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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


* * *


To contribute to the weekly Baja reports, send them to baja@wonews.com or patm@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.



300 pounder leads tuna march into Cabo
Fall arrives early in Baja and, with it, some very good fishing. The big tuna parade is going strong — great news for those hoping to land a winner in the 21st annual WON/Los Cabos Tuna Tournament Nov. 6-9. Meanwhile, the white seabass action continues its epic run for charter boats in San Quintin

CABO SAN LUCAS — Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Fleet can’t get over how good the fishing was this week in Cabo.


She said, “Truly there are no words for the epic fishing of this week, but of course I will try, and I think the best way to explain is by giving you the hard numbers. There were 147 billfish released this week by 36 boats. That’s an average of 4 billfish per boat... We had quite a few blue marlin between 300 and 500 pounds released, and Pisces’ 31-foot Tiburon had a grand slam with 1 striped marlin, 1 blue marlin of about 300 pounds, 1 sailfish and 10 dorado.”


scottschadefrom
SCOTT SCHADE FROM Anaheim caught this 286-pound yellowfin on the Pisces’ 35-foot Bill Collector 2. After fishing for dorado and marlin successfully the first day, he decided to give tuna a shot. It took him two hours to get this cow-sized tuna to the boat.

“Speaking of dorado,” she continued, “there were 237 fish caught total with many released, respecting catch limits. There were very good sizes on the dorado as well, making it easy to pick and choose which ones to take home... For example, top dorado boat Pisces’ 28-foot Andrea caught 22 dorado in one day, with two anglers onboard. They kept fish that averaged 20-30 pounds each.”


As for tuna, Ehrenberg said that only 8 boats targeted tuna this week, but it paid off. The 4 largest yellowfin tuna caught were a 68 pounder, 118 pounder, 164 pounder and a cow-sized 286 pounder.


Overall, the best locations for Pisces this week were the Pacific from Los Arcos, and Pozo Cota to Cerritos Golden Gate — and the fish were hitting on live/dead caballito and ballyhoo bait, as well as varied lures: petrolero, tirgirllo, blue/white, lime green, cedar plugs and feathers.


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THE WHITE SEABASS are still biting in San Quintin – and Jaime's Pangas scored a good one this week.

SAN QUINTIN BAY — Capt. Juan Cook reported to WON on Sunday that the white seabass are still biting in San Quintin.


He said, “K&M Sportfishing boats had 3 nice fish in the mid 60s, and several other boats also had 2 to 4 fish. It feels like the fish will be here till the end of the season when things turn over.”


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FISHING WITH THE Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz,Toni Brown from Salt Lake City caught and released her first roosterfish near Punta Arenas. In the second photo, Captain Lorenzo hoists up a big dog-tooth snapper for Jim Ginther, who came to enjoy some sunshine all the way from Minnesota.


LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International in La Paz reported that post-Hurricane Lorena, air temperatures have gone down dramatically, and “fall dropped in like someone had thrown a switch.”


Roldan said the bite was heavily affected as well. He explained that, right after Lorena moved north, tropical storm Mario moved into the vacuum — so there was continued cloudiness early in the week, along with rough seas and occasional rainstorms. All of this caused the bite to take its time getting back up to speed.


“Prior to the storm, we had the best dorado bite of the season going,” said Roldan. “And it was the best marlin bite I have ever seen in over two decades. After Lorena, it took a while to gain momentum again.”


According to Roldan, the week started pretty scratchy, but with each progressive day, the waters cleared up and the fish started to bite again. “It wasn’t as full-turbo as the week before, but fairly decent action… with mostly dorado biting.”


Roldan said the majority of the dorado were respectable 10- to 20-pound fish, and many smaller fish were released. Additionally, both blue and striped marlin fishing improved, with a number hooked each day while anglers were trying to catch dorado. Consequently, many fish were hooked (and quite a few lost) on light tackle.


Apparently there were no tuna or wahoo to speak of, though this should be prime time for both species. Occasionally, Roldan explained, one or two tuna would get picked up, but the schools were either moving too fast or popped up and boiled, then quickly went back down. And a few times, the fish were boiling but refused to take baits.


As for other species, the change in weather seems to have had a dramatic effect on them too. “It’s almost as if we are fishing in June conditions again,” said Roldan. “We’re getting pargo, cabrilla, jack crevalle, the occasional yellowtail and amberjack, pompano and even some sierra, plus those big dog-tooth snapper again.”


EAST CAPE — John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero reported that fishing started off slow, but as the week progressed and the water cleared, the bite improved every day.


“Early in the week, anglers were bringing in a lot of skipjack and a few dorado — and on Wednesday the bite picked up, with limits of yellowfin and dorado coming to the cleaning table,” said Ireland.


