Had several calls about road conditions again this week — roads seem to be in good condition and gasoline was available all the way down. I did hear that diesel was still not available at Bay of Los Angeles. If someone has heard something different please post at the bottom this report. Thanks.
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‘Tis the Season (silly) . . .
Another Border Heads-up:
“Yesterday I went to my office in Tijuana with my Compadre and partner, Gerardo (he runs our legal program); after we left duty free with some goodies and entered the freeway to head to Mexico, we immediately were in a long line to cross the border. Gerardo shared with me that this past week the U.S. Customs officers have set up a check point on the U.S. side looking for people who are smuggling over $10,000 into Mexico and that one day this week they had the dogs out sniffing the vehicles. When we arrived at the front of the line, the officers stopped us and asked if we were bringing $10,000 or more into Mexico.
At 4:00 p.m. when we were crossing back into the states, that line was more than a mile long. Therefore, if you are planning to go to Mexico soon, you need to allow at least an extra hour of time just in case the inspections are in place.”
E.B Adair Jr., President
ADA VIS Global Mexico Insurance
It was announced that the governor of Baja California Sur intends to enact a controversial new 350-peso (U.S. $16) tax on tourists coming from abroad and staying for more than one day. Governor Carlos Mendoza’s reasoning is that the state has to find additional means to increase its income during times of crisis. He expects to collect up to 525 million pesos (US $24.5 million) a year with the measure.
It’s not carved in stone just yet, however the stencils are almost done. Needless to say the Tourist industry is having a hissy fit and frantically trying to block the increase.
With Mexican leaders spouting stuff like the following it sounds like an uphill battle:
“I don’t think that this 15 or 16 dollars will scare tourists away, when they spend that on chewing gum. . . .” said Labor Party Deputy Camilo Torres.
Of course, I’m sure everyone has heard of the Trump’s “I’m going to build a Wall” tax ideas being announced, floated or whatever you want to call it. At this point I’m not going to dignify them with an explanation because by the time you get around to reading this, the latest one will have changed, several times.
In case you were thinking that the “Gasolinazo” had calmed down, Guillermo Aboumrad, Director of Strategy at Brokerage Finamex warned on February 3rd, based on the current formula to determine fuel prices, an 8% increase will take effect.
So there you go — exactly one week into our new administration’s term (only 207 more weeks to go…)
Okay, the weather settled down somewhat as winds backed off. Now it is so freezing cold no one seems to be venturing out to Coronado Islands or Ensenada recently.
The first boat to run back down to Punta Colonet found that the 15- to 30-pound yellowtail are still there and they are willing to chew the yoyo iron. The 6X and 7X Salas heavy’s and the Tady 4/0 heavy in blue/white, scrambled egg, and dorado colors were all working. So … there are openings on a number of trips heading down there this weekend. Check the Sand Diego Landing websites if you are up for some hot fishing cooled by chilly weather.
The latest chlorophyll shot shows good water at the Colonet High Spot.
It does not surprise me that those yellowtail are still there…fishdope.com
Still some yellows and bottom fish including some quality lings and things at San Quintin.
For the most part the operations are closed at Cedros Islands or at least the locals are mum about any worthwhile catches there this week.
Down at Ascension, when they start posting sunset photos, it is a pretty good sign either no one is fishing or the fish aren’t biting. This seemed to be the case all the way to Abreojos this week.
Based on Rick Hill, Pinchy Sportfishing’s report the past several days, the port captain closed the boat ramp two days in a row because of wind. Which confirms other similar reports farther up in the Sea of Cortez all the way to San Felipe.
Hill continued, “It’s windy with a few disturbing gusts in the middle of the night and constantly ugly during the daylight hours . . . low 50s to mid 70s and “no rain!”
While earlier in the week the Sea was ideal, allowing dozens of boats to hit all the high spots from Puerto Almeja in the north to Catalana Island in the south.
The medium-sized yellows were moving around too much to allow a steady bite or odds on a sure thing. Basically they were biting on their own schedule – right time, right place!
