CABO SAN LUCAS — In contrast to the past few weeks, it was a banner fishing week for Cabo San Lucas, as the billfish showed up closer in and a few more were biting. Not only that, there was a blue marlin released as well as a swordfish and sailfish. Further up the coast in the East Cape, it was all about football-sized tuna.
Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported improved action, with the Gaviota IX having a 4 marlin release day midweek for a total of 8 stripers released for five days fished. “One thing’s for sure, the on-going up and down temperature changes and water clarity changes for the entire Cabo area that has wrapped Lands End for several weeks now and wreaked havoc with the catching of billfish was no different this past week,” Edwards said.
“The sea temperatures shot back up and the water in some areas got a little cleaner and the fish showed up in those areas,” Edwards said. “We don't think the billfish have vacated the area but just stopped biting when the sea changes became radical; often showing a 10-degree change in the sea surface temperatures in a 24-hour period. We only had 10 charters this past week that included 10 stripers released, along with 6 dorado, 1 yellowfin tuna and 1 skipjack tuna.”
“It was a much better week now that the huge ships are gone and the weather is getting warmer, the water bringing the fish a lot closer,” Tracy Ehrenberg from Pisces Sportfishing said. “Previously we were going all the way to Destiladeras on the Sea of Cortez, 37 miles from Cabo. Now with the warmer water getting closer so are the fish. We caught most of them at Punta Gorda and the 95 spot, with really nice catches also straight south from the arch within 3 miles.”
“We had some unusual catches as well,” Ehrenberg said. “La Brisa, this time captained by Julio Castro from the Tracy Ann caught a 170-pound swordfish and the Andrea caught and released the first blue marlin and the first sailfish of the season. The marlin weighed about 180 pounds and the sailfish 100 pounds. They were trolling at Destiladeras and the blue marlin was caught on a pink and blue lure while the sailfish took live bait (caballito).”
Ehrenberg said that same day, Rebecca released 4 striped marlin. “We had a total of 25 striped marlin caught and released, a blue marlin and sailfish released and only the swordfish was boated. Sixty-four percent of our boats caught billfish.”
Capt. Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said there were finally some yellowfin caught close to home this past week. “There were no great numbers reported, but I heard of several boats getting between three and five fish,” Landrum said. “And no large sizes either; most of them were between 8 and 18 pounds. These fish were caught in the open and were not associated with porpoise, they were blind strikes. The area between the Arch and Chileno Bay out from two to four miles had these fish scattered about. Cedar plugs and feathers did the work to get hook ups. I did hear of a few nice sized fish found off Los Frailes, but they were quite a ways offshore. That’s a really long run for a charter boat but the fish were reported to be nice size, up to 100 pounds.”
“Inshore, was still slow,” Landrum said. “The yellowtail bite was almost non-existent and the sierra bite slowed way down as well. The positive note for sierra was their size increased by quite a bit with many of the fish being caught in the 8- to 12-pound class. Add in an occasional grouper to 25 pounds, a few roosterfish to 40 pounds, an amberjack once in a while and a few snook being reported and there was something to catch for almost everyone.”
ITS ABOUT TIME! — Blue marlin, sailfish and even a swordfish were added to the list of fish found as the Cabo bite picks up. Even the striped marlin were a little more eager to bit. PHOTO COURTESY OF PISCES SPORTFISHING
In other Baja fishing action:
— BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES & SEA OF CORTEZ MIDRIFF: WON reader Donnie Rea just got back from a five day trip to LA Bay with buddy Dave Jenkins and Peter Barton and filed this report.
“We drove down from Ventura and it took 12 hours of easy driving,” Rea said. “The roads are good and we had no travel problems. We left at 4:00 a.m. and arrived at Jenkins' house at 4:00 pm.”
Rea said the first day they rented a 30-foot super panga from Guillermo Galvan. “Our captain and friend, Jose, was waiting at the ramp at 5 a.m. and 15 minutes later we were at the entrance to the bay searching for mackerel,” he said. “Using a rod designed to fish Sabiki rigs; we spent about 30 minutes loading up on bait and then headed south to Las Animas. Finding no fish, we rounded the point and ran into a lot of birds dive bombing bait.”
“With three anglers onboard, we started fly lining the bait and it didn't take long before a school of yellowtail was on it,” Rea said. “We took several up to 20 pounds and then chased the school around for the rest of the day. All fish were taken within a three mile range. I used 4/0 ringed hooks, 50-pound Yo-Zuri pink fluorocarbon, 40-pound smoke Izorline, an Avet SX Raptor, and a custom made yellowtail rod made by Eric Huff of Eric's Tackle in Ventura. Day one ended with limits of jurel for all.”
The next day they were after the bottom dwellers with cabrilla and leopard grouper the target for the day. “We headed for Isla Angel de La Guarda; the huge island east of the Bahia,” Rea said. “We fished all day using lures, casting to shallow rock structure as you would do in freshwater bass fishing. The lures ranged from 2 to 5 ounces, the jigs with a sparkly surface, such as P-line laser minnows or CharkBait sliders worked the best.”
“Fishing was slow at first so we headed to the southern tip of the island and ended up drifting in a fast moving current,” Rea said. “Because the current moved us so fast, there was no need to cast. We just dropped the jig down and yo-yoed in about 30 to 40 feet of water and started bringing in grouper with each drop. Mixed in with the grouper were mid -sized yellows. Again, we took limits of yellows and grouper.”
