Paine passes and wahoo snap...

Discussion in 'Baja Bytes By Gary Graham' started by Baja Bytes, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Baja Bytes

    Baja Bytes Baja Editor BD Writer

    Lake Elsinore, CA USA
    Gary Graham
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    Baja Bytes Weekly Overview
    Friday, September 23, 2016,
    Gary Graham

    Que Pasa

    In case you missed it, here is a link to my latest feature “Baja Badlands.”

    Also below, a friend and fellow Baja enthusiast, David Kier, shared a map and itinerary of his recent caravan that I thought might be of interest to some of you.

    “This plan is just a suggested guide. Conditions and personal input can and will change what we do. Hurricanes or tropical rains (Chubasco) may very well keep us off the Concepcion Peninsula. Some places may beg us to stay longer just as likely as some will chase us away. It wouldn't be an adventure if everything went 'by the book'! …David Kier

    Sept. 9 Friday (300 miles from Escondido):

    To Shell Island via Mexicali. 150 miles from the border. Quick look at San Felipe.

    You guys very well may like Shell Island so much, you will want to stay a full day here and practice your deep sand driving too. Knock off the free day at L.A. Bay if we stay. There is no place else like this! But, if we leave the next morning...

    Sept. 10 Saturday (190-240 miles, 75-100 dirt):

    To Gonzaga Bay (quick look at the bay), Coco's Corner, Calamajué Mission, Montevideo Painted Cliff, San Borja Mission. Maybe camp at San Borja or Montevideo, if late. On to L.A. Bay, if early enough (4-5 pm or sooner).

    Sept. 11 Sunday Free Day (0-50 miles, mostly dirt):

    Explore L.A. Bay (Bahia de los Angeles) or relax. Many sites like La Gringa, El Toro, Las Flores, and a great little museum should not be missed, either!

    Sept. 12 Monday (190 miles +?, 140+ miles are dirt):

    Big dirt driving day, all but about 50. Possible sites: Las Animas, San Rafael, Giant Painted Cave, Pozo Aleman ghost town, Mission Santa Gertrudis?, Mission San Ignacio. I think a motel night in San Ignacio (La Huerta) would be appreciated, but camping is available too. If early (3 pm), Mulegé is about 2 hours away.

    Sept. 13 Tuesday (155 miles, 32 dirt):

    Down the Tres Virgenes volcano to the Sea of Cortez we go. Santa Rosalia has the church designed by Eiffel himself. Mulege is the Hawaii of Baja. A quick look at the 1705-founded mission is in order and great photo spot you won't want to miss is behind the mission of the river and jungle below! On to Bahia Concepcion with its many beaches. Maybe a stop for a cheeseburger and beer at Mark and Olivia's Playa Buenaventura Bar? El Requeson and La Perla beach camps are just a mile south. Take a quick look or camp here? Otherwise... go to the end of the 25-mile-long bay and across to the other side, and 30 off road miles up to the point.

    Sept. 14 Wednesday Free Day (0-10 miles dirt):

    Fun and relax day on the bay. Side trip to the WWII manganese mine ruins, 5 miles away.

    Sept. 15 Thursday (295 miles, 90 dirt):

    Big day as we drive across Baja to the Pacific coast seeing Punta Abreojos, La Bocana, San Hipolito and end up at Bahia Asuncion. Shari is our host here at Campo Serina and La Bufadora Inn. Seafood capital of central Baja!

    Sept. 16 Friday Free Day (0-20 dirt miles):

    Fun day, fishing, swimming, surfing, diving, eating seafood, hunting for fossil sharks’ teeth, all at Bahia Asuncion!

    Sept. 17 Saturday (355 miles, 25 dirt):

    Big drive day to Guerrero Negro, Cataviña, Mission San Fernando, Las Pintas fossil grotto. Camp at Las Pintas or go on to Baja Cactus Motel in El Rosario.

    Sept. 18 Sunday (80 miles, 40 dirt):

    If at Las Pintas, we go to El Rosario (can see one mission site, right off the highway, in town), get gas tanks filled up, go to La Lobera sea lion crater/seafood growers, go to San Quintin and meet Ron of the oyster farm. Camp at small, beachside campground.

