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Baja Bytes Weekly Overview 03/10/17

Friday, March 10, 2017
Gary Graham

Que Pasa

Baja Bytes A blue whale’s tail as big as a private plane with Baja Mountains in the distance.

Blue Whale Back A small section of a blue whale’s back . . . only about half the distance from the blow hole to the dorsal fin; the beam on the boat’s transom is 9-feet which might help you appreciate the whale’s size. Note: the boat had turned its engines off, and was sitting still in the water, with the whale doing the traveling.

Baja Bytes
A group of Dana’s whale watchers holding up the official flag. Photos…provided by Dana Jones

One Springtime Fishing Tip for the Sea of Cortez

Springtime fishing in Loreto and nearby waters of the Sea of Cortez can be power-packed with excitement and memorable catches. Pacific yellowtail are the star performers when attached to live bait or yo-yo’ed from deep rock piles. As the weeks pass and the days creep slightly longer, it is the bass-type cabrilla that can add to the fisherman’s mixed bag of triumphs.

Sharing this springtime destination with the avid fishermen are the largest creatures to ever live on this earth. Many different whale species, including the enormous blue whales, feed and cruise all around the near shore and deep water areas.

In Loreto, whale watching has become one of our busiest tourism seasons and we see clients from all over the world. For the serious fishermen this might be surprising news although the bigger surprise is that Mexico has strict rules governing the interactions of humans and whales.

Recently one of the Escondido private fishing boats was returning from the yellowtail battles at Catalana Island and stopped to spend time with some humpback whales. Shortly after, one of the National Marine Park boats pulled alongside and politely explained that “whale watching” has specific rules that they were outside of. After a quick “whale watching” class both boats went their separate ways without hassle or drama.

That brings up the question — what are the rules?

First, any whale watching boat needs to have a permit which is applied for in La Paz in the fall. Along with that permit, an official whale flag is provided and must be displayed on each boat.

Also whale watching providers and boat captains must attend a class that instructs on the rules to be followed.

Minimum distances and positions for following and viewing are impressed along with laminated diagram sheets. (This is serious stuff and serious tourism business. We have clients from as far away as Japan coming every year!)

When I go out fishing, Captain Tony Davis, from the Port Captain’s Office keeps an eye out all times for whales and when we get close to crossing paths with these giants, he slips the engine into neutral and turns it off.

My tip for whale watching: Go with professional providers or do like Tony does!

Share the road with the whales and smoke the yellowtail fillets…Rick Hill

Baja Norte

Coronado Islands . . . No Report.
Small Craft Advisory now in effect until 3 a.m. PST Saturday…
* Winds… NW winds 15 to 25 kts with local gusts to 30 kts.
* Waves/Seas… Combined seas 7- to 9-ft. dominant period 10 seconds. …fishdope.com

The area from the Tijuana Bull Ring, south? Same story.

Jon, Chula Vista, Calif., gives a lengthy account of his recent trip to Ensenada. “Fishing got off to a fun start for those guys . . . catching a bunch of bonito. I pretty much just hung out and waited for bottom time, which is what I really was about — this trip, anyhow. When that finally began, nothing was hitting. The memo I didn’t get was that everything in the water was gorging up on the red crab tide! Really one of the least productive trips for me in years. Managed a few not-so-proud fillets for the freezer.”


Colonet . . . nothing new to report as most boats remained in port!

san quintin Killer of a week last week while fishing in San Quintin, Mexico . . . the Boys at K and M Fishing are always super legit and on their game.


The Upper Sea of Cortez, Bahia De Los Angeles. Somfishe rumblings of decent catches, very sketchy photo only. Still north winds to contend with often.

Baja Sur


white whaleLaguna Ojo de Liebre . . . Every day, every hour is unique on the lagoon with gray whales! Today’s special was spy hopping and those magnificent gray heads were popping up everywhere all around us. But the best one happened about two feet from my head; I was looking the other way and saw the lancheros eyes open wide. I looked around and was nose to nose with a giant! …Shari Bondy

Vizcaino, Ascensión, La Bocana and Abreojos…remains quiet.

Baja Bytes
A couple of our regulars, both fish and human, from the neighborhood — Captain Tony with a Coronado Island yellowtail.

In Loreto Rick Hill, Pinchy Sportfishing, noted the hot yellowtail rock pile this week has been on the far side of Carmen Island at a spot known as “perro”.
Just a mile or so north of Punta Perico the spot was kicking before the mid-week winds kicked in and started back up on Thursday.
Fish from 14 to almost 30 pounds were landed with most fish averaging 25 pounds.

