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.
La Paz busts loose, then fades with winds
San Quintin bluefin within range, L.A. Bay yellows are wide open as summer slowly emerges; Cedros bass some real jumbos; Cabo marlin and dorado action slowed but not stopped by easterly winds and lower water temps

The stories are coming out of La Paz as the winds settled and the heat is on for fishing and the weather and water in general. A few stories from Tailhunter International tell the tale of the ’tails.


— Dru Toeniskoetter from Los Gatos had never fished in Mexico before, but with Captain Victor of the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz, she hooked a big roosterfish right off the sand using a ladyfish as live bait while fishing with family, including her son Jack. The fish was released.


— While fishing in only about 20 feet of water for rockfish north of La Paz, Josh Suedekamp from Denver, Colorado suddenly found himself hooked up to a big bull dorado that pulled Josh on light tackle off to deeper water before Captain Boli could get it to gaff. It was Josh’s first fishing trip to Mexico.


— Doug and Penny Nuffer from Salt Lake City had a good outing fishing out of Muertos Bay. They hooked a variety of fish including a big dorado and a big dogtooth snapper.


— Captain Victor of the Tailhunter Fleet put Mandy Nuffer of Salt Lake City onto her first-ever roosterfish which they revived and released.


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DRU TOENISKOETTER hooked this big La Paz roosterfish right off the sand using a ladyfish as live bait. Son Jack looks on. The fish was released. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

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WHILE FISHING IN only about 20 feet of water for rockfish north of La Paz, Josh Suedekamp from Denver, Colorado hooked up to this big bull dorado. TAILHUNTER PHOTO

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DOUG AND PENNY Nufferfrom Salt Lake fished with Tailhunter out of La Paz and hooked a variety of fish including this dorado and a big dogtooth snapper. TAILHUNTER PHOTO


“After a number of chilly weeks where it was more like April fishing than June fishing, there was reason for optimism early on,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter. “Just like someone had thrown a switch, the winds died. The waters calmed and cleared. It got hot. It got humid. It felt more like summer… finally!”


Roldan said the fish bit nicely for both the Tailhunter Las Arenas and La Paz fleets with good variety and close in, some within a “stone’s throw” of the rocks or beach.


“This included striped marlin where for two days, almost every one of our pangas hooked at least one striper,” said Roldan. “Dorado between 5 and 30 pounds were suddenly feeding after several weeks of being so lethargic and lock-jawed. A few wahoo started biting again. A couple of big tuna were hooked right up against the rocks in shallow water.”


Inshore, cabrilla, amberjack and pargo; snapper and jack crevalle; as well as big pompano, palometas, dogtooth snapper and even a few yellowtail and sierra bit. Plus all the skipjack and white bonito you wanted, he said. Some big roosterfish were hooked and released.


Later in the week the winds kicked up and brought out the greener water, especially for the Las Arenas fleet, which started producing only a smattering of bluewater fish and the pesky white bonito. But the La Paz boats fared better.


“Dorado still hung in there on the chew. Inshore fishing away from the winds didn’t slow down at all. You could stay in the shallows and hook everything from snapper to cabrilla, which many of our pangas decided to do.”


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FISHING OUT OF Hotel Playa Del Sol on the East Cape were WON readers, left to right, Chris Graner, Jason Jamison, Matt Ritze and Matt Wagner.


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HOTEL RANCH LEONERO hosted brothers Noah, 17, and Justin, 24, from Austin, Texas. They found, revived and released this juvenile oar fish off the lighthouse. Said Hotel Rancho Leonero owner John Ireland, “It’s definitely the first live oarfish release I know of, and one of the best oarfish photos I’ve seen.”

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JEN WREN SPORTFISHING hosted 81-year old Abuela Anne who was having fun with her granddaughter Sophia while aboard the Vaquero off the East Cape last week.

EAST CAPE Matthew Rize, a WON reader and president of Champion Roof Co., said he and others in his group (Chris Graner, Jason Jamison, Matt Ritze and Matt Wagner) had a “great” trip here, reporting that they fished two days and fired off a report to get in their picture before deadline. They fished Tuesday with two boats and scored 2 dorado, 25 and 40 pounds, and 7 yellowfin 15 to 25 pounds while chasing dolphin and bird schools.


On Thursday one of their boats slammed 13 yellowfin of 15 to 40 pounds, and the first hookup was a quad bendo while trolling and the rest were caught on bait. Both days the tuna, he said, were about 40 miles N/NE from Los Barilles. They stayed at Playa Del Sol because Palmas de Cortez was sold out. Speaking of that hotel, it will be hosting its annual Dorado Shootout in July. See more on their website.


John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero weighed in on Sunday and said the water was 76 to 80 degrees and the easterly winds have driven the colder Pacific water up into the Cortez. They had calm mornings and easterly afternoon winds. The air is still cool for mid-June, beautiful with cool mornings and afternoon highs in the 80s.


“We had very good fishing one day and slow the next,” said Ireland. “The dorado have finally arrived, and quality yellowfin are outside under the porpoise. Striped marlin, sailfish and a few blues are biting off the La Ribera to Frailles dropoff. A few wahoo taken this week off the white cliffs at Vinarama. The dorado are in the 10- to 25-pound class, spread out and are taking trolled lures and ballyhoo.”


The yellowfin, said Ireland, are at 15 to 50 miles. They are quality tuna to 70 pounds and very spread out under the porpoise with the northern warmer water the best bet. Trolled hoochies, cedar plugs, chunk squid, live sardine and caballito are all working. The billfish, mostly stripers, are off the La Ribera Bank and down to Frailles.


Said Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing in his weekly blog, “Our week started out with beautiful weather and action packed fishing. The day before yesterday an upwelling of cold, ugly green water developed along the shoreline out to 20 miles from San Jose del Cabo north almost past Punta Perico. Every year in June this phenomena occurs. Normally the condition is not this severe and stops to the south at Cabo Pulmo or the Punta Arena Light house. This year it has stretched across Palmas Bay past Punta Pescadero which is a little unusual.


“The ugly water hasn't affected the marlin bite and they are still active off La Ribera and the Lighthouse. It has negatively impacted the yellowfin bite. Typically this only lasts a week or 10 days before conditions are back to normal. We certainly hope it is the case this year.”


LORETO Rick Hill of Pinchysportfishing.com reported, “The calendar is telling us that it's dorado time and the air temps are signing the same tune, too. Dorado are here but the closer to town you are the smaller the fish. That is typical and the boats wanting the bigger versions will be finding them far out to the east. Similar story for billfish with most being targeted out past Carmen Island. Closer to town the resident fish, cabrilla and smaller yellowtail, are hitting sardina as they have been doing since May. Stay tuned for more dorado as the days slide by.”


CORRECTION: The first annual Robert Ross Tournament held recently at Marina Puerto Escondido drew 28 boats, not 25 as was previously reported.


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THE PISCES SCENE off Cabo was hampered by easterly winds but there were still marlin, dorado and roosterfish. The weather and distance kept the boats from going outside for tuna.


CABO SAN LUCAS — Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing said the week’s water temperatures, although not drastically lower due to easterly winds to 20 knots on the Pacific and afternoon winds in the Sea of Cortez, fell to around 76 degrees from 82 degrees of the week before, and that made things a little tougher.


“With this said though, we did begin to see the dorado finally start to show up, and in slightly bigger numbers,” said Ehrenberg. “On the East Cape there were reports of a few dorado of about 50 pounds each which is great news especially with the Dorado Shootout Tournament coming up in Los Barriles, July 20. Marlin numbers totaled 126 releases this week, down from last week (but in all fairness this also has a lot to do with the two tournaments that took place then, the Pelagic and ILLTA). Tuna were scarce, mainly because anglers preferred not to go out the 40 miles to find them with the weather conditions. Instead, they stuck by closer for the marlin or headed inshore for roosterfish, sierra mackerel and snapper, which were very productive. For example, we had 8 roosterfish released on one boat on its best day.”


For the marlin reports, go to piscessportfishing.com.


Roosterfish are prime targets, and the Pisces 27-foot panga Tres Amigos caught and released 2 roosterfish, of about 15 and 30 pounds each out of the Old Lighthouse. Anglers Michael and Randy Davis, and Nathan Bingham also caught 3 red snapper on caballito bait. The next day Tres Amigos did well again, with 2 roosterfish, 20 and 30 pounds each hitting on caballito in this same area, released. Anglers kept 1 big sierra mackerel, of almost 15 pounds on live caballito.


Results of the Pelagic tourney held recently are as follows: In the Billfish Division Team Tejas (last year’s winner) took first place with 25 striped marlin released over the two days; this won them a whopping $130,320, as they were in all the jackpots as well. Cloud 9 took second place with 16 striped marlin released, earning them $7,200 and Pisces 72-foot Tag Team took third place with 15 striped marlin released for $2,880.


