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Baja Fishing Report

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Winter scene still offers exotics, plus yellowtail
Cabo tuna over 200 pounds plus quality dorado, a 122-pound wahoo by a San Jose Del Cabo spearfisherman, quality San Quintin area yellows and East Cape dorado still for the taking

CABO SAN LUCAS — Winter fishing off Baja California Sur is bringing is a helluva new year with 200-pound tuna, quality dorado and even a monster wahoo of 122 pounds. That’s right. It was 122 pounds, although it ate the steel, speared on a run out of Marina Puerto Los Cabo by a local diver, Remmy Viniegra.

REMMY VINIEGRA, A resident of the San Jose Del Cabo area and a spearfishing enthusiast, nabbed this monster 122-pound wahoo last week on a run out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos. PHOTO COURTESY OF GORDO BANKS PANGAS

It is no secret huge wahoo are in waters off Cabo, said Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas who reported the wahoo. As far as hook and line goes, the IGFA’s all-tackle world record is a 184 pounder caught July 29, 2005 just five miles south of the famed Cabo arch on a Mean Joe Greene lure by 15-year-old Sara Hayward who was visiting Cabo with her family and fishing on the charterboat Pez Espada.

It’s winter and most ardent warm-climate fishermen are laying low these days. Lands End waters were productive for snow birds and holiday revelers with some great catches on the charter boats working over roving schools of porpoise still holding quality school-sized tuna, with some monster cows thrown into the mix. Run with the porpoise and a 30 to 40-pound set of fish can be mixed in with a 100 pounder, and once in a while a cow tuna explodes on a bait. Usually a lure skipped on the surface on heavy tackle.

One such spectacular catch was a 238-pound yellowfin that literally exploded onto a Yummee Flyer skipped on the surface under a kite rig offered by the Pisces 40-foot Chasin’ Tail. Capitan Pepe de la Peña said the yellowfin jumped eight feet in the air on the strike.

“We were fishing Punta Gorda (the Gordo Bank) and had already tagged and released a nice striped marlin and landed 3 dorado when we decided to look for some tuna,” said La Peña. “We left that area and in about 45 minutes found a pod of dolphins. We set up the kite and this one was our first bite.”

It took angler Brian Anderson about 1 1/2 hours to land it on 100 pound Spectra. On another trip last week, the boat with the Fort Worth, Texas-based Vaden family aboard, had another good score with 2 tuna, the largest about 45 pounds, which also hit on the kite and on a skipped lure, this time a cedar plug. They found the tuna under the porpoise about 15 miles south of the Old Lighthouse. They also landed 4 dorado between 15 and 20 pounds, each on live mackerel.







THE PISCES FLEET saw great action on a mix of big yellowfin and dorado, with the most exciting one a 238 pounder caught by Brian Anderson aboard the Pisces’ 40-foot charterboat Chasin’ Tail. The tuna attacked a Yummee Flyer while the sportfisher skipped the lure under a kite over a school of porpoise.

“Again, we had an impressive week of fishing in Cabo!” wrote Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces in her weekly report on Sunday afternoon. “Eight-three out of 86 of the boats caught fish, making for a 97 percent catch success rate of all species combined. The largest numbers of fish caught were once again dorado, with a staggering 394 caught (she noted that many of those fish were released, respecting catch limits).

“For tuna, there were 148 caught by all boats, including the big yellowfin by Chasin’ Tail. Marlin were up from last week, where around 10 percent of boats caught them last week, to 35 percent this week. Total marlin catches were 48 fish, all released, which included a 20-pound blue marlin on Pisces 31-foot Rebecca. Other species caught included sierra mackerel, wahoo and a few roosterfish.

