The last event before the Pesca La Baja finale (which will be held in Ensenada on September 18 and 19) took place August 21 and 22 at San Quintin. It attracted 170 local and visiting anglers who gathered at the starting line in front of Old Mill (Molino Viejo). By the end of the second day after the final fish was weighed, two clear winners had emerged.
In the bottom category, Ernesto Emmanuel Carrillo Zepeda, with a 62.8-pound mero (black seabass) captured top honors.
Lawrence Biedebach dominated the surface division with an impressive 61.9-pound white seabass.
Coronado Islands has been overshadowed by all the action above the border. The southern California mosquito fleet is quite content to capitalize on the best fishing season in many years and avoid all the hassle of the Mexican Patrol boat lurking around the Islands.
However, at Salsipuedes close to shore a short distance above Ensenada where there are a number of tuna pens, several yachts found some large bird schools feeding on bait balls. They trolled some lures along the edges and were rewarded with a few mossback yellowtail. Their next pass yielded an Indian attack as several striped marlin popped up behind the lures. This might be worth a look if you happen to be in the neighborhood.
There are also another group of tuna pens twenty miles off of Todos Santos where local boats are finding yellowtail and dorado under the kelp paddies, plus yellowfin and a few striped marlin around the tuna pens.
From Ensenada down the coast to San Quintin, inshore action remains consistent with good catches of yellowtail, calico and white seabass on both bait or artificials. The few local boats that are venturing very far offshore have found the kelp paddies loaded with small dorado and yellowtail. The yellowfin tuna are hit or miss which is understandable with the few boats looking.
At Cedros, the yellows and calico bass have been joined by some exotics, including white seabass and dorado.
On down the coast, at Bahia Ascension, weather has been nice enough that some are even fishing the kelp close to shore from their paddleboards.
While farther down — in fact all the way to Magdalena Bay — the yellowfin tuna are abundant and often located traveling with porpoise schools in search of food.
According to locals at Magdalena Bay, there are already a few striped marlin filtering in the offshore area along with a few dorado and wahoo — no bonanza but a good sign for the upcoming fall season.
At Bahia de Los Angeles, summer visitors have found warm – no, hot — weather and moderate fishing for dorado, (mostly the smaller variety), yellowtail and a few white seabass.
Farther down the Sea of Cortez, from Punta Chivato all the way to below Loreto, it’s hot weather and many are heading out on the water just to cool off. There are few dorado along with some yellowtail on the deeper banks in 300 feet of water. Frankly, that’s a bit of a stretch in my book. Winding a stubborn yellowtail up from the bottom that deep in the hot Baja sun falls into the category of work.
Speaking of work there are more than normal number of billfish hanging around. Some are being sighted jumping a few miles from shore. In addition, the roosterfish are certainly an option along with the usual cabrilla, grouper and snapper, plus triggerfish if you are desperate.
8th grader from Del Mar CA Andrew Harvey with big catch and release rooster. Las Arenas on bait while fishing with the Tailhunter Fleet, at Las Arenas below La Paz.
East Cape is kicking out some nice wahoo like this one caught by Matt Clifton.
Typical weather for August will continue into September with thunderstorms almost every day up in the mountains.
Good bait is available — caballito, ballyhoo and dead sardina. The dead sardina are proving deadly on the tuna being caught from Palmas Bay to San Jose.
Although there are some larger tuna down on the Gordo and Iman Banks, with a good showing of striped marlin, blues and even a few blacks in the mix, dorado remain sparse in most areas all the way to the tip of Baja.
Here is a tip for the tin-boat fleet or anyone else fishing trailer boats with limited bait capacity … dead rigged ballyhoo have become a popular choice for trolling universally if they are available. Often they aren’t and decent live bait is difficult to find and not easy keep alive.
A clever trick is to combine a large swim-bait with a large octopus skirt that has a similar appearance and action of a rigged ballyhoo.
Here are a couple examples — use your imagination to come up with your version. They have become very popular for tuna and billfish on the East Coast.
There are many companies that offer large plastic swim baits and plastic skirts in a variety of colors.
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