EAST CAPE — While the numbers dropped a bit this past week, due in part to rougher seas; some chose to stick closer in and work the bottom to fill their ice chests. But the good news was that one of the first, if not the first, blue marlin was caught.
John Ireland at Rancho Leonero said ranch guests had another good week for striped marlin when they could get out. “All boat released at least one, many with multiples, along with the occasional early sail,” he said. “And all our boats are fishing no more than five miles from the hotel. Most of our boats you can see from the front porch most of the day. But they are still pretty line shy, every fifth or sixth fish baited was biting.”
“The roosterfish bite really picked up and more and bigger fish were released as the week progressed,” Ireland said. “Bigger gallos to 40 pounds and lots of hungry schools in the 10-pound range were moving up and down the beaches around the hotel.”
“Inside has been very good, with very light pressure as most anglers are targeting the billfish,” Ireland said. “There were plenty of limits of pompano and some nice pargo taken in the 15-pound class. And some giant sierra (they look like wahoo) to 15 pounds are being taken daily inside.”
“This past week in the East Cape the fishing dropped off a bit from the previous week, but boats still had relatively good days out on the water,” Eddie Dalmau from Baja’s Van Wormer Resorts said. “Those who fished inshore had lots of success on roosters and jacks. One angler onboard the super panga Mini Hooker landed 113 roosters and 6 jacks in five days of fishing.”
“Many anglers chose to go offshore and hit the striped marlin and sailfish, which seem to be everywhere,” Dalmau said. “Many are landing one or two per day, but are seeing up to 15 in a day. Bill and Patty Buffington of northern California landed the first blue marlin of the season at Palmas De Cortez.”
Dalmau said the talk around the docks seemed to be centered on the dorado. “The numbers weren’t that hot, but it was the size of the ones that were caught that everyone was talking about,” he said. “We saw a nice 50-pound dorado, a few in the 40-pound range and even more in the 30- to 40-pound range. We also saw some of the first wahoo, with three being landed and the largest was 40 pounds.”
“We are still seeing a few cabrilla and pargo, but the ones I saw had no size to them,” Dalmau said. “The water temperatures continued to be in the low to mid 70s, with air temperatures in the low 80s. Thursday, Friday and Saturday there was a little wind but we don’t expect that to last.”
Theresa Comber of Awesome Sportfishing said Woody and Jan Story of Evergreen, Colorado, were onboard the Too Awesome with Capt. Adan Ruiz last Sunday and released 3 billfish; 2 marlin and 1 sail, plus they caught a dorado.
“When they got to the hook at the end of the day, the roosters were schooling around so they dropped in a sardine and pulled up a sweet rooster,” Comber said. “It was a nice way to finish the day.”
Felipe Valdez at Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort reported the action that was heating up cooled just a bite, with a few windy days. “Even so, we had a nice variety of fish and plenty of fillets to go around,” Valdez said. “There were tailers spotted everywhere but not as many takers.”
“As of Saturday we had a fish count of 12 striped marlin, 4 sailfish, 7 dorado, 1 sierra, 3 sharks, 10 roosters, 3 nice pargo, 1 triggerfish and 9 pompano,” Valdez said. “Most went offshore to try for marlin or a dorado.”
“Fishing was a real roller coaster,” Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing said. “Early in the week striped marlin were in a feeding frenzy and giving anglers lots of action. Then the marlin slowed but big dorado showed. Just as the bite was getting into high gear a low pressure system hit and it shut off.”
“The weather brought strong winds and we had a few pretty ugly days,” Rayor said. “Now the wind is gone and a huge volume of marlin have showed just a few miles off Punta Colorada. It has been easy to spot fish but they are finicky biters.”
“It was pretty much been the same inshore,” Rayor said. “Roosterfish, pompano and jacks are on the rampage one day and just flat shut off the next.”
In other Baja fishing action:
— LA PAZ: While the yellowtail bite is officially over except for a few small firecracker yellows in the 5- to 10-pound range, it’s turning into your typical spring smorgasbord of fish species here.
