Baja swordfish and yellowtail shatter records

Baja Bytes – March 23, 2021     

Que Pasa

Cabo swordfish explode as 43-year-old Pisces fleet leads the Los Cabos fleet with record back-to-back “swordy” catches two days in a row — Thursday, Pisces 31’ Tracy Ann caught one, and Friday Pisces 35’ Bill Collector caught another two.

According to Jonathan Roldan, Tailhunter International, some of the best yellowtail fishing in 25 years continues at Bahia de Los Muertos. Not to be outdone, the Loreto area up to Bahia de Los Angeles, is also enjoying extraordinary yellowtail action according to locals.

Also, there have been outstanding grouper catches at Gonzaga Bay, and, a positive update from Cedros Island has been reported on the improvements to the airstrip while all the operations on the Island complete preparations for the upcoming season. 

Tijuana Bull Ring

BD writer/contributor Joe Sarmiento was on the “San Diego” and reported that he caught this nice yellow and the jig he caught it on at 11 a.m.  He said the boat fish total was up to 35 for the day, and he scored 3 yellows on the first four stops of the day.
When the yellow bite slowed, they decided to go load up on rockfish for a little while and come back to fish yellows later.

Coronado Islands/Rockpile

There are 12- to 20-pound yellowtail around to be caught and are being caught on big heavy yoyo iron. There are very few, if any, surface signs. There was a report of some that were up under birds along the weather side of North Island a few days ago, but that was the lone exception to the rule.

The areas where these yellows were being found included the weather side of North Island along the ridge in 200- to 250-feet of water. Also, the yellows are showing just outside of North Island on the flats just to the west.

Another good area is the big zone to the SW of South Island over the hard bottom in 200- to 300-feet of water.

Other small schools of yellowtail have been found in recent days on sonar in the Middle Grounds and the weather side of South Island in 160- to 250- feet of water.

Yesterday, the “San Diego” ended up with 33 yellowtail and 170 rockfish for 34 passengers.

Today, we received a report that the boat was up to 35 yellows at 10:30 a.m.

Yoyo iron is by far the most productive method to get these yellows. The large-size jigs – like the 6X and 7X – are working best. The smaller 6jxr-size is working a little, but it doesn’t sink fast enough or work well in depths over 200-feet so right now stick with the big heavy jigs.

No signs of barracuda yet but the barracuda bite in the Ensenada area is turning on big time so we might be seeing some ‘cuda before too long.

Rockfish continue to bite well with boats scoring limits of quality reds, whitefish, some lingcod and sheepshead at SKR and the Rockpile, and various other stones around the Island. …Fish Dope


Yellowtail and rockfish. …Maras sportfishing and Sammy Surrey

Lower 500 / Outside Colonet


Boats scheduled online to run down here but were canceled due to weather concerns. The next available trips are set for next Friday evening for fishing on Saturday.

The last boat down here was the “Old Glory” on Saturday, March 13th. They reported finding multiple schools of bluefin, and some of them responded to chum but they just simply refused to bite anything with a hook in it.

They did find pretty good-sized yellowtail on kelps in the 10- to 15-pound range, which is pretty encouraging, and it sounds like they are biting pretty well. …Fish Dope

San Quintin

No report

Bahía Asunción

It looked like it was going to be a doable morning on the kayak, so after getting the dogs and Molly situated, and half a cup of coffee down my gullet, I paddled out to find slow fishing on the lee side of Isla Asunción. Still, I was able to catch a handful of decent 5-pound calicos.

I saw a couple of whale spouts close inside the channel; it’s always fun to hear the hollow, tubular sound of their breathing when they are near. The NW swell cutting through the channel was big enough that seeing them from the trough wasn’t possible, but I knew they were northbound grays.

Paddling in along the island shallows to hit a few sandy spots and check for halibut, but there were no takers … just a lot of ‘dogs’ watching me try while they either warmed in the sun on the rocks or came over to say “hey, whatcha’ doin’?”

It was overcast and cool by noon, so I headed in with four decent calicos in the hold. Came home to find a happy Oso, Flash, and Molly waiting for filet scraps. The smallest fish that I kept was 16″Daniel Powell.

Gonzaga Bay

Gonzaga Bay March 16-17-18-19 Out fishing with Rick Jensen, Ellis Jensen, and Larry Hansen.  The fish were scattered but there were fished far and wide and we were rewarded with some great catches!  The weather was insane – and the water was flat, blue, and beautiful!  Take a look.

