ENSENADA — The yellowtail are in, the weather cooperated for the most part and anglers headed out to Todos Santos to get their share. It looks like a great season is getting underway in Ensenada; all we are waiting for now are the albacore.
“Just north of Isla Todos Santos and only five miles out from the Marina Coral was where they were getting them,” Mariana Hammann from the Coral Marina Store said. Hammann said trolling with Rapala lures and jigs were both working. Although the water temperatures are still low and we had 8- to 11-knot winds, it was a sunny day.”
“Saturday, the No Limitz 1 headed out to the south side of the island and at 35 feet they caught 5 yellowtail over 20 pounds, a whitefish and a medium-sized sheepshead,” Hammann said. “Now all we need are the albacore.”
Sammy Susarrey of Lily’s Sportfishing also got in on the bite. “We’re fishing for yellows at Erendira, the San Jose Reef, Todos Santos and also the San Miguel Reef,” Susarrey said. “Most of the yellows were 25 pounders and they been hit Tady 45s in any color.”
“The ocean has been calm and the temperature has been 62 degrees,” Susarrey said. “Also, there is a lot bait fish around and the color of the water has been good. All the fish we had have been breezing in nice schools.”
Needing a break from remodeling his Tequilas Sports Bar, Louie Prieto from Its 4 Reels Sportfishing decided to cash in on the local bite for yellows that started this past week. “Angel, Andy May, Wade Nichols and I headed out early to the north end of Todos Santos Island,” Prieto said. “The water was really sloppy, with a very tight mixed swell and maybe 10 mph of wind but we spotted terns dipping and diving midway to our destination so we tossed iron but found nothing.”
“We decided that the conditions were going to make it tough to spot breezing fish so we put a purple/black MirrOLure and an X-Rap in the blue mackerel pattern out,” Prieto said. “Twenty minutes of trolling produced a nice yellow on the MirrOLure. We continued trolling closer to the north end of the island than we have been in the past and ended the day with 4 yellows between 15 and 22 pounds.”
“All fish were caught on the troll using the MirrOLures, with three coming on black/purple and one in the blue mackerel pattern,” Prieto said. “The yellows did come up a few times but were hard to get to due to the pretty severe wind and waves. Water temperatures at the island were 60.4 and 62.8 further inside. We also metered lots of fish as well.”
As a reminder, the July 27-28 WON/Yamaha Hotel Coral and Marina Saltwater Championship will be a two-division event. Cost is $100 an angler and the event is detailed in a special supplement this week.
ENSENADA YELLOWS SHOWING — The excitement and anticipation is building as the possibility of a good fishing season is looking even better. This past week the yellowtail action busted open and everyone was eager to get theirs. Here’s Angel Garcia, left, Andy May and Louie Prieto, right, with theirs from Todos Santos. PHOTO COURTESY OF ITS 4 REELS SPORTFISHING
In other Baja fishing action:
— BAHIA ASUNCION (Just south of Guerrero Negro): With the waters starting to warm up just a bit, the first reports of halibut started coming in. It’s time to get the beach gear out as the shoreline fishing is getting going.
“There have been reports of the first halibut being caught on the beaches and yellowfin croakers as well, so shore fishing should kick into high gear soon,” Shari Bondy of Campo Sirena said. “Some nice calico bass are being brought in off the rocks as well.”
“The water warmed up quite a bit this past week which was a nice surprise for divers and surfers,” Bondy said. “We had a pretty good swell the week before and it will keep building for the next few days.”
Bondy said the abalone season has been going very well for the fishing cooperativas in Bahia Asuncion. “They are very large, healthy and abundant, which is good news for our village,” Bondy said.
— CABO SAN LUCAS: The 11.50-Fathom spot was the place to be if you were trying for striped marlin, which were the “fish of the week” but inshore saw a bonanza of fish as well.
“This past week we had very good marlin catches, making it the number one fish in Cabo,” Tracy Ehrenberg from Pisces Sportfishing said. “Close to 70 percent of our charters caught striped marlin between 120 and 180 pounds, with catches ranging from one to six fish per boat per day. This was quite surprising, as the weather has been rather windy and very breezy on the Pacific; however the catches have all been on the Cortez side with the 11.50-Fathom spot still the best place for a marlin encounter.”
Ehrenberg said her top boat was the 31-foot Bertram La Brisa; they had a total of 18 marlin over five trips. “Ruthless had four at the same location, the 11.50 spot. One other boat with a quadruple marlin day was the Yahoo. Mid week, it was the Rebecca that came back with the most flags, for releasing 4 marlin on ballyhoo. It was a good week.”
“Anglers had a lot of fun and it was exciting to have so much action, even though there was an odd boat here and there, doing everything right, being in the right place at the right time and with the right bait, that failed to get a hook up; but that’s fishing,” Ehrenberg said. “Pisces anglers had a total of 72 striped marlin this past week, with 70 released.”
Inshore, yellowtail were the meat and potatoes for the fleet once again,” Capt. Landrum of Fly Fisher Sportfishing said. “While a few of the captains are saying the yellowtail are not biting, everyone we have had out managed to catch at least three of four of them, and some of them have been as large as 40 pounds. Live bait fished just off the bottom was the key for success, yo-yoing iron was not as productive, and slow trolling large lipped, deep diving artificials did not do very well at all.”
“The sierra bite was on as well, with decent numbers of fish being caught and some of them were very nice-sized for the species,” Landrum said. “Some of the fish came in at 7 to 9 pounds, but of course the average was 5 to 6 pounds. Add in a scattering of jacks and grouper and the inshore action was pretty good.”
“The reports show that all boats were seeing terrific numbers of billfish in the offshore waters on the Sea of Cortez side of Cabo, with the 1150-Fathom spot being the center of attraction and outbound in almost any direction from there,” Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said. “According to Fish Cabo Fleet owner, Roberto Marquez, the skippers were seeing and baiting groups of sleepers with as many as 10 in the party and showing nothing in return for their effort. When you can see 10 billfish on the surface, there will be many more under the pack.”
“Some 35 years ago, a tuna boat pilot spotting for tuna in the Sea of Cortez, used to put me on spots of billfish and give me the numbers in the group that sometimes were staggering,” Edwards said. “Once we got within binocular range of the fish, you might see 2, 3, 4 or more billfish on the surface, but he may have reported as many as 30 to 45 fish just below the surface and part of the same group that were not being seen from the boat. When you toss a fresh live bait into the midst of that melee and not get a single bite, it kind of humbles you and makes you wonder if you had any idea what you were even doing.”
“It was the ultimate in frustration and disappointment and it happens every single year,” Edwards said. “The only thing that keeps you going is the opportunity and the occasional bite that does take place due to the law of averages. I can well remember baiting more than 100 billfish in a single day and not having a single bite.”
“The overall fish counts for the Gaviota Sportfishing and Fish Cabo fleets actually reflected a fair bite for the 16 charters and resulted in a combined count of 11 stripers released, with Fish Cabo reporting 3 stripers released for three days, 2 roosterfish, 3 dorado, 2 mako shark and 5 skipjack tuna for their efforts. Most of the fish were seen in the wide area of the 1150-Fathom spot and in all directions from there.”
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RUTHLESS GETS THE JOB DONE — While some had a tough time getting the many marlin they were seeing to bite, the Ruthless was getting the job done. PHOTO COURTESY OF PISCES SPORTFISHING