San Bruno Reef and “Candeleros” kicked out 15-pound class fish but the best catches were on the first boats. The later boats ended up with a pick on reds, pinto bass and whitefish. Mackerel are being caught on the south and east side spots at Coronado Island without much trouble. Another good spot for bait has been outside of Loreto Bay just south of “the rock.”
Down south at Punta Baja the action has been on triggerfish (destroying bait) and a few of the targeted ‘tails. Most of the high spots contain more than one rock pile and moving around giving each one a chance is the best strategy. Keep an eye out for the commercial handline fishermen and you will see them do the same thing. If they are sitting, they are catching!
It’s still early in our season but things are looking more normal than they have for the past two years.
At Magdalena Bay, Puerto Lopez Mateos the week’s story remained the whale watching again. To be fair when the whales are in they are the money crop and the sportfishing is pretty much ignored until the mammals depart.
Fishing conditions and seasons are definitely changing at La Paz according to Jonathan Roldan, Tailhunter International. With each passing week, it’s a little cooler…a little breezier…the sun is going down earlier…the shadows are getting longer.
There a few anglers out on the water so they almost have the whole ocean to themselves. There are more and more cooler-water fish like sierras, cabrilla, jack crevalle, pargo and rainbow runner, but there’s still some great blue water pelagic fishing to be done.
The schoolie-sized dorado are still the main catch for the La Paz Fleet, as it has been pretty much all season. They’re smallish, but fun and provide lots of action. Catch-and-release has been very common because you can hook way over your limit in short order. Anglers get enough for their limits and coolers or for their dinner and then keep fishing just for fun and letting the extra fish go.
Most of the dorado continue to be 5 to 10 pounds, but occasionally, there’s a 15 or 20 pounder that makes it in. Often, there’s so many “squirts” they don’t give the bigger fish a chance to grab the bait! In those same areas, there’s still some marlin and sailfish feeding as well providing the occasional hookups.
At Muertos Bay, surprisingly, anglers are still getting so many wahoo! In fact, every day, pangas are hooking one to five wahoo each. Maybe getting one or two to the panga, but these are quality 20- to 40-pound fish!
There are still flurries of 20- to 30-pound yellowfin tuna hanging out as well and willing to eat the chunked squid drifting down on a bare hook in the current.
This is the time of year at East Cape that cheers can be heard for the north winds since most of the local focus is around the kite boarding competitions held annually in February and March.
However we do have another mystery fish to offer from an East Cape beach, I think.
WHAT IS IT?
Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas, commented that San Jose del Cabo
has also been dealing with strong northern winds that made for some rougher days on the water for anglers; early morning there was the wind chill factor to deal with until the rising sun helped warm the day up anglers at San Jose del Cabo. Fortunately there were still some yellowfin tuna found close to shore off of Punta Gorda; this was the highlight of the catches in recent days.
Anglers drift fishing for the yellowfin tuna, using various baits, but sardina were the favorite if you were able to obtain them. The tuna were ranging in size from 15 to 40-pound average for one or two or up to six or more . . . close to shore over rocky structure along with a mix of bottom species, though no significant number, except for triggerfish. A few nicer-sized amberjack were accounted for, in the 50- to 60-pound class, also a handful of red snapper and leopard grouper.
They are hoping to see more yellowtail start to move in; there were increased numbers of striped marlin being seen off of the normal fishing grounds though still only a handful were actually hooked into.
Sierra are dominating the inshore activity, moderate numbers of fish averaging 2 to 4 pounds. A few roosterfish were also up to 15 pounds. Not the normal season that we find many roosterfish; normally the ones we do see are smaller, juvenile-sized fish.
Cabo San Lucas, had far fewer boat trips out this week than last, with varied catches throughout the week, although it was mainly a small yellowfin tuna kind of week. Smaller game fish associated with inshore fishing were very common this week, lending itself to a great variety of fish species being seen by anglers this week. There were many of the extremely good eating sierra, Spanish mackerel, and roosterfish which are prized for the fight that they pack for their size. While some boats even landed some decent-sized grouper.
While a few stripers are being seen, they are almost all the non-biter types and adding more fishing difficulty to the days.
Cabo Climate: An overall sunny week with clear days that averaged 73 degrees and cool nights that averaged 57 degrees. Bring a jacket for the mornings.