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GORDO BANKS PANGAS is seeing a lot of variety on the banks and coast, but no big tuna bite has emerged, at least consistently, as summer weather begins to emerge. Roosterfish are usually targeted in July, so fingers are crossed.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Bank Pangas said, “The weather is progressively heating up, high temperatures into the lower 90s. Later in the week we saw more marine cloudy and overcast conditions. While Pacific waters are still cool, in the upper 60s, off San Jose del Cabo the ocean was 80 degrees and the winds were unpredictable. Earlier in the week we felt breezes predominately from the north, laying down midweek, then later in the week it was the south wind that was more of a factor.”


He added, “The fishing action last week was very encouraging, as we saw more numbers of yellowfin tuna, continued quality action for striped marlin, a few dorado finally showing up, as well as options inshore for roosterfish and for a mix of bottom species. This week with weather patterns a bit more unstable we had much more scattered overall action, changing from day to day, but the tuna action and marlin proved more elusive and even the bottom produced minimal fish. There were some highlights though, with anglers catching and release trophy sized 50-pound roosterfish, even landing a couple of wahoo, dorado, sailfish and striped marlin and an occasional nice sized amberjack or red snapper.”


Brictson said the action on the San Luis Bank for the Mexican bonito and red snapper while working the yo-yo jigs proved much more difficult in recent days, the weather did not help at times, the tuna had been hitting early in the week on trolled caballito and strips of squid, yellowfin ranging from 20 to 80 pounds but this action came to a standstill later in the week.


“This transition period can often be like this, sometimes it is not until mid-July before conditions really stabilize and we finally have more consistent day to day action,” said Brictson. “These next couple of weeks is when we historically see some of the largest sized roosterfish of the season. We expect to see a mass migration of mullet baitfish to move in any time, this in turn brings in more of these inshore gamefish.”


The combined sportfishing fleet launching 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: 1 sailfish, 7 dorado, 2 wahoo, 7 striped marlin, 19 yellowfin tuna, 2 dogtooth snapper, 11 leopard grouper, 98 Mexican bonito, 32 red snapper, 14 amberjack, 24 roosterfish, 22 jack crevalle, 4 yellow snapper and 70 triggerfish.


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SAN QUINTIN CHARTERBOATS have been getting into the yellows at the high spots like the 240 and on the outside the bluefin like these are within range of K&M Sportfishing’s Parkers. K&M SPHOTO

SAN QUINTIN — Kelly Catian of K&M Sportfishing reported the bluefin are within range and it’s now their turn to nail them.


“Since all of this bluefin moved in a few years back, we've been patiently waiting and hoping they would fill in down here,” said Catian. “It was tough watching all the epic fishing up north in San Diego and not seeing them at all down here. We'll, now it's our turn.” He said his friend Duane Diego, a San Diego-based guide, has been feeding them information on the temp breaks and possible location of the fish as the season progressed, and it finally paid off.


Other charters out of San Quintin have been hammering the quality yellows on the usual high spots, like the 240.


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JUAN COOK, A guide, fished with customers from Imperial Valley who came down for some yellows at L.A. Bay. They were Juan Bottello, his son Allen and longtime fishing friend Curt Benner.


L.A. BAY Capt, Juan Cook reported that last week the wide-open yellowtail bite continued its torrid pace.


“I was out with my new friends from Imperial Valley, Juan Bottello and his son Allen and their longtime fishing friend Benner, and we had wide open yellowtail fishing and a few leopard groupers,” said Cook. “Great balmy weather, flat and blue and lots of fish to be caught. A great time.”


MIDRIFF Tom Ward of Longfin Tackle in Orange reported, “The boat Tony Reyes returned Friday evening from a chartered trip led by Clarence Becker of Victorville, a long-time Sea of Cortez angler fishing on these trips for over 30 years. They had very good weather according to Capt. Tony Reyes and were able to catch bait a couple of times during the trip. Cabrilla were hitting Mirrorlures on the troll as well as jumping on cast lures and flylined live bait.


“Medium size grouper were caught trolling the Nomad lures and the Mirrorlures. The last day of the trip big groupers were biting on big baits, small yellowtails and barracudas, with only 3 big ones being landed and many more lost. A minimum of 100-pound test is recommended for these fish as anything less just does not do the job on these powerful groupers. Weather in the Midriff islands is starting to warm up.”


The count: 475 yellows, 417 cabrilla, 20 pargo, 9 sheephead, 2 lings, 21 grouper and 1 halibut, 17 sierra, 4 amberjack and 223 assorted fish, released. For information about the trips see tonyreyes.com or thelongfin.com.


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JORDAN KAVANAUGH WITH a Cedros Island calico he caught on a fly, one of about 100 he hooked and landed and released during his stay with Cedros Outdoor Adventures.

CEDROS ISLAND — Jordan Kavanaugh reported in after a trip with Cedros Outdoor Adventures.


“A great time as usual at COA, only me fly fishing and Fred and Jim fishing hard baits and plastics. Great guys, and amazing fishermen, it was a pleasure to share the lodge with them,” said Kavanaugh. “Also, as usual, everyone at COA was amazing. Last but not least the #1 Capt. in Baja (and upcoming fly fisherman), Toro DeLa Torba, put me on fish all week. Bass were tough, but we scratched around 100 calicos, 4 halibut, 2 sheephead, and 1 sargo. Bass went to close to 7 pounds with an average between 2 to 4 pounds.


“Fred Knilans and Jim, fishing conventional gear, went off on the big bass, with 4 or more over 6.5 pounds and up to an 8-pound tanker for Fred at Isla Natividad. Toro and I went to the north end of the island to fish boilers and caves and walls, scratched some fish here but nothing amazing. Fished a massive bass boil in the afternoon, and farmed something really big down deep, fish busted 20-pound fluoro clean. Got 3 halibut on the fly later in the day.”


Kavanaugh continued, “Went across the narrow sea to Isla Natividad and then Chester Rock off Point Eugenia. Scratched some more bass here and there, ended the day with the biggest fish of the trip, close to 7. Fished Friday morning before flying out, maybe another 10 plus bass and 1 more halibut on the fly, none of the halibut were photo worthy.”


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Contribute to the Baja report by sending information and photos to baja@wonews.com.


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Good conditions critical for success
Cabo marlin pop for international tourney anglers; a pair of yellowfin tuna over 200 pounds off Cabo; East Cape, La Paz wahoo adding to a great mix; San Quintin offshore bluefin are biting for K&M boats

CABO SAN LUCAS — Amid reports of two yellowfin tuna of 234 pounds from an East Cape Palmas sportfishers and a 257-pound pounder caught Saturday on the Retriever, a well-known tournament-tested sport yacht out of Cabo San Lucas, it appears the pelagics have arrived as the weather has settled.


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TAYLOR WALKER AND her husband caught and released 5 striped marlin on the Karina on Thursday while fishing with the Pisces Fleet off Cabo. The bite for every species had really turned on in the last week with marlin, tuna, dorado and bottomfish, and a big tuna over 200 pounds off Cabo and another cow tuna taken in waters off the East Cape.

At press time, there were no pictures of the two big tuna, but the fish were confirmed by two WON sources, Rebecca Ehrenberg of Pisces in Cabo and Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing in the East Cape. This is not the traditional big tuna season, that coming in September and October and November during tournament season, but it is an indicator that Baja Sur is firing up as the weather and water conditions have improved in recent weeks. Gordo Banks Pangas’ Eric Brictson confirmed that that San Luis Bank has produced some bigger fish, 40 to 100 pounds. It is not known where the Retriever’s big tuna was caught.


There were also some huge dorado caught on the East Cape, a 50 pounder by a Palmas sportfisher, and a 48 pounder by the Jen Wren fleet’s 35 Cabo Vaquero. That is fantastic news for the local fleets as tourney season nears for that area.


In other Baja news, Cedros Island’s season for big calicos is going on, wahoo are showing among a real assortment of gamefish off La Paz, and in the northwest side of Baja, yellowfin are being taken off San Quintin 150 miles below the border as the tuna are mixed in with their bluefin brethren as water warms.


In related news of those boats going into Mexican waters, a Mexican official confirmed that in addition to the FMM, fishing licenses, passports, registration (and wristbands for the biosphere Coronado islands), private boaters are required to obtain a Temporary Important Permit (TIP) a 10-year private vessel document for $100. The Mexican fisheries official confirmed that on Let’s Talk Hookup during a live broadcast in Loreto in conjunction with the Sportfishing Association of California.


For more information on obtaining the document by mail (only) or any Mexican port office, see the SAC website at caliliforniasportfishing.org. It was previously believed that the TIP document was required only of trailer boaters and those boats that make land into Mexico. It is required of ALL boats in Mexico waters.


