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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Baja Fishing Report

WON Editor Pat McDonell "retired" recently but remains busier than ever. His current WON duties includes the WON Baja weekly saltwater reports, hosting a few WON charter trips, and is the tournament director of the WON / Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot tournament.
814-pound blue biggest marlin in years for Cabo
Caught on Pisces 31-foot Bertram Tiburon, and brought back with the help of two other charterboats after 6-hour battle

CABO SAN LUCAS — As many top billfishermen are aware, the offseason for billfishing — which is right now — is when the huge marlin often are caught. That fact was illustrated clearly on Sunday when an 814-pound blue marlin was caught by anglers and crew aboard the Pisces charterboat Tiburon, a 31-foot Bertram, after a battle of more than six hours. It is the biggest marlin caught in Cabo waters in several years.


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THE HUGE MARLIN could not be brought into the 31-foot BertramTiburon which does not have a transom door, so crews of the La Brisa and Reels ‘N Dirt helped secure the blue marlin for the ride home.

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CATCHING THE 814-POUND blue marlin was the group of California anglers who fished aboard the 31-foot Tiburon, a Pisces Fleet sportfisher. The battle lasted six hours. Anglers were Dennis Poudel, Mark Molnar, Sam Ferrans and Curtis Paul.


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THE PISCES FLEET’S 28-foot Andrea released3 striped marlin beginning the week, between Golden Gate and Migrino on mackerel bait and also landed a 30-pound yellowtail on mackerel for John Craegn and Mike Hoback from Seattle.


“Today saw the surprise catch of an out of season blue marlin that took everybody by surprise,” said Tracy Ehrenberg of the Pisces fleet in Cabo. “But most of the record fish are lone catches, caught in winter and spring.”


Aboard were Dennis Poudel, vice-president of Top Shelf Disc Supply and Mark Molnar, Sam Ferrans and Curtis Paul, his clients at Innova Disc Golf, and all came to Cabo from various parts of California.


Their main target was tuna, and even though the bite had been slow in recent days, Captain Rosendo Gomez and deckhand Salvador Flores delivered the goods, soon finding and hooking fair-sized tuna and at one point they had seven hooked up at the same time, bringing all seven to the boat. The four anglers called it enough for a day, but Captain Rosendo suggested they troll for marlin. Thirty minutes later, out of nowhere, the trolled ballyhoo was hit by a marlin at lightning speed. No one aboard noticed what had slammed the bait, and in short order it also swallowed a green lure being trolled.


“The line with the ballyhoo went on to break after it had spooled the angler,” said Ehrenberg who added the anglers each took turns fighting the fish which all thought was about 300 pounds, but twice they had it up to the leader and realized that first calculation was wrong, way wrong.”


The anglers moved through another rotation of fighting the marlin and were at the 4 ½-hour mark, the battle made tougher as they were using tuna trolling gear for smaller yellowfin: a Penn International 50 with a 200-pound leader.


“It was shortly after this they realized the fish had died and suddenly become impossible to budge, and they now had a dead weight on the end of the line and the fish down deep,” said Ehrenberg. “After another two hours they had it alongside the boat, but there was no way it would fit on the swim-step as a standard 31 Bertram has no transom door to slide the fish into the cockpit. This was communicated to Pisces Fleet office in Cabo who dispatched help by way of the La Brisa and her crew.


“Even with all this manpower of four anglers and four crew it was impossible to hoist the monster fish into the boat. Just then the Reels N Dirt, a 66-foot Viking and the latest addition to the Pisces Fleet, came cruising by, noticed that help was needed. With the help of the owner, crew and veterans on board, the huge fish was easily loaded through the transom door into the large cockpit which even with its size, still could not contain the fish, leaving the marlin tail sticking out the back.”


Shortly afterwards the fish arrived at port and a sizeable crowd gathered and appeared on the hotel balconies.


“A rope was tied around the fish’s tail and it was dropped into the water at the Marina Fundadores dock, as soon as the winch was attached. As the fish was being raised a 30-pound dorado dropped out of the fish’s stomach,” said Ehrenberg. “The blue was pulled up as the electric winch strained and then, burned out, but not before the scale registered 814 pounds, making it the largest fish we’ve seen in several years.”


Angler Mark Molnar said, “Everything was top shelf. The hospitality we’ve received has been amazing and the crew stopped at nothing to achieve the objective and we will never forget that.”


In other Pisces catches for the week, the Caliente, a 42 footer, was the fleet’s top boat and did well to release3 striped marlinof about 100 pounds each on mackerel at Golden Gate Bank on an early week charter for anglers Kevin Kelly and Jordan and Racheal Connor. Later in the week Caliente had an outstanding day at Migrino with 3 red snapper caught on mackerel, as well as a 25-pound yellowtail.


The Pisces’ 28-foot Andrea released3 striped marlin beginning the week, between Golden Gate and Migrino on mackerel bait. They also landed a 30-pound yellowtail on mackerel there. Anglers were John Craegn and Mike Hoback from Seattle. Pisces’ other 28-foot vessel, the Adriana also released 2 striped marlin this day at Golden gate, using mackerel. The marlin were about 100 and 140 pounds each, for anglers Kim and Danny Schnaubert from Texas.


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RENEGADE MIKE TUMBIERO’S charter over the weekend turned its attention to pargo after a slow marlin day, and the customers scored these three out of 12 smackdowns. These are tough fish.

In other Cabo action, Capt. Mike Tumbiero said marlin fishing is iffy, and over the weekend took out a group on his Bertram sportfisher Renegade Mike out of IGY Marina and found success on the grouper.


“Another slow day of Marlin fishing,” said Tumbiero on his Facebook page. “Although we did not give it a lot of time as we went pargo (snapper) fishing. I think the pargo won today as we went 3 for 12 on pargo bites. Pulled hooks and rocked more times than I want to remember. That’s pargo fishing. You need to fish with extreme drag pressure and short pump hard and fast.”


In other Baja news:


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BAJA FISHING CONVOYS took a group made up of John Turner, Rich Manzella, Bob Selvin, Fabio Moro, Jim Williams and Jonathan Guevara to Gonzaga Bay, encountering typical Baja fun and fishing and issues with washed out roads. Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys who hosted and organized logistics for the trip reported the group had good fishing a few of the days topped by a 36-pound cabrilla. The fishing will only get better as the area heats up.


GONZAGA/PUNTA BUFEO — Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys hosted a trip to Gonzaga Bay and Punta Bufeo last week and provided a nice insight into the fishing, and rod conditions as the season is just beginning for this northern region of the Sea of Cortez.


Joining Orchid Martinez who was hosting the group was John Turner of Mondo Baits, Rich Manzella, Calico Bob Selvin, Fabio Moro, Jim Williams, Jonathan Guevara and the group’s cook, Yoli.


They crossed the border in San Diego after loading the bags in the van at 7:30 a.m., obtained visas, picked up Orchid’s husband and the group’s chef Yoli and took the road to Mexicali, stopping at a great bakery before going onto Punta Bufeo.


“For those who do not know, Mexicali offers some of the best steaks due to its local cow farms,” said Orchid Martinez. “So we stopped by for a few kilos of marinated arrachera for the guys to enjoy at our home in Punta Bufeo. We stopped in San Felipe for a yummy seafood lunch and continued to Punta Bufeo, a difficult task in itself. The road to San Felipe was great however, once you pass San Felipe the road conditions were just simply terrible! There is no other way to describe this road in this area of Baja. In fact, I think I even mentioned that I would never complain about Highway 1 again after driving this stretch of road.


“We met a few friends down in Gonzaga on the day the guys didn’t fish due to high winds. Those guys towed their own boats. All I could think of is, “Towing boats on that road is just crazy!” This re-affirmed my thoughts on how there is no need to tow a boat if there are plenty of local pangas to take you out to fish!”


She said they counted nine washouts, long periods of washboard road and potholes “the size of dog houses.” High profile vehicles are strongly recommended for these type of roads, she advised.


“At one point our van would not start because all the vibration disconnected our battery. Glad it wasn’t anything more serious!” she laughed.


When they arrived they set up in the 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom beach house equipped with a full kitchen with 4 queen size beds and 3 full size sofa beds.


“There was a fire pit, and a gas barbecue grill as well and Yoli, our cook/maid, prepared delicious meals for us. No one went hungry on this trip! We enjoyed carne asada, pollo asado, chiles rellenos, clam linguini, fish tacos, ceviche, sashimi, chicken in Poblano chili sauce, fresh made corn tortillas, flan, rice pudding, pastel frio, fresh guacamole, fresh salsa, fresh fruit, delicious breakfasts, sandwiches or burritos for lunch on the pangas. And the weather was so nice we ate on the porch everyday except for the morning of departure due to high winds."


The fishing this time of year is not at its best, but it gets better the warmer it is. This particular group of guys could only go this week because of work time issues. Sea conditions, said Orchid, were best on the 5th day. Each morning they drove to the launching spot in La Poma.