Large schools of dorado were very spread out, both north and south, and most boats were fishing around the lighthouse, as well as south to Rincon. Rincon continued to produce the yellowfin too, and most anglers were catching limits from mid-week on. According to Ireland, live sardines were the ticket for both yellowfin and dorado.


There was very good bottom fishing again this week too, with black grouper, pompano and amberjack being taken on the inside drop-offs. Chunk skipjack and squid were working best deep for those, with the sardines closer to the surface.


As for billfish and roosterfish, Ireland said they’re around, but almost all anglers were targeting the dorado and tuna instead.


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com reported that the weather and water couldn't be better in Loreto.


“The cool weather has finally stopped, allowing outdoor activities to get back into full swing,” said Hill.


“Sitting on some high spots just got easier, and the numbers of cabrilla and firecracker yellowtail are the result. North of Coronado all the way to Mangle, the fishing has been good. Sardina is the magic bait for cabrilla and small to mid-sized dorado. Not much is hitting trolled baits except bonito.”


He added that divers are spotting big dorado off the southeast tip of Coronado, but none stick around long.


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MIKE AVIANI AND his friend of 40 years caught tuna on live sardines, and trolled for wahoo with ballyhoo. The duo first fished Cabo together back in 1985.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported that they’re still seeing light crowds of visitors in town — and with the limited numbers of anglers, most charters are fishing the grounds from Iman to Vinorama.


“The all-around action was spotty through much of the week,” said Brictson, “as water conditions had turned over and were off-colored; also, there was a very strong current sweeping through. As the week progressed, conditions rebounded — and reports were much better for the weekend.”


According to Brictson, yellowfin and dorado were the most common species this week — with an occasional billfish or wahoo, and a mix of bottomfish.


“Drift fishing with sardinas, strips of squid, chunks of skipjack or bonito was the main method for enticing the yellowfin,” said Brictson. “The bite was still a bit scratchy, but some charters did account for up to 5 tuna. Dorado numbers were down from how they had been, and it was hard to find one much larger than ten pounds.”


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 59 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 1 black marlin, 2 blue marlin, 2 striped marlin, 145 dorado, 10 wahoo, 74 yellowfin tuna, 11 leopard grouper, 18 Mexican bonito, 12 yellow snapper, 6 rainbow runner, 8 barred pargo, 4 pompano, 4 amberjack and 35 triggerfish.


In other San Jose del Cabo news, Mike Aviani of Los Cabos Vacation Rentals (www.LosCabosVillas.com) fished with an old friend this week and sent in a quick report.


He said, “We brought 10 kilos of squid but caught the tuna on live sardines. We also trolled for wahoo early with ballyhoo. Iman bank hookups were next.”


Their crew planned to fish again this week out of Puerto Los Cabos and will keep us posted on the results.


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GAVIN CHUN AND his buddies scored on fat yellowtail off Cedros Island using trolled, live mackerel and blue and white surface iron.

CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch at Cedros Outdoor Adventures reported that, as they head into the fall season, the fishing off Isla Cedros remains hot, with yellowtail dominating the catch counts.

 

Gatch said a party of 12 anglers from the Los Angeles area came to Cedros on a 4-day visit, and were treated to banner yellowtail fishing that yielded them daily limits during their trip.

The group also encountered an active bite on ocean whitefish, which are prized commercially along the Atlantic coast. Over a 2-day period, they caught over 30 of these tasty fish weighing up to 9 pounds.


Earlier in the week, angler Gavin Chun and his buddies flew down from the Bay Area and cleaned up on yellowtail, as well as several other species including calico bass, California sheephead, halibut, whitefish and a few big bonito.


At the conclusion of their multi-day fishing adventure, Chun remarked, “We had a fabulous time. The great fishing goes without saying; we caught 6 different species of fish in one day. This trip was on my bucket list, and going back to Cedros Island again is now on my bucket list as well.”


•   •   •   •   •

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.


Hurricane Lorena veers off and action continues
The mild hurricane was headed for Cabo, turned up the coast, then switched back and headed east up the Sea of Cortez and dumped just rain; after port captains reopened the gates, it was back to tuna, marlin and pargo in Baja Sur; to the north, white seabass continue to bite off San Quintin Bay

LA PAZ — It’s tropical storm season in Baja Sur, and so far it’s been a mild one, but Hurricane Lorena put a scare into the region before she veered off from her trajectory of a direct hit on Cabo late in the week. Within 12 hours of expecting heavy winds and rain, the storm headed west, then changed her mind again and swept up the Sea of Cortez, moving east and dumping nothing more than heavy rain.


No harm, no foul, except lost days of fishing that had been incredible for the summer crew of captains and anglers going after big and small tuna, black and blue and striped marlin, bigger dorado, wahoo and pargo.


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IT’S LATE IN the season, and not many folks are fishing for them since dorado and other species are so prevalent, but the big roosters are still around! Mari Bedsaul was fishing in La Paz for the first time with Captain Jorge of the Tailhunter Fleet when she hooked this beautiful rooster off Punta Perico near Las Arenas. The fish was released.

