Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Black and blue marlin showing off Cabo

Cedros Island dorado, big yellows keep WON group busy
Bigger tuna and marlin continue to show off Cabo; La Paz and East Cape action can’t get much better and closer as summer winds down

CEDROS ISLAND WON’s annual charter trip with Cedros Outdoor Adventures went off last week over 2 1/2 days on the water and nine anglers enjoyed great weather and a wild dorado and yellowtail bite.

It was limit–style fishing a few miles out from the salt plant on both yellows and dorado, with the yellows to 30 pounds but most in the 15- to 18-pound category, and the dorado slamming mackerel and sometimes jigs and ranged up to 20 pounds.

SYLVIA AND ALBERT TEJIDOR with two dorado among a dozen they caught one morning in a wide-open bite off Cedros Island with Cedros Outdoor Adventures on the WON trip last week. They also had limits of yellows by mid-morning. PAT McDONELL PHOTO

WON CHOI OF Anaheim with a dorado at Cedros Island, one of several he caught. The WON trip Friday through Monday had great action every day on yellows and dorado.

WON ’S PAT McDONELL, host of the charter trip, Won Choi of Anaheim and David Frausto of Lincoln, Calif. with dorado that were part of a wild morning with full limits of yellows on the first day at Cedros Island. PAT McDONELL PHOTO

There will be more details on the trip in an upcoming issue of WON but suffice to say, the Baja Magic Lodge and the staff were on top of things from start to finish. The trip for nine angers was sponsored by Costa sunglasses, Yo-Zuri and VMC hooks. Half the WON charter anglers flew commercially from Ensenada, the other half took the new COA 8-seat Piper Navajo Chieftain from Brown Field in Otay Mesa.

This time of year at Cedros, you never know what exotics will show up in large numbers to add to the usual yellowtail and bass action. Last year yellowfin were the bonus catch. This year it was dorado, and they were attacking masses of bait with panga anglers all double and triple-bent on dorado. It was a wild scene both days.

“Well, we limited out, and the lodge and the plane flight was very comfortable, and the new plane was great weather and crossing over from the border to San Felipe and back over to Cedros,” said first-time Cedros visitor Won Choi of Anaheim, who was coming off a recent trip to San Clemente Island and a catch of a 191-pound bluefin. “I would like to take my grandsons here to catch some big dorado, and I have to say, seeing those dorado flying 30 feet across the water chasing the flying fish, it was an experience I have never seen before and I may never see again.”

THE LOCAL BANKS off San Jose Del Cabo saw a nice run of quality tuna for Gordo Banks anglers last week. GORDO BANKS PHOTO

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks pangas keeps his finger of the pulse of tourism and fishing and said his pangeros are starting to see the first wave of early fall anglers.

“It’s still only moderate numbers, but it’s more people than we have seen in recent weeks,” he said. “This is now the four-year anniversary of when Hurricane Odile devastated the Los Cabos area. This week the weather has been calm; last week we saw some isolated unpredictable thundershowers that did bring some fairly heavy rainfall amounts in some areas. No new storms are presently on the forecast, but tropical systems can develop rapidly this time of year, another few weeks of the normal storm season, so we will be watching closely.”

Brictson said anglers were using both sardinas and strips of squid, with some chihuil also now being caught for bait as well. Yellowfin tuna were found from the Gordo Banks to Iman and San Luis banks.

“Smaller football tuna mainly being found on the Gordo Banks, though on Iman and San Luis the yellowfin tuna were avenging 50 to 70 pounds.,” he said. “They are finicky at times, so lots of patience and persistence is needed, drift fishing while chumming, dealing with lots of triggerfish and needlefish stealing baits.

“At times tuna could be seen boiling and jumping out of the water, but proved to have lockjaw, but then would go on the bite sporadically, some days early, sometimes much later in the day. Anglers were doing well to land one, two or three of these quality tuna.”

He said only a few dorado were being found, most of these were under 10 pounds, most of these a bit closer to shore than where the tuna were schooling.

“Wahoo were very few and far between, though every few days we heard about someone catching one,” said Brictson. ”Only a few small roosterfish were found close to shore. Off the bottom we did not see any consistent action, though a couple of nice cabrilla in the 40- to 50-pound class were accounted for. A handful of red snapper, bonito and a couple of dogtooth snapper in the 20- to 30-pound range.”

As the big money tourneys approach, bigger marlin are coming in and Brictson said he heard of great striped marlin action on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas, while his local grounds produced scattered billfish action for sailfish, striped and blue marlin.”

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 62 charters for this week. Anglers reported a fish count of: 9 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 2 blue marlin, 3 wahoo, 14 dorado, 105 yellowfin tuna, 16 bonito, 2 barred pargo, 14 red snapper, 2 dogtooth snapper, 12 cabrilla and 75 triggerfish.

