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Baja Fishing Report

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Dorado close in and big off Cabo
Loreto yellows offer tough decisions, East Cape is still biting as winter approaches, San Quintin yellows chewing the iron


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THE PISCES FLEET was having a great week on the quality dorado as depicted in these photos posted on Sunday night. Catches here included multiple dorado for the Pisces’ 32-foot and 35-foot Bill Collectors, the 35-foot Valerie, the 29-foot Adriana, and 6 big dorado on the fleet’s 27-foot super panga.


CABO SAN LUCAS — The dorado bite is still on in Cabo, and in fact it’s wide open, and the action is close. The Red Rum and Pisces fleets and other local charter boats are reporting the only “issue” is that the dorado limit of just two fish per person is a nice problem to have. It often happens too quickly.


There are, however, other hard targets at Lands End as this epic fall season continues. There are great bites farther out on yellowfin tuna over porpoise schools, and wahoo have moved into the area in greater numbers.


Said Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces, “The dorado bite is still on! Catches from this week include multiple dorado for the Pisces 32-foot and 35-footBill Collectors, Pisces’ 35-foot Valerie and our 29-foot Adriana, and 6 big dorado on the fleet’s 27-foot superpanga.


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CAPTAIN GIL CASTRO of the Pisces Bill Collector 2 has now been officially crowned as wahoo king! Gil and his family, his son Ronaldo and cousin Roberto Castro aboard, took first place in the last tournament of the year, the Wahoo Tournament out of La Playita, with this 33.8 pounder shown. Not only this but the team also caught 8 dorado, 2 sierra mackerel, a grouper and 2 sailfish released! This win qualifies them to the final leg of the tourism department’s Tournament Cup, “Copa De Campeones Calisureños” in 2020.

In other Baja news:


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JAIME’S PANGAS GOT full limits on a trip out of San Quintin Bay, and other operations like K&M also reported great fishing for the forkies. Conditions are excellent. PHOTO COURTESY JAIME’S PANGAS


SAN QUINTIN — The tail beat goes on for San Quintin Bay charter companies, and while the white seabass are not being targeted, winter yellows on the high spot are still out there, specially at the 240 Spot with iron — surface and yo-yo — all doing the job on 15 to 20 pounders.


“I haven't been out this week, but there have been very good yellowtail on the high spots, also good reds and nice lingcod,” said Juan Cook, a local guide and regular WON Baja contributor for the northern Baja areas. “It’s been a touch on the cool side, and water temps have been 62 to 64 and the water is very clean.”


This is a great time to book with some of the local charter companies and get into the last round of yellows and then fill up the cooler as the rockfish season is year-around in Baja, but in SoCal closes up for a while at the end of this month.


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KATHY WONG FROM San Francisco was having fun this past week in La Paz with Captain Armando and a pargo liso she hooked on a trip out of Bahia Suenos near Las Arenas just south of La Paz while fishing with Tailhunter Sportfishing. PHOTO COURTESY TAILHUNTER SPORTFISHING

LA PAZ — It’s holiday season, and then it’s show season, but some folks still want to get out on the water here. But clearly, this is the off season. It’s for locals, and those escaping the northern climates.


“The town is kinda quiet right now!” said Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International. “It’s that lull between the holidays and not many folks are in town right now except for some snowbirds and kite boarders and wind surfers taking advantage of the winter breezes. Not really many folks on the water as this is off-season for fishing, but even then, most folks in town are just enjoying the sunshine and getting ready for Christmas.


“It definitely seems like you can already smell the tamales cooking on the streets! But, lights are up and folks are doing Christmas shopping and that’s kind of it.”


He said there was some fishing, mostly the inshore variety.


“There’s a decent bite over the rocky spots for cabrilla up to about 5 pounds plus snapper and pargo,” he said. “All are great eating fish. The hard-pullers include some nice jack crevalle running up to about 10 pounds plus good activity on bonito. It’s really hard to get a complete fishing picture when not many folks are fishing. It was too bad because this past week was one of the better weeks for weather and minimal winds. I’m sure the town is gonna start getting more crowded in the next few days as we get closer to Christmas.”


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AMY KENT, VISITING the East Cape from Ohio, released her first blue marlin while fishing with Scorpion Sportfishing. There was plenty of action on other species, as well, marlin and dorado.


EAST CAPE — Scorpion Sportfishing at the East Cape reported midweek that the fishing was going off with light crowds. You just had to dodge the windy days.