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JON SPARKS REALLY wanted a roosterfish, so after several days of catching dorado, he dedicated a day to chasing the big gallos with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz. Here, Captain Archangel seems to be checking the fish’s teeth or trying to retrieve his hook so they can release the fish.


“The fishing was really good here all week, really crazy, and then Lorena hit,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International in La Paz. “It was relatively small compared to many others, but it started heading towards Baja and really didn’t look like much other than maybe a little wind and rain. Then, the Hurricane Watch became Hurricane Warning. It was definitely headed up to Baja! However, the initial advisories indicated it would veer off to the Pacific and La Paz would only get the edge of the storm.


“However, as sometimes happens, late Friday, the storm turned and put us right in the crosshairs on a direct collision. So airports closed, flights got canceled, the port closed and no boats were allowed out…folks started getting ready with water, candles, flashlights and extra beer. A lot of our anglers got stuck for an extra night or two unable to leave. Others trying to get in couldn’t fly down because of canceled flights or the closed Cabo Airport.”


Roldan added, “When the storm finally hit, it was a lot weaker than so many storms we’ve had, but enough to drop wind and rain on us for about 12 hours and keep everyone pinned indoors all night watching the storm. Fortunately, other than some flooding and downed trees, no one was hurt and very little property was damaged. It was just a big, wet, inconvenient pain in the butt!


“Frankly, many of our clients partied and rolled with it and were very patient with us and the circumstances. However, I felt badly for those that lost fishing days or got stuck one way or the other. As of Saturday morning, the airports opened and normalcy started returning as we dried out and dug out. Not sure how this will affect the fishing but we’ll keep you posted.”


Before Lorena, it was a wild week in a full moon, starting with a crazy good bite on dorado, and the fish just bigger and bigger, especially for the Tailhunter La Paz fleet, which saw limits of up to 25-pound dorado. Then it went off, big time, on marlin.


“The marlin went crazy nuts insane!” said Roldan. “In 25 years here, I have never seen anything like it. For four days, almost all our pangas were hooking 1 to 4 marlin per boat per day! Stripers up to 120 pounds! Blue marlin in the 150-250-pound range! We even had a 600-pound marlin at one point.”


Roldan said his customers all had some good stories. Here are two:


“Our panga was in the middle of the dorado school, and we had two fish on. I happened to look down and saw a marlin just kinda hanging under the boat. Then, I felt a bump and realized there was another marlin bumping the boat!”


“Pretty exciting stuff. In 3 days, we hooked and released 5 marlin on light tackle, including 4 stripers and 1 blue. My wife says she loves fishing now! For our last fish, we were on our way in and had one rod out with a little feather — and a striper bit it!”


Roldan said the big issue was that so many of these fish showed up while guys were going full-turbo in the dorado schools.


“Consequently, they were fishing with light 30- and 40-pound test… small hooks and small baits when the marlin bit. Many of the marlin were not only eating the baits, but also eating the dorado. On light tackle, the fights were long and epic.”


Then, Hurricane Lorena showed up!


EAST CAPE — John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero reported that the water is clearing up fast after the storm Friday – and for most of the week, the good fishing continued. He said having large schools of sardines throughout Palmas Bay is really helping.


According to Ireland, there was a strong, consistent yellowfin bite early in the week. Most were taken off Rincon and the lighthouse two to three miles offshore, and fish ranged in size from 5 to 35 pounds. Live sardines and chunked squid were both working.


The billfish bite was good this week too, with lots of stripers, sails and mostly black marlin. All anglers targeting billfish were releasing at least one. Ireland said they’re seeing a ton of big blacks and blues this season — caught mostly on slow-trolled ballyhoo, darker lures and live caballito.


As for wahoo, the bite was a little slower this week, centered mostly around the lighthouse and the white cliffs off of Vinaramas. Fish ranged from 20-55 pounds. CD-18 Rapalas are still the ticket.


Inshore, the fishing was great — with the inside drop-offs producing amberjack, dogtooth snapper, pompano and some nice grouper.


Finally, Ireland said that there was light fishing pressure on roosterfish, with most anglers going for the meat fish, but they saw some nice-sized gallos inside along the beaches.


They decided to pull the hotel fleet out of the water Thursday afternoon, and Lorena hit them midday Friday. “It could have been a lot worse,” said Ireland. “We had heavy sustained winds for over five hours, with surprisingly light rain. The palapa roofs took a beating, and a few windows were broken, but it wasn’t too bad overall… The hotel is open, and it’s business as usual!”


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com reported that, after a couple days of tropical storm rain, the sun is back and the stormy weather has moved on!


