Baja Reports

Baja Fishing Report: East Cape yellowfin, marlin in the mix now

BY PAT McDONELL/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 18, 2017

The season slowly emerges for the region with longer bouts of good weather between blows as stripers are moving south into warmer water

EAST CAPE — A full slate of small but fun tournaments are planned for the East Cape in the coming months, and the pelaigic season is slowly rounding into shape just in time.

danielshayofsanDANIEL SHAY OF San Diego saw a school of jack crevalle near Cerralvo Island and fired his popper on a light spinning outfit and got slammed this big jack. The fish was released.

Hotel Rancho Leonero, which hosts the annual Let’s Talk Hookup Tournament in early June, is getting on the fish between blows. Last week the viento put the damper on things Monday through Thursday, but then the super panga fleet got out Friday through the weekend.

This is a great time for the East Cape for Baja weather at its finest. Cool in the evenings, said Rancho owner John Ireland, and 80s during the day, and the water temperature is climbing, 74 to 76 degrees.

“In spite of the windy conditions midweek, the fishing is improving,” said Ireland. “We got into a very consistent yellowfin bite with decent sized fish since late last week. Limits of fish in the 10- to 30-pound range are biting south of Frailes (Lighthouse).

Striped marlin are finally being released regularly off La Ribera to the Lighthouse.”

Inshore areas have also picked up with some big amberjack and pargo coming to the cleaning table daily. The roosterfish are larger and more plentiful this week, three were released off the beach, taken on flies yesterday, said Ireland.

More good news came in the form of striped marlin which have not yet moved into Cape and East Cape waters, many still up north near Mag Bay. But they are filtering down to get into the warmer water.

“Striped marlin are finally showing in good numbers,” said Ireland. “Quite a few were hooked an released this week. Most were on trolled ballyhoo right off La Ribera to the Lighthouse.” He added that inshore spots saw a loot of skipjack, making for great bait for pargo, and there are more roosterfish showing bunched up near the marina entrance, with 20 to 30 pounders common.

As mentioned, tourney season is coming in Baja, and the Let’s Talk Hookup tourney at Rancho Leonero has a few spots left in that fun event, according to radio show host and tourney director Pete Gray. Then come the Van Wormer Resorts trip of events for tuna, dorado and new this year, wahoo. And then there is the Bisbee’s big money East Cape tourney followed by Cabo’s string of exciting tourneys including the Bisbee’s Black and Blue and the Cabo Tuna Jackpot. A story in the coming weeks will details those and other Baja tournaments this summer and fall.

jessicamcpartinsanJESSICA MCPARTIN OF San Diego caught quite the grouper just inside of Bahia de Los Muertos near La Paz in the shallow waters by the reef point fishing with Captain Hugo of Tailhunter.

In other Baja action:

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan kicked in a report from Tailhunter that operates out of La Paz Bay and Muertos Bay. He said it was an up-and-down week for weather and fishing with the two directly related to each other this past week. Winds were back up, especially during the early part of the week.

“They weren’t just up,” said Roldan. “They were strong enough that fleets either cancelled boats or boats had to come back to shore. Fortunately, we didn’t have too many folks early in the week or they had enough vacation time so that they could make up the lost days later in the week when the winds diminished…somewhat.”

Weather otherwise was pretty nice, except for the winds. Sunny and warm with highs in the high 80’s. Nighttime lows in the mid-to-high-70’s.

SOME ANGLERS HAVE all the luck, and when the weather settled down off La Paz, the forkies cooperated for this trio who fished with Tailhunter International.

KEVIN SHIOTANI OF Thousand Oaks, CA has a reputation every time he comes to La Paz to fish several times a year. He put this huge yellowtail in the boat fishing out of Bahia de Los Muertos.

“On the days we got out, the bite was mixed. Again, we’re in that transition time between cooler and warmer conditions so the water conditions and the fish species are all over the map. Most of the catch this week reflected cooler water species since the winds generally kept the fishing closer to shore.

Said Roldan, “Some nice yellowtail popped taken on live bait or jigs. Schools of bonito and jack crevalle always made for great action. Along the reefs, we got into snapper, cabrilla and pargo and hooked (but lost) some larger amberjack. We saw a few marlin that weren’t quite ready to feed yet. Commercial fishermen saw some fast-moving schools of tuna and we did hook a few smaller bonito.”

Roosterfish are around near Las Arenas, but they chased the baits and lures, but all hookups were lost on larger fish.

THE GORDO BANKS Panaga fleet begins its march toward a pelagic season of yellowfin as the water warms and clears.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported summer is coming fast, crowds are light as school marches toward it’s end, and the climate is, well, perfect, he said.

“It’s been very comfortable, as cool southern breezes have keep temperatures mild, with highs near 85 degrees, lows down to 62 degrees, so it’s actually chilly for this time of year,” said Brictson. “The main factor this past week was the wind from the south, actually closing the Cabo San Lucas port on certain days, out of San Jose del Cabo conditions were calmer, though on the fishing grounds to the north, where the yellowfin tuna action was found the previous week, near Vinorama and Iman Banks, there were also gusty northerly winds creating rough conditions and currents were swift.

