LORETO — It’s yellowtail time in Baja and especially in Loreto. The timing is perfect. Just as a series of yellowotail tourneys are starting up, the fish showed up as well.
WON reader Alejandro Rosas Romandia took advantage of the situation and started his fishing season, with a trip to Isla Catalana aboard Joe de Anda’s panga the Pepe Lupe with Gigio Davis as captain.
“The warm weather hasn’t arrived because it was only between 72 and 74 degrees most of the day and very pleasant,” he said. “There was a little wind and sea temperatures averaged at 69 degrees,” he said.
“Catalan Island is a little farther to the south, almost 32 miles from Loreto so it took us almost two hours to reach our goal,” Rosas said. “There were 12 fishing boats and pangas around the island when we got there and most found a good yellowtail bite using mackerel as bait. We caught 6 yellowtail, the biggest weighted 34 pounds and the average was around 22 pounds. Things are beginning to look better, in the bait grounds there were almost 50 boats getting mackerel.”
Rick Hill of Loreto Sea and Land Eco Tours said he has seen lots of dusty boats heading for the marina everyday this past week and it seemed that every other pickup truck had fishing poles sticking out the back. “The fever has finally started and it’s perfect timing for the annual yellowtail tourneys,” he said.
“Things are happening up north (San Bruno Reef/Pulpito) just like they are down south, and from what I hear the upcoming big tourney next weekend should be a big news event.”
“Ed Hoffman reports from Tripui and Puerto Escondido that bait is easy to catch at the Submarine Rock on the south end of Danzante Island,” Hill said. “There has been enough medium and large macks there to fill a bait tank in 20 minutes. Even better yet is the yellowtail fishing.”
“Large, hungry yellows are hitting flylined baits, deep baits and the downriggers, too,” Hill said. “We have been seeing fish in the 30-pound range coming in with the 15 to 20 pounders and even one 28-pound cabrilla. Our kayakers reported a feeding school just off the south tip of Carmen on several different days, along with a 20-foot whale shark.
To the north, San Bruno Reef the hungry school of yellowtail were biting late in the afternoon, I guess you have to be at the right spot at the right time with live bait,” Hill said. “Most of the fish caught up there were medium-sized at 12 to 15 pounds and the only ones out there were the local commercial panga hook and line guys.”
Arturo Susarrey from Arturo’s Sportfishing reported yellowtail to the north at the San Bruno Reef weighed between 17 and 20 pounds but said some days you can catch 8 to 10 of them, while other days it slowed down.
“The best fishing spots were at Catalina Island, where the larger and more abundant fish were, plus you can trolling around the Island for pargo (snapper) or cabrilla (bass) weighing from 23 to 30 pounds,” he said.
JUST IN TIME — With The Great Loreto Yellowtail tournament this coming weekend and $10,000 cash and prizes up for grabs, the yellowtail have shown up just in time. Catalana Island has had the biggest and best so far, as WON reader Alejandro Rosas Romandia, right, can attest. PHOTO COURTESY OF WON READER ALEJANDRO ROSAS ROMANDIA
In other Baja fishing action:
— ENSENADA: Ensenada had good fishing this past weekend once again after the seas settled.
“At the beginning of the week the water was still very rough with big wind swells but that didn't stop the Black Jack,” Mariana Hammann from the Coral Marina Store said. “Captained and owned by Mike Kraus, he headed out to Banda Bank on Tuesday morning, catching some nice medium-sized bonito on this trip using Rapalas.”
Hammann said that by the time the weekend rolled around, the water smoothed out considerately and turned flat and calm.
“We still had overcast weather and water temperatures of about 58 degrees, when our own, Reel Adventure with Wes Price, Alvin Mathis, Steve Russell and Carlos Torres, went out for 10 medium-sized lingcod weighing about 10 pounds and 4 barracuda between 4 and 5 pounds using sardine and iron,” she said.
“During the week there were big boils of barracuda sighted and a considerable number of boats were out fishing, there were about 20 boats at a time,” Hammann said. “By the weekend there were no more barracuda boils but a lot of them out there that were still biting and a lot of boats still fishing for them.”
