La Paz anglers finding mixed sportfishing action

Mexico Fishing News, May 26, 2003



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Fishing action and water temperatures were mixed up all around the south end of Baja last week. Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International described conditions at La Paz: "Everyone is going home with fish, but it's a hard pick. We had a full moon and an eclipse. We've had wind and waves from southern storms turn our water green, only to have blue, clear water return.

"We've had a run or roosters, only to lose them. We've seen massive tuna come to chew, then disappear. We've seen pargo come and go. We've had marlin sitting on the surface, and they don't want to eat.

"We've seen dorado go wild, and just swim through our baits like we were trying to feed them baloney sandwiches! We even had a huge bank of fog that made it look like we were fishing in Morro Bay!

"I don't recall ever seeing so much instability in the bite or the conditions."

Roldan said sardina and mackerel bait was hard to find last week. Near Ensenada de los Muertos, the road from Agua Amarga to the bay is now paved, and at least one plane has landed on the new airstrip built for the closed Hotel las Arenas.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Mosquito Fleet, Mino Shiba said boats were finding some dorado limits around weed paddies in water temperatures of 74 to 76 degrees. Pargo and some roosterfish were hitting live sardina in the rocks. At San Evaristo, where Shiba is setting up his remote trips for next winter, larger cabrilla and yellowtail of 20 to 40 pounds were caught.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: Earlier, Joe Oliver of San Dimas had a good trip with Tortuga Fleet on dorado to 40 pounds and cabrilla to 17 pounds. "I caught both right off the Las Arenas Hotel close to shore," Oliver said. "Geraldo, the owner, and his son Geraldo Jr. were very personable. The food afterwards, while they vacuum packed your fish, was excellent."

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sammy Susarrey of Lily Fleet said the Amigo with 4 anglers caught 13 yellowtail of 12 to 15 pounds at the 238 Bank, fishing mostly kelp paddies in flat conditions and water temperatures averaging 61 degrees. The Tamara found slow action on bottom fish at Punta Banda Bank, and the Lily had before-noon limits of sandbass, numerous lingcod, and rockfish on the north side of Isla Todos Santos.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Steve Ross of the Pescadores de Ensenada club at Marina Coral said the marina has agreed to waive its new 15 percent fuel surcharge for permanent residents. Ross also reported seeing his lowest water temperatures of the season, 51.9 degrees on a good quality meter.

Mike Richardson at the bait barge had a good supply of very large anchovies.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Conal True, director of the totoaba hatchery at UABC, Ensenada, said he's still waiting for word of critically-needed funding for the survey trips next year aboard Tony Reyes' boat, Jose Andres. True said several large brood fish were implanted with hormones last week, and he was expecting a large spawn in about 15 days.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Alex Rosas reported that the launch fee at the new Puerto Salina ramp north of Ensenada is $20, and the ramp is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is 24-hour-per-day security at the marina, Rosas said.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Rick Rudd of La Mesa fished with Jerry Hattis at the Coronado Islands after launching at Shelter Island: "Lots of meter marks north of South Island but no biters. Moved off the west side, and once again lots of meter marks and some bird activity but no biters.

"Moved to Middle Grounds, no luck. Finally found 2, 20-pound yellows off the lighthouse where the crowd was. Things got slow and we decided to slow troll the west edge of South Island around 1 p.m. Picked up 2 more 20 pounders, farmed 1 more.

"About 2:30, one of the trolling rods went off big time. Chased this fish around for one-half hour and after unwrapping him from a lobster buoy, boated a nice 40-pound yellow. We verified the weight at Fisherman's Landing and they said that was the largest they've seen so far this year. This is my personal record for yellowtail."