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Let’s get to the more fun stuff in Cabo San Lucas. Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet reported the top spots for a surging marlin bite were the 1150 Spot, Cerro Colorado, Chileno, and the San Jose areas. For inshore action, it was the Pedregal and lighthouse beaches before the wind became an issue to the north. Best lures were live cabbies, ballyhoo, green and white feathers and green hoochie lures.


Weather conditions were windy on the Pacific past the lighthouse from the harbor but the Sea of Cortez was calm and warmer with 2- to 3-foot swells at the most. Water temperatures varied from the Pacific to the East Cape side, 82 degrees on Sea of Cortez, Pacific as cold at 68-70 degrees.


The marlin fishing, said Ehrenberg, was amazing, with 261 marlin released by the fleet boats this past week. That is twice the number of last week.


Part of that can be attributed to the light tackle ILLTA Tournament and the start of a Pelagic tournament Saturday. The Day 1 ILTTA tourney, a two-day event featuring teams from around the world, saw 119 marlin released. (Full results were not available at press deadline.)


One of those boats saw 9 marlin released by Wayne Six, Roger Galindo and Diego Menéndez on the Pisces 42-foot Yahoo in the kickoff day of the 79th Annual ILTTA Tournament (International Light Tackle Tournament Association). Pisces has four boats in the event.


“The All Release Tournament came into being in 1946, founded by Dr. “Doc” Roy B. Dean,” said Ehrenberg. “At inception, the tournament was met with some trepidation in view of the fact that tournaments in that day and time were all “on the dock” or “kill” tournaments. Doc’s idea was to have competition between teams of three individuals representing clubs all fishing under IGFA rules. These three-man teams would fish separately; changing boats and partners each day of the tournament. It obviously was a superb idea since it is still going strong.”


Organizing the tourney has been Minerva Smith Saenz of Minerva’s Tackle in Cabo who feels that while Cabo is known for its great sportfishing and big-game money events like the Bisbee’s and the Cabo Tuna Jackpot, it lacks prestige in the catch-and-release world ever since the Rolex tourney moved on several years ago. Hosting this tournament and keeping it in Cabo, Minerva Smith said, is a big step in that direction.


The anglers’ skills are put to the test, as specific rules such as the same tackle, hooks and bait are utilized by all.


“For example, these teams are using only dead ballyhoo bait for all captures and mates are not able to assist the anglers in any way, not even baiting or hooking fish,” said Ehrenberg. “Pisces is very excited to be a part of this tournament, which has not been held in Cabo for several years now.”


In terms of great days on the water for average anglers, the 31-foot Bertram Tiburon captained by Rosendo Gomez caught 5 striped marlin on live cabbies at the 1150 Spot for Liam Walsh, 12, and his father Rick who live in Cleveland. Steve has fished with Pisces with 25 years and wanted to take his grandson out, and he did pretty well, you might say, with all 5 marlin hooked, landed and released.


Santa Rosa anglers David Pajon, Efrain Lomeli, Jessica Lomeli, Keri Pajon and Patrick Crozat fished on the 33-foot Berram Valerie and scored five striped marlin, 70 to 120 pounds, while working the Cerro Colorado area with live and dead cabbies.


In other Baja action:


ENSENADA — Edgar Sanchez of the Hotel Marina Coral marine store said the Reel Adventure, a private sport yacht owned by Wes Price, was scouring the area for gamefish in Todos Santos Island where they managed 2 yellowtail around 14 pounds using live sardines. Barracuda were also in the count with 5 aboard. On the bottom the Reel Adventure gang fished for red snapper, groupers and boccachio between 5 and 8 pounds. It was a decent day for them on Saturday with sunny afternoon skies, and flat seas.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson sounded a little more optimistic this week as his Gordo Banks Pangas out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos saw more anglers arriving, greeted by great ocean conditions and improved fishing.


“Most all of the fishing action is now in the direction of San Jose del Cabo and to the north,” said Brictson. “The striped marlin bite came on strong this week, as these fish were found spread out throughout the zone, anywhere from two to 10 miles from shore. Bait supplies consisted of mainly moonfish, ballyhoo and some caballito, with lots of smaller skipjack and some bolito found schooling on the fishing grounds. The majority of the marlin were striking on various baitfish, though they would also hit trolled lures, the stripers were weighing in the 70- to 120-pound range.”


Dorado, he said, are now in the mix.


“After a long absence we were now hearing of more reports of dorado being seen, some landed, most were smaller, but we did hear of a couple of nice fish found further offshore that were in the 20-pound class. We do expect to find more of these gamefish moving in, as water conditions are now more favorable. No reports of wahoo, though the way the water shaping up, something could develop on that at any time.”


Many charters are still working the yo-yo jigs off of the rocksy high spots for Mexican bonito, red snapper, cabrilla and amberjack, though this action is providing some quality eating fish, most of these fish were under ten pounds, he reported. Inshore, there were jack crevalle, a few pargo and roosterfish to over 30 pounds though the annual migration of the mass schools of mullet has yet to appear.


“Mullet is what normally will bring in the main run of the quality roosterfish, but everything seems to be running a bit later than normal this season, included this marlin bite that now is happening,” he said.


On the San Luis Bank anglers were finding chances at quality yellowfin tuna up to 100 pounds with no big numbers yet, “But every day we have seen these tuna brought in and all of them seem to be at least 40 pounds with the majority being over 70 pounds striking mainly while drift fishing with strips of squid. A handful even hit on yo-yo jigs. Some days were better than others, the factors of sea lions, sharks and crowds came into play. But this week we saw more tuna action than in the past couple of months, so that is a promising sign.”


He said this is the time when they should start seeing more amberjack and dogtooth snapper close to shore during June and July, before moving further offshore to the high spots as summer progresses


The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina reported an estimated 98 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 9 dorado, 44 striped marlin, 19 yellowfin tuna, 4 dogtooth snapper, 15 leopard grouper, 210 Mexican bonito, 70 red snapper, 12 amberjack, 45 roosterfish, 12 jack crevalle and 90 triggerfish. 


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DOUG AND PENNY NUFFER from Utah with Captain Gerardo scored these two big pompano plus the huge dogtooth that Penny hooked and battled and pulled from the rocks while fishing with Tailhunter International in La Paz.


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JOHN EHLERS FROM Aurora, Colorado fishes several times of year with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and was just outside of Muertos Bay when he got this huge cabrilla to jump on a yo-yo jig in shallow water.


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HIS FIRST ROOSTERFISH is a big one for Dave Waite who was fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz. The roosterfish hit a big ladyfish that was being slow trolled just off the rocks at Punta Arenas and after a tough battle the fish was released strong.

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HE ONLY HAD one day to sneak in to fish, but Colton Matson from San Diego snuck in a day with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz and came back with two legit dorado plus an assortment of other fish.


LA PAZ — “The size of the pompano this year is incredible,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter. “Doug and Penny Nuffer from Utah with Captain Gerardo caught two big pompano plus a huge dogtooth that Penny hooked and battled. She pulled it from the rocks and refused to give up the rod to Doug who really wanted to take the rod from her!”


Roldan said the fishing is still erratic. You just never know what you are going to get each day.


“I have come to the conclusion that given the present conditions of the way fishing has been the last two months, it’s not June or summertime fishing. What we have is really early springtime fishing. This is more like April fishing than June fishing. The reality of things is that, air temps are cooler. Water temps are cooler than normal as well. The winds are taking their time in getting the heck out of town and keep being pesky while turning up waves and clouding up the water. But, don’t get me wrong. There’s no lack of sunshine or action.”


He continued, “On the water, everyone is catching a variety of fish. But, like the weather, it’s erratic. Good, but erratic. Everyone is getting bent but from day-to-day, it’s hard to know what’s biting. One day there’s dorado and tuna. The next day it’s big pompano or snapper. A hundred yards away, a panga gets yellowtail and sierra… cold water fish. One day there are big roosters popping up and the next day, the same area is inhabited by voracious bonito and jack crevalle. Wahoo come and go. I think this past week, I counted more than a dozen different species of fish. No one is not catching fish. It’s just hard to tell anyone what they will catch.”


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THIS BULL DORADO of 48 pounds on the Vaquero was not the only big slug to come out of the East Cape. Three other big dorado and two 200-pound tuna also came to the scales, it was reported by Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing. JEN WREN PHOTO


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KEVIN SULLIVAN SCORED a 48-pound bull dorado on the Vaquero while fishing with the East Cape-Los Barilles-based Jen Wren Sportfishing fleet. JEN WREN PHOTO


EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing via his weekly blog sent to WON on Saturday reported calm seas continue to prevail but they are starting to feel more humidity in the air.


