57-Pound Dorado Scores Nearly HALF MILLION Payout

2022 Dorado Shootout

Dorado Shootout logo

Seventeen years ago, Palmas de Cortez established the Dorado Shootout. Over the years, it has become one of the largest fishing tournaments in Southern Baja, with an average turnout of 130 teams each year. However, this year the event set a new attendance record of 147 Teams that plunked down their base entry fee of $600 to compete for the $323,000 cash payout, in addition to a SUV valued at $47,000, plus Jackpots, clothing, etc. which drives up the total winnings to nearly ONE-HALF MILLION DOLLARS – one of the largest payouts in any Dorado Tournament in the world.

Overshadowing the recent Marina Puerto Escondido Tournament held in May that awarded Team “Pink Bullet” $232, 150.00 for their 42.3-pound dorado.
Was the 57-pound Dorado caught on Saturday July 16. Caught by the lucky angler, well known Esual Valdez of the Valdez Family that owns the Buena Vista Oceanfront & and Hot Springs Resort.

Tijuana Bull Ring 

Local fishing has not been good. The best bet for bass continues to be anchovy (if you can get them), using fly line or a small split-shot fished on light line with a small hook – a 10-pound test with a size 4 is perfect. Set up current from kelp, drop the anchor, and keep some steady chum going…Fishdope.com 

Coronado Islands / Rockpile

Recent reports are that the yellowtail were MIA. Just lots of barracuda and calico bass. There have been good numbers of yellowtail, lots of barracuda, and plenty of calico bass. There are also some big bonito down at the Rockpile.

Yellows and barracuda can be found at North Island on both sides of the Island. In addition, there are yellows, barracuda, and bass at the Middle Grounds, Ribbon Kelp, Lighthouse Kelp, 5 Minute Kelp, and SKR.
Fly line and slow trolled sardine, surface iron, and trolled plugs like Rapalas and Nomad DTX minnows are all working great.

It should be noted that most sports boats have opted to fish offshore for kelp-paddy yellowtail and dorado. If you want to come here, the only option currently appears to be by private boat…Fishdope.com

226-302/Coronado Canyon/371/390/425/475 Knuckle/ Upper Finger Bank/Upper Hidden/Above 32 00
The fishing in this zone, in general, is excellent right now. Most of the sport boat fleet, in fact, has given up on the bluefin and is fishing here. The story is kelp paddy fishing. If you find good kelp, the bite can be outstanding. That is the catch, though. Finding a good kelp. Those have been hard to find lately. The flip side is almost any kelp you find is holding.

Most fish on the kelps are yellowtail, but some are holding dorado too. Schools of really big bonito are showing, and there is also a chance you’ll run into some bluefin or yellowfin. Not big numbers of those are around right now, but enough that there is a decent chance you’ll run into a few of them.

The best kelp in this zone seems to be the Coronado Canyon west of the Islands to the 302. Then south about 5 or 6 miles below the 371, and west towards the 390. Decent kelp can be found inside the Upper Finger and 475 Knuckle.
The best bluefin tuna signs are near the 371, the 226/302, and NW towards the Corner. The best yellowfin signs? Good question. They seem to be widely scattered all over with no volume anywhere. This is a kelp paddy zone for mostly yellowtail with a few holding 3 to 6-pound dorado.

The yellows are mixed in size. Some are 4 to 6-pound rats, but there are also good numbers of big 10 to 15-pound yellows. And even some 20 to 25-pound yellowtail, too. It depends on what you happen to find. Some kelp are holding big fish, and some aren’t.

DRAG THOSE JIGS!! Boats also get jig stops on BIG 8 to 15-pound class bonito and get into some good bait stops while hunting for kelp. A few jig-stops are on 12 to 25-pound yellowfin too.

Not every kelp is holding, but enough are that you should check everyone you find. You never know if the next one will be holding a couple, a few hundred, or none at al. Focus on finding kelp in cleaner water, and you will likely have a better chance at finding kelp holding fish. …Fishdope.com

Short report. I just got back from a long day. Got four species today, centered at 10 over 30. Bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, dorado, and slug yellows. Open water schools of all 4 species, and the tuna really started foaming good around 11. Got the yellowfin on bait cast into the foamers and one bluefin the same way. One bluefin came on the 160 MadMac. Only found one kelp, but it was terrific. There was an incredible amount of bluefin and yellowfin in this zone today. Good luck!