“We will be back out with the 10-pound dorado and hoping to meet up with their bigger versions,” said Hill. “Roosters, toro and bonito are also in the mix along the coastline and around Coronado Island.”


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MATE MARTIN AGUILAR of Pisces’ 38-foot C Rod holds up a 140-pound yellowfin. Before the storm, the big tuna were on the bite, with fish 100 to 200 pounds and over.

CABO SAN LUCAS — Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Fleet saw fishing shut down for a few days as the port was closed, but it reopened over the weekend after the threat passed with just light rain.


“Even with this week’s Hurricane Lorena, which only brought slight rain and closed the port Friday and Saturday, the amazing fishing continues,” she said. “Marlin catches are down slightly, but only due to the fact that we fished fewer days because of this. We had 100 billfish released compared to 165 last week, but we did see more blue marlin this week, sailfish and even some spearfish released. Many boats this week caught and released up to 10 striped marlin each, with tons of more marlin bites still!”


Ehrenberg said catch numbers for dorado doubled this week, with a total of 97 (of course respecting catch limits). They saw tuna increase as well, but she thinks it’s because they had more boats targeting them.


She said, “We had anglers from Michigan, a group of friends who come to Cabo just about every other year to fish with us, spending three days on three different boats. The guys diversified their fishing efforts and did one day inshore panga fishing, one day focusing on billfish and some did a day of searching for tuna. All in all, they caught 49 fish total. They went 19 for 35 on striped marlin releases, and also released 2 sailfish and 3 nice blue marlin that ranged from about 150 to 220 pounds each. Two of the blues were caught on Pisces’ 31-foot Tracy Ann, and they also released 2 very nice spearfish this same day. The spearfish were about 70 and 80 pounds and hit on dead caballito bait about 22 miles out at the 150 Spot. Their tuna fishing resulted in 12 yellowfin between 20 and 30 pounds each, as well as 9 dorado, 1 bonita, and 1 skipjack.”


Pisces landed another notable fish this week too! This time it was angler Derek Stills aboard the 38-foot C Rod, catching a 140-pound yellowfin close to San Jaime Bank.


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CAPT. JUAN COOK took this shot of some of the deep drop bottomfish he got with friends and family, and while he did not get any seabass until Sunday, he did spot some fleet boats that scored earlier in the week. Here, Capt. Miguel of Tiburon charters holds up a nice white seabass.


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RON GOMEZ ON Sunday with Capt. Juan Cook on the 23 Parker Slaptail.


SAN QUINTIN BAY — The white seabass action went off again last week and continued into this week – with the guides scoring on the critters to 50 pounds and some boats early the week really scoring limits quickly. By the weekend, it had slowed a bit but was still going, according to Capt. Juan Cook of San Quintin Bay Sportfishing. He reported to WON on Sunday morning that he fished on Sept. 19 with his friend Rosarito Jimmy, brother Tony and nephew Robby – and they dropped for vermillion and lingcod with solid catches.


On Sept. 20 Capt. Cook said he was out with his brother Frank and Eric Cook and fished deep for plenty of action, and the next day looked for seabass but had no takers, while the rest of the fleet were catching good white seabass. He took some photos of the on-the-water pangeros holding fish to 50 pounds.


San Quintin Bay Sportfishing, a Facebook page, posted a report of a fact-finding mission. Is the bite as good as reported?


Ron Gomez Hoff departed at 6 a.m. from the Old Mill dock aboard the Slaptail with Capt. Cook.


Gomez quickly discovered that the catch reports of white seabass were indeed authentic, landing two very nice white seabass in short order - one in the 50-55-pound range and the second a short time later in the 30- to 35-pound range."


The bite is quite real and most fleets were recording multiple catches of large fish.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported that before the storm shut down the port on Thursday, there were light crowds, so charter numbers were limited. Sardinas were being netted off of beach stretches near San Luis and delivered to the grounds near La Fortuna and Iman.


“Sardinas were the best ticket for enticing the yellowfin tuna,” said Brictson, “and action varied from where the best bite could be found.” In recent days, smaller-grade tuna of around 15 pounds were found near Vinorama, and the action near Twenty-Five spot and Iman was more sporadic, though this is where a handful of yellowfin up to 70 pounds were landed. Brictson said there are still no reports of the cow-sized tuna showing, even on the Gordo Banks — and lots of large black skipjack were biting on all these same grounds, so that was kind of a nuisance.


Overall, they saw fewer dorado than in previous weeks, and most fish they did catch were smaller in size. The wahoo became more active, however, and they saw a few 20 to 40 pounders most days.


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 32 charters for the week, and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 2 blue marlin, 1 sailfish, 24 dorado, 12 wahoo, 92 yellowfin tuna, 150 black skipjack, 2 island jack, 3 surgeon fish, 4 leopard grouper, 12 Mexican bonito, 4 yellow snapper, 2 barred pargo, 3 pompano, 5 amberjack and 26 triggerfish.