Ehrenberg had several great reports. We cant print them all! Here’s another one, though. The 32-foot Bill Collector’s anglers Allen, Nicole and Teresa Dutt caught 14 yellowfin, with the largest just shy of 100 pounds. The tuna hit on various feathers and cedar plugs at the Golden Gate. They also found 2 dorado of about 15 to 20 pounds which hit on live mackerel. And to top it off, a nice wahoo of about 20 pounds snapped at a lure as well.

Weather was good, with calm seas most days, with 75- to 79-degree water. See full reports at .

In other Baja fishing action:

LA PAZ — The La Paz report was missing last week. Computer issues were resolved and Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter (our WON columnist, of course) was back on the reporting tasks.

“Mostly a quiet Christmas week in La Paz,” said Roldan on Sunday, “Sun’s out. Occasionally we get some showers and it’s breezy. Most folks in town aren’t here to fish or hit the water. Those that are in town for watersports are windsurfers and kiteboarders taking advantage of the strong winter winds. Or they’re here to swim with the whale sharks in the bay.

“The few out fishing are mostly finding action inshore along the rocks and beaches. It’s not bad fishing at all. There’s been a decent bite on some nice cabrilla up to about 10 pounds with most in the 2- to 5-pound range and lots of little ones getting released. Snapper were also on the chew. All good fish for the table. The biggest issue is getting live bait. If waters are rough and winds are blowing, getting live bait in the shallow areas where the bait schools can be problematic. If bait is an issue, slow trolling small crankbaits like Rapalas, Rebels, Yo-Zuri, Mirolures or similar can still be very productive and fun.”

Roldan said that offshore, bonito are still there for some harder battles as well as jack crevalle.

“There’s a chance of an occasional dorado as well,” he said.” I’m surprised we aren’t getting into more sierra, as this is the time of year we should be getting them, but perhaps we’ll see more as the waters get cooler.”

QUALIITY DORADO ARE in the offing for anglers on Gordo Banks Pangas working out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos. There have been yellowfin tuna as well as small roosters.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas at Puerto Los Cabos Marina Los Cabos said it’s a typical Baja winter, with ocean water temperatures in the 75- to 77-degree range and minimal swells with variable northern winds, bringing favorable overall fishing conditions.

“The most consistent fishing action has been for dorado, most of this action found within a mile or two from shore,” said Brictson.” Anglers were using smaller sized trolling lures and various baitfish to entice these gamefish, average size fish was in the 10-pound class, but there were larger specimens to over 20 pounds also being found.”

He said for the past several years December and January have been prime months for the bigger dorado and, “We expect this action to last into the New Year.”

The yellowfin tuna were much more scattered, as the bite off of La Fortuna where the shark problem was so bad faded off, with just a few tuna up to 40 pounds reported, these taken on strips of squid. A few tuna in the 15- to 40-pound class also were hooked into off Punta Gorda on a mix of caballito and lures, but these were very limited. Off the Gordo Banks there was a chance at a nicer grade of yellowfin to 100 pounds though this was very hit-or-miss and involved large amounts of squid for chum and plenty of patience to repeatedly make drifts all day long for a chance at a hook up, mainly something the local commercial pangeros were doing.

“On the outside, some 20 or more miles offshore, there was porpoise activity moving in the direction off of San Jose del Cabo, on Friday there were a couple of 200-pound class yellowfin landed off larger sportfishers, so maybe this will develop into something,” said Brictson. “Wahoo are in the area, but getting them to hit has not been that easy, though on any given day that could change, best bet has been on bait versus lures. Of the wahoo we saw, sizes ranged 15 to 40 pounds, though one monster 122-pound wahoo was brought in by a spear fisherman.”

Stretches of beach just to the north of the Puerto Los Cabos marina were good numbers of juvenile sized roosterfish, some up to 15 pounds, and also mixed in were jack crevalle and sierra. Best bet was with the smaller sized caballito. Brictson said if sardinas were available for bait this action would bust wide open.

Off the bottom there was action for huachinango, most of these under 5 pounds, also a few yellow snapper and barred pargo.