Sea Conditions: Water temps are still falling. On the Pacific side, from the Finger Bank to Cristobal Ridge, all at 69 degrees. Just south of Cristobal and out to the 1000 Fathom Curve and on up to Los Frailes, all at 71 degrees. Outside the 1000 Fathom Curve and from the 95 Fathom Spot to the Cabrillo Sea Mount, rises to 72 to 74 degrees. Surface breezes flowing mostly from the southwest at an average of about 9.9 mph.
Southwest Airlines announced this week that they will begin flying nonstop to Los Cabos from San Diego in April, marking the airline’s first nonstop service between Lindbergh Field and Mexico.
The once daily flight to Los Cabos International Airport, which serves the popular tourist towns of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, will start on April 25, with booking available beginning Wednesday, January 25.
They will join two other airlines — Alaska and Spirit — that also offer nonstop service to the southern Baja California destination although Spirit’s flights are seasonal, not year-round.
Southwest is offering special introductory fares as low as $104 one way, starting Wednesday for travel beginning April 25. Presently they fly nonstop to the Los Cabos airport from Los Angeles and Orange County and are scheduled to launch nonstop flights next month from Oakland, as well.
Southwest’s announcement comes as Tijuana’s A.L. Rodriguez International Airport is adding infrastructure improvements to ease air travel for Americans.
The Cross Border Xpress, a privately operated, enclosed pedestrian bridge connecting Rodriguez with a structure in Otay Mesa that includes airline ticket counters, 850 parking spaces and car rental booths, was officially debuted by the airport a little over two years ago.
The Tijuana airport, regarded as the second-best connected in Mexico, served nearly 4.4 million passengers in 2014. More than half of the users of the airport cross to or from California.
Coronado Islands Enough said regarding the weather; however, it’s worth mentioning fishdope.com/’s mid-week report. “Dirty green water around North Island and Middle Grounds… One of our buddies took a look down the beach for yellowtail this morning. No yellowtail seen on the stock spots. He was checked by the Mexican Navy though. They were parked around the Ribbon Kelp area and were very kind and prompt with their check.
“They asked for boat registration, fishing licenses, ID in the form of a passport and his FMM’s. They told him they took photos of his documents and he saw them take a photo of his boat. They used a pool net to pass the documents back and forth keeping the boats from touching. Everything checked out and they told him to have a good time fishing.”
Make sure to have all your documents up-to-date as well as your FMM! See the Mexico Resource Page for more details.
Let’s just jump down to Punta Colonet . . . again old dope from last weekend. The yellowtail bite was slower this weekend, but there are still some fish around and could go back on the bite at any time. In any event, the yellows down there are mostly in the 15- to 25-pound class and are eating full-sized 6x yo-yo iron. Color doesn’t really matter as long as you grind as fast as you can back to the boat. If you think you’re winding fast enough, speed up even more. Fortunately, the rockfish and lingcod bite is good enough to fill the void when the yellows aren’t biting. Both species will eat jigs, too, or you can drop a live sardine down to the bottom on the edges of the high spots and pinnacles on a dropper loop.
Snow at 8,000 feet above Meling Ranch last week and yellows at San Quintin this week. Took the aluminum skiff out for quick session…George Catian
Julio Meza completed his trip with Larry Dahlberg at Abreojos, the Grouper World Capital, experiencing the slowest fishing trip ever but we still managed a few good ones; we released a few above the IGFA World Record again. Expressing his appreciation to Dahlberg: “Thanks for cheering me on. You are very generous, great experience fishing with you! This trip really was a Hunt for Big Fish.”
Favorable reports coincided with the few days when the North Wind either diminished or blew out allowing anglers an opportunity to fish in the morning for some of the smaller yellows and white seabass in the Upper Sea of Cortez.
According to Rick Hill, Pinchy Sportfishing, it was a pretty good week with only afternoon winds. Ample live mackerel available for sale or catch your own on sabikis.
Yellowtail are showing up on the high spots and then bugging out quickly. Several spots off Carmen’s Punta Perico were producing schoolie-sized 15- to 20-pound fish on one mid-morning stop. When things slowed down they checked five other spots for nothing.