Day 2 and 3 they caught some spotted bass, a couple of small cabrilla, sierra and a hamachi size yellowtail. Day 4 was too windy and unsafe to fish so after breakfast they ventured out to Gonzaga Bay for some sightseeing, lunch and shore fishing by Papa Fernandez.


“We all agreed that Gonzaga Bay at the popular location was too ‘Gringo'd out.’ We were shocked at the prices for the food on the menu. We all had a drink and watched the local fishermen bring the hotel's kitchen staff fresh fish. They caught some corvina for the hotel, only fishing within the bay since it was too rough outside. After we had our drinks we headed out to Papa Fernandez. Well, this place is the complete opposite to the gringo'd out place. We had lunch there and even bought some t-shirts. Lots of great pictures on the wall of Papa Fernandez. Even John Wayne visited that place!”


Day 5 was the best fishing day out of this trip. A 36-pound grouper was caught together with more respectable size cabrilla, spotted bass, sierra and really nice size yellowtail!


“They were all beyond stoked with this very happy fish ending!” said Orchid. “Day 6 was our trek back home. We got up and had breakfast. We packed the van and our SUV. We departed Punta Bufeo at 8:17 a.m. We drove up that bad road again, past San Felipe. While fueling in San Felipe the guys bought some tamales from a tamale man at the gas station. This helped from having to do a lunch stop. We by-passed Mexicali. Crossed the border in Tecate (2-minute wait) and I dropped off the guys at their cars in San Diego at 4:32 p.m. Less than 8.5 hours including the border wait, not bad!”


As Orchid pointed out, Punta Bufeo is a great destination for those who don't mind bad road conditions. Although the local boat captains say that summertime is the best time of the year to fish this area, the summer heat can really be an issue. Since the house is solar powered it does not have A/C for super hot summer days.


“Although April is not the best time to fish, it does give you better weather. May would also be a good time with warmer days as well and potentially better fishing. As for the traveling, Baja Fishing Convoys can also offer fly-in trips to Gonzaga however it can elevate the price due to the charter plane.”


As she mentioned, this northeast Baja destination will only be offered when a group of 6-8 anglers are set to go.


“We make these trips stress-free for you so all you have to do is fish and be pampered even when in an off-the-grid destination like this,” said Orchid. To see more photos and a full story and details on all Baja Convoys trips, visit the website at bajafishingconvoys.com.


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DR. DESMOND SJAUWFOEKLOY from Los Angeles has fished with Tailhunter International a number of times over the years and got a quick get-away to La Paz where he found some fish like this fat yellowtail just north of town around Espirito Santo Island. He also boated some trophy cabrilla and dorado.


LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International said, “Just when we were getting all comfortable and figured winter was done with us, I had a feeling she still had a few gusts left in her. Sure enough, like Game of Thrones winter came back to remind us we’re not quite out of range yet.


“The week started out sort of okay. But we could tell it was going to ramp up again. Our folks got a nice mix of fish including yellowtail, some big fat cabrilla and other species plus a smattering of dorado.”


But, with each day, the winds got stronger.


“Towards the latter part of the week, it was not just gusting, it was ripping, and even the La Paz Port Captain shut down all boat traffic… No boats coming in and out. It did calm down just a tad by the end of the week, but not much and about the only thing we could raise in the rough water was bonito.”


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MARK RAYOR AT Jen-Wren Sportfishing reported slow fishing for pelagics like dorado and tuna last week out of the East Cape. He hosted a group of notables from SoCal, Ben Secrest (right) of Pit Bull Tackle, Dave Marciano (middle) of Wicked Tuna, and Sergio Fainstein (left) of Angler Chronicles radio and TV shows. Rayor is in the background.


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THIS ANGLER SCORED a yellowfin aboard a Buenavista Beach Hotel charter boat, despite it being a fairly slow week.


EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing at Los Barilles said in his blog Saturday the weather late in the week was not much for sportfishing, and the bite has been off.


“Our weather man has missed the mark the last couple of days predicting calm seas,” said Rayor. “It has been sporty out there with strong winds and a grumpy sea. Vaquera's Seakeeper takes out the boat roll but anglers have still had to hang on to their hats so the wind doesn't blow them off.” 


He added, “Last year at this time it was game on with full coolers of tuna, dorado, and wahoo. This year has been nothing better than a scratch. Brad Avrit, with his son Daniel, fished hard on Jen Wren III (Friday), came in after four in the afternoon with one white bonita and one small dorado.


“Tough fishing has not been exclusive to the East Cape. From La Paz to Cabo San Lucas reports have been lackluster.The thing about fishing is that it is always changing. Today could be the day that rods start to bend.”


Luis Enrique Fraijo at Buenavista reported on the April 12 that Arnold and Maricarmen Sánchez from Edinburgh, Texas fished with crew members Julio and Cristopher aboard Calereste early this week. After a beautiful, calm morning, the wind came up fast mid-day and blew really hard but still they managed to catch, and then release, three roosterfish and a couple skipjacks using caballitos and sardine for bait. They were cruising just south of La Ribera and El Rincón.


In other Buenavista action, Jim and Shelly Walton from North Padre Island, Texas, also aboard the Calereste later in the week with the same crew, landed four roosterfish near Los Palos and La Ribera also using caballitos and sardines. They had an amazing sightseeing trip while they were fishing seeing whales, turtles, a hammerhead shark, and a thresher shark. They also hooked a mullet snapper and manta rays.


LORETO — Rick Hill from pinchysportfishing.com said it’s the same song as last week.


“No big changes this past week,” he said. “Yellowtail are still hitting mackerel at San Bruno and Candeleros for the boats working the north side of Coronado Island. Cabrilla are also in the bag with sardinas being the best bait for these targets.


Down at Danzante and the south end of Carmen the best action has been coming from assorted trolled hardbaits close to the rocks.


“The best yellowtail action has been at the farthest spots around Isla Catalan's north side. There’s lots of live bait and sargasso in the water which has been making everyone guess, ‘When?’”


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THE MOST CONSISTENT action out of San Jose Del Cabo was working the various rockpiles, from Palmilla Point, Red Hill, Gordo Banks, Cardon, La Fortuna, Iman and San Luis. A mix of great eating species like these were found.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas and Marina Puerto Los Cabos said waves of spring break vacationers are arriving, many family groups, with only a limited numbers of serious hardcore anglers, the area between peak seasons.


“Weather patterns were typical for early spring time,” said Brictson. “We felt crazy cool low temperatures later in the week, actually down to 52 degrees, this before the sun came up and mid-day high temperatures reached the upper 80s. Winds were a bit unpredictable as well, most mornings were calmer, but we saw some afternoon and evening wind gusts to 20 mph plus. The ocean water temperature was in the 71 to 74 degree range, clarity was a bit greenish closer to shore due to stirred up afternoon windy conditions.”


Brictson said various baitfish were available, including moonfish, caballito, limited sardinas and some ballyhoo and slabs of squid. Anglers were also catching a variety of species while using yo-yo style jigs.


“One nice wahoo was hooked on a blue/white yo-yo off of the Iman Bank, but we did not hear of any other wahoo taken,” said Brictson. “Dorado were not found this week either and only a handful of yellowfin tuna were reported, most of these from La Fortuna to San Luis, ranging to 50 pounds, but very few were landed, even though on some days they were seen breezing on the surface.”


Billfish action was not happening much either, at least off the local San Jose del Cabo grounds, some striped marlin were spotted, but not interested in any offerings. Increased numbers of sea lions were noticed on the local high spots, making it difficult to land fish at times.


The most consistent action now was working the various rock piles, from Palmilla Point, Red Hill, Gordo Banks, Cardon, La Fortuna, Iman and San Luis. A mix of great eating species were found, most numerous were the Eastern Pacific bonito, also red snapper, amberjack, leopard grouper and a few broomtail grouper. One amberjack of 70 pounds was accounted for, others in the 15- to 30- pound class. The majority of this bottom action was found while using the yo-yo jigs, some on whole and cut baits.


The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 66 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 4 yellowfin tuna, 1 wahoo, 15 leopard grouper, 2 broomtail grouper, 170 bonito, 48 red snapper, 5 barred pargo, 3 African pompano, 4 yellow snapper, 18 amberjack, 12 golden eyed tilefish, 4 glasseye snapper, 2 sierra, 12 roosterfish and 75 triggerfish.


ENSENADAWON’s Baja Reports editor Pat McDonell is headed south to bluefin grounds on Friday and yellowtail action on the way down and back with a story on how to access the productive grounds from the Hotel Coral Marina (and streamline your paperwork), which seems to be off the radar of many private boat anglers, but the marina should be considered a great private boat destination this season. Wes Price at the Hotel Coral Marina store said the bite has been very good on the bird schools in the bay and north, and the bluefin bite was excellent on 40 to 60 pounders for 1 ½-day and multi-day boats out of San Diego. And for boats heading south, of course the Rockpile and waters outside it were turning out high counts of yellowtail that seem to be hitting more surface baits and jigs than in recent weeks.