“Water temperature has crossed into the 80s and conditions couldn't be better,” said Rayor. “Striped marlin and yellowfin tuna have been providing most of the action but dorado and roosterfish are also getting in the game. Noticeably absent for a time have been wahoo but not many have noticed or had time to miss them.


“Last week two tuna over 200 pounds came to the scales. One fell for a cedar plug and the other came to a skipping a Yummie Flyer. Skipping baits from a fishing kite is one of the most effective ways I know to catch cow tuna. For the cows we turn to the kite. When there is no wind the AFTCO kite with a helium balloon works well. When there is a stiff breeze I like the Boston sled kite. Over the last few weeks we have had some monsters crash on the bait and miss. It is a heart stopper to watch it happen but so far we have had to settle for the schoolie 20 to 30 pounders. We will keep skipping 'em and I know there will be a cow in our near future.”


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FRED KNILANS CAUGHT some big calicos with his group while fishing last week with Cedros Outdoor Adventures. The season is starting off strong with the calico bite going off.


CEDROS ISLAND — Tom Gatch sent in this report to the Cedros Outdoor Adventures web page, and it’s a clrear indication that calico fishing that has been legendary at the west coast Baja Island is back on track, in a big way. The lodge is open and groups are flowing through the operation, taking advantage of the direct flights from San Diego/Otay Mesa’s Brown Field to the island.


Reported Gatch, “The coast of Southern California was engulfed in a gloomy fog during the first full week of June. However, the lucky anglers visiting Cedros Island were enjoying banner fishing while drifting aimlessly under sunny skies during the opening week of our 2019 fishing season. The primary focus so far has been on calico bass, which have been readily inhaling artificial baits, including plastics, hard baits, and flies.


“Saltwater fly fisherman, Jordan Cavanaugh, from Fountain Valley, was on trip number 7 to the island; having become habituated to the fantastic fishing at Cedros many years ago. During his several days of fishing with a 9-weight fly rod and a variety of orange and red streamers, he ended up catching and releasing enough calico bass up to 5 pounds to wear his arms out by the time he got back into port each day. Cavanaugh also reported catching several small halibut on white streamers, which bodes well for the months to come as the water continues to warm.


Gatch continued, “SoCal fishing buddies, Jim Petrella from Palm Desert, and Fred Knilans of Orange County, were throwing some of Knilans’ hand-poured plastic jigs and hard baits to hook and release nearly 150 calico bass on Wednesday that ranged upward to a whopping 7.5 pounds. Petrella indicated that the sea was blanketed by hordes of red crabs, which often will impair the bite after many of the fish become glutted with them. Nonetheless, the intrepid duo scored incredibly well; and also fished off of nearby Natividad and Benitos Islands where the red crabs were less prevalent, and they brought even more fish over the rail.


“Even though we are barely into June, 2019 appears to be full of promise, especially as the months progress and larger pelagic species behind that multitude of red tuna crabs begin to move into our region.”


Go to Cedrosoutdooradventures.com for more on the island and the operation and the latest fishing reports.


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com said the yellowtail are thick on the high spots near shore and the off the islands, and the cabrilla are also on the bite, from top to bottom and nearshore. It’s game on.


“Acres of yellowtail and some huge cabrilla are all of the story for this week,” said Hill. “Catching the 'tails is still a little tricky as usual. The scuba guys are seeing tons of them. The big cabrilla are in the rocks out at Punta Lobo and along the back side of Carmen Island.


“Out at the fringes of our easy fish zone are schools of small dorado. I think everyone is waiting to see if the dodos and billfish come in closer before we start seeing fillets at the cleaning tables.”


There is plenty of time to get in on the fun with the 29th annual Fishin for the Mission Charity Dorado Tournament held at La Mision Hotel July 11-13. Signups are at La Mision Hotel on the malecon the evening of Thursday, July 11 on the second floor patio near the bar. Fishing is for two days, Friday and Saturday with the combined weight of the 2 biggest fish per team determining the winners in both the Dorado Class and Other Species Class. Entry is $250 per team and that gets you a tournament bag with various giveaways as well as 4 performance tournament shirts, 4 dinner banquet tickets at La Mision Saturday night, July 13, and 4 raffle tickets. There is also free beer and water provided to the participants at the signups, both days of the weigh in, and at the banquet. It is a great tournament with a long history of helping the town of Loreto. A discounted room rate at La Mision Hotel is also given to members of the tournament that week.


For more information about the tournament, there is a Facebook Group- Fishin for the Mission with up to date information or you can email tournament director Chris Wheaton at luhrs32reeltime@aol.com


MIDRIFF The boat Tony Reyes just returned from 4½ days of fishing in the Midriff Islands area in the Sea of Cortez with a chartered trip from Phenix Rods, reported Tom Ward of the Long Fish Tackle shop in Orange,


“Weather was nice and fishing was great,” said Ward. “Fish were eating jigs both casting and trolling. Blue and white seemed to be the best color for casting and the pink and the mackerel MR111 Mirrorlures worked best for trolling.


The count was: 256 yellows, 75 bass, 11 pargo, 11 sheephead, 206 lingcod, 20 grouper, 1 black seabass, 1 halibit, 7 cola escoba, 8 sierra, 1 golden cabrilla and 284 assorted fish released.


Tony is running trips through the first week of November out of San Felipe and then he will be fishing from La Paz during March of 2020. For information go to www.tonyreyes.com or www.thelongfin.com .


SAN QUINTIN — K&M Sportfishing, featuring the Catian family and chartered 25-foot Parkers, got into the bluefin for the first time this season. They posted a deck awash with tuna on Sunday. They were hitting the red iron, reported Kelly Catian. For information visit www.kmfishing.com or call 011521(616)109-1869 or email capitanm2@yahoo.com.mx.


L.A. BAY — For the full report on the trip, go to bajafishingconvoys.com and see all the great photos and descriptions of the food, the travels and great times made possible by Baja Fishing Convoys. Orchid Martinez said Baja Fishing Convoys have two more trips for BOLA this year. While the Aug.1-5 trip is full they have space on the Sept. 24-28 trip. Give Orchid a call at (619) 483-7315 or email her at orquideaviaja@gmail.com.

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Get your report in WON. When you get home, send in reports to WON at baja@wonews.com. Deadline is Sunday morning.


•   •   •   •   •

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.


Billfish go off for Cabo anglers as winds subside
It’s starting to click on throughout Baja as summer is almost here; L.A. Bay Special Report: Yellowtail everywhere!

CABO SAN LUCAS — Cabo San Lucas may have turned the corner at least for fishing as the marlin bite busted loose with the Pisces Fleet recording 122 striper releases in one week.


“This week’s fishing was very successful, especially if you were looking to catch marlin,” said Rebecca Ehrenberg of the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet. “The week did start off slightly slower for the billfish, but picked up nicely by midweek, with several boats returning with up to 5 marlin release flags each. And although the weather was a little gloomy and the wind did pick up on some days, it was mostly on the Pacific side (marlin fishing, she said, has been farther south or on the Sea of Cortez). Even with this, the inshore fishing on the Pacific was also fruitful, with roosterfish, sierra mackerel, snapper and yellowtail being the top producing fish. We also saw a few boats determined for tuna, find them in decent numbers.”


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PISCES SPORTFISHING WAS all over the board off Cabo San Lucas in seeking out great action billfish, yellowtail, tuna and more as the weather started to settle. The north winds have been difficult to deal with but water is starting to warm as summer approaches. PISCES PHOTOS


To get the full boat counts, go to piscesportfishing.com for more photos and information and details about the sportfishers.


It has been a slow season so far for tourism in Cabo, and with summer coming and the start of the hurricane season, the general feeling is the big crowds will not be coming until the fall fishing tournaments. Bad for business, but great for fishing opportunity!


This is the prime time for fishing as the bite on striped marlin, blue marlin, dorado and the bigger tuna will soon move onto the banks. We are already seeing it. In other words, it‘s a great time to head south. Dorado, said Ehrenberg, are starting to come around. Not in big numbers, but the biggest dorado of the week were caught on the Pisces panga Cabolero. They caught two nice 20 pounders between the 95 and 1150 Spots that hit on ballyhoo bait. They also caught and released 1 striped marlin off Chileno Bay and 3 skipjacks. Roosterfish are on the beaches for the folks who want a nearshore battle.


ENSENADA — Edgar Sanchez of the Hotel Marina Coral marine store said the bay has seen lots of barracuda with a mix of yellowtail between the harbor and Todos Santos Island.


“Trolling Rapalas until you get hooked up then casting surface iron has been working,” said Sanchez. “Large bonita and yellowtail are also breezing one to two miles past the island in deep water under the birds. It is necessary to run-and-gun to be successful. The water temps are averaging between 59 and 64 degrees.”