    Sept. 19 Monday (200 miles):

    San Quintin to Tecate Border, possible stops at missions, Ensenada, Guadalupe Valley wineries??? Or, we've done so much Baja in 11 days, we can save what we didn't see for next time! If we get to the border early in the afternoon, the wait may be less than a half hour... if later, over 2 hours possible, but usually not at Tecate.

    Coronado Islands

    No full report for several days now.
    What little dope we have heard over the course of a week is “slow fishing.” There are just a few big bonito around along with some rockfish down south at the Rockpile.
    No reports of any yellowtail in quite some time.
    As far as we know it appears all of the ¾-day boats are fishing out west for yellowfin currently and not coming to the Islands at all. …


    There is an area roughly 100- to 105-miles down from Point Loma, below the Lower 500 and out due west of Colonet that’s holding some 8- to 25-pound dorado and some 2- to 4-pound yellowtail on kelps. The same area has scattered schools of 12- to 25-pound yellowfin. …

    San Quintín


    Goat and tails as weather becomes squirrely...

    Bahía de Los Ángeles


    The Good: I love LA Bay! Great place…great locals…great gringos. My friend Greg and I took a trip up to Refugio to dive for several days -- 60- to 80-foot viz. I had my heart on getting a big gulfie. Saw three big boys, but could not manage a good shot. Greg shot plenty of 10- to 20-pound cabrilla. …Pfish

    Gonzaga Bay


    I went fishing this past weekend; it was not the best day, not the best tide, and not the best catches but it was sure a ton times better than a day at the office or a boring Sunday watching TV.
    Fishing was slow during most of the day, but just a few moments before calling it a day, we found a nice spot with a few hungry triggerfish which are tons of fun to catch, and trolling around one of the Islands gave us two decent fish -- a leopard grouper and another grouper. …Alex

    Cedros Island


    Consistent bite continues for trophy-sized yellows and calico bass. …Randy

    Bahía Ascensión


    Paine blows by. …Shari Bondy

    La Bocana


    A family affair. …Juanchys Aguilar



    The fishing remains the same; it’s just that there are few boats doing much more than subsistence fishing. Yellowtail are at the top of that menu but closer to town and cheaper on gas are the old faithful bottom fish.

    It's been a good year for yellowtail but for the triggerfish -- the fish that get "no respect" it has been a fantastic year! Captain Tony had a group out today and they only wanted to fish around Danzante Island. They had a nice flurry on the triggers and cooperation from some of the smallest dorado we have seen stuck on a hook . . . 15-inch dorado smacking down on 7-inch mackerel points to a good next year if the dodos find their way back! One of the largest dorado I have seen this season was something I happened upon while doing some beach walking. I've seen daily afternoon greyhounding schools of dorado chasing bait close to La Picazon, north across from Coronado Island, but this 15-pound bull ended up stranded on the beach. Didn't their mother ever tell them not to "swim too fast in shallow water?"

    In the same area, I snorkeled with a huge school of what appeared to be

    18-inch halfbeaks. There must have been 500 fish in the school I swam with . . . all the time I was thinking what fantastic billfish bait they would make and no, I saw no bills!

    It would be no surprise that with all the bait we have swimming around the area that it would be impossible to get a dorado or any gamefish interested in a hooked bait to join the party!

    Pinto bass, reds and a few cabrilla have been in the daily tally. Still no news on any possible action out at the tuna and wahoo hole -- way out past the far island. Nobody has launched a probe, yet. …Rick Hill, Pinchy Sportfishing

    Magdalena Bay


    weather is beautiful right now and looks like thru the week. Little bit of a swell but not a lot of wind. Wahoo continue to be the target fish with lots of 20 lb. tuna for the taking. Dorado are also starting to show in good numbers. Looks like Wed. weather front is going to pass well outside of mag bay...Bob Hoyt

    La Paz


    We had some rough weather at the beginning of the week, but fished every day. As the weather changes for the better or worse, the fishing always seems to get better, not worse. Tuna have been in close to the beach for over two weeks now and dorado show up there and elsewhere too. Hooked two wahoo yesterday. Their mouths are incredibly hard. Many dorado released but we scarfed fresh tuna -- sushi and sashimi! …Gary Bulla

    It wasn’t great fishing. But there were some great catches. At best, I’d say fishing was steady. There were some slow times and some nice flurries. I say there were some “great catches” because although maybe the numbers weren’t spectacular, many of the anglers did hook wahoo or their first rooster fish…maybe their first tuna or dorado…their first billfish. No denying the smiles on that account. Some fishing can’t be quantified by how many fish are in the box. Sometimes, it’s just the satisfaction at the end of the day.

