EAST CAPE — It was all about the marlin that started to stick this past week, as well as, several nice bull dorado but there were also a nice variety of inshore species in the reports including some nice roosterfish.
You know the season has “officially arrived” when Eddie Dalmau, General Manager of Baja’s Van Wormer Resorts shows up and with more boats going out, his reports also return. “After much anticipation, the fishing season is upon us and we are off to a very nice start,” Dalmau said. “After what many are calling the best yellowtail bite in 20 years, the talk now has centered on the large concentration of striped marlin in the area. Many guests are reporting seeing up to 15 striped marlin a day and landing anywhere from 1 to 4 per day.”
“We are also seeing the beginning of what we hope is going to be a dorado season to remember,” Dalmau said. “We saw boats coming in with 1 to 6 dorado from 10 to 35 pounds. The best part, there was good fishing 7 miles from the hotel. We also saw quite a bit more pargo come to the dock as well as cabrilla, roosters, pompano and jacks. There were also a few yellowtail, ladyfish and sailfish that were landed.”
John Ireland at Rancho Leonero said it was all about the marlin, after two weeks of dealing with very picky biters, the striped marlin were taking both live and trolled baits. “All boats targeting billfish were releasing at least one and as many as four,” he said.
“The action is very close to the hotel,” Ireland went on to say. “Most of the high spots and drop-offs both north and south have been producing lots of billfish. One or two big dorado were also coming to the cleaning table daily. The dorado bite has really improved in the past few days. The roosterfish bite is better, with more and bigger gallos than in the past weeks and there have been lots of pompano and an excellent pargo bite inside.” “All of which made for improved fishing this past week,” Ireland said. “The water is warming fast; I expect most of our predictable species are going to show early this year.”
“The big news at Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort was that from the Lance Camper group,” Felipe Valdez said. “They have been bringing some of their top salesmen down here from Canada and the U.S. for over 20 years now as a reward for their performances. And this year’s good results were no exception.”
“Thirty-three anglers got here just in time for things to start heating up,” Valdez said. “Many of them were first-timers, half of them got in on the marlin and half on the inshore frenzy for the jacks, roosters, some sierra. pompano and dorado. They caught an incredible assortment of fish including a shark, pargo, had several triple hook-ups and all left happy campers.”
Verdugo’s Beach Resort also checked in for the first time this season. “The marlin fishing is picking up quite a bit and everyone is catching and releasing at least 1 or 2 striped marlin,” Marisol Verdugo said. “Also dorado are finally getting here and some of them went up to 35 pounds.”
THE SEASON’S HEATING UP! — The weather, water and fishing all heated up in the East Cape this past week. The marlin started to bite and some nice bull dorado showed up every day in the counts as waters warmed, as did the weather. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VAN WORMER RESORTS
In other Baja fishing action:
— LA PAZ: With the exception of a few fish here and there, not many yellowtail have been taken in the last two weeks. The focus has now turned back to other species that are normally caught at this time, but haven’t gotten much attention these past 3 months.
“This past week, the pargo have really been on a tear, or at least, we’re seeing many more in the counts, mainly because everyone is fishing for them so there’s a direct correlation,” Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said. “The big red guys are in their springtime spawn and schooling up in the shallows so the action has been visually and physically exciting with big moving schools of voracious 10- to 40-pound fish up close to the rocks and foaming when bait is thrown in their directions.”
“There’s plenty of action on the pargo but action doesn’t necessarily mean catching,” Roldan said. “Probably only one out of every six or seven fish hooked makes it to the panga thanks to the rocks. We have clients down these days who look forward to nothing else but the challenges of these pargo year-after-year.”
Roldan said in addition to the pargo, La Paz is getting its first real action on the roosterfish as well. “Again, it might be the fact that with the yellowtail moving on, the roosterfish are getting more attention,” he said. “However, reports of 2, 3, 5 or even 10 roosterfish caught and released have not been uncommon this past week, with our largest being about 40 pounds, as the school-sized fish appear to have moved in to feed.”
“In addition to the pargo and roosters, some of the other classes of fish that helped keep the action rolling included snapper, sierra, cabrilla (seabass), bonito, ladyfish and some fat jack crevalle.”
— SAN JOSE DEL CABO (LOS CABOS): Ocean conditions were churned up and choppy early in the week, particularly offshore, but as the week progressed the winds resided and anglers encountered smoother seas and signs of life offshore.