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GORDO BANKS PANGAS are starting to feel the heat of summer and the yellowfin tuna. The hotter it gets, the bigger they will become. Included in the photo with the two yellowfin was a toad amberjack for the angler. GORDO BANKS PHOTOS

SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Charters with Gordo Banks Pangas out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos are working the fishing grounds from Red Hill, Palmilla, Gordo Banks, Iman, San Luis and to Vinorama. The most consistent catches have come from bottom structure, red snapper and Mexican bonito most numerous, using iron yo-yo style jigs, also drifting baits down deep has been producing some quality catches. A handful of grouper species and amberjack were accounted for, some over 30 pounds said Eric Brictson of the fleet.


“Early in the week there was limited action for yellowfin tuna found on the San Luis Bank, tuna to over 80 pounds were landed while drifting with strips of squid, but this action faded during the week, though the yellowfin were still seen at times showing on the surface, but just not all that interested in biting,” said Brictson. “But with the conditions becoming more favorable, anything could happen on any given day. Other tuna were found further offshore traveling with porpoise, but this was a hit-or-miss deal from day to day and these fish were much smaller, mostly under 20 pounds.” He said dorado and marlin are starting to move onto the grounds, a great sign for the area. As for roosters, they are biting in small numbers but as he said, “We also look for this bite to really break wide open in coming weeks, as this is always the local peak season for roosterfish in the latter part of June.”


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MARK PISANO FROM San Diego hooked this unusual fish off La Paz with Tailhunter. It is a milkfish, somewhat related to tarpon and ladyfish. It was caught just outside of Las Arenas. Schools are often seen in the area, but rarely hooked because they don’t take bait. However, this one was caught on a live sardine. TAILHUNTER SPORTFISHING PHOTO


LA PAZ — Cold winds stalled the action for dorado that are showing in good numbers now, but not biting so hot.


“Dorado were seen all over, especially for our La Paz fleet but they just weren’t interested in eating,” said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter Adventures. “They should be going gangbusters, tearing after any bait in the water, but instead they acted like someone peed in the pool. Same with the big tuna we have been dealing with. We did get a few in the 50- to 90-pound class and broke off even more. But it’s hardly been the action we’ve seen the previous few weeks. Again, fish were breaking and eating, but just wouldn’t eat any hooked baits. And definitely would not eat any lines over 30-pound test which put anglers at a critical disadvantage if they got bit.”


However, if you were just looking for fun action, he said, there were tons of big bonito to contend with that ripped lined and bent rods. Especially great for first-timers and families! All you wanted.


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L.A. BAY WAS on fire for the group last week that was hosted by Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys. No worries about travel or where to stay or boats, just eat, drink and fish the Sea of Cortez. BAJA FISHING CONVOYS PHOTOS


L.A. BAY — Baja Fishing Convoys escorted another trip to Bay of L.A. Orchid Martinez and staff met the 8 anglers in San Diego and loaded transportation vehicles, crossed the border, got visas, and the adventure down Mex. 1 began.


They stopped for lunch at Parcela 12, a favorite spot south of San Quintin and after a curios shop stop in San Nicolas for fun trinkets, they made L.A. Bay before 6 p.m. and set up at the beachfront Los Vientos Hotel. They checked in and met at the bar for some drinks and more conversation while the cook prepared delicious enchiladas.


“The next three days our group fished till they dropped and caught a diverse amount of species of fish,” said Martinez. “Yellowtail, grouper, black seabass, perch, bonito, barracuda and cabrilla were the usual suspects on this trip. We fished the islands just south of Angel de La Guardia and the coasts just south and north of BOLA. Yellowtail were everywhere and were anywhere from 50 to 100 feet deep and were caught with live bait on a dropper loop as well as yo-yo jigs.


“At some spots there were so many yellowtail that our lines could not get past them to catch anything else! Grouper and black seabass were down deep. Many of us got rocked by what we all think were giant grouper. Even some casualties like broken rod tips occurred. These fish meant business! Luckily our whole group took plenty of rods and gear to replace all damaged rods, lines and lures. We all know that the best way to lose gear is on a great big fish!”


The group decided to do daily jackpots. Day 1 winner was a 35-pound yellowtail caught by Lisa. Day 2 was a 26-pound grouper by Desi. Day 3 was a 21-pound grouper by Johnny. Half of the jackpot winnings were given to the boat captain on that panga which gave them more incentive to join in on the fun.


“On the first day of fishing, after we were done for the day, we went to a beautiful bay for swimming, beach-combing and some delicious sashimi prepared by our boat captains,” said Martinez. “We taught our guests how to find clams just inches under the sand. They were excited to have had that experience.”


For the full report on the trip, go to bajafishingconvoys.com and see all the great photos and descriptions of the food, the travels and great times made possible by Baja Fishing Convoys. Martinez said they have two more trips for BOLA this year. While the Aug.1-5 trip is full they have space on the Sept. 24-28 trip. Give Orchid a call at (619) 483-7315 or email her at orquideaviaja@gmail.com.


EAST CAPE — John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero said last week the area saw great weather, perfect in fact. Low 80s, warm, flat, clear blue water.


“Overall a good week of fishing,” said Ireland. “Later in the week there were big, solitary tuna are being taken daily on live bait close inshore off Rincon. Lots of striped marlin are around, and while picky biters midweek, the bite has improved the last couple of days with the fish very close inside and spread from Pescadero past Frailles. The fish are small, 30 to 80 pounds. The lightest marlin I’ve seen in years. The inshore fishing has been consistent with medium-sized roosterfish and big pompano being taken.”


Yellowfin remain the No. 1 target. The bite was wide open early in the week but it slowed midweek as the porpoise that were holding the tuna moved farther outside.


Inshore there have been lots of big pompano to 10 pounds taken off the lighthouse on live mullet, caballito, and sardines.


Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing chimed in via his weekly blog sent to WON.


“There is not much more a person could ask for,” said Rayor referring to the weather. “This last week gamefish have really become a moving target. One day yellowfin are 50 miles offshore the next day 15 to 20. Striped marlin concentrate in an area one day and spread out everywhere the next. Roosterfish bite some days but are impossible to find sometimes. Gamefish are here but is kind of like the ups and downs of the stock market right now. There have been days we didn't go more than 15 miles to find action but others we have had to go the distance. It is notable that sailfish have been on scorecards and also blue marlin are starting to show. Yesterday a blue was caught and released by one of the fleet boats and we had a dandy take a quick drive-by through the pattern of lures we were trolling. On the other hand dorado and wahoo are not making much of a showing. All in all fishing is pretty good and we have been able to find action everyday. We like finding our own fish but it is a big ocean and the target has been moving so fast some days we have to listen closely to the VHF radio and rely on info from our friends.”


LORETO — Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com said the jacks are in town!


“Yellowtail are the draw in good numbers on the reefs, but also showing — although in smaller numbers — are amberjack and roosterfish. Nobody has mentioned the toro which is also a jack. Dorado are being talked about and they are way out to the east but we haven't seen one close to town.”


In other Loreto news, for those of you interested in a fun, low-pressure tournament that raises money to help others, the 29th annual Fishin for the Mission Charity Dorado Tournament is going to be held at La Mision Hotel in Loreto this year July 11-13. Signups are at La Mision Hotel on the Malecon the evening of Thursday, July 11 on the second floor patio near the bar. Fishing is for two days, Friday and Saturday with the combined weight of the 2 biggest fish per team determining the winners in both the Dorado Class and Other Species Class. Prizes are photos donated by Bill Boyce for the top 3 teams in each class. Price is $250 per team to enter and that gets you a tournament bag with various give-a-ways as well as 4 performance tournament shirts, 4 dinner banquet tickets at La Mision Saturday night, July 13, and 4 raffle tickets. There is also free beer and water provided to the participants at the signups, both days of the weigh in, and at the banquet. It is a great tournament with a long history of helping the town of Loreto. A discounted room rate at La Mision Hotel is also given to members of the tournament that week.


For more information about the tournament, there is a Facebook Group- Fishin for the Mission with up to date information or you can email tournament director Chris Wheaton at luhrs32reeltime@aol.com


MIDRIFF The Tony Reyes mothership came back from another six-day run to the Midriff area. Mitch Forward, the chartermaster, with Tony Reyes Jr. at the helm of the ship, led the group to a great week, said Tom Ward of the Longfin Tackle in Orange who books these great low-cost, high-fish trips out of San Felipe. They caught 296 yellows to 28 pounds, 358 cabrilla to 20 pounds, 95 spotted bass to 15 pounds, 32 pargo to 15 pounds, 1 white seabass, 25 grouper to 45 pounds, 3 sheepshead to 12 pounds and assorted other fish all released. Go to longfin.com for details on trip openings this summer.


Get in on the fun of being in WON. When you get home, send in reports to WON at baja@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.


