Everyone’s attention is turning to the Baha Dorado season. The stakes are high for the local operators as hungry anglers head south to take part in the legendary dorado fishing for which Baja is famous. Striped marlin catches are also producing steadily, a good sign for all local charter boats. The beach fishing was great when the waves weren’t being a nuisance and the roosters are still snapping.
When the wind finally quit off the coast, the bay exploded with life. Tiny anchovies seemed to be the final piece of the puzzle.
Bird schools hovered, yellows and barracuda boiled, and the bite was on for the few that were there to take advantage of what locals are hoping was the beginning of a long, hot season.
Bait wasn’t really needed to keep the bite going… iron worked as well.
“It was run-and-gun at its finest!”
Then there was another hint of things to come with calico’s starting to nibble in the kelp. Here are a few forum posts for more details: http://bit.ly/k0kIgt, http://bit.ly/jtdPKG, http://bit.ly/mufVCc
Brian Foley from Campo “La Joya” on Vonny-I managed to catch limits of calicos and an occasional small white sea bass, all on plastics. He also scored a 22-pound yellow on an aluminum jig.
Fishing had been slow due to the wind, but now that the weather turned around all the locals are awaiting the arrival of anglers. Meanwhile preparations for the upcoming Don Eddie’s Fishing Tournament from July 1-3 are coming along. Sponsors include Don Eddie’s Landing, The Baja Department of Tourism, The Association of Sportfishing Captains of San Quintin, The Old Mill Restaurant, Santa Maria Hotel, The Old Mill Hotel, Jardine’s Baja Hotel and Restaurant.
Apparently the work on the road to Gonzaga Bay is progressing according to recent reports. Plus it sounds like a nice place to check out when the weather gets snotty on Baja’s west coast. Check out this post, http://bit.ly/jFapQL.
Bay of Los Angeles
Vagabundos del Mar will host its 3rd Annual Ralph “Padre Lucas” Yellowtail Tournament from June 29-July 1, in honor of Vagabundo “Padre Lucas,” one of the original yellowtail fishermen and a local legend. Padre held the first Vag Yellowtail Tournament in 1974 out of the Papa Diaz Hotel.
BOLA now has two Pemex stations, electricity, many places to camp and stay, plus outstanding fishing this time of year. For those of you nervous about driving in Baja, caravanning to Mexico has been the mode of travel for the Vagabundos for 43 years. There is a Travel Buddies Calendar to connect those who wish to travel with a buddy. For more tournament information, visit http://www.vagabundos.com/yellowtail.html.
Bahia Asuncion, La Bocana and Abreojos
Due to the reported high surf, fishermen are getting a few days off this week along the west coast of Baja’s midsection. Local fishermen are hoping the unusual conditions will push some halibut and warmer water their way. The high surf that wreaked havoc on the fishing thrilled local surfers.
San Lucas Cove, south of Santa Rosalia, host of the successful yellowtail tournament, yielded a nice mossback yellowtail for the event winner, Doug Moranville, who also was a sponsor of the event.
Here is a Bloodydecks forum post about the fishing action, http://bit.ly/l6BUfX
Not far down Mex 1 at Punta Chivato, the Bulls Only Dorado Tournament will be taking place June 25-26. This year will be the 15th annual of what began as a friendly competition among local sport fishermen. As the tournament name implies, it is all about fishing exclusively for big bull dorado. There is a Captain’s Dinner to kick it all off, tournament fishing, horseshoe competition, casting competition, Baja Beach Boil seafood dinner, awards’ banquet, and more. Boats of all sizes enter the tournament. There are also boats available for charter. For more info, check out this link http://on.fb.me/izRQ9S
One of the first events of the budding dorado season, Bomberos de Mulegé Fishing Tournament, held the last week of May, provided encouragement for the upcoming season. Reports from the two days of fishing confirmed the rumors of plenty of sargasso for the arriving dorado to hide. Participant and Mulege resident, Mike Reichner, said there were lots of fish on both days from just a few miles off the river mouth to 30 miles out in 76-degree water. The fleet of 29 boats and 74 anglers all had a blast.
Congratulations to the winners.