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ANGLERS LIMITED OUT on yellowtail all week long at Cedros Island, and Gary Fuller made the surprise catch of the week with a 25-pound bull dorado.


CEDROS ISLAND — Quality-grade yellowtail continue to rule the surface action at Isla Cedros, as hordes of frenzied baitfish scatter in the often futile attempt to avoid becoming lunch for the hungry forktails. The calico bass bite remains active for fish up to 8 pounds; but the biggest news last week was the landing of the season’s first bull dorado shortly before the beginning of fall.


Avid sportsman Gary Griffin, who is a resident of Rancho La Bufadora south of Ensenada, joined his son Rick and fishing buddy Rick Lee, along with his son Charley, for a reunion celebrating their last trip to Cedros Island half a decade before. They arrived on the Island focused on yellowtail, and ended up limiting out on fish up to 25 pounds while trolling purple hard baits.


Kirk Mitchell and a couple of his friends from San Diego were first-timers, and ended up being surprised by the great fishing they encountered. The trio fished around the north point for big calico bass up to 7 pounds that inhaled 6-ounce Salas mint green surface iron. Over the next few days, they limited out on yellowtail using scrambled egg surface iron. However, Gary Fuller made the surprise catch of the week with a 25-pound bull dorado.


Charlie Osaki and his buddy Mark Sirof from Orange County were on their second trip to Cedros and experienced the fishing adventure of a lifetime. They reported catching limits of yellowtail on blue and white surface iron, as well as a huge 45 pounder in only about 15 feet of water.


Osaki said, “I was using a live mackerel and 30-pound test fluorocarbon leader on a Daiwa 300 Lexa and Phenix M1 rod. The yellowtail took the live mackerel, ran up the beach, and then suddenly took off for the channel, where we finally gaffed it in 375 of water over a quarter mile off the shore.”


The next day at the same location, they hooked a 37-pound yellowtail at approximately the same depth while using a live mackerel, but were able to bring that one over the rail only about 400 yards off the beach.


Osaki concluded his report by adding, “The south end of the island was limit fishing for virtually all pangas, with limits coming within two hours to as long as a half day. Trolled mackerel were the favorite natural bait, but irons like Tady 45 and Candy Bars in blue and white and sardine colors were working best. The few boats that trolled large Rapala lures also did well. Most of the fish in this area ranged from 10 to 18 pounds.”


MIDRIFF — The Longfin Tackle in Orange filed a report on the latest Tony Reyes mothership trip. Tom Ward said the weather and fishing were both good this week, bringing in a total of 463 yellowtail, 208 cabrilla, 291 spotted bass, 61 pargo, 6 sheepshead, 10 barred pargo, 5 grouper, 1 black seabass, 3 white seabass, 5 broomtail, 3 sierra, 1 dorado and 5 lingcod.


Go to tonyreyes.com for more information.


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WAHOO AND DORADO were in Cabo waters with tuna and marlin as the action in Baja Sur is now in full swing during tropical storm season.


•   •   •   •   •

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Huge tuna fire up the troops in Cabo
The best is yet to come but for those targeting them, the quality cows over 200 pounds yellowfin are there on porpoise and hitting the kite rigs as the Tuna Jackpot and other big money tourneys approach; local East Cape boat nails a 850-pound black; meanwhile, cubera snapper continue to ‘snap’ in La Paz, with wild yellowtail action off Cedros and along the west coast'

CABO SAN LUCAS — Tournament season fever is starting to build off Cabo San Lucas, as this is prime time for big game fishing off The Cape. Anglers are banking on big tuna, billfish, dorado and wahoo as much as big paydays for catching them.


The fleets are reporting simply wide-open striped marlin fishing, with some bigger blue and marlin mixed in. Bigger dorado are showing too as well as wahoo and, of course, the cow tuna that will be the target of nearly every offshore jackpot tournament. This past week, several big tuna over the 100-, 150- and 200-pound mark were recorded, many of them on the porpoise schools, hooking the tuna on heavy tackle with kite/bait rigs.


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THE COW TUNA are on the prowl, as this beast and others surely indicate. The tourney season is coming, especially the Cabo Tuna Jackpot in its 21st year, Nov. 6-9, and other big money, big-game tourneys cased in Cabo. This monster was caught on a kite setup by the crew of the Red Rum Fleet’s Oh So Rojo, a 46-foot Bertram. Said a Red Rum rep, “We’ve been waiting patiently for the big yellowfin to arrive, and with some cooler water that moved in on the Pacific side, here they are!”


One such fish was a cow caught by the Cabo-based Red Rum Sportfishing Fleet’s Oh So Rojo, a 46-foot Bertram, the crew using a kite.


