By Gary Graham
By any yardstick you choose as a measuring device, the first two months of 2015 in Northern Baja fishing has been remarkable. As an example, the Coronado Islands have been producing good catches of both yellowtail and bottom fish for both trailer and sport boats. Of course, the larger sport boats have more bait capacity and, in most cases, sonar, and are outscoring the yachts and smaller boats by far as the yellowtail are on the move and not holding tight to any one spot.
Specifically, the yellows can be found outside of Pukey Point in the Rockfish area, down the weather side of North Island to the southern end, the Middle Grounds, South Kelp and SKR (South Kelp Ridge) along with the Flats and in to the east. They are biting on both the yoyo iron and the dropper loop sardine/mackerel. When they are feeding on the surface, birds will usually mark the spot. Surface iron or a fly-lined sardine will produce the best results then.
Recent red crab invasions seem to sporadically shut down the bite when the yellows gorge on the easy pickings. Experts say the crabs – about 1- to 3-inches long – are seldom seen in the area this time of year and add that the warm water lingering near 60-degrees has attracted them.
Captain Peter Groesbeck observed recently, “All you have to do is look at the SST’s (sea surface temperatures) where the California current is still racing to Point Conception like it normally would in the fall.”
The entire west coast to San Martin Island outside of San Quintin is producing similar results.
The “Reel Adventure” found yellowtail at Todos Santos and Banda Bank, producing near-limits of yellows up to 30 pounds on 6X Salas and Tadys A-4 blue and chrome in the red-crab-filled water. Owner Wes Price grinned, “Whale watching and yellowtail catching is just awesome! Pretty much any lure that looks like a mackerel or sardine will land you a fish!”
The few local boats taking advantage of the unusual winter fishing reported similar catches.
Other hot spots were Colonet, where San Diego sport boats along with a few yachts have been scoring limits of yellowtail and bottom fish on most trips; San Quintin; and even farther down along the Viscaino coast in Baja Sur from Turtle Bay to Abreojos where there have been impressive scores of white sea bass.
The remainder of the Baja Sur action in the Sea of Cortez is more typical for this time of year with intermittent north winds.
The launch ramp is under repair in Loreto, but should be completed in a few weeks. Meanwhile, yellows and bottom fish are biting consistently on calm days.
La Paz and East Cape are in winter mode with some welcomed rain. The few anglers fishing in those areas are not disappointed with predictable catches of cabrilla and bonito up to 5 pounds, along with schools of tough jack crevalle up to 10 pounds. Catches have also included pargo … some larger that have been busted off in the rocks … plus sierra along the beaches.
Down at San Jose, the panga fleet is buzzing with the news of the unusual (early or late?) whack of football-sized yellowfin tuna with a handful of larger tuna from 75 to 100 pounds, along with black skipjack, white tuna and Eastern Pacific bonito.
At the tip, dorado dominated the catch while billfish teased/tormented anglers showing themselves leaping and cavorting on the surface, ignoring most of the bait and lures offered.
For Baja Norte in the upcoming month there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the ongoing yellowtail and white seabass snap, unless the water begins to cool. Then the fishing might return to less exotic and more traditional bottom fish.
Farther south, as March settles in, the area will begin to shed its “winter coat”…wink, wink! (Temps in the high 70s must sound like a heat wave to most of those living in the U.S.) Expect more sierra and yellowtail; the dorado should continue and the billfish lockjaw should begin to fade.
Lastly, everyone who reads this report might not recognize the fishing terms used. Below is a brief explanation:
dropper loop and animation http://www.animatedknots.com/dropperloop/
Tady iron lures
Salas iron lures
Questions or comments are welcome, email@example.com
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