Contribute to the Baja report here and at wonews.com each week by sending any information during or right after the trip to baja@wonews.com or patm@wonews.com.


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Big pargo and yellowtail a Cabo option
Marlin are still on the banks, but most charters are going after the bottom grabbers in big sizes; La Paz sizzle begins, Loreto forkies hit and miss but in bigger sizes

CABO SAN LUCAS — Just when you thought Baja was going to bust loose with good weather and then good fishing, things stalled. Not all areas, though. It’s sort of a transition time right now, and it can be amazing one day and slow the next.


On the northwestern front of the peninsula, the yellowtail bite at the Coronados and down south and then from Ensenada to San Quintin and even down to Cabo, there are great reports of yellowtail action. And, bluefin were being caught in smaller sizes near the inner banks, with the 425 Spot producing limits for some private boaters before the winds kicked in Tuesday, according to Bob Vanian of 976BITE.com. See his Private Boater Spotlight Report in this issue of WON for more details.


Cabo San Lucas had a pretty good week on a variety of species. The marlin scene was actually decent and inshore action on yellows and grouper was pretty steady for charterboats, reported the Pisces, Redrum and Renegade Mike Sportfishing.


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CAPT. MIKE TUMBIERO of Renegade Mike Sportfishing in Cabo turned these anglers onto some huge pargo after they left the Golden Gate Bank marlin grounds. The biggest of the three quality pargo went 49 pounds.


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THE PISCES FLEET had a great week off Cabo with a 90 percent catch rate for all charters with 39 percent of the boats scoring marlin, 6 percent yellowfin, 4 percent dorado and 60 percent assorted other fish like bonito and yellowtail inshore.


Capt. Mike Tumbiero reported Sunday night he had just returned from a charter. They started with marlin, but in one hour, inshore action made the day.


“We went marlin fishing at the Gate, and got a lot of bait,” said Tumbiero. “We had one marlin on but it didn’t stick, so we ran to the pargo grounds late in the day and fished it for one hour and made a day of it. The big one went 49 pounds.”


Pisces turned in a great report based on catches March 30 to April 5, with marlin dominating the pelagic catches, tuna coming a faraway second, and action on species like grouper, pargo and yellowtail being a great option for charters close to home for anglers.


“Marlin numbers this week stayed pretty consistent compared to last week,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg at Pisces Sportfishing. “Our top boat produced 6 striped marlin released in one day and other catches were small game of yellowtail, sierra mackerel, jack crevalle, grouper and red snapper. They made for lots of fun, especially for many of our young anglers. Tuna numbers decreased, and only a few dorado were found in this week as well.”


The top boat referred to was the 72-foot Tag Team that nailed six marlin, all on mackerel at the Golden Gate Bank, and went 90 to 140 pounds. The second best marlin catch and release day was by the Pisces 37-foot Tag Team III with 3 stripers at the same spot, same bait.


As far a the “fun” smaller species, the 28-foot Adriana scored 2 grouper of about 15 pounds at the Golden Gate Bank and also nailed a trio of red snapper, by chumming. The 38-foot C-Rod opted for a heading to Los Arcos that same day, which paid off. T One group of Pisces customers – the Leonettis and Kahanes families with many young anglers 8 to 11 years old – did a great job to land 1 sierra mackerel, 1 amberjack, 1 jack crevalle of about 25 pounds, 10 pompano, and 7 bonita. All were taken on mackerel via chumming. Plus, 2 skipjack hit on feather lures to keep the kids busy at the rail.


It’s Spring Break, and Ehrenberg said conditions were good all week, with only one or two choppy days and water temps 71 to 74 degrees.


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CAPTAIN JOEL OF the Tailhunter fleet was off Espirito Santo Island just north of La Paz with Jeff Brown of Minnesota when they hooked this trophy barred pargo on a live mackerel. They also got yellowtail, snapper and cabrilla, and lost many in the rocks.


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MICAH PETTIT FROM bountiful, Utah was visiting La Paz for the first time with his dad who has fished with the Tailhunter Fleet for years and hooked his first yellowtail just outside of Bahia Muertos. He also got cabrilla, pargo, snapper and sierra and lost lots of other hookups for his first fishing trip.


LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan at Tailhuinter International said that while the season is in “transition,” it also means there are some epic days where you don’t know what the heck is going to bite.


“We had incredible variety this week as we hit a second good week of action,” said Jonathan on Sunday. “It’s what we call “transitional” time although it usually doesn’t hit until about next month. However, it’s the time of the fishing season when it’s not winter anymore and not summer quite yet in the water.


“Consequently, you still have the ability to catch cold-water species like cabrilla, pargo, sierra, yellowtail, amberjack, snapper and more as they still linger. However, warm-water species like dorado, tuna, wahoo, billfish and larger roosterfish are now starting to move in as surface waters warm.”


He added that if you catch bonito, jack crevalle, skipjack and other year-round species, that’s a lot of variety right now.


“That’s the kind of week we just had with great action on a number of different kinds of fish,” he said.


Roldan suggested that you may not get a lot of any one species, but you could finish a day with 6, 8, 10 or more different species in the box at the end of the day. The boat right next to you have another 3 or 4 different species. The next day you get completely different species. “It makes for some really fun fishing,” he said.


While there are still few anglers on the water, the ones who were took yellowtail, barred pargo, dog-tooth snapper, sierra, amberjack, bonito, jack crevalle, roosterfish (released), yellow snapper, cabrilla as well as tuna (lost) and wahoo (lost), said Roldan.


“Signs of striped marlin were also seen. Biggest problem is that many of the fish are in shallow water right now or over structure, so lots of big fish are getting lost in the rocks but they’re willing to bite.”


Roldan recounted what one angler said after a trip this week.


“Another great day of fishing. We caught almost 70 mackerel for bait this morning. For the third day in a row we ran out of bait by 1 o’clock because of just too many hook-ups! Today's catch included 7 yellowtail, 5 nice-sized cabrilla, one large barred pargo and one sierra. The fish were tough on our equipment. The first thing they do is run for the rocks. We lost more than we boated. We also snapped one of the heavy rods on a hook set. This has never happened before!”


In other Baja action:


EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing at Los Barilles said on Sunday they have had beautiful weather, excellent conditions and slow fishing.


“That’s it in a nutshell,” said Rayor. “Sea conditions look right with 75-degree clear-blue water. The abundance of bait we saw last month has disappeared and for the most part so have game fish. Last week we were out hunting for porpoise and didn't see any life all day. No birds, turtles or bait, the sea was just dead. A couple days ago we were back in the same area and the place was alive. Turtles, whales and birds were everywhere. We encountered 4 different schools of porpoise but nobody was home. Didn't meter any bait or fish in our sounder. All the signs look right but the tuna just haven't shown up yet.”



He added, “The last day I was out we did sight four different marlin tailing and saw several more jumping. All we can do is keep trying and I have faith that one day soon the place is going to pop.”


Scorpion Sportfishing’s Matthew Clifton said, “After seeing lots of bait and improving fishing the past couple of weeks, things went silent this week. Gone were the mackerel. We were only able to obtain live ballyhoo. Fishing at night for snapper (pargo) was really the only game in town close to Los Barriles. There were marlin and dorado spotted but not willing to eat.


“With that in mind, we traveled overnight to fish Isla Cerralvo and Isla Espiritu Santo, where we heard of a decent yellowtail bite. At the north end of Isla Cerralvo, we encountered willing biters in white bonita, which are excellent table fare. We were able to catch many before heading to our overnight moorage outside of La Paz. There we attempted to make bait but only able to get about 7 mackerel and the many of the less desirable (for yellowtail) caballitos.”


Clifton added, “The next morning we made our way to a bank on the other side of Isla Espiritu Santo. We were able to boat two nice yellowtail before we ran out of mackerel. Two times we were broken off on the bottom trying to stop fish. We suspect they were large cabrilla or amberjack. We are hoping conditions improve closer to home this week. It should calm down wind wise later in the week and bring some warmer weather. As the water continues to warm, we should again see bait in the area and with them better fishing.”


Luis Enrique Fraijo at Buenavista Beach said It’s that time of year on East Cape. Just when you think the fishing is getting good….things cool off…then heat up again.


“Our guests and our neighborhood fishing friends have been all over out there, with mixed results. We’re catching a few yellowtail and dorado off Cerralvo Island and seeing many manta, whale and a few marlin on the surface. We’ve had a fun group this week enjoying their “Bradley Family Reunion" here at Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort. They ventured out on the Nath&Mich, Alegria and Calereste and brought home a bunch of triggerfish and enjoyed a family feast of ceviche and grilled and fried fish fingers with all the sides. Snapper was for dinner for our Rotary Club friends visiting from all over the USA They enjoyed their catch of the day with their happy hour cocktails, prepared as ceviche by our kitchen staff. You catch it, we cook it!” 


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DEREK AMESON, A San Diegan and WON reader, fished Loreto with friends and scored good cabrilla and yellowtail action with Capt. Alfredo Rubio of Rubio Sportfishing. He was joined by friends Jim Chandler, Eddie Higuera, Baron Ching and Arneson.