Later, returning to the first spot yielded a triple with two fish on bait and one on iron as well as a catch-and-release of a 6-foot hammerhead that got the circle hook on mono in its lip.
Our captain, Tony Davis, with some yellowtail headed for some soy sauce and the smoker! These were caught off Carmen Island at one of the high spots called, “sailfish”.
Also down south this week they heard of a new spot to locate and try out. One mile outside and slightly north of “submarine rock” is a series of ledges holding big cabrilla and one unknown monster that broke 40# line just at the last wraps on the spool.
Cut bait has been a sure deal out at La Cholla and the “50” Spot off Carmen’s Punta Lobo. Mostly whitefish, pinto bass and triggerfish with this method.
Baja road report from yesterday’s arrivals stated, “All the gas stations are open and no demonstrators!” Mid-day traffic from Ensenada to San Quintin was heavy and slow.
We went out in the morning and caught this beauty trolling a Rapala on a downrigger in 35-feet of water. It weighed 35-pounds all cleaned out and 50-inches in length. It has major gill strakes and a yellowish tint in the mouth.
What is it?
At Magdalena Bay, Rodrigo Garcia confirmed that the grey whales have begun showing up in Puerto Lopez Mateos, noting that there were approximately 30 mothers and babies already.
Surprisingly, given that it is winter and chilly in La Paz . . . there’s still some dink dorado around, which are usually warm-water fish. Nothing big, but still fun. The rest of the catch focused on bonito, some snapper and cabrilla.
On the other hand, whale sharks are back in the bay and starting the year with a great opportunity to swim in the shallow waters of La Paz Bay with these “baby” whale sharks that can reach 20-feet in length. If you’re interested, contact us directly via e-mail at: Jonathan@tailhunter.com
At East Cape — While the North Wind is a welcome visitor for the “Lord of the Wind” Kite Boarding competition, it’s not so welcome for the local and visiting anglers. Recent balmy days enticed anglers onto the beach both early in the morning and late in the afternoon in hopes of getting in on the sierra mackerel bite taking place just beyond the water color line. Unfortunately, the sierra have been out of casting range for most who had to settle for small cabrilla, ladyfish and grouper.
The few pangas that did make it out struck pay dirt for the sierra for ceviche plus they caught some huge skipjack.
San Jose del Cabo had cooling air temperatures combined with moderate North Winds contributed to ocean water temperature dropping into the 70 degree range, according to Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks pangas.
The whale migration is definitely peaking now and should continue for the next month. Big news: The bait situation for the past week has been that schooling sardina has been found off of the Palmilla Point area; it will be interesting to see how long this resource will hold up; a very fragile fishery, we had not seen this baitfish for well over one year. Congregations of mackerel and sardineta are being found spread throughout the area as well, always a favorable sign.
More sierra are moving in along the stretches of beach now and with sardina being available, this has opened up another option inshore, although we have not seen big numbers of the sierra yet..
Yellowfin tuna continue to be the most common fish being found, at least for the fleets out of San Jose del Cabo. Recently the most consistent fishing grounds were back in the vicinity of the Iman Bank. The bite was sporadic, with boats averaging one, two or three yellowfin in the 15- to 40-pound class, drift fishing with sardina for bait proved to be the best bet. On Wednesday the action went wide open, with most charters having limits for their anglers, while the very next day the bite was very slow — the tuna could be seen on the surface, but proved finicky once again. A few snapper and amberjack were landed, but the snapper bite of last week slowed way down. We are hoping to see some yellowtail moving in with the cooling water.
Not much going on for striped marlin at this time, though some stripers were being hooked into near Iman where the yellowfin tuna action was found. We believe we will see more numbers of billfish move in soon, following the mackerel food source.
More boats remaining in the slip as the water temperature cools off rapidly throughout lower Baja and the marlin are moving into the warmer waters areas more than 45 miles offshore. A few yellowfin tuna are being caught at the 40-plus mile mark out to the southwest of Cabo San Lucas, from school fish that are running with the porpoise. Overall, it was a very difficult fishing week for the Cabo fleets and the billfish bite has dropped off from the high number early this month
Cabo Climate: Daytime temps at an average of 75 degrees and nights at 59 degrees, with a humidity ratio of 62.4%.
