This season, the dorado have been small with very few over ten pound and even fewer over twenty. It seems that the warnings of the past regarding overfishing the dorado have become a reality. The is the second year of practically no mature dorado — only juveniles.
During the month of July this year, several tournaments targeted dorado. The “Dorado Shootout” hosted by Palmas de Cortez was one of the largest ever, with 123 teams and 380 anglers participating. New records were set in “jackpot money” with over $122,000 collected and just over $103,000 paid out; yet only seven dorado came to the scales with the largest weighing only 12.6 pounds — 3 ounces less than last year’s winner. Team Borracho with anglers Don Southard, Bill Refice, Rhonda Butler, and Steve Cole on the cruiser Bite Me won the Toyota Tacoma and the $200 and $300 jackpots worth a total of $34,000 with that 12.6-pound dorado.
Lack of sardina … overfishing … El Niño or just cyclical? Time will tell.
Fishing remains steady at Coronado Islands. Lots of yellows on high spots around North Island produced 12- to 25-pound fish on fly-lined sardines or yoyo iron. If you strike out, try Gun Sight and Genoa Kelp. Inside of South Island at Ribbon Kelp, South Kelp Ridge and down at the Rockpile there are even more yellows, bonito and a few barracuda.
Ensenada has similar action for calico bass and yellowtail on Rapalas or on yoyo iron and bait inside of Todos Santos.
San Quintin, same story. Also limits of rockfish and lings; great family fishing and nice weather! Julio Meza couldn’t resist and had a fun day with his daughter and some of her friends.
Pesca La Baja has now completed three of the Championship events at San Felipe, Gonzaga Bay and BOLA with another at San Quintin on August 19 and 20, and the Finale to be held in Ensenada on September 23 and 24. For information www.pescalabaja.com
Top Twenty Best Scores for the First Three Events are:
1. Richard Elizondo 85
2. Jose Lozano Perez 57
3. Horacio Ruiz Salas 54
4. Paul Chee Chavez 51
5. Alejandro Coria 44
6. June Silva 43
7. Hector J. Ramirez 41
8. Arturo Honold 36
9. Alex Coria 34
10. Miguel Meza 27
11. Manuel Monteverde 27
12. Jose Ruiz Gamez 25
13. Guillermo Pimentel 25
14. Earl Roberts 25
15. Jorge Orozco 25
16. Octavio Ascolani 23
17. Alejandro Zozaya 21
18. Ismael Gonzalez 21
19. Aaron Manuel Rochin 21
20. Ricardo Machado 20
The season at Cedros Island continues to kick out memorable fishing for yellows and calicos with a few striped marlin and thresher shark showing up recently.
Down the west coast to Abreojos, the fishing has been sporadic. There was a sprinkling of yellowtail and even a striped marlin in the mix.
On the Sea of Cortez side, there was a rare report offshore from Isla San Ildefonso to just south of Isla Marcos, about a 50-mile stretch of prime water seldom mentioned which provides some insight into offshore conditions. The water temps climbed from 76 to 83 degrees traveling southward. Again dorado were scarce — found only on one day out the five fished, though there were plenty of kelp paddies about 15 miles offshore. The marlin didn’t seem to be interested in any of the bait offered.
Mid-month, at Loreto’s Fishin’ for the Mission, they had good grouper and roosterfish while dorado and yellowtail were fewer than hoped.
One family spent nearly a month camping and fishing out of Juncalito in their own trailer-boat moored in front of their rig on the beach.
Exploring Danzante, Carmen and near Puerto Escondido, they found bonito and triggerfish, but didn’t connect with yellowtail or cabrilla. They commented that the water seemed cooler than prior summer trips, and they did spot a few marlin but no dorado.
Wisely they fished two days on local pangas with experienced Captains Jose Torres or his son Manuel who operate Torres Sportfishing out of the area.
The first day was early in the trip; it was tough fishing with lots of action on junk fish and one good cabrilla on a yoyo iron.
The second time, a week later, they fished around Punta Perico (deep water) 450 to 470 feet deep — having never fished that deep the Captain’s local knowledge made the difference. By midday, they caught two fat yellowtail and a 40-pound grouper.
Sounds like Magdalena Bay is finally coming to life! Tom Gorman and Joe Vicic, fly fishermen from Hong Kong, came down to fly-fish Mag Bay. The first day inside they caught pargo, grouper, cabrilla and halibut.
Reports of wahoo on the Lower Banks compelled them to try Aguila out of Lopez Mateos for a 2.5-day trip outside and it paid off.
Below La Paz at Las Arenas, after experiencing sketchy fishing for a few weeks, the billfish offshore suddenly turned on with multiple hookups for many and everything from stripers to big blues and blacks over 300 pounds.
At East Cape, the buzz is also the billfish — this 600-pound monster has fired up everyone with the Bisbee East Cape Offshore just around the corner in early August. Meanwhile inshore the big roosterfish have been taunting conventional and fly anglers alike.
This impressive fish weighed 160-pounds, the largest of five caught. as well as a striped marlin released by David and Natalie Richardson from Nebraska.
The above photo is one of many of yellowfin tuna hitting the docks in Cabo. The same locals complaining about the lack of dorado are saying this many large tuna this early just isn’t right. I remember when anglers would have been trying to figure out how to catch one — not worrying about whether they were too early or too late.
Good Luck and Tight Lines…
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