PISCES CREWMAN DAVID MARTINEZ with the 193-pound yellowfin on the Tag Team III. PISCES PHOTO

ANGLERS RUSS AND TERILYNN ATWELL on the Bill Collector with their 165-pound yellowfin. PISCES PHOTO

CABO SAN LUCAS — Pisces Sportfishing turned 40 years old this year and decided to give back to all of the customers who have helped them make it this far, said Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces.

“First of all, we thought of our anglers, so we put together giveaway that you can still enter via social media, on Facebook or Instagram,” she said . “Any of our anglers can share their story with a few pictures or video and be entered in the giveaway to win roundtrip airfare to Cabo for two, accommodations and of course a day of fishing on our brand new 37-foot Viking sportfisher.”

She added, “We thought of our amazing crews who go out there ever day and do such a wonderful job of providing the service we work hard to upkeep and do it all with a smile, plus producing results! These are crews who release 98 percent of the billfish they catch and have the highest success rates in the city and crews who have been with us since, literally, the beginning! We have grown together, and seen their family grow and join us to with many of the deckhands and captains added to our fleet over the years being sons or cousins or nephews.

“What would be a better way to give back to them than to let them all fish on their boats for the day without clients and do what they love the most? So this is what we did! Our Pisces 40th Anniversary Tournament was this Sunday, with our crews competing against one another in four different categories: billfish release, largest dorado, tuna and wahoo. They may not show it but some of them have a big rivalry between them going back 20 years or so.”

It was an exciting day, she said, with a shotgun start in pouring rain that looked like a mini Bisbee’s. Here are the results:

Billfish Release Category:

1st Place Hot Rod, 42 Cabo, with 16 striped marlin.

2nd Place Tag Team III, 37 Viking Billfish, with 1 striped marlin, 2 sailfish.

3rd Place Listo, 48 Viking, with 1 blue marlin released

Dorado Category:

1st Place 30 Rapala, Bertram Moppie (in place of our Tiburon, 31 ft Bertram) with a 45.10 pounder

2nd Place Ruthless, 31 Bertram with a 25.45 pounder

3rd Place, Caliente, 40 Cabo with a 14.35 pounder

“As this is the fish report, I will go into detail about their catches,” said Ehrenberg. “The boats with the most marlin caught and released, Hot Rod, Tracy Ann and Yahoo, went to great lengths to find them, the Finger Bank, about 50 miles north of Cabo and is known to have a strong striped marlin bite between December and January, but, as you can see, this year they arrived here early.Hot Rod and Tracy Ann used ballyhoo for bait, while the Yahoo used caballito. The striped marlin were hungry though, because the crews on the Hot Rod told us that they ran out of bait at about 12 striped marlin caught and released and used a skipjack they caught, which they chunked, for bait and still landed four more!”

The Tag Team III caught their billfish out at the Jaime Bank using mostly green lures, and the striped marlin was about 120 pounds while the sailfish ranged between 80 and 100 pounds. They also closed out this week with an impressive day of tuna fishing. Anglers John Dumars and Bill Grippo put in some muscle and landed 5 yellowfin tuna, with the largest weighing approximately 193 pounds. The others ranged in size of about 15, 40 and 60 pounds each using the kite at the 95 Spot.

This same day, Sept. 14, the Pisces 35 Knot Workin and angler William Nusz from Colorado caught 3 yellowfin tuna out of the Old Lighthouse on purple, tigrillo and green lures. The largest weighed approximately 174 pounds. The others were about 70 pounds and 20 pounds.

“And even before these two big ones, we knew the big tuna were here as beginning the week the Bill Collector caught 6 yellowfin tuna, the largest of approximately 165 pounds. The others all ranged between 20 and 40 pounds each. The fish hit on a flying fish lure, as well as green and black lures out from the San Jaime bank, anglers Russ and Terilynn Atwell.

The full results can be found at , as well as how to enter in the 40th year anniversary giveaway through Instagram and Facebook pages.

PAUL NAGATA FROM San Francisco tries to fish twice a year in La Paz with the Tailhunter Fleet. He shows of a gorgeous dorado he caught just outside of Bahia de los Muertos near Punta arenas on a live sardine. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

CAPTAIN ARMANDO FROM the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz helps pose two big tuna in the 70- to 80-pound class that were caught by Scott Laughlin from San Diego. Both fish were taken on a live sardine just outside of Bahia de los Muertos not far off the beach on light tackle. The larger tuna took 3 hours and snapped a new custom rod. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International said the bite that has been so hot for two weeks kept rolling.

“It was pretty solid fishing again this past week and tuna left no doubt that they’re going to hog center stage right now,” said Roldan. “With our Tailhunter Las Arenas fleet, the tuna bite continued to charge with fish ranging from a small as 10 pounders up to over 100 pounds. It’s like the tuna never left from last year and we’re just gonna keep riding that horse because these are fun fish, until you tie into one of the gorillas and spend 1, 2 or more hours bent on one of these hog fish.”

