Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Easy Cape

Roosterfish making their move from Cabo to La Paz

East Cape tuna go off locally
Limits Monday and Tuesday under porpoise 

THE BITE IS ON at the East Cape. At right is Jack Nilsen of Accurate reels aboard the Jen Wren's Vaquero.  

EAST CAPE — Capt. Mark Rayor posted on Facebook Monday, and again live Tuesday aboard his  Jen Wren Sportfishing's Vaquero, as he was hooking up more yellowfin as the bite that had been a distant target came in close 10 miles off Las Barilles and it was limit-style action.

He told WON that trolling hoochies in perfect blue, calm seas was the news of the season as the bite that had been slow to develop but looked promising as conditions went prime, dramatically busted loose. 

THE ACTION MONDAY on the Jen Wren's Vaquero out of the East Cape went off big time for the fleets 10 miles from shore under the porpoise. 

Before that report came in Monday and Tuesday, John Ireland weighed in from his Hotel Rancho Leonero on Sunday. as he said the water was getting warmer, 75 to 77 degrees. Ireland said this is prime weather time with highs in the low 80s and cool mornings. 

As for the fishing,  it’s moving in the right direction. 

“It’s a late winter in the East Cape,” said Ireland. “Being cooler than normal this year has made for a slow start for our fishing season, but this week the bite has finally started to turn on.” 

Just days before the bite erupted Monday and Tuesday close to home, Ireland said most fleet boats were fishing north off Cerralvo Island with quite a few nice wahoo mixed with good-sized tuna in the 50-pound class taken in the past week. Huge schools of skipjack and white bonito are providing unlimited action for anglers. 

He said, 'The outside drop-off between the lighthouse and Los Frailles is producing striped marlin. And inside, the roosters are getting bigger and the good gallo fishing is getting better! A number of 30-pound plus fish are released on flies from the beach, so it’s a much-improved week of fishing. 

CABO SAN LUCAS — The weather cooperated all week, then the winds hit and should settle, but when it was calm, the fishing here was sensational for tuna offshore, and a roosterfish bite that is now in full gear with bigger pez gallos entering the mix.

“This week the weather has remained pretty stable, with only one or two days of strong winds, but this didn't seem to affect fishing much,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet Sportfishing. “The inshore action picked up quite a bit, with roosterfish, sierra and jack crevalle being the main targets. Top boats caught and released up to 13 roosterfish in one day. Marlin catch and release percentages also remained constant, although many boats did spot many marlin but struggled to get them to bite.”


STAN AND STACY Laub from Texas on the Pisces super panga Samantha did well to release 3 roosterfish, which weighed up to 10 pounds hitting on live bait out in front of Pedregal. They also released 5 jack crevalle, most of which hit on small green lures and live caballito bait, out from the Old Lighthouse. To finish off the day they caught 4 sierra mackerelon green hoochies. PISCES PHOTO

With that said, the top boat the 31-foot Tracy Ann released 5 stripers. Three of the marlin hit at the Cabrillo Mount and the other two at the 1150 Spot.

Wahoo catches are also rising, with some real quality ‘hoos, including a 60 pounder caught by the La Brisas for Carlsbad anglers Darrin Heisey, James Thiele and John Frost who were trolling a blue and pink lure close to the Vinorama area on the Sea of Cortez. Captain Rey Winkler knows his stuff, said Ehrenberg, with 35 years at the helm of a Pisces sportfisher.

Everyone loves great father-daughter fishing stories, and anglers Mark and Leyah Farber from Miami, Florida caught5 striped marlin on the Tracy Ann over the course of their three days fishing. Most of the fish were caught at the 1150 Spot and only one at the Punta Gorda area on live caballito bait pitched at the marlin. They also caught one 20-pound yellowfin tunaon a cedar plug and a jack crevalle, released, on caballito out of Destiladeras. Another jack crevalle caught and released of about 20 pounds hit on slow-trolled caballito at Punta Gorda as well.

There were lots of good tuna reports. The 38-foot C-Rod smacked some yellowfin on a variety of lures, cedar plugs, feathers, hoochies, and green lures, using the kite too. All fish hit around the Herradura area about 25 to 30 miles out. Anglers were Zach Collins and friends from Nevada. The Rebecca also nabbed some tuna, landing 10 total , which weighed between 15 and 25 pounds each that hit cedar plugs and green/yellow lures at Cabrillo Seamount. Anglers Melvin and Mona Scherer also released 1 small striped marlinthat hit a slow-trolled caballito.

