Baja Bytes – November 9, 2021
IT DISAPPEARED FOR GENERATIONS AND SEASONS ON END, ONLY TO RETURN, THIS TIME, RIVALING THE GOLDEN ERA OF THE PAST.
Bluefin, the very fish that ushered in California’s sportfishing, vanished from its coastline for nearly a century. The giant bluefin returned this year, rivaling the golden era of the past. With pacific bluefin populations still well below historic levels, every angler on the west coast is wondering if this fishery is here to stay or if the golden years are here and now.
Folklore Films by AFTCO presents “Year of the Bluefin” — a story told with a whisper of the past, something only someone like Greg Stotesbury, a bit of a legend around these parts, could manage. Seasoned, just as you would imagine, he is a man who has spent many long, hard days on the water, and he has spent his best ones offshore somewhere in the Pacific chasing sails, marlin, tuna — you name it, he’s caught it.
Stotesbury pulls out a weathered rod, getting everything in Place to stretch some line, preparing for another trip. The rhythmic click with each turn of the reel handle releasing the smell of salt wafting through the air sets the scene for the richness of his tale. aftco.com/folklore Click here
Below the Border
Bass fishing continues to rebound. Some anglers get bites on both calico and sandbass outside the Bull Ring kelp. Fishing the bottom with dropper loop sardine and leadheads with squid or colt-sniper style jigs has yielded a decent mix of calico and sandbass along with a few legal-size in the mix.
At the Coronados, bottom fishing has been slow. No yellowtail was reported, and nobody reported squid either.
Boats were fishing at the Coronados for mainly bonito or rockfish. According to current reports, bonito are caught throughout all the islands trolling Rapala-style lures and small daisy chains, although there is no giant volume.
Want rockfish? Hit the Lower 9 and down below the Rockpile on the Upper Finger Bank.
West of Ensenada
Still, some good kelps are holding yellowtail in the 3 to 8-pound range. Anglers might get lucky and find a few larger fish mixed in with the smaller ones. The kelp paddy yellowtail are the primary catch with an outside chance at a yellowfin, bluefin, or skipjack. They might get a lucky jig stop. Although the odds are against it, they might as well set out some trollers while looking for paddies anyway. …Fish Dope
There are limits of bottom fish with a nice mix of yellowtail and bonito for fun.
Outside Todos Santos Island, kelp-paddy boats are finding yellows on most kelps. Some are holding just a few fish, and others have a lot on them. Also, like up north, tuna are hard to find but not impossible. In addition, anglers are getting the odd jig stop on skipjack and yellowfin.
Baja Roadtrip: Castro’s
Castro’s Fishing Place is a spot that I’ve been hearing about almost since I first started fishing in Southern California. I’ve been meaning to go for awhile, but something else always came up. I finally made tangible plans last year and booked to go in August with Ron Owens’ group, the So Cal Sportfishing Club. I had to cancel though because I was still stuck in Seattle…Joe Sarmiento
November yellows for Garcias Pangas Sportfishing in San Quintin.
Bahía de la Ascensión
The calico and yellowtail bite is generally wide open, with limits caught by jigging in most of the usual YT spots. The water temps are around the mid-70s, so not quite warm enough for wahoo, but boats caught a few tuna, grouper, and black sea bass.
The shore fishing is fantastic as always, with lots of halibut, corvina, corbina, and some sand sharks thrown in for fun and tacos. Everything is open here, with masks being required in stores only. The weather is beautiful, and the town is eager to receive visitors, so come on down! Here are a few photos from the last few weeks. …Shari Bondy https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/bahia-asuncion-fishing-report.783890/
We left Tuesday afternoon and spent the night in San Felipe. (The road is in good shape all the way down). On Wednesday afternoon, we arrived at Bocana, got set up, and fished the local banks about 18 to 20 miles out. We fished for five days and had calm weather every day with water temps from 72 to 76 degrees. Our dinners at Joaquin’s Cactus Restaurant were amazing as usual.