Wild East Cape bites inshore before winds hit
Striped marlin and roosterfish bunch up just off the beach for some exciting and unexpected action

EAST CAPE — Mark Rayor at Jen Wren Sportfishing here said conditions are changing quickly, and in a good way. Last week was a little wild on the tuna, but this week the bite has been on a new wild ride.


“I’m amazed,” he said. “Last weekend we fished Bruce Borggreve's 22nd annual charity marlin tournament held at Rancho Leonero. The purpose of the event is to raise funds to provide educational scholarships for youths in our community. Fourteen boats were signed up but for one reason or another 5 scratched so nine boats in the two-day event were only able to produce four striped marlin. Even though marlin fishing was slow there was plenty of action with 14 limits of yellowfin tuna for the two days.


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MARLIN AND TUNA are the main targets for East Cape fleet boats, with some crazy bites inside close to the beach, although most tuna were on the outside but winds Friday and Saturday kept many boats from chasing porpoise for quicker limits. MARK RAYOR PHOTOS


“Two days after the tournament I was doing some computer work in my office while the Jen Wren crew was completing some maintenance on the boat. Looking out my window at about 1:30 in the afternoon I could see about a dozen boats out about a mile off our buoy. Just then Diego reported the work was finished and the boat was ready to launch. Now 2 p.m. we jumped in Jen Wren and idled out preparing Halco's and hoochies to catch tuna. Getting to the action several boats around us were hooked up with marlin, not tuna. Shifting gears we broke out the marlin lures. It didn't take 15 minutes trolling and we had a quadruple hookup. Striped marlin showed one to three miles off the beach in front of Buena Vista on Monday and it has been bent rods ever since. The moral of this story is that timing is everything.”


Rayor said that while marlin went silly, that same crazy tuna bite of a week ago settled into a solid bite, and it’s taking a little bit of work to get that 5-fish limit per person.


“Roosterfish have also gotten in the game. While out fishing for tuna the Jen Wren called on the VHF to let us know the biggest frenzy of roosters were going off in front of our place and driving bait out of the water up onto the sand,” said Rayor. “Today (Saturday) while walking the beach I spotted two different spots of roosterfish feeding 10 feet from the sand.”


John Ireland at Hotel Rancho Leonero reported in Sunday, saying the water is 80 to 81 degrees and warming, and they had some wind the past few days. Air was in the low 80s. As for the fishing, he said, “The yellowfin have been on and off all week. The schools of porpoise holding the tuna have moved further offshore.


“The big schools of tuna are further outside 30 to 40 miles,” said Ireland. “The fleet has not been able to get that far out the last three days because of the wind. It was limits for all anglers earlier in the week. The big fish in the 20- to 40-pound range are being taken closer to shore two to three miles off Rincon with hoochies working best outside, and live bait and squid inside.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Eric Brictson of Gordo Bank Pangas, based at Puerto Los Cabos Marina, reported prime conditions are developing.


“Early in the week we saw currents from the north push in water that was in the 78/80 degree range and later in the week it was holding more in the 74/76 range,” said Brictson. “Much of the week we felt north winds, this limited at times where charters went, later towards the weekend winds laid down. With changing currents, also this pushed in slightly greenish off colored waters. Transition period has been unsettled for weeks now, eventually conditions will heat up and we will see some more stable patterns.”


Bait vendors are finding moonfish, jacks and some sardineta, also options of ballyhoo. The most consistent action being found was over the structure. Boats are working areas from off of Red Hill/Palmilla, Gordo Banks and Cardon, La Fortuna, San Luis, north to Vinorama. Some of the best action was very early on the San Luis Banks, anglers working yo-yo jigs did very well for red snapper (huachinango), these fish were quality, average of 5 to 12 pounds. He said pangeros at the various rocky areas found amberjack and some grouper species. They saw amberjack up to 70 pounds, but most were in the 10- to 30-pound range. Yellowtail action was solid but part of that was due to sharks and seals moving onto the Gordo.


“A handful of striped marlin were hooked into, both the off colored changing currents, combined with passing of the full moon seemed to spread this action out, scattered activity for billfish, surely will rebound as soon as water conditions become more favorable. No dorado or wahoo being talked about, though there were some yellowfin tuna accounted for from the super pangas fishing on the northern grounds from San Luis to Vinorama, striking on cut bait and yo-yo jigs, most of these yellowfin were in the 12- to 20-pound range.”


As for the roosterfish, areas just south of Palmilla to Chileno produced good action for roosterfish, some of these to over 30 pounds. Slow trolling live bait was best technique for these powerful gamefish. Also in the mix were a handful of late season sierra, as well as hog sized jack crevalle.


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: 4 striped marlin, 8 yellowfin tuna, 10 leopard grouper, 245 Mexican bonito, 82 red snapper, 5 yellow snapper, 7 African pompano, 5 barred pargo, 24 amberjack, 9 sierra, 12 glasseye pargo, 22 roosterfish, 10 jack crevalle and 40 triggerfish.


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JAMES ANDREWS WITH first-ever tagged roosterfishon the Pisces 23-foot Panga Samantha. PHOTO BY GRAY FISH TAG


CABO SAN LUCAS — Pisces Sportfishing reported decent numbers of striped marlin with the top boat being the Tracy Ann, 5 striped marlin released in one day.


“Tuna and dorado were slow, with only a few caught of each, but the inshore fishing was excellent, saidRebecca Ehrenberg. Again, roosterfish, jack crevalle and red snapper, along with some yellowtail, grouper and triggerfish, were the main catches.”


Beginning the week off strong was the Bill Collector with Texas families Owens and Hauck. They did well to release 4 striped marlin. The fish ranged in size from 70 to 140 pounds each, and hit on dead caballito bait, slow -rolled, out of the 1150 Spot. The next day, Bill Collector did well again with 2 striped marlin released on live caballito bait out of Punta Gordo. Later in the week, again, 1 striped marlin released, this time only 6 miles off of Palmilla, hitting on ballyhoo bait. Closer to Cabo, around Santa Maria area, they also caught 1 bonita on a feather lure, 2 skipjacks on green/white hoochis, and 12 triggerfish which they kept for anglers from Ohio.


The Tracy Ann caught the most marlin in one outing this week, finding their 5 stripers from the 1150 to the 95 Spot. They trolled dead caballito and also managed to spot a few marlin close to the surface and cast live bait.


All fish were quite close in size, from 100 to 120 pounds for anglers Scott and Wesley Williams from Dallas, Texas. They also caught one of the only dorado of the week, which weighed about 15 pounds.


For inshore action this week, 23-foot Samantha started off the week with 2 roosterfish and 1 jack crevalle released, and 2 red snapper. Anglers were Yesenia Bassulto, Pisces Apparel Store Manager, and her husband Alberto, along with Dave Adams from Tormenter Ocean Apparel Co. The roosterfish hit early on, at the Old Lighthouse on live caballito and weighed about 10 to 15 pound each. The jack crevalle was about 20 pounds and the red snappers averaged about 10 pounds as well.


FIRST TIME FISHING. First day out. First time in Mexico. Right off the bat 18-year-old Ryan McConnell from Arizona (he got a graduation present trip from his family) hits this 57-pound wahoo fishing with Captain Armando from the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz. Captain Armando is a big guy. Yes, Ryan is still a foot taller which makes the fish look small. Ryan is on his way to Northern Arizona State University on a scholarship in the fall.


LA PAZ Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter said they had a very different, strange, good, anemic, erratic week! His words, actually.


“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “I think the only thing we didn’t get was rain! Fishing changed from day-to-day and boat-to-boat. Anglers worked really hard for fish one day and the next it was 180 degree difference. One boat would be bendo and pulling on fish all day and the boat right next to it spent the day eating lunch and drinking their beers waiting for a bite. One boat would catch tons of bonito. The boat next to it would have tuna, wahoo and a marlin and zero bonito. It would be windy and choppy one day and the next flat as glass… or calm in one spot and a mile away like a washing machine. We had winds from the north, south, west and east that changed daily! A wild unpredictable week for sure!”


He said there was no shortage of action or species, but the captains had to put in some extra effort.


“We still had great inshore action on several species of pargo as well as cabrilla, amberjack, jack crevalle, bonito, triggerfish, sierra, and those big pompano. If that’s what you wanted, you could do that all day long and have a blast. Roosterfish were still around although a little stickier this week than last where the roosters seemed to be everywhere and willing to chew. With all the winds, the waters were a little turned over with a lot more turbidity and a little green so the fish were more finicky. We did get more than a few, however, and all released.”


Roldan added, “The blue water species were a little trickier as well. We got more marlin in the water and had our best marlin week with stripers moving in. A lot of fish sighted, but weren’t quite interested in biting… just yet. However, we hooked several with most getting released.”