“We were able to get out between windy days this week,” said Matthew Clifton of Scorpion, which operates the El Rogala and Scorpion charter boats in Los Barilles. “We started the day with a blue marlin release by Amy Kent visiting from Ohio and had several other marlin eat the trolled skipjacks only to throw the hook. Dorado were also present in the area with most successes on trolled ballyhoo. We finished off the day with a good-sized cabrilla. We’re looking forward to the next calm day as the fishing is great!”


Scorpion Sportfishing partners with the Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort.

“This family-run hotel sits over an underground river of natural hot springs that flow into the shimmering, azure-blue Sea of Cortez,” said Clifton. “The rich water that creates a lush tropical landscaping of palm trees and exotic flowers also provides the perfect elements for a relaxing, quiet getaway or an adventurous vacation, offering world class big game saltwater fishing, diving and snorkeling among other great adventures.”


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THE MAJORITY OF local charters with Gordo Banks Pangas were working the grounds from the Gordo Banks, to La Fortuna, Cardon and close off of Punta Gordo for a mix of tuna and dorado and some wahoo.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas at Puerto Los Cabos Marina said a holiday run south might be in order. No crowds, great weather and fishing.


“Now is the perfect time to visit, ideal weather, despite dipping down to 55 degrees early morning, daytime highs have averaged in the upper 70s, plenty of warm sunshine,” said Brictson. “Early in the week there was more wind from the north, but by the weekend we saw much calmer ocean conditions. Average water temperature was about 77 degrees, with some isolated areas up to 80 degrees, surf was minimal, though tides were extreme with the passing of recent full moon, the last one of this decade.”


He said bait vendors are finding caballito in the marina area, also offering ballyhoo and slabs of squid.


“Off of the San Jose del Cabo hotel zone the schools of baitfish, mackerel and sardineta, are moving in and this will become an option for the next month or two,” he said. “The overall fishing action was more scattered this week, perhaps the moon was affecting feeding habits, also there was a noticeably stronger current sweeping through local grounds, as well as winds being a factor at times. The majority of local charters were working the grounds from the Gordo Banks, to La Fortuna, Cardon and close off of Punta Gorda.”


The main target species continue to be yellowfin tuna, dorado and wahoo, also some billfish and limited bottom action to round out the options. Yellowfin tuna are varying in sizes up to 75 pounds. The larger fish were found on the Gordo Banks and other mixed grade of yellowfin off La Fortuna.


“Though there was a major issue with sharks attacking hooked fish — and they got more than their share, and these were not little sharks either,” said Brictson. “We saw quality sized tuna bitten completely in half or swallowed whole, they were even attacking wahoo or dorado if they had the chance. It has been a while since so many aggressive sharks were found on these same fishing grounds, hard to say how long they will be around, they now know that they are able to find some easy tasty meals. Hopefully when the water temperature cools off the sharks will move on.”


Wahoo were more finicky this week, he said, though they have not gone anywhere, just were more wary about striking. Some hit on strips of squid while anglers targeted tuna, other on trolled baits, a smaller percentage were striking on lures.


“The largest we weighed recently was a 48-pound specimen,” he said Saturday in his weekly post.


There was a local wahoo tournament slated for Sunday, originally slated for Nov. 17, but it had to be rescheduled due to Tropical Storm Raymond.


“It will be interesting to see how many teams enter, since it is now during a not-so-busy tourist time frame,” said Brictson. “Numbers of dorado were down compared to last week, though these fish are still scattered through the area in smaller sized schools, with the larger sized dorado now found on the Pacific, though off of San Jose del Cabo we did see some fish up to 20 pounds.”


Billfish action now seems to be transitioning from the Pacific to the direction of San Jose, as these fish follow their food source. Though the bite is spotty, it has not been wide open yet. There are striped marlin being found within several miles of shore, the majority in the 70- to 120-pound range. Also, they saw at least one sailfish in recent days.


“Not much going off the bottom, an occasional leopard or baqueta grouper, various pargo, bonito and triggerfish,” he said. “More whales definitely are showing up, peak season will be here now any week, as these mammals are now arriving for their winter’s stay.”


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 70 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 1 sailfish, 9 striped marlin, 38 dorado, 78 yellowfin tuna, 14 wahoo, 5 yellow snapper, 3 pompano, 4 golden eye tile fish, 6 barred pargo, 9 cabrilla, 2 amberjack, 8 bonito, 5 sierra, 5 roosterfish, 6 baqueta, 2 surgeonfish and 45 triggerfish.


