Yellowtail & Sierra Brighten A Chilly Baja Week

I think we can officially say the winter edition of the “yellowtail battles” have started!

A good grade of yellowtail with a mix of rockfish is the story from San Quintin and Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez side. The tackle buster sized fish from there all the way down to Loreto challenged visiting anglers.

Que Pasa

An unusual albino whale photographed at Puerto Chale, in the municipality of La Paz, BCS
Photographs: Manuel González

Tijuana Bull Ring
This area produced small to medium sized rockfish and whitefish along with the odd lingcod. Quite a few of these were shorts though, under the 22-inch size limit…

Coronado Islands
Just rockfish! The Islands got looked at yesterday and were found to be quiet for either yellowtail or big bonito. Most boats fell back on the rockfish off the north and northeast of North Island…

Near limits of a mixed bag including yellowtail, rockfish, bonito and other miscellaneous bottom fish…Mara’s Sport Fishing.

San Quintin

Wow! Andale! Good fishing with Captain Juan Cook.

Bahía Asunción
No Report

Bahia De Los Angeles

Joel Prieto Ceseña

Laguna Ojo de Liebre

Back to nice calm weather at Laguna Ojo de Liebre making it a pleasure to hang with friendly whales.

Today’s visitors were an interesting mother and her frisky baby. It was all Mom could do to keep up with her very curious, energetic toddler who was also quite uncoordinated and miscalculated where its body parts were a few times! …Shari Bondy, Whale Magic Tours


Thirty or more boats were fishing in one area, and all were catching big fish, so it’s safe to say that “warm-ups” are over.

That’s been the story this week with most boats working La Cholla for yellowtail averaging 20 pounds. Boiling bait, firecrackers and cabrilla were working the surface with the bigger boys down closer to the rocks. (All of the boats were hooking the bigger fish but getting them up off the bottom was almost impossible!)

The good news about the bite was that it was closer than many of the traditional spots. La Cholla consists of a string of boulders stretching from Coronado’s southern tip to the northwest corner of Carmen, which puts it about halfway to Lobo and the 50 Spot, with some other famous rocks even farther off the map!
Some of the captains use the “tried and true” method of soaking a mackerel on a 20-foot leader just above the bottom. Another productive method is to slow-troll a bait down deep with a bunch of lead to cover more territory!

The bloom of blue whales that showed up suddenly a few weeks ago are still thrilling many boatloads of visitors making this busy season a success!
Big yellowtail and big whales make March a “best month” for Loreto.

Yellowtail that are averaging 18- to 20-pounds have been pried off the La Cholla Rocks. There are fish in the area that will pull the line off a locked-down drag; they always like to stretch you out a good deal until they clip you off…Rick Hill

La Paz

MEXICAN MINUTE LA PAZ FISHING REPORT from Tailhunter Sportfishing for Week of Mar. 3-10, 2019… Jonathan Roldan, Tailhunter International

East Cape
Here on the beautiful East Cape of Baja, the air and water temperatures are rising, and the winds are beginning to subside. We have had a few boats out this week,

but the prime fishing season is right around the corner.

Boat crews at Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort are busy readying our fleet for another spectacular season…Axel Valdez

*El Cardonal

Just returned from another great trip where I stayed at my amigo Todd’s beautiful home in El Cardonal. We had a good weather window over the weekend, and the fishing was pretty good, especially for early March.

We ended up with five yellowtail up to 30 pounds, one amberjack around 30 pounds, two cabrilla, one dorado, and several white bonito…Mulege Mike

Puerto Los Cabos

The good news was that in recent days there have been sardina found schooling near the Marina jetty, and some nice sierra, jack crevalle, and even roosterfish have been found along the beach stretches. Hopefully, these baitfish will remain in the region for the coming months. Other bait options were caballito, chihuil, ballyhoo and slabs of squid.

Most local charters have been working the grounds from the Gordo Banks to the Iman Bank, with some scouting as far north as Vinorama.  The most common species have been the Eastern Pacific bonito and red snapper (mostly smaller fish, but all good eating), striking on yo-yo jigs and various bait. Some red crabs were starting to be seen at times drifting to the surface which could develop into something if we see this happen on a more consistent basis. Occasional amberjack or leopard grouper were highlighting the bottom action with no yellowtail reported.

The yellowfin tuna have become very scarce recently; only a very few have been hooked, and only a handful have been brought in. Those fish that were weighed in were in the 30- to 70-pound class range. However, just the past few days there were some tuna seen breezing the surface on the Gordo Banks as well as on the Iman Bank.

Dorado have also become very scattered after the inshore water changed to an off-colored green; a few anglers have been lucky enough to find a few 15-pound dorado.

The striped marlin have also been very scattered, though every day we have seen a few landed. Bait schools are more spread out, so the marlin seem not to be congregating on any hot spot.

With the climate continuing to warm up as the spring season approaches, we should start to see more gamefish appearing on local grounds.