The tuna were a conundrum. The big 40 to 100 pounders were still there.


“Everyone saw them busting and breaking water and foaming but they weren’t always willing to eat,” said Roldan. “In fact, most of the time, they would eat everything but the bait that was on the hook. Guys dropped down from 60… to 50… to 40…and finally getting fish on 30-pound fluoro leaders. But, if you hang a 100-pound fish on 30-pound, you’re already at a huge disadvantage.


“One of our guys hooked a big fish on 30 and fought it for nearly 4 hours and it towed the panga almost 10 miles up the island. They got it near the panga at color and my captain estimated it at almost 200 pounds! Just as they were near to gaff, the line broke! Heartbreak!”


As for dorado, they are getting more plentiful and bigger for both fleets coming on with more sargasso weed building up north of the city.


LORETO — The Robert Ross Inaugural Tournament was in the books last week at  Marina Puerto Los Cabos with 28 teams and Team Tag from Pisces taking the team title with 20 marlin releases, it was reported on last week. Now, it’s back to normal action, with pangas going after yellowtail and pargo with dorado expected to debut soon.


Rick Hill at Pinchysportfishing.com said nearshore waters are bobbing with many large rafts of sargasso grass, and offshore are big dorado and solid numbers of billfish.


“It's hard to guess when the summer action figures will work their way closer to our workable area but if they are hungry we still have tons of baitfish everywhere you look,” said Hill. “The local boats are still working over, picking away at the yellowtail and the cabrilla are still hitting the fillet tables as they have been for the past two months!


It's countdown to dorado in Loreto!”


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MARTIN DOWNS SCORED this 400-pound black seabass on a recent Tony Reyes mothership trip to the Midriff.


MIDRIFF — Tony Reyes’ boat the mothership Tony Reyes just returned from a 6-day trip led by chartermaster Jerry LeCompte from Glendale, Arizona. The trip, said Tom Ward, owner of the Longfin Tackle shop in Orange, recorded 242 yellows, 224 cabrilla, 106 bass, 83 pargo, 6 sheephead, 1 amberjack, 11 sierra, 4 grouper and 3 corvina.


The week previous the boat landed a 400-pound black seabass on a charter led by Calstar rods’ Gary Gibbs. Martin Downs caught the monster, which is a legal target in Mexican waters. For more info on the trips that run out San Felipe, go to www.thelongfin.com and www.tonyreyes.com.


Contribute to the Baja report by sending information and photos to baja@wonews.com.


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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.


Easy Cape
After a slow seasonal start, things went a little crazy on the East Cape this week with quick tuna limits under the porpoise as the action has gone wide open; La Paz also seeing a wild bite on tuna and huge roosters with crashing fish that brings back images of tales of Ray Cannon on Sea of Cortez; Pisces Team Tag wins inaugural Robert Ross tourney in Loreto

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THE EAST CAPE bite on the yellowfin was crazy good for all the area sportfishers. In these photos, Hotel Rancho Leonero’s John Ireland and crew hold up some quality yellowfin, and Billy Maddox of Long Beach poses with 52-pound dorado he caught last Saturday on a Leonero boat.

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THE YELLOWFIN FOR the East Cape-based Jen Wren Fleet out of Los Barilles were wide-open eaters with porpoise schools that ranged from 10 to 30 miles out and offered super quick limits on hoochies and cedar plugs. The bite started in close the previous Sunday and just kept rolling through the week. From left, Jack Nilsen of Accurate, Richard Jensen of Spotfishing Financial and Wayne Shimabukuro.

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THE REEL ADVENTURE crew from the Hotel Coral Marina Store in Ensenada timed their trip to the East Cape just right with great weather and yellowfin tuna under the porpoise 26 miles out for Steve Richardson, Greg Taylor and Wes.


EAST CAPE — The fishing on the East Cape has blown wide open warming waters and reports of easy tuna limits, marlin arriving, dorado to 52 pounds and roosters. La Paz boats also weighed in with tuna to 100 pounds and roosters to 95 pounds. Loreto saw 25 to 45-pound yellowtail.


It’s game on in Baja Sur on the Sea of Cortez. It’s all about conditions, and the East Cape has been ready to bust open for weeks, and last Sunday it did with yellowfin moving in to within 10 miles under the porpoise. It was a wild scene thereafter with tuna spread out from 10 to 30 miles out.


“The East Cape has busted loose!” proclaimed John Ireland of Hotel Rancho Leonero on Sunday. “It’s limits of yellowfin for all anglers and the billfish have arrived and there’s some dorado up to 52 pounds, and a couple of wahoo are being taken daily. Plus we had good roosterfishing with the bigger ones coming in this week.”


Ireland, owner of Hotel Rancho Leonero, took a run out one day last week. He had an 11 a.m. appointment to make, so he ran his boat out at 7 a.m. from the Ranch, taking an hour to reach the porpoise schools 10 miles away. They spent 1½ hours and had 12 fish aboard before rolling back in. Mission accomplished.


The tuna have been 10 to 50 pounds depending on the vast spread of porpoise schools you troll hoochies and cedar plugs over. If they are the small ones, you keep looking. It doesn’t take long, said Ireland. “It’s limits for ALL anglers.”


Another very good sign overall for the fishery is the appearance of big dorado. They are no in big numbers, but a 52 pounder on Saturday by Leonero guest Billy Maddox of Long Beach created a stir at the dock.


Billfish are a big draw for the East Cape, and this past week they debuted with the stripers mixed in with sailfish, and anglers targeting them are getting at least one, with the fish spread from La Ribera to Frailes on the outer bank working best.


“It’s been light pressure, though,” said Ireland, with most people targeting the yellowfin.”


The Reel Adventure crew based at the Hotel Coral Marina Store in Ensenada timed their trip to the East Cape just right. Good weather, great fishing.


“We went to Martin Verdugo’s at East Cape and caught some nice small to medium grade yellowfin tuna under the porpoise 26 miles out,” said Wes Price, whose sportfisher is named Reel Adventure, which is kept at the Hotel Coral Marina. They fished with Ronnie Verdugo on one the hotel’s cruisers. “We had perfect weather while it’s been cold and rainy at home. The group was made up of Steve Richardson, Greg Taylor and Price. “Great time at the East Cape!”


In other Baja action:


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FROM MONTANA ON their first trip to Mexico, Ken and Peggy Miller, were out with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz when Peggy hooked this yellowfin tuna estimated in the 80-pound-class.


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WESTERN OUTDOOR NEWS Editor Blake Warren scored a 55-pound rooster that day, his biggest ever.


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JED HINKLE IS a former state senator from Montana and caught-and-released this huge roosterfish just off the beach near Las Arenas. The fish was estimated the fish to be about 95 pounds. Keep in mind Jed is 6-foot-5.


LA PAZ — This region is seeing a major uptick, and on Facebook some panga anglers posted video of roosters crashing the surface, hundreds and hundreds of bigger grade fish, boiling. It was like the old days of Ray Cannon and his writing, tales that romanticized the Sea of Cortez fishery. The fish this past week were all over 30 pounds. On Sunday, Tailhunter International’s Jonathan Roldan confirmed the wild action in a WON report.


“Despite a full moon last week, we might have had one of the best weeks of the fishing season!” he said. “High quality fish, where anglers were fighting fish for one to two hours, and losing a bunch, but plenty of bigger tuna and roosters were caught.”


Among them were tuna, amberjack, yellowtail; three species of pargo, dogtooth, cabrilla; yellow snapper, red snapper, white bonito, jack crevalle and wahoo, hooked but not landed). And they also got our first marlin of the season!


Inshore the roosterfish came on strong with fish between 40 and 90 pounds (yes, 90 pounds) getting caught and released.


“It was by far our best roosterfish week of the season with some sightings or entire schools of roosterfish crashing baits along the beaches,” said Roldan. “One of my captains said there could have been “hundreds” of big roosterfish in one school!”


Fishing with Tailhunter, Jed Hinkle (a former state senator from Montana) seems to have a knack for big roosterfish every time he visits La Paz and fishes with Tailhunter Sportfishing. He caught and released this huge roosterfish just off the beach near Las Arenas. Captain Gerardo estimated the fish to be about 95 pounds.


Roldan said while the roosterfish were thick and big and some areas, with 50 pounders slamming baits on the surface, tuna were actually the highlight.


“These were not the football sizes, these were those mean 40- to 100-pound yellowfin that have a tendency to even break strong men,” said Roldan. “Most of these fish took one to three hours on our lighter live-bait tackle and most of the fish taken in shallower water. The fun thing was that it seemed that many of the larger fish were hooked by first-timers or the wives and girlfriends. t was great to see them grit it out and all of them enjoyed it. There were even larger fish that were battled and came unbuttoned or the lines broke after long fights.”