Also, we fished mostly with a new hard bait stick that Rick brought down, Beitos lures that work very well. …Captain Juan Cook

Bahía de Los Ángeles

Five of us drove down Sunday from AZ.  Three of us had been down before; one friend was from Florida and the other is a tournament Bass guy.  The road was amazing until we were close to the BOLA turn-off. Then the potholes made us slow down. We stopped in San Felipe for lunch and to pick up some shrimp for dinner. We fished with Joel Prieto who never disappoints! …Jpasto

Cedros Island

After a lot of effort from State authorities and the local salt company, Cedros Island Airstrip is under repair as of early this month and the regional airline has been making regular flights to/from Guerrero Negro and Ensenada. 

As most already know, the strict (red level) COVID-19 restrictions have changed to a less critical level (yellow level) since early this month as well. Depending on the location or business type, it can mean only 30- to 50% capacity.

Little by little, the activities in Baja California are returning to pre-COVID surge days. In general, Mexico has not been able to acquire and apply the vaccines at the faster pace as has the US or some of the other countries. The only vaccination event I know of at Cedros has been around 200 vaccines to the most vulnerable members of the community and those who are above 65 years old. Remember, the island’s total population is around 3,000 residents, so it is a relief for many families. But this also means that it is still in a very delicate situation for the rest of the adults, and it is always recommended to make sure that visitors have their tests done, and best if they have proof of vaccination when planning a trip there.

Cedros Outdoor Adventures survived the economic and health effects of the pandemic, and we feel very lucky and grateful to our patient and understanding clients. It has been a very difficult time to go through for everyone, and we are sorry for the many businesses that didn’t make it through. We also learned that some dear friends, regular guests, incredible people passed away due to COVID. We will remember them. 

At Cedros Outdoor Adventures, we have been getting ready for this coming fishing season starting in July. We are acquiring N95 masks, disinfection gel, and thermometers for members of our crew, and we will eventually be able to have enough test kits, which we hope will become available in a few weeks. This is just in case the vaccines take longer to arrive on the Island (crossing fingers). As for our guests, most of them are traveling from the U.S., and according to the latest information, we could be requiring a previous day COVID test, already available at many pharmacies, or better, proof of vaccination from CDC. This is just a preliminary plan, and we would change our requirements as the situation demands. 

Fishing reports from last year are extremely encouraging for this season. Of course, lots of yellowtail and calico that were sighted last year are bigger and one year older. Also, there were reports of excellent dorado catches late in the summer, and exceptional halibut all year. We hope fishing will stay as good as it was in previous years, and there is only one way to know of course and we look forward to seeing you – it is Cedros Island after all, and we will be providing the same top quality and friendly service as we have for more than a decade.

Thank you to Gary and our sponsors and service providers …WE’RE  BACK! Jose Angel, Cedros Outdoor Adventures

Baja Sur-Que Pasa

The popular Ciclovia, the Sunday mornings event that takes place in downtown Cabo San Lucas every Sunday. The event closes some downtown Cabo streets from 7:00 am to 11:00 am so that individuals and families can gather to bicycle, jog, run, skate, walk their pets, practice Zumba and more without vehicle traffic. Go! Go! Go!…Gringo Gazette.

Guerrero Negro

Shari Bondy Whale Magic Tours.


Captain Tony Davis with cabrilla caught on both live bait and Rapalas close to the shoreline.

The break-out has started with good action for hungry yellowtail along the northwest side of Carmen Island. From La Cholla to Lobo there have been diving birds and boiling fish. Surface action was spotty except for the few boats that could land on top of the boils when they were foaming. Bottom live bait action for 20-plus pound fish put at least “one yellowtail on every boat!” Iron was working on all sizes of yellows and some 15-pound class cabrilla equally fell victim.

(Bring back-up terminal gear in this area because the bottom structure is super sharp, and the big yellows will pull you past their favorite rock!) It will be another 3 to 4 weeks before the surface action gets exciting.

The first boats out of the marina are buying bait leaving the later boats to do the deep jigging routine out past Coronado Island.

Barracuda, toro, and cabrilla are hitting hard bait if the live bait magic fails…Rick Hill, Pinchy Sportfishing

Mike back in with 5 yellows by noon.

