Gary Graham’s Baja Bytes Weekly Baja Fishing Report
“Pesca la Baja” has carved its own niche into a unique celebration of sportfishing in towns and villages throughout Baja Norte.
The first event — San Felipe which is scheduled for May 19 – 20 — shattered attendance records last year with 138 participants and the staff is predicting even more this year.
For the uninitiated, attending even one of these family affairs is an opportunity to share the enthusiasm for sportfishing and the unification of the locals with visiting anglers, as well as to become immersed in Baja’s rich family and fishing culture for a brief moment in time. Each venue, on both the Sea of Cortez and the West Coast of Baja Norte, offers a glimpse of its unique personality where residents share a fierce pride in their hometowns and lifestyles.
These five events are inexpensive, local affairs sponsored by Sepesca Baja California.
For more information visit http://www.pescalabaja.com/
Coronado Islands…Report pending. …fishdope.com
While this week has had some limits for bottom fish, including a run on bucket mouths (lingcod); it looks like the weather is going to be snotty for the next few days.
In spite of the dismal weather predictions, this was a good morning for paddle-fishing the upper bay. I didn’t go as my body was complaining too much, but Chris had an excellent day with lots of variety; bonefish, bass and he even brought home a couple dozen tacos wrapped up in a nice grouper that got gill-hooked and couldn’t be released with assurance of survival…Daniel Powell
While taking advantage of lot of people who are following what’s going on with the “plants” from Cedros Island which are being collected illegally, I would like to draw your attention to another important species that the people of the Island are destroying: the torotes, the elephant trees of Cedros Island.
For example, a few batches of Black Creek that contained a large forest that had hundreds of torotes that were cut or maimed to make room to fill it with more garbage dumpsters!! There were many torotes that were burned too, and that happens everywhere.
Torote White / Copalquin / Tree Elephant of Cedros Island:
Cedros Island is visited by some tourists who are astonished at its rude beauty and special plants and animals, many that are not found in any other place in the world.
There are similar species of torotes all over the peninsula. Trees are shaped like thick logs (like elephant legs), that grow many relatively thin branches that are outstanding and exposed to wind growing into irregular shapes. The parties produce a thick layer as thin as paper that comes off easily. In dry season, they lose their leaves so they seem dead.
The characteristic of the particular torotes of Cedros Island, compared to the other species of torotes that are on the peninsula or in other deserts, is that its leaves are smaller and its flowers are deep pink. That is why it has the species on Cedros Island are called pachycormus discolor veatchiana.
With so few rains on Cedros Island, the torotes grow very slowly, maybe a few inches per decade. So any notes and you will realize how old they are.
The species of torotes that are so common in Cedros Island are not in other parts of Mexico or the peninsula. Indeed the torotes of Cedros Island can be found only here and in a strip of the desert coast of Vizcaino, say from San Ignacio to Laguna Manuela (Bahia Turtles and assumption). This is called “endemic” . . . the problem is that to be so restricted and with the number relatively small, it is easier for them to disappear in the future if they keep cutting or killing them.
The problem in Cedros Island is that many of those who have lived here all their lives see it as something normal and that there is no problem to burn them, bury them, cut them down or kill them. It’s something they see every day, so they are not special it’s the custom.
But then visitors are amazed to see them flowering, or simply see the size that they reach, or their ages of several hundreds of years or easily more than 400 years.
To those with these trees on their property you likely have a living being that has been there possibly since before Columbus came to America.
Even more, with the decree of a biosphere reserve, it is an offence to collect, hurt or kill any animal or plant native to the island. The Torotes of Cedros Island (and the plants and animals) are very special . . . don’t mistreat them and help take care of them…Jose Angel
The Upper Sea of Cortez
Bahia de Los Angeles . . . Report pending.
Gonzaga Bay… Report pending.
