Huge Baja Roosterfish Signal Late Spring Start

Baja Bytes

Baja Editor
May 11, 2011
Lake Elsinore, CA USA
Gary Graham
Boat Name
May 7, 2019 by That Baja Guy-Gary Graham

By all accounts, the bluefin bite below the border vaporized for most, except for Coronado, Ensenada and San Quintin where the sacks were filled with yellows. While the remainder of the Baja’s Pacific Coast seems lethargic.
The Sea of Cortez side struggled to make Cinco de Mayo memorable with mixed results.
Baja Sur sputtered to life as Loreto excited some and disappointed many with less than wide open conditions; there were better catches in La Paz and East Cape, while others waited for conditions surrounding Baja’s tip to catch up.

Que Pasa


Report from Lori Heath;
“On the “Chief” — a one and a half-day trip and what a great trip! I was the only girl, and I won the jackpot again — $520 that went to the hard-working crew and the great chef

“Thank you to Captain Rick and his crew for a fun trip! You guys bust your butts, and we thank you! Fishing was tough; we had several flat-fall bites in the early gray light, but only one smaller-grade was landed during the day. The fly line, which had been working, wasn’t working now as the fish were staying deeper, so after trying my flat-fall several times with no success, I decided to switch out to my trusty 3-oz. rubber-band torpedo sinker, set up with 40-pound Izorline fluorocarbon leader and a 3/0 Owner circle hook. It worked. Hookup!! Some kelp patty yellowtail…

“Humbled and extremely blessed to have this opportunity to do what I’m passionate about, fishing! Life is good, even if I don’t catch — that’s just icing on the cake…

Tijuana Bull Ring
Epic sandbass bite outside the kelp with some keeper halibut strung out on the flats.
There have also been rumors of a few large sea bass caught on live mackerel during the night. The seabass came on dropper loop rigs along the kelp line…Lori

Coronado Islands / Rockpile

There are yellowtail to be caught at the Islands right now. The Pukey Point area and down the weather side to the Key Hole were the hot spots.

That said, there is a good chance of finding yellowtail almost everywhere. Over the past several days, yellows have been found at the Gun Site and below South Island down at SKR. They have also been seen and caught this week on the Middle Grounds (pretty good area today!), on the weather side of South Island, the Light House kelp, the Ribbon Kelp and the 5 Minute Kelp, but the best bet is to stay mobile. Try slow-trolling sardina or Rapalas or the Nomad plugs while scanning the area for birds and sonar marks.

When found, they have been caught on everything — surface and yoyo iron, fly line, dropper loop sardine, mackerel, troll plugs and even some on plastics.

There are also some mixed-grade bonito around with most in the 7- to 10-pound class.…

425 / 371 / 230 / Upper Hidden Bank / 390 / San Salvador Knoll
Very hit and miss bluefin fishing on the weekend — a handful of boats got a few while many never saw any sign of them at all. Nobody is getting the big counts right now — one to three, or maybe a dozen IF you were the lucky boat!
Many are getting skunked on the tuna; they are getting sonar marks down 150 to 200 feet, but the tuna are not responding for the most part.

Some guys found kelp with little three-pound yellowtail on them. Best area for these was just above and just below the 425, although there were other kelp scattered all over the entire area.

The guys in the 425-area said about half of the kelps are holding along a strong current break running north/south through the area.

During the daytime, there have been a few balloon or kite/double-trouble rig bluefin caught over the past several days, and this is the No. 1 way to get these really big tuna to the boat as it is nearly impossible to land a 150+ tuna on 40-pound fly line gear.

For most guys the bites continue to come on the fly lined sardina fished on 30- to 40-pound fluorocarbon, a small circle hook, and a HOT sardina. Take some time to pick the best sardine possible! You want a pale green back and NO red spots on the body. Generally speaking, the hardest one to catch in the bait well is the one you want to be using.

Lately, there have been more flat-fall fish. Not just at night either. Some guys are getting them during the daytime as well. These are generally coming off stops where the bluefin are showing down around 150- to 200-feet. Fish the flat-fall with at least a 100-pound fluoro leader. 130- to 150-pound is even better. Use at least 60-pound. When fishing the Flat-fall jigs, 80 to 100-pound gear is much better. The nighttime hours from 7-pm until 6-am is all about the Flat-fall jigs…


Easy limits of yellowtail… Sammy Susarrey Amador
San Quintin

Monday at K&M Sportfishing: Great fishing for @saderwings @tohlsson @leetron3030 with George Catian

The guys wanted to pull on some sportcoats so first stop was San Martin Island. They got into yellowtail as well on iron and rapalas.