It’s a wide-open yellowtail bite in Loreto!!! Tim Yarbrough

Marina Puerto Escondido

Lopez Mateos

2021: Garcia’s Tours’ Captain Rodrigo García (Roddy) rental of boats for gray whale watching in Puerto Adolfo López Mateos, BCS.

Chicharron (north of Insurgentes, south of San Juanico)


Great week fishing in Chicharron. I’m not sure anyone has sport fished here before…Bill Summers.

Straight west of Loreto on the Pacific. Very remote. No electricity, no water, no cellular...Nicholas Miholich

La Paz

MEXICAN MINUTE LA PAZ FISHING REPORT from Tailhunter Sportfishing for March 11-20, 2021

East Cape

An up-to-date overview of local fishing from Cindy Kirkwood at East Cape Tackle.

Rancho Leonero was full all week with the La Jolla Swim Club. No boats were out this week. It was windy all week but was finally calm on Saturday. 

Lots of sierra and a good yellowtail bite when the boats could get out. Cerralvo Island was red hot! …John Ireland, Rancho Leonero

Puerto Los Cabos

The official spring season arrived on March 21, 2021 … the weather conditions are ideal with clear sunny skies and temperatures of 80 degrees; there are light crowds of tourists, making this a perfect time to visit. The north winds slacked over the weekend, and these patterns should continue and stabilize during this transition period as days progressively become warmer. The ocean temperature is averaging 70 to 72 degrees, with warmer areas found outside of Cabo San Lucas. The swells are slight.

Near the Puerto Los Cabos Marina, bait supplies have remained steady for caballito and sardina.  They were obtainable, although they required a bit more patience while waiting to be netted each morning. Most of the limited charters that were going out each day have been fishing the areas from La Fortuna, Iman Bank, and north to Vinorama. All are still mainly inshore now. With this warming trend, we expect to see more surface activity.

There are reports of some scattered striped marlin action being found on the outside, some 15 miles or more offshore, where cleaner currents are found, which should only improve as conditions become more favorable. Recently a handful of yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds was landed mainly by commercial pangeros near the Iman Bank while drift fishing with sardina or chumming with strips of squid; the tuna they hooked were caught later in the day. There haven’t been many wahoo or dorado, but it is encouraging that these yellowfin are on the local grounds and we expect them to become more prevalent as the spring season progresses.

Off the bottom, the action has been good early in the morning mainly for bonito, which ranged to 10 pounds.  Also in the mix were a handful of yellowtail and Almaco jack, with a couple of nicer-sized fish to 50 pounds reported. A mix of cabrilla and grouper with a few to over 25 pounds, as well as some red snapper, rounded out the action. Off the deeper rocky high spots, some of the prized baqueta were accounted for. It does seem that recently the all-around bottom action has improved.  Besides the yo-yo jigs, soaking bait down deep was working.

Along the shoreline, we saw more roosterfish action, (juvenile fish), but some were over 20 pounds. Also, quite a few sierra were being found along the beach stretching towards the south…Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas

Cabo San Lucas

Billfish 58%, Tuna 4%, Other 28%

The Pisces crews were on it this week with the swordfish catches! Two swordfish were caught on back-to-back days— Thursday, Pisces 31’ Tracy Ann caught one, and Friday Pisces 35’ Bill Collector caught another two, plus two striped marlin released, each weighing about 120 pounds. This makes three swordfish in two weeks for us here at Pisces, which is a first in our history!

There have also been reports of other charter boats in the area catching swordfish in the past few weeks. All of the fish have been spotted on the surface and have taken live or dead Green Jacks that were cast. Anglers have done a good job of landing their fish on light tackle and getting them quickly to the boat.

Other billfish catches have also improved this week, although the marlin have been hard to land. Getting them to take cast mackerel or trolled ballyhoo has been challenging. With this said, we had 103 billfish released this past week with up to six released by one boat in one day! This boat was Pisces 37’ BBII, which was the Top Release Boat for the week (they also released a mako shark). Other species caught have been mainly sierra mackerel, red snapper, grouper, and triggerfish.

That Baja Guy-Gary Graham

Published by That Baja Guy - Gary Graham

That Baja Guy...Gary Graham Gary Graham turned his passion for all things fishing into a profession. Whether its boats, destination travel, adventure experiences, vehicles, tackle, methods or just the spinning of a good outdoors tale, Graham has evolved into the go-to guy.

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