roosterfish just off the beach near Las Arenas. The fish was estimated the fish to be about 95 pounds. Keep in mind Jed is 6-foot-5.

LA PAZ — This region is seeing a major uptick, and on Facebook some panga anglers posted video of roosters crashing the surface, hundreds and hundreds of bigger grade fish, boiling. It was like the old days of Ray Cannon and his writing, tales that romanticized the Sea of Cortez fishery. The fish this past week were all over 30 pounds. On Sunday, Tailhunter International’s Jonathan Roldan confirmed the wild action in a WON report.

“Despite a full moon last week, we might have had one of the best weeks of the fishing season!” he said. “High quality fish, where anglers were fighting fish for one to two hours, and losing a bunch, but plenty of bigger tuna and roosters were caught.”

Among them were tuna, amberjack, yellowtail; three species of pargo, dogtooth, cabrilla; yellow snapper, red snapper, white bonito, jack crevalle and wahoo, hooked but not landed). And they also got our first marlin of the season!

Inshore the roosterfish came on strong with fish between 40 and 90 pounds (yes, 90 pounds) getting caught and released.

“It was by far our best roosterfish week of the season with some sightings or entire schools of roosterfish crashing baits along the beaches,” said Roldan. “One of my captains said there could have been “hundreds” of big roosterfish in one school!”

Fishing with Tailhunter, Jed Hinkle (a former state senator from Montana) seems to have a knack for big roosterfish every time he visits La Paz and fishes with Tailhunter Sportfishing. He caught and released this huge roosterfish just off the beach near Las Arenas. Captain Gerardo estimated the fish to be about 95 pounds.

Roldan said while the roosterfish were thick and big and some areas, with 50 pounders slamming baits on the surface, tuna were actually the highlight.

“These were not the football sizes, these were those mean 40- to 100-pound yellowfin that have a tendency to even break strong men,” said Roldan. “Most of these fish took one to three hours on our lighter live-bait tackle and most of the fish taken in shallower water. The fun thing was that it seemed that many of the larger fish were hooked by first-timers or the wives and girlfriends. t was great to see them grit it out and all of them enjoyed it. There were even larger fish that were battled and came unbuttoned or the lines broke after long fights.”

On their first trip to Mexico were Montana residents Ken and Peggy Miller who hooked a yellowfin tuna estimated in the 80-pound class and she battled the fish alone and refused to ask for help even at the tail end of a 90-minute fight! And, Western Outdoor News Editor Blake Warren down for the week and fishing three days caught and released a 55-pound roosterfish, a personal best. Last year he caught a 50-pound class pez gallo.



PISCES TEAM TAG on the 72-foot Viking Tag won the overall title at the first annual Robert Ross Tourney held over the weekend, May 17-19 out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos, releasing 2 stripers the first day, and 16 marlin and 4 sailfish the second to win $11,200 and a Suzuki 140 hp outboard.

LORETO — The main bulk of the fishing pressure from bigger boats and some skiffs was via the inaugural two-day Robert Ross Tournament run May 17-19 out of – and by – the Marina Puerto Escondido. There were 25 teams, with a $1,000 entry, plus optionals. It is the first big money tourney held out of Loreto, made possible by the expansion of the marina.

Here is an account on Monday the day after the event ended, from WON columnist Gary Graham who was down in Loreto for the event:

“The 25 teams in the Robert Ross Fishing Tournament found even better weather on Sunday morning, May 20 than the first day, as once again they sped past the official start boat at 7-am sharp.. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, rumors of not only large but also plenty of fish ricocheted around the weigh-station until almost 4-pm when the first team “Bad Influence” arrived at the scale with both a qualifying dorado and a qualifying yellowtail. Once again, over half of the teams had returned to the scale with qualifying fish or videos of multiple releases of marlin.

— Grand Prize for Marlin and Sailfish Catch and Release went to “Tag Team” - John Sercu for a total of16 Marlin and 6 Sailfish in the two days which earned the team $11,200 plus a Suzuki outboard motor.

— Dorado Overall First Place was taken by “Voladores” - Angler C.P. Dewitt caught a 30.5-pound dorado the second day earning $5,625.