Said Ryan Donovan of Redrum, “We’ve been waiting patiently for the big yellowfin to arrive, and with some cooler water that moved in on the Pacific side, here they are!” Ryan and his father John Donovan won the Cabo Tuna Jackpot back in 2008 with a 244.8 pounder, and he’s eager to get back on the victory stand. Last year, the WON-produced tourney boasted 163 teams and $840,800 in prize money on its 21st running out of Cabo – and remains the biggest team tourney in Mexico, as well as the largest tuna tourney in the world. There is a website devoted to the event at www.loscabostunajackpot.com .


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THIS 200-POUND yellowfin was caught on the Pisces’ 25-foot No Borders last week by owner Ryan Caughren while using a kite over a skipping Yummy Flyer 25 miles off Cabo. The big tuna are showing under the porpoise.


The Pisces’ Rebecca Ehrenberg had a great report last week. This week, it was even more exciting. Their fleet alone caught and released 165 marlin, caught a 200-pound yellowfin, 45 dorado and bigger wahoo.


Another great week of fishing here, and marlin turned way up at the beginning of the week up the Pacific coast, while blue marlin were turning up on the Sea of Cortez side,” said Ehrenberg. “We also got a report out of the East Cape at La Ribera of an 850-pound black marlin, (the photo was obtained by WON but is not of good quality), and again this week, we got another 200-pound yellowfin.”


That fish was caught on the 25-foot Cape Horn, the No Borders. The boat continued with a good tuna streak after its 110 pounder last week. Owner Ryan Caughren and crew headed out Sunday about 40 miles from Cabo and about 25 miles south using the kite and Yummee Flyer. They landed 3 yellowfin tuna of about 15, 30, 40 pounds and the biggest at about 200 pounds.


“These consistently large tuna and marlin catches are making for a great warm-up to tourney season, starting off in exactly a month from now!” said Ehrenberg. “And not only have we seen the large game fish, but the striped marlin bite has heated way up. Our top marlin release boat this week was the 37-foot Tag Team III, with 16 stripers in one day, and every one of the 165 fish we hooked was released and tagged. We are very proud to be working hard to conserve our fisheries and taking on the responsibility of increasing chances of survival by keeping all billfish in the water upon release. We’re happy to see our anglers cooperating by respecting billfish and becoming more actively involved in the tagging, re-oxygenating and release process.”


“Dorado turned upvery nicely this week too,” she said. Most of them were about 15 to 25 pounds each, with a few over that and in good numbers. Wahoo were also on the bite.


“We had 45 dorado caught total with quite a few released,” said Ehrenberg. “Some nice wahoo have been caught as well, ranging from 25 to 40 pounds each, and still a few scattered roosterfish. Only about 4 boats targeted tuna this week, but they got good results. Apart from the 200 pounder, we saw boats land quality fish.”


For tuna anglers looking for some fun, the Bill Collector landed 3 yellowfin of 40 to 60 pounds and released a 300-pound class blue in one day.


In other Baja action:


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GARY EVANS SCORED big cubera snapper last week fishing out of Bahia De La Muertos, La Paz. He had three fish out of four hookups while using cocinero as bait.

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RETIRED FIREMAN MAC TREASURE was a first-responder on 9/11 and brings a big bunch of other retired firefighters each year to La Paz to fish with Tailhunter Sportfishing. Mac was fishing with Captain Pancho when this big dogtooth snapper took a bite of his line.

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International reported that despite there being a full moon, it was another pretty solid week of dorado fishing overall – with fish scattered over a wide range of ocean, both inshore and offshore.


“It’s pretty hard NOT to catch a dorado right now if you have a bait, lure or jig in the water,” said Roldan. “It’s probably 90 percent of the catch!”


However, there are other species around too, he said. They had some marlin hookups and breakoffs this week, along with at least 1 or 2 wahoo bites that got unbuttoned per day.


And if you wanted a roosterfish, added Roldan, “Yes, the 30 to 60 pounders are still around!”


Inshore, there’s cabrilla and pargo – and those big dogtooth snapper are willing to bite if you put in the time.


More excitingly, late in the week, they had some jags of 20-40-pound yellowfin pop up. Roldan said these fish have been absent for about two months, and this is the time they should be seeing them. He said, “I don’t wanna jinx it and say the tuna season has started, but hopefully this is the start of some better tuna fishing.”


In other La Paz action, Gary Evans, a WON subscriber for years, fired off a great report on the wild cubera snapper bite going on:


“We were fishing out of Bahia de los Muertos at the south end of Cerralvo Island. Using cocinero for bait, we used 130-pound leader in order to pull these beasts off the bottom. I was able to catch fish on three out of four hookups, as one took me to the rocks. The largest weighed in at 50 pounds, and the other 2 around 35 pounds.”


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DWIGHT EDWARDS CAME to the East Cape looking for wahoo and dorado, and he was not disappointed. That’s exactly what he got while trolling Rapalas.