“Frankly, it’s a lot of fun because day-to-day, you’re never sure what’s going to hit,” Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International said. “Sometimes it changes within the hour. I believe this past week alone we got over a dozen ‘keepable’ species of fish”
Included in the take was the first dorado of the season, a nice 25-pound class mahi picked up on live bait right in the middle of swarming bonito schools by Roldan himself. “It also included some really nice action on roosterfish that were hitting in numerous spots around the La Paz fishing area,” he said. “As well, there were cabrilla, grouper, sierra, jack crevalle and all three members of the pargo family (barred pargo, pargo liso and dog tooth snapper) were taken; usually in the areas around underwater structure.”
WON reader Gary Evans spent a few days fishing with his brother Bill out of Los Muertos. “Since I arrived too late to get into the yellowtail bite, we went after pargo off the south end of Cerralvo,” Evans said. “As always when fishing for pargo, the hooking is fairly easy, getting them to the boat is the hard part. We spent the morning trying for dogtooth pargo and ended our day trying for pargo liso.”
“On both days we were able to get two to the boat, not good results,” Evans said. “One day we explored the 88 spot, jumping from shark buoy to shark buoy and finally found 2 dorado, one we released and one made it into the box. A long 30-mile run for one dorado but they are on their way into La Paz.”
JUST GOOFIN’ OFF — Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International took the first dorado of the season while “goofing off” at the south end of Cerralvo Island. In the middle of the bonito schools this big bull dorado came swimming through and inhaled his bait and it went ballistic. Nice way to start the season! PHOTO COURTESY OF TAILHUNTER INTERNATIONAL
— LORETO: This past weekend was the Great Loreto Yellowtail Tournament and with the yellowtail finally showing up and $10,000 in cash and prizes on the line, all were eager to get started.
“The first day's early leader was Andreas Cota Arce of Loreto on the Terminator,” Rick Hill of Loreto Sea and Land Eco Tours said. “His biggest fish weighed in at 12 kilos or just over 26 pounds and was caught south of Isla Carmen in a high spot known as Sailfish.”
“The big surprise was that he caught his fish on a jig fished deep on 40-pound test,” Hill said. “He lost a bigger one and the worst part was his favorite jig (the one that caught the other fish) went south, too! Also, some nice cabrilla came to the weigh station along with the yellowtail.”
Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said the tournament is finally over and as soon as she gets some much needed rest, she’ll send in the full report. “I can safely say that this event was an overwhelming success,” Bolles said. Look for the rest of the report and a photo in next week’s WON issue.
— MAGDALENA BAY: It was a long, windy week so no one went out but the calmer water was expected to return today, Sunday.
“I am going out sometime this next week on an exploratory trip as there have been reports of nicer tuna, 30 miles out,” Bob Hoyt of Mag Bay Outfitters said. “We have had a steady halibut bite here close to Lopez, with limits in just a few hours. And a few grouper but the snook remain elusive. Still, there is a lot going on in the bay with the scallopers. Scalloping here ends tomorrow.”
— SAN JOSE DEL CABO (LOS CABOS): This past week San Jose had its first real heat wave of the season; temperatures reached into the low 90s during the first part of the week, later on weather patterns normalized and light crowds of tourists were enjoying pristine spring time weather.
“The winds resided and anglers found comfortable conditions on the ocean, where water temperatures ranged from 68 on the Pacific side and up to 72 to 74 degrees in the direction of the Sea of Cortez,” Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said. “The warmest currents were being found on the fishing grounds offshore of San Jose del Cabo.”
“Caballito were available for bait and nice-sized sardina were being netted by pangeros north of Punta Gorda near San Luis,” Brictson said. “This past week there were more bolito encountered on the local fishing grounds, the choice bait for the variety of gamefish that can be encountered on any given day. This is the time of year when reports can change rapidly from day to day. Striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, grouper, amberjack, yellowtail, sierra, roosterfish and various snappers are just some of the species that can be encountered.”