First Place: Charles Jetton, 33.7-pounder on Reel Music
Second Place: John Macy, 27.2-pounder on Poco Mas
Third Place: John Dinning, 25-pounder on Mi Mujer
Largest Other Species: Marlin Larsen, 16-pound cabrilla on Marlin Azul
A record 59,000 pesos were raised for the local charities in Mulegé supported by the annual event.
towed his trailer boat, the ol’ Sea Hag, down to Mulege and Loreto. Highlights of the trip included swimming with whale sharks in Conception Bay and great dorado action plus some nice-sized cabrilla. Check out his post on BD at http://bit.ly/k2zSPL
Mike aboard his boat, Vaya Con Dios, found plenty of sargasso and reported that the dorado aren’t in the channel but are farther outside already. They also connected with some nice cabrilla and yellowtail. Here’s his post, http://bit.ly/m2htgL
Here are a couple of dorado events scheduled in Loreto:
Vagabundos 23rd Annual Loreto Dorado Tournament July 3-6,
Fishin’ for the Mission July 14-17, http://www.fishingforthemission.com/
According to Bob Hoyt of Mag Bay Outfitters, they are finally beginning to see some promising signs of a good year shaping up. The commercial fishermen are seeing lots of bait and a few marlin. A few miles off of Magdalena Island there are some yellowtail as well as a few dorado beginning to arrive around the shark buoys. In the Esteros fishing is on hold as everyone focuses on scallop season.
Baja Pirates of La Paz reported clear water with a lot of sargasso weed and temperatures in the mid to upper 90s. The winds were favorable and the bait has been plentiful, allowing their clients to cash in on a mixed bag including dorado, yellowtail and cabrilla. Here is the full post http://bit.ly/jeFkCD
Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter reported that after a few flurries the big tuna showed on the Ocho-Ocho late in the day. Big fish in the 80- to 200-pound class, including an estimated 150-pounder that Roger Thompson landed. No telling how long the fish will stay, but some big boys are on the growl! Check out all his photos,http://bit.ly/kIC4Zc
“I have been up at Las Arenas fishing from shore,” says Capt. John Schillinger. “I caught a nice bull dorado from shore the other day at the lighthouse beach. It made my drive all the way down from Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. worthwhile!”
Kelly C. stayed at Buena Vista Beach Resort and took time out to report that he had scored on yellowtail up to 40 pounds, was seeing marlin everywhere and catching snappers, dorado and pompano. http://bit.ly/kJ8TFT
East Cape anglers hosted their 16th Annual Billfish Tournament recently with a count of 21 marlin, eight dorado and two wahoo. Check out the post http://bit.ly/jA1DWE
Local fly guide, Jeff deBrown of The Reel Baja was excited with the improved conditions. “Over the last couple of days we have seen more fish moving along the beaches, as well as better numbers out of the boats. The fish are spread from north to south, with many in the area of La Ribera due to the high concentrations of bait in front of the new marina.” Read more here http://bit.ly/mubEQl
John Ireland, Rancho Leonero, emailed in and said, “Another stellar week of fishing. Lots of striped marlin and sailfish released, very good-quality tuna fishing, and more dorado taken than last week. A couple of wahoo in the 90-pound class came to the cleaning table this week. Inside has improved as well, with much larger gallos (roosterfish) than last week. There is still more bait around than in any year I can recall.”
The 7th Annual Van Wormer Resorts Dorado Shootout is set for July 16 at Palmas De Cortez, Playa Del Sol and Punta Colorada. For more information, visit http://vanwormerresorts.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=182&Itemid=182
San Jose del Cabo
Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas found the most consistent action was for striped marlin. Anglers reported scores of billfish on any given charter, scattered throughout, but particularly abundant straight off of San Jose del Cabo and near the Gordo Banks. The stripers were found as close as one or two miles from shore, tailing, free-jumping, feeding and blind striking on trolled lures.
Yellowfin tuna including large-sized footballs to cow-sized specimens over 200 pounds are schooling on the banks. Local pangero Jesus Pino was out with long-time Baja angler Frank Harbin when they found rippling currents near Iman that turned out to be a school of yellowfin. They quickly had a triple-header going, all on jurelitos. Two tuna in the 40- to 50-pound class were brought to gaff quickly. The last hookup was the huge one — the fish towed the boat around as it circled and ran initially on the surface before heading deep. After well over an hour of heavy pressure on stout tackle with 100-pound spectra and an 80-pound fluorocarbon top shot, they finally spotted the fish. They conservatively estimated it in the 250-pound range. It was just not meant to be… on the last circle beneath the boat the line broke and the fish went free.
Dorado are scattered offshore on the same spots as are the marlin, striking trolled lures and bait. Most of the dorado are of quality size, 15 to 40 pounds.