Gonzaga Bay


Bahía Asunción

The concrete work on the seawall project is finished as of yesterday. I assume they will now start on the backfilling of the wall which I’m sure will be completed in time for our first major south swells, which normally happen in the August time-frame.

Today is also the first day of the Abalone Season, and all of the dive boats were headed out early this morning. Perfect conditions for it today — clear, clean water with very little swell. The inshore water is in the 57- to 58- degree range which is far too cold for me, but the divers are prepared for it, and the cold water is good for the abalone. Anglers are looking forward to a good season with the quota set at almost double of that of the last two seasons. The quotas are set based on quarterly surveys performed locally on not only numbers but also through laboratory analysis to determine the health of the species.

Since the close of the lobster season, there has not been much work available for the fishermen of the community. Some do some gill netting, mainly for yellowtail, but like me, they are having a hard time finding them in any numbers. If you notice in the foreground at the beginning of the video, there is some brownish-red stuff laying on the ground, another product from the sea that some folks harvest. It is a type of seaweed that divers harvest; they lay it out to dry for a few days and then bale it up and ship it to Asia. I’m not sure if it is for food or medicinal purposes…Ross Zoerhof


A bunch of boats decided to ditch the usual daily routine of hitting a few ‘tails at the close in spots and headed north. Idelfonso Island is a long run and for that reason doesn’t get constantly worked over by the Loreto sport boats.


“She caught three plus a pirate to help hold them up!” A typical day’s work for the average boat — notice the summer look of calm water and bright sunshine!Also, in the area is Almejas Bay and Pulpito with Idelfonso Island a few miles farther out.
The “big bite” is still alluding the searchers, but most of the earliest boats are landing a few 25- to 30-pound yellowtail.

Almejas was good for pargo and cabrilla with the biggest “snapper” hitting 16 pounds.

Still tons of bait and the sun is becoming “summertime brutal!” Bring lots of sunscreen and Rapala-type hard bait to troll on the ride back to home base (cabrilla are still whacking lures along the rocks!)…Rick Hill

I just got back from a week-long trip in and around Loreto. The fishing was fun, and this board was helpful, so I wanted to share a couple of fish tales…Austin

On the second day of the Los Rancheros yellowtail tournament in Loreto, I caught this 18-pound Leopard grouper, locally known as cabrilla, that won “Biggest Other Species” for the tournament day. It was tough yellowtail fishing as there are a lot of them around, but most of them are small…Chris Wheaton


With great pleasure, I was at San Javier, Loreto, where together with Mayor Arely Arce, we led the event to launch the operation of satellite internet service and telephone for the benefit of the population of this community full of history. With these services, students will have more and better opportunities in their teaching and will give a great boost to the town using new technologies.
As a pilot plan, we carried out the installation of this service in San Javier which provides us the guidelines and inspiration to continue working and take this benefit to more communities. Congratulations!!! Carlos Mendoza Davis

Magdalena Bay

“Good day and an excellent start to the week for everyone. Clam season is open as of today in Bahia Magdalena, and will be open until May 20;

The total quota will be 412 tons according to the SEPADA, Gobierno Del Estado De BCS, (Secretary of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Agricultural Development,) who wishes the best of luck to those participating in this fishery that provides economic stability and welfare to thousands of families in the municipality of Comondu”…Andrés Córdova, BCS

La Paz

MEXICAN MINUTE FISHING REPORT FROM Tailhunter Sportfishing for Week of April 28-May 5, 2019

Courtney joined us last week at the last minute and scored the fish of a lifetime!
Captain Efren put her on the fish, and Captain Brian Horseley @brianhorseley coached her after Captain Sarah Garner @captainsarahgarner got her dialed into the game. The girl can cast — a real thrill for all of us! Congratulations Courtney! …Gary Bulla Flyfishing

East Cape

More than one-hundred children, ages 12 and under, from all over the East Cape participated in this year’s 8th Annual Día del Niño Fishing Tournament on Sunday, April 28. This annual event is always an amazing, joyful event, proudly hosted by Lazy Daze Beach Bar and Restaurant.

Here these kids had the experience of a lifetime sport fishing — many for the first time, and with great results!… Axel at Hotel Buena Vista

Warming sea temps of 76- to 78-degrees with clear and flat conditions and easterly breezes in the afternoon.
There has been beautiful spring weather with clear blue skies and highs in the low 80s.

There are many reports of more birds and bait sighted, and yesterday there were more flying fish than previous weeks. Reports from La Paz to San Jose are that the fish are starting to show. It looks like things are perking up everywhere. Fleets reported good wahoo, striped marlin, amberjack and to top it off, limits of yellowfin tuna.

