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Baja Fishing Report

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Cabo billfish bite goes ballistic
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Hurricane Lorena veers off and action continues


Huge tuna fire up the troops in Cabo
The best is yet to come but for those targeting them, the quality cows over 200 pounds yellowfin are there on porpoise and hitting the kite rigs as the Tuna Jackpot and other big money tourneys approach; local East Cape boat nails a 850-pound black; meanwhile, cubera snapper continue to ‘snap’ in La Paz, with wild yellowtail action off Cedros and along the west coast'

CABO SAN LUCAS — Tournament season fever is starting to build off Cabo San Lucas, as this is prime time for big game fishing off The Cape. Anglers are banking on big tuna, billfish, dorado and wahoo as much as big paydays for catching them.


The fleets are reporting simply wide-open striped marlin fishing, with some bigger blue and marlin mixed in. Bigger dorado are showing too as well as wahoo and, of course, the cow tuna that will be the target of nearly every offshore jackpot tournament. This past week, several big tuna over the 100-, 150- and 200-pound mark were recorded, many of them on the porpoise schools, hooking the tuna on heavy tackle with kite/bait rigs.


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THE COW TUNA are on the prowl, as this beast and others surely indicate. The tourney season is coming, especially the Cabo Tuna Jackpot in its 21st year, Nov. 6-9, and other big money, big-game tourneys cased in Cabo. This monster was caught on a kite setup by the crew of the Red Rum Fleet’s Oh So Rojo, a 46-foot Bertram. Said a Red Rum rep, “We’ve been waiting patiently for the big yellowfin to arrive, and with some cooler water that moved in on the Pacific side, here they are!”


One such fish was a cow caught by the Cabo-based Red Rum Sportfishing Fleet’s Oh So Rojo, a 46-foot Bertram, the crew using a kite.


Said Ryan Donovan of Redrum, “We’ve been waiting patiently for the big yellowfin to arrive, and with some cooler water that moved in on the Pacific side, here they are!” Ryan and his father John Donovan won the Cabo Tuna Jackpot back in 2008 with a 244.8 pounder, and he’s eager to get back on the victory stand. Last year, the WON-produced tourney boasted 163 teams and $840,800 in prize money on its 21st running out of Cabo – and remains the biggest team tourney in Mexico, as well as the largest tuna tourney in the world. There is a website devoted to the event at www.loscabostunajackpot.com .


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THIS 200-POUND yellowfin was caught on the Pisces’ 25-foot No Borders last week by owner Ryan Caughren while using a kite over a skipping Yummy Flyer 25 miles off Cabo. The big tuna are showing under the porpoise.


The Pisces’ Rebecca Ehrenberg had a great report last week. This week, it was even more exciting. Their fleet alone caught and released 165 marlin, caught a 200-pound yellowfin, 45 dorado and bigger wahoo.


Another great week of fishing here, and marlin turned way up at the beginning of the week up the Pacific coast, while blue marlin were turning up on the Sea of Cortez side,” said Ehrenberg. “We also got a report out of the East Cape at La Ribera of an 850-pound black marlin, (the photo was obtained by WON but is not of good quality), and again this week, we got another 200-pound yellowfin.”


That fish was caught on the 25-foot Cape Horn, the No Borders. The boat continued with a good tuna streak after its 110 pounder last week. Owner Ryan Caughren and crew headed out Sunday about 40 miles from Cabo and about 25 miles south using the kite and Yummee Flyer. They landed 3 yellowfin tuna of about 15, 30, 40 pounds and the biggest at about 200 pounds.


“These consistently large tuna and marlin catches are making for a great warm-up to tourney season, starting off in exactly a month from now!” said Ehrenberg. “And not only have we seen the large game fish, but the striped marlin bite has heated way up. Our top marlin release boat this week was the 37-foot Tag Team III, with 16 stripers in one day, and every one of the 165 fish we hooked was released and tagged. We are very proud to be working hard to conserve our fisheries and taking on the responsibility of increasing chances of survival by keeping all billfish in the water upon release. We’re happy to see our anglers cooperating by respecting billfish and becoming more actively involved in the tagging, re-oxygenating and release process.”


