Baja Fishing Report

Another typical week of winter time fishing on the East Cape

BY ROBIN WADE/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 08, 2012

EAST CAPE — It was another typical week of winter time fishing on the East Cape, with a bite that can be good but is just never consistent.

“I believe all the ups and downs in weather are the largest contributing factor,” Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing said. “It has been the same deal fishing for yellowtail. No doubt they are in the neighborhood. One day an angler can go out and bag a few 30 to 35 pounders and the next day they are gone. Two or three days later they bite again.”

“I just spoke with a few fishermen who stayed at the Los Barriles Hotel and fished a local charter boat for three days,” Rayor said. “The first two days the weather was calm and they accounted for 2 striped marlin and 10 dorado. Their last day the wind came up and the count was a goose egg.” Inshore, Rayor said that trolled lures are attracting white bonito, which makes outstanding sashimi.

Another species that can be counted on generally in the winter, are the sierra and they have been all over the place from Cardonal all the way down to La Ribera, with sizes from 1 to 8 pounds, although most weigh about 3 pounds.

And one group is taking advantage of the abundance of these winter shoreline huggers. The newly formed Club De Pesca Deportiva Cabo Del Este, A.C. (East Cape Sportfishing Club, Civic Association) was formed by local anglers interested in raising awareness and interest in a variety of fish issues, hoping to encourage locals to get more involved in fishing as well as providing outreach and education to them. Starting with an inaugural sierra tournament, the club will have meetings every month on the second Tuesday. All anglers are encouraged to fish the event, and also attend the club meetings. The times and locations will vary from month to month.   

“As usual we are using hoochies, little Rapalas and lures a bit larger than the hoochies,” founding member Felipe Valdez said. “Our newly formed fishing club is organizing a sierra tournament on Feb. 19th. The cost is $1,000 pesos per team with up to four anglers and will include a jackpot of $300 pesos per team for the biggest sierra. The format of this team tournament is that each are allowed to present up to 5 sierra. The total weight of the five will be your team’s points, and that’s how we’ll declare the winners.”

Registration forms will be at the East Cape Tackle store and the Pez Fisico store in La Ribera. Fishing is from El Cardonal to the south Lighthouse by La Ribera and the fishing hours are 7 to 10 a.m. “And all of the sierra presented to the weigh station will donated to the La Ribera Internship and Santiago Internship,” Valdez said.

Also in the news here, it looks like the remote Hotel Punta Colorado will not be open this year.

In other Baja fishing action:   

— LA PAZ: Early in the week anglers found good action, but not a lot of quality in their fish. There were small pargo, cabrilla and tons of bonito and nice slightly breezy days, but the quality just wasn’t there. Then on Wednesday the action picked up.

“The yellowtail bite we’ve enjoyed the last three weeks came back, although the area changed somewhat,” Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said. “Whereas the chew had been mostly around the island and just outside of Bahia de Los Muertos, instead, it spread towards the area in front of La Ventana with fish up to 45 pounds and anglers hanging 1 to 6 nice, fat yellowtail at a time. These were a nice chunky grade of fish taken on live mackerel or deep running crankbaits such as big Rapalas, Yo-Zuris and Bombers in mackerel patterns.”  

But Roldan said the big excitement was the crazy appearance of tuna in February. “We had reports sporadically over the last few weeks of tuna boils at the north end of Cerralvo Island, but nothing substantiated,” Roldan said. “Then, mid-week, we got a few hook ups and reports that 30- to 60-pound fish were traveling with the bonito schools at north end.  Several big fish were farmed but nothing put in the boat.”

“By end of the week, we had fish in the 100- to 120-pound class blowing up all around the pangas but they wouldn’t eat the sardine,” Roldan said. “One of our amigos said he had fish around for 20 minutes, crashing but nothing bit. It was crazy, but some of the commercial pangeros also hooked 40-pound yellowfin. This was the same day that we got some bigger 30- to 40-pound yellowtail at the south end of the island.”

“All this during a week when everyone was saying the ocean looked like “glass” because it was so smooth,” Roldan said. “So, there are lots of exciting things happening that we’ll keep an eye out for.”

happy, happy

HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY — Happy guy, Jack Steele out front of La Ventana near La Paz put the hurt on this nice yellowtail using a live mackerel for candy bait. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAILHUNTER INTERNATIONAL

— LORETO: For the most part, it was a slow week with not very wonderful weather but a few pangas did better than others.

“Capt. Murillo took his clients south and loaded up on pinto bass, cabrilla and one medium sized yellowtail,” Rick Hill of Loreto Sea and Land Eco Tours said. “The southern tip of Carmen Island and halfway to the Salt Mine was the hot zone.”

“Seems that the yellows (schools of the firecrackers) have been stirring up the sardine schools around 9:30 a.m. and there was a later bite than most of the other boats had expected,” Hill said. “Most of the boats that came back empty did the north side of Coronado Island this past week.”

“If you are just arriving with your own boat please check out the launch ramp and nearby roads the day before you want to launch,” Hill said. “The streets are being resurfaced and some are closed, part of the parking lot is also closed, but will be 50 percent larger when it reopens. We are getting new water and sewer pipes, sidewalks, lights, plants and trees. There are no problems launching, you just have to take a little different route, but it will be worth the inconvenience when they are finished.”

