Baja Bytes –January 25, 2022
As for removing billfish from the water: Don’t Do It!
Anglers love hero shots with their fish, especially if it’s their first. Of all the billfish species, sailfish lend themselves particularly well to this type of photo since they’re usually small enough to lift to the side of the boat, are exquisitely colorful, and have that massive sail to open like a giant flag!
But please don’t do it! Removing a billfish, any species, from the water, even for a few moments for a photo, is illegal in Costa Rica and the United States. In addition, studies have shown that by scraping the fish over the gunwale (the upper edge of the side of a boat), the fish’s protective slime layer that acts as a barrier coat against harmful diseases, parasites, and infections is removed, and the action can often harm the internal organs. So even though intentions are to release the fish, its death warrant is signed instead by removing it from the water. (…continued in the Baja Sur Section)
Tijuana Bull Ring
It was all about the sandbass! We were hearing of pretty good action below the I.B. Pipe outside the Bull Ring kelp to go along with a decent amount of sculpin in the flats toward the Islands. …Fishdope.com
Below the Mexican Border Offshore
NE of the Coronados / Lower 9 Mile Bank / Upper Finger Bank
With rockfish closed in U.S. waters, these three areas are your best bet for scoring some quality rockfish in your private boat.
The first area is close to San Diego and just N. to N.E. of the Coronados. There are many nice-quality mixed red rockfish in depths of 280 to 500-feet. Many are in the 2 to 5-pound class, with squid being the bait of choice.
The second area is on the Lower 9, with good-quality reds, lingcod, and other mixed red rockfish biting well in 450 to 800-feet of water. However, cow cod are a problem. Some spots on the Lower 9 are holding a bunch of them. You can’t keep them, so we advise you to move to a different place if you happen to start catching them. Also, be sure and bring a descending device and some HEAVY weights to send any cows you might happen to catch back down. Remember that these are one of the handfuls of species you are not allowed to bring back to U.S. waters – even if you catch them in Mexican waters!
The third area is down on the Upper Finger Bank. This is also deep water, with the best fishing being from 450 to 800+ feet. Guys hitting this area are scoring limits of reds and other mixed red rockfish. Again, quality is excellent, with most of the catch in the 4 to 6-pound class. Live sardines, live mackerel, squid, and jigs are all working. Live mackerel is the candy bait. BIG reds and lingcod LOVE mackerel. …Fishdope.com
We left the house in Carlsbad on Saturday, 01/15, around 9:30 a.m. or so. It was an easy, straight shot south to Ensenada, with a stop in T.J. to get our FMMs, which we had previously downloaded online and printed out, stamped. That process took a very few minutes.
I launched my kayak at the Marina Coral on Sunday morning. The fishing was a little challenging. A large swell was running that made it necessary to stay a bit farther away from the rocks where the bass tended to hang out than I would have liked. However, by throwing plastics on 10-pound spinning gear, I did manage to catch and release one calico and kept a “personal best” 5-pound sand bass in a couple of hours. The ‘sandie’ was absolutely delicious, cooked Vera Cruz style with risotto and steamed vegetables by the Hotel Coral restaurant.
The drive home on MLK Day was a breeze. We only waited about 20 minutes to cross the border at Otay Mesa with Fast Pass.
Incidentally, if you have not been to Ensenada in recent years, you are in for a very pleasant surprise. The downtown area and the waterfront have been upgraded and are now enjoyable areas to hang out when not fishing. The wineries in Valle De Guadalupe are also rewarding to visit. I went with my wife and another couple, none of whom fished, and everyone had a wonderful time. … Pescador Paul
Filling that freezer kind of week! … Blackfin Sportfishing
Removing billfish from the Water: Don’t Do It! Continued:
If you would still like to get a great shot of your billfish without harming it, here are a few things you can do to get a photo of your catch: Take a few shots during the fight, with the angler grinning from ear to ear, ensuring you will have your camera ready. Few things are more frustrating for your captain or mate than having the fish ready at the boat side while someone fumbles for a camera deep inside a duffle bag, backpack, or purse.