“So it was kind of like the washing machine effect, choppy from all different directions. These types of weather patterns keep the climate nice, but never help the fishing action to get on the right track. Another factor this week was also the full moon phase.”

He said that offshore action remained slow, though this past week there was improved reports for striped marlin, from the 1150 spots to straight out from San Jose del Cabo and outside of the Gordo Banks. No significant numbers, but more activity than in the past couple of week. The month of May is usually one of the best times to find striped marlin on these local fishing grounds, so far this season this action has behind schedule to develop.

“Normally we see a flurry of wahoo action the first part of May, that has not happened yet either, only a few scattered wahoo were reported this past week, from the Gordo Banks to Iman Bank, these were taken while trolling Rapalas and other traditional skirted lures,” said Brictson. “Ocean temperatures are ranging 74 to 76 degrees throughout most of the zone, even the Pacific is warming back up, so as these recent swirling winds settle down and the moon darkens, we expect the action to improve.”

The clarity of the water actually improved in recent days, cleaner blue water was found within several miles of shore. Brictson heard of some decent wahoo and yellowfin tuna action towards Los Frailes, still out of range for their normal day charter, and boats from the East Cape were traveling a long ways south to get into some of that action.

As far as bait is concerned, supplies of sardinas are diminishing, though they are still able to net some of these, the other type of clear sardinas are now more prevalent, they are not the same, do not stay alive in bait wells and are a lot softer, very hard to keep on a hook. Other bait sources included limited supplies of mullet and caballito.

Most charters this week were scratching out a few inshore species such as sierra, roosterfish and working bottom rock piles for some triggerfish, barred pargo, amberjack and cabrilla. One nice yellowtail was taken on a yo-yo jig off of the Gordo Banks. The yellowfin tuna action was put on hold due to the ocean conditions, a handful of tuna were landed, up to 35 pounds off of Iman Banks, but these fish were few and far between, the conditions made it very tough to affectively drift fish, the yellowfin are still in the area, at times they were seen up and feeding and then would disappear just as fast.

“A lot can happen from week to week, we expect as weather settles the action will definitely improve accordingly,” said Brictson.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 58 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 3 striped marlin, 3 wahoo, 1 yellowtail, 18 yellowfin tuna, 22 amberjack, 24 yellow snapper, 14 barred pargo, 12 leopard grouper, 6 island jack, 12 mojarra, 2 African pompano, 10 huachinango, 16 roosterfish, 42 sierra, 5 bonito and 90 triggerfish.

piscesgeneralmanagerPISCES SPORTFISHING GENERAL manager Tracy Ehrenberg aboard the Contessa, shows off what would have been a nice amberjack. This one was attacked by a hammerhead shark. The striped marlin fishing picked up last week, but winds hampered things with a two-day port closure. By the weekend the seas was flat calm.

CABO SAN LUCAS — Glenn Ehrenberg reported that fishing off the Cape for the Pisces fleet saw good fishing between major blows, and the big last week on the 7 th and 8th closed the port. When boats did get out after that, the striped marlin that are moving into the area from Mag Bay were the No. 1 targets, followed by inshore yellowtail, roosterfish, jack crevalle, grouper and red snapper, as well as the odd wahoo.

“This week we had a tie for top marlin releases per boat, the Andrea captained by Orlando Murillo was with a fisherman from Las Vegas, Nevada at the 1150 Spot, when they caught and released two striped marlin near 120 pounds each, they were landed on live caballito and cocinero. The Tracy Ann captained by Julio Castro was on the Cortez side with a father and son team from Mission Viejo, CA and caught and released two striped marlin on caballito were between 120-130 pounds.

DAVE DOLAN FROM Anza shows one of the typical cabrilla that were caught on a 6-day trip to the Midriff area aboard the Tony Reyes mothership that runs out of San Felipe. The Longfin tackle shop in Orange, CA is the place to book these popular trips.

MIDRIFF AREA — Dave Dolan of Anza and a reader of WON embarked on a 6-day trip to the Midriff area of the Sea of Cortez board the Tony Reyes mothership. The trips are starting up out of San Felipe, and are part of the lore of Sea of Cortez sportfishing. Dave will be writing up a report on the trip for WON but sent in a few pictures and a short report for this week.

They left May 6 from San Felipe and had excellent fishing for cabrilla up to 24 pounds at the Midriff Islands of Baja. Andrea Craft of San Diego caught a golden grouper, which was released and Dolan sent in a picture of him holding one of the typical cabrilla that were caught.

LORETO — Rick Hill of and reported to WON that the weekend was our first chance to hit the water without winds spoiling the fun.

“Gusts out of the north kept most people off the water and off the beaches,” he said. “Pulpito was the hotspot for the boats taking the long ride, today. Five yellows hit the fish box on one trip with at least five lost halfway up.”

Hill said the ocean temps are running mid-70s all over the area and lots of sargasso is bunching up in the current lines.

“Cabrilla have been hiding out somewhere unknown and it is still a little early for any dorado,” he added.

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