Anglers off Baja's East Cape encountering marlin, sailfish and much more
The following is a detailed recap of fishing off Baja California's East Cape region -- from tranquil Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort -- courtesy of veteran outdoors writer and occasional Outposts contributor Steve Carson:
Earlier this month saw anglers focusing strictly on the “money fish” while competing in the East Cape version of the high-dollar Bisbee's tournament. The past week has seen local streets go quiet again, and the availability of almost all of the area’s fish species makes choosing which to pursue somewhat difficult.
On the billfish front, striped marlin and sailfish were present in equal numbers, with sailfish most abundant off the Punta Arena lighthouse, and stripers up offshore from Punta Pescadero. Daryl Brauckman, 14, of Austin, Texas, caught his first-ever sailfish on a dead ballyhoo aboard the Tres Hermanos out of Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort.
“Catching my first sailfish was very exciting,” recalled Brauckman. “I was a little worried that I was missing the beginning of ninth-grade football practice when we came down here, but it’s great to get a different view of things.”
Few roosterfish had been seen for the previous two weeks, but this writer caught and released five of the wily pez gallos up to about 20 pounds on live bait right at Buena Vista aboard the resort's panga, Mosca.
Tuna from 10 to 100-plus pounds are running under porpoises about 40 miles offshore. School-size fish are biting on various trolled lures, but fooling the bigger units requires a well-presented live mackerel or caballito.
John Prohoroff of Hacienda Heights nailed a 95-pound tuna on a live mackerel aboard the Careleste, and Mike Richardson of Lake Arrowhead had the week’s biggest yellowfin at 125 pounds. The big tuna fought for more than three hours on 40-pound line after biting a caballito.
Limit-style action on 10- to 25-pound dorado has been available from Las Barracas down to Cerritos Coloradas, and a few wahoo to 40 pounds have been mixed in. The wahoo have preferred trolled blue mackerel-color Rapala XR30 X-Raps, while the dorado have responded to small feathers and live sardinas.
Anglers who bring their own jigs can have a blast fishing yo-yo style in the 180-foot depths off La Ribera, with sometimes wide-open action on red pargo from 5-20 pounds and the occasional 25-pound class amberjack. At least one threadfin [African] pompano was caught this past week.
Even light spinning or fly-casting gear fished right off the beach in the afternoons in front of Hotel Buena Vista yields wide-open fishing for needlefish, ladyfish, croakers, the occasional cabrilla and a handful of small roosterfish.
-- Steve Carson
Top photo: Daryl Brauckman (middle) stands behind his first-ever sailfish catch, made aboard the Tres Hermanos. Helping with the heavy lifting are Felipe Valdez of Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort (left), and deckhand Teo. Credit: Steve Carson
Bottom photo: Steve Carson, director of the Penn Fishing University program, displays one of five roosterfish he caught and released in front of Hotel Buena Vista. No credit provided