EAST CAPE — John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero reported beautiful summer weather and a very, very good week of fishing!


He said Palmas Bay is full of sardines, and the good bait is really helping the fishing.


“The yellowfin, dorado, wahoo, sails, stripers, blacks and blues, roosterfish, pargo, amberjack and pompano were all biting aggressively,” said Ireland.


He added that with the exception of wahoo, all the fish are very close, with the best fishing from the hotel south to Frailles.


They caught a few big tuna around 100 pounds early in the week, about 20 to 40 miles outside under the porpoise, and limits of yellowfin for all anglers later in the week closer inshore.


The dorado were mixed in with the tuna and very spread out, mostly south. As for billfish, the fishing pressure was pretty light because most anglers were targeting the meat fish – but there was the usual strong bite on stripers and sails, along with a blue and black marlin. Ireland said a local La Ribera Pangero even caught an 800-pound black this week off the La Ribera drop off south to Frailles.


Some nice-sized wahoo were taken this week, as well, including a 70 pounder. Ireland said trolled CD 18 Rapalas have been deadly, and anglers interested in wahoo should bring at least one or two.


Finally, there wasn’t much pressure on roosterfish this week (though they’re definitely around) and inshore/bottom-fishing was outstanding.


In other East Cape action, Luis Enrique Fraijo from Hotel Buenavista reported that the fishing there has been amazing.


“There’s plenty of bait fish, ballyhoo, sardines, mackerel, caballito, mullet and skip jack, and they’re biting on frozen squid too. With all that bait out there, it’s nearly impossible to not find and land fish,” he said.


Fraijo added that the tuna bite is not as consistent as last year, but the wahoo have been hot and the dorado bite is at its best. He said lots of them are slow trolling at the buoys and south of the lighthouse by La Ribera, El Rincon Los Frailes and further south.


As for billfish, Fraijo said they’re all over the place, with stripers everywhere and blue and black marlin reaching over 300 pounds. “They put up an awesome fight, then a quick picture and vamonos…back to the water,” he said.


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com reported that the bigger dorado moved back into town this past week, with many fish in the 20-pound range.


He’s not sure what other areas might be doing because all the boats seem to want to hang around Coronado Island. “That happens to be close to town and where the dodos are hanging!” said Hill.


He added that he’s seen some roosterfish working the beach south of the arroyo, but no sierra yet. The weather and water have both been great, and Hill said that should be the case for a few more months.


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WHITE SEABASS WENT off at San Quintin after a one-week hiatus, which seems to be a pattern this summer, as storms are pushing up warmer water and south swells. Jaime’s Pangas posted some great catches Sept. 11, and Capt. Juan Cook sent a photo of a 55-pound white seabass. Jimmy Borsino and Richard Castenada of Cass Tours also took third in the bottomfish category of the recent San Quintin Pesca tourney withCapt. Cook.

SAN QUINTIN BAY — The white seabass bite cranked up again last week, a week after being dormant. The pattern seems to be: the water cools, the bite goes off. The tropical storms to the south push up a south swell and warmer water, and the action kicks in again on the croakers. Jaime’s Pangas in San Quintin Bay posted a Sept. 11 report of some great catches for anglers, with fish up to 55 pounds.


Capt. Juan Cook was not feeling well and sent a report a bit too late last week for last week’s report, but it bears running this week.


Cook said, “We fished the San Quintin Tournament Pesca La Baja with friends ‘Rosarito’ Jimmy Borsino and Richard Castenada of Cass Tours. Cassman and Jimmy took third place in the bottomfish category, and we won 20,000 pesos and 10,000 pesos in side pots. Lots of fishermen and fun with Cassman and Joe.”


A few days later, he fished with Jim Marsh and good friend Benny Tellez and went directly to deep dropping like they had in the tourney two days before and found a spot loaded with vermillion – topping it off with a few nice lingcod.


Later in the week, he wrote us to say, “The white seabass are at it again! They have been biting the last two days.”


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported that the weather conditions there are calm, warm and humid – though they’re watching a new storm developing below Acapulco and hoping it moves on a path away from Southern Baja.


Brictson said local charters have been fishing the grounds from off Red Hill, Palmilla, to the Gordo Banks, Twenty Five Spot and Iman Bank.


The highlight of the action has been the yellowfin tuna near the Twenty Five area, drift fishing with strips of squid or sardinas. According to Brictson, the sizes ranged from 20 to 70 pounds. “Some days it’s tough to land one or two; other days, five or more were possible,” he said. “It’s a bit finicky.”


Dorado were still scattered through the inshore grounds, though not in the numbers of previous weeks, and most of these fish are juvenile-sized. Wahoo were in the area too, but it wasn’t a consistent bite for these elusive fish. “One day we will see a handful of fish, and the next day, nothing,” said Brictson.