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Denis Quesnel of Action Lures said he found cold water and no yellowtail but wide-open lingcod and rockcod last week. "You do want to spend a little more to go south out of the harbor area for the best fishing. Live bait and chrome iron worked the best," Quesnel said. "I caught 4 lings over 15 pounds and one was about 20 pounds." Quesnel used a large 10.5-ounce version of the jointed metal jigs that he manufactures.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Pete Hillis of Pedro's Pangas said the top lingcod of the week weighed 20 pounds, as continued limits of lingcod and rockfish were caught. In addition, Nick Tsimmerman caught a 25-pound halibut at Isla San Martin, and scattered yellowtail were caught at the 6 Spot. San Quintin weather was overcast with sunny afternoons and flat seas.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Earlier, Julio Meza launched at the Old Mill ramp and found slow conditions on yellowtail and halibut, but plenty of other species, at the 240 Spot, 15 Spot, Ben's Rock, Isla San Martin, El Playon, and the boca.

"All the spots had massive amounts of little shrimp," Meza said. "I think this is why fishing was slow. The meter shows a lot but the bite is slow. Every fish you land is full of little shrimp about one-half inch long. Anyway we did well on lingcod, reds, big sculpin, sandbass, gopher cod, and calicos." Meza said the water was flat and clear, but cold at 56 degrees.



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja on the Fly said commercial fishermen outside the boca were taking snook up to a reported 50 pounds in the surf: "What a shame! Those fish are way too valuable to catch only once. Additionally, they are the brood stock."

Graham said corvina and smaller snook were caught in the mangroves at Devil's Curve, and yellowtail were active under birds at the entrada. San Carlos weather was in the mid-70s, with water temperatures of 60 to 66 degrees.



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Cooler water brought mixed fishing action to the tip of Baja, as fleets averaged about a marlin a day, plus steady action on school-sized dorado and yellowfin tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 48 boats chartered, with a catch including released fish of: 45 striped marlin, 47 yellowfin tuna, 45 dorado, 5 wahoo, 1 mako shark, and miscellaneous species.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Picante Fleet, 6 boats at midweek had a catch including released fish of: 6 striped marlin, 13 dorado, 6 yellowfin tuna, and 2 wahoo.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said Gaviota Fleet had a catch including released fish of: 12 striped marlin, 9 dorado, 5 wahoo, and 139 yellowfin tuna. Most tuna were in the 15 to 35-pound range, Edwards said.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Rene Santa Cruz of Solmar Fleet reported a catch including released fish of: 38 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 47 dorado, 65 yellowfin tuna, 2 wahoo, 12 roosterfish, and 3 jack crevalle. The top catch for the week was a triple marlin release by Chris Vaage of Twin Falls, ID.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said 62 percent of boats chartered landed marlin, and 97 percent scored on all species combined. Ehrenberg said, "There were plenty of boats baiting up to 10 stripers in a day that only managed to catch 1, and a few drew a blank." Pisces' top boats for the week were Valerie, with a 4-marlin plus 1-sailfish release day, and Tracy Ann with a quadruple marlin release, followed by a triple release the next day.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing said Cabo weather was in the mid-90s with some west winds, and cooler water temperatures in the high-60s and low-70s on the Pacific side. To the south and up the Cortez side, water temperatures ranged to over 80 degrees.



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said local water temperatures averaged 72 to 74 degrees, with the warmer water found from Chileno to Vinorama, and the fishing action was scattered. "With the surface action slow, more anglers started to search out inshore or bottom rock piles," Brictson said. "They did not find spectacular results, but there was a variety of amberjack, dogtoothed snapper, cabrilla, sierra, skipjack, jack crevalle and roosterfish."

Brictson said the dogtoothed snapper were running 8 to 25 pounds on live mullet trolled tight to rocky beaches. Many were lost to rocks. Other anglers found slow action on yo-yo amberjack and cabrilla at the rock piles north of Punta Gorda.

Brictson also commented on the gill netting out of La Playita: "Local commercial pangueros continue to use their non-discriminating gill nets to target all of the species that roam along the shoreline and they are doing a very devastating job on stripping the areas from Palmilla to Punta Gorda clean of any fish at all.

"This is an extremely destructive form of fishing, even though they are working under legal permits. It is a serious situation for the future of this region. Action needs to be taken immediately. Unfortunately it does not seem to be a priority of the Mexican government."