— Yellowtail Overall First Place went to “Canuks” with a 29.7-pound yellowtail earning $5,625. (They also won the $4,000 yellowtail jackpot on the first day plus $4,500 pot the second day) …for a total of $14,125.

John Sercu observed, “Marina Puerto Escondido is fantastic! The offshore fishing for billfish this weekend reminded us of Magdalena Bay. It was awesome, and we will be back in August for the Dos Mares “Finale!”

Jeff Hill, who spends three months in British Columbia and nine months in Loreto added that the Tournament Coordinators had done a fantastic job organizing the event and that he would be back next year!

C.P. Dewitt, Phoenix, Arizona, was delighted with his personal-best dorado that came along just at the right time. His team was also far offshore and caught the largest dorado among the many groups of billfish they spotted.

Enrique Salcedo, General Manager, thanked all the participants and congratulated the winners. He recognized the local and visiting dignitaries and he promised that the 2020 Second Annual Robert Ross Fishing Tournament would continue to keep “fun” as the event’s foundation next year.

In other Loreto news….

CHUCK NICHOLS, A WON reader, sent in this pic of a 45-pound yellowtail caught by his friend John Durso in Loreto. Capt. Francisco Davis is on the left and John is on the right. It was caught flylining a mackerel. The bite May 8-9 was epic on big fish for Durso and friend Billy.

The fishing and weather has been very good out of Loreto Marina, and with some true monsters. Chuck Nichols has been a WON subscriber for many years and relayed a photo and report of a friend John Durso who fished Loreto May 9 with a friend Billy. They had a great trip and it was topped by a wild bite that day in which Durso had 5 fish including a 45 pounder, Durso‘s biggest yellowtail ever in Loreto. He used a live mackerel flylined on the surface. His buddy Billy had a 43 pounder the day before

In other Loreto news, Rick Hill of Pinchy Sportfishing reported from the region north by pangeros over the weekend.

“It's been a bit of a pick on the yellowtail this week with many boats lucky to find a few biters,” said Hill. “Mackerel is still the best ticket for deep rockpile hugging yellows. Most of the trips head north and have better luck with other species. Different snappers and cabrilla are higher on the catch list. Almejas and Pulpito were the most productive destinations.”

BIG ROOSTERS ARE in the mix for the Pisces Fleet out of Cabo San Lucas, as well as striped marlin the crews always tag and release.

CABO/SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Marlin at the 1150 area and roosters on the shore off Palmilla and Chileno Bay have been the main targets for the sportfishers out of Cabo. Good conditions and water is warming up. Most action was on the Sea of Cortez side with warmer water and more striped marlin. See more detailed reports this week at www.wonews.com

THE GORDO BANKS yellows have been in some big sizes on live bait and jigs for Gordo Banks Pangas, reported Eric Brictson.

Eric Brictson reported that the Gordo Banks Pangas fleet was getting more customers, and more fish. The season in Baja Sur is moving in the right direction.

“We are seeing limited crowds of tourists now, but we have noticed an increased number of actual anglers, so hopefully this trend will continue,” he said. “Weather patterns remain ideal, lows of about 65 degrees, with highs reaching into the near 90 some days. Warmer currents are moving in from the north, up to 78 degrees on the Gordo Banks, but it’s still much cooler on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas.”

Bait is critical to the area and he said, as netters had to work extra hard to obtain what they could, a mix of moonfish, caballito and a few species of sardinas were found. On Gordo Banks, anglers were able to jig up some other chihuil baitfish, but this proved scarcer by the day as water warmed up quickly. Using mullet now is prohibited. This season will open up in coming weeks.

As for the main fishing grounds, he said, pangeros have been concentrated on Palmilla, Red Hill, Gordo Banks, San Luis and as far north as Vinorama.

“The Gordo Banks had been the location where yellowtail were being found, averaging 25 to 35 pounds striking on larger live baits near the bottom, though as the week progressed this bite came to a standstill as large numbers of various shark species were also moving in on these same grounds,” said Brictson. “ Sea lions were a pesky problem as well, especially on the grounds to the north. Other bottom action included cabrilla, leopard grouper, pargo and amberjack, on Thursday there was a very impressive 96 lb. amberjack landed from a panga.

