LA PAZ — From dorado to marlin, sailfish and roosters; it was a good week here in La Paz.
“At times, folks were catching and releasing fish as fast as they could go,” Jonathan Roldan from Tailhunter International said. “Some days the bite was later in the day but on other days our anglers were full of fish by breakfast time. Once it started there could be pandemonium with double and even triple hook ups. Some of our clients told us they released dozens of dorado each day.”
Roldan said most of the dorado fishing was north of La Paz and was found in a nice wedge from the Las Cruces/Gordo area and then up to the east side of Espirito Santo Island and up to the Charo Bank. “There’s a nice current line of sargasso weeds holding fish all up and down that area,” he said. “There are lots of voracious 10 to 15 pounders all along that area that are almost fighting each other to get to the hooks but there’s also some nicer 20- to 50-pound bruisers mixed in as well. In the last two weeks, it’s been like someone threw a switch.”
“In that same area, especially with all the smaller punk dorado around, marlin and sailfish have also moved into the area and are actively feeding,” Roldan said. “We had quite a few hooked, lost and released this past week with most in the 100- to 120-pound class.”
“Around Las Arenas, our fleet there continued to do well on the roosterfish,” Roldan said. “If you’ve ever wanted to check a roosterfish off your bucket list, this has been the year for it. Roosters in the 20- to 50-pound class have not been uncommon and they’re very close to the beaches where you can visually cast to them and watch them pick up. It’s pretty exciting stuff to watch those huge dorsal fins cut through the water. Las Arenas also produced some marlin and sailfish for us this past week as well as pargo.”
In other Baja fishing action:
— LORETO: The full moon and a tropical storm put the advantage in the dorados court this past week as it started off with windy conditions for the Vagabundos Fishing Tournament.
“The first place fish was a 39-pound dorado,” Rick Hill of Loreto Sea and Land Eco Tours said. “All the fish were caught close to home base (Hotel Oasis) as the fishing action (due to the weather) was limited to between Coronado Island and Carmen Island.”
“Fishing improved mid week except for down south of Carmen Island,” Hill said. “Ed Hoffman (the marine radio morning weather report voice) reported heavy currents at the high spots, making yellowtail fishing difficult. Also, there no concentrations of dorado, sargasso or billfish. The boat Baja Buddy went on a 105-mile tour and came back empty handed.”
Hill said all the action has been north of Coronado Island for the fourth week in a row. “There are sargasso weed paddies all over and everywhere you look there are big fish,” he said. “Marlin, sailfish, dorado and an occasional jumping thresher shark were everywhere. We spotted an 8-foot thresher shark jumping out of the water. At first glance we thought it had to be a dolphin, but by the second jump it was clear a thresher.”
“The fishing this year is the best in the past ten years and the upcoming Fishin for the Mission tourney should prove that,” Hill said. “There are plenty of hotel space, pangas and captains. Bring plenty of 6/0 and 8/0 hooks, swivels and 80- to 100-pound leader material. We’ve got plenty of cold beer and ice. Don't miss this fantastic season for dorado in Loreto.”
— SAN FELIPE & NORTHERN SEA OF CORTEZ: Tony just returned from a 6-day trip with 27 anglers and sent this report in.
“He said they fished Partida Island and San Francisquito Bay for lots of big yellowtail and Rasa Island and Partida Island for great cabrilla fishing,” Tom Ward from The Longfin said. “Snake Island had lots of medium sized yellowtail.”
“The weather was cooler than normal and humid as the Monsoon season is upon us,” Ward said. “The water is warming up and the yellows are biting deeper on the reefs. Lots of sinkers, hooks and jigs are being donated to the fish Gods. MirrOLures are continuing to work well with the pink, purple and red colors being best.”
Ward said the trip produced limits of yellowtail to 34 pounds, 272 cabrilla to 21 pounds, 9 pargo, 60 bass, 1 white seabass weighing 25 pounds, 1 released black seabass weighing 41 pounds, 2 sheepshead, 4 whitefish, 2 broomtail cabrilla up to 34 pounds, 1 parrotfish for a diver and 185 other released fish.
— SAN JOSE DEL CABO (LOS CABOS): Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas is back and filed this report.
“The unusual strange ocean conditions continue,” Brictson said. “Early in the week the Pacific current pushed in the direction of Los Frailes and water temperatures dropped into the 72- to 74-degree range. Then the winds resided and currents were moving inshore waters from the East Cape back south to Cabo San Lucas and inshore waters from about 3 to 6 miles. Offshore they ranged from 80 to 84 degrees; while offshore the water was cooler, ranging from 74 to 78 degrees.”
“The green plankton rich water conditions have been reaching out 30 miles offshore, but in the past few days the clarity north of Punta Gorda in the surrounding areas near Iman Bank was reported to be much improved and even bluish,” Brictson said. “Apparently the current has been swifter offshore than closer to shore and why cleaner, warmer waters are now found inshore. This is what we have been patiently waiting for, so the fishing action can get back on track to our normal expectations.”
Brictson said the main supplies of live bait recently have been caballito and mullet as the only source of sardina have been found off the East Cape region. “Bolito schools have been scattered due to unfavorable currents but we do expect these baitfish to start schooling over our local fishing grounds once again as conditions do finally stabilize.”
“For the past week now the only consistent action for the fleet launching from San Jose del Cabo has been found close along the shoreline for roosterfish or far to the northeast some 20 to 30 miles,” Brictson said. “This is where a series set buoys, 4 to 8 miles offshore, have been attracting schools of dorado and in recent days some yellowfin tuna in the 10- to 20-pound class were encountered. Sizes of the dorado ranged from 5 to 50 pounds.”
“Fish were striking caballito, mullet, small skipjack and particularly on sardina, for anglers that were able to purchase them, which was only for fleets from north of Los Frailes,” Brictson said. “Trolling with hoochie skirts also worked well.”
“But crowds of boats were a problem, since this area was producing the only consistent action, fleets from Los Barriles, Buena Vista, San Jose del Cabo and even from Cabo San Lucas were all making the unusually long runs to get into this bite,” Brictson said. “This puts a lot of pressure on a handful of buoys set by commercial shark pangeros. More often than not it was the first boats to the individual buoys that encountered the hungry bull dorado, some of them in the 30- to 50-pound class. Then later as more boats arrived it was mainly the smaller schoolies that provided action.”
“The limit on these popular acrobatic gamefish is two per license and apparently some of the East Cape boats have not been enforcing these laws,” Brictson said. “They strictly abide by the two dorado limit rule out of the Los Cabos area.”
Brictson said every day he is hearing about more yellowfin tuna being caught near Los Frailes. “The large schools of fish up to 20 pounds are striking on all sizes of lures but have not been associated with porpoise most of the time,” he said. “As this congregation of fish shifts south some, they will be within the range of a normal day’s charter from San Jose.”
“Some striped marlin and a few sailfish are being found trolling offshore waters, there are no large concentrations of them, but as the conditions continue to clean up, we do anticipate a late season run for stripers,” Brictson said.
“Roosterfish up to 60 pounds were caught this past week, even though most charters were concentrating on the dorado bite around the far away buoys, leaving little time to do much else,” Brictson said.
The combined panga fleet out of La Playita and Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out 49 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of 2 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 215 dorado, 5 yellowfin, 8 amberjack, 3 grouper, 12 cabrilla, 8 jack crevalle, 42 roosterfish, 14 yellow snapper and 28 triggerfish.
FIRST TO THE BUOYS — While anglers wait for the waters off of San Jose to finish clearing, they and everyone else have been making the long run up to the shark buoys. First ones there get the big bulls. Shown here is Pat Walsh from Marina del Rey, with Gordo Banks Pangas skipper Tony Miranda's son Axel. PHOTO COURTESY OF GORDO BANKS PANGAS
— SANTA ROSALIA: The Santa Rosalia area can’t seem to decide if its spring (which normally produces great yellowtail fishing) or if summer is really here for dorado and billfish.
“One day the yellowtail are biting like crazy on the north side of San Marcos as well as Tortuga and the next day they go into hibernation and no one can find them at all,” local angler Jim Anderson said. “The water was really calm Friday so I targeted billfish and never saw even so much as a jumper, but I did drop in several spots and immediately hooked up to some really nice yellowtail.”
“Tortuga Island had some really nice yellowtail lying along the bottom in spots that I normally expect cabrilla and grouper, but they smacked the bait as soon as it dropped in to the zone,” Anderson said. “The same thing happened when I returned from Tortuga and dropped on the 110 area at San Marcos Island. When you have yourself really set for billfish, it is a little disappointment when you get yellowtail.”
“Mid week I was targeting yellowtail at Tortuga and dropped in a really deep spot and sure enough, I nailed 4 or 5 billfish halfway to the bottom,” Anderson said. “I have a new technique which I call Dropper Loop fishing for marlin. I don't know if it will ever catch on, but it was interesting to see a striper jump with a big weight hanging below.”
“There was lots of sea life this past week in the form of sperm whales (a big pod of over 8 members), lots of pilot whales, turtles under almost every floating sargasso and tons of dolphin playing and jumping,” Anderson said.
— SAN QUINTIN: Don Eddie’s Landing annual tournament for the largest fish went off this past weekend without a hitch.
“Our torneo was a great success,” Beverly Hawley-Martin said. “We had 14 anglers entered and all went out at 6 a.m. determined to win first place. A great time was had by all and first place went to Mike Halligan from Buena Park with a 20.5-pound yellowtail. Second place went to Roy McDennon Jr. of Laguna Beach with an 11-pound lingcod and third place went to Roy McDennon Sr. with a 4-pound calico.”
“The Number 1 Guide honor went to Capt. Juan Cook who captained the winning fish,” Hawley-Martin said. “There was also a special recognition and award presented to the San Anglers team lead by Bill Harris from San Diego who took home a Senator trolling rod and Senator reel in appreciation of his long-standing support of the Don Eddies Hotel.”
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