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: East Cape's Chuck Meredith ran down to the Gordo Banks in his super panga Mr. Chuck, and had a close encounter with a very large hammerhead shark that ate most of his marlin:

"I slow trolled live bait and got a hookup almost immediately. Striper. Released 45 minutes later. Then a long, dead spell.

"Just as I was going to head north, another striper took the bait.

"Forty minutes later, at boat side, a huge hammerhead came in and bit one-third off the marlin. I reeled the head and body, gaffed it, and wham, the shark hit the marlin again, in the silver stomach, about 6 inches behind my second gaff.

"Blood everywhere. I checked myself, then pitched a bait to the shark, which had surfaced 30 feet away, just sitting there.

"Hooked it up. Got it close to the boat in 30 minutes. A big hammerhead. 250 pounds plus. I cut him loose. I don't know if this was the same shark or not, but I have an idea that it was a different one. Several more were cruising around when I had their buddy hooked up."



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Water conditions were generally favorable, but fishing action slowed down for fleets out of Bahia de Palmas. Tami Moyeous of Rancho Buena Vista reported on 52 boats chartered with a catch including released fish of: 18 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 22 larger yellowfin tuna, and 2 wahoo. RBV boats found water temperatures averaging 80 degrees.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 83 boats with a catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin, 30 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 64 dorado, 68 yellowfin tuna, 3 wahoo, 5 roosterfish, 17 snapper, 2 jack crevalle, 1 amberjack, 5 bonita, 4 triggerfish, 4 cabrilla, 8 skipjack, 2 sierra, and 1 needlefish. The hotel reported most boats going south, some as far as the Gordo Banks.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported 255 boats from combined fleets including the Van Wormer resorts of Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Punta Colorada with a catch including released fish of: 73 striped marlin, 3 sailfish, 164 dorado, 319 yellowfin tuna, 5 pargo, 8 wahoo, and 6 roosterfish. East Cape weather was in the low-80s, with water temperatures of 72 to 78 degrees, and calm seas with some afternoon chop.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Martin Verdugo's Beach Resort, Marisol Verdugo reported boats catching mainly football yellowfin tuna and some dorado up to about 40 pounds, with marlin present but not hungry. "The guys have seen quite a few marlin in the area, but few being caught," she said.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Gary Barnes-Webb of Rancho Leonero said fishing was up and down during the week, with marlin very spread out, some lone dorado bulls to 50 pounds, and slower action on tuna until the weekend, when one boat took 14 fish to 45 pounds off Punta Pescadero.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham reported generally slower conditions, except for the larger roosterfish still hitting on the beaches, plus larger jack crevalle that were seen but not caught. Sierra were still around at La Ribera and Punta Colorada.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Mark Rayor of Vista Sea Sport said dive conditions at Cabo Pulmo were up and down, with variable water temperatures and sea life showing lots of rays and bigeye jacks, plus large moray eels free swimming and mingling with large grouper. Bottom temperatures ranged widely from 76 to as low as 68 degrees.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Karen Kennedy of East Cape Tackle Store in Los Barriles announced the birth of her baby daughter, Grace Evelyn Kennedy, on May 8. Kennedy also said that she and her parents have put the tackle store up for sale, priced at inventory plus $20,000, and she said interested parties can contact her at,

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: For Sale Tackle Store in Los Barriles, Baja Calif. Sur. Priced for quick sale Inventory + 20,000. Turn key Operation, email: Karen Kennedy.



LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company reported hot, humid summer weather in the mid-90s, and mostly flat sea conditions. Yellowtail were still being caught about 70 feet down at Punta Lobos, and some lone dorado were caught about 7 miles farther out. Bolles said her new store is now working together with Guaycura Adventours in Loreto to offer sport fishing as well as a range of other activities including diving, island tours, horseback riding, jet skis, mission tours, city tours, and whale watching.

LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Wendy Wilchynski said some mornings were foggy last week, but clients are doing well on larger dorado and sailfish.

