LA PAZ — Roosterfish lived up to their name, while others had a pargo party as they wait for the warmwater species to arrive.
“Roosterfish and pargo really kicked it into a higher gear this past week,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International. “As air and water temperatures ratchet up bit by bit, everyone is anticipating the incoming warmwater species. But in the meantime, some days it seemed as if the roosters and pargo just dogpiled onto each other.
“With temperatures in the high 80s, the roosterfish were especially voracious,” Roldan said. “There’s a reason why they call this area the ‘Roosterfish Capital of the World.’ We didn’t get any monsters, but fish in the 5- to 40-pound class were pretty common. Live sardines slow trolled or drifted were good, as were Rapalas and other crankbaits.”
Roldan said the roosters were in their normal spots along the sandy areas, literally terrorizing schools of bait right up to and onto the sand! “We were also getting them around the rocky areas of the islands, as well as over reefs and high spots where we were fishing for pargo and cabrilla,” he said. “The faster and more mobile roosters often hit the baits before the pargo or cabrilla could get to them, and some of the roosters would blow up in spectacular fashion on the water. We were even hooking some roosters just offshore in deeper water. It’s a great time for light tackle, spinning gear and the fly rods, as well.
“As for the pargo, they are mixing it up with the big cabrilla (seabass) and smaller grouper that we can stop,” Roldan said. “Remember that these fish are often in extremely shallow waters and the rocks are almost right below the boats. As soon as you hook up, you have to turn these fish or you’re done… right into the rocks and there’s just no way to win. The cabrilla and pargo we are able to stop are in the 5- to 20-pound class, but much bigger fish get away with a hook in their jaws and a length of shredded line trailing behind them.”
Roldan said most of the anticipation comes from conditions being seen. “As I said last week, everything just looks primed to blow up any day,” he said. “Signs of roosters are just one indication, but there’s a ton of sargasso out there floating around, and flurries of dorado have been seen under them. As well, schools of fast-moving tuna have eluded the pangas and marlin are just starting to wake up. We had several hookups and break-offs this past week or, more often, the marlin were just sitting on the surface and not much interested in anything you threw at them, short of running over them with the panga.
“Sometimes you could be running the panga and hit a ‘bump-bump’ as the panga took a little hop, and then there’s a marlin greyhounding away, as you realize you just ran over him.”
June 1 is the date for the Dorado La Paz Fishing Tournament here this year with a boat up for grabs.
LA PAZ, ROOSTERFISH CAPITAL OF THE WORLD — Mark Diehl, first-time fisherman to La Paz, visiting from the Portland, Ore., area, only fished one day, but made the most of it; getting a number of species including this big roosterfish just off the sand near the Punta Arenas lighthouse. Capt. Franisco looks on. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAILHUNTER INTERNATIONAL
— LORETO: Mark your calendars for June 21 thru 23; these are this year’s dates for the Tripui Sports Fishing group’s annual tourney to raise money for local charities in Puerto Escondido. Tourney organizers say anglers can expect more categories, more trophies and more fun. Contact Bud Dees at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“The action tapered off rapidly at Catalana this past weekend with only a few yellowtail and a few dozen bonito grandes,” said Rick Hill of Loreto Sea and Land Eco Tours. “There is plenty of bait showing from the Six Mile Reef all the way east to Catalana, but not many biters.
“When we returned from our Wednesday run, we received the news that Punta Perico, on the south side of Carmen, had exploded with many hookups and yellowtail landed,” Hill said. “The solid action continued all week. Capt. ‘Cuate’ Fernandez's group landed 5 yellowtail from 16 to 20 pounds and 2 nice cabrilla.
“Also in the action was a shot at pargo, but this is mostly for entertainment,” Hill said. “Three giant pargo hits and three trips to the rocks almost as fast as you could blink. I don't think they would hit a bait on ¼-inch steel cable, but I sure would love to see one biggie up close. They must have jaws full of hooks.”