Now it is fiesta time in San Jose del Cabo, and the annual carnival will be coming to town, bringing special events which include off-road races and the local fishing tournament with divisions for shore fishing, kayaks, and offshore boats…Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas

Cabo San Lucas

I fished with Jaime on the Jessica yesterday 3/5. The fishing was insane! We fished snappers off the beach in the morning and got four nice fish. Then we headed to the Golden Gate for bait and a shot at marlin. All the big $500,000 plus boats were out there, and no one had bait. After not giving up on bait, we finally found it and went to the yellowtail honey hole and quickly pulled in a decent yellow…Charlie Plum

One of the best meals I have ever had was in CSL. I caught a sierra that day and took it into the sushi bar on the harbor, located next to the Nowhere Bar. They sliced it thinly, seared it, and served it with a chili/cream sauce they made especially for sierra. Amazing!…Paul

The striped marlin have continued to spread out along the Pacific side with good action concentrated from just a few miles off the Lighthouse out to the Golden Gate and San Jamie Bank. The seasonal migration has begun to turn the corner following schools of bait up into the Sea of Cortez. Stripers are now reported off Palmilla and Punta Gorda and as far east as the Gordo Banks. The fleets are reporting solid counts averaging one to two fish per day, with a few still reporting multiple fish for their anglers. The dorado counts have been a bit spotty, but the wahoo counts have been up. Yellowfin tuna counts were also down a bit, perhaps because of fewer boats targeting the tuna as they were almost 30 to 35 miles out. The wahoo have been spotted from west of the Lighthouse along to the east off Palmilla.

Inshore fishing has improved with nice catches of schools of skipjack, along with the sierra and jacks showing from Solmar to El Arco.

Roosterfish have had a good showing in the surf from Solmar around the point to the Lighthouse and in the Palmilla area. Yellowtail are also showing up in the most recent counts.

Cabo Climate: Late February into early March has been a bit cooler than average with a mix of mostly sunny-to partly-cloudy skies. The outlook is for a pleasant March with average daytime temps in the mid- to upper-70s and evenings in the low- to mid-60s. The two-week forecast is for mostly sunny-to-partly cloudy skies with zero chance of rain through late March. Winds are expected to pick up a bit into the 9- to 15-mph range through late March, mostly out of the W and W/SW. Humidity is expected to run in the mid-60s.
Sea Conditions: Seas have been relatively calm in the mornings throughout the area with some swells and chop showing up in the afternoons as breezes increase. The forecast is for more of the same with winds in the 9-to 15-mph range from the W and W/SW. Pacific side sea temps seem to have stabilized. Temps are running from 71- to 74-degrees on the Pacific side and in the 69- to the 73-degree range on the inside around the corner to the Sea of Cortez as some cooler, greener water has pushed down.
Best Fishing Areas: The marlin hot spots have remained primarily to the west and north, but decent action was again reported on the inside this past week. The Lighthouse area has been a major hot spot with most of the fish that were from two to ten miles offshore toward the canyon. Good numbers of stripers are also showing in the Golden Gate and San Jamie areas. Soaking live bait off Palmilla, the 95 Spot, and the Gordo Bank was reported successful for the marlin.
The yellowfin, when found, are 25- to 30-miles out to the s and sw. The best catches of dorado seem to have been on the inside off Palmilla and Punta Gorda. No reports off the Finger Bank recently; however, private sports fishers traveling down are reporting good numbers of billfish there for those willing to make the 50-mile run. Wahoo were being reported from west of the Lighthouse around the inside off Palmilla.
Favorite Bait: Trolled black/green or green/silver mackerel-looking lures, along with live mackerel or live caballito have been the favorite for marlin. Trolled feathers and cedar plugs were the ticket for the yellowfin. Hoochies were by far the preferred and most productive lures for the sierra. Poppers near the surf were the most successful bait for jack crevalle and roosterfish.
Bait Supply: Live bait is available at $3.00 per bait upon exit from the harbor. Mackerel, when available, are popular with the captains.

Mainland Mexico

San Carlos

A friend of mine, Fernando Almada from San Carlos, caught a huge baqueta (Gulf Coney) last Friday in over 300-feet of water.

Here is a picture he took of the fish with one of his clients.

