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Baja Fishing Report

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San Quintin and L.A. Bay keep pumping out yellows
Cabo’s big tuna still on the local banks to 277 pounds, and marlin are surging in numbers as stripers finally move down from Mag Bay, doubling the catches

SAN QUINTIN — The residual buzz about cow yellowfin tuna in Cabo continues with more big-fish reports, but the primary staple of the Baja Peninsula these days is yellowtail, with action off San Quintin, Bay of Los Angeles and Loreto and La Bocana featuring quality forkies on the iron. It is, after all, winter.


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SAN QUINTIN HAS been a hotbed of yellowtail action on the iron over the high spots just outside the bay for various charter companies like Garcia’s Pangas and K&M Sportfishing.


Reports coming into Baja@wonews.com and social media platforms indicate that when the weather allows, the yellows are on the chew on the high spots. No place has been more consistent than San Quintin as rockfishing prospects for freezer fillers are taking a back seat to throwing and yo-yoing the iron in the fleet out of San Quintin, located 150 miles south of the border.


K&M Sportfishing with the Catian family of guides on their 23-foot Parker charterboats were reporting whacks on the yellows. In one report, one group drove through the night from SoCal and arrived by 7:30 a.m. for the charter with Christian Catian and scored several big yellows on the iron. There were several reports from Garcia’s and Jaime’s Panga fleets of similar action.


Across the peninsula was Bay of L.A. and Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys said the bite has been fantastic for her pangero Joel whom she uses for her trips south.


“Joel (from Joel’s Pangas) in Bahia de Los Angeles is simply killing it!” said Orchid. “Will and Ron Bouterse from Northern California


went out Wednesday and Thursday with Joel and caught an ample amount and variety of fish. All sizes were respectable. Winter fishing in BOLA can be really good if you can get a couple of good non windy days.”


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JAIME GONZALES OF Jessica Sportfishing has been in on the big tuna, including this one of 277 pounds. They have caught several in the past week, from 150 to this size as the crazy big tuna season continues off Cabo on the Pacific Banks. PHOTO COURTESY OF ZACH PAUL

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THE PISCES FLEET had anothergreat week for the tuna and dorado and a nice whack here and there on the wahoo on runs out of Cabo San Lucas. The striped marlin appear to have begun their migration south from Mag Bay, doubling the number of hookups from the previous week.


CABO SAN LUCAS — The buzz continues in Cabo over the huge tuna on the inshore banks up the Pacific Coast as more cow tuna are caught, one of which was a 277 pounder by Jaime Gonzales of Jessica Sportfishing who has caught several big tuna in recent weeks, 150 to 277 pounds. There are not many details on that 277 pounder, but it is legitimate and comes from Reel Time Sportfishing’s Zach Paul. As you might remember, a funding effort through GoFundMe helped Jaime get his panga repaired after a friend borrowed it and dumped in the surfline. His Facebook page Jessica Sportfishing shows the boat after repairs.


Most of the tuna have been 10 to 30 pounds, though, and the dorado action has been very good. It also appears the marlin have made Cabo a stop on their migration south.


On Sunday afternoon, Pisces Sportfishing Fleet’s Tracy Ehrenberg said they saw billfish numbers nearly double from the previous week, so the season is finally clicking on as the stripers make their way south on the migration from Mag Bay.


“It started to pick up over the weekend as our boats released 86 billfish this week, with only two kept, which did not make it,” said Ehrenberg. “One of these was a 450-pound blue marlin caught aboard Pisces 60-foot Reel Machine by anglers from Sydney, Australia. The fish hit on a yellow and orange lure only about three miles offshore from Cerros de Arena area. A teenage angler fought the fish for almost two hours. Originally they had searched for yellowfin out at San Jaime, and actually landed one football and one skipjack before they headed closer to shore in search of dorado, which is when this blue hit. The marlin was shared between anglers, crews, and others still.”


As for tuna and dorado, percentages of boats landing them remain the same, although the numbers of fish have lowered slightly. This of course is related to the larger number of billfish caught, too. There were 165 dorado and 236 tuna caught.


The fleet’s top marlin vessel was Pisces 61-foot Pour Decisions with 12 striped marlin released in only two days out this week. On Thursday the Viking yacht recorded 6 striped marlin released, ranging in size from 90 to 120 pounds, and hitting on dead and live bait at the Golden Gate Bank. They also landed 12 dorado there, of which they released 2, for anglers from Florida.