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A NICE MIX of Loreto yellowtail and cabrilla were caught at Isla Del Carmen on a trip with Baja Peninsula Adventures with the Winkler family from Seattle on Thursday.


LORETO WON reader Derek Ameson fired off a report on the 6th and said the yellowtail and cabrilla fishing was very good with “everything on the surface.” The group was made up of San Diegans Jim Chandler, Eddie Higuera, Baron Ching and Arneson. They were fishing with Capt. Alfredo Rubio of Rubio Sportfishing.


Rick Hill from pinchysportfishing.com said the action on yellows slowed this week. It’s a transitional time and maybe the warming water is kicking the dorado and tuna conditions into gear quicker than expected.


“It's an unusual year when we have the big whales still working the area!” said Hill, who added that conditions for fishing are also changing. “Fishing for yellowtail has slipped with only one good area at the extreme of many boat's range and slim picking closer to Loreto.


“Many boats are lucky to hit one yellowtail and a cabrilla or two! Not sure what it all means, but focusing on the water temperatures and the spring float of the sargasso it might be looking like a good year for our summer fish.”


Rene Olinger of Baja Peninsula Adventures, which operates pangas out of the Loreto Marina, reported to WON on Sunday afternoon, “Yesterday we had 5 yellows and 2 pargo at the area between Kobo and Choya. It is a mix. Seriously, it has been either really good or super slow, and definitely slower than February and March as some are getting 3 or 4 per person and good-sized fish, or just one. There’s a lot of bait around, so it’s hit-or-miss.”


gordo
GORDO BANKS PANGAS had a few wahoo, marlin and dorado to pick through but they were hard to find. Yellowfin tuna are being hooked into every day, mainly on strips of squid for bait, best spot was the Iman Bank, though the yellowfin are also being seen on the Gordo Banks.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas and Marina Puerto Los Cabos said, “We continued to see waves of spring break vacationers arriving, many of these being families, as well as the college groups. The climate is definitely feeling spring like as well, mostly clear skies, lows about 65 degree, reaching 85 degrees later in the day, an ideal time to visit.


“The winds have been moderate, most of the strong northerlies now past, ocean currents continuing to vary, quite strong at times,” said Brictson. “Ocean temperatures averaged 72 degrees early in the week certain regions reported 74 degrees. Water clarity had been on a cleaning trend, then with changing currents became it bit greenish again, time of year that things can change rapidly from day to day.”


Charters are using a combination of bait sources, ballyhoo, slabs of squid, as well as limited supplies of sardinas, chihuil action faded out this week, some imported red crabs were obtained for red snapper action by the commercial panga fleet. Anglers were also using some yo-yo jigs and Rapalas.


Most common catch has been the Eastern Pacific bonito, schooling over high spots throughout the area, average size 4 to 6 pounds, some up over 10 pounds. These are a good eating fish, similar to tuna, same family species and scrappy fighters on light tackle. A few cabrilla, pargo, snapper and amberjack, of course lots of triggerfish. Some quality size huachinango were accounted for, one monster amberjack near 100 pounds was landed from a panga midweek, they were using a whole bonito for bait. The yellowtail action we saw last week seemed to stall out, we expect to still see more activity for these jacks.


He added, “Wahoo, marlin and dorado were not easy to find, though we did see a handful early in the week. We expect as water warms we will see more activity from these game fish. Yellowfin tuna are being hooked into every day, mainly on strips of squid for bait, with best spot was the Iman Bank, though the yellowfin are also being seen on the Gordo Banks. The tuna are very finicky though and anglers were fortunate to land one, sizes ranged from 25 to 90 pounds. These fish can become shy when they have plenty of natural food source to gorge on and when water conditions fluctuate daily.


The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 70 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 3 striped marlin, 5 dorado, 28 yellowfin tuna, 13 leopard grouper, 260 bonito, 42 red snapper, 4 barred pargo, 12 yellow snapper, 9 amberjack, 8 golden eyed tilefish, 6 baqueta grouper, 4 sierra and 90 triggerfish.


CEDROS ISLANDWON has its 2019 hosted charter going to the island and Cedros Outdoor Adventures’ Baja Dreams Lodge, Sept. 6-9, and the cost is $1,800, which includes all transport to and from the lodge, meals, fishing, and filleting. For booking that trip, contact cameron@wonews.com. For all other trips, check their website at www.cedrosoutdooradventures.com and call them at (619) 793-5419.


ensenadayellowtailaction
ENSENADA YELLOWTAIL ACTION is on fire right now.


ENSENADA — Wes Price at the Hotel Coral Marina store said the yellows are biting well under the bird schools in the bay and out the island and to the north as the weather cleared up. The season is just beginning. In a Facebook Post on Saturday, Jose Garcia wrote he had a great day panga fishing with Guillermo Gomez Chavez as Garcia took his brother, an Iraq vet, and friends Dan and Adam on the trip and scored several nice yellows.


MIDRIFF — The first trips are starting this month, and we will have reports each week, courtesy of Tony Reyes Tours which is operated out of San Felipe and which also books out of the Longfin Tackle shop in Orange. There are still some spots available on the summer mother ships, said Tom Ward, owner of the Longfin.


LA BOCANA — A reminder: a special WON charter to La Bocana on the west coast of Baja in October by the WON and Baja Fishing Convoys.


The area is unique, a spectacular fishery, especially during the time period of the trip, Oct. 12-17. The $2,095 price includes flight from Tijuana, 5 nights lodging and four days of fishing, and meals which are ordered from the restaurant menu.


La Bocana is on the west coast of Baja just south of Pt. Eugenia and north of Punta Abrejos. It offers a large variety of fish species because of its location at the mouth of a massive estuary that is legendary, with some groups of anglers enjoying catching dozens of different species, splitting time between fisheries and relaxing at their new beachfront cabins and enjoying incredible restaurant cuisine. It may be remote, but it is not primitive.


Several spots are already taken for the 12-person trip. To book, contact Cameron Gauci at Cameron@wonews.com. Go to www.bajafishingconvoys.com for details on this and other trips, and check out the two Stoked On Fishing shows on La Bocana.


* * *


Contribute to the Baja report here and at wonews.com each week by sending any information during or right after the trip to baja@wonews.com or patm@wonews.com.


•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


La Paz, Loreto and Coronados yellowtail get down to spring business
Fred Hall Del Mar show wrapped up Sunday after four days and spring has brought great weather; North Coronados yellows debut under bird schools eating iron and bait; East Cape tuna under the porpoise

LA PAZ — The spring season in Baja — on both sides of the peninsula — brought better weather and therefore more opportunity to get to the fish for just about every area. The best reports for the forkies came out of Loreto, La Paz and the Coronado Islands, as private boats chased after bird schools, chucking iron and bait with success on 8 to 15 pounders.


yellowtailbitYELLOWTAIL BIT SATURDAY out of La Paz near Espirito Santo Island like mad doggies. Lost a lot of fish to the rocks and missed bites, but Tailhunter anglers ran out of bait and the fish were still on the chew! Rod Brown from Alaska and Jeff Brown, his brother from Minnesota with a few of their catch!


wonreaderbillevans
WON READER BILL EVANS fishing near Cerralvo Island caught 3 yellowtail while fishing mackerel off of the west side of the island.


russwhitmarsh
RUSH WHITMARSH FROM Colorado Spring, CO was using light tackle up tight to the rocks near Cerralvo Island and got the better of this trophy cabrilla while throwing a jig.


Let’s start first with La Paz and Jonathan and Jill Roldan of Tailhunter International, who wrapped up their three-month sojourn of western states sports shows with the Del Mar Fred Hall Show on Sunday after four days in their booth.


They are headed south and just in time for the nice smack on the forkies.


“What a difference a week or two makes!” said Jonathan. “We’ve gone from some of the harshest and toughest winter fishing in a long time several weeks ago to some of the nicest conditions and fishing so far this season. Still not completely up-to-speed and I’d be crazy to say we’re completely done with winter and the pesky winds, but this past week was sure a nice time to be on the water.”


With the first true week of springtime and temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s, the winds weren’t completely done with the Baja Sur region and there were some episodes for several days, but overall, Mother Nature was good to fishermen for once.


“With some perfect candy-sized mackerel for baits for both our Tailhunter La Paz and Las Arenas fleet, the big story were the yellowtail,” said Roldan. “They popped up in several places including the upper east-side of Cerralvo Island, south point of Cerralvo and Punta Perrico. We also had quite a bite going around the high spots around Espirito Santo Island.


“Most of the fish weren’t huge, but that’s because so many of the fish were hovering and feeding in shallow waters close to the rocks, shore or over structure. Lots of the bigger 30- to 40-pound mossbacks threw hooks or broke lines in the rocks plus quite a few missed bites! But the ones that were landed were respectable, powerful 20- to 25-pound fish.”


Roldan reported on Sunday the yellows really bit hard out of La Paz near Espirito Santo Island. “Like mad doggies,” is how Roldan described the bite.