“Highlights for the small game action were very hard to choose this week, as we had so many great catches, but here are a few,” said Ehrenberg. “The top roosterfish boat this week was hands down the panga Samantha with 16 roosters released, and their best day was Friday with 13 roosters and 2 sierra mackerel. Anglers Jason Bellati, Jeff Chastain and Ricardo Gutierrez from San Diego caught the roosters on live bait out of the Pedregal area, with the largest of the roosters weighing about 20 pounds and all were released. Not bad for a half day of fishing!”

The small boat inshore fishing was a kick. On May 6 on the Samantha, three small roosters were released by Sid and Stacey Laub from Texas, who also released 5 jack crevalle, most of which hit on small green lures and live caballito bait, out from the Old Lighthouse. To finish off the day they caught 4 sierra mackerel on green hoochies.

The wind was up again over the weekend, but this is typical of late spring. A few days of wind, then several days of calm. The water temperatures are climbing, varying of course from the Pacific that was seeing offshore temps between 66 to 72 degrees, and the Sea of Cortez waters that were up to 75 and as high as 78.

In other Baja action:

MIDRIFF MAGIC! It’s game on with trips out of San Felipe running each week. The mothership Tony Reyes will be running trips now until November. For information go or LONGFIN PHOTO

MIDRIFF — The mothershipTony Reyes just returned from its third trip of the season with a lot of fish — especially yellows, that were eating jigs quite well, reported Tom Ward, owner of the Longfin Tackle shop in Orange, which books these great trips to the islands. “Blue and white jigs seemed to be the best color for jigs with the Mirrorlure in pink being the trolling champion,” said Ward.

He added, “Weather was windy some days making it difficult to catch fish. We were fishing the main islands, and live bait was tough, but we had a good yellowtail bite on the coast with 256 yellows up to 26 pounds.”

Other catches in the count were: 278 cabrilla, 123 spotted bass to 6 pounds, 12 red snappers to 10 pounds, 1 black seabass, and 4 sheepshead to 12 pounds.

The boat Tony Reyes will be running trips now until November. For information go to or

DON BUSSE FROM Lakewood visits La Paz every year to fish with the Tailhunter Fleet and over two days scored nice cabrilla like this one right in tight in the rocky shallows as well as pargo, snapper and pompano. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

JEFF AND PATTY Killian from Oregon caught and released 3 nice roosterfish like this in short succession just north of La Paz fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

LA PAZ — Tailhunter pangeros are seeing a little better action as conditions improve but as Jonathan Roldan said, “We’re not outta the woods yet. To coincide with all the bad weather north of the border, it was reflected in some gusty winds and choppy water that affected the fishing and definitely the comfort level. So, we had some good fishing, and we had some not-so-good fishing.”

Part of the problem is bait. Choppy conditions make it tough to get the live ‘dines or reach the fishing spots, especially Cerralvo and other islands.

“Or, because of the winds, and because we are blessed to usually fish so close to shore, the waters are turned over and murkier than normal. So, there were some off-days but some of the other days were much better.”

Big cabrilla, pargo, yellowtail and snapper are still willing and hungry in the rocks. More dorado are starting to show up. The wahoo are still biting, although they hooked them but lost them.

“We know the fish are there,” said Roldan. “Purple and black Rapalas and Yo-Zuri Magnums are still the best, although the wahoo are willing to eat live bait as well.”

So, now the good news. The roosterfish season is officially open. The bigger boys have started showing up with fish running 30 to 50 pounds and Tailhunter is seeing much larger fish as well.

“Two of our anglers scored a triple rooster day with fish between 40 and 50 pounds and all released. Other nice roosters were lost,” said Roldan. 


CHRIS WHEATON AND his father fished the Los Rancheros Yellowtail Tourney last week and won a division for “other” species, with Bob’s cabrilla topping his son’s by a few ounces. CHRIS WHEATON PHOTOS

LORETO — Rick Hill of said there has been no big bite on yellowtail this past week but the super mixed bag of cabrilla and pargo are keeping the fillet tables busy.

“Some yellowtail to 35 pounds have been landed up north for the boats wanting to make the long run,” said Hill. “The ride back along the coast has been the saving factor for the ‘Pulpito crowd.’ Chumming with sardina and trolling lures has been the working combination. Both mackerel and sardina have been in good supply for weeks.

Chris Wheaton, IGFA rep, fished the Los Rancheros tourney last weekend with his father Bob Wheaton and his friend Marty Dufek.

