Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: La Paz, BCS

Marlin, dorado, roosterfish and more tugging lines off southern Baja


Fishing from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz, on the Sea of Cortez, remains very good inshore and fair to good offshore, according to regional reports.

Jonathan Roldan of the La  Paz-based Tailhunter International e-mailed a few photos to Outposts, including the accompanying image showing Bill Richmond displaying an impressive roosterfish (soon to  be released) caught on a fly rod.

Roldan says a variety of species have kept anglers busy this past week, including marlin (more seen than hooked), dorado, wahoo, pargo, cabrilla, sierra mackerel and even tuna, which generally show much later in the season.

Outstanding inshore fishing continues farther south in the East Cape region, too, reports John Ireland from Rancho Leonero. "Outside has not been as consistent, with an on- and-off bite on big dorado and billfish," Ireland states.

Cabo San Lucas anglers, meanwhile, are targeting marlin and dorado mostly in the Sea of Cortez, while inshore fishing for smaller species on the Pacific side of the peninsula remains more productive. "I fished just to the north of the lighthouse on Friday and caught a 19-pound and a 13-pound pargo in the rocks," reports Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing.

Outposts will attempt to run a southern Baja fishing roundup at the beginning of each week.

— Pete Thomas

Photo: Bill Richmond displays a roosterfish caught on a fly rod. Credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Roldan

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico begging tourists to come back

Pisces Sportfishing crew in front of waterfront Cabo San Lucas office. The owner of Pisces Sportfishing in Cabo San Lucas e-mailed me the accompanying photo of her crew with the caption: "Come on down, everything is fine here, weather is fantastic and we are waiting to catch you some fish.”

Everything is not fine. The mega-resort community at the tip of Baja California is in dire straits, thanks to the same factors that affect tourism in all of Mexico: global recession, drug-related violence and the swine flu scare.

It doesn't matter that the latter two issues are localized in other areas. As far as many non-Mexicans are concerned, because of what they've seen on TV or read, the entire country has plague.

In Cabo, which was built initially around sportfishing, the main drag is all but deserted. Hotels are nearly empty. Cruise ships aren't coming. The number of flights have been reduced. Tracy Ehrenberg, longtime Pisces fleet owner and wife of a prominent politician, said the town is emptier than it was in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes and a subsequent devastating hurricane.

But tourist destinations throughout Mexico, as the worst of a flu-related heath crisis seems to have passed, are begging people to come back--and some are doing so imaginatively. 

Continue reading »

Young La Paz visitor has golden touch when it comes to grouper fishing


Congrats to San Diego's Cole Chavira for catching this beautiful golden grouper while aboard a Tailhunter International excursion north of La Paz near Espiritu Santo Island. Chavira was wise enough to release his prize, as many consider it to be bad luck to keep and eat the rare goldens.

His father Mitch, not to be outdone, was yo-yo-ing a blue-and-white iron when he hooked the large amberjack pictured below. Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter says the big jacks, which can weigh up to 100 pounds, are on the high spots now. They're just a few species cooperating for springtime visitors to the beautiful La Paz region of Baja California Sur.

--Pete Thomas


Photos courtesy of Tailhunter International


Report: Mexico's tourist zones much safer than many in U.S.

Dolphin goes airborne at Cabo Dolphins facility alongside the Cabo San Lucas marina.

Now Mexico's real estate industry is fighting back. A day before President Barack Obama visits Mexico to discuss, among other things, the troublesome drug war issue, RE/MAX Investment Properties issued the results of its research claiming that tourist zones in Mexico are up to 26 times safer than many tourist zones in the United States.

Among its findings: The state of Baja California Sur, which includes some of my favorite destinations such as Cabo San Lucas, La Paz and Loreto, has a homicide rate 26 times lower than Orlando, 18 times lower than Miami, 17 times lower than West Palm Beach and 12 times lower than Tampa and Honolulu.

(Note to self: Stay away from Florida!)

Almost ditto for Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

The report used some of the same sources Outposts has used, including a daily tally of drug cartel-related homicides kept by Excelsior newspaper, which through Tuesday listed only one homicide in 2009 in Baja California Sur (compