EAST CAPE — This past week and weekend was the Bisbee’s Offshore Tournament, held at the Buena Vista Beach Resort here in the East Cape. The 13th annual event wasn’t a lucky number for marlin this year, but it was for everything else.
A total of 61 teams fished this year to get in on the $461,790 cash awards at stake. And while there were a few undersized marlin brought to the scale, none could make the required minimum weight of 300 pounds. But a total of 30 blues, 1 black, 48 striped marlin and 15 sailfish were released, for an impressive release ratio of 96.8 percent. In the game fish division, 18 dorado and yellowfin tuna were weighed in.
The big winner at the awards dinner Saturday night was the local team from Awesome Sportfishing, who also set a new tuna division record for the event with their 262-pound yellowfin. The cow-sized fish earned Capt. Luis Duran, Shaun Speer — the official angler for the catch — and his team $37,095. During the last hour on the last day of the event all eyes were peeled for the fish that had been caught 35 miles south and just north of Gordo Banks after a three hour brutal battle to wrest the fish into the boat. They even had to use a frontend loader to bring it from the dock to the scale once they were finally in.
Theresa Comber, from Baja's Awesome Sportfishing said her team, who were slow trolling live bait, was getting nervous as the day's end and lines out at 4 p.m. were quickly approaching. “Earlier Lucas Loynes caught and released a striped marlin; shortly after a hard fighting 40-pound dorado was fought by Mike Loynes and brought onto the boat,” Comber said.
Because they were only competing in the tournament’s game fish category, the question for the three member team was, "Do we run back, weigh the dorado and then go back out, knowing that two days prior the winning dorado weighed 39 pounds.” “The decision was made and they iced it down, plugged the gaff hole and hoped for another fish,” Comber said.
“Just about that time the port side rod was hit and for the next 1½ hours they took turns wearing it down,” Comber said. “You can imagine their excitement when the reel was finally full and the fish surfaced at the back of the boat since they hadn’t seen it yet. It was the largest fish any of them had ever caught. But with time slipping away and another 1½ boat ride ahead of them, their next ordeal was to get it onto the swim platform and into a boat without a transom door. That took all four of them another half hour.”
Comber said once done, the team spent the next 1½ hours, speeding back to the dock at 25 knots, making it just 45 minutes before the close of the scale at 7 p.m. that night. The grudge match with the Team Captain of the previous day’s tuna winners was now on. “They beat our team two years ago by less than one pound with a 123-pound tuna,” Comber said.
“Their 213-pound tuna from Day 2 (the bucks had rolled over from Day 1) had already won them $22,950,” Comber said. “Now they had their eye on the overall prize and a new tournament record. All we could hope was that ours was at least 213.1 pounds.” Congratulations Team Awesome on your 262-pound tuna and new record. Team Tenacious took second place with their 213-pound yellowfin, boated by Eduardo Aripez Beltran.
The Awesome now holds both game fish records for the East Cape Bisbee. Ten years ago the Awesome caught another tournament winner and hold the tournament’s record for dorado with their 68-pound dorado.
Not too far behind them in that division though was this year’s dorado winner. For Taylor Horton, a big game hunting guide from Colorado this was not only his first event but it was his first dorado. Horton’s big dorado, a 57.5-pounder, earned his Ez-Duz-It team, skippered by Capt. Ernie Cosio of Cabo San Lucas $37,095.
Ned Wallace, owner of Tiger Spirit, collected $11,475 in the Day One jackpot money for his 40.1-pound dorado. While Chip Wagner, owner of Hang ’Em High, took back to Texas $11,475 in jackpot money for his 42.4-pound dorado on the second day.
Sniper, skippered by Capt. Angel Cesena of Cabo San Lucas, released 2 blue marlin, 1 black and 1 striper to earn the top release honors. Sneak Attack was second in overall releases with 2 blues and 2 stripers, while the Wildcatter took third place in the release division with 2 blues and 1 striper.
THE AWESOME DOES AWESOME AT THE BISBEE — While the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore was able to come up with any winning marlin this year, it did produce a new record for the event in the tuna division. Their 262-pound cow-sized yellowfin earned Capt. Luis Duran, Shaun Speer — the official angler for the catch — and his team $37,095. PHOTO COURTESY OF WON STAFFER ROBIN WADE
In other Baja fishing action:
— ENSENADA: The WON tournament Friday and Saturday at the Hotel Coral and Marina was held and 27 yellowtail and three bluefin were weighed in Saturday. The event went off beautifully with a small field due to tough weather conditions with 6-7-foot seas and 25 knot winds that kept many teams from entering. The 238 Spot was the top spot for yellows under paddies to 23 pounds and the tuna division was topped by a bluefin, a 27 pounder. See results elsewhere in this issue and at wonews.com.