On their last day of fishing, Rea said a fishing club from Tijuana rolled into town overnight in a custom greyhound bus. “They had about 50 members and were holding a yellowtail tournament,” he said. “There were lots of boats on the water and we decided to beat the crowd and went directly to the island to fish yellowtail; no bait, just lures. Again, fishing was slow early as the yellows would follow but not bite. I hooked and landed a big sardinera, 15-plus pounds on a CharkBait brown slider.”
“By that time the tournament boats had arrived live bait dominated,” Rea said. “Soon the tourney boys moved on and left us as the only boat in the area and not long after that schools of yellow swam through and we got hit. By the end of the day we again had limits on yellows and cabrilla sardinera. The tournament awards ceremony was held at Guillermo's restaurant. They had lots of nice yellows and a great time celebrating.”
Rea said the trip home was uneventful as the border crossing now has lanes for people that purchase Ready Cards and the lanes move quite a bit faster.
— EAST CAPE: Finally, the yellowfin tuna arrived and the bite was so hot for them that many ignored the world class roosterfishing or went after the marlin.
“We had our first good week of tuna fishing, with the fish showing up in good numbers,” John Ireland at Ranch Leonero said. “The bite started Wednesday with all anglers limiting on football sized fish to 25 pounds. They were found under several large schools of porpoise both east and north, approximately 10 miles off the hotel. Hoochies and cedar plugs were the only effective baits but we’ve had a very consistent bite for the last four days now.”
Ireland said inshore, the rooster fishing has been nothing short of amazing. “I went out Monday at 9:30 and was back for lunch at the hotel by 1,” he said. “I released 6 gallos between 30 and 70 pounds in two hours and I farmed a fish that I swear would have gone 100 pounds. This is by far the best roosterfish bite I can recall.”
“The larger roosters are in a little deeper water at the first drop off from the beach, normally a few 100 yards from shore,” Ireland said. “These are trophy, world class fish and there are definitely some line class IGFA records that could be broken in the coming weeks. Small 1- to 2-pound jacks are deadly on these big gallos. And there were some big pargo this past week, one weighed 42 pounds.”
“There is also a strong, consistent billfish bite right off La Ribera on the first drop off,” Ireland said. “And there’s not much pressure as most anglers are going for the tuna. On the way back from the tuna grounds anglers are scoring stripers. Fishermen targeting the billfish will definitely release at least one a day. Ballyhoo are defiantly working best right now.”
Ireland said there were some big bulls again this past week but the bite slowed as the week progressed. “There is still a very good bite, with very big fish coming to the cleaning table and 30 pounders are common with a few 40s mixed in,” he said. “They are just very spread out right now but in the same areas as both the tuna and the marlin.”
“Last week we had a run on dorado but this week it was all about the tuna and limits plus for almost all of the boats,” Axel Valdez from the Buena Vista Beach Resort said. “One boat had five limits (5 fish each) released another 25 and still made it back to the pool by 12:30.”
“The wind made it a little tough out there some days but overall conditions improved along with the water,” Valdez said. “Water temperatures were more consistent (low 80s) unless you headed south past the lighthouse which is still a little cooler but the color is improving as well.”
“What have been MIA for the most part are the pods of dolphin and many of the football-sized tuna were found on blind strikes; so it was a week of ‘run and gun’ for some,” Valdez said. “We also had our first wahoo of the season, caught by our Spa neighbors Raquel, Roy and Mark Templeton from Chula Vista, CA onboard the 3 Hermanos with Capt. Ramon. Templeton said he had brought down one 8-inch pink and white Zucker feather and that almost all of the tuna, including the wahoo were caught on it.”
“Tallying 30 dorado, 5 roosters, 7 sailfish, 22 striped marlin, 195 tuna and 1 wahoo, it looks like a more consistent bite is developing,” Valdez said.
Local angler Torrance Eddy and Manuel Lucero on his super panga Tio Juan out of La Capilla caught a nice roosterfish weighing almost 60 pounds. “We caught it somewhat accidentally using bait rigs off the Cabo Riviera jetty in 10 feet of water,” Eddy said. “When we hooked the monster on a bait feather with a very small hook using 20-pound mono on an old style Diawa 30H, it took us about 45 minutes before we even knew what it was.”
“Later that morning, Joanna Rinaldi, Carole Berry, Manuel Lucero and I boated 8 tuna between 8 and 12 pounds,” Eddy said. “We finished our day by giving a rescue to a smaller skiff whose engine had burned out.”
Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing said it is about a month later than normal but football sized tuna have finally shown up in big numbers. “Their appearance is just in time to take over for the great dorado bite we have been experiencing that has started to fizzle,” he said.
“It was a mixed bag for us with tuna, marlin, dorado and even a close encounter with a broadbill swordfish,” Rayor said. “Winning the KIR tournament tuna jack pot was fun but sighting the biggest swordie I have ever seen was the most exciting moment of the week for me.”
Theresa Comber of Awesome Sportfishing said the tuna are as much as six weeks late in arriving to our normally abundant sea. “Ten tuna and a marlin for good measure were found 25 miles east northeast of our shore,” she said. “All were fun football sizes weighing 20 to 30 pounds, although a boat measured an iconic 160 pounder as well, caught in the midst of the babes.”
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TUNA AND HUGE ROOSTERS ON TAP FOR EAST CAPE ANGLERS — While the tuna are all still only football-sized they are abundant. But it was the huge roosters being landed that has everyone waiting to see which records will fall this year. PHOTO COURTESY OF RANCH LEONERO