“In recent days the striped marlin became much more active, on these same grounds and a bit further offshore there were stripers being found, most of these were striking various baits and average weights were 70 to 100 pounds, though one monster striper of about 180 pounds was landed on Friday, many people were thinking it was a blue marlin because of its size, years past we used to see more of the larger striped marlin. One wahoo of about 25 pounds was also landed Friday, but no dorado or yellowfin tuna to speak of.

“To the north off of Cabo Pulmo they have been finding tuna, so we expect these fish will also move south into our range before too long,” said Brictson. “Off of the San Jose del Cabo hotel zone anglers were finding better action for roosterfish in the 15- to 25-pound range, we look for this action to peak in the six weeks or so.”



BAY OF L.A. has seen a nice wad of yellows and grouper as the conditions get better and water warmer. This set of photos was provided by Baja Fishing Convoys which has a trip slated for a group May 24. Stay tuned.

BAY OF L.A. — Fishing here was starting to roll as waters have warmed and weather has settled, and that means cabrilla, grouper and yellowtail. Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys is taking a group down on May 24 and says she hopes to send back some great reports. She got a nice indicator with some pictures of captains Igor and Joel. They scored yellows for their anglers between the surface and 100 feet, and the grouper are, of course, on the structure.


JOHN FITZGERALD AND Juan Cook on their Bay of L.A. Bay run after they left Gonzaga Bay, which was slammed with winds. They left Gonzaga and fished three straight days in BOLA and found fish in several areas.

GONZAGA BAY/L.A. BAY — Juan Cook, a guide who runs between San Quintin and Gonzaga Bay and L.A. Bay depending on the season and action reported he was fishing May 7-9 in Gonzaga Bay with friend John “Rockodile” Fitzgerald.

“We fished hard for leopard grouper all the way to Bahia Calamajue for not much, turned around and headed to Isla San Luiz, found a huge spot of sierra feeding on the surface and caught a few bottom dwellers that we used to catch a small gulf grouper,” reported Cook in a FB post. “It was wide open so we had enough and stopped fishing and headed home. The next day it was blown out, so we hooked up John’s Grady-White and drove it 4 to 5 hours with no troubles to Bay of L..A. for the start of the season there. We rested on the 9th due to winds and fished three days from the 10 th to the 13th. It’s the beginning of the season in BOLA so we traveled far looking for fish and found them in different areas. There’s of bait in the area so the fish are scattered, but those fish we found were on the reefs.”

MIDRIFF — The mothership Tony Reyes will be running trips now until November. There was no report this week. For information go to www.tonyreyes.com or www.thelongfin.com

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Roosterfish making their move from Cabo to La Paz

East Cape tuna go off locally
Limits Monday and Tuesday under porpoise 

THE BITE IS ON at the East Cape. At right is Jack Nilsen of Accurate reels aboard the Jen Wren's Vaquero.  

EAST CAPE — Capt. Mark Rayor posted on Facebook Monday, and again live Tuesday aboard his  Jen Wren Sportfishing's Vaquero, as he was hooking up more yellowfin as the bite that had been a distant target came in close 10 miles off Las Barilles and it was limit-style action.

He told WON that trolling hoochies in perfect blue, calm seas was the news of the season as the bite that had been slow to develop but looked promising as conditions went prime, dramatically busted loose. 

THE ACTION MONDAY on the Jen Wren's Vaquero out of the East Cape went off big time for the fleets 10 miles from shore under the porpoise. 

Before that report came in Monday and Tuesday, John Ireland weighed in from his Hotel Rancho Leonero on Sunday. as he said the water was getting warmer, 75 to 77 degrees. Ireland said this is prime weather time with highs in the low 80s and cool mornings. 

As for the fishing,  it’s moving in the right direction. 

“It’s a late winter in the East Cape,” said Ireland. “Being cooler than normal this year has made for a slow start for our fishing season, but this week the bite has finally started to turn on.” 