The bait barge at the Marina Coral is up and running, selling live and healthy sardine at $35 a scoop. Mon - Thurs: 8 to 3 p.m. and Fri - Sun: on call by appointment. From the US call (714) 729 4548 or (52) 646 175 2324 when in town. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
— SAN QUINTIN: Capt. Kelly Catian of K&M Offshore Sportfishing had Mike Tweed and John Cote of San Diego aboard the K&Ms Offshore III at the 6-Fathom spot and brought in yellowtail weighing up to 41 pounds. Catian said all the fish were caught using live sardine and mackerel while drifting the high-spot. The water conditions were clean and held at 63 degrees.
SAN QUINTIN YELLOWS HERE! — As the summer weather and waters heat up, so does the fishing. Fishing with Capt. Kelly Catian of K&M Offshore Sportfishing, Mike Tweed (shown here) and John Cote of San Diego caught yellowtails up to 41 pounds. PHOTO COURTESY OF K&M OFFSHORE SPORTFISHING
— BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES & SEA OF CORTEZ MIDRIFF: No report this past week.
— CEDROS ISLAND: No report this past week.
— BAHIA ASUNCION (Just south of Guerrero Negro): The weather has been perfect for fishing; no swell, light winds, clear water and yellowtail everywhere.
Shari Bondy of Campo Sirena said Capt. Juan Arce reported outstanding yellowtail fishing this past week in Asuncion. “They have been leaving them biting all week and our smoker is fired up right now full of fish,” she said.
“While there is a lot of seaweed to dodge, trolling with green Rapalas has been very productive,” Bondy said. “Schools of fish range from 15 to 25 pounds and everyone here is thrilled that the season has begun so early.”
— SAN FELIPE & NORTHERN SEA OF CORTEZ: No report from the Tony Reyes and The Longfin this past week.
— SANTA ROSALIA: The area has been showing its usual summer season temperament all week with good fishing one day and then a few days where not much happened.
“Bait has been moving around quite a bit but as long as one is equipped with a good quality depth finder, it is pretty easy to find schools of green mackerel,” local angler Jim Anderson said. “With the water temperature approaching 85 degrees, it is a little difficult to keep the bait healthy and alive for very long before it rolls over and dies pretty quickly.”
Anderson said billfish are still showing up but the numbers are not as high as he has seen in past years. “I do see lots of sign of baitfish in the areas where they normally hang out, but the numbers of billfish are smaller.”
“Dorado have made a major showing in our area this year and as long as you pay attention to your Terrafin charts and watch the temperature breaks, they are pretty easy to find,” Anderson said. “When you get an area with temperature breaks and floating sargasso, then there are lots of fish there. We had an early run of very small fish, but now we are getting some fish in the 20- to 30-pound range.”
“The Mexican Pangueros had a really good week, with nice sized red snapper and yellowtail from the Bajos north of San Marcos Island,” Anderson said. “I brought some small frozen squid back from San Diego and managed to hook a few nice snapper for the grill. The locals use squid guts and lungs to catch these fish and they have become very sensitive to hooks and line so they are pretty much a ghost fish. It has been a very slow learning curve, but I am managing to get a few.”
— MULEGE: No report this past week.
— LORETO: Loreto had a breezy week with light winds coming from different directions, churning up the waters. The beginning of August is here and with it the thinning out of the weed paddies. There is more sargasso on the beaches and less in the water to help spot and target dorado.
“Fishing continues to be very good all the way north to San Basilio,” Rick Hill of Loreto Sea and Land Eco Tours said. “The high spot east of San Bruno has become the favorite destination for the larger dorado and billfish. We have been getting easy limits almost every trip, but no tuna. There are also less marlin and sailfish.”
Hill said they are still waiting for the sardine to get bait-sized. “You can count on the fly fishing results to really go through the roof when that happens. We still have another three months of great fishing to look forward to.”
Now that dorado season is here, pay attention to the fishing limits posted when you buy your license or at the boat ramp/dock. If you take two dorado, you are done fishing. “We had some clients that wanted to catch 15 dorado for three anglers and the captain had to explain why he couldn't do that,” Hill said. “PESCA and the marine park personnel are checking catches more regularly and the fines are big! If a captain of a sportfishing charter gets caught with over limits, he gets a big fine and the boat gets confiscated.” This is true everywhere in Mexico.
Fillets from two big dorado can take a long time to eat and are expensive if you have to buy a big cooler and pay the extra bucks to fly it back. Enjoy the fishing and be smart about what you keep.
— MAGDALENA BAY: Bob Hoyt of Mag Bay Sportfishing said yellowfin remain the target species, with limits the norm. “With the water at 76 and climbing, fish to 15 pounds have been within 20 miles of the island,” Hoyt said. “There are also some nice yellowtail on the Thetis Bank to 40 pounds.
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