“For the past several months the most consistent angling action has been close to shore, most of the time for smaller roosterfish and sierra,” Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said. “There was some great yellowtail fishing found close to Cabo San Lucas, but no consistent numbers of these fish ever were encountered on the grounds off of San Jose del Cabo, even though to the north off of the East Cape region, they reported a bonanza of yellowtail; maybe we will see a late yellowtail season here?”
“The good news now is that offshore is showing signs of life, particularly for striped marlin from Chileno, the 95 spot to the 1150 and north to Desteladera,” Brictson said. “Sportfishing charters were finding very good numbers of billfish and many charters were scoring multiple fish days. Often these fish were seen free jumping and tailing on the surface. At times they proved to have lockjaw and would not strike on anything, acting as if they just were not hungry, they probably feeding down deeper.”
Brictson said there were a few swordfish sightings and hook ups were reported during the past few weeks. “This is the same period as last year when the swords were really starting to be spotted offshore of San Jose del Cabo and towards the East Cape; most of the time some 15 to 20 miles from shore.”
“The year of 2011 turned out to be the best season in recent memory for these prized and elusive billfish,” he said. “Southern Baja is one of the few spots in the world where they will bite on the surface during the daytime. Often found late in the day, lazily swimming on the surface, this fishery is suited more for larger sportfishing boats, as compared to panga style skiffs.”
“Most panga charters are still finding their best opportunities closer to shore for roosterfish, sierra, pargo, grouper and amberjack and a few yellowtail,” Brictson said. “Palmilla Point had been a good early morning spot for yellowtail and amberjack, but this bite came to a standstill and now most of the small boat charters are headed towards the grounds north of Punta Gorda where a variety of fish were accounted for, though still no consistent big fish bites were reported on a daily basis.”
“There have not been many dorado recently, just an occasional fish here or there, but some of them are the larger bulls,” Brictson said. “The encouraging news has been the recent reports of seeing yellowfin tuna appear on the grounds outside of San Luis,” Brictson said. “For the past several days yellowfin tuna in the 60- to 90-pound class were hooked into while trolling with bolito. Only a few fish a day were accounted for by the local fleet, but this bite could break loose at anytime. Tuna were seen sporadically coming up to the surface and it’s just a matter of them becoming a bit more hungry and aggressive.”
Brictson said caballito have been the main, larger baitfish now available, being used offshore for billfish and close to the beaches for roosterfish. “Sardina were available as well; this past week the pangeros found the bait schools near the San Luis area,” he said. “This is the time we usually see more small squid and bolito congregating in the region, both of which are favored food sources that in turn attract greater numbers of pelagic game fish.”
DON’T HAVE A COW - IT’LL DO — Here’s a nice yellowfin tuna of 75 pounds and a grouper at about 35 pounds caught with local La Playita panga skipper Modesto on the super panga Gaviota. These yellowfin tuna are just starting to appear again on the outside of San Luis Bank, slow trolling with live bolito has been the best bet. PHOTO COURTESY OF GORDO BANKS PANGAS
— SANTA ROSALIA: Spring has officially sprung in the Santa Rosalia area, with water temperatures in the 73-dgress range, the ocean once again is exploding with new life.
“This fact is also not missed by the seiners, who are working overtime, trying to sweep up all the available sardine and mackerel in the area,” local angler Jim Anderson said. “This past weekend there were seiners working all over the Santa Rosalia area as well as Conception Bay.”
“Fishing has really come alive with yellowtail schools that are on the feed and moving,” Anderson said. “It has been great fishing, not only out at Tortuga Island but some fine catches were also happening in closer at San Marcos Island as well. With all the pressure from the seiners, there bait is a little more difficult to find but is thick when you do find the schools in the general area. The deep water north of the Haystack and south of the college seems to be the most productive area.”
Anderson said in addition to yellowtail, there were good reports of cabrilla, pargo, and a few red snapper or huachinango, thrown in for good counts.
“It really is enjoyable not to have to wear five layers of clothing now that spring is coming and the lack of northern winds makes for very enjoyable boating experiences as well. Now, the dorado and billfish cannot be too far off.”
— SAN QUINTIN: Good weather didn’t help the fishing here this past week but in the long run, it should.
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