“Lost a lot of fish to the rocks and missed bites, but our guys ran out of bait and the fish were still on the chew!” said Roldan. “Rod Brown from Alaska and Jeff Brown, his brother from Minnesota, our good amigos who fish every year at this time with a few of their catch.”


Not to be completely outdone, they also had some incredible cabrilla fishing tight inside to the cliffs and rocks with some trophy-sized fish being landed on bait, jigs and slow-trolled Rapalas and Yo-Zuri lures, as well as some pargo and assorted rockfish.


“We also saw action on lots of bonito on light tackle, jack crevalle and even some early-season roosterfish! All-in-all some solid biters and some of the best variety of the young season!”


In a report out of La Paz’s Muertos Bay, WON reader Bill Evans fished near Cerralvo Island caught 3 yellowtail last week while fishing mackerel off of the west side of the island. So, it’s game on for springtime.


In other Baja action:


rancholeoneroanglers1a

rancholeoneroanglers1
RANCHO LEONERO ANGLERS at the East Cape saw improved weather and warming water with yellowfin mixed with a few wahoo and a few dorado taken this week, very close to the hotel. Inshore/bottomfishing saw lots of medium sized pargo, cabrilla and amberjack taken.


EAST CAPE — John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero reported on Sunday, March 31 that while the East Cape is waiting for the pelagics to move into the area in bigger numbers, the bottom fishing has been really good for all the anglers on cruisers and super pangas heading out from the hotel. The weather has been excellent as conditions shape up for another epic season.



“Water is 73-74 and warmer this week, clear and flat,” said Ireland. “Clear and flat, with beautiful clear days with cool mornings and low 90s for our highs. The warming water has helped the fishing this past week. We had good inshore fishing in Palmas Bay. The yellowfin are mixed with a few wahoo that finally showed Wednesday and Thursday. A few dorado were taken this week very close to the hotel.”


Ireland said the yellowfin were about 15 miles offshore off Rincon, just north of Pulmo under porpoise with nice quality — 20 to 30 pounds — and all taken on trolled (of course) cedar plugs.


As he said, dorado are very close to shore, not in big numbers, just 5 to 10 pounds, but it’s a very good sign that fishery is on the mend.


“Inshore we’ve had really good bottomfish, with lots and lots of medium-sized pargo, cabrilla and amberjack taken this week,” he said. “The closer inshore drop-offs are producing the most fish.”


Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing reported in from Los Barilles that the “East Cape weather is transitioning to spring with warmer days and calm seas. The Sea of Cortez is coming alive and yellowfin tuna, dorado and wahoo have started to cooperate and bend rods.” He sent a photo of Erwin Glicksman, who bagged a quality dorado while fishing aboard the Jen Wren III.


austinborden
AUSTIN BORDEN OF San Diego was fishing out of Loreto in recent weeks and his buddies sent in this picture of him with the toad pargo.


LORETO — Just as we expected, when the weather allowed the pangas to get on the best spots, the action was going to be outstanding, and it was last week.


“The yellowtail bite is going on at full-tilt pace with better weather,” said Rick Hill of pinchysportfishing.com. “The weather has been a little friendlier this week, allowing more boats out checking most of the yellowtail hangouts.


“The southeast tip of Coronado has been great for making mackerel every morning, with a couple of cabrilla spots close by. The boats seem to have divided their attention to northern rockpiles from the north side of Isla Coronado all the way to San Bruno. La Cholla has slacked off considerably so those boats have been working Tinturara and Lobo. Most boats are getting one or two good fish with the only bigger 'tails being caught out at Isla Catalana.”


gordobanksreported
GORDO BANKS PANGAS reported the best chance of catching fish now has been to concentrate over the structure, with the more productive areas being from the Gordo Banks to the San Luis Bank. Using various whole and cut baits, as well as yo-yo style and flat fall jigs, anglers found a variety of species.


CABO/SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas and Marina Puerto Los Cabos said that despite the local spring break not happening until second and third week of April, he did see a flood of spring break vacationers arriving from northern states.


“Visitors were greeted with great weather and conditions, mostly clear sunny skies and high temperatures averaging 80 degrees,” said Brictson. “Ocean conditions were relatively calm, moderate swells and winds were not much of a problem, though currents remain swift. We are now still in a transition period, with ocean conditions slowly rebounding, now up to 72 degrees and much cleaner, with blue water returning, more signs of batfish, flying fish, etc… all good signs that spring season is arriving and we are optimistic that the fishing action will be very good.”


In recent days, he said March 30 bait supplies were limited, with ballyhoo, some slabs of squid, but very little activity for any sardinas, and many charters are caching some of their own chihuil or mackerel out on the grounds near the Gordo Banks. Overall the action this week was tougher than last, but a variety of fish were found and there some quality specimens accounted for.


As for marlin, Brictson added, “Billfishing was very spotty and scattered, though every day there are reports of striped marlin being seen, just not in any numbers and much of the time they were not in the mood to strike, though a handful were landed, weighing in the 90- to 110-pound range. With the ocean now on a cleaning and warming trend, we do expect to see improved billfish action soon.”


Species such as wahoo, dorado or yellowfin tuna were hard to find.


“Thursday we did have one 40-pound yellowfin brought in,” he said. “It was taken near Cardon on a trolled chihuil for bait. Other tuna were lost this same day, then on Friday the bite picked up with some more quality tuna in the 40- to 60-pound class accounted for. So this bite seems to be developing once again. Off of Cabo San Lucas, we heard reports of some tuna, and we assume that these fish were being found further offshore and most likely associated with moving porpoise. We are only seeing an occasional dorado, and had no wahoo to report.”


Brictson said the best chance of catching fish now has been to concentrate over the structure, with the more productive areas being from the Gordo Banks to the San Luis Bank Using various whole and cut baits, as well as yo-yo style and Flat-Fall jigs, anglers found a variety of species.


“Early in the week we were seeing a handful of quality-sized yellowtail in the 25- to 35-pound range, most of these hooked into on live baits off of the Gordo Banks. Later in the week this action seemed to stall out, as more sharks and other species were found.”


The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 85 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 5 striped marlin, 6 dorado, 9 yellowfin tuna, 12 yellowtail, 8 leopard grouper, 245 bonito, 26 red snapper, 3 island jack, 16 roosterfish, 2 surgeonfish, 6 barred pargo, 9 yellow snapper, 22 amberjack, 12 golden eyed tilefish, 4 glasseye snapper, 7 baqueta grouper, 6 sierra, 4 jack crevalle, 3 broomtail grouper and 80 triggerfish.


CEDROS ISLAND — Jose Sanchez at Baja Dreams Lodge Cedros was at the Cedros Outdoor Adventures (COA) booth Thursday through Sunday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The operation begins its season of trips in a month or so and all signs point to another great season. The interest in the WON charter trip is filling the 12 spots. Remaining are about five slots for the usual charter, with the van leaving Brown field and driving to Ensenada for the flight to the island. The preferred Guide Service with the operation’s new plane is sold out and in fact, the lodge may have to purchase another plane to satisfy the surging demand.


WON has its 2019 hosted charter going to the island and the Baja Dreams Lodge, Sept. 6-9, and the cost is $1,800, which includes all transport to and from the lodge, meals, fishing, and filleting. For booking that trip, contact cameron@wonews.com. For all other trips, check their website at www.cedrosoutdooradventures.com and call them at (619) 793-5419.


SAN QUINTIN — Kelly Catian at K&M Sportfishing reported on the Baja@wonews.com hotline that they have had good bottomfishing lately, with plenty of big rockcod and other assorted groundfish.


“Boats have been fishing inshore as well for bass and halibut. Yellowtail slowed down last couple weeks with only a few caught. Seems like the yellows are off the deep reefs and up top now so its time to tie on some surface iron, Rapalas or fly-line bait.”


ENSENADA – Wes Price at the Hotel Coral Marina store said the yellows are biting well under the bird schools in the bay and out the island and to the north as the weather cleared up. The season is just beginning.


MIDRIFF — The first trips are starting this month, and we will have reports each week, courtesy of Tony Reyes Tours, which is operated out of San Felipe and which booked out of the Longfin Tackle shop in Orange. There are still some spots available on the summer mother ships, said Tom Ward, owner of the Longfin, which was exhibiting at the Del Mar show in its Tony Reyes booth.


* * *


Contribute to the Baja report here and at wonews.com each week by sending any information during or right after the trip to baja@wonews.com or patm@wonews.com .


whilestaying
WHILE STAYING AT his dad’s place at Rancho Costa in Bahia Muertos, Miles Wagner was working the shallow waters in the bay with light tackle and sardines and hooking small early-season roosters like this one and had a blast catching and releasing fish.