Hill said the water temperatures are coming up and the green water is being replaced by clear blue water. “There are lots of mantas jumping, which is a sure sign that summer is around the corner,” he said. “Daytime air temperatures are in the 78- to 82-degree range and cool at night. We are all sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for the dorado and billfish to attack.
“The Tripui fishing tourney (a total charity event) is coming up in one more month,” Hill said. “Teams are signing up and the Loreto Yellowtail tourney winners should be giving everybody a run for the money.”
— MAGDALENA BAY: The netters are working at full speed shark fins in Lopez unfortunately. And the good news and bad news is that they are getting some marlin in the nets.
“I know the marlin have showed up because I see them, sadly in the nets,” said Bob Hoyt of Mag Bay Outfitters.
“But the good news is that there are some really nice robalo (snook) being taken just outside the entrance,” Hoyt said. “The bay has plenty of cabrilla and small grouper, and in the Pacific the small tuna are still around the outer banks. I expect as the water warms to see more action since there are still lots of bait balls everywhere.”
— MULEGE: Although there are no reports currently coming out of the area, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to San Lucas Cove, where the Yellowtail Tournament will be held Sunday, May 27. Pre-register and you can start the event fishing from your place and weigh-in there.
— SAN FELIPE AND NORTHERN SEA OF CORTEZ: After a late start to the season, thanks to some red tape with permits, the Tony Reyes just returned from a four-day trip, the first of the year.
“They had a group of eight anglers from Bakersfield and had great weather,” said Tom Ward from The Longfin. “The group fished around La Guardia Island and caught some big cabrilla and lots of big 3- to 7-pound bass. Then they fished the Enchanted Islands for more cabrilla. Some yellowtail in the 10- to 16-pound range were also biting. The largest fish of the trip was a 30-pound broomtail grouper, with several fish being broken off.”
Ward said the water temperature has been around 70 degrees.
“Tony had some paperwork problems with a permit that was needed from Mexico City and had to cancel the first two trips of the year, but now has all the permits he needs and is ready to fish,” Ward said. “The boat Tony Reyes now has trips departing every week thru November: www.tonyreyes.com.
— SAN JOSE DEL CABO (LOS CABOS): The red-hot striped marlin action encountered previously off San Jose del Cabo tapered off for several days during the recent moon period. But, as the full moon began to wane, the bite has begun to pick back up again. Good news, since anglers fishing from San Jose will have to share some of the fishing grounds with tournament teams coming up from Los Cabos.
“In the direction of the Gordo Banks, anglers are finding warmer water of 74 to76 degrees,” said Eric Brictson from Gordo Banks Pangas. “The majority of the sportfishing fleets was fishing on the grounds off Chileno to the 1150 Fathom spot, the Gordo Banks and north towards Iman, Desteladera and San Luis Banks.
“Live bait options remained plentiful for caballito, and after becoming scarce for a few weeks, nice-sized sardina were once again available,” Brictson said. “Pangeros found schools of these baitfish inshore near San Luis, and with calmer surf conditions this gave the netters opportunities to reach the baitfish. There was also the option of purchasing bags of fresh dead sardina from the dock area and they were being used mainly for chumming over shallow rocky areas for catching a mix of bottom species. Larger concentrations of bolito are now schooling on the fishing grounds, being caught early in the day for use as trolling baits on the same grounds.”
Brictson said by the weekend, the action seemed to be rebounding and many stripers were seen tailing on the surface. “A percentage of these fish were striking lures or bait, but many still showed no interest. The area from the Gordo Banks to the 1150 spot seemed to have the larger concentration of billfish.
“There were fewer dorado encounters this past week, with only a scattering of mostly single fish found,” Brictson said. “There were reports of schooling dorado found near the shark buoys north of Gordo, but these dodos apparently had lockjaw and would not hit on anything.”