Nice day on the water today. The wind was totally absent until about 11. Went out to a 24 fathom spot in search of yellows with no luck. I found an area that was holding some nice quality sheepshead and it was good to have ome tuggers for a change. Caught 8 or 10 of them, with 4 being of the same quality as the photo.
I noticed a current break with some paddies outside of me so I followed the break for a couple miles, just looking. The 1/2 mile wide break was dotted with nice sized kelp paddies that had to have traveled a couple hundred miles at least from the closest kelp forest. I didn’t see any life on any of the bushes, except a few mackerel. Ran across a little bump in 250 ft of water tht came up to 180 and dropped a Megabait and managed a few rockfish. I am not a real expert on rockfish and did not take a photo but in researching
I think I got 2 Vermillion rockfish and 3 Copper rockfish. Saved one of the vermillion for tacos this evening. Excellent! Water temp at the launch was 57 degrees but I rn into some 66.2 degree water offshore. That is encouraging…Ross Zoerhof
Conception Bay, San Buenaventura,
Frigate birds started to swarm the boiling fish around the sailboat in front. I was serving burgers and beer when I took notice of the action.
I grabbed a kayak and battled through the wind and waves. A little past the sailboat, I threw a jig by a slashing dorsal fin and the fish followed to the kayak. Second cast I had three big fish on my lure like cats on a laser light when one sent my drag screaming.
Hooked up for a 20-minute ride/fight until we both rolled onto the beach with the north winds. Quickly got a photo thanks to the people watching. Went waist deep in the waves — successful revival. The roosterfish swam back to his family on this Mothers’ Day in Mexico. “I promise I have a good excuse for being late!”
The tug is the drug. Catch and Release unless you eat…Nathan Burbey
We have had the tail end of some northern weather system all week with a couple of nice days followed up by north winds. I was having trouble managing to make my way north into a 20-mph wind this afternoon at the same time being thankful I was on my bicycle instead of out in the soup!
Juve (the fishing captain, Juve . . . not the scubaman) put his clients on a pair of nice yellowtail off Coronado Island before the wind rolled into town. Try realizing you have a fish on at three hundred feet instead of stuck on the rocks. A thirty-pound yellowtail can feel like the bottom until he gets mad!
Yellowtail are still being caught with most boats working around Coronado Island. This week bait has been the big factor with less bait being caught during the full moon.
Big green mackerel with some blues mixed in were being caught by the first boats at the deep spot east of Coronado.
Dropping out of the radar this week it has been the cabrilla. Very few have been caught at any spot with any method. This is the time when cabrilla should be coming up out of deep water for feeding and nest building.
Surface iron and small jointed Rapala type lure might be the best bet until the moon changes for shallow cabrilla.
Sargasso and warm surface water temperatures are pointing to a good dorado season. We’ll just hold our breath and cross our fingers…Rick Hill, Pinchy Sportfishing
Puerto López Mateos, Offshore sea temps down to 65 degrees with plenty of bait but no fish…Bob Hoyt, Mag Bay Outfitters
Puerto San Carlos. Report pending.
Towards the end of my day on the beach, I was taken by surprise. I caught this giant clown hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys rivulatus).
This stunningly gorgeous fish is one I’ve been hoping to stumble upon for all my Baja years but haven’t. I was so excited to add this species to my list! Bummer was I was alone also so this is the only photo I got…Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing
The fishing is getting better every day. Great weather and flat seas are the norm now. The rising sea temperature is bringing more species into the game…John Ireland
Anglers hit a hot streak catching yellowfin tuna, striped marlin, which were released unharmed, skipjack, wahoo, ladyfish and triggerfish this week…Felipe Valdez
Puerto Los Cabos
The all-around climate has been nice, very comfortable; cool southern breezes have keep temperatures mild, highs near 85 degrees, lows down to 62 degrees — chilly for this time of year. The main factor this past week was the wind from the south, actually closing the Cabo San Lucas Port on certain days; out of San Jose del Cabo conditions were calmer, though on the fishing grounds to the north, where the yellowfin tuna action was found the previous week, near Vinorama and Iman Banks, there were also gusty northerly winds creating rough conditions and currents were swift. So it was kind of like the washing machine effect, choppy from all different directions.
