Early season billfish and dorado spotted in Loreto sportfishing area

Mexico Fishing News, April 21, 2003



LORETO, MEXICO: More early dorado and marlin were spotted, and two very early sailfish were landed last week in variable spring conditions. The Loreto Pangeros Cooperativa reported on 7 boats fishing with a catch of: 16 yellowtail, 19 cabrilla, 9 pargo, 1 roosterfish, and 1 sailfish.

The sailfish, weighing about 100 pounds, was brought to the marina on April 19 by cooperativa member Ismael Murillo, reported Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company. The sailfish was caught at Punta Lobos, Bolles said. Earlier, Wendy Wilchynski of Villas de Loreto reported a 125-pound sailfish, a 20-pound cabrilla, and a 32-pound yellowtail caught by Steve and Chris Augerot with Capt. Reynaldo Rubio on April 14.

Bolles said bookings are starting to come in at the new cooperativa office located at the downtown launch ramp, although angler counts were still down due to the effects of the Iraq war and Semana Santa. She said the office still lacks a proper paint job and sign, but that fishing license sales were also starting to happen. "They are happy with the fishing license sales, but that was a no-brainer!" said Bolles. "Anyway, fishing is improving."

Loreto weather was in the high-80s, partly overcast, with some wind, and more southerly last week, bringing warmer water to the area, as yellowtail fishing rebounded somewhat after a slow period.

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet reported pangas fishing at the tip of Punta Banda had limits on rockcod, lingcod to 15 pounds, sandbass, calico bass to 6 pounds, and halibut, including 2 nice ones of 17 and 26 pounds. Capt. Beto Zamora fished with anchovies and swim baits around the boilers at the point, and on sandy flats with 12-pound line for halibut, in water temperatures ranging from 55 to 60 degrees.

Ensenada was partly cloudy in the mid-60s, with light breezes and swells of 3 to 4 feet.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: At Lily Fleet, Sammy Susarrey said the Amigo fished on Friday and did well during the early hours at the Punta Banda Bank, but was hampered by wind and swells later in the day. The Lily found slow fishing inside the bay on some lingcod and red rockfish, in water temperatures of 59.5 degrees.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sportfishing Center said barracuda and some yellowtail were taken at Isla Todos Santos during the week, in addition to assorted bottom fish. Fishing was slowed by the midweek stormy weather, but rebounded over the weekend, Susarrey said. Half-day boats were leaving daily at 7 a.m., returning at 2:30 p.m.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Marina Coral angler Steve Ross reported a water temperature reading of 53 degrees, and slow fishing: "I caught a lizard fish on another fish, an octopus on my egg sinker, and a small lingcod, all of which are now swimming in our slip as they were released there."

Ross said he ran into a big rope blocking his boat that was rigged near the Bufadora tuna pens: "As I approached this area, I saw a rope, a big rope like 2 inches thick, green, and 1 foot under the water leaving no trace on the surface. I took her out of gear and threw her in reverse, stopping with it under my bow. This was a long rope stretching from the pens, a buoy, and I don't know what else, all the way to the rock. They roped off the entire bay on that side with no markers for it. It's a new rope, it's big, it's tight, and it will rip your props out."

Ross also reported that the recently organized Pescadores de Ensenada fishing club at Marina Coral now has 26 adult members, 10 junior members, 5 captains, and 15 boats.



PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: Armand Apodaca and Louie Nejera visited Sam Saenz' Puerto Santo Tomas Resort recently and had excellent results on limits of red rockfish, lingcod, whitefish, and calico bass in the 4 to 5 pound range. "The weather was great, and Sam Saenz and his people make sure you have everything you need," Apodaca said.

PUERTO SANTO TOMAS, MEXICO: At the resort, Sam Saenz reported that 4 pangas fished Saturday in swelly weather following the recent storms. "The ocean had large swells and late afternoon winds," Saenz said. "That slowed the fishing somewhat, but some pangas still caught limits." Marce Allen of the Ed Yates Baja Tour group caught a 12-pound lingcod, plus calico bass to 5 pounds. On Friday, Saenz said a local fisherman caught a black sea bass estimated at 70 pounds, while fishing with squid in about 60 feet of water.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Jim Harer of the Old Mill Hotel said the fishing was excellent and 30 anglers visited last week, mostly on 2 to 3-day trips, for limits on bottom fish. "Lings were running 15 to 18 pounds," Harer said. "Yellowtail are running at the island, but no real limits, and they are on the small side. There were also reports of halibut up to 40 pounds, so if you want them, hurry up before the commercial boys find out."