“Striped marlin continue to highlight the action offshore from Cabo San Lucas to the Gordo Banks,” Brictson said. “Anywhere from 5 to 18 miles offshore, good numbers of stripers were being found. While not always in the biting mood, with persistence charters were often accounting for multiple fish days and 2 to 4 marlin per boat was common.”
“Stripers ranging from 90 to 130 pounds were striking on lures and dropped back baits,” Brictson said. “And there were many reports of anglers seeing large groups of marlin tailing on the surface. Sometimes they had lockjaw, other times they would readily strike, it was hard to figure out.”
Brictson said there were still some thresher and mako sharks being found on the offshore grounds. “And speaking of sharks, this past week a 22-foot commercial panga based out of Guaymas, Mexico, north in the Sea of Cortez, made news after trapping a 20-foot, 2,000-pound great white shark in their nets.” A protected species in Mexico, it is hoped that Conapesca will actually look into this suspicious catch.
“With the warmer conditions that started the week, a quality bite developed for a variety of fish off the San Luis area,” Brictson said. “Early in the morning there were greater numbers of bottomfish caught. Snapper, cabrilla, amberjack and a few yellowtail were taking yo-yos and baits equally well.”
Brictson said some decent sierra were caught close to shore and surprisingly enough there were yellowfin tuna that came up to the same chum line close to shore in only 60 feet of water. “They were spooky fish, disappearing as fast as they appeared,” he said. “For a few days, charters caught as many as four per boat, most of these tuna ranged from 20 to 40 pounds.”
“Wahoo were seen and hooked into from this same area, striking on yo-yos and sardina but more often cutting lines,” Brictson said. “A handful of ’hoo to 30 pounds were successfully landed though. Later in the week the tuna action disappeared, but at least this was a good sign that these fish are in the area and as the conditions continue to warm and become increasingly favorable, we do expect this action to bust wide open.”
“The Gordo Banks is now attracting more schools of baitfish, including bolito,” Brictson said. “Anglers that trolled these baitfish around the banks reported striped marlin, sharks and a few dorado. There are not many dorado around at this time, but the majority being found have weighed up to 40 pounds. This is the time when we start finding larger yellowtail on the Inner and Outer Gordo Banks and will be something to try for in the coming weeks. Larger live baits drifted down deep will be one way to go and yo-yoing jigs is always worth trying.”
The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita and Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out 63 charters for the week and anglers reported a fish count of 28 striped marlin, 1 thresher, 4 mako shark, 14 hammerhead shark, 32 yellowfin tuna, 21 dorado, 8 yellowtail, 39 amberjack, 6 wahoo, 124 mixed species of pargo, 35 cabrilla, 8 grouper, 185 sierra, 38 roosterfish and 6 pompano.
SIXTY FEET AND COUNTING — George Oglesby and his wife, visiting from Medford, OR had a great day fishing on the super panga Katie with light tackle close to shore. These yellowfin tuna and all the others were landed in a mere 60 feet of water in the same area where sierra have been schools off of San Luis, all on sardina. PHOTO COURTESY OF GORDO BANKS PANGAS
— SANTA ROSALIA: Fishing is heating up as the water is warming up along with the weather.
“We are seeing large schools of porpoise, quite a lot of whale activity, and best of all, the fish have been biting like crazy,” local angler Jim Anderson said. “While things are still a little on the slow side around San Marcos Island, Tortuga has been wide open and producing great catches of yellowtail with some cabrilla thrown in for good measure.”
“Bait is still in the deep area between the Haystack and the Cliffs but has been as thick as I have seen it for years,” Anderson said. “It is easy to make a good load of bait before heading off to Tortuga to do battle.”
“There have been a few dorado and marlin spotted as the water temperatures have been slowly climbing toward 75 degrees,” Anderson said. “When the marlin first show they do not bite well but as the water continues warming they get a lot hungrier.”
Don't forget the San Lucas Cove Annual Yellowtail Tournament on the 27th of May. “You can start fishing at your home base and bring your fish in to the weigh in,” Anderson said. “Just make sure you are pre-registered and you can even make an early bid for your boat for the Calcutta Auction. This should be a fun event.”
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