Almaco Jack Attack

Baja Bytes – April 20, 2021   

Que Pasa

 “Gary, Have you ever tried to explain that amberjacks are extremely rare in Baja? And that all the fish being identified as amberjacks recently are really Almaco jacks?” texted Steve Crooke, Scientific Adviser for the Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) providing biological assistance for both State and Federally managed fisheries and who worked for the California Department of Fish and Game for 38 years.

Almaco jacks are much more robust, shorter, and stockier in their bodies, plus they feature a dark bar that extends through the eye to the base of the dorsal. The few amberjack Crooke has seen, traveled down the Mexican coast and to the south. He did count a few gill rakers to be sure.
Regardless of what you call them Amber or Almaco, they are biting now! pro

Tijuana Bull Ring

Inshore, calico bass and short barracuda are beginning to bite in the kelp. Anchovy is the bait you want to fish these along with 12-pound test and a little number 4/0 hook and perhaps a small split-shot and you are in biz! Fish Dope

Coronado Islands/Rockpile

There are lots of yellowtail here. Our meter was lit on the Middle Ground at 180 feet; outside South Island at 200 feet. I thought my FF was on demo! We dropped everything for nothing, though we didn’t waste time and killed reds instead.
We used the electric reel to descend to small fish and kept track of the count so as not to go over the limits. When the fishing is good it’s hard not to kill! If you want a better grade, send the smaller units back down, and make another drift. Skip the squid and you will get a better grade of fish. Use Ed’s jigs, scampi, flat falls, and colt snipers; there is no need to catch two at a time.
I know electric reels are illegal in Mexico, but I’m confident I can speak enough Spanish to explain what is going on.
The reds were stuffed with sponges and pelagic tunicates. They want to eat the silver jigs more than the red or white. Saludos y Suerte. …aguachico


“Pura Vida Sport Fishing Club”,

171 participants

1- Juan Antonio Escobar
Manta Ray 49,900 kg
Trophy and 8000 pesos

2- Pepe Freddy
Manta Ray 40,820 kg
Trophy and 2700 pesos

3-Hiram Flores
Manta Ray 8,810 kg
Trophy and a fishing trip (Ramons sport fishing)

Scale category

1-Juan Carlos Moreno
Halibut 3,780 kg
Trophy and 8000 pesos

2- Juan Manuel Torres
Halibut 2,110 kg
Trophy and 2700 pesos
Saint Quintin

3- Erick Del Moral
Halibut 1,790 kg
Trophy and fishing trip with (Maras sport fishing)

Children’s category

1- Daniel Gallegos Jr
Halibut 1,170 kg
Trophy and (a fishing rod Sponsored by PESCA DEL MAR)

Female Category
Yesenia Ramos Halibut 230 grams (released)
Trophy and rod (sponsorship of PESCA DEL MAR)

Victor Mendez: Kayak Category

1- Eduardo Astudillo
Halibut 600 grams (released)
Trophy and 1000 pesos

Organized by the “Pura Vida Sport Fishing Club”, which will be selective for the National Championship to be held in the State of Sonora and later have the possibility of representing Mexico in the Sport Fishing World Championship.

Participants from different parts of the country as well as the state and southern California have attended this event. …Victor Hugo Mendez, Pesca Deportiva

On our way to Cedros. Great bottom fishing along the way. Present count: 150+ for 3 days. Steve wanted you to see the hat he is wearing. Home next week…Steve Cushman aboard “Past Time”

Gonzaga Bay

Great couple of days in Gonzaga Bay with Sevag. We caught a bunch of yellows, a few cabrilla, and saw some amazing scenery. Thanks, Juan Cook for guiding us! Till next time.  Steve Pazol

 Baja Sur-Que Pasa


With this tournament, sport fishing season begins in Baja California Sur. With 18 teams, the tournament was limited to 5 fish, and the sum of all the weights determined the winner.

First Place – Garcia Tours, Sergio García Tapia.
Second Place Team – Dilan, Fisherman Pedro Lara,
Third Place – Tuna Can, Teresa Gilleland. 

These are winners of the third tournament of sports fishing in Puerto Adolfo López Mateos…Gonzalo Alamea Camacho

Photo 1     

First place, total weight 46.38-pounds
Second place, total weight 44.32-pounds
Third place, total weight 35.68-pounds


Lobo has kicked out limits for some boats with the rest lucky to get two to the boat.

The La Cholla area between Coronado and Carmen has put yellowtail, cabrilla, and some huge pinto bass on a few boats. The next good spot has been the middle grounds, halfway between Balandra on Carmen’s west side and the Marina. Yellowtail averaging 18 pounds are hitting mackerel and 6X junior iron in the traditional blue and white. Nothing wide open so far and the better bites are happening as the sun rises.

Our divers report green water reminiscent of a duck pond with water temperatures running from 60-degrees at 50 feet and 68-degrees at the surface. Endless patches of sardina and assorted other baitfish are everywhere. The sargasso bloom has slowed with lots of shoreline and pockets stuffed with the faint green to brown seaweed. 