Harer said San Quintin weather was "strange," with some moderate to high winds, a day of downpour rain, and some days of dead flat, sunny weather. Everybody kept fishing, though, he said: "Water temperatures are up to 65 degrees, and that means good things are going to happen." Harer added that the always unpredictable San Quintin cell phone service has gotten back on line after an especially quirky period.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Earlier, Stan Vath reported on fishing with Lorenzo Biedebach: "The fishing was on the slow side, by San Quintin standards, but we did manage a nice load of reds, lingcod, calicos, sugarbass and sandbass." Vath said they took some of their catch to the nearby Jardines Restaurant owned by Guillermo and Carmen Zepeda and had them prepared with soup or salad, baked potato, steamed vegetables, bread and tortillas. "They do this for $5 per person," Vath said. "I can assure you that every resident of Campo Lorenzo dines at Jardines."



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly reported San Carlos weather in the high 60s, with water temperatures of 61 to 74 degrees, and windy offshore conditions. "Pretty grumpy for the past few weeks," Graham said. "Makes it pretty tough to get out where the fish are." Dorado were reported under shark buoys, 35 miles outside on a heading of 240 degrees, and at the entrada heavy concentrations of langostilla pelagic red crabs were knocking out the bite. "The best bet is in the esteros, with a fair bite for corvina, grouper, and a few snook," Graham said.



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Fishing action at the tip of Baja chugged along at about a marlin per day, plus good numbers of school-sized yellowfin tuna and some dorado last week. Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 50 boats chartered with a catch including released fish of: 54 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 66 yellowfin tuna, 46 dorado, and 1 wahoo.

Cabo Magic also reported a 35-pound louvar landed Tuesday by Capt. Lino Verdugo of the Quien Sabe. The rarely seen louvar, Luvarus imperialis, was landed 10 miles off Punta Palmilla, Garcia said.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Rene Santa Cruz of Solmar Fleet reported a catch including released fish of: 25 striped marlin, 49 dorado, 85 yellowfin tuna, 28 sierra, 15 yellowtail, and 3 roosterfish.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, 6 boats fishing Thursday had a catch including released fish of: 6 striped marlin, 8 dorado, and 20 yellowfin tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Fleet said 49 percent of boats chartered caught striped marlin last week,, and 95 percent scored on all species combined. Pisces boats also landed a sailfish last week, plus dorado and 76 yellowfin tuna, fishing mostly off Chileno, Red Hill, and at the 95 Spot.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said about 80 percent of Gaviota Fleet boats caught marlin, and many more fish were spotted but were not interested in eating. "Anglers were baiting the fish several times, trying to make them go," Edwards said. Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 19 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 1 mako shark, 22 dorado, and 41 yellowfin tuna, fishing mostly south of the arch and at the 95 Spot.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said Cabo weather was mostly overcast in the mid-80s, with fairly constant winds on the Pacific side, and better conditions on the Cortez. Water temperatures averaged 73 to 74 degrees, Landrum said, and the number of marlin in the area was higher than the fish counts would indicate.

"There are plenty of striped marlin out there, but they have not been biting well," Landrum said. Yellowfin tuna, mostly about 20 pounds but with some to 50 pounds, were close to the arch and around the 95 Spot, and the dorado were averaging about 25 pounds. Inshore, Landrum said the yellowtail and sierra bite tapered off, and bottom fishing has been only fair for small sizes of amberjack, snappers, and groupers.g