Wahoo to 60-pounds; dorado to 15-pounds; yellowtail to 20-pounds; yellowfin tuna to 20-pounds; skipjack; bonito; calico to 5-pounds; sandbass; sierra and barracuda. …Baja Bum https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/la-bocana-10-28 to 11-3.783746/
BORDER CROSSING UPDATE
U.S. Land Borders Reopening November 8
Non-U.S. citizens who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation will be permitted to enter the United States via land ports of entry starting on November 8, 2021. Non-essential travelers who are not U.S. citizens should be prepared to (1) provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website; and (2) verbally attest to their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection. More information can be found on the Department of Homeland Security website.
There will also be a change to border hours, which have been operating under limited schedules since the pandemic started.
Beginning November 7, border hours will resume to 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. at the Tecate port of entry. Beginning November 8, hours will resume to 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. at the Mexicali East port of entry.
San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, and Calexico West ports of entry will continue to be open 24 hours. All pedestrian processing at San Ysidro will continue at the Pedestrian east facility (the original pedestrian crossing area at San Ysidro.
We anticipate that the borders will be very busy during this time and suggest that you try to avoid crossing the border on November 8 or allow for extra travel time.
Dorado, roosters, and sierra are still biting as decent weather prevails. However, the season is winding down fish-wise. …Craig Cove
The winds have slowed considerably, making casting into the rocky points a productive activity. Hard baits and live sardina are spanking small cabrilla. The larger models are biting, too, although getting them to cooperate has been a no-win situation.
Light line fishing has been the key to some excellent sport fishing along the coast in Loreto this past week.
The same strategy has been working a little farther off the shore with sierra and roosterfish eager to fight.
Dorado are still in the trolling crowd’s catch results, and yellowtail is a big question mark.
Very few boats have been making the longer runs to the traditional high spots for yellowtail. I guess the hardcore yellowtail battlers are waiting for the cold and nasty winds to come to town before they throw any serious attention their way.
December is the month that kind of fishing starts.
This photo sums up the scene here on the rugged coast of the Baja peninsula this November.
A Loreto-style sport cruiser is out collecting bait before the mid-morning “hook and line” adventures begin.
This looks like the perfect model for working on the sierra schools. A dorado or two are typically mixed in the shallow waters. …Rick Hill, Pinchy Sportfishing
This 28.6-pound dorado took 1st Place in the Loreto Dorado Tournament this past weekend. It pounded a whole live mackerel that was slow-trolled around a giant bait ball being worked by skipjack. We landed it on a Daiwa BG5000 spinning outfit; the fish was so big we broke the damn gaff while pulling him in!! No GPS, no fish finder, in a run-down panga with our broke dick gear – that’s how we do it, Baja-style, baby!!! Viva Loreto!…! James Hart
Lopez Mateos (Magdalena Bay)
Fishing has been tough as the water temperature has cooled. Some on the 23, wahoo, small dorado, marlin are moving farther south. The bay fishing has been good for corbina and spotted bay, and Chris got a nice-sized snook. .… Diana Hoyt, MagBay Outfitters.
This week here in Magdalena Bay, we had fun playing with the dorado. We had as many dorado in the 8 to 20-pound range as one could handle. There were white bonito in the mix as well. We also had good fishing for grouper and snapper this past week. It looks like we will have a couple of days of wind starting tomorrow, and we will be in the mangroves during that time. As soon as the wind permits, we will be back outside in the blue water. This week we have concentrated on marlin as that’s what my guests are want to catch. I understand they are pretty far south, but we will see if we can get there. I will be sure to report on how we do. Until next week, I wish you good fishing. …Jeff DeBrown, Reel Baja
Offshore (Tosca): Running in now on the last day of our Mag Bay week/trip. Fishing got better as the week ended—seven boat days with 435 striped marlin releases between the Badco 92 and Badco 60. Our program will not be coming back next year as we plan to do a world tour as soon as we are confident of the logistics. I’ll be sharing it with all of you.