    So, in terms of numbers, fishing was not as good as the week before. In terms of some quality catches, it was not bad at all!

    La Paz Fishing

    If you were just interested in putting limits in the boat and crazy action, then our La Paz fleet was on top of that. While there were some real ruts as we looked for fish, the waters could suddenly blow up with dorado or you could have a day where you’d spend the day picking up a fish or two here and there and at the end of the day realize you had a pretty full box of fish.

    For sure, the dorado were 90% of the catch. They ranged from little punks to the “larger” 20-pound class fish. There was no rhyme or reason as to where to find the larger fish and there was some grumbling about so many little fish. I have no control over that, but if you don’t have a line in the water, you definitely have no shot at all getting one of the larger models. Very often the anglers would get “stuck” in the middle of the firecracker dorado then find that one bigger boy just swimming around the perimeter. And that’s the fish that makes the whole day…or the trip!

    However, for sure, if you just wanted a go at pure numbers of biters with a good chance of filling an ice chest over several days, the fishing with our La Paz fleet was the ticket.


    If variety of species was more interesting. If exotic species was on the bucket list. If you wanted a shot at the big leagues, and maybe not get as many fish, then fishing with our Tailhunter Las Arenas Fleet from Muertos Bay was the better place to be this past week.

    Not as many yellowfin tuna, but they’re still there. Smaller footballs in the 8-12 pound category with some larger up to 20 pounds taken. Squid has been the best for them and chunking has worked well.

    But, above-and-beyond the tuna, it seemed all week there was a shot at wahoo. Every day we had a few hooked…and a few lost. But the ones that came in were nice healthy 25-40 pound fish. We had a couple of rookies hook some this week and they were kind of ho-hum about the catch. I had one guy tell me, “Fishing was slow. Only got one of those long-skinny fish.” They don’t realize that wahoo are like a holy grail in some places. Folks come for years trying to get just one “long-skinny fish!” Nor do they realize how prized the meat is. I had another rookies give away almost all his wahoo because someone told him wahoo were “members of the mackerel family” and mackerel meat is oily and strong. I told him wahoo is about $30 per pound in the states and his mouth fell open.

    Anyway, in addition to the mackerel, we also had more of those big slugger rooster fish back in the shallows. These were a trophy-grade fish with some going up to 60 pounds. The key is spending the time to catch those big ladyfish (sabalo) to use for bait.

    We also had a pretty nice bite of striped marlin as well. Almost always they were incidental catches hooked when the anglers were fishing for dorado or tuna, and not specifically targeted. Most were released… Jonathan Roldan, Tailhunter International

    East Cape



    Fishing continues to be off the charts on the East Cape of Baja California Sur, Mexico! One of the best wahoo seasons ever! Mahi Mahi landed 5 wahoo and 4 small tuna today. …Van Wormer Resorts


    The Ranch considers itself fortunate to be associated with a number of fine industry leaders including those from Yamaha, Accurate Reels and Maui Jim to name a few. This week, Jack Nilsen from Accurate was at the resort along with Mike Battistoni and group from Maui Jim. It was great for us – along with our other guests – to be in the company of these guys all week. …Gary Barnes Webb


    Temperature ranging from 73 to 88 degrees with afternoon breezes and some rain earlier in the week; sea temps from 85 to 87.

    Not to worry though. Fishing continues to please our guests who are taking advantage of our September weather. As the month wears down, it would seem that the final two months of the season are shaping up to be fantastic. …Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort

    San José Del Cab0

    Although we are now officially into the first week of the Fall season we are feeling very tropical weather in the Los Cabos area. This is always the time of year when weather patterns can be very unpredictable, as well as very humid. The landscape is now lush green from significant rainfall the past month. The most recent Tropical Storm Paine stayed far off to the west, paralleling the Pacific coast of Baja before it dissipated, there was no significant impact on land. Presently we are having some isolated local thunderstorms threaten, mainly in the afternoon, though this has not amounted to much of anything. We are also closely monitoring a new low pressure system developing off to the west, which is forecast to slowly gain strength, most likely become Tropical Storm Roslyn and move in the direction of Southern Baja, precise track is not yet determined.