Anglers in Baja with Bluefin catch
Bluefin still in the mix…Maras Sportfishing

10 Day forecast

San Quintin


Out fishing in San Quintin with my long-time friends and ex-pats, Beverly and Joe Martin. Joe and Beb, aka Juannita, are avid anglers and go fishing as often as possible. There has been a very good seabass bite here in San Quintin. It has been a gray light bite mostly of crocodiles in the 2 and 3-oz. size. We stopped and made bait, so we were a bit late for the gray bite. So we changed over to halibut fishing. The rest of the pangas found good yellowtail on the high spots. Right off the bat, Joe hooked and landed a nice halibut, then 3 more takedowns with no hookups. I figured there must be something wound in my Riggs. I will have that fixed on my next trip.

After that, we fished shallow water for chocolates, sandbass, and other fish. Beb and I shared similar stories about our fathers, so we had a great time sharing them. Joe is never far behind.

The weather was cool – in the 70s, with solid fog all day long, BUT the water was flat, so it was excellent for San Quintin this time of the season. Thank you, Beverly and Joe. Good stuff, my friends! …fishonnn&onnn.

San Quintin yellows

Headed down to San Quintin on 7/14 from San Diego. Easy drive until you hit the end of Ensenada. You will find lots of roadwork and need to take dirt backroads to get around it. Smooth sailing the rest of the way down.

Fished with K and M on the 23-ft. Parker with Christian, and I cannot say enough about their operation. It is great! There was a 2-ft. low tide at 6 am, which made getting the Parker in the water hard. After watching a few trucks get stuck launching smaller pangas, Kelly sent it and got the boat in the water even with no concrete left on the ramp. Making bait in the bay was difficult, but we picked up a couple of greenback and Spanish macks and shot over to San Martin Island to find the whole fleet on the northside fishing for white sea bass. …Enzo21


Bay of Los ángeles (no report)

Baja Sur

Bahia Ascensión

Pacific Catch

A whole morning of work, but we managed a few nice fish.  We released one.  The two calico were good-sized, and they dog-piled on a single Xrap. It would have been noteworthy if they had synchronized their fight, but they came up like a bucket of water. …Ross Zoerhof


July has turned into a great month for dorado in Loreto. The golden dorado (Mahi Mahi) are pulling and dancing in the early morning sun out on the south side of Coronado Island. Most fish are in “my” small range, but this year’s visitors are still bigger than last year’s – small dorado. Eight to ten-pound fish are the norm, and returning to the Harbor without a limit or a dozen released is guaranteed!

There isn’t much information about bigger fish farther out in blue water. However, there should be marlin, sailfish, and big dorado past Punta Lobo! All the tourist fishermen’s boats are making people happy with the short run to Coronado Island.  Chumming live sardina along the sargasso patch stirs up the action. It’s great fun, and it is a huge memory maker for newbies. For the new kids on the water, it will change their future!

That said, it would be nice to hit the deeper water.  (The scene at Coronado reminds me of a salad bar. Cruise up and down the green floaty stuff, plop some fish on ice and return by 10 am. We are so spoiled!)

A side note; the government is investing money into upkeeping the harbor facilities. Frequently revolving rumors have hinted at increasing the size of the Harbor, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this time. I’ll be happy with the improvements that are coming. …Rick Hill, Click Here 

La Paz

MEXICAN MINUTE LA PAZ FISHING REPORT from Tailhunter Sportfishing for the Week of July 9-16, 2022

East Cape 
The water has been in the  82 to 84-degree range, clear and flat over the last few days, with SE winds midday. The weather has been warmer, with highs in the low 90s and clear skies. I did not think the fishing could get much better than last week! I was wrong!!

This week was truly spectacular! First, the fishing was almost unbelievable!! Literally, every popular species of gamefish were biting!