“Bait supplies out of the local port consisted of caballito, ballyhoo and slabs of squid,” he said. “There are sardineta and mackerel just starting to move onto local bait grounds as well, so far more sardineta. This is attracting striped marlin into this same area, despite not being the warm season, we are seeing some sailfish as well.”

The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 110 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 2 sailfish, 15 striped marlin, 265 dorado, 21 yellowfin tuna, 35 wahoo, 8 yellow snapper, 4 barred pargo, 1 glass eyed snapper, 12 sierra, 4 pompano, 85 roosterfish, 45 huachinango, 3 amberjack, 15 jack crevalle and 45 triggerfish.



THE WINTER YELLOWTAIL bite is going strong off San Quintin Bay on the high spots with iron on the surface and deep yo-yo jigs working on quality forkies for outfits like Garcia’s Pangas, which posted these photos to their Facebook page.

SAN QUINTIN — Capt. Juan Cook said he has not been out recently over the quiet holiday season, but since he lives just up the road from the Old Mill Hotel and the ramp on the back bay, he’s been seeing some good catches at the ramp and cleaning table brought in by Garcia’s Pangas, one of several charter outfits located there.

“They have been catching nice yellowtail and bottom fish, weather permitting, and the ‘tails are 15 to 20 pounds and weather is a factor, because it’s been raining off and on,” said Cook. ”The weather is kinda cool to cold. But the fish are still here.”

EAST CAPE — Very little specific information is coming out of here because it’s the holidays and few boats are going out, but those groups fishing are enjoying decent weather most days between typical winter blows, and are getting a shot at 10- to 15-pound dorado and the occasional marlin. Hotel Rancho Leonero is closed for the winter.

LORETO — Rick Hill at said Isla Coronado has been the "go-to" spot for the holiday fishing boats.

“Yellowtail, snappers of various types and cabrilla round out the count in most fish boxes,” said Hill. “Between the days of wind and Christmas activities fewer boats are out chasing fish. The boats working the outside spots like ‘Lobo’ and ‘Perro’ make quick exits from the boat ramp, which I take as being a sign of bumpy fishing and not many bites.”

He added, ”It's still the beginning of the season and once the holidays are over the serious work will begin.”

As a quick note, sign-ups are being taken for the second annual Robert Ross Fishing Tournament held out of Marina Puerto Escondido May 15-17. The marina is also the organizer. Go to their website at for details and the entry information.

SAN CARLOS — We don’t get many reports out of San Carlos on the other side of the Sea of Cortez, but it’s a great option for many anglers, especially those with boats in tow as the road south (unlike Baja roads) is two lanes and the marina facilities at San Carlos are extensive. And there are many charter outfits.

One of them, Margarita Sportfishing’s Bryan Replogle ( sent this report Saturday: “San Carlos (Sonora) is just cooling off for winter. There have been some hot bites in close trolling and jigging for yellowtail to 16 pounds,” said Replogle. ”The bonito bite has been excellent at times, as well as with sierra. There were good numbers of small dorado in October, and a few marlin. Yellowtail were caught jigging in October, but better numbers are showing as the bait leaves the shorelines.

“San Pedro Nolasco has had some big fish at times, as well as up the coast, but it's hard to beat filling the cooler within a mile of port in calm seas. Larger fish and topwater action in the spring will make longer runs worth the cost and effort. Shoreline fishing was excellent, but now probably limited to corvina.”

ERENDIRA — Bottom fishing is going on off Castro’s Camp. This area also is known for yellowtail fishing and the occasional white seabass on the high spots. It is a nice, easy drive from the newly expanded San Ysidro border. There are several charters now being planned to this area, Ensenada, L.A. Bay and Gonzaga Bay for 2020. Go to for the new schedule. Many of the trips to those above areas as well as Cedros, Mag Bay, La Bocana, and other locales on the mainland and Baja are hosted by owner Orchid Martinez.

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