Baja Fishing Report

WINTER FORKIES: Yellowtail and pargo on the chew in La Paz

BY ROBIN WADE/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 20, 2012

LA PAZ — Better weather with diminished winds made for good fishing conditions in La Paz off and on all week when the winds allowed; the area had a nice run of yellowtail between 10 and 30 pounds popping up in numerous places and at least one big one hitting the deck.  

Also in the news, three Baja locals won prestigious awards; check out the area reports to see who, what and where. And a huge grouper was caught down in San Bruno.

Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported several areas were productive for yellowtail including North Cerralvo Island, South Cerralvo Island, La Ventana, Las Cruces, Punta Perico and Boca de Alamo, now that was a nice spread of fish!

“We didn’t have any fish overwhelming anglers in any one spot, but certainly enough to keep things lively and fun,” Roldan said. “Mackerel, sardine, squid, trolled lures and cast lures all worked well when the fish were biting.” 

Roldan said about mid-week, the winds came up and the bite fell off, however, by the end of the week, the winds diminished again and the yellowtail bite was back on, with fish ranging from 10 to 40 pounds popping up.

A few local anglers also found success. One angler, local Bill Evans was at it again on Thursday, choosing to head out to Los Muertos. His brother, WON reader Gary Evans sent in this report for his brother of both yellowtail and pargo on the chew.

“With catching bait (mackerel) the first thing on the agenda, they headed down the coast from Bahia de Los Muertos towards Boca del Alamo,” Evans said. “At that point, they started jigging; two hours for 10 mackerel, not very good results.”
“Then they decided that since the mackerel they caught came from the bottom at 200 feet, putting sinkers on and dropping bait down to the bottom seemed only logical,” Evan said. “Out of the 10 baits they lost 4 very nice yellowtail and put three in the box up to 40-plu pounds. With the mackerel gone, it was time to change species.”

Evan said Punta Perico is a known hangout for pargo this time of year, so with a few buckets of sardine onboard, that’s where they headed next. “Those of you that have caught pargo in shallow water with a rocky bottom know what it's like, and those of you that haven't, well let's just say you need to put it at the top of your ‘bucket list’.”

“Once the buckets of sardine were empty and they brought their lines in for the last time, they looked into the box and knew they had done well,” Evans said. “Out of 12 hook-ups, they were able to put 4 nice pargo in the box. You might say that’s not a very good average, but until you have done battled with the red monster, don't knock it, landing 1 out of 5 is a good day.”

To finish what had already been a great day, on the way back home to La Paz, they stopped at Mujeres Ayudando a Mujeres (a non-profit organization that helps battered women and kids) and dropped off some of the fish, keeping enough for a few meals themselves.

And one more report came in, this one from Baja Pirates, who reported a 70-pound yellowtail caught by local Erick Lundahl, (Rico) while fishing at the Shipwreck using live mackerel.

can spring be far

CAN SPRING BE FAR AWAY? — With only a few bad wind days mid week, angler like local angler Bill Evans continued to do well on both yellowtail and pargo. The wind is losing its grip, can spring be just around the corner; better make those reservations now! PHOTO COURTESY OF WON READER GARY EVANS

In other Baja fishing action:  
— BAHIA ASUNCION (Just south of Guerrero Negro): Yellowtail season is winding down as sea temperatures begin to cool down. But there are still some home guard fish around in the 40-pound range.

The weather hadn’t been very wonderful during the week, with a large swell, wind and rain but by the weekend it was perfect for fishing and Capt. Juan Arce Marron was happy to get out.

“Unfortunately, the water was too green for yellowtail fishing but his clients were happy with their mixed bag limits of grouper, calico, rockfish, whitefish and sheepshead,” Shari Bondy of Campo Sirena said. “Joe Henige from CA and Dennis O'Connor from AZ were kept busy all day bottomfishing.”