Just days before the bite erupted Monday and Tuesday close to home, Ireland said most fleet boats were fishing north off Cerralvo Island with quite a few nice wahoo mixed with good-sized tuna in the 50-pound class taken in the past week. Huge schools of skipjack and white bonito are providing unlimited action for anglers. 

He said, 'The outside drop-off between the lighthouse and Los Frailles is producing striped marlin. And inside, the roosters are getting bigger and the good gallo fishing is getting better! A number of 30-pound plus fish are released on flies from the beach, so it’s a much-improved week of fishing. 

CABO SAN LUCAS — The weather cooperated all week, then the winds hit and should settle, but when it was calm, the fishing here was sensational for tuna offshore, and a roosterfish bite that is now in full gear with bigger pez gallos entering the mix.

“This week the weather has remained pretty stable, with only one or two days of strong winds, but this didn't seem to affect fishing much,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing. “The inshore action picked up quite a bit, with roosterfish, sierra and jack crevalle being the main targets. Top boats caught and released up to 13 roosterfish in one day. Marlin catch and release percentages also remained constant, although many boats did spot many marlin but struggled to get them to bite.”


STAN AND STACY Laub from Texas on the Pisces super panga Samantha did well to release 3 roosterfish, which weighed up to 10 pounds hitting on live bait out in front of Pedregal. They also released 5 jack crevalle, most of which hit on small green lures and live caballito bait, out from the Old Lighthouse. To finish off the day they caught 4 sierra mackerelon green hoochies. PISCES PHOTO

With that said, the top boat the 31-foot Tracy Ann released 5 stripers. Three of the marlin hit at the Cabrillo Mount and the other two at the 1150 Spot.

Wahoo catches are also rising, with some real quality ‘hoos, including a 60 pounder caught by the La Brisas for Carlsbad anglers Darrin Heisey, James Thiele and John Frost who were trolling a blue and pink lure close to the Vinorama area on the Sea of Cortez. Captain Rey Winkler knows his stuff, said Ehrenberg, with 35 years at the helm of a Pisces sportfisher.

Everyone loves great father-daughter fishing stories, and anglers Mark and Leyah Farber from Miami, Florida caught5 striped marlin on the Tracy Ann over the course of their three days fishing. Most of the fish were caught at the 1150 Spot and only one at the Punta Gorda area on live caballito bait pitched at the marlin. They also caught one 20-pound yellowfin tunaon a cedar plug and a jack crevalle, released, on caballito out of Destiladeras. Another jack crevalle caught and released of about 20 pounds hit on slow-trolled caballito at Punta Gorda as well.

There were lots of good tuna reports. The 38-foot C-Rod smacked some yellowfin on a variety of lures, cedar plugs, feathers, hoochies, and green lures, using the kite too. All fish hit around the Herradura area about 25 to 30 miles out. Anglers were Zach Collins and friends from Nevada. The Rebecca also nabbed some tuna, landing 10 total , which weighed between 15 and 25 pounds each that hit cedar plugs and green/yellow lures at Cabrillo Seamount. Anglers Melvin and Mona Scherer also released 1 small striped marlinthat hit a slow-trolled caballito.

“Highlights for the small game action were very hard to choose this week, as we had so many great catches, but here are a few,” said Ehrenberg. “The top roosterfish boat this week was hands down the panga Samantha with 16 roosters released, and their best day was Friday with 13 roosters and 2 sierra mackerel. Anglers Jason Bellati, Jeff Chastain and Ricardo Gutierrez from San Diego caught the roosters on live bait out of the Pedregal area, with the largest of the roosters weighing about 20 pounds and all were released. Not bad for a half day of fishing!”

The small boat inshore fishing was a kick. On May 6 on the Samantha, three small roosters were released by Sid and Stacey Laub from Texas, who also released 5 jack crevalle, most of which hit on small green lures and live caballito bait, out from the Old Lighthouse. To finish off the day they caught 4 sierra mackerel on green hoochies.

The wind was up again over the weekend, but this is typical of late spring. A few days of wind, then several days of calm. The water temperatures are climbing, varying of course from the Pacific that was seeing offshore temps between 66 to 72 degrees, and the Sea of Cortez waters that were up to 75 and as high as 78.