“Dorado turned upvery nicely this week too,” she said. Most of them were about 15 to 25 pounds each, with a few over that and in good numbers. Wahoo were also on the bite.


“We had 45 dorado caught total with quite a few released,” said Ehrenberg. “Some nice wahoo have been caught as well, ranging from 25 to 40 pounds each, and still a few scattered roosterfish. Only about 4 boats targeted tuna this week, but they got good results. Apart from the 200 pounder, we saw boats land quality fish.”


For tuna anglers looking for some fun, the Bill Collector landed 3 yellowfin of 40 to 60 pounds and released a 300-pound class blue in one day.


In other Baja action:


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GARY EVANS SCORED big cubera snapper last week fishing out of Bahia De La Muertos, La Paz. He had three fish out of four hookups while using cocinero as bait.

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RETIRED FIREMAN MAC TREASURE was a first-responder on 9/11 and brings a big bunch of other retired firefighters each year to La Paz to fish with Tailhunter Sportfishing. Mac was fishing with Captain Pancho when this big dogtooth snapper took a bite of his line.

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International reported that despite there being a full moon, it was another pretty solid week of dorado fishing overall – with fish scattered over a wide range of ocean, both inshore and offshore.


“It’s pretty hard NOT to catch a dorado right now if you have a bait, lure or jig in the water,” said Roldan. “It’s probably 90 percent of the catch!”


However, there are other species around too, he said. They had some marlin hookups and breakoffs this week, along with at least 1 or 2 wahoo bites that got unbuttoned per day.


And if you wanted a roosterfish, added Roldan, “Yes, the 30 to 60 pounders are still around!”


Inshore, there’s cabrilla and pargo – and those big dogtooth snapper are willing to bite if you put in the time.


More excitingly, late in the week, they had some jags of 20-40-pound yellowfin pop up. Roldan said these fish have been absent for about two months, and this is the time they should be seeing them. He said, “I don’t wanna jinx it and say the tuna season has started, but hopefully this is the start of some better tuna fishing.”


In other La Paz action, Gary Evans, a WON subscriber for years, fired off a great report on the wild cubera snapper bite going on:


“We were fishing out of Bahia de los Muertos at the south end of Cerralvo Island. Using cocinero for bait, we used 130-pound leader in order to pull these beasts off the bottom. I was able to catch fish on three out of four hookups, as one took me to the rocks. The largest weighed in at 50 pounds, and the other 2 around 35 pounds.”


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DWIGHT EDWARDS CAME to the East Cape looking for wahoo and dorado, and he was not disappointed. That’s exactly what he got while trolling Rapalas.


EAST CAPE — John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero reported beautiful summer weather and a very, very good week of fishing!


He said Palmas Bay is full of sardines, and the good bait is really helping the fishing.


“The yellowfin, dorado, wahoo, sails, stripers, blacks and blues, roosterfish, pargo, amberjack and pompano were all biting aggressively,” said Ireland.


He added that with the exception of wahoo, all the fish are very close, with the best fishing from the hotel south to Frailles.


They caught a few big tuna around 100 pounds early in the week, about 20 to 40 miles outside under the porpoise, and limits of yellowfin for all anglers later in the week closer inshore.


The dorado were mixed in with the tuna and very spread out, mostly south. As for billfish, the fishing pressure was pretty light because most anglers were targeting the meat fish – but there was the usual strong bite on stripers and sails, along with a blue and black marlin. Ireland said a local La Ribera Pangero even caught an 800-pound black this week off the La Ribera drop off south to Frailles.


Some nice-sized wahoo were taken this week, as well, including a 70 pounder. Ireland said trolled CD 18 Rapalas have been deadly, and anglers interested in wahoo should bring at least one or two.


Finally, there wasn’t much pressure on roosterfish this week (though they’re definitely around) and inshore/bottom-fishing was outstanding.


In other East Cape action, Luis Enrique Fraijo from Hotel Buenavista reported that the fishing there has been amazing.