Off the bottom, there was a mix of snapper, pargo, an occasional amberjack, dogtooth snapper, bonito and cabrilla.


Brictson said the marlin action was spread out, and they did not have many anglers targeting the billfish, as the tuna action seemed more popular – but they did see a couple of black, blue and striped marlin, as well as sailfish.


Off the shoreline, surf anglers reported a couple of snook and tripletail catches. “These are the times when prized species can be found close to the shoreline,” said Brictson. “You have to know what you are doing and put in consistent efforts.”


The approximate fish count for the week was: 2 black marlin, 3 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 2 blue marlin, 110 dorado, 14 wahoo, 115 yellowfin tuna, 3 dogtooth snapper, 8 leopard grouper, 25 Mexican bonito, 14 yellow snapper, 6 barred pargo, 3 pompano, 9 amberjack, 2 surgeonfish, 2 roosterfish and 28 triggerfish.


CEDROS ISLAND — The WON trip for 12 anglers was a huge success with weather up for two days, but the yellows of up to 35 pounds and bass to 8 pounds and sheephead to 15 pounds cooperated eventually, the yellows smacking the surface iron or live macks or Rapalas. The best bassing was, and will continue to be, to the north end of the island at Punta St. Augustine. Best baits for bass were Butterfly jigs and their Shimano cousins, the ColtSnipers.


MIDRIFF — The Longfin Tackle in Orange, Calif. filed a report on the latest Tony Reyes mothership trip into the Sea of Cortes.


Tom Ward of the Longfin said they found some medium-sized yellowtail in Animas Bay at the start of their fishing adventure. Later, they moved to Salsipuedes Island to target cabrilla, followed by San Francisquito for some good-sized yellowtail. At Snake Island, they scored some more yellowtail and cabrilla – along with some clams.


The real jackpot was at Diablo Point though. Said Ward, “The catch on this area was great; we brought in a few black seabass (one over 400 pounds and another around 250), along with a mixed bag of yellowtail, spotted bass, cabrilla and pargo.


The next morning, the red snapper, cabrilla and bottomfish were biting at Refugio Point – and the last day, they caught some big grouper, cabrilla and strong barred pargo at Enchanted Island.


The totals were: 189 yellowtail, 64 cabrilla, 168 spotted bass, 26 pargo, 1 sheepshead, 4 barred pargo, 5 grouper, 3 seabass, 1 broomtail, 5 amberjack and 2 dorado.


Go to tonyreyes.com for more information.


PUERTO VALLARTA — Stan Gabruk at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing reported that they’ve had an interesting year so far, and it will get even more interesting!


He said they’re still seeing yellowfin tuna at Corbetena and El Banco; black marlin are picking up in numbers and size; blue marlin aren’t far off the Punta Mita shoreline; dorado are around the area, but not in large numbers like they’re accustomed to, and they have sailfish everywhere.


“As we enter the high season, we’re seeing conditions and species coming together right on time!” said Gabruk.


He added that the downside to the wide-open fishing they’re seeing right now is that the fish are spread out – but many a tournament winner has been boated in this 25-mile-long area, so it’s worth it to shell out for the fuel. As he put it, “Skimping on fuel is like putting one quarter in a four-quarter machine in Vegas. You could win, but it won’t be the jackpot you’re hoping for.”


According to Gabruk, they’re still seeing the bite at 10:00 in the morning, with an afternoon bite around 2:00.


“We’re moving into the peak fishing season, and things will become incredible in the following weeks,” he said. “Sailfish will become a primary player anywhere from El Morro to El Banco. Tuna are thinner in numbers than we like, but those taking the shot at Corbetena and El Banco will not come back disappointed. Overnight trips are your best option, giving you your best chances of boating a ‘finned fantasy’ bucket list trophy!”


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ROAD REPAIR — The Federal government is pushing hard to repair a major section of the Mex. 1 highway past San Quintin, hiring four contractors at $119 million pesos to repave 113 kilometers and put in new signage from San Quintin to the 28th parallel, approximately to Guerrero Negro. This stretch is critical to trade (cargo) and tourism.


BAHIA ASUNCIÓN — Shari Bondy at Bahía Asunción and the La Bufadora Inn there reported the season is finally underway.


“Yellowtail are a month late... proceeded by even tuna and dorado... strange season here in Bahia Asunción! Looking forward to a good season right through till the end of February!”


She made that comment on the heels of the post by Ross Zoerhoff, who stayed and fished out of Bondy’s La Bufadora Inn at Asunción.


Said Zoerhof, “Last morning of fishing with Troy Zed on this trip. We went 3 for 6 or 7 on these brutes. They were exceptionally ornery today.”


* * *

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.


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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MIKE BELL POSES with his 70-pound white seabass.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Go to tonyreyes.com for more information.


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


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To contribute to the WON Baja report, just email your reports and a photo to two to baja@wonews.com or patm@wonews.com


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