La Bocana trip generates a buzz at Del Mar Show


WON charter and resulting publicity about the relatively new operation south of Pt. Eugenia generates interest


LA BOCANA — The Del Mar Fred Hall show fired up the troops who are looking for unique Baja adventure, and a special WON charter to La Bocana on the west coast of Baja in October fit the bill for many who stopped by the WON and Baja Fishing Convoy booths. The Stoked On Fishing booth was a spot people heard about the trips as two shows were filmed there, and Baja Fishing Convoys website has the links to those TV shows.


The area is unique, a spectacular fishery, especially during the time period of the trip, Oct. 12-17. The $2,095 price includes flight from Tijuana (you cross the bridge at Otay Mesa) to Guerrero Negro, and includes five nights and four days of fishing, and all meals order from the restaurant menu.


bajafishingconvoys
BAJA FISHING CONVOYS Orchid Martinez points to the spots where La Bocana’s fish camp sits just south of Pt. Eugenia and just north of Punta Abrejos. Baja’s newest and unique fishing opportunity drew a lot of interest at the Del Mar show and the BFC booth over four days at the Fairgrounds.


La Bocana is on the west coast of Baja just south of Pt. Eugenia and north of Punta Abrejos. It offers a large variety of fish species because of its location at the mouth of a massive estuary that is legendary, with some groups of anglers enjoying catching dozens of different species, splitting time between fisheries and relaxing at their new beachfront cabins and enjoying incredible restaurant cuisine. It may be remote, but it is not primitive.


John Ballotti, a WON reader and member of the Los Angeles Rod and Reel Club, fished La Bocana last year with fellow members Joel Steinman and Rob Baldwin and told WON’s Pat McDonell — who is hosting the October trip with Baja Fishing Convoys — that it was one of the best Baja trips he’s ever taken. His trio did not even bother to fish offshore for tuna, wahoo or dorado. The fishing was just too fun inshore on the local reefs, and in the Boca. Non-stop action all day, every day. As he said, inshore trips were epic. “Everything bit the surface iron,” he said.


“The La Bocana trip is first rate and is a blast in the mangroves with 8-pound test (or higher for some species and deeper areas) and small hardbaits or Hookup Baits (or four-inch plastics) for real variety, and the fishing was non-stop on the coast for calicos, grouper, yellowtail,” said Ballotti. “It was just amazing how hard the sheephead would pull. You just get ripped on every drop. At night, after dinner or before, the surfishing with light gear was fantastic.”


He said the best thing about the place was that the cabins (very nice, two people to a cabin) are right on the estuary beach and super pangas are just outside your door.


“They just launch you into the calm waters, and of the wind is blowing on the ocean, you have the estuary to fish, and the variety is incredible,” he said.


In four days of fishing he caught the 18 species, among them: yellowtail, calico, spotted bay bass, sculpin, grouper, sheephead, barracuda, halibut and even bonefish (on the fly) as well as a variety of smaller species like Sierra mackerel, corbina and kelp wrasse.


As far as the food, the facility has a full-service restaurant with a full bar, and they take credit cards, You can bring your own for your cabin, of course. While meals are not included in most trips, they are on the WON charter and you order from the menu, and as Ballotti said, the meals are outstanding. The only restriction is that you can order lobster just one of the nights. You choose the day. All other items are yours to enjoy all five nights.


“The food is excellent,” he said. “A step above what you would find at any lodge in Cedros,” he said, adding, another trip is on the books for the group from the club. “It’s really first class and the great thing is that if the weather is tough, you can fish the Boca. It’s a really fun and a great operation.”


Ballotti said the La Bocana “camp” is remote but the transportation was first rate.


“La Bocana is on the Pacific coast of Baja, north of Mag Bay and south of Point Eugenia,” he said. “Much like fly-in trips to Cedros Island, our day started at Brown Field in San Diego, where we were met and driven to the Ensenada military airport. After boarding the plane, our first stop was Cedros Island. After a short stop for Cedros-bound passengers to deplane, we were off again for the 25-minute flight to Guerrero Negro. There we met our driver who skillfully maneuvered us down Mexico Highway 1 to the turnoff to La Bocana. The 2½-hour hour trip back and forth from the airport was enjoyable due to the outstanding vehicles used for the journey.”


Hosting the WON trip in October will be Baja Reports Editor Pat McDonell, and Orchid Martinez, owner of Baja Fishing Convoys.


Several spots are already taken for the 12-person trip. To book your spot on the WON trip in October, you must contact Cameron Gauci at Cameron@wonews.com. For all BFC trips, go to www.bajafishingconvoys.com for details and check out the Stoked On Fishing shows on La Bocana.


* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Showtime this week as spring arrives in Baja
It’s Del Mar Fred Hall week; Loreto yellows go off; East Cape is ready to rock as conditions get primed; La Paz’s Cerralvo and Espritu Island turn out some quality yellows with dorado close to home; Cabo tuna come closer

LA PAZ — Jonathan Roldan and Jill Roldan of Tailhunter International will both be at the booth this week through Sunday at the Fred Hall show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Thursday through Sunday. While they are eager to see you, they are antsy to get back down to their home and get the season started. It’s time to rock and roll. In fact, it’s already started as spring officially arrived.


erikaandcarline
ERIKA AND CAROLINE COOMBER on spring break from San Diego found some calm water on the back side of Cerralvo Island with Captain Victor from the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and got bent on some fun yellowtail like this one landing several fish between 20 and 25 pounds on live bait as well as jack crevalle.


skipcomberfrom
SKIP COOMBER FROM San Diego was working the backside of Cerralvo Island near La Paz with Captain Victor from the Tailhunter Fleet and got into some hog yellowtail like this using live bait. He and his daughters got 5. They lost 3 to the rocks and he said one spooled him on 40-pound test that didn’t go into the rocks, but headed into deep water.


“We definitely had a better week of fishing which happened to coincide with better spring weather finally arriving with some surprising catches,” said Jonathan. “Maybe the fish woke up for spring! Early in the week, waters really settled down nicely and some nice quality yellowtail came to chew and seemed to pop up in several places.


“These 20- to 30-pound forkies were hitting live bait, jigs and dead bait on the back side of Cerralvo Island, just outside of Bahia Muertos (Suenos); Punta Perrico; as well as Espirito Santo Island. Quite a few fish, including bigger ones, were lost in the rocks insofar as many of these fish were biting in shallow water either right off the rocks or over shallow structure and reefs. The same areas produced jack crevalle, small roosters, bonito, pargo and cabrilla. A wahoo was lost as well!”


Roldan added that the surprising catches were right in the Bay of La Paz, pretty much right out in front of the hotels and malecon waterfront.


“Fun, 10- to 15-pound schools of dorado showed up literally just a few hundred yards out front in shallow water. It might have something to do with the patches of floating sargasso weed that moved in, which we usually don’t see until about May or so when waters warm. The sargasso draws baitfish which hide in the weeds as well as flying fish that lay eggs in the floating paddies. This draws the dorado in searching for food. A good sign of an early season! Fingers crossed.”


As far as getting south for the season after being on a 3-month show tour of the western states this winter with a few more shows to go, Jonathan said he and Jill are ready for some sunny Baja weather.



“It’s been a brutal winter up north as well as in Baja and I have a feeling that winter isn’t quite done with us just yet!”


In other Baja action:


CABO SAN LUCAS — Grace Cote at Dreammaker Charters and Gricelda’s Smokehouse said few charterboats have been fishing as it’s spring break, and those kids don’t have fishing on their agenda.


“They only drink and party,” she said. “But the anglers going out are catching a lot of snappers, so that’s what’s happening locally, plus for about three days now the tuna have arrived, a bunch of 20 to 40 pounders. Last night I stayed at the smokehouse waiting for the boatThe Office, and they had 13 yellowfin. Capt. Jeff Hamm of the Carpedium for the last few days has also been catching loads of yellowfin as the warm water has come closer to us. Jeff had 24 tuna yesterday (Saturday). So yes, the fishing has gotten a lot better.”


eastcapeready
THE EAST CAPE is ready to go off as conditions are prime for billfish, dorado, marlin and roosters, says Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing. JEN WREN SPORTFISHING


EAST CAPE — If you think owning three sportfishing boats you charter, living on the beach and competing in fishing tournaments is the ultimate dream, well, you might be right. But it’s not all roses and bent rods. Just ask Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing who is trying to get ready for the East Cape fishing season which looks like it’s going be as spectacular as last season, which was one of the best in 20 years.


First, the fishing prospectus: “My old man used to tell me ‘If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all,’ said Rayor. “Looking back I don't think he was referring to fishing reports but I haven't posted one in a few weeks. So, I'm sitting here in front of my computer and find there is a lot to talk about. Our weather has been much nicer than earlier in the month. Air temperature is very comfortable. Now we are just getting a breeze and conditions have been fishable. The water is 70-71 degrees and clear.


“Bait was puddled up in volume but as the moon became full it seemed to dry up. Now as the full moon passes I'm starting to see bait again. I don't believe moon phase has much impact on our summer fishing but in the winter there are bigger tide swings. That is my only explanation for why we can't get 'em to go right now.