The angler should immediately don a pair of gloves while the crew cuts the leader; then, leaning over the side, the angler holds the fish by the bill, and the sail as the fish is revived alongside the boat, ready for release.
The camera person should lean out over the side and shoot back toward the angler and the fish. After a few moments, the fish is ready for a healthy release.
Another option: the extended selfie stick and GoPro. Many crews use this setup to shoot wide-angle shots back at the boat and anglers. Using a GoPro mounted to a long pole held out from the boat, set on camera mode shooting every second or so after the shutter is activated. The images it takes are fun, revealing, and usually very memorable.
Video is a third way to remember the fight. Use that same GoPro, mounted to either a fixed mount on the boat or held to capture a full video of the battle. Or use a smartphone. They have video capability these days as well.
The need to remove a marlin or sailfish from the water is no longer there. Instead, be smart, keep them in the water where they belong.
Bahía de la Ascensión
Here are a couple of photos of one of our arches here in Bahía de la Ascensión. When I got here seven years ago, there was one arch, like now. Another one to the far left was taken down in a storm the year before I arrived. One can now see the erosion of waves and tides has spawned the beginnings of three more possible arches. It’s very doubtful that I will live long enough to see any of them completed, but it would not surprise me if the biggest one comes down in my lifetime. …Ross Zoerhof
Laguna San Ignacio
Whoa! Killer whales in San Ignacio Lagoon? Those poor gray whale moms must be freaking out! I hope they don’t eat a baby!
Mark Eason took this excellent picture yesterday. It clearly shows two of the Orcas seen inside Laguna San Ignacio for the first time during the Gray whale birthing and mating season since we have been keeping records, although they have been seen during the summer months many years ago.
We have had a special visitor for the past three seasons – Humphrey the Humpback whale. He visited Laguna San Ignacio in December, and he has stayed for a few days each season. Before Humphrey, Humpback whales had never been seen inside this Lagoon.
Could the Orca’s appearance inside the Lagoon this season mark the beginning of new seasonal behavior?
Perhaps 500 or 1000 years ago, the Orcas visited Laguna San Ignacio each year before humans began to keep written records. … Antonios Eco-Tours.mx
The colder January weather has put the hurt on easy pickings for live bait in the form of sardina. It would only take one fling of the cast net for most of the past year to fill up the live well on most boats.
The game will be happening with mackerel if the wind and the moon don’t interfere! The good news on the mackerel scene is that the cabrilla and dorado are more than happy to bite.
This past week, Captain Tony took a group back up the line to Punta Colorado and nailed some big cabrilla and one nice-sized dorado.
Both yellowtail and the bottom crowd are biting on both sides of Coronado Island. Pintos and all the assorted snapper are hitting at the shallow spots, and medium-sized yellowtail are hitting live macks and iron.
Yellowtail in the 20-pound range are biting at Lobo and the “50 Spot” out at the tip of Carmen Island. Down at our southern end, Six Mile Reef has had a few great days with 18 to 20-pound yellowtail.
Another bright spot on the horizon is the early arrival of two blue whales to the Loreto area. More will be trickling in with full attendance by the end of next month. Blue whales and dorado at the same time of the year are a little out of the ordinary for Loreto, but here we are. …Rick Hill, Click Here
Thanks, Rene Olinger! We had a wonderful day on the water on your panga with Captain Victor. We’ll be back. …Stephan Jansen
Snuck out between the windy days down south of Loreto. It was freezing the night before (my car showed 46 degrees when I launched the board) but the water felt like 68 or 70 degrees. Saw schools of roosters that wouldn’t bite, yellowfin pompano, caught a small barred pargo, and a small African pompano. It took about an hour to find a deep spot that looked like it could work (structure, bait, etc.), and it was “game on” really quick. The length of the first fish was ~42-43″ to the fork in the tail and took around 30 minutes to land (the fish was hooked between the front bottom fins and was harder to catch). After that, I decided to try to catch a smaller-grade fish for lunch, which took maybe 20 minutes to connect. Again, this fish taped in at ~40″ to the fork. I took it to the beach (found out there was a bunch of wind on the other side of the island on my way back, which was hell on the paddleboard) where a few people were camped out and offered up the extra to them, and they were happy to get some. I made some ceviche on the beach, had a few beers, and it was on to the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a while. I caught all the fish on 65-pound braid to a 40-pound top shot using a Caivo Flat Fall. That jig is soon to be retired with a bent hook and the rear loop starting to tear out. …McQuade Outdoors
Puerto San Carlos
January has more marlin and dorado than any prior month last season, which is hard to believe considering how many have been out there this season. People don’t realize that January is often the absolute best month for fishing here in MagBay! .…MagBay Lodge
Recently the wind has been blowing NNE from 13 to 20 mph.