“Last weekend in Loreto my pops and I fished the Los Rancheros yellowtail tournament out of La Mision Hotel,” said Chris in a Facebook post when he got back to SoCal. “On Friday, he (Bob) caught the biggest other class fish with a 17-pound, 5-ounce cabrilla and on Saturday I caught one 17 pounds, 12 ounces. Not a lot of money for the other class but it helped pay for gas in the boats. Over $5,000 was raised for the breast cancer organization and the Internado School of Loreto.”

He added that while the tourney was small, it did good things, and with the fish they caught, the local restaurants turned it into some amazing cuisine. One of the best parts about Baja sportfishing is that they’ll grill your kill.

“I took our catch to Mita Gourmet in town where Chef Juan Carlos prepared us a feast!” wrote Wheaton. “I brought in some yellowtail and cabrilla already filleted about a half hour before we wanted to eat. He made us a couple of plates of carpaccio with the yellowtail that was awesome! Then for the grouper he made it with three different sauces: chipotle cream, mango sauce, and cilantro sauce and served it with pasta and vegetables. The consensus was that the cilantro sauce was the favorite and it went fast! I highly recommend this restaurant and if you want a great place to bring your catch in Loreto try this out.”

This week the May 17-19 inaugural Robert Ross Fishing Tournament is at Marina Puerto Escondido. Anglers will be competing for a minimum payout of $8,000, though the tournament will also offer daily and species-specific money awards. Teams of four will compete for cash prizes and free entry into the Grand Final Calisureños Tournament, held in Loreto in August. The grand prize is an $8,000 minimum payout and Suzuki outboard motor; first place payouts for dorado, tuna and yellowtail are $4,000 each (minimum).

There are also brown bag pots (ranging from $500 to $5,000) and cash prizes for smallest fish ($500) and largest fish ($1,000) caught. Visit for more information.

A NICE MIX for the Gordo Banks Fleet offered up good action on tasty game fish out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos including sierra, yellowtail and white bonito. ERIC BRICTSON PHOTO

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Weather conditions are now ideal, very little wind, perfect temperature, sunny skies, with highs of about 82 degrees. The ocean water temperature is now ranging from as chilly as 68 degrees on the Pacific, up to 75 degrees off of San Jose del Cabo and towards the north.

The main action now has been found northward farther up into the Sea of Cortez from Palmilla to Gordo Banks, La Fortuna, Iman and San Luis,” said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas. “Catches included a mix of bonito, sierra, roosterfish, pompano, amberjack, red snapper, pargo, cabrilla and yellowtail.”

He added, “Some of the hardcore local pangeros fishing commercially have been leaving very early, and this has paid off in being able to jig up chihuil baitfish by using sabiki rigs on the Gordo Banks. After the sun comes these bait fish do not want to bite. These candy baits have been producing quality catches of yellowtail, averaging 25 to 30 pounds while soaking these baits on both the Inner and Outer Gordo banks.”

The fleet is catching a few of these yellows, but as Brictson pointed out, it’s hard to leave at the hour needed to catch the better bait for this action.

Brictson said anglers are using a mix of available batfish and yo-yo jigs to produce a variety of good eating bottom species. Marlin action has been very spotty, but they are seeing a few of the striped marlin, actually in recent days, more of these billfish were seen closer to shore than further offshore, where water was a bit more greenish.

“It’s still transition time to where the water changes from green to blue and currents are pushing in from different directions. We are optimistic that the all around action improve soon,” said Brictson.

Inshore action consisted of some roosterfish to 20 pounds, and sporadic action for sierra to over 5 pounds. A handful of African pompano are found off inshore rocky areas, though there are so many aggressive triggerfish it is hard to get through them.

The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 55 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 1 striped marlin, 7 yellowtail, 14 leopard grouper, 155 bonito, 26 red snapper, 12 yellow snapper, 7 African pompano, 10 moharra, 4 amberjack, 32 sierra, 4 glasseye pargo, 14 roosterfish and 85 triggerfish.

K&M SPORTFISHING IS scoring the bigger yellows on the high spots and at San Martin Island while also nabbing some nice sportcoast calicos on runs out of San Quintin Bay. K&M PHOTO

SAN QUINTIN — San Quintin Bay based K&M Sportfishing is running its chartered Parkers out to the high spots and the ridges off San Martin for a whack at the yellows, a wad of fish pretty much spread all the way up the coast through Ensenada to the Coronados through Catalina and San Clemente islands. On May 6, Capt. Kelly Catian said a group wanted to pull on some sportcoats so the first stop was San Martin Island, where they also got into the yellows with iron jigs as well as Rapalas.

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