In other Baja action:

MIDRIFF MAGIC! It’s game on with trips out of San Felipe running each week. The mothership Tony Reyes will be running trips now until November. For information go totonyreyes.com or thelongfin.com LONGFIN PHOTO

MIDRIFF — The mothershipTony Reyes just returned from its third trip of the season with a lot of fish — especially yellows, that were eating jigs quite well, reported Tom Ward, owner of the Longfin Tackle shop in Orange, which books these great trips to the islands. “Blue and white jigs seemed to be the best color for jigs with the Mirrorlure in pink being the trolling champion,” said Ward.

He added, “Weather was windy some days making it difficult to catch fish. We were fishing the main islands, and live bait was tough, but we had a good yellowtail bite on the coast with 256 yellows up to 26 pounds.”

Other catches in the count were: 278 cabrilla, 123 spotted bass to 6 pounds, 12 red snappers to 10 pounds, 1 black seabass, and 4 sheepshead to 12 pounds.

The boat Tony Reyes will be running trips now until November. For information go to tonyreyes.com or thelongfin.com.

DON BUSSE FROM Lakewood visits La Paz every year to fish with the Tailhunter Fleet and over two days scored nice cabrilla like this one right in tight in the rocky shallows as well as pargo, snapper and pompano. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

JEFF AND PATTY Killian from Oregon caught and released 3 nice roosterfish like this in short succession just north of La Paz fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

LA PAZ — Tailhunter pangeros are seeing a little better action as conditions improve but as Jonathan Roldan said, “We’re not outta the woods yet. To coincide with all the bad weather north of the border, it was reflected in some gusty winds and choppy water that affected the fishing and definitely the comfort level. So, we had some good fishing, and we had some not-so-good fishing.”

Part of the problem is bait. Choppy conditions make it tough to get the live ‘dines or reach the fishing spots, especially Cerralvo and other islands.

“Or, because of the winds, and because we are blessed to usually fish so close to shore, the waters are turned over and murkier than normal. So, there were some off-days but some of the other days were much better.”

Big cabrilla, pargo, yellowtail and snapper are still willing and hungry in the rocks. More dorado are starting to show up. The wahoo are still biting, although they hooked them but lost them.

“We know the fish are there,” said Roldan. “Purple and black Rapalas and Yo-Zuri Magnums are still the best, although the wahoo are willing to eat live bait as well.”

So, now the good news. The roosterfish season is officially open. The bigger boys have started showing up with fish running 30 to 50 pounds and Tailhunter is seeing much larger fish as well.

“Two of our anglers scored a triple rooster day with fish between 40 and 50 pounds and all released. Other nice roosters were lost,” said Roldan. 


CHRIS WHEATON AND his father fished the Los Rancheros Yellowtail Tourney last week and won a division for “other” species, with Bob’s cabrilla topping his son’s by a few ounces. CHRIS WHEATON PHOTOS

LORETO — Rick Hill of Pinchysportfishing.com said there has been no big bite on yellowtail this past week but the super mixed bag of cabrilla and pargo are keeping the fillet tables busy.

“Some yellowtail to 35 pounds have been landed up north for the boats wanting to make the long run,” said Hill. “The ride back along the coast has been the saving factor for the ‘Pulpito crowd.’ Chumming with sardina and trolling lures has been the working combination. Both mackerel and sardina have been in good supply for weeks.

Chris Wheaton, IGFA rep, fished the Los Rancheros tourney last weekend with his father Bob Wheaton and his friend Marty Dufek.

“Last weekend in Loreto my pops and I fished the Los Rancheros yellowtail tournament out of La Mision Hotel,” said Chris in a Facebook post when he got back to SoCal. “On Friday, he (Bob) caught the biggest other class fish with a 17-pound, 5-ounce cabrilla and on Saturday I caught one 17 pounds, 12 ounces. Not a lot of money for the other class but it helped pay for gas in the boats. Over $5,000 was raised for the breast cancer organization and the Internado School of Loreto.”

He added that while the tourney was small, it did good things, and with the fish they caught, the local restaurants turned it into some amazing cuisine. One of the best parts about Baja sportfishing is that they’ll grill your kill.