The Tin Boat fleet continues to capitalize on the occasional early-morning calm when the North Winds back off to squeeze a much- welcomed catch of a few of whatever will bite—mainly sierra and small jack crevalle.
The wind here has been constant—three times on the water in two weeks. Inshore fishing the Bay out to Espiritu Island. Good water clarity with a green tint and 72 to 73 degrees F.
Dorado, sierra, and Mexican bonito on Rapalas, snapper and cabrilla on sardina, off shallow rock piles. I know yellowtail and amberjack were caught at Bajo, but I haven’t made it there yet. …a7ewizard
Puerto Los Cabos
The weather is still very comfortable compared to most of North America. However, winds are predominantly from the north, and most days, they were a non-factor, as they picked up later in the day.
Bait resources were mainly for caballito and ballyhoo, with some sardineta and mackerel on local fishing grounds. The ocean has been on a cooling trend, 73-degrees, the greenish current pushing itself south from Los Frailes, as much of the region off of San Jose del Cabo is holding 74 to 76 degrees, still warmer than usual for this time of year. Most charters are now fishing the grounds from Punta Gorda to La Fortuna.
The most common catches have been for dorado, ranging up to 20 pounds, with lots of boats landing their two-fish-per-license limits. However, the wahoo have been hanging around longer than usual this season. They were close to shore while trolling various bait or casting jigs. Their average size has been under 20 pounds, though we did see a couple of wahoo over 45 pounds.
Yellowfin tuna have not been regular catches for local fleets. However, far offshore, yellowfin have been found traveling with schooling porpoise, too far for regular day charters to target. Likewise, the marlin bite has been more scattered as large schools of baitfish have dispersed. In addition, the striped marlin are moving around a lot more, not just concentrating on certain spots, and more anglers are now fishing closer to shore where the action was good for dorado and wahoo.
There is not a lot of bottom action going on, though we did see varied snapper, cabrilla, bonito, tilefish, and some triggerfish come in. Although not large numbers, there have been some sierra along the beach stretches. Although these fish prefer the cooler water, they are now moving in. The lack of sardina continues to be a setback for the inshore and shallow bottom options. …Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas
Cabo San Lucas
First, on the Finger Bank, boats and clients willing to go the distance could expect to release double-digit and, in some cases, triple-digit scores of striped marlin. In addition, day after day, some of the boats returned with blue (marlin) flags, along with red (release) flags, strung from top to bottom on the outriggers.
In 2021, Pisces Sportfishing boats had 6,407 billfish released for the ENTIRE year.
In the first three weeks of 2022, Pisces released 2,052 marlin … @pisces_sportfishing!! An incredible record-breaking start to this year!
Tired of Billfish?
– 80 Dorado
– 12 Wahoo
– 39 Tuna
– 25 Sierra Mackerel
– 5 Grouper
– 3 Sharks Released
LOCATION: The best fishing locations have been the Finger Bank, Golden Gate Bank, Migrino, the 150 Spot, Cerro Colorado, in front of Chileno, Palmilla, Arcos, and Marquis.
WEATHER CONDITIONS: The sea temps have run from 70 to 77 degrees, with clear skies. The ocean has been calm with three to five-foot swells and 5 to 8-mph winds. Air temps have been from 70 to 75-degrees.
BEST LURES: The best bait has been alive or dead mackerel, kites, Rapala, blue & white marlin lures, sardina, and ballyhoo.
That Baja Guy-Gary Graham