To think that the IGFA record stands at a mere 24-pounds?…Rada

The offshore boats reported a mix of striped marlin, sailfish, and dorado. More billfish were sighted than were hooked as the fish were still a bit finicky. The sailfish reappeared late in the week and were cooperative on trolled lures. Dorado also showed up late in the week to add to the action. The inshore boats reported some great action on quality jacks and continued success on the snappers, sea bass and queen triggers on 4-hour or 6-hour trips.
Climate: Late February into early was very pleasant but cooler than normal but the outlook into mid-March is favorable with low 80s daytime, and upper 50s to low 60s in the evenings. The forecast through late March is for mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies with breezes picking up a bit into the 9- to 14-mph range primarily out of the West trending toward the WSW and WNW toward late March. Humidity is predicted to be in the upper 50s going into late March for very pleasant fishing conditions.
Sea Conditions: The water has been seasonally cooling and now in the 71- to 73-degree range resulting in a larger showing of the striped marlin but fewer sailfish sightings until the water warms a bit again. They enjoyed mostly calm seas with some afternoon swells and chop. The future outlook is for relatively calm seas in the mornings with some afternoon swells and chop as the winds pick up in the afternoons.
Best Fishing Area: The offshore bite for the billfish is starting about ten to twelve miles out with best results to the west and southwest of the Marina El Cid. Inshore, the super pangas are finding success all along the coast, especially around the rocks. The water is very clear from the shore out to the offshore breaks.
Best Bait & Lures: Freshly-caught, rigged trolling bait and smoke trail lures produced best results for the billfish and feathers, and cedar plugs worked best for the tuna.
Bait Supply: Freshly-caught bait are readily available from the bait boats.

Our Local Reporter: Ms. Kitcia Berenice Ceja-Diaz, the Aries Fleet and Marina El Cid Office Manager and fishing reporter.
Fleet and Marina El Cid Office Manager and fishing reporter

Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo

The independent fleet reported a very active week on the blue marlin bite, along with a pickup in sailfish action.

The dorado action was again slow with fish found closer to the 100-fathom mark.

The yellowfin were out at the 30- to 35-mile mark for those willing to go the extra distance. Great warm, blue water extended almost to the 100-fathom line from five to six miles out. Fly-fishing and spinning rigs for both jack and bonito inshore have continued to be steady. Rooster action this past week was again good, as there was cooler green water very near the shore and the roosterfish were again cruising the break lines. Capt. Temo reports the inshore fishing for jacks is HOT! Large schools of quality jacks have been reported off the rocks! Nice sierra were again being reported 100 to 200 yards off the beach.

The early March sailfish action was very solid with fish this past week moving out a bit to the 8- to 12-mile mark. Capt. Temo reports quality-size sailfish with many surpassing the 100-pound range.

Inshore, the bonito and the jack crevalle were very aggressive for some fantastic fly-fishing opportunities. The roosterfish made a solid showing to the south, cruising the break-lines along with a bit of off-colored cooler green water very near the shoreline. The White Rocks was once again a hot spot this past week for the big jacks with large schools of fish reported. The best rooster counts were to the south toward Vicente Guerrero.

Climate: Early March reflected their typical late winter to early spring climate with a mix of mostly sunny to partly cloudy days. The outlook is for even warmer temps and mostly sunny skies. The prediction for daily temps are in the upper 80s and nighttime temps in the mid- to low-70s with humidity expected to run in the mid- to upper-60s through late March. The winds are expected to be mild in the 8- to 13-mph range from the W and W/SW.
Sea Conditions: The offshore water temperature has stabilized and is now in the 83- to 84-degree range from the five to six-mile mark at the 100-fathom line out to the 1,000-fathom line at 25- to 30 miles. Inshore temperatures are running a bit cooler at 79- to 81-degrees. The offshore water at the 1000-fathom mark is now clear blue into the 100-fathom mark. Inshore, the water is cooler and greener which has been very good for the top-water bite. With breezes in mid-single digits, the seas are very calm, particularly in the mornings.
Best Baits & Lures: Rigged trolling baits and smoked trail lures continue to produce for the billfish and dorado with most boats preferring a mix of rigged baits for the billfish and smaller lures and feathers for the dorado. Inshore topwater poppers are the favorite for the roosterfish, bonito, and jacks. Cedar plugs and feathers are working best on the yellowfin when found.
Bait Supply: The bait supply remains good and freshly caught baits are provided gratis with most charters. Live bait is readily available at this time and is $5.00/dozen paid directly to the bait vendors.
Our Local Reporter: Captain Temo Verboonen – owner/operator of the Secuestro de Amor and Macho Banana.

Costa Rica

Pescadora Billfish Championship is at Marina Pez Vela.
Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica ·

“To tell a woman everything she cannot do is to tell her what she can.”

Some stats from the first annual Pescadora Billfish Championship:
~Eighty-One (81) Female Anglers.
~Seven different countries.
~Twenty-Two) 22 Boats.
~An average of twenty-three (23) billfish released per boat.
~Fifty (50) bottles of champagne for mimosas.
~More than twenty (20) coordinated team outfits (some changing daily).
~Nineteen (19) countries followed the leaderboards and Sancochero TV on our website.
~Nearly 200 fish tagged for Gray FishTag Research Research.
~$48k in prize money given out.
~At least eleven (11) women caught their first billfish during this tournament
~Twenty-Six (26) marketing partners made this weekend possible.

~One dream made a reality by Samantha Johns Mumford.


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That Baja Guy-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 record...