The good news for the village was that they had the best lobster season in its history this year, which has been a great boost for the economy here. It ends in February and will be followed by abalone and caracol (snail) fishing. Gray whales are passing in a steady parade all day on their northbound migration, and the calving lagoons are reporting record numbers of whales with their babies.

yellows slow

YELLOWS SLOW BUT BOTTOMFISH A GO — A week of weather and big surf stirred up the waters, turning the too green for yellowtail fishing in Bahia Asuncion, but anglers Joe Henige from CA, left, and Dennis O'Connor from AZ were kept busy bottomfishing and enjoyed improved conditions on the water by the weekend. PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPO SIRENA

— CABO SAN LUCAS: The Billfish Foundation, with members from more than 70 countries, honored 46 angler and captain members this past week for their billfish tag and release efforts in 2011.

Capt. Julio Castro from the Tracy Ann and Pisces Sportfishing was awarded Top Release Captain for striped marlin in the Pacific Ocean category, while Capt. Antonio Romero Castro took top honors for striped marlin in the Top Tag Category for the Pacific Ocean. The data supplied from this competition helps marine researchers gather information such as migratory habits of the world’s billfish species, “Congratulations,” to both captains, and thank you for your efforts!

Unfortunately, there has been a poor showing of striped marlin to date this year and it was another very difficult fishing week for anglers offshore waters and for the first time in many months, very dorado showed up in the fish counts. Cooling waters were the culprit.

“On Tuesday a breeze started up and continued to grow stronger throughout the morning, to the point that the Port Captain closed us to the exit of pangas about 11that morning,” Capt. Landrum of Fly Fisher Sportfishing said. “The clouds started to move in during the afternoon and we had cloudy skies with a stiff wind by Wednesday. Thursday the clouds had gone away but the wind was still blowing.”

“When the waters cool the bait stays away so do the marlin,” Landrum said. “Very few striped marlin were caught this past week, at least in comparison to years past. There were some fish out there, boats reported seeing three or four per day, but they were not eating. Most of the fish that were caught seemed to bite live bait rather than striking lures.”

To toss a bit of surprise into the fishing pot, Landrum said a 575-pound blue marlin was brought in by a boat on Thursday. “I did not get much information on the fish but assume it was caught in the warmer water on the Cortez side of the Cape,” he said.

“I thought the dorado were gone, but there were a few caught, a big surprise since the water is so cool,” Landrum said. “Most of the fish I saw and heard of were small ones, less than 10 pounds but there were a few that may have been 18 pounds or so.”

Landrum said yellowtail were the fish of the week but shared the title with sierra. “There were more sierra than yellowtail, but the yellowtail were larger and fought harder,” he said. “Almost all of the action for both happened just off the beach on the Pacific side in the cool water.”     

“The striper action was nearly as slow as the dorado fishing for the Gaviota Sportfishing Fleet and only a single billfish was reported, taken aboard the Gaviota I in the early part of the week,” Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said.  

“The cooler water is pushing southerly on the Pacific side, with temperatures at about 65 degrees just above the Golden Gate Bank and it appears that the cooler water push has moved the billfish and dorado out of the area, probably around the corner at Cabo and into the Sea of Cortez and across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan,” Edwards said.  

“The inshore fishing, especially for yellowtail (jurel) has kept the action alive with the bulk of the fish in the 25- to 35-pound range,” Edwards said. “The Fish Cabo reported a total of 27 yellowtail, all taken on the Pacific side and along the coastal high spots about 20 miles above Cabo Falso. The overall combined fish counts for a total of 26 charters for the fleet included 1 striper, 2 mako sharks, 1 roosterfish, 12 skipjack, 38 sierra (Spanish mackerel) and 47 yellowtail.”

— EAST CAPE: The Billfish Foundation gives awards yearly for the most tagged and released marlin in different categories and oceans. This past year’s award for most tagged striped marlin by an angler in the Pacific Ocean went to Martha Macnab (Warlaumont) a local angler who is no stranger to top honors in the world of fishing.