“We are sighting dorado, wahoo and marlin every day. Seeing and catching are two different things as it has been mostly show but no go. The good news is the groceries are here. It is just a matter of time before they get hungry and rods start to bend. My bet is one more week and we will be knee deep in gamefish.”


As far as the mechanical aspects of keeping three sportfishers on the water and ticking like Swiss watches, lately it’s been a battle.


“We have had more than our share of mechanical problems,” said Rayor. “I started thinking last night. We aren’t even really operating for the season yet and had a new turbo stud break. Had to drain the coolant, remove the exhaust, remove the turbo, extract the broken piece, replace the gasket and install the turbo. Next we had a new high pressure fuel pump leak. Had to remove the raw water pump, R & R the fuel pump which entailed fuel lines, O-rings and what not. Then, we had a new torsional coupler that attaches the transmission to the motor fail. Had to dis-assemble the dripless shaft packing, separate the shaft coupler, push back the transmission, replace the torsional coupler and put it all back together again.


“Next, the rubber plug went missing on Jen Wren lll’s trailer hub and the bearings filled with salt water. Now I’m scratching for bearings and seals to repair it. Lastly the electronic processor on the throttle control of Vaquera went south. Repair is above my pay grade but I was able to get it diagnosed. The boat has to come out of the water and go out of service while we get a new processor.


“I haven't been able to get a boat to operate for more than two days without having to pull it out of the water and do a major repair. None of this had to do with wear and tear or lack of maintenance. I guess it is just our time to pay the piper. The bright side is we are getting all the kinks out now before our season gets in full swing.”


East Cape Guides posted the following: “Come join us at the San Diego Fred Hall Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. We will be at the Baja's Van Wormer Resorts' booth to answer all of your questions and get you on the water in the 2019 season. This is the last show of the season, so come join us this week, March 28-31.”


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BUENA VISTA — Brian and Paula Ross, Richard Brashears, and Mitzi Lazzareschi from Gardnerville, Nevada had a couple of stellar days mid-week. They boarded the Dottie BII and headed south for the warmer waters past Los Frailles. This group brought in snapper, four wahoo and a couple really nice dorado.


Buena Vista Beach Resort’s Luis Enrique Fraijo reported warm, sunny to partly cloudy conditions but somewhat inconsistent weather, so there were not many anglers on the water earlier in the week. But their guests Brian and Paula Ross, Richard Brashears, and Mitzi Lazzareschi from Gardnerville, Nevada had a couple of stellar days mid-week. They boarded the Dottie BII and headed south for the warmer waters past Los Frailles. This group brought in snapper, four wahoo and a couple really nice dorado.


“They also spotted marlin and manta on the surface and at least a hundred whales,” said Fraijo “The snapper were caught on Rapalas, a couple of the wahoo were baited on the surface and the others were caught trolling dead ballyhoo.”


Fraijo added that Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort “is proud to have had the opportunity as one of only three IGFA representatives in Baja, the only one on the East Cape, to weigh, document and verify the application process to submit for a World Record Pacific sierra that weighed in at 11 pounds, 7 ounces; 37.5 inches! This beauty was caught by fly fisherman Theo Anest near the lighthouse, off the coast of La Ribera.”


LORETO — The yellowtail bite is going on at full tilt pace with better weather. Rick Hill of pinchysportfishing.com reported, “Lots of boats are hitting every spot all around the Loreto area with good results and some captured yellows getting close to the 30-pound mark. Even with the full moon this week catching mackerel was no problem. The problem with the mackerel was that the yellows were boiling on schools of sardina and getting hooked up wasn't easy. Cabrilla have been fooled by iron tossed into the boiling battles but few yellows are hitting the jigs.”


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THE GORDO BANKS all-around fishing out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos in San Jose Del Cabo did improve the past few days into the weekend, the highlight being some hog sized amberjack in the 50- to 70-pound class, also a few nice 25-pound yellowtail were brought in, taken over the structure near San Luis Bank.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks pangas said the water is now averaging 71 to 73 degrees and is slowly improving in color and the main baits being used are caballito and ballyhoo, with no sardinas being found and not much going on with slabs of squid now. It is the time of year, he said, where anglers use more yo-yo style jigs off the bottom spots.


“The all-around fishing did improve the past few days, the highlight being some hog sized amberjack in the 50- to 70-pound class, also a few nice 25-pound yellowtail were brought in, so this is encouraging to see these larger game fish species showing up, taken over the structure near San Luis Bank.”


Also there were plenty of the tasty Eastern Pacific bonito to keep anglers busy, a few even up to 15 pounds.


“Some of the big amberjack actually grabbed onto bonito that were hooked up, these are hungry and aggressive fish, very powerful as well,” he said. As for yellowfin, he said, “Only one or two yellowfin tuna were seen all week, and dorado were scarce as well. Perhaps with a slight warming of the water we might see more of these fish, and a chance that maybe even the wahoo will wake up. The water is still greenish, but not as bad as it had been, it is on a clearing trend now, and a lot can happen in a matter of a few days this time of year.


“Action was scattered for striped marlin, though as the water clears we should see this improve, even in the off colored water there were reports of striped marlin, just no big concentrations at this time, at least off of the San Jose del Cabo grounds.”


The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 60 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 2 striped marlin, 5 dorado, 1 yellowfin tuna, 1 wahoo, 7 yellowtail, 13 leopard grouper, 205 bonito, 34 red snapper, 15 roosterfish, 3 surgeonfish, 4 barred pargo, 9 yellow snapper, 22 amberjack, 9 golden eyed tilefish, 5 glasseye snapper, 12 baqueta grouper, 9 sierra, 8 jack crevalle, 1 broomtail grouper and 110 triggerfish.


CEDROS ISLAND — Jose Sanchez at Baja Dreams Lodge Cedros will be at the Cedros Outdoor Adventures (COA) booth Thursday through Sunday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and will offer special discounts to showgoers.


“It’s $50 off if you book your trip during the show by bringing $600-$800 with a check, cash or card,” said Sanchez, adding that the season is going to start in early May for groups. Sanchez will be in the booth all four days of the Del Mar show this week. He told WON that the Premium Guide Service with the added fishing time with the use of the COA private plane has been an incredibly popular option. “It’s almost full for the season, but we still have lots of open seats on the Ensenada flight where we pick you up in San Diego,” said Sanchez.


He added that his goal this year before he heads back to the island is to beef up the free loaner and rental gear for the lodge. “I will be working on purchasing extra gear; free-to-use rods, reels for rent, and lures for sale at cost at the island so you can travel light and have the most useful tackle for Cedros species.”


ENSENADA — Wes Price at the Hotel Coral Marina store said the wind was up much of the week but when it laid down, the yellowtail bite was very good for yellows under the bird schools. No reports were available from San Quintin, Erendira and other northwest Baja areas. The winds and a big swell curtailed the action for the most part.




JOIN WON in a spectacular Baja adventure


LA BOCANA — There are only 12 spots in a special WON charter to La Bocana on the west coast of Baja in October, and they are filling and we want to wrap up this trip’s roster quickly. The Del Mar show this week will be a great place to check out the trip’s details at the booth of Baja Fishing Convoys.


The area is unique, a spectacular fishery, especially during the time period of the trip, Oct. 12-17. The $2,095 per person price includes flight from Tijuana to Guerrero Negro, 5 nights and four days of fishing.


La Bocana is on the west coast of Baja and offers a large variety of fish species because of its location at the mouth of a massive estuary that is legendary, with some groups enjoying catching dozens of different species, splitting time between fisheries inshore, offshore and the estuary and relaxing in the beachfront cabins and enjoying incredible cuisine.


The facility has a full-service restaurant with a full bar. While meals are not included in most trips, they are on the WON charter. Hosting the trip will be Baja Reports Editor Pat McDonell, and Orchid Martinez, owner of Baja Fishing Convoys who will be in her booth at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.


To book your spot on the WON trip in October, you must contact Cameron Gauci at Cameron@wonews.com. For all BFC trips, go to www.bajafishingconvoys.com for details.


* * *


Contribute to the Baja report here and at wonews.com each week by sending any information during or right after the trip to baja@wonews.com or patm@wonews.com .


* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


Cabo tuna found, La Paz gets a break
CABO SAN LUCAS — Mike Tumbiero of Renegade Mike Sportfishing said the tuna are biting and the charters are up as schools in the U.S. are taking a break and kids and families are heading south.

“It’s spring break and the tuna are biting,” Tumbiero said. “We had a pretty good day of tuna fishing. Found an area with lots of scattered porpoise early this morning. A couple of boats were already on it and complaining that it would not bite but lots of tuna were showing on the sounder. All the boats that were there gave up on it but I stuck it out and around 10:45 a.m. in the morning it started to bite.


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MIKE TUMBIERO, IN background, runs the Renegade Mike out of IGY marina in Cabo and said the tuna are around, and so are marlin on the Pacific side banks.