Sea Conditions: Water temps are similar from the Finger Bank on the Pacific side to Los Frailes on the Sea of Cortez side and reflect almost everything in between at 71 to 72 degrees. Sea surface breezes flowing in mostly from the southwest at 8.8 mph average.
Best Fishing Area: No specific area was named for the week in the absence of the marlin bite. The few billfish caught were from the area surrounding Cabo Falso Drop-off area.
Best Bait/Lure: Live bait was best to have for the billfish even though the bite was very slow. Mackerel are still readily available at the banks and the billfish seem to be moving southerly toward the Golden Gate Bank from the Finger Bank.
Live Bait Supply: Remained good through the week at $3.00 per bait rate.
Bait Supply: Good supply of caballito at the $3.00 per bait rate. Mackerel still available on the bank drop-offs…Cortez Charters Larry Edwards
The uprising against rising fuel prices (the gasolinazo) continues with no end in sight.
Latest crisis in Mexico is the people’s ongoing fight— a social disaster at the fuel pumps and the latest spark igniting the people’s outrage, with predictions of more increases coming in February. Odds are, shortages and protests are likely to continue.
Different border crossings into Baja California, Mexico as well as toll booths along the scenic highway and a few sporadic highway locations in the San Quintin Valley area continue to be an almost daily target of protesters, displacing the SAT agents and allowing free passage through the tolls. The highway filters that have appeared at times, mostly in the Camalu area have allowed non-commercial vehicles through and are allowing the buses and trucks through once an hour.
At times, CBP has chosen to close access to the Chaparral border entry into Mexico in response and may block access on the southbound I-5 and 805, diverting traffic to Otay Mesa via the 905. In those cases expect for delays to enter Mexico due to the longer lines of vehicles waiting to enter.
Overall the situation with transpeninsular road access has been very good now with the exception of the aforementioned on again-off again road block/filter on the north side of Camalu where they continue to allow non-commercial vehicles through. Just show a little patience and you shouldn’t have any problems – they will appreciate you showing support with a thumbs up as you go through. There are no other confirmed reports of any other problems this morning and you should be able to drive up/down the peninsula without any other significant delays right now.
Fuel is currently available in most areas of the peninsula and the NE regions of the peninsula in the Mexicali-San Felipe areas are now getting back to normal supplies.
It is wise to avoid any areas of conflict as things could quickly escalate, as we saw several days ago in Rosarito at the Pemex terminal entrance. Continuing protests and marches are planned for the major cities of the peninsula and best to just avoid them completely. They are protesting against the Mexican government and their anger is not with expats or tourists. There are some reports of expats and tourists actually participating in the marches but that is unwise based on both safety and legal issues. It is illegal for foreigners to be involved in active political protests and could be subject to deportation…Ron Gomez Hoff, Talk Baja (Face Book)
Small craft warnings more days than not, with plenty of rain in the mix as well; this hindered anglers at Coronado Islands for the most part of the week.
At Ensenada it was more of the same; however, Chilly Willy aboard the Reel Adventure slammed a quality yellowtail on one of the calm days.
Meanwhile at Punta Colonet, the action was mixed for the Dominator out of Point Loma Sportfishing. On a day-and-a-half-trip to Punta Colonet, fellow BD writer Joe Sarmiento shares some insider stuff in “Colonet Yellowtail Strategy.”
I can’t fill you in on what is going on with the gas situation up and down Baja, but here in Loreto we have gas!
The stations have been open the entire time and selling whatever is requested.
The fishing scene continues to be a good pick at yellowtail and other bottom dwellers.
Yellowtail are being caught at most of the usual spots on live bait; if that gets too slow, the bite on assorted bottom fish is a sure deal with cut bait and using circle hooks.
Sierra and a few roosters are participating at the surface and near shore.
Live bait for the roosters and the sierra hit anything shiny that also wiggles.
Mackerel have been caught, around and after sunrise, just off the south side of Coronado Island.
