By: Bill Roecker
The San Diego-based long-range sportfishing fleet was scheduled (at press time) to be in port for Thanksgiving, with the exception of Royal Polaris, which had left on a long trip. The anglers aboard planned to celebrate the holiday in the galley, and on the tuna grounds.
Surprisingly, Baja California’s nearshore cows have yet to make a meaningful appearance, though tuna fishing in the southern zone has improved, along with fishing for dorado and wahoo. Recently, Vagabond reported taking an 80-pound yellowtail. Fishing at Hurricane Bank and the Buffer Zone has been typically good, if not spectacular.
“Today we fished Cedros Island,” posted Excel skipper Mike Ramirez on Nov. 24. “We arrived just before noon and it didn’t take long before we found the first school of yellowtail.
“It was pretty hectic for a few hours,” he continued. “There were many times when every person on the boat had one on. We were able to get what we needed on the yellowtail.
“I can’t say enough about the weather,” Ramirez wrote. “It has been beautiful.”
Tuna and Wahoo
“On our last morning of fishing, we were fortunate enough to get some tuna to cooperate with us just before calling it a trip, wrote Independence skipper Jeff DeBuys, on Nov. 23. “I think everyone had one on at some point, and the end result was 23 tuna of 50 to 100 pounds — and a handful of Wahoo. We are headed up the line right now with decent weather. It was a good way to end the trip.”
“A very different day, in the right kind of way,” DeBuys posted in his next report. “Not that we made history or reinvented the wheel, but our fishing effort finally wrenched a piece of what we were looking for from what has been a ridiculously indifferent ocean.
“At day’s end. we are still seeking the mother lode of better-size yellowfin,” he continued. “One vanguard in the 130-pound class and a few 50- to 60-pounders was the sum of attempts this round, but a fair bunch of small yellowfin and a huge bounty of medium- to (larger-)grade flats (dorado) appeased a lot of blood lust, adding catching to the list of tasks completed.
“I don’t know if anyone other than a fisherman can relate to the sense of satisfaction experiencing such incredible production produces, in particular after a long dry spell,” he added. “Following an early afternoon dorado butt-whomping, everyone on board was liberated from the weight of the world. Not solely from production either.
“The visual of so many wanton predators so eager and willing, charging everything that hits the water in droves, was as satisfying as the fishing itself — especially after our quota was in the hatch and we set to teasing the remaining thousands for the simple yet incredibly satisfying sake of doing so,” he wrote. “That never gets old.”
Reports from Mexico’s Rancho Leonero indicate temperatures of 79 to 80 degrees and clear flat mornings, with some afternoon breezes. According to locals, the fishing pressure has been light, and the hotel has been sending out one or two boats a day.
There is reportedly decent billfishing, a good dorado bite and very good inshore fishing.
“Striped marlin are spread throughout the bay, with most taken off the La Ribera bank, south to Punta Colorado,” according to recent reports. “A few sails were released, mixed with the stripers. Nice big Spanish mackerel have been by far the best bait for both the billfish and the game fish. Most anglers are releasing at least one.”
Dorado have been very spread out, mostly schooling fish in the 5- to 12-pound range. Lots around, but slower than last week. Inside, there have been lots of smaller gallos in the 5- to 20-pound class. The sierra bite is wide-open, first thing in the morning. And some nice pargo have been taken.
“It wasn’t a spectacular week of fishing,” said Jonathan Roldan, in his weekly report for the La Paz area, “but given the time of the year, it wasn’t a bad week either — and there were some very good catches. It’s just that seasons are changing and water temperatures are dropping, taking with it more of the warmwater species.
“We had OK numbers of dorado,” he added. “Limits were harder to come by, but everyone still got a few dorado between 8 and 20 pounds.
“There were also some decent surprising roosters around near the Las Arenas lighthouse, with most fish between 10 and 30 pounds,” Roldan reported. “We also still have decent numbers of billfish around as well. Every day we get one or more hookups on sailfish or marlin, with most fish either breaking off or getting released.
“All of these species are somewhat unusual to still be biting this late in the season, so these catches are treats,” he added. “More likely, we should be fishing for more inshore species, like cabrilla, sierra, jack crevalle and pargo.
“One really nice spark this week were the appearance of wahoo,” Roldan wrote. “Midweek, we got into a nice jag, with several of our boats hooking up to the speedsters … All of these were on the south side of Cerralvo Island, and we had not taken any wahoo in about two weeks — so, this was a nice surprise to get into these trophies.”