Wahoo to 65 pounds arrived. Roosterfish were much larger than last week, with many released in the 50 to 80-pound class.  Limits of yellowfin for all anglers targeting tuna; big, big bull dorado to 57-pounds were taken daily. A wide-open billfish bite with multiple releases (one boat released 10 in one day)! There were lots of sailfish mixed with stripers and blues.  It has been truly incredible fishing!!
Lots of big bull dorado!  The Dorado Shootout was yesterday, with a 57-pounder the winner. Esaul Valdez took home a new 4-4 pickup and $275,000. There were 45 dorado weighed over 30 pounds. Most of the bulls were taken north of Pescadero off the Shark Buoys. There were huge dorado taken this week!
Some nice wahoo were caught up to 65-pounds this week. Most were taken between Punta Colorado and the Lighthouse, and almost all were on Rapalas. Very few boats are fishing inside as most are targeting the tuna outside.
Anglers are limiting on the 10 to 40-pound yellowfin tuna almost every day. They are found under numerous, fast-moving pods of porpoise from 5 to 40 miles offshore, and they take hoochies, Cedar plugs, Tuna Feathers, and live bait.
There are lots and lots of marlin and sailfish!  All the boats targeting them are enjoying multiple releases. Some big blues are in the mix and are off the inner banks from three to seven miles offshore. Some are farther out, but most are concentrated inside.

 A couple of the boats tied into some big blues and broke off. So the fish are taking slow-trolled ballyhoo, live caballito, and lures.
Big gorilla roosterfish are around – 90 pounds. Lots have been released over 50 pounds – even bigger than last week. There is light fishing pressure as most boats are going outside, around the lighthouse into Rincon Bay is THE hot spot. They are taking mullet and caballito.

By the way, the Bisbee is two weeks away, and it doesn’t get much better than this! …John Ireland, Rancho Leonero

Puerto Los Cabos 

Gordo banks dorado

It is warm and humid. We are following the path of Hurricane Estelle, which has been forecast to reach category three strength but appears to be passing 300 miles off to the southwest of Cabo San Lucas. It is far enough away not to impact the Los Cabos area, except for higher surf conditions and increased humidity. Light tourist crowds now. High inflation rates keep people from making their usual summer travel plans.

With water temperatures now 80 degrees and higher, conditions are ripe for tropical storm development, so we will follow forecasts closely over the next couple of months. We had on and off south winds to deal with this past week. The majority of local fleets are fishing grounds from Cardon to San Luis. Bait supplies continued, with caballito, sardina, and anchoveta being offered. Schooling bolito were found on offshore grounds and used for bait as well. There has been a mix of inshore, bottom, and surface action. The best chances of catching fish were off the bottom, snapper, grouper, dogtooth, leopard grouper, amberjack, and others, using mainly bait but some on yo-yo jigs in the deeper water. Changing daily as to where better action was found.

Only a handful of yellowfin tuna were found, with most of these near the San Luis Bank. The sizes were up to 45 pounds and were caught by slow-trolling caballito, which seemed to be the most effective bait. More yellowfin were encountered offshore, but as they were 40 miles out, this was not a typical deal for morning charters. Dorado were scarce, but most of the fish encountered were nice-size, with several bulls over 40 pounds.

 Over the weekend, the Dorado Tournament out of the East Cape produced a winning 57-pound bull that was worth over $250 K!! 

No reports of wahoo action on our local grounds. Billfish were centered offshore around the 95 and 1150 Spots, with many boats accounting for multiple fish – mainly striped marlin, but a few blues and sailfish mixed in. As this warmer water settles in, we expect to see more of the blue and black marlin soon.

Roosterfish action is still around but seems to be tapering off, as usual. Still, some late-season sierra can be found, also pargo colorado and dogtooth snapper, with chances close to the inshore rocky reefs. …Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas  

Cabo San Lucas

Dorado from this week

In order of appearance: 45-pound dorado today on Pisces 37′ BBII. Plus, a 46-pound dorado for 78-year-old angler Dwight Holifield, aboard Pisces 28′ Adriana 

And more dorado on Pisces 60′ Happy Ending and Pisces 31′ Ruthless with three dorado today! …Pisces Sportfishing Fleet

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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