In a “be careful what you wish for” sort of way, the rain was blown away by strong Santa Ana winds, producing small craft warnings up and down the Pacific Coast! Sigh…
Hence the fishing news from the Coronados was mostly old or none at all. However, at Ensenada, some boats made it out, scoring limits of bottom fish, while at San Quintin, there were rumblings of yellowtail and calico biting out at San Martin, according to Cristian Catian.
Farther down at Bahía de la Ascensión, Ross Zoerhof recently slipped out between the storms and scored a trophy-sized yellowtail that he taped at 37 pounds as the season slowly winds down.
Whale watching at San Ignacio Lagoon is well underway, and a bit farther south surrounded by salt flats, below Guerrero Negro, whale watching camps are springing up.
Most panga fleets participate throughout the whale watching season (which usually lasts into April) at San Ignacio Lagoon and Magdalena Bay—Lopez Mateos and Puerto San Carlos.
Mark Eason took this exceptional picture recently. It clearly shows two of the Orcas inside Laguna San Ignacio for the first time since they have been keeping records during the Gray whale birthing and mating season. However, they were seen during the summer months many years ago.
For the past three seasons, Laguna San Ignacio has had an uncommon visitor—Humphrey the Humpback whale. He visited in December and has stayed for a few days each season. Before Humphrey, Humpback whales were never seen inside this Lagoon.
Could the Orca’s appearance inside the Lagoon this season mark the beginning of new seasonal behavior?
Perhaps 500 or 1000 years ago, the Orcas visited each year, but this was before humans began to keep written records, according to Antonios Eco-Tours.mx.
Remarkably, the Magdalena Bay offshore striped marlin show continued into January, much to the amazement of the locals.
The excellent fishing also continued inside the bay for some nice-sized snook, African pompano, and corvina at San Carlos and Lopez Mateos.
Of course, Puerto San Carlos and Lopez Mateos are in the middle of their gray whale watching season and don’t have much time to devote to fishing.
Over on the Sea of Cortez side, the wind theme continues.
It is quiet up in the northern sector of the peninsula – that is, until you get to Loreto, where the hard-core anglers are playing tag with the North winds.
However, Captain Tony took a group back up the line to Punta Colorada recently and nailed some big cabrilla and one nice-sized dorado.
Yellowtail and the bottom crowd are biting on both sides of Coronado Island. Pinto and all the assorted snapper are hitting on the shallow spots, and medium-sized yellowtail are hitting live mackerel and iron.
Yellowtail in the 20-pound range are biting at Lobo and at the “50 Spot” at the tip of Carmen Island.
Down at the southern end, Six Mile Reef has had a few great days with 18 to 20-pound yellowtail biting.
Another bright spot on the horizon is the early arrival of two blue whales to the Loreto area. More should be trickling in with full attendance by the end of February.
Blue whales and dorado are a little out of the ordinary for Loreto at the same time of the year.
La Paz, Muertos Bay, and East Cape are dealing with 20-knot winds more often than not. So far, the trick is to get out at daybreak and fish hard for a few hours before the North winds crank up. A successful trip can produce a nice mixed catch of dorado, skipjack and sierra for fillets and ceviche if it all goes well.
At Puerto Los Cabos, the most common catches have been for dorado, ranging to 20 pounds, with many boats landing their two-fish-per-license limits. In addition, the wahoo have hung around closer to shore longer than usual this season. Their average size has been under 20 pounds, though a couple were over 45 pounds. They’ve been biting various trolled bait or casting jigs.
Los Cabos has been on fire as the striped marlin pulled a “Mag Bay” at the Finger and Golden Gate Banks. Double-digit releases were typical for the boats willing to make the 50-mile run there from Cabo. The dorado and even a few tuna and wahoo mixed in added to the excitement.
There were ample roosterfish, sierra, and even a few pompano, for those looking for something closer to the Marina. Plus, there was excellent bottom fishing for snapper and grouper.
Gary Graham -That Baja Guy
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.