    On Monday the red flag was posted early in the morning, closing the Port, presumably as a precaution, even though the day turned out to be calm, with no rain or high swells at all. Most scheduled charters were forced to cancel this day, only after the Port reopened at about 10:00 a.m. did a handful of boats go out. The remainder of the week sportfishing fleets operated normally, seas were calm most days, late in the week we had some wind pick up later in the day, threatening tropical clouds, but did not rain on the fishing grounds. Ocean swells increased, but were moderate and overall conditions were very favorable considering what time of year it is. Most of the fishing action now is centered on the grounds from the Gordo Banks to San Luis.

    The bait now be used consisted of caballito, slabs of squid and various skipjack, bolito and chihuil, which were being found in the area. The yellowfin tuna bite definitely improved, anglers found various tuna, ranging from football sized, many fish in the 20 to 50 lb. class, a handful to over 100 lb. and even at least a couple of super cows of over 300 lb. that were caught by local anglers fishing on the Gordo Banks later in the day after the crowds lightened up. Drift fishing with strips and chunks of various baits was the technique now being used. Action came in spurts, sometimes early, other times late, lots of pressure on these areas now, since this is where the only real bite is now being found. Individual charters accounted for a couple of tuna per morning, up to ten or more.

    Yellowfin tuna was definitely the most common species being targeted with success now, only a scattering of bottom fish, a few amberjack, grouper, rainbow runner, triggerfish and various snapper/pargo being encountered, this action is on the same grounds as are the tuna. Wahoo went on a limited bite earlier in the week on the grounds north of Punta Gorda, though these fish have not been very active overall. Dorado were found scattered throughout the same areas, though recently it has been rare to see a dorado over ten pounds.

    There were reports of good billfish action off of the East Cape, lots of blue marlin. Off of our area the action was limited to a mix of striped, blue, black marlin and a few sailfish. Lots of natural food fish on the high spots now, so there is more than enough food for the largest of gamefish to feed on, makes it tough to get them to bite. Several stories of black marlin being hooked on lighter leaders that were targeting the more leader shy yellowfin tuna and resulted eventually in losing the marlin due to sawed off leaders…Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas

    Los Cabos


    This week the most abundant species of billfish were striped marlin, with blues coming in second, and a smattering of sailfish throughout. We had an excellent catch success rate, with 96 percent of boats being successful and only two boats getting skunked. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, warm water and clear skies, accompanied by calm seas and plenty of fish. …Pisces Sportfishing

    It was the week of the full moon phase and while the fishing was a bit off for a few days and even a bit of rain, then Hurricane Paine passed right on by making landfall somewhere in the Northern Baja area before crossing into the Mexicali area and southern California.

    Nevertheless, the Port Captain closed the Port of Cabo San Lucas for two days even though there was no apparent weather problem within several hundred miles of Cabo San Lucas. The combination of the full moon and off shore hurricane and low barometric pressure seemed to slow the fishing down for the week but it should start to come back for the coming week as the moon begins to darken.

    Some rain in Cabo on early Sunday morning from the passing off shore, (about 300 miles) hurricane "Paine", that will probably make land fall in a few days around San Quintin/Colonet area in northern Baja. The Port of Cabo San Lucas was closed on Sunday and Monday to all traffic, in or out, but back open on Tuesday. Average daytime temps at 89.16 degrees and night time at 74.8. Average humidity ratio was 68.6%.

    Port was closed on Monday due to inclement weather in the off shore waters but open on Tuesday morning. Water temps from the Finger Bank south to Cristobal was 83.5 to 84 degrees and from Cristobal to Los Frailes all at 85-86 degrees. Surface breezes were mostly flowing in from the southwest to southeast directions at about 8.5 mph average and even though the port was closed, it was very fishable conditions.

    The Jaime Bank was best for the mixed-bag catch of tuna, dorado, sailfish and a striper. Cabo Falso, (aka El Faro) and out to the Herradura were equally productive for the anglers, too.

    Artificials were working well on the dorado and yellowfin, rigged baits best on the billfish as were live bait for the billfish following in on the trolling patterns. …Larry Edwards Cortez Yacht Charters
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  2. Tunahead

    Tunahead Long Time Tuna Abused Member

    Costa Mesa
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    AWESOME REPORT GARY...lot of nice fish and info there.
    We got knocked around by big PAINE swells yesterday PM on Condor. LOL
    Baja Bytes likes this.

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