I’ve been fishing Mag Bay for 30 years—I used to trailer my skiff there! Steve has fished here much longer, so it brings back many memories to both of us each time we are here...Anthony Hsieh
MEXICAN MINUTE LA PAZ FISHING REPORT from Tailhunter Sportfishing for Week of Oct. 16-23, 2021
Excellent weather and fish, fish, and more fish; lots of them came out to play from inshore to offshore!! You should come to experience this with us. … Gretchen Dearden, John Keizer, and Paul Castillo.
Puerto Los Cabos
These are hectic times now in Southern Baja—the last high-dollar tournament of the year ended, with a large turnout of 164 teams and nearly $1.5 million in prize money! Although there were no record numbers of tuna, no wahoo, or dorado landed, there were lots of prizes given out, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
Ideal weather abounds, with clear sunny skies, highs in the upper 80s, and lows down to 65 degrees. Breezes from the north are picking up mostly later in the day. Ocean water is averaging 81 to 83 degrees throughout the region, a few degrees warmer than usual for this time frame. Swells are moderate, currents have slacked, greenish water which has swept in the past few weeks, particularity on grounds off San Jose del Cabo and north, are now just stagnant and not moving out; we need some new clean water to move in. In recent days the clear water from off Los Frailes was moving south and improved the grounds of San Luis and Iman. Strange year, at this time, two late-season tropical depressions are developing far off to the southwest in the warm water, which can make it ripe for development. However, we are not expecting anything from these systems; they are forecast to stay far away before dissipating.
Overall, the fishing action has been challenging, and most of the tournament qualifying yellowfin tuna were found much farther offshore and associated with porpoise. We expect the action to return on San Luis and Gordo Banks as ocean conditions rebound and stabilize some. This is not an overnight happening, but at least we are encouraged how things seem to now be on an improving trend.
Dorado had been the mainstay for the last couple of weeks, but they became a bit more scarce this past week, scattered fish averaging 10 to 15-pounds. Wahoo were more difficult to find than dorado, but early in the week, several wahoo, close to 40-pounds, were caught, and still, others were lost. Then through the rest of the week, these fish were not biting. However, we are optimistic that the wahoo will be much more active as conditions come into shape, as this is now into their typical peak season.
Billfish were very scattered, though we had a week where we saw sailfish, striped, blue, and even one black marlin (in limited numbers). We also spotted a few sierra and roosterfish near shore. It could be much better if sardina did not become so scarce. At present, the primary bait source is caballito, ballyhoo, and slabs of squid.
Bottom action produced a wide variety, from triggerfish, tilefish, sheepshead, bonito, barred pargo, yellow snapper, red snapper, amberjack, yellowtail, cabrilla, etc. However, most of these fish were five pounds or less.
While fishing was slower than we would expect, whale watching is now happening daily; we also see many, many rays. …Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas
Cabo San Lucas
Congratulations to team SALTY Z, our 2021 Cabo Tuna Jackpot champions! They weighed in with a 131.49-pound yellowfin on Day One and a 230.85-cow for Day 2, winning $806,400 in prize money! Thank you to all the sponsors, teams, staff, and authorities that helped pull this event together.
LOCATION: The best fishing locations have been Los Arcos/Margaritas, Cerro del Golden Gate, Migrino, Pozo Cota, Fuera Lighthouse, San Jaime, Cerro’s de Arena.
WEATHER CONDITIONS: The sea temps have been from 78 to 84 degrees, clear and calm with two to three-foot swells, and winds calm. The air temps have been 70- to 88-degrees.
BEST LURES: The best bait has been alive or dead caballito, mackerel, ballyhoo, sardina, and cedar plugs. Trolled lures of all colors pushers, plastic squid, and Rapala-style lures. …Pisces Sportfishing Fleet
That Baja Guy-Gary Graham