Offshore action remained slow, though this past week there was improved reports for striped marlin, from the 1150 Spots to straight out from San Jose del Cabo and outside of the Gordo Bank’s. No significant numbers, but more activity than in the past couple of weeks. The month of May is usually one of the best times to find striped marlin on these local fishing grounds, so far this season, this action has been behind schedule to develop. Normally we see a flurry of wahoo action the first part of May, but that has not happened yet either, only a few scattered wahoo were reported this past week.
Gordo Banks to Iman Bank, these were taken while trolling Rapalas and other traditional skirted lures. Ocean temperatures are ranging 74 to 76 degrees throughout most of the zone, even the Pacific is warming back up, so as these recent swirling winds settle down and the moon darkens, we expect the action to improve. The clarity of the water actually improved in recent days, cleaner blue water was found within several miles of shore.
Supplies of sardina are diminishing, though they are still able to net some of these, the other type of clear sardina are now more prevalent, they are not the same, do not stay alive in bait wells and are a lot softer, very hard to keep on a hook. Other bait sources included limited supplies of mullet and caballito.
Most charters this week were scratching out a few inshore species such as sierra, roosterfish and working bottom rock piles for some triggerfish, barred pargo, amberjack and cabrilla. One nice yellowtail was taken on a yo-yo jig off of the Gordo Banks. Slim fish counts overall. The yellowfin tuna action was put on hold due to the ocean conditions, a handful of tuna were landed, up to 35 pounds off of Iman Banks, but these fish were few and far between, the conditions made it very tough to affectively drift fish; the yellowfin are still in the area, at times they were seen up and feeding and then would disappear just as fast…Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas,
Cabo San Lucas
Then, the Port of Cabo San Lucas was closed for a couple of days due to windy weather conditions on the Pacific side of Baja, even though the Sea of Cortez side was nearly flat calm.
Thus far conditions have remained inconsistent. Seems to be plenty of billfish to look at but few that are willing to bite. There have been a few dorado here and there with a few decent size on the Pacific side near Cabo Falso.
One oddity this week was a 110-pound wahoo landed with-in throwing distance of Gray Rock outside the harbor entrance.
Inshore action for roosters, jacks and sierra seems to be holding up just outside Cape Rocks near the shore.
Wrapping things up are the amberjack and yellowtail deep around rock pinnacles.
Cabo Climate: A couple of cloudy days early in the week and then switched to plenty of sunshine as the week progressed. Daytime temps averaged 80 degrees and the nights were averaging 66 degrees. Humidity ratio averaged 53.6%.
Sea Conditions: Cooler waters on the Pacific side at 68 to69 degrees from the Finger Bank to Cabo Falso. Rising at Cabo Falso to 74 and rising to 75 and 76 degrees from Cabo San Lucas to Los Frailes and extending outside to the 1000 Fathom Curve, including the 95 Fathom Spot, the 1150 Fathom Spot, Cabrillo Sea Mount and Gorda Banks and on up to Los Frailes. The port was closed two days due to hard westerly winds that had no real effect on the Sea of Cortez side but the charter fleets were restricted to 40-footers and larger. Surface breezes flowing from the westerly directions at an average of 13.3 mph on the Pacific side and flat calm on the Sea of Cortez side.
Best Fishing Area: The 1150 Fathom Spot was providing good action early in the week and a couple billfish were released on the 95 Fathom Spot.
Best Bait/Lure: Both live baits and rigged baits were working well for the billfish and the wahoo was taken on a rigged ballyhoo bait.
Live Bait Supply: The live bait supply remained readily available for the week at the $3.00 per bait rate…Larry Edwards, Cortez Charters.