“This wasn't my best year by far as the number of fish here was down, but I think I tagged about 20 fish,” Macnab said. “All of them were from Mag Bay south to Cabo and a few were on the Sea of Cortez side.”

In past years Macnab has been awarded top Tagging Angler for blue marlin and striped marlin as well as Top Release Angler for striped marlin and has been named three times, the Overall Tagging Lady Angler.

Macnab and husband, team strategist Larry Warlaumont, fish aboard their 61-foot Viking Retriever with Capt. Tony Araiza and Mate Omar Araiza, grandsons of local great Jesus Araiza who was well known at both Rancho Buena Vista and (Spa) Buena Vista Beach Resort. In 2004 she weighed the largest marlin, a 640-pound black in the Bisbee and took Second Place that year in Bisbee’s Offshore with a 535-pound blue marlin. Macnab and her team will no doubt be competing for top honors in the Bisbee events this year as well. Congratulations, on a job well done.

As for fishing, there wasn’t much. After several days with major winds, today (Sunday) dawned with warm, flat conditions, just in time for the newly formed East Cape Sportfishing Club’s inaugural Sierra Tournament. Six teams with four anglers each signed up for the club’s first event but only five were able to make it out.
All five pangas went up to Pescadero and tossed hoochies and Rapalas. The result for their combined efforts was a total of 24 sierra caught, although not all were brought in and weighed.
The winning team was from San Jose on the boat Cuyuyu's, with team members Jose Amador, Roger Matrin and Isrial Araiza. They took first and third place for total earnings and big fish prize monies of $4150p. Their "Big Fish” weighed in at 2.330 kilos or 5.1 pounds.  

After the event, a portion of the club drove down to the Lighthouse, where a yellowtail weighing at least 30 pounds was caught off the beach, and others were lost. Cono Gastelum from La Paz had come down to fish the sierra tourney and afterwards they went to fish from the beach. He used a red 3-ounze Cabo Killer on 40-pound braid and a 50-pound leader.

For more Baja reports go to: www.bajafisherman.com

Readers: To have your reports included in the Baja report, send photos and e-mails to baja@wonews.com.

Ensenada yellows continue; WON/Coral tourney details at Long Beach Fred Hall Fishing Tackle and Boat show

ENSENADA — The yellowtail fishing continued off Ensenada although this past week they were spread out to the northwest of the Hotel Coral and Marina.

“Thursday was great for the Reel Adventure,” Mariana Hammann from the Hotel Coral and Marina said. “They caught 6 yellowtail in waters with a 58-degree reading using blue and silver 6X iron.” Hammann said Friday and Saturday the waters were again calm, ands even though the Reel Adventure had several bites, the yellows didn’t want to get in the boat so instead they caught a good mix of bottomfish.

“On the other hand, No limit 2 caught 3 yellowtail on the weekend and another vessel by the name of El Guero caught another 3 yellowtail at Punta Norte Isla and San Miguel,” she said. Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said local angler Brian Foley fished on Vonny-I with Beto, for plenty of bass, whitefish and some lingcod on dropper loops with squid and a nice 11-pound sheepshead.

For offshore anglers, be aware the WON/Yamaha Ensenada Saltwater Championship at the Hotel Coral and Marina  is slated July 27-28 with competition in two divisions, yellowtail and tuna. The event is a week later than last year and a month later in the summer when it was traditionally held, to ensure there is a tuna bite. The tourney’s details are on wonews.com and signup sheets and schedules will be at the WON event booth at the all shows in Long Beach and Del Mar Fred Hall Fishing Tackle and Boat Show.  Also, the Hotel Coral will be exhibiting at the Long Beach show across the aisle from the WON events booth.

beto and brian

BETO AND BRIAN BACK ON THE BOTTOM — Local angler Brian Foley fished on Vonny-I with Beto for plenty of bass, whitefish and some lingcod as well as a nice 11-pound sheepshead while fishing out of Ensenada. PHOTO COURTESY OF VONNY’S FLEE

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