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JULIO AND FRANKIE of Nemenchas Fishing in Loreto took advantage of some good weather midweek and put the screws to them with some Pacific Lures up north by Pulpito. PHOTO COURTESY NEMENCHAS FISHING


LORETO — Chris Wheaton, IGFA rep and director of the Fishin’ For the Mission Tournament, relayed some fishing news from the area. He fished there over Thanksgiving and said he has been keeping in touch with the folks down there as he nails down the details of the 2020 tourney.


“There’s a lot of cabrilla and yellows being caught,” said Wheaton. “Julio and Frankie of Nemenchas Fishing took advantage of some good weather and put the screws to them with some Pacific Lures up north by Pulpito.”


As for the tourney, Wheaton said they are all set for dates for next year's tournament.


This will be the 30th Fishin For The Mission tournament,” said Wheaton. “Tournament dates will be Thursday, July 9 2020 to Saturday, July 11. Currently Alaska Airlines is showing available flights on the 9th to the 12th. Alan Ceseña should be posting the discount code soon for the discounted room rate at the La Mision Hotel.”


Rick Hill of PinchySportfishing.com checked in with WON on Sunday for an overall rundown of the fishing. “Sardina has been the active ingredient for the bass types and yellowtail are slamming mackerel for their last meal. Bigger fish are landing in a few iced catch bags down on the south end of Carmen Island. Twenty-five-pound yellowtail and breakoffs on bigger fish are making for a difficult decision this past week.”


He explained the dilemma: “It's not easy to hit both spots in one day, plus there is another rock pile halfway between. There are lots of choices on fishing as the holidays move into town.”


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THE GAMEFISHER HAS been scoring limits of rockfish at the Banda Bank and also has been getting in some yellows on its charter trips out of Ensenada. PHOTO COURTESY GAMEFISHER


ENSENADA — According to Orchid Martinez at Baja Fishing Convoys who books trips by van to Ensenada from the Otay border, the boat she uses, the 12-passenger Gamefisher, has been reporting some good mid-size yellowtail, bonito, and rockfish catches. The rockfish season will close for a few months at the end of the month here in SoCal, so any rockfishing will have to done in Mexican waters. BFC will post escorted day trips for 2020 soon, or you can call Captain Mike to book at (760) 578-3022.


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LA BOCANA’S Capt. Dago is showing off a very respectable white seabass caught on Monday, Dec. 9. The beachside sportfishing facility is seeing a continued bite on yellowtail and bass even this late in the season. PHOTO COURTESY BAJA FISHING CONVOYS


LA BOCANA — Baja Fishing Convoys is the official U.S. representative for La Bocana Adventures and while this is considered late in the area’s season, it’s still going off on a variety of species, including yellowtail and white seabass.


“This week our boat captains caught some nice size white seabass at La Bocana,” said Orchid Martinez at BFC. “It just goes to show that the fishing is still good this late in the year. Aside for the white seabass there are some nice-size yellowtail as well.”


She added, “Don't miss out on next year's packages at La Bocana including the 2020 WON charter, Oct. 12-16. Sign-up online at WONews.com (click the Events tab), or call or e-mail Dylan Depres at (949) 366-0726; dylan@wonews.com.


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MAG BAY CONTINUES to be a great spot for a variety of gamefish. Baja Fishing Convoy’s Orchid Martinez reported Mag Bay Lodge visitors are still very busy with dorado and marlin.


MAGDALENA BAY — Mag Bay Lodge Sportfishing is still very busy with a great selection of fish species down there, said Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys. “Dorado and marlin are still the regular suspects that are not too far offshore.”


2020 is almost here and it’s time to plan a trip to this amazing destination and fishery.


“A great benefit to booking a trip with us is that your tackle is all included,” she said. “We make sure you have the right stuff to catch your bucket list fish.” They offer a 36-foot Pro Kat, a 31-foot Cape Horne center console and standard pangas. All our captains are local and experienced fishermen.” For a list of the 2020 BFC trips go to bajafishingconvoys.com.


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To contribute to the Baja report, fire away a report by Sunday morning to make it in the next WON print and digital report. Attach a photo or two, please. Send to baja@wonews.com.


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L. A. BAY — The yellowtail scene is blistering hot, but the action is also sizzling on other species attacking the iron. A late report Monday by Capt. Joel from Joel’s Sportfishing consisted of photos of several quality yellows and assorted cabrilla and grouper. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BAJA FISHIUNG CONVOYS

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