“There’s plenty of bait fish, ballyhoo, sardines, mackerel, caballito, mullet and skip jack, and they’re biting on frozen squid too. With all that bait out there, it’s nearly impossible to not find and land fish,” he said.


Fraijo added that the tuna bite is not as consistent as last year, but the wahoo have been hot and the dorado bite is at its best. He said lots of them are slow trolling at the buoys and south of the lighthouse by La Ribera, El Rincon Los Frailes and further south.


As for billfish, Fraijo said they’re all over the place, with stripers everywhere and blue and black marlin reaching over 300 pounds. “They put up an awesome fight, then a quick picture and vamonos…back to the water,” he said.


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com reported that the bigger dorado moved back into town this past week, with many fish in the 20-pound range.


He’s not sure what other areas might be doing because all the boats seem to want to hang around Coronado Island. “That happens to be close to town and where the dodos are hanging!” said Hill.


He added that he’s seen some roosterfish working the beach south of the arroyo, but no sierra yet. The weather and water have both been great, and Hill said that should be the case for a few more months.


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WHITE SEABASS WENT off at San Quintin after a one-week hiatus, which seems to be a pattern this summer, as storms are pushing up warmer water and south swells. Jaime’s Pangas posted some great catches Sept. 11, and Capt. Juan Cook sent a photo of a 55-pound white seabass. Jimmy Borsino and Richard Castenada of Cass Tours also took third in the bottomfish category of the recent San Quintin Pesca tourney withCapt. Cook.

SAN QUINTIN BAY — The white seabass bite cranked up again last week, a week after being dormant. The pattern seems to be: the water cools, the bite goes off. The tropical storms to the south push up a south swell and warmer water, and the action kicks in again on the croakers. Jaime’s Pangas in San Quintin Bay posted a Sept. 11 report of some great catches for anglers, with fish up to 55 pounds.


Capt. Juan Cook was not feeling well and sent a report a bit too late last week for last week’s report, but it bears running this week.


Cook said, “We fished the San Quintin Tournament Pesca La Baja with friends ‘Rosarito’ Jimmy Borsino and Richard Castenada of Cass Tours. Cassman and Jimmy took third place in the bottomfish category, and we won 20,000 pesos and 10,000 pesos in side pots. Lots of fishermen and fun with Cassman and Joe.”


A few days later, he fished with Jim Marsh and good friend Benny Tellez and went directly to deep dropping like they had in the tourney two days before and found a spot loaded with vermillion – topping it off with a few nice lingcod.


Later in the week, he wrote us to say, “The white seabass are at it again! They have been biting the last two days.”


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported that the weather conditions there are calm, warm and humid – though they’re watching a new storm developing below Acapulco and hoping it moves on a path away from Southern Baja.


Brictson said local charters have been fishing the grounds from off Red Hill, Palmilla, to the Gordo Banks, Twenty Five Spot and Iman Bank.


The highlight of the action has been the yellowfin tuna near the Twenty Five area, drift fishing with strips of squid or sardinas. According to Brictson, the sizes ranged from 20 to 70 pounds. “Some days it’s tough to land one or two; other days, five or more were possible,” he said. “It’s a bit finicky.”


Dorado were still scattered through the inshore grounds, though not in the numbers of previous weeks, and most of these fish are juvenile-sized. Wahoo were in the area too, but it wasn’t a consistent bite for these elusive fish. “One day we will see a handful of fish, and the next day, nothing,” said Brictson.


Off the bottom, there was a mix of snapper, pargo, an occasional amberjack, dogtooth snapper, bonito and cabrilla.


Brictson said the marlin action was spread out, and they did not have many anglers targeting the billfish, as the tuna action seemed more popular – but they did see a couple of black, blue and striped marlin, as well as sailfish.


Off the shoreline, surf anglers reported a couple of snook and tripletail catches. “These are the times when prized species can be found close to the shoreline,” said Brictson. “You have to know what you are doing and put in consistent efforts.”


