The 17th Annual Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore Tournament was held in early August of 2016. The weather was great for the 65 teams with 429 anglers. An exciting new Release Category was added for teams preferring to release or that hooked billfish failing to make the qualifying weight of 300 pounds.
More than 50% of the teams participated in that category. A total of 163 billfish were released during the three days — 112 blues, one black, 36 striped marlin and 14 sailfish.
Although consistency seems to be lacking at the Coronado’s, there are yellowtail to be caught! Look for them along the weather side of North Island, the Middle Grounds and the Gun Site. Both yellowtail and bonito are showing at the South Island Lighthouse Kelp, South Kelp and at SKR.
Private boaters around North Island use heavy 40- to 60-pound test line, allowing fishermen to slow-troll and haul in the YTs before the sea lions can steal the catch. Many San Diego ¾-day boats have preferred to fish the more productive outside — yellowfin.
Ensenada has similar action for calico bass and yellowtail on Rapalas, yoyo iron or bait inside of Todos Santos. At Colonet high spots, 95% of the bite is on yoyo iron with some biting sardine or mackerel on 25- to 40-pound line with a ¾-ounce sliding sinker.
A confrontation several weeks ago between the local sportfishing operations and the San Diego Long Range fleet about anchoring on the high-spots, created a territorial dispute. The S.D. fleet has decided to avoid those areas for the time being pending additional discussions with local operators and Mexican authorities.
Pesca La Baja held their Fourth in the series at San Quintin attracting 45 boats with 162 anglers. The Fifth and final Championship event will be held in Ensenada on September 23 and 24 to determine the winners of the entire series of events held in San Felipe, Gonzaga Bay, Bahia de Los Angeles, San Quintin and Ensenada.
Fishing was excellent at San Quintin. Cliff Vine, San Diego, won the Surface Category with an impressive 53.8-pound white seabass taken while fishing with Captain Juan Cook, a local charter Captain.
Richard Elizondo – captured the largest ling cod weighing 12.7-pounds, winning him the top angler title in the Bottom Category. A local angler, he is leading the field in points scored in the completed events by 48 points over second place.
2. Jose Antonio Lozano Perez 73
3. Horacio Ruiz Salas 69
4. Pablo Abel Chee Chavez 51
5. Alejandro Coria Gonzales 44
Summer fishing continues to be red hot with white seabass, quality yellowtail and calico bass.
Cedros Island action remains exciting. Trophy yellowtail and calico are the main catch; however, as September rolls in, expect some exotics. Already hearing yellowfin stories and it’s fair to assume dorado and stripe marlin will soon be in the reports.
The Vizcaíno Peninsula has shaken off a slow summer start . . . wide-open yellowtail bite in the 20- to 40-pound range around Bahía Asunción plus limits of big calico bass, white fish, and halibut from shore. At La Bocana, the wahoo arrived early as the commercial abalone season winds down. In addition to grouper and corvina, anglers are finding snook to 15 pounds on dark-colored Zara Spook lures at La Bocana and Estero Coyote.
Hot weather persists on the Sea of Cortez side at Bahía de Los Ángeles. Spotty fishing but lots of variety with yellowtail, bonito, spotted bay bass, grouper and a shark spotted in a fish box.
At Loreto the new offices of API are completed at the top of the ramp in the marina. The Port Captain will have an office there along with his existing facility nearby.
The fishing scene is fairly consistent and has focused around the year-round bottom fishing. There are some 12- to 16-pound yellowtail and grouper around Puerto Almeja, an hour-and-a-half ride from the marina.
Fishing on the banks out of Lopez Mateos outside of Magdalena Bay has been on fire for wahoo, striped marlin and yellowfin tuna — calm winds and the 76- to 77-degree sea temps are ideal.
La Paz has been struggling with unsettled weather which in turn messes up the fishing. However, by all accounts, the dorado fishing seems to finally be on the upswing along with an ongoing wahoo bite and one of the best larger roosterfish bites in awhile.
East Cape billfish action, heavily weighted toward blue marlin, with fewer striped marlin and sailfish, continues. The big news is, like La Paz, dorado have arrived. Not wide open, though the quality has improved.
Another victim of unsettled weather is Los Cabos. Billfish numbers are down with few boats out. The fishing grounds are spread out, and it’s been difficult to find a particular spot that works well. To make matters more difficult, there was rain with large amounts of runoff flowing out of the arroyos creating plumes of dirty water. On the plus side, the debris washed out to sea created great cover for bait/dorado and there are still some better-grade yellowfin tuna to catch.
Good Luck and Tight Lines…
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With more than five decades of fishing experience – from light tackle and fly to offshore billfish – Gary Graham has experienced all aspects of fishing in the Southern California and Baja waters. His observations of species behavior, tackle and techniques are always from his unique perspective, earning him the respect of his peers as well as anglers who eagerly follow his Baja reports and features.
Gary maintained a home at East Cape in Baja Sur for more than 18 years and still spends nearly half of each year exploring the entire peninsula in his self-contained Roadtrek van. He observes everything Baja, from the mysteries of a tide pool on a deserted Baja beach filled with tiny sea creatures to the largest billfish in the sea.
Contact Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org