“Tight Lines owned by Kelly Warbis and friend John Soria also had a good day out there, catching 7 bonito at Santo Tomas,” Hammann said. “They each weighed around 20 to 25 pounds and were caught on feathers and trolling live bait. The water temperatures and conditions were the same there.”
Things are also rolling along for the WON/Yamaha Hotel Coral & Marina Saltwater Championship on July 27 - 28. To read more about the event and register online CLICK HERE or click on the Events Tab at the top of this page. The room availability at the hotel is set at 35 blocked off rooms. If you plan on coming and staying at the Coral, it would be wise to book those rooms. There are other hotels in the area, like Papagyos, but the hotel offers a rate that includes trailer storage, breakfasts and launching and slip discounts. For hotel reservations, call the Hotel Coral 1 (800) 862-9020, the marina at 1 (866) 302 0066; from Mexico, call 01-800-026-3100. Website is www.hotelcoral.com.
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL ON AND ON PLEASE — There’s nothing like the evidence from a photo to prove the great bonito is going off and that the season already looks more promising than last year. Here’s John Soria with a 20-pound bonito. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CORAL MARINA STORE
— CABO SAN LUCAS: Marlin were about the only game in Cabo this past week but with few anglers and boats going out, it sounded worse than it was. The weather has not stabilized either, meaning some days it was baking hot, then the next breezy and fresh, which caused the water temperature to drop several degrees.
“Catches of striped marlin remained consistent up until Thursday when they dropped considerably,” Tracy Ehrenberg from the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet said. “The only remarkable catch taking place on that day was for anglers aboard the Tracy Ann who did remarkably well. They released 5 striped marlin ranging in size from 100 to 150 pounds. All of their marlin took bait; ballyhoo and jurelito between Cabeza de Ballena and Lands’ End, three and a half miles offshore.” Ehrenberg also said the water temperature averaged 69 degrees this past week.
“Pisces anglers caught 28 striped marlin this past week, with all but one released,” Ehrenberg said. “Earlier in the week the Bill Collector released three at the 11.50 spot and Chileno and the Tracy Ann had three at the 11.50 spot. The only other boat with a triple fish day was the C Rod, with three fish between 130 and 145 pounds, also at the 11.50 spot. These fish took a combination of caballito and ballyhoo.”
“We caught just 1 dorado and no tuna,” Ehrenberg said. “Inshore there were just a few roosters and sierra, but then again most boats were off in search of marlin so it’s not to say that there was no small game action. Up the Pacific coast a little we did hear of some boats doing well on yellowtail up to 35 pounds.”
Mary Landrum from Fly Hooker Sportfishing said the water on the Pacific side has settled down some, but was not warm enough to hold the fish. “San Jaime and the Golden Gate had temperature readings of 68 and 69 degrees, which is warmer than the 65 it was last week,” he said. “On the Sea of Cortez side, those 70- to 72-degree waters are moving in closer to Cabo.”
“The marlin are here, but not interested in eating much, although one angler picked up a double while bringing lines in the other day,” Landrum said. “With the warmer waters moving closer to Cabo, the marlin should be getting closer. There were a few swordfish caught on the Pacific side. One of them caught with a spear gun; a 2½-hour fight for a 200-pound swordie! But as the waters warm up, the swordfish will disappear since they like the cooler waters.”
“I am not sure when the yellowfin will make an appearance, but I hope it is soon,” Landrum said. “Normally by this time we have schools of footballs all over the place but they have not shown up yet. Meanwhile what we do have is an occasional school of footballs moving through the area very fast, giving the boats only a quick shot at them.”
Reporting for the Gaviota Sportfishing and Fish Cabo fleets, Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said the billfish bite offered some terrific fishing days this past week for some of the boats that fished the offshore waters from the 1150-Fathom spot and on up to the Gorda Banks area.
“The Gaviota IX released 12 stripers for three fishing days and the skippers reported good action on lures and live bait in the area,” Edwards said. “The boats were reporting billfish in widely scattered areas from the Lighthouse to Santa Maria Bay, Chileno and outside Palmilla, but the concentration appeared to be from the 1150-Fathom spot and inward toward the Gorda Banks areas.”
Edwards said the overall fish count for 18 offshore charters included 26 stripers released and 4 dorado and five inshore cruiser days with 10 sierra, 6 roosterfish and 2 skipjack tuna.
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