The approximate fish count for the week was: 2 black marlin, 3 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 2 blue marlin, 110 dorado, 14 wahoo, 115 yellowfin tuna, 3 dogtooth snapper, 8 leopard grouper, 25 Mexican bonito, 14 yellow snapper, 6 barred pargo, 3 pompano, 9 amberjack, 2 surgeonfish, 2 roosterfish and 28 triggerfish.


CEDROS ISLAND — The WON trip for 12 anglers was a huge success with weather up for two days, but the yellows of up to 35 pounds and bass to 8 pounds and sheephead to 15 pounds cooperated eventually, the yellows smacking the surface iron or live macks or Rapalas. The best bassing was, and will continue to be, to the north end of the island at Punta St. Augustine. Best baits for bass were Butterfly jigs and their Shimano cousins, the ColtSnipers.


MIDRIFF — The Longfin Tackle in Orange, Calif. filed a report on the latest Tony Reyes mothership trip into the Sea of Cortes.


Tom Ward of the Longfin said they found some medium-sized yellowtail in Animas Bay at the start of their fishing adventure. Later, they moved to Salsipuedes Island to target cabrilla, followed by San Francisquito for some good-sized yellowtail. At Snake Island, they scored some more yellowtail and cabrilla – along with some clams.


The real jackpot was at Diablo Point though. Said Ward, “The catch on this area was great; we brought in a few black seabass (one over 400 pounds and another around 250), along with a mixed bag of yellowtail, spotted bass, cabrilla and pargo.


The next morning, the red snapper, cabrilla and bottomfish were biting at Refugio Point – and the last day, they caught some big grouper, cabrilla and strong barred pargo at Enchanted Island.


The totals were: 189 yellowtail, 64 cabrilla, 168 spotted bass, 26 pargo, 1 sheepshead, 4 barred pargo, 5 grouper, 3 seabass, 1 broomtail, 5 amberjack and 2 dorado.


Go to tonyreyes.com for more information.


PUERTO VALLARTA — Stan Gabruk at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing reported that they’ve had an interesting year so far, and it will get even more interesting!


He said they’re still seeing yellowfin tuna at Corbetena and El Banco; black marlin are picking up in numbers and size; blue marlin aren’t far off the Punta Mita shoreline; dorado are around the area, but not in large numbers like they’re accustomed to, and they have sailfish everywhere.


“As we enter the high season, we’re seeing conditions and species coming together right on time!” said Gabruk.


He added that the downside to the wide-open fishing they’re seeing right now is that the fish are spread out – but many a tournament winner has been boated in this 25-mile-long area, so it’s worth it to shell out for the fuel. As he put it, “Skimping on fuel is like putting one quarter in a four-quarter machine in Vegas. You could win, but it won’t be the jackpot you’re hoping for.”


According to Gabruk, they’re still seeing the bite at 10:00 in the morning, with an afternoon bite around 2:00.


“We’re moving into the peak fishing season, and things will become incredible in the following weeks,” he said. “Sailfish will become a primary player anywhere from El Morro to El Banco. Tuna are thinner in numbers than we like, but those taking the shot at Corbetena and El Banco will not come back disappointed. Overnight trips are your best option, giving you your best chances of boating a ‘finned fantasy’ bucket list trophy!”


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ROAD REPAIR — The Federal government is pushing hard to repair a major section of the Mex. 1 highway past San Quintin, hiring four contractors at $119 million pesos to repave 113 kilometers and put in new signage from San Quintin to the 28th parallel, approximately to Guerrero Negro. This stretch is critical to trade (cargo) and tourism.


BAHIA ASUNCIÓN — Shari Bondy at Bahía Asunción and the La Bufadora Inn there reported the season is finally underway.


“Yellowtail are a month late... proceeded by even tuna and dorado... strange season here in Bahia Asunción! Looking forward to a good season right through till the end of February!”


She made that comment on the heels of the post by Ross Zoerhoff, who stayed and fished out of Bondy’s La Bufadora Inn at Asunción.


Said Zoerhof, “Last morning of fishing with Troy Zed on this trip. We went 3 for 6 or 7 on these brutes. They were exceptionally ornery today.”


* * *

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