“I took our catch to Mita Gourmet in town where Chef Juan Carlos prepared us a feast!” wrote Wheaton. “I brought in some yellowtail and cabrilla already filleted about a half hour before we wanted to eat. He made us a couple of plates of carpaccio with the yellowtail that was awesome! Then for the grouper he made it with three different sauces: chipotle cream, mango sauce, and cilantro sauce and served it with pasta and vegetables. The consensus was that the cilantro sauce was the favorite and it went fast! I highly recommend this restaurant and if you want a great place to bring your catch in Loreto try this out.”

This week the May 17-19 inaugural Robert Ross Fishing Tournament is at Marina Puerto Escondido. Anglers will be competing for a minimum payout of $8,000, though the tournament will also offer daily and species-specific money awards. Teams of four will compete for cash prizes and free entry into the Grand Final Calisureños Tournament, held in Loreto in August. The grand prize is an $8,000 minimum payout and Suzuki outboard motor; first place payouts for dorado, tuna and yellowtail are $4,000 each (minimum).

There are also brown bag pots (ranging from $500 to $5,000) and cash prizes for smallest fish ($500) and largest fish ($1,000) caught. Visit robertrossfishingtournament.com for more information.

A NICE MIX for the Gordo Banks Fleet offered up good action on tasty game fish out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos including sierra, yellowtail and white bonito. ERIC BRICTSON PHOTO

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Weather conditions are now ideal, very little wind, perfect temperature, sunny skies, with highs of about 82 degrees. The ocean water temperature is now ranging from as chilly as 68 degrees on the Pacific, up to 75 degrees off of San Jose del Cabo and towards the north.

The main action now has been found northward farther up into the Sea of Cortez from Palmilla to Gordo Banks, La Fortuna, Iman and San Luis,” said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas. “Catches included a mix of bonito, sierra, roosterfish, pompano, amberjack, red snapper, pargo, cabrilla and yellowtail.”

He added, “Some of the hardcore local pangeros fishing commercially have been leaving very early, and this has paid off in being able to jig up chihuil baitfish by using sabiki rigs on the Gordo Banks. After the sun comes these bait fish do not want to bite. These candy baits have been producing quality catches of yellowtail, averaging 25 to 30 pounds while soaking these baits on both the Inner and Outer Gordo banks.”

The fleet is catching a few of these yellows, but as Brictson pointed out, it’s hard to leave at the hour needed to catch the better bait for this action.

Brictson said anglers are using a mix of available batfish and yo-yo jigs to produce a variety of good eating bottom species. Marlin action has been very spotty, but they are seeing a few of the striped marlin, actually in recent days, more of these billfish were seen closer to shore than further offshore, where water was a bit more greenish.

“It’s still transition time to where the water changes from green to blue and currents are pushing in from different directions. We are optimistic that the all around action improve soon,” said Brictson.

Inshore action consisted of some roosterfish to 20 pounds, and sporadic action for sierra to over 5 pounds. A handful of African pompano are found off inshore rocky areas, though there are so many aggressive triggerfish it is hard to get through them.

The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 55 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 1 striped marlin, 7 yellowtail, 14 leopard grouper, 155 bonito, 26 red snapper, 12 yellow snapper, 7 African pompano, 10 moharra, 4 amberjack, 32 sierra, 4 glasseye pargo, 14 roosterfish and 85 triggerfish.

K&M SPORTFISHING IS scoring the bigger yellows on the high spots and at San Martin Island while also nabbing some nice sportcoast calicos on runs out of San Quintin Bay. K&M PHOTO

SAN QUINTIN — San Quintin Bay based K&M Sportfishing is running its chartered Parkers out to the high spots and the ridges off San Martin for a whack at the yellows, a wad of fish pretty much spread all the way up the coast through Ensenada to the Coronados through Catalina and San Clemente islands. On May 6, Capt. Kelly Catian said a group wanted to pull on some sportcoats so the first stop was San Martin Island, where they also got into the yellows with iron jigs as well as Rapalas.

Contribute to the Baja report here and at wonews.com each week by sending any information during or right after the trip to baja@wonews.com or patm@wonews.com.

* * *

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 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.

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