Yellowfin tuna were not found with any consistency; some days anglers did find larger yellowfin of 100 pounds-plus though breezing in the same area with porpoise. “These fish would come up and feed on chummed sardina, but just would not strike any baits with hooks in them,” Brictson said. “It was strange to see tuna act in this manner, but it is not all that uncommon with the abundance of natural food on the banks; these fish can become obsessed with feeding on a particular resource on their own schedule. There were a handful of medium-sized tuna hooked while trolling Rapalas near the Iman to San Luis area, but it was still hit or miss.”
Brictson said there have been more reports heard of seeing free-swimming wahoo and occasional hookups, despite limited numbers; it was still very encouraging to see these pelagics becoming more active. “It seems they always prefer water temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s,” he said. “The wahoo being hooked now have ranged from 10 to 70 pounds and the larger specimens were landed on the marlin grounds on trolled bolito. More numbers of the ‘hoos were also encountered closer to shore north of Punta Gorda, striking sardinas, yo-yos and Rapalas.
“Many panga charters are fishing closer to shore over the rocky structure for a quality mix of great-eating species,” Brictson said. “Most of these fish are striking caballito or sardina with some mixed success had on yo-yo jigs, as well. Amberjack up to 60 pounds were accounted for, with a few yellowtail of 10 to 30 pounds in the mix, yellow snapper, barred pargo, huachinango, leopard grouper and pompano rounding out the action.”
“By the weekend, anglers also enjoyed the season’s first consistent action for quality and quantities of pompano,” Brictson said. “These jacks were averaging 10 pounds, striking on live bait close to shore 2 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, off of La Salinas,” Brictson said. “These are some of the finest-eating fish found in local waters and that includes a smorgasbord list of others.”
Trolling the beach stretches has produced sierra, jack crevalle and roosterfish. There were reports of dogtooth snapper starting to show up, as well.
The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita and Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out 62 charters, with anglers accounting for 21 striped marlin, 7 wahoo, 14 dorado, 8 yellowfin tuna, 34 barred pargo, 65 yellow snapper, 18 sierra, 27 amberjack, 8 yellowtail, 27 cabrilla, 28 roosterfish, 98 pompano, 8 mako shark and 16 hammerhead sharks.
On the tourney front here, growing in popularity, the La Playita Wahoo Tournament is scheduled for November 18.
— SANTA ROSALIA: Yellowtail fishing continues to be epic both at San Marcos Island and clear out at Tortuga.
“Bait in the form of good-sized green mackerel is readily available,” said local angler Jim Anderson. “Everyone is walking around with a big smile on their face as the fishing is incredibly good right now.
“By the end of the week, the huachinango (red snapper) had moved in and were biting very well,” Anderson said. “Since the smaller red snapper bring a wholesale price of close to 50 pesos per kilo, the pangueros are also really happy. We are still not seeing much in the way of squid, but there were some small squid in the bait area by the weekend.
“Not only is the fishing epic, but there is also a lot of life for the person who is watching to see what is happening in the sea,” Anderson said. “Saturday, there were numerous whale sharks slurping up the plankton right in front of the marina in San Bruno. I am always amazed when I stumble upon these creatures and love to watch them eating plankton as they are right up on the surface.
“The SSTs, or Terrafin’s Sea Surface Temperature charts, are showing some serious 75-plus-degree water south and east of Tortuga, so I think the next calm day will find me out there checking for billfish and dorado.”
The next tournament coming up here is the San Lucas Cove Yellowtail event on May 27. E-mail JAnder7339@aol.com for more information about this great event.
— SAN QUINTIN: The action may not be heating up yet (except for bottomfish) but the 12th annual Don Eddy’s 4th of July tournament will be held on the 6th and 7th of July for the “Biggest Fish,” excluding sharks and rays. The winner will receive 50 percent of the purse pulse a trophy, while second place will take home 35 percent of the purse, plus a trophy.
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SAN LUCAS COVE TOURNEY COMING — Rigoberto Ojeda shows an example of what anglers fishing the event can expect, a nice yellowtail caught on live bait. PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM ANDERSON