The next few days will be a full moon and we shall see what happens with the mackerel. (Many times the bait sellers won’t even try to catch bait when the moon is full !)
Captain Tony Davies did an island tour on “cruise ship day” and spotted four humpback whales all within a few miles of Coronado Island.
All signs are still pointing to a great winter yellowtail season…Rick Hill
In Magdalena Bay, Jonathan Roldan confirmed that the grey whales have started showing up in Bahia Magdalena at Lopez Mateos! Let Tailhunter set up a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a great day trip or overnight trip to the calm inner waters of the bay to spend a day or two with these amazing animals! Write him directly at Jonathan@tailhunter.com
No surprises in La Paz . . . not much to tell this week. The town and visitors were still in “holiday hangover” from Christmas and New Years. Normally, this time of year, the folks who come fishing are walk-in clients off the street. Instead of being anglers who book months in advance who come for a “fishing trip,” these are visitors to town or snowbirds who’d just like a day of fishing.
At East Cape locals are buzzing about a tuna and billfish bite out in front of La Ribera when the winds back off.
Our friend Gonzalo Castillo caught this critter while fishing on the Gordo Bank. He sent the photo to me asking what it is?
So gang, help me answer him?
What is it?
The North Winds were light throughout the week at San José Del Cabo, though there were strong currents running and pushing in cooler water temperatures, as currents are now in the 70- to 74-degree range. Lots of mackerel also being found on the normal bait grounds, mixed with sardineta. Slabs of squid and caballito are also available.
Recently sporadic action has been the norm for a variety of fish, many of them smaller-sized structure species, being found in the same area where anglers are still targeting yellowfin tuna; most consistent places have been off of Punta Gorda to the Iman Bank. Most of the yellowfin tuna landed were in the 15 to 30-pound range.
Dorado were a bit more numerous this past week, though the majority of them were smaller-sized female fish that in reality should be released to help this species have a chance at rebounding.
Best bottom action now is red snapper (huachinango), with Punta Gorda being the most productive spot for this action. Snapper up to ten-pounds were striking on various baits. Only a few leopard grouper, yellow snapper or other pargo species were in the mix. Of course there have been decent numbers of triggerfish…Eric Brictson Gordo Banks Pangas
What a special birthday for angler Aaron Roberts, who turned 45 on what without a doubt is his most memorable fishing day. Rick Roberts, Shelly Grandmont also from Alberta, Canada were also aboard the Pisces.
Cabo San Lucas An incredible shut off for the fishing from Cabo San Lucas and for no real apparent reason other than perhaps a bit of a water cooling trend this past week that wrapped around Cabo from the Pacific side to Los Frailes. We had reports of a great number of 250-pound yellowfin tuna feeding at the Cabo Falso drop off but not a single bite using live bait and casting right in the middle of the frenzy.
Cabo Climate: It was a mostly sunny and clear week with a few days of passing clouds. Daytime air temps averaged 77.6 degrees; nights were cooler and averaged 59.4. Humidity ratio averaged 56.4% for the week.
Sea Conditions: Water temps were cooler from the Golden Gate Bank and around to Las Frailes, all at about 74 degrees. Gorda Banks to Los Frailes at 72 degrees. Outside the Jaime Bank to the southwest the temps reflected 75 degrees. Surface breezes were flowing mostly from the westerly directions and averaged about 9 mph with Saturday blowing about 14 mph. Some afternoon wind chop for Saturday but otherwise, good sea conditions in all out-bound directions.
Best Fishing Area: There was no specific area reported for the better fishing, albeit, lots of really big tuna were seen in the area off the Cabo Falso Drop Off area.
Best Bait/Lure: Nothing was working particularly well and a lot of different systems were being tried without success.
Bait Supply: Good supply of caballito at the $3.00 per bait rate. Mackerel still available on the bank drop-offs. …Cortez Charters Larry Edwards
Outdoor writer, photo journalist and speaker Gary Graham's long rap sheet of Baja and Southern California sportfishing experiences and published credits would fill many pages, but some highlights might include the more than 1,000 editions of his highly respected Baja California fly fishing report, two books on saltwater fly fishing, and hundreds of feature articles in publications