Baja Fishing Report

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Sunday, July 15, 2018
Loreto's jumbo El Seco tuna return

Loreto dorado to 37 pounds, Cabo tuna go off, East Cape targets growing
Yellowfin tuna get busy off Cabo


It’s limit-style action as waters and clears with tuna to 30 pounds; Loreto dorado in 30-plus pound range tops action for tourney folks, East Cape can’t get much better with bigger grade of ‘everything’

MIKE TUMBIERO of the charterboat Renegade Mike has seen limit-style yellowfin on fish to 30 pounds 10 miles out, with striped marlin action rolling and roosters in larger sizes moving into the shallows as Cabo San Lucas water conditions improved.

CABO SAN LUCAS — Capt. Mike Tumbiero, owner of the Renegade Mike charterboat based at the IGY Marina had a great report from Cabo on Saturday night after getting back in. Cabo’s water conditions have cleaned up and billfishing and tuna action is solid.

“Our fishing here in the Cabo San Lucas area has been steadily improving since Hurricane Bud in mid-June. Bud completely turned the water over into in off-color green and the fishing really suffered,” said Tumbiero. “The last week our water clarity and temperatures have been steadily rising and we are now seeing 80 degree water throughout several areas. There has been a pretty good marlin bite on the inside all the way from Cabo to San Jose two to five miles out. But the talk of the town has been our yellowfin tuna bite.

“We have had a pretty consistent bite since July 1. Tuna have been breezing on the surface without porpoise straight out in Cabo 10 to 15 miles and there have been several schools of porpoise holding tuna offshore. Although we have not seen signs of the bigger tuna yet, we are now getting tuna anywhere from 8 to 30 pounds and it’s been limit style fishing for the most part.”

He added, “The great trophy roosterfish we had throughout most of June has started to fizzle out as the fishing pressure has been extreme. Typically we start to see our blue marlin and bigger grade of tuna in July, but both these species have been slow in arriving. With the increase in water temperature and clarity. I expect these bigger grade of fish to show up any day now.”

As for Cabo weather, the air temperatures have been typical for this time a year with highs in the 90 degree range and our lows in the 75 to 80 degree range. Sea conditions have been calm on most days.

“Although there have been days when the northwest wind blows really strong and it has hampered our efforts to head offshore for the tuna,” said Tumbiero.

The Pisces Fleet’s Rebecca Ehrenberg weighed in with a great report on Sunday. The overall catch success rate, all species combined was 93 percent with billfish at 33 percent, tuna 71 percent, dorado at 12 percent.

“Summer is officially here,” she said. “Hot temperatures have moved into Cabo, with tuna numbers officially at a high this week, and dorado numbers steadily increasing. Those looking for marlin are still quite successful, with a maximum of up to four stripers caught per boat.”

For anglers in search of yellowfin tuna, the Pisces’ Cabolerodelivered as 16 yellowfinwere caught in total by the Ladwig family on cedar plugs, petrolero lures and live caballito at the Jaime Bank, the fish ranging 20 to 25 pounds.

The Pisces 38-foot C Rod also did well this week, with 16 yellowfin caught by anglers from Michigan. The fish ranged from about 10 to 20 pounds each and hit on feather and cedar plug lures at about 30 miles South of the Old Lighthouse.

“Later in the week, C Rod caught each of our top species, with 2 striped marlinreleased of about 120 and 140 pounds each (which hit on caballito live bait), 1 small dorado of about 10 pounds and 1 yellowfin tuna of about 6 pounds, said Ehrenberg. “The marlin were found out of Cabo Real area, the dorado was closer to Palmilla and the yellowfin was found out from the Old Lighthouse. That’s some hard work being put in by the crew, searching high and low to tick all the boxes for anglers.”

The Bill Collector scored the tuna on two trips, but didn’t focus solely on them this week. Anglers Juanita McCormick and Melissa Baum from Weatherford, TX, caught and released 4 striped marlin that smacked ballyhoo bait (trolled) and green/yellow lures out of Palmilla. The marlin were all very good size, with the smallest being about 140 pounds, and the largest, estimated at almost 180 pounds.

The Pisces 42-foot Hot Rod had two spectacular days of fishing, with anglers Colin Jones (#42), a safety in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers and David Lewis from Texas caught and released 4 striped marlinon July 4th close to Chawita area and also landed two nice dorado in the same area, of about 12 pounds, which hit on caballito bait. The next day for them aboard the Hot Rod was equally successful, this time they went in search of tuna and found plenty, 29 yellowfin tunaof about 10 to 15 pounds each and hit on feather and cedar plug lures out at the 180 spot.

CABOLERO’S MATE AWAITS a striped marlin being reeled in for release. PHOTO BY JEFFREY FRIEDLAND

ANGLERS SHOW off nice catch of tuna aboard Bill Collector.