Very good inshore fishing for red snapper, pargo, cabrilla, grouper, pompano, sierra, and white bonito; nice-sized roosterfish to 50 pounds are biting aggressively.

Most boats are fishing north around Cerralvo Island. The fleet is catching lots of bottom and top fish; almost all are being taken on sardina. Good action! Anglers are pulling on fish all day. Yellowfin were taken under porpoise, far south and outside.


Yellowtail with Jesus Manual, son of local Gordo Banks Pangas skipper Jesus Pino.
Puerto Los Cabos

Sardina have been the main baitfish being found, though they are a bit spottier from day-to-day; the “netters” have been finding these schooling baitfish from near the marina jetty and off Palmilla, though not in the quantity as in the past.

There is a warming trend with different currents pushing in towards the Gordo Banks’ zone, and this has helped spark more activity. Large whale sharks were also sighted, slowly cruising around, and not spooked by any boat traffic, being larger than most boats themselves.

No huge numbers of any gamefish species have been landed, although a variety of fish were being seen, including yellowtail to 30 pounds. Early on, some boats landed as many as three yellowtail; since it has slowed though, these yellows are still in the area. Downriggers proved to show best results, though not all boats use this method. Free-swimming wahoo were spotted, but not on the bite; some tuna was seen working the surface, but they proved difficult; there was an occasional hook up reported. Jigging off the bottom produced some bonito and snapper.

A handful of yellowfin tuna were caught between 80- and 100-pounds on the grounds from Iman, San Luis, and Vinorama — mostly by local pangeros specifically targeting them for commercial value.

Closer to shore, species included sierra, yellow snapper, African pompano, triggerfish and a handful of amberjack.

Offshore there were reports of striped marlin activity from around the 1150 Spot just starting to develop, and we expect to see this bite come on strong through May, which is the main season for stripers on these local grounds off San Jose del Cabo.

We expect to see schools of mullet in abundance soon, which in turn will attract more inshore gamefish, such as dogtooth snapper, amberjack, jack crevalle, and roosterfish. Currently, the main inshore action was for sierra mostly along with smaller-sized roosterfish…Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas

Cabo San Lucas

Mixed results fishing is not unusual this month. The overall tourist activity seems to be a bit slow this year with many of the boats having several days in between trips. The striped marlin were finicky eaters, but they seem to have warmed up and are biting again. Good billfish counts are being reported now from the 1150 Spot, along with continued good action at the Golden Gate and San Jamie Banks. The yellowfin tuna bite is solid again with mid-size fish being reported around the San Jamie Bank and in the Herradura to the south. Dorado continue to be scarce, but counts were up – mostly from the Lighthouse east to Palmilla. Some nice wahoo have been reported mostly to the south toward the Herradura.

The inshore fishing was very productive with some nice counts of snapper, grouper, sierra, and yellowtail in the 15- to 30-pound range.

Cabo Climate: Warming and pleasant average daytime temps in the upper 70s and evenings in the mid to upper 60s are expected in mid-May. The two-week forecast is for mostly partly cloudy to sunny skies. Winds are expected to be a bit higher than normal in the 12- to 15-mph range, mostly out of the West and NW. Humidity is expected to run in the mid-60s.

Sea Conditions: Forecast through mid-May is for winds in the 10-to 16 mph range from the West and NW. The Pacific side sea temps have stabilized considerably with an average temperature range running 72- to 75 degrees with mostly clear water, and the inside has also warmed with temps in the 72- to 74-degree range around the Gordos with the water clearing this past week.

Best Fishing Areas: The Golden Gate and San Jamie Banks and the 1150 Spot were the clear hotspots for billfish action. The yellowfin were located around the San Jamie Banks and to the south to the Herradura and the Southwest as close as 15 miles. Los Arcos and Migrino were the choice for inshore fishing with some nice catches of sierra coming off Migrino as well as some quality yellowtail in the 20- to 30-pound class.

Favorite Bait: Slow trolling live mackerel was the favorite for the billfish with increased success from trolled lures. Success can also be found by throwing live bait to tailing marlin on the surface. Cedar plugs were the favorite for yellowfin. Hoochies were by far the preferred and most productive lures for the sierra. Poppers near the surf were the most successful bait for roosterfish. Dead bait was the ticket for snapper and grouper. Live caballito were the best for the yellowtail.

Bait Supply: Live bait is available at the $3.00 per bait upon exit from the harbor; mackerel, when available, is popular with the captains.

Mainland Mexico

San Carlos

The offshore boats reported a mix of striped marlin, sailfish and yellowfin tuna. The inshore boats had another solid week and reported good action on snapper and Queen triggers.