I have always wondered if all the shallow sargasso floats off and dies in the early spring.  If so, then where does the summer stuff come from? The summer green floats with the golden dorado underneath are on my mind. …Rick Hill, Pinchy Sportfishing

Marina Puerto Escondido

The second MPE Sportfishing Tournament dates are May 14-16, 2021 at the Marina.  THere are alredy 24 Team signed up for what is shaping up to be an “EXCITING” affair!

La Paz

MEXICAN MINUTE LA PAZ FISHING REPORT from Tailhunter Sportfishing for Week of April 13 -12, 2021.

East Cape

She’s back. Cindy Kirkwood at East Cape Tackle says tuna are in the house!

Kathy Dennett, Portland, Oregon, with her 75# amberjack.

Clear, flat water from 73- to 76-degrees. Warmer outside with cooler water closer inshore.

Beautiful spring weather, with clear blue skies, cool mornings, and highs in the low 80s.

An improved week of fishing. The warming water has brought the yellowfin and dorado back; the striped marlin are thick with anglers targeting billfish, and releasing multiple fish. The yellowtail are still biting with some good-sized fish being taken daily. There are lots of good-sized sardina available and the sardina is by far the bait of choice. With the tuna and dorado showing, the fishing has lit up!

The yellowfin tuna are biting! The Lighthouse and Rincon are producing nice fish from 10- to 40-pounds. Drift fishing with live sardina is working best, with some fish taken on trolled Hoochies.

The dorado are being taken, mixed with the yellowfin. No real size yet, they are from 5-to 15-pounds with most taken on sardina. Hoochies are working as well.

Striped marlin are wide open! Jumpers and tailers are everywhere throughout the bay, and the drop-offs in front of La Ribera are producing. All anglers targeting billfish are releasing multiple fish. They are hitting everything! Trolled brighter-colored lures are working.

Yellowtail at the lighthouse and high spots close to the hotel are producing nice fish from 10 to 15 pounds. Cerralvo Island is by far the best spot. Live sardina are taking most of the fish with some taken on iron.

Roosterfish are back and 20- to 30-pounders are being released daily. Not much pressure as most anglers are fishing outside…Rancho Leonero

Puerto Los Cabos

This month started with us seeing larger numbers of tourists and visiting anglers arriving, with a little flurry during spring break. Now mid-month we are seeing limited numbers of anglers showing up, even though we have had more interest with people asking about reservations for the upcoming fall season. It looks as though this will be a slow spring and summer season for local fishing businesses. As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more readily available, even to locals, people seem to continue to be more hesitant to travel internationally. The weather recently has been very pleasant— an ideal climate with light scattered early morning marine layer cloud cover, lighter winds, and high temperatures around 85 degrees. It is a great time to visit, with lighter crowds.

Ocean conditions have been slow to transition this season, but the water temperature is now in the 72- to 73-degree range and cleaner water is slowly pushing back closer to shore. In the meantime, anglers have found the most productive fishing action to be off the bottom rock structure and along the shoreline. The most common species has been the Mexican bonito, which has been the case for the past month now, with occasional yellowtail, amberjack, grouper, or red snapper mixed in. The main bait source has continued to be caballito, with no sardina to speak of except the softer, clear type that is only used as dead bait. We did see one or two tuna caught off the same areas where anglers were bottom fishing. As temperatures improve, with warmer and cleaner water, we do anticipate surface activity to break open in the coming weeks.

Along the shoreline, the main action has been for sierra and jack crevalle, and as the water warms up, we should see more roosterfish move in. Normal patterns usually see the end of April as a major turning point for water conditions becoming more attractive to the popular gamefish, and we are anxious to see this happen. We are also optimistic that once anglers see that fish reports are greatly improved, they will decide to visit. …Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas

Cabo San Lucas

Windy weather hasn’t discouraged the stripers plus swordfish that are still biting.

For those visitors willing to brave the elements, multiple releases are not uncommon. Adding to the excitement, the swordfish bite that began over a month ago continues.

The yellowfin tuna seem to be playing hide and seek most of the time. Maybe it is the lack of porpoise schools that are found either inshore or offshore.   

The good news? There seems to be more dorado showing up in the counts including some good-sized fish in the 20-pound class. That, along with an occasional wahoo showing up in the lures, indicates that summer is just around the corner.

Inshore, the sierra remain a favorite enhanced by the early roosterfish arrival which has been a crowd-pleaser for both the inshore crowd as well as for those choosing to pursue them from the beach.

Down deeper on some pinnacles close to shore, pargo, snapper, grouper, and a few yellowtail are often found, plus the Almaco jack are often targeted, but seldom caught.  

For the “beachniks” like Stephen Jansen the sierra are on fire!

LOCATION: The best locations have been out 25-miles, 110 degrees – the 1150 Spot, the 95 Spot, the Migrino, and the Gaspareno. 

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Temperatures have remained in the 64- to 79-degree range with overall calm seas, and sunny skies with afternoon breezes up to 17-knots.

AVERAGE WATER TEMP:   The water temp has been from 69- to 71-degrees.

BEST LURES: The best bait or lures were live or dead caballito, mackerel, ballyhoo, sardina, Petrolero, and hoochies. 

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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