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Luis Duhart of Victor's Fleet at Punta Palmilla said water temperatures averaged 72 degrees, and weather and sea conditions were good last week. With sardina bait very scarce, anglers were using mackerel and lures. "Most of the action has been between Punta Ballena and Punta Palmilla," Duhart said, "3 to 4 miles from the coast." Duhart said pangas were averaging 2 to 3 dorado and 5 to 6 sierra per boat, and there were wahoo around that were being broken off.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: At Gordo Banks Pangas, Eric Brictson said Semana Santa had "the whole town shut down, as people vacationed Thursday through Sunday." Brictson said the weather was in the low-80s, with minimal surf, and little wind. Pangas found water temperatures of 72 to 74 degrees, but fishing was relatively slow, Brictson said: "For some strange reason, the fishing never seems to be that good during Easter week. It might be that the fish go on vacation along with the local population. Bait became an issue as well, though on most days there were limited supplies of sardinas and mackerel."

Brictson had some pointed comments on the continued gill netting that has taken a toll on near shore fishing at San Jose del Cabo:

"The inshore gill netting problem is now more prevalent than ever, with local pangueros concentrating their nets along the beaches from Palmilla to Punta Gorda. They favor working during the full moon period at night, as this is when the fish are more active.

"These nets are trapping anything that swims through them, and are leaving beaches barren of all the popular game fish. It is sad that the authorities do not take action that will protect the future fishery so valuable to the local economy."



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said local waters were hounded by wind last week, but there were lots of fish in the area. "Rough seas made for a tough week of fishing," Graham said. "The fish have not gone away. It is just tough to find them in these conditions." Graham said East Cape weather was in the mid-80s, with water temperatures of 68 to 74 degrees. Inshore, bait supplies were on the upswing and Graham said, "This is going to be one heck of a year."

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Leonero, John Ireland said, "The hot bite slowed somewhat at midweek, with yellowfin tuna, dorado and marlin all active until Wednesday." Ireland said striped marlin were still active about 15 miles off Punta Colorada, and some tailers were taken on live caballitos. Until the bite paused, hotel boats were also scoring on yellowfin tuna averaging about 25 pounds, large dorado to 50 pounds, and numerous large roosterfish to 65 pounds, Ireland said.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Vista Sea Sport's Mark Rayor said diving at Cabo Pulmo stayed good: "All around there are thousands of schooling fishes, jacks, groupers, snappers, angelfish, Moorish idols, surgeonfish, parrotfish and more." Cabo Pulmo water temperatures were 73 to 75 degrees, with visibility ranging from 30 to 50 feet.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Several East Cape visitors reported continued violations of the Cabo Pulmo reef, with numerous hotel cruisers flagrantly fishing inside the protected marine reserve. Local residents confirmed this practice, saying that Profepa had promised to increase enforcement in the reserve, and in fact had recently caught a gill netter from La Ribera and chased him to the beach, where the guilty panguero jumped from his boat and ran off, abandoning it. Resident fleet owners said uneven enforcement in the past has made some boat captains reluctant to report violations or give rides to inspectors, for fear of retaliation.



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said variable winds brought cooler water and slower fishing to the Las Arenas side last week. "The dorado have gone to ground, or gone somewhere, but definitely aren't here," Roldan said. "It sure isn't was warm as it was, say, 2 weeks ago." Roldan said anglers were making due with light tackle fishing for sierra, cabrilla, and pargo. La Paz weather was about 85 degrees, with water temperatures at about 70 degrees.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Mino Shiba of Mosquito Fleet said his boats were getting pargo and cabrilla limits at Isla Espiritu Santo, plus red snapper of 10 to 25 pounds, mixed sizes of roosterfish, and some dorado still biting on live bait. Water temperatures on the La Paz side were averaging 70 degrees.



BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES, MEXICO: At Bahia de los Angeles, Abraham Vazquez of Camp Gecko said fishing was only fair last week, with a few yellowtail showing up in the south, rather than north, where they have been all winter. Fish in the 10 to 12-pound range were hitting mostly blue-and-white iron, on the surface or at midwater. The fish were concentrated at Soldado Reef at Bahia de las Animas, Vazquez said, and in the bay, there were plenty of "cabrilla sardinera" or leopard grouper, sandbass, goldspotted bass, and jawfish.