LORETO, MEXICO: Wallace Nichols of Wildcoast said the local sea turtle project staff needs a reliable outboard motor of about 45 h.p. The motor is needed for monthly sea turtle surveys and educational trips conducted by Wildcoast, Grupo Tortuguero, and the marine park staff. Anyone with a motor to donate was asked to contact Zoe Rappoport,, 831-426-0348.



MULEGE, MEXICO: Charlie Plott and his wife Marianna returned with their Boston Whaler from a trip to fish out of the Hotel Serenidad, and reported mixed action out to Punta Concepcion: "A few dorado were around, but out about 20 to 25 miles from the lighthouse. We saw no bills but heard reports.

"The fishing season seems to be started, but it is slow right now. Just off Punta Conception, we got into some monster roosterfish that had cornered a huge school of small flying fish. The roosters were slashing through the bait as roosters do.

"A 20-foot-high wall of flying fish at least 50 yards long came out of the water, with the giant, slashing roosters underneath. It reminded me of the Baja experiences of decades past. The Serenidad, pig roast, and people were great!"

MULEGE, MEXICO: Local resident Becky Aparicio said dorado were caught 15 miles off the river mouth in water temperatures of 77 to 79 degrees, and generally good conditions except for fog: "Thank heavens for GPS!"

MULEGE, MEXICO: And 50-year-plus Baja pilot Larry Hahn reported good numbers of smaller dorado and the Serenidad runway in excellent shape.



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Gustavo Velez of Baja Sportfishing, Inc. reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Erik, returning to San Felipe on May 22 with a catch of: 168 yellowtail to 36 pounds; 157 cabrilla; 35 pargo; 31 white seabass, 30 to 40 pounds; 1 grouper, 37 pounds; 1 black seabass, 72 pounds; and 200 miscellaneous fish. Velez said the trip charter master was Mike Kaligan of Ventura, his sixth annual trip, and the group fished mainly with jigs at Punta Diablo, Bernabe Rock, Isla San Esteban, and Golden Reef.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Fili Espinoza of Tony Reyes Fishing Tours reported on a 6-day Midriff Islands trip by the panga mothership Jose Andres, returning to San Felipe on May 23 with a catch of: 171 yellowtail, 18 to 30 pounds; 2 black seabass, 55 to 77 pounds; 58 squid, 20 to 35 pounds; 55 cabrilla, 10 to 14 pounds; 7 red snapper, 8 to 10 pounds; 4 broomtail grouper, 8 to 10 pounds; 11 sheephead, 6 to 8 pounds; 1 shark, 25 pounds; and limits of spotted bay bass. Midriff water temperatures averaged 70 degrees. The Jose Andres had a few openings still available on the fishing trips of June 29; July 6, 13 and 20, Aug. 3, 17 and 24, Sept. 7, and Oct. 11 and 5.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Tony Reyes Sr. returned from a whirlwind, one-day trip to Mexico City last week were he testified about the fisheries status of the northern Sea of Cortez before Secretary of Natural Resources Victor Lichtinger. "I told him the sport fishing boats don't have enough fish up here because there is no enforcement," Reyes said. "Everybody catches totoaba and nobody says a thing. We need to have yellowtail reserved for sport fishing." Reyes added that recent videos and photos of surviving vaquita dolphin were also shown, contracting statements from commercial fishermen that they are already extinct and therefore do not require protection.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Catalina Meders of San Felipe's Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said local weather was clear, hot, and muggy last week, and the water color was a "pure cerulean blue." The town was hot into celebrating Memorial Day, and Meders said she was recovering from her neighbor's all night party, including the families of 11 brothers. "Everyone has such a fantastic time," she said. "Families that love each other and actually enjoy spending time together...what a concept! Had Tennessee Williams lived here, he would have written a whole different style of play."