He added, “The thing is, most of this is on lighter tackle of 30 to 40 pounds. You just never know when the next fish will crush you. In the middle of boiling footballs suddenly a VW yellowfin gulps your little sardine and you’ve got no choice but to hang on. The problem is that if you’re using the heavier stuff, you won’t get bit at all! So, the fish already has an advantage on you.”

The fish are in several spots, he said, the south end of Cerralvo Island, but they are as close as the drop-off near the Punta Arena lighthouse maybe only ¼ mile offshore. There’s also another spot maybe 100 yards from the beach near Punta Perrico and another close to shore spot just outside of Bahia Muertos before you hit Boca de Alamo.

“Imagine 50- to 100-pound fish that close to shore where sometimes you can see the bottom!” he said. “The biggest surprise is the tuna showing up en masse for our Tailhunter La Paz fleet. Usually for the La Paz fleets, the dorado are the main characters. Probably 90 percent of the catch is dorado. However, over the past few weeks tuna have been occasionally showing up in the middle of the dorado. Well, this past week, the tuna came up boiling. And these were healthy, fun 20- to 30-pound class fish. Not footballs. Also some larger 40 pounders ripping around as well, plus we had several folks hooked on freight trains estimate at over 100 pounds!”

LORETO — Rick Hill of reported, “Sierra have joined the list of visitors to the fillet tables this week but not in great numbers. Trolling has been doing the trick for mostly bonito and sierra. The dorado scene remains the same with a few caught on the troll followed by hookups on sardina. Most fish are still small with most under 10 pounds. Roosters and toros have been hitting slow trolled mackerel along the beaches north of town. The weather continues to be hot with the days starting to get shorter.”

EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing here gave a general report of red hot action before he flew to San Diego for the Let’s Talk Hookup radio show, where he went on with Jack Nilsen of Accurate Reels, a longtime friend, and sponsor of the fleet.

“Yellowfin continue to be the main event on the East Cape,” said Rayor. “Quality grade are cooperating with anglers on high spots from Ceralvo Island to Punta Pescadero to Punta Arena, Los Frailes and farther south. Also, porpoise schools offshore have become productive for the yellowfin. Sardines and chunk him ply squid is working best. There is also few few blue marlin and sailfish on anglers' score cards and roosterfish are providing action along the beaches.”

John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero provided a more detailed look at the East Cape scene on Sunday. He reported the water a bit cooler this past week, 85 to 87 degrees, clear, flat and with the usual east southeast afternoon breezes, with afternoon rain Saturday but most days pleasant for September in the high 80s.

“Again this week, it’s all about the yellowfin,” said Ireland. “The fish are bunched up close to the hotel both north and south. The inshore fishing has been very good with lots of pompano, pargo and big amberjack. Big roosterfish were released all week. A few dorado and wahoo were in the mix as well. Good bait available sardine, mackerel, and squid all working.

There are two tuna areas producing limits of 10- to 40-pound fish with a few to 70 pounds and that is 1 to 2 miles off Punta Pescadero and 1 to 2 miles off La Ribera, said Ireland.

Inshore, there’s lot’s of big pompano, some whopper pargo and nice-sized amberjack are all biting on the bottom on the inside drop-offs.

Big roosters are cruising all the beach’s both north and south with not much pressure as most anglers are on the tuna, being so close in, said Ireland.

MIDRIFF — The mothership Tony Reyes, named after the legendary Baja captain, returned last week from the region, and Capt. Tony Reyes Jr. reported back to Tom Ward, owner of Longfin Tackle in Orange (the booking agent of the operation) that was headed by chartermasters Eric and Erik Bergstrom,

“We stopped in El Diablo point the first morning catching most yellowtail and spotted bass, some cabrilla with jigs and cut bait later went to Snake Island were we caught mostly yellowtails and plenty live mackerel in the night,” said Reyes. “The following morning was slow on yellows but better and cabrilla and some dorado; went to Salsipuedes island to explore fish snorkel and swim, during this night we stopped close to L.A. Bay to make bait and keep going north in the coast side. Fishing was great in this area, catching big red snappers for all the pangas, cabrillas and medium-sized yellows. Later went to Refugio Point to fish and kayak all this area, later we returned to the coast catching more pargos on cut bait. The last day a few grouper broke the lines but landed two big ones.”

There were just 18 anglers, and the rest of the group was aboard to explore and snorkel, said Reyes. The full count of the trip was: 105 yellows to 30 pounds, 125 cabrilla to 18 pounds, 132 spotted bass to 6 pounds, 238 pargo to 20 pounds, 8 grouper to 108 pounds, 2 black seabass to 108 pounds, 10 dorado to 18 pounds and a lot of assorted fish that were released.

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