LORETO — This year's 28th annual Fishin’ For the Mision dorado tournament this past week saw some nice dorado returned to Loreto. Two fish were weighed in over 35 pounds and another one at 30 pounds with most teams weighing in fish for a great competition. Loreto’s dorado season has arrived and the quality looks far better than past years.

Tourney Director Chris Wheaton competed in the event for many years, and when it looked as though the event would be disbanded when its longtime originator and director decided to step down, Wheaton took on the all-volunteer task. He hosted 35 teams this year.

Team Baja Invader VI of Joe and David Depillo, Bob Wheaton (Chris’ dad), local angler Julio Martinez and captain Rigo Martinez finished first with a 35.5- and 18.4-pound dorado combo for their two-fish total of 53.9 over two days. Team Baja Invader IV of Earl Roberts, his wife Fabiola, and kids Luis Alfonso and Mia Catalina finished in second place with the big fish of the tournament caught by Fabiola of 37.4 pounds, and their second fish was 8.3 pounds for 45.7 total pounds.

Team Cola Blanca of Dennis Cox, Carlton King, Tim Allen, and Ken Stills found a 29.9 pounder and a 10.5 pounder on day 2 to lock up third place. The other species class saw a huge cabrilla of 25.8 pounds and a 23.4-pound yellowtail take home first place for team Colorado of Ron Kotarski and Jef Schrage fishing on Rene Olinger's Baja Peninsula Adventures panga Nautilus with Captain Paco Collins. 

Each year the charity tournament raises about $10,000 for the Mission and town of Loreto and is a fun tournament with great prizes and a lot of fun for friends or families. It is based out of La Mision Hotel.

FIRST PLACE IN in the Dorado Division was Team Baja Raider VI, made up of Joe and David Depillo, Bob Wheaton and local angler Julio Martinez who fished with captain Rigo Martinez.


TEAM BAJA RAIDER IV with their 37.4 pounder that was biggest of the Fishn’ For the Mission dorado tourney event and helped them take second place. 


JULIO MARTINEZ and David Depillo with one of their dorado that weighed 35.5. Their two fish won the Fishin’ For The Mision dorado title.

EAST CAPE — Just another week in paradise. The water has been flat, southeasterly winds, 83 to 86 degrees with trade winds keeping things cooler while fishing remains hot as a pistol.

“Another good week of fishing,” John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero said on Sunday. “A real mix this week, with the best dorado bite so far this year. Fewer but much larger yellowfin 25 to 70 pounds off the lighthouse, very good billfishing, more wahoo than we've seen all year, and as usual this time of year, lots of big roosterfish off Punta Pescadero. There’s lots of good bait available, both sardine and caballito.

Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing weighed in.

“It has been a week of perfect weather and action packed fishing,” he said. “Porpoise schools have been easy to find offshore but we have found tuna to not be as cooperative as last week. There is more than one way to skin a cat though or it might be better said to catch a tuna so we shifted gears. Drifting live baits on high spots off La Ribera, south of Punta Arena and Punta Pescadero has been producing quality tuna along with amberjack, pompano and cubera snapper.”

Blue marlin and sailfish are showing in bigger numbers, he said, with 2 blues in excess of 400 each were reported along with a 62-pound bull dorado.

“This is excellent news with the Dorado Shootout and Bisbee's East Cape Offshore just a few weeks away,” said Rayor.

FREDDY LAMEY and company with a nice selection of East Cape fish with Jen Wren Sportfishing. The striped and blue marlin were on the bite, as were bigger tuna, dorado and roosters

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas based at Puerto Los Cabo Marina said weather patterns are now progressing becoming warmer, high temperatures up to 90 degrees, though with the increased humidity, the heat index is making it feel more like 98 degrees.

“The winds were very slight, and after having larger swells lingering the first part of the week due to the distant passing of tropical storm Fabio, ocean conditions were again calm. The green water is slower giving way to cleaner currents, water temperature on the Sea of Cortez side of the Peninsula is back up into the 78 to 80 degree range,” he said.

Anglers were using a mix of sardinas, caballito, mullet and sardineta for bait. Most common areas now being concentrated on have been from Palmilla, straight of San Jose Estuary and marina area, and north towards Iman, San Luis and Vinorama banks. There were large concentrations of baitfish holding straight offshore of the Puerto Leo Cabos Marina, three to five miles out.

“This is where decent numbers of striped marlin were being found, most often by drift fishing baits down deeper, with the full moon these fish were a bit more finicky, but with patience most charters were having chances daily,” said Brictson.”This same area saw more dorado moving in as well, slow trolling bait on the surface was best bet for these fish, no big numbers, but many charters did report landing one, two or three fish, with weights up to 15 pounds.

The other popular grounds recently for fishing was on San Luis Bank, he said, and this is where there was good early morning action for Eastern Pacific bonito and red snapper while working yo-yo jigs, which all too often attracted sharks. Bye bye jigs.