— MULEGE: After many days of wind, the Annual Mulege Bomberos Yellowtail Tourney was finally held this past Monday and Tuesday. Water temperatures hovered right around 62 degrees under sunny and clear skies, fish were caught, monies donated back into the community and a good time was had by all.

The Mulege tournament was won by several fishermen who were willing to travel the distance south to the San Nicolas area and all the winning fish came from Isla Ildefonso. 

“While most of the fish were caught on live bait soaked on the bottom, there were some hooked fly lining mackerel,” tournament committee member Kara Dodge said, adding that the best depths seemed to be 230 to 300 feet.

Several anglers were “winners” as there were several categories to enter, making for a very entertaining “something for everyone” event. In the yellowtail category, John Dinning took first place with his 33.3 pounder, Scott Wheaton took second with a 28.5-pound tail and John Decarlo was close behind in third with his 26.5-pound fish.  

The fleet was also treated to the appearance of some grande white seabass, according to Mike Reichner, a part time resident and participant. “Most of the seabass were running between 18 and 25 pounds but Stu Sherman caught the "Biggest Other Fish,” Reichner said. “The 21.9-pound red snapper was by far the largest huachinango anyone in these parts had ever seen; he dredged it up from around 300 feet on a live bait.”

Dodge said a total of 55 yellowtail were caught by the fleet, with 17 being over 10 pounds. “Other cash prizes awarded included total weight for an angler’s two largest yellowtail and biggest fish for each day,” she said.

annual mulege

ANNUAL MULEGE BOMBEROS YELLOWTAIL TOURNEY — After many “wind delayed” days, John Dinning took first place with his 33.3 pounder, earning “the big bucks” and top honor at the fund raising event this year where a total of 55 yellowtail were caught, along with several nice white seabass. PHOTO COURTESY OF KARA DODGE FROM THE TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE

— SAN JOSE DEL CABO (LOS CABOS): This past week anglers found much improved action for yellowfin tuna around the Iman Bank. There was a fast current to deal with, also some pesky sea lions and let’s not forget to mention the presence of huge schools of aggressive skipjack that made it tough to get to the tuna.

“Persistence and patience was the key, but many charters did account for one to three or more yellowfin weighing between 25 to 40 pounds, with some fish up to 80 pounds mixed in,” Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said. “Using sardina or chunks of skipjack for bait was the most productive technique.”

Brictson said dorado were found spread throughout the inshore and offshore fishing grounds. “They were striking on a wide variety of lures and baitfish and ranged between 5 to 15 pounds, but every so often there were fish up to 25 pounds accounted for,” he said. “With the ocean now on a cooling trend this could slow the bite down, as these fish tend to migrate south when currents drop to 70 degrees or lower.”

Closer to shore there have been fair numbers of sierra, most in the 1- to 5-pound class and quite a few juvenile sized roosterfish as well. “Both of these species hit best on sardina, but would also strike Rapalas and cast jigs,” Brictson said.

“Off the bottom, when currents allowed, anglers using various baits and yo-yo’s found a mix of amberjack, yellowtail, yellow snapper, cabrilla, bonito and dogtooth snapper,” Brictson said. “There were no great numbers, but at times it showed good promise of some great eating variety.”

“Striped marlin action has been more spread out this year, at this time the fleets are finding more numbers of stripers in the direction of San Jose del Cabo from the Gordo Banks and Destiladeres to Vinorama,” he said. This should be the area to concentrate on in coming months.”

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita and Puerto Los Cabos sent out 68 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of 6 striped marlin, 94 yellowfin tuna, 14 bonito, 15 amberjack, 13 cabrilla, 42 yellow snapper, 6 dogtooth snapper, 196 dorado, 18 roosterfish, 8 yellowtail, 6 mako shark and 88 sierra.

— SANTA ROSALIA: Fishing seemed to be pretty good in the Santa Rosalia area, as long as you were content with cabrilla, ocean whitefish, the occasional baqueta, barracuda, gold spotted bass, and spotted bay bass, which are doing well.

 “If you had your sights are set on yellowtail, then things were probably a little disappointed,” local angler Jim Anderson said. “The Mulege tournament was won by anglers willing to travel the distance south, to the San Nicolas area and all the winning fish came from Isla Ildefonso. “We hope that means that the fish are moving up the coast and should be showing up in our area within the next week or so.”  

“We have spotted quite a few whales and the water is showing early signs of warming up a little and the sea life is beginning to show preliminary signs of spring,” Anderson said. “Yesterday there were numerous schools of hatching baitfish showing in large areas on the surface and the birds were doing their best to keep the population explosion at a reasonable level.”

— SAN QUINTIN: Although many boats are now out of the water, a few charters continue to fish and reward their clients with some nice bottomfish.

“Last weekend we had Chris Curren and his son Levi from Temecula, CA,” Capt. Kelly Catian of K&M Offshore Sportfishing said. “This was the young Curren’s eight birthday and we fished for red rockcod with jigs and cut bait near the 240 spot,” Catian said.”The weather has been great with little to no wind and the water at 57 to 60 degrees.”    

Meanwhile, the Bad Donkey is in dry dock until late May. “Most of the guys in San Quintin are commercial fishing rockfish at this point, WON reader and frequent contributor said. “The San Quintin "winter" has officially begun.”

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