L.A. Bay weather was 63 to 80 degrees, with water temperatures of 60 to 63 degrees. There were many visitors in the village for Semana Santa, and "lots of stingray victims," said Vazquez, who is also a physician. With most people partying and celebrating, there wasn't much fish available for purchase last week either, Vazquez said. Gasoline in the village was 140 pesos for 5 gallons, and the new hotel pump at Catavina was still in operation.



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Fily Espinoza Montes of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip aboard the panga mothership Jose Andres, returning to San Felipe on April 18 with a catch of: 154 yellowtail, 13 to 20 pounds; 2 grouper, 20 to 33 pounds; 105 cabrilla, 11 to 16 pounds, 61 squid, 15 to 40 pounds; 13 red snapper, 10 to 15 pounds; 8 broomtail grouper, 8 to 14 pounds; 7 sheephead, 9 pounds; and limits of spotted bay bass. Ten small grouper were also released, Espinoza said, and Midriff water temperatures averaged 64.4 degrees.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Tony Reyes also reported that the recent extension of the "no tourist card" time limit from 3 days to 1 week seems to have taken effect. This change in the federal law saves mothership anglers the $20 plus fee for a tourist card.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said the weather was perfect for Semana Santa and the town was jammed solid: "Some people from Norway, who had no idea about Holy Week, arrived late last night only to discover there was barely a cot to rent, let alone a room, and there isn't even space enough to camp on the beach, even if one happened to have a tent on hand." Meders said extra supply trucks were rolling into town, including beer trucks in pairs. "Everyone seems to be having a great time," she said. "Lots of people swimming, lots of screaming from the fun fairs and banana boats, lots of people eating cotton candy and ice cream. In general, a carnival atmosphere prevails. The sea is that color which is referred to, in eyes, as 'hazel' and all's well."



ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: At Puerto Peñasco, Ric Felder fished on his boat End Of The Line for a good catch of grouper from 25 to 53 pounds, fishing 80 to 160 feet deep, in water temperatures of 69 to 70 degrees. Felder used large Scampi jigs on 12 to 16-ounce heads.



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Aries Fleet offshore boats out of Marina el Cid averaged a billfish per day, plus dorado. Aries Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 5 sailfish, 28 striped marlin, 6 mako shark, 2 small blue marlin, 31 yellowfin tuna, and 112 dorado. Mazatlan weather was mostly cloudy in the mid-80s.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze said fishing rebounded into the "good" range last week, with plenty of yellowfin tuna caught, including an estimated 230 pounder caught by Blaine Burnette of Bakersfield with Capt. Luis Maciel on the panga Gringo Loco. Burnette caught the big tuna on a 2-speed Shimano 30, and a Calstar 765M rod, after a 5 hour 30 minute fight on 60-pound line, 5 feet of 150-pound leader, and an Owner 5/0 Gorilla hook.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Burnette described his catch with Luis Maciel: "The tuna was caught 9 miles out, in front of Zihuatanejo. We looked as far out as 16 miles all morning for only one sailfish for my fishing buddy Brian Stokley, and a couple of short strikes from marlin.

"About 1 p.m., we spot some birds a few miles off. When we get to the spot, we see dolphin first. Then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. Two spots of tuna, dolphin, and birds just start busting what looked like two different bait balls, one on each side of the boat, real close.

"The fish I see jumping look to be 50-pound to 80-pound class fish. So I grab a 60-pound outfit, nose hook a caballito, let fly. Me and Brian both hook up right away, but Brian's pulls the hook.

"Right away, I know I have made a mistake picking up the 60-pound outfit, as I watch the 80-pound Spectra backing melt off my TLD 30. Luis was able to give chase just in time to keep me from being spooled. This was the start of a brutal five-and-a-half hour battle. My mono-to-Spectra connection, a Bimini to worm knot, was in the water a good two hours and stood the test. Nonetheless, I was glad to see that connection back on the reel.

"Then it was a battle of inches for the next 3 hours in the hot and humid tropical sun, pinned to the rail like a magnet on iron.

"When Luis made a perfect shot with the harpoon, I let out a hoop and a holler, and jumped in the water.