“It reminded me of the old fishing cliché, ‘Don’t ever leave fish to find fish.’ I called it in to the fleet and trash talked about why they left the school instead of keeping my mouth shut and loading up. Once a bunch of boats started to show up on it, it shut down again but we did manage to catch 10 nice smaller grade tuna from 10 to 25 pounds. Not a lot of tuna out there but if you get lucky and find the right school you can catch a few.”


Tumbiero said marlin action was best to the north on the Pacific side.


“Out around the Golden Gate Bank the marlin fishing is fair to good and with some luck you can release 3 to 5 marlin.”


In other Baja action:


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YELLOWTAIL, DORADO AND even wahoo were biting off La Paz for pangeros and customers, reported Baja Fishing Convoys.


LA PAZ — Baja Fishing Convoys reported the weather improved here and the fishing busted loose.


“Our lead boat captain, Favio, has reported that when the winds calm down the fishing has been amazing,” said Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys. “As you can see for yourselves (in the pictures she sent) the yellowtail, dorado and wahoo bite is happening. They are currently using live bait as it is in abundance and all around the island. So don't worry if you run out of bait because you can make more right away!”


Yellowtail are biting at Cerralvo Island inside all the bait balls, she said. Dorado are near shore, and a wahoo was caught north of Cerralvo island by trolling a deep diver Rapala.


Baja Fishing Convoys is a new customer of WON with an Oct. 12-17 trip to La Bocana planned. Her company offers turn-key packages to Ventana Bay and other Baja destinations, many of them remote like La Bocana, L.A. Bay, Mag Bay, Cedros Island and Gonzaga Bay. Orchid will set up your complete package that can include flights from your hometown or out of the Tijuana airport with access to the convenient CBX bridge, accommodations, panga fishing with Favio and his fleet of local pangeros.


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HOTEL BUENA VISTA BEACH Resort guest Frank Ramirez visiting from near Houston spent a couple nice days fishing aboard the Alegria landing dorado and white bonita along with a dozen or so skipjack. Vicente Cosio and Marco Garcia put in the Dottie BII for the first time this season and brought in a solid yellowtail.


EAST CAPE — Enrique Luis Fraijo at Hotel Buena Vista reported that the East Cape busted loose with great weather and the fishing is showing signs of real promise for the spring and summer.


“We had a taste of spring with a few warm, mild days on the water,” said Fraijo. “Vicente Cosio and Marco Garcia put in the Dottie BII for the first time this season and brought in a really nice yellowtail. And, hotel Buena Vista guest Frank Ramirez visiting from near Houston, Texas spent a couple nice days fishing aboard the Alegria landing dorado and white bonita along with a dozen or so skipjacks.”


This is show season, and the hotel exhibited at the Fred Hall Long Beach show with Hotel Buena Vista family members Axel and Felipe Valdez in the booth.


“The brothers agreed it was great to see so many past and future Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort clients and industry associates,” said Fraijes. “This is the premiere event for west coast anglers and was the perfect opportunity for Felipe to promote his new surf fishing guide service.”


Also, Hotel Buena Vista’s fleet crew is ready to show off the Liliana, one of their 29-fot Phoenix cruisers, powered with twin 330hp Cummins turbo diesel engines.


“Crew members Captain Marco Yepiz and deckhand Daniel Sandez were both born in Baja California Sur and have a long history in the sportfishing industry,” said Fraijes. “Marco started his career as a deckhand in Punta Colorada, but it wasn’t until he worked with well-known Captain Adrian Montaño aboard El Robalo that he honed his trade. Now with 32 years of experience, Marco has become one of the most efficient captains in the area. Daniel was born in La Ribera BCS where his whole family has worked in the fishing industry as commercial or sport fishermen. Before joining our crew, Daniel worked as a deckhand Cabo. Together they make a great team.”


The Liliana has participated in many area competitions, including the Bisbee East Cape, the Bisbee Los Cabos and also the El Debate in Sinaloa Mexico. Most recently they won last year’s Dia del Marino Tournament which was a qualifier for the State Final Tournament. They took first place at the Roosterfish Tournament and also first at the Aero California Tournament.


In other East Cape news, Hotel Rancho Leonero is in full operation (they take winters off to update and renovate each year) and hotel owner John Ireland said the weather was perfect this past week.


“The water was 70 to 72 degrees, clear and flat early in the week with cool mornings warming up quickly,” said Ireland. “While there were very few boats out fishing this week there were lots of Spanish mackerel in the bay. Most boats fishing the bottom with the macs with big yellowtail taken on the close inshore drop-offs, mixed with cabrilla and grouper.


“There’s lots of small to medium sized dorado very close inshore and two were caught of about 5 pounds from the beach on topwater lures right in front of the hotel.“


Hotel Rancho Leonero, with Ireland and his staff, will be at its regular prominent spot at the 4-day Fred Hall Del Mar show that runs this week, Thursday to Sunday. Stop by and ask about the hotel’s available dates, its fleet of boats and its many updates ad well as activities.


LORETO — Rick Hills of pincheysportfishing.com said when the wind didn’t blow, the boats scored plenty of yellows. But, there were not many of those days this past week.


“We had almost a blowout this week due to a couple of days of freakish west winds and a few days of the typical north winds. The yellow and purple flags at the marina gave notice along with a chain across the ramp,” said Hill. ”The open days that we could hit the water continued the battle out at La Cholla for 20-pound class yellowtail with most boats getting at least a few 'tails in the boat. Mackerel has been the best bait but the smaller fish are also hitting sardinas and cut bait.”


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A NICE MIX of inshore and offshore species were available by Gordo Banks pangas that run out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks pangas said it’s still fairly quiet in town as far as numbers of tourists arriving. Weather patterns were cool throughout the week, most days barely reaching 75 degrees, lows down to 55 degrees. Skies were mostly clear, only scattered cloud cover, winds were swirling from different directions, settling down late in the week. Ocean water temperatures ranged from a chilly 68 degrees on the Pacific to 72 degrees in the direction of the Sea of Cortez. Green water was reported throughout the entire region, later in the week areas north of Punta Gorda, towards Iman Bank and Vinorama were showing signs of cleaning up.


“All around the fishing was very slow this past week, as anglers were dealing with turned over water conditions and just not much was going on,” said Brictson. “We had scattered bottom action, when seas allowed, but not much surface action at all was reported. It was sporadic early in the week, becoming more difficult as the week progressed.”


He added, “Being optimistic that maybe the next day will be better, just the way the ocean conditions were it is not as simple as just completely rebounding overnight, as it can take a few days once the conditions do stabilize, so we are patiently waiting now for things to improve.”


Bait supplies consisted of sardinas, mackerel, ballyhoo and some slabs of squid. Anglers were using yo-yo jigs off the bottom structure, as well as the various whole and cut baits.


Early in the week there were some striped marlin found, but then with the greenish water that bite dissipated. On Monday there was also one nice 75-pound yellowfin tuna taken from a panga while drift fishing on the Gordo Banks with squid. That same day several tuna strikes were also lost, then that same afternoon conditions turned over and since then they have not seen the tuna. Only a few scattered dorado were found through the week, he said.


Brictson said that inshore, there were some sierra and smaller sized roosterfish found, but this action proved sporadic from day to day as well.


“This Sunday there is the annual San Jose del Cabo Fiesta Days fishing tournament, slated for dorado, tuna and wahoo, but it could be a tough go trying to find any of these species unless the water improves quickly.”


The combined sportfishing fleet out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 66 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 4 striped marlin, 12 dorado, 1 yellowfin tuna, 12 wahoo, 9 leopard grouper, 85 bonito, 34 red snapper, 44 roosterfish, 4 yellow snapper, 2 amberjack, 8 golden eyed tilefish, 14 glasseye snapper, and 16 sierra.


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LA BOCANA OFFERS inshore offshore and mangrove fishing and the WON trip with Baja Fishing Convoys is slated Oct. 12-17 and is reserved for 12 anglers at $2,095 per person. The price includes flights from Tijuana to Guerrero Negro and back, meals, 5 nights lodging at the beachfront cabins and four days of fishing on super pangas.


LA BOCANA — The action inshore and offshore is improving as the weather warms. A WON trip to La Bocana is slated for 12 anglers, and as anyone who has fished it, the area is unique, a spectacular fishery, especially during the time period of the trip, Oct. 12-17. The $2,095 per person price includes flight from Tijuana to Guerrero Negro, 5 nights and four days of fishing.


La Bocana is on the west coast of Baja and offers a large variety of fish species because of its location at the mouth of a massive estuary that is legendary, with some groups enjoying catching dozens of different species, splitting time between fisheries inshore, offshore and the estuary and relaxing in the beachfront cabins and enjoying incredible cuisine.


La Bocana has a full-service restaurant with a full bar. While meals are not included in most trips, they are on the WON charter for 12 anglers. To book your spot on the WON trip in October, you must contact Cameron Gauci at Cameron@wonews.com. For all BFC trips, go to www.bajafishingconvoys.com for details.


* * *


Contribute to the Baja report here and at wonews.com each week by sending any information during or right after the trip to baja@wonews.com or patm@wonews.com.


•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website wonews.com. Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.


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