Inshore there has been spotty reports of slow to frenzied action for species includingjack crevalle, roosterfish, amberjack plus the toughest of them all, the gladiator dogtooth snapper.
The combined panga fleets launching from La Playita/Puerto Los Cabos sent out approximately 76 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of four sailfish, 85 striped marlin, 22 dorado, 29 yellowfin tuna, 15 amberjack, five dogtooth snapper, 36 various pargo, five wahoo, 46 roosterfish, 75 jack crevalle, 10 cabrilla, six pompano, 14 shark and eight sierra.
Scattered striped marlin were found throughout the area and most of them were willing to hit a lure or bait, but the concentrations were not there to allow many double digit scores. Most boats were getting between three and five striped marlin releases per day, with a lot of fish just giving quick strikes and not hooking up. The action fluctuated day to day and the fish were moving around quite a bit. While the concentrations were in the Destillidera area, there were fish found closer to home also.
We finally had some decent numbers of yellowfin show up. To the east of us there have been occasional breezers, schools of fish that are traveling just under the surface, pushing the water so it looks like a gust of wind is traveling through. If you see one of them, the chances of hooking up are good — just throw a live bait in front of the school. Boats using this technique were catching fish averaging 45 pounds with an occasional jumbo over 100 pounds.
There were quite a few dorado in the 40- to 50-pound class caught, plus many fish in the 12- to 20-pound class. The warm water on the Cortez side of the Cape produced almost all the fish with the larger ones found offshore and the smaller ones closer to the beach.
Roosterfish were a hit inshore, as some of the larger fish arrived with the warmer water. Fish to 40 pounds could be seen cruising in the waves searching for something to eat and getting a live bait in there usually resulted in a hook-up. George and Mary Landrum said they have about 12 rods on the Dream Weaver and had a total of 11 marlin in one day.
Redrum and Gaviota Sportfishing fleets also confirmed that the billfishing is fantastic right now.
And finally, the best lure/bait is… “Live bait was best when available and rigged baits are working very well, too. Artificials were also producing well in a myriad of colors, including the Petrolero and mackerel colors.”
As far as bait supply… “Just mediocre at best. Lots of junk bait mixed in and not recommended unless nothing else is available. Rigged ballyhoo is working very well.”
Tadeo Hernández Kelly, the Bibi Fleet Manager says, “Inshore fishing continues to be good for red snapper, spotted rose snapper, triggerfish and grunts. Best baits continue to be shrimp, giant shrimp head, and squid. Sailfish have begun to move into the area supplementing the dorado bite that has produced limits for most.”
According to Fleet/Marina Manager, Geronimo Cevallos, “FAD (fish attracting device) buoys are all holding good amounts of dorado in the 20-plus-pound ranges and they are now spaced from 7 to 20 miles offshore, making for excellent light tackle and fly-fishing possibilities for the anglers.”
Other exciting news was a near 500-pound blue marlin, taken aboard the private yacht, Tourbillon, skippered by Capt. Mark Hanson, from California.
Ed Kunze reports that boats are averaging between one and two billfish a day, mostly sailfish. A few striped marlin and blue marlin are also being taken. Santiago on the super panga Gitana released five sailfish this week for his clients on one day, then another two the next.
The inshore fishery for roosters and jacks could be considered incredible, if it wasn’t for the high surf. On the days the surf is low, the catches are fantastic. On one day, Adolfo on the panga Dos Hermanos released 15 roosters for clients from Spain. A few days earlier, under high surf conditions, he fished with Jake Kraus from Fort Collins, CO. This is how Jake described his 50-pound rooster and the day he had with Adolfo: “The fish came right out of the top of the breaking wave and racing down the back side with his fins out of the water, he crushed the popper! It was absolutely awesome to watch! That’s exactly what I came down for and why I love to fish for the roosters! Unfortunately we didn’t get into any other rooster action. But, we were on other fish the entire day! We had two sierra slam our poppers, one very big one that came unhooked at the boat. The birds started working out from the break so we headed out to them and caught jacks and black skipjack tuna for four hours straight! My right arm has been a little sore ever since.”
“Fishing with Adolfo is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a Mexican Captain. I’ve never been a fan of trolling and letting the deck hand catch the fish. I have always loved to cast and be involved with the catching and that is exactly what Adolfo does! We worked very hard all day…”
Thanks for joining me on my latest journey. I will do my best to be your eyes and ears for the Baja fishing scene, but it’s a two-way street, and I hope that each of you will be mine. Let me hear your Baja stories by emailing them to me at [email protected].