On their first trip to Mexico were Montana residents Ken and Peggy Miller who hooked a yellowfin tuna estimated in the 80-pound class and she battled the fish alone and refused to ask for help even at the tail end of a 90-minute fight! And, Western Outdoor News Editor Blake Warren down for the week and fishing three days caught and released a 55-pound roosterfish, a personal best. Last year he caught a 50-pound class pez gallo.


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PISCES TEAM TAG on the 72-foot Viking Tag won the overall title at the first annual Robert Ross Tourney held over the weekend, May 17-19 out of Marina Puerto Los Cabos, releasing 2 stripers the first day, and 16 marlin and 4 sailfish the second to win $11,200 and a Suzuki 140 hp outboard.


LORETO — The main bulk of the fishing pressure from bigger boats and some skiffs was via the inaugural two-day Robert Ross Tournament run May 17-19 out of – and by – the Marina Puerto Escondido. There were 25 teams, with a $1,000 entry, plus optionals. It is the first big money tourney held out of Loreto, made possible by the expansion of the marina.


Here is an account on Monday the day after the event ended, from WON columnist Gary Graham who was down in Loreto for the event:


“The 25 teams in the Robert Ross Fishing Tournament found even better weather on Sunday morning, May 20 than the first day, as once again they sped past the official start boat at 7-am sharp.. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, rumors of not only large but also plenty of fish ricocheted around the weigh-station until almost 4-pm when the first team “Bad Influence” arrived at the scale with both a qualifying dorado and a qualifying yellowtail. Once again, over half of the teams had returned to the scale with qualifying fish or videos of multiple releases of marlin.


— Grand Prize for Marlin and Sailfish Catch and Release went to “Tag Team” - John Sercu for a total of16 Marlin and 6 Sailfish in the two days which earned the team $11,200 plus a Suzuki outboard motor.


— Dorado Overall First Place was taken by “Voladores” - Angler C.P. Dewitt caught a 30.5-pound dorado the second day earning $5,625.


— Yellowtail Overall First Place went to “Canuks” with a 29.7-pound yellowtail earning $5,625. (They also won the $4,000 yellowtail jackpot on the first day plus $4,500 pot the second day) …for a total of $14,125.


John Sercu observed, “Marina Puerto Escondido is fantastic! The offshore fishing for billfish this weekend reminded us of Magdalena Bay. It was awesome, and we will be back in August for the Dos Mares “Finale!”


Jeff Hill, who spends three months in British Columbia and nine months in Loreto added that the Tournament Coordinators had done a fantastic job organizing the event and that he would be back next year!


C.P. Dewitt, Phoenix, Arizona, was delighted with his personal-best dorado that came along just at the right time. His team was also far offshore and caught the largest dorado among the many groups of billfish they spotted.


Enrique Salcedo, General Manager, thanked all the participants and congratulated the winners. He recognized the local and visiting dignitaries and he promised that the 2020 Second Annual Robert Ross Fishing Tournament would continue to keep “fun” as the event’s foundation next year.


In other Loreto news….


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CHUCK NICHOLS, A WON reader, sent in this pic of a 45-pound yellowtail caught by his friend John Durso in Loreto. Capt. Francisco Davis is on the left and John is on the right. It was caught flylining a mackerel. The bite May 8-9 was epic on big fish for Durso and friend Billy.


The fishing and weather has been very good out of Loreto Marina, and with some true monsters. Chuck Nichols has been a WON subscriber for many years and relayed a photo and report of a friend John Durso who fished Loreto May 9 with a friend Billy. They had a great trip and it was topped by a wild bite that day in which Durso had 5 fish including a 45 pounder, Durso‘s biggest yellowtail ever in Loreto. He used a live mackerel flylined on the surface. His buddy Billy had a 43 pounder the day before


In other Loreto news, Rick Hill of Pinchy Sportfishing reported from the region north by pangeros over the weekend.


“It's been a bit of a pick on the yellowtail this week with many boats lucky to find a few biters,” said Hill. “Mackerel is still the best ticket for deep rockpile hugging yellows. Most of the trips head north and have better luck with other species. Different snappers and cabrilla are higher on the catch list. Almejas and Pulpito were the most productive destinations.”


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BIG ROOSTERS ARE in the mix for the Pisces Fleet out of Cabo San Lucas, as well as striped marlin the crews always tag and release.


CABO/SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Marlin at the 1150 area and roosters on the shore off Palmilla and Chileno Bay have been the main targets for the sportfishers out of Cabo. Good conditions and water is warming up. Most action was on the Sea of Cortez side with warmer water and more striped marlin. See more detailed reports this week at www.wonews.com


gordobanksyellows
THE GORDO BANKS yellows have been in some big sizes on live bait and jigs for Gordo Banks Pangas, reported Eric Brictson.


Eric Brictson reported that the Gordo Banks Pangas fleet was getting more customers, and more fish. The season in Baja Sur is moving in the right direction.


“We are seeing limited crowds of tourists now, but we have noticed an increased number of actual anglers, so hopefully this trend will continue,” he said. “Weather patterns remain ideal, lows of about 65 degrees, with highs reaching into the near 90 some days. Warmer currents are moving in from the north, up to 78 degrees on the Gordo Banks, but it’s still much cooler on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas.”


Bait is critical to the area and he said, as netters had to work extra hard to obtain what they could, a mix of moonfish, caballito and a few species of sardinas were found. On Gordo Banks, anglers were able to jig up some other chihuil baitfish, but this proved scarcer by the day as water warmed up quickly. Using mullet now is prohibited. This season will open up in coming weeks.


As for the main fishing grounds, he said, pangeros have been concentrated on Palmilla, Red Hill, Gordo Banks, San Luis and as far north as Vinorama.


“The Gordo Banks had been the location where yellowtail were being found, averaging 25 to 35 pounds striking on larger live baits near the bottom, though as the week progressed this bite came to a standstill as large numbers of various shark species were also moving in on these same grounds,” said Brictson. “ Sea lions were a pesky problem as well, especially on the grounds to the north. Other bottom action included cabrilla, leopard grouper, pargo and amberjack, on Thursday there was a very impressive 96 lb. amberjack landed from a panga.


“In recent days the striped marlin became much more active, on these same grounds and a bit further offshore there were stripers being found, most of these were striking various baits and average weights were 70 to 100 pounds, though one monster striper of about 180 pounds was landed on Friday, many people were thinking it was a blue marlin because of its size, years past we used to see more of the larger striped marlin. One wahoo of about 25 pounds was also landed Friday, but no dorado or yellowfin tuna to speak of.


“To the north off of Cabo Pulmo they have been finding tuna, so we expect these fish will also move south into our range before too long,” said Brictson. “Off of the San Jose del Cabo hotel zone anglers were finding better action for roosterfish in the 15- to 25-pound range, we look for this action to peak in the six weeks or so.”


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BAY OF L.A. has seen a nice wad of yellows and grouper as the conditions get better and water warmer. This set of photos was provided by Baja Fishing Convoys which has a trip slated for a group May 24. Stay tuned.


BAY OF L.A. — Fishing here was starting to roll as waters have warmed and weather has settled, and that means cabrilla, grouper and yellowtail. Orchid Martinez of Baja Fishing Convoys is taking a group down on May 24 and says she hopes to send back some great reports. She got a nice indicator with some pictures of captains Igor and Joel. They scored yellows for their anglers between the surface and 100 feet, and the grouper are, of course, on the structure.


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JOHN FITZGERALD AND Juan Cook on their Bay of L.A. Bay run after they left Gonzaga Bay, which was slammed with winds. They left Gonzaga and fished three straight days in BOLA and found fish in several areas.


GONZAGA BAY/L.A. BAY — Juan Cook, a guide who runs between San Quintin and Gonzaga Bay and L.A. Bay depending on the season and action reported he was fishing May 7-9 in Gonzaga Bay with friend John “Rockodile” Fitzgerald.


“We fished hard for leopard grouper all the way to Bahia Calamajue for not much, turned around and headed to Isla San Luiz, found a huge spot of sierra feeding on the surface and caught a few bottom dwellers that we used to catch a small gulf grouper,” reported Cook in a FB post. “It was wide open so we had enough and stopped fishing and headed home. The next day it was blown out, so we hooked up John’s Grady-White and drove it 4 to 5 hours with no troubles to Bay of L..A. for the start of the season there. We rested on the 9th due to winds and fished three days from the 10 th to the 13th. It’s the beginning of the season in BOLA so we traveled far looking for fish and found them in different areas. There’s of bait in the area so the fish are scattered, but those fish we found were on the reefs.”


MIDRIFF — The mothership Tony Reyes will be running trips now until November. There was no report this week. For information go to www.tonyreyes.com or www.thelongfin.com


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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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