Early in the week a few yellowfin tuna were also hitting bait or yo-yo jigs on the same grounds, one tuna close to 80 pounds was accounted for, others were lost. The best chances at yellowfin recently has been further offshore, found moving with porpoise and changing location from day to day, most days they were found 15 to 25 miles offshore, though late week some were found as close in as 7 miles. These fish had to be worked for, lots of water covered, trolling medium sized feathers.

LA PAZ — It wasn’t a great week of fishing for Tailhunter International anglers fishing ouit of La Paz and Muertos Bay, but it wasn’t too bad either for the 4th of July week, reported Jonathan Roldan on Sunday.

“The fish are there and the highlight was the appearance of a nice grade of dorado. The thing about the fishing this week was that it could still be spotty here-and-there…most of our folks who fish with us fish for 2, 3, 4 or more days. There could be an off day or two. But, the good days usually more than made up for the down days with big fish or plentiful action.

Roldan said his Las Arenas/ Muertos Bay Tailhunter Fleet found the tuna a little closer to home base this week.

“The tuna were found off the south side of the big island negating the run all the way up to the north end of the island. The fish are quality 40 to 60 pounders. The issue is that they did not always want to bite.” Wahoo made up for the slack on some of those days with some quality 30- to 40-pound skinnies that ate the Rapalas or Mega Baits or bit the live bait. Also, some big roosterfish and better quality dorado between 15 and 40 pounds helped ease things.

The better action, he said, was still with the Tailhunter La Paz Fleet. Encouraging to see more schools of dorado gathering up. Especially if you can find the patches of sargasso weeds floating on the surface or the right current line. Nicer fish in the 20- to 30-pound class showed up, too.

Some holdover amberjack and yellowtail are still around in the rocks as well as pargo, cabrilla, snapper and jack crevalle. Some unusually big roosterfish, too!

Some fun stories from Tailhunter included:Mike Shaw from Oceanside who caught a beast of a freckled roosterfish, fighting it for over an hour after it slammed his live bait north of La Paz. The estimated 70 pounder was caught not too far off Punta Coyote and was released.

In another Tailhunter battle, Bennett Clegg from Santa Rosa was fishing light tackle 12-pound test in a school of medium dorado when a huge roosterfish blew up on his sardine and battled him on a very light rod for over an hour! It was estimated at 50 to 60 pounds.

Finally, La Paz first-timer Marta Shaw was out south of Cerralvo Island and the first thing that bites her is the slugger of a tuna while fishing with Captain Jorge. She didn’t get the fish get the best of her, but on the trip also caught dorado and other species and now can’t wait to fish again.

IF HIS TONGUE IS HANGING OUT, it’s for good reason. Mike Shaw from Oceanside battled this beast of a freckled roosterfish over, and was estimated at over 70 pounds!


BENNETT CLEGG FROM Santa Rosa fishes with Tailhunter in La Paz every year and was fishing light tackle 12-pound test in a school of medium dorado when this huge roosterfish blew up on his sardine. Tailhunter captain.

ON HER FIRST TIME FISHING and first time to La Paz, Marta Shaw was out south of Cerralvo Island and the first thing that bites her is the slugger of a tuna while fishing with Captain Jorge of Tailhunter Sportfishing. She didn’t get the fish get the best of her, but on the trip also caught dorado and other species and now can’t wait to fish again.

CEDROS ISLAND — Jose Angel Sanchez at Cedros Outdoor Adventures said the yellowtail have arrived, just in time for the Baja Magic Lodge to bring in its procession of groups. As reported last week, calico fishing has been epic, and now the forkies are on the chew.

“After epic weeks of calico fishing by our previous guests things are starting to happen with yellowtail, with more being caught (and some getting off the hook) and some bigger fish. Our current group or anglers getting into the action today with some yellowtail up to 40 pounds, which made them happy, and ready for more action. They have one more day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with captain Balam on Fish and Chips.”

THE CEDROS OUTDOOR ADVENTURES crew this past week scored yellows to 40 pounds while fishing with captain Balam on Fish and Chips.

BAHIA ASUNCION — Shari Bondy at La Bufadora B&B said the halibut have been on the bite inshore and the yellows are showing, so this is the start of the season for them. The heavy swell that came up in the middle of the night as Tropical Storm Fabio passed by offshore tore several pangas loose from their moorings and smashed on the rocks.

“Fiberglass workers are hard at work repairing them already but divers can’t salvage the motors on the ocean floor until the visibility clears up,” she said. “The good news is that the last couple storms have pushed warmer water up to the central coast of Baja and small yellowtail have been seen in the area finally. We hope to start catching them soon!”

HIGH WAVES FROM Tropical Storm Fabio caught the Bahia Asuncion panga fleet unaware over the night and several of the boats were damaged. But they are being repaired and the yellowtail season is starting, and guests at the La Bufadora Inn were getting yellowtail and inshore halibut.

Contribute to the reports each week by sending in photos and a short rundown on fishing to baja@wonews.com by Sunday morning to hit the print deadline of Western Outdoor News.

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