Mazatlan Climate: The early May outlook is favorable with warming to the mid-80s daytime and mid-60s in the evenings. The forecast through mid-May is for mostly sunny and partly cloudy skies with breezes in a modest 9- to 12-mph range primarily out of the WNW trending toward the West toward mid-May.

Sea Conditions: The water has been warming a bit and is now in the 73- to 75-degree range resulting in a seasonal showing of the striped marlin. On longer runs out to 25 miles and beyond, they are finding 76-degree water and the yellowfin tuna. The future outlooks is for relatively calm seas in the mornings with some afternoon swells and chop as the winds pick up in the afternoons in the 9- to 12-mph range.

Best Fishing Area: The offshore bite for billfish is starting about 12- to 15-miles out with best results to the west and southwest of the Marina El Cid. Longer runs out to 25 miles, and warmer water are finding schools of yellowfin. 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 billfish. The tuna are being caught on feathers and cedar plugs.

Bait Supply: Freshly caught bait are readily available from the bait boats.


The independent fleet reported good action on the plentiful striped marlin with most boats raising from five to eight fish per day and ideal conditions for fly anglers being able to tease up the marlin with hookless lures and then throw streamers to them.

As always, there was the normal sailfish mix, and a few smaller blue marlin reported. The yellowfin were again found way out at the 30- to 40-mile mark for those willing to go the extra distance. The dorado improved this past week with a couple of big bulls being reported. Fly-fishing and spinning rigs for jacks, Chula (false albacore) and bonito inshore has continued to be steady. Rooster action this past week was spotty-to-slow and again mostly to the south.

When the 36th Annual International Sailfish Tournament comes to town and kicks off on Friday, this should change.

It will likely take several weeks for things to settle down after 300 boats pound the water for three days.
The action this past week began as close as the 10- to 12-mile mark. The striped marlin were very aggressive this past week with ideal conditions for the “tease and cast” fly fishermen. Yellowfin were again found 30- to 40+ miles out, well past the 1000-Fathom mark with quality fish in the 50- to 75-pound range. Striped marlin were the prime target, surpassing the historic Zihuatanejo sailfish bite. Inshore the bonito, false albacore, and jack crevalle were very aggressive for some fantastic fly-fishing opportunities. The White Rocks was again a hot spot this past week for the big jack crevalle with large schools of fish reported. The best rooster counts when found were again to the south toward Vicente Guerrero.

IZ Climate: They are now into their late spring climate with a mix of mostly sunny and partly-cloudy days. The two-week outlook is for even warmer temps and mostly sunny-to partly-cloudy skies. Daily temps are predicted in the mid to upper 80s and nighttime temps in the low- to mid-70s with humidity expected to run in the 80s through mid-May. The winds are expected to be relatively mild in the 8- to 11-mph range primarily from the West and SW.

Sea Conditions: The spring offshore water temperature stabilized and is now in the 83-degree range from the 5-or 6-mile mark at the 100-Fathom line out to the 1,000-Fathom line at 30- to 32-miles and beyond. These temps are beginning to bring in the blue marlin and yellowfin in larger numbers. The offshore, clear blue water has recently moved as close as 5- or 6-miles out with some very deep blue water now out beyond the 1000-Fathom mark at 32- to 35-miles out to 50 miles. Inshore, the water was a in the 80- to 81-degree range and clearing this past week. With breezes in the upper single digits, the seas are very calm, particularly in the mornings.

Best Baits & Lures: Rigged trolling bait and smoke trail lures continue to produce for the billfish and dorado with most boats preferring a mix of rigged bait for the billfish and smaller lures and feathers for the dorado. Inshore topwater poppers are the favorite for the roosterfish, bonito, and jack crevalle. Cedar plugs and feathers are working best on the yellowfin when found.

Bait Supply: The bait supply remains good and freshly caught bait are provided gratis with most charters. Live bait are readily available at this time and are $5.00/dozen paid directly to the bait vendors.

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Upvote 0


Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    Costa Mesa
    Boat Name
    Another awesome report...lot of nice fish! Keep em coming.
    Great readingand keep me pumped up. LOL The smiles on those
    kids faces with their new bikes and other goodies says it all. Too cool

    I had to pull the plug on my 3day end of May, as the Deltoid is not
    fully healed and pain some days. Hopefully can try a 1.5 day soon 1st.
    News at 11. LOL TC
    Last edited:
    Upvote 0


    Almost A Member
  • Aug 1, 2012
    Boat Name
    Did you take any pics of the winning fish?
    Just curious to see if any of the captains I fish with were in the winners.
    Upvote 0


  • Jan 19, 2016
    Jed Venture
    Boat Name
    the twisted ducker
    Lori will out fish your ass, then drink you right under the table.

    Get it girl!!!
    Upvote 0