ROCKY POINT (PUERTO PENASCO), MEXICO: Dale Donaldson of Santiago's Ocean Services said water temperatures were on the rise, and he measured 78 degrees about 10 to 12 miles from town. The boat Home Run with Capt. Christobal caught 18 to 20-pound pinto bass, and also landed a 25-pound sardinero (leopard grouper). A school of mackerel was also seen that persisted through 3 hours of fishing.



SAN CARLOS, MEXICO: Bill Molden reported water temperatures rising quickly at 75 to 77 degrees, and a good volume of dorado located 6 to 15 miles out. "Many billfish being spotted, but hard to hook up," Molden said. "The bigger dorado are now running 35 to 40 pounds. A few tuna were caught, and we're praying they show up in numbers this year."



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Paul Phillips of the Fintastic Total Tag & Release Tournament said boats were averaging 6 to 16 sailfish per day about 8 to 10 miles outside of Zihuatanejo Bay. Inshore, jack crevalle were making it hard to hook the roosterfish present.

Local guide Ed Kunze said, "The fishing could only be rated as outstanding." Water temperatures averaged 80 degrees, and clear blue water was just off the beach. Baja On The Fly clients released 7 sailfish on the fly in one day, Kunze said.

At Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters, Stan Lushinsky said large schools of yellowfin tuna were also found throughout the area. Zihuatanejo weather was in the high-80s, with calm seas.

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SINGAPORE REBELS--Kwah Eng Huat fishes a long way from Baja, but the Singapore angler sent this photo of a 7-kilo barramundi caught with a classic "Baja" lure, a 4.5-inch Jointed Rebel Spoonbill in blue-silver. Said Huat, "We fish mainly in the estuary for barramundi, mangrove jacks, groupers, and trevally, trolling from a Coleman canoe." Photo courtesy Kwah Eng Huat.

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PEZ GALLO ACTION--Catherine Wilburn shows off her roosterfish with Capt. Jorge of La Paz' Tail Hunter International. In four days of fishing with her boyfriend, Dave Berthold, Wilburn landed roosters, dorado, jack crevalle, yellowtail, and a 50-pound yellowfin tuna. Photo courtesy Jonathan Roldan.

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CORONADO CATCH--Rick Rudd, right, and Jerry Hattis fished the Coronados from Rudd's 20-foot aluminum boat last week for a nice catch of bottom fish and yellowtail to 40 pounds. Photo courtesy Rick Rudd.

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ENSENADA HALIBUT--Mark Jauregui and Dominic Castagnola had a good day with Vonny's Fleet Capts. Beto Zamora and Cruz Zamora over the weekend, landing limits of rockcod, lingcod, and this 18 pound halibut at the tip of Punta Banda. Photo courtesy Ivan Villarino.

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PUERTO SALINA HALIBUT--Alejandro Rosas Jr., caught this real nice halibut just outside the new Puerto Salina marina north of Ensenada. He fished with a live mackerel. Photo courtesy Alejandro Rosas.

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NEW EAST CAPE PLATFORM--Baja On The Fly sent this photo of Mi Querida, a Blackman 26 with an 11-foot beam, which is now available for short runs to check the late afternoon or evening bites out of Buena Vista. Photo courtesy Jeff Debrown.

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LA PAZ LEOPARD--Joe Oliver fished with Capt. Jorge, left, of Tortuga Fleet for 3 days of good action at La Paz, including this nice leopard grouper. Photo courtesy Joe Oliver.

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BIG BAQUETA--Derek Yen with a large 36-pound baqueta caught at the Midriff Islands during a mothership trip aboard the Erik with his brother Mike Yen. Said Derek, "Most of these were 5 to 10 pounds, so this is a monster!" Photo courtesy Derek Yen.

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RECORD FLATHEAD--Billy Potter with a 72.85 pound flathead catfish caught near Blythe on April 21, which set a new state record. Photo courtesy Wayne Pinkerton of B&B Bait & Tackle.

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EAST CAPE ARRIVAL--Karen Kennedy of East Cape Tackle Store in Los Barriles announced the arrival of her new daughter, Grace Evelyn Kennedy, born on May 8. Photo courtesy Karen Kennedy.

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