The Pisces 38-foot C Rod also had a fantastic week, with 11 striped marlin tagged and released. On their top day they produced 6 striped marlin released, along with 4 dorado, the biggest of about 35 pounds. The striped marlin ranged between 120 and 140 pounds and hit on dead and live cast bait, as did the dorado, at Gaspareño. Aboard were anglers Brian Warbis, Ken Meyers, Sam Hefferman and Tom Macintosh and Regney form Wisconsin.


The Valerie released 3 striped marlin, between 100 and 130 pounds close to Golden Gate, hitting on mackerel bait. Anglers Colter Marcum and Michael Harrell from Texas also caught 10 yellowfin between 10 and 20 pounds on feathers, cedar plugs and “brujitas” at San Jaime.


And hitting the dock just after them, Pisces 28-foot Andrea showed off 6 striped marlin released and 5 dorado flags. The marlin hit on mackerel at Migriño and weighed approximately 100 to 130 pounds each. Dorado were decently sized, between 10 and 20 pounds each, hitting on mackerel and a few on green lures. The Andrea was the top dorado boat this week with 18 dorado total.


The C Rod also did well with tuna this week; their largest was an approximate 70 pounder caught by Andrew Van Raalte from Seattle. They caught all yellowfin on cedar plugs and varied lures, landing 10 in total at the 150 Spot.


Pisces Karina was the top tuna boat this week with 40 yellowfin caught total, most ranged from 10 to 30 pounds. They also released 6 striped marlin and 5 dorado. On one of their best days they caught 10 yellowfin on feathers and cedar plugs at San Jaime and then released 2 striped marlin of about 100 to 120 pounds and a 20-pound dorado at Pozo Cota.


In other Cabo action, Renegade Mike Tumbiero of the charterboat Renegade Mike said he’s back posting fishing reports, primarily because some “gringo local” posted on Facebook that Tumbiero is not reporting fish on social media because he’s not catching any. Trolling comes in many forms. The reality is that Tumbiero is beat after a day on the water and he’s a one-man operation besides his crew. But, he’s taken on the challenge.


“Yeah, right, I’m not catching fish? Look, if you can’t catch fish in Cabo there’s something seriously wrong with you,” said Tumbiero. “The guy who posted that actually did me a favor cause I have to admit I have gotten a little burnt out on the social media scene. Anyway, we still have very good fishing for dorado, striped marlin, and some tuna around especially some bigger models around the high spots. Still some wahoo around and those that are specifically targeting them are getting 1 to 2 a day.”


Last Saturday Tumbiero hosted Kraig Brody and his group of four total anglers.


“We had lots of action on dorado early but our hook-up ratio was only about 50 percent as we had a lot of fish jump off but we still ended up with 6 nice dorado for the day and one for four on marlin as we had several marlin bites but we had bad luck on hook-ups. Marlin were short-biting the lures and did not want the Bait Masters ballyhoo and we did not have any live bait.”


On Sunday they had David Anderson and his 19-year-old daughter Hailey from Pennsylvania.


“We went to the Golden Gate bank and made plenty of mackerel at the bank. The sea lions were being pests, they kept taking our baits, but we ended up with one wahoo caught with a light wire circle hook, 80-pound fluorocarbon leader on a sinker rig. Pretty lucky, I would say. We ended up with two marlin released and limits of dorado (2 per angler) and one nice 33-pound wahoo.”


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DAVID PITTS SCORED a nice variety on a run last week out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos with Gordo Banks Pangas.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 68 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 11 striped marlin, 160 dorado, 42 yellowfin tuna, 26 wahoo, 38 pargo, 22 sierra, 16 roosterfish, 9 cabrilla, 4 jack crevalle, bonito 6 and 28 triggerfish.


Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas reported wind patterns are typically unpredictable, lows in 50s some days and highs up to mid-80s on others. Wind predominately came from the north, in cycles of two, three, four days. Moderate ocean swells, with clarity fluctuating accordingly to running currents. Ocean temperatures have been in the 72- to 74-degree range, slightly warmer than normal for this time frame.


“Bait options consisted of caballito, ballyhoo, slabs of squid, sardineta and some mackerel,” Brictson said. “Large schools of baitfish now congregating on areas off of San Jose del Cabo, more sardineta than anything else. No word on sardinas moving within range of local fleets.”


He said striped marlin are following their food source in this same direction, though still not in big numbers, but more this week compared to last.


“Dorado were the more numerous gamefish at this time, found throughout the area, often close to shore, striking on a variety of lures, but more readily on available bait. Sizes ranged up to 20 pounds, though the majority were averaging 10 pounds.