"When we got back to the dock it was late on Palm Sunday, in Mexico, so there was no way to get the scale out. One guy estimated it at 230 pounds, but Luis said more, and took it across the bay to his house on Playa Gato. There, he cut it up, and weighed it in pieces on a smaller scale. He came up with 130 kilos. One thing I can tell you, he did kick my butt! When someone tells you friends don't let friends fish 60-pound, believe it."

Ed Kunze reported Zihuatanejo weather in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament also reported steady sailfish action, with boats raising 5 to 10 fish per day, plus roosterfish to 50 pounds in the surf.

IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Stan Lushinsky of Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters said there were still some slow days mixed in, but fishing was on the upswing. Angler Steve Martin of New Jersey landed 5 sailfish in one day with Capt. Aldolpho on the Dos Hermanos, who also had an epic day on yellowfin tuna, landing 37 at 55 miles out, Lushinsky said.

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SEMANA SANTA HEADGEAR--Jonathan Roldan of La Paz' Tail Hunter International sends this special Easter Holiday bunny ears photo of client Jill Stevens of Alpine. Stevens had a nice catch of pargo, amberjack, snappers, sierra, and cabrilla while fishing with Tail Hunter on the east side of Isla Cerralvo. Photo courtesy Jonathan Roldan.

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BIG ENSENADA HALIBUT--Joanne Foley and husband Brian of Playa del Rey had a great week with Ivan Villarino's Vonny's Fleet at Punta Banda. They landed limits of rockcod, lingcod, calico bass, sandbass, and a couple of big halibut, topped by this 26 pounder, while fishing with Capt. Beto Zamora. Shown are Joanne, and Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet. Photo courtesy Ivan Villarino.

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JARDINES OF SAN QUINTIN--Stan Vath and Lorenzo Biedebach of San Quintin caught a bunch of fish and had some prepared at their favorite restaurant in town, the Jardines. Shown here are, left to right: Vath, restaurant owners Guillermo and Carmen Zepeda, and Biedebach. Photo courtesy Stan Vath.

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UNUSUAL CABO LOUVAR--Cabo Magic's Benjamin Gomez of Cabo San Lucas shows off a 35-pound louvar, Luvarus imperialis, caught last week by Capt. Lino Verdugo on the boat Quien Sabe. The unusual catch was made 10 miles off Punta Palmilla. Photo courtesy Tommy Garcia.

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SAN JOSE DORADO--Alejandro Ortiz and Alejandro Jr. missed 2 dorado and 3 marlin, but they finally landed this nice 37 pounder while fishing with Victor's Fleet's Capt. Gustavo on the Kaleena. They made their catch on the way in, with mackerel bait off Punta Palmilla. Photo courtesy Luis Duhart.

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47 YEARS AND STILL FISHING TOGETHER--Bob and Rene Tilley of Fallbrook celebrated dual 65th birthdays, and 47 years of marriage, by hitting a wide-open yellowfin tuna bite with Mark Rayor of East Cape's Vista Sea Sport. They also hooked 2 striped marlin, 2 bull dorado, and missed a broadbill swordfish. Photo courtesy Bob Tilley.

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ROCKY POINT GROUPER--Heidi and Scott Roberts with a 53 pound grouper caught out of Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) at the north end of the Sea of Cortez, on Ric Felder's boat End Of The Line. They fished 80 to 160 feet deep with large Scampis on 12 and 16-ounce leadheads. Photo courtesy Ric Felder.

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ZIHUATANEJO "VACA"--Top guide Luis Maciel, left, and Blaine Burnette of Bakersfield, with Burnette's yellowfin tuna estimated at 230 pounds. Burnette hooked the big tuna from a panga only 11 miles from town, and fought it for five-and-a-half hours on 60-pound line. Photo courtesy Ed Kunze.

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FLATHEAD BIGGIE--This huge 56-pound flathead catfish was caught by Jami Blue, shown here, of Boron, CA, in the lower Colorado River near Blythe. Wayne Pinkerton of Blythe's B&B Bait & Tackle said Blue was fishing with her fiancé, who declared both she and the fish were definitely keepers! Photo courtesy Wayne Pinkerton.

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