Punta Lobo cooled off but part of that might be related to the bait.
The bait sellers had full receivers this morning but the mackerel could be classified as “super-sized.” I saw mackerel as big as the whitefish being caught and not the 12-inch models . . . these “beefie” bait were pushing 18 inches!
For the few boats running down riggers the action still continues to out-perform soaking macks on the bottom.
Irons have been batting close to zero for the third or fourth consecutive week at most spots.
Cabrilla and pargo continue to be out of town or at least not hungry.
Reds, whitefish and pinto bass will fill up your day if you don’t move a few meters.
One more positive sign of the season is that more green sargasso has been washing up and floating in the current lines; this points to a more normal and improved spring-run of top water action. Soon we should be seeing the yellowtail and cabrilla hitting bait at the surface and chasing deep-trolled hard bait like Rapalas and MirroLures!

Baja Bytes bass caught “Gary, had a good time fishing Puerto Lopez Mateos, Magdalena Bay. Thanks for helping set this up. Went south the first day and my friend Craig Bevin caught 2 small snook on fly. Second day went north to second entrance where we fished before with you, and Alan caught the snook. Some luck there, other spots were better. Caught a lot of fish with 5 doubles landed all on a fly!” …Jack Balch


A rare winter dorado for Mike McGuffin from Folsom, Calif., who was visiting La Paz with his family and found one day when the winds weren’t blowing; he got an unusual winter dorado that turned out to be a pretty nice one as well as a sierra. The fish was caught just outside of Bahia de los Muertos. He was fishing with Tailhunter Sportfishing in La Paz.


Baja BytesEast Cape, season for Rancho Leonero opened last week. Only a few boats were out. The weather has been fantastic, very pleasant with very light winds. As we said in our last report, you never know how things will develop, but under normal conditions April produces by far the best striped marlin fishing of the year, and conditions are truly normal! Predictions are that East Cape will have very good fishing this spring. …John Ireland


Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas, San Jose del Cabo Report pending.

Cabo San Lucas

30 pound yellowtailApproximately 30-pound yellowtail caught aboard the Pisces La Brisa.



Cabo San Lucas is now in its second month of very poor fishing results and no marlin have shown up in the local waters for the past six weeks or so . . . at least none that would bite.

Cabo Climate: A couple of partly cloudy days that turned into sunny and warm weather for the balance of the week. Daytime temps averaged 83.6 degrees and nites at 65.2. Humidity ration averaged 40.2%. Overall, very good weather for the snowbirds.

Sea Conditions: Sea surface conditions flowing mostly from the westerly directions at an average of 11 mph. Water temps from the Finger Bank to Cabo Falso at 71 degrees; Cabo San Lucas to Gorda Banks and out 5 to 6 miles at 71 degrees. Outside the 5 to 6 miles, temps increased to 74 to 75 degrees.

Best Fishing Area: There was no “best fishing area” for any of the boats. We are now entering our second month of very difficult fishing in the Cabo San Lucas region and everyone is eagerly looking forward to better fishing reports.

Best Bait/Lure: The roosterfish were best on live bait, skipjack best on small trolling feathers. The mako sharks bit on live bait.

Live Bait Supply: Live bait supply has been excellent for caballitos. …Larry Edwards, Cortez Charters.

roosterfishWhat a difference a day makes; yesterday we only found sierra and the roosterfish weren’t biting. The day before there was a good rooster bite, and today Pat, Gary and Jack got these two nice ones. A few minutes ago big roosters in the match — Yea Baby We love it. Way to go guys. …Grant Hartman

Baja BytesNiles Hannewyck, Michigan. He also caught a yellowtail, a grouper, 2 toro plus 5 other sierra. …Gricelda Smokehouse

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Gary Graham, the BD Outdoors Baja Editor, has more than five decades fishing experience off of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula. From light tackle and fly up to offshore marlin fishing, Gary has experienced all facets of this fishery. He's set several fly-fishing world records and in his first year as a member of the Tuna Club of Avalon, he received more angling awards than any other first-year member in the club's 109-year history. He's been involved with many California angling clubs and is the Baja California Representative for the International Game Fish Association. 
Gary's a conservationist as well as a writer and photographer. In addition to two books on saltwater fly-fishing, hundreds of his articles and photographs have appeared in publications around the world. Graham has devoted his life to finding new fisheries and developing new techniques — all of which he shares through his guiding, speaking, photography and writing.