“Wahoo action rebounded somewhat this week, as we saw ocean temperatures remain warm enough to keep these fish in the area. Still this action was more sporadic, most strikes were reported from Punta Gorda to Vinorama. Sizes were all the way from sierra sized wahoo, up to 45 pounds. Ballyhoo and caballito both produced a higher percentage of strikes.


Juvenile sized roosterfish and are now seeing more sierra found along local beach stretches. At times frigate birds could be seen circling and diving closer to shore, especially mid-morning, this activity was typically associated with feeding dorado.


“Yellowfin tuna action was spotty, but we are seeing limited numbers of tuna in the 10- to 25-pound class taken through the inshore zone, seen more near Cardon and La Fortuna recently,” said Brictson. “There’s not much going off the bottom, and the commercial fleet has concentrated on the red snapper, not much red crab surface activity this past week. A few cabrilla taken off of the high spots, bonito, pargo, but more triggerfish than anything else. We look for this bottom bite to improve in coming weeks, and we’re hoping for a good yellowtail season.”


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ROBERT BOYD FROM Colorado got into some nice sierra like this as well as dorado on a run out between blows with Tailhunter International. The sierra bit slow-trolled Rapalas while the dorado were enticed with strips of fresh bonito.


LA PAZ — Jonathan and Jill Roldan of Tailhunter International are keeping tabs on the weather and fishing back in La Paz.


“It’s cold and windy again,” said Roldan, “but there were a few windows of opportunity to get in some fishing. It was largely hit-or-miss at times, but there’s some surprising variety. Either using live bait or slow-trolling Rapalas produced sierra, jack crevalle, cabrilla, bonito and even some dorado, which is remarkable given that dorado are warm-water species while the others are largely cold water species.”


He said no one is really getting too far offshore because of the rougher water and winds, but tucked in on the lee side of structure, there’s fish. Some yellowtail hooked and lost as well as amberjack, too.”


EAST CAPE — Little being reported here. Hotel Rancho Leonero is closed for the winter except for large groups, but Martin Verdugo’s, the Palmas fleet, Jen Wren and Scorpion Sportfishing are all operating. In tourney news, the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore tourney, after being shortened to two days on the water, was brought back to a three-day fishing event after a poll of teams. It runs Oct. 20-24. For info, go to bisbees.com.


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LORETO YELLOWTAIL AND grouper fishing has been very good in the San Bruno area, with iron doing the trick. These photos are from Rafael Martinez who works with Baja Fishing Convoys who relayed them to WON.


LORETO — Baja Fishing Convoys reported the yellowtail season is in full swing with great catches of quality forkies on the iron and sent in a batch of photos of the fish caught last week by guide Rafael Martinez.


In another report to baja@wonews.com, Rick Hill of pinchysportfishing.com said the pangas sitting on the rockpiles are scoring big on red snapper and triggerfish.


“They are both great eating but a limit won't give you a huge dinner!” said Hill. “Yellowtail have been harder to locate, at least the ones interested in attacking a live mackerel. The San Bruno high spot did kick out some 20-pound class 'tails for the early boats.”


Not much has been happening with the cabrilla bite, he said. “Maybe they are just trying to get tuned into the new weather cycle.”


PUERTO VALLARTA — Jodie Morgan’s sportfisher Apollo is on its WON 3 ½-day annual charter (Jan. 20-24) with former WON editor Pat McDonell hosting a full load of 12 anglers to the Tres Marias Islands region in search of big tuna. The word from the fishing grounds is that the bite went off two week ago, then slowed at the full moon, then started to show signs as the high volume of fish in the area reactivated last week. A brief report will be in the next issue of WON followed by a feature, and the WON Facebook page will have some details when the boat arrives at Marina Puerto Vallarta on Friday.


* * *


Contribute to WON Baja reports by emailing reports and a photo or two to baja@wonews.com.


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THE YELLOWTAIL BITE is still going on for the La Bocana Camp super panga fleet in the dead of winter, reported Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys.


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BAY OF LOS ANGELES continues to be a great spot for a variety of catches, especially the quality yellowtail. Capt. Joel of Joel’s Pangas and his customers Will and Ron Bouterse from Northern California went out last Wednesday and Thursday and caught an ample amount and variety of fish. Baja Convoys sent the pictures in as Joel is a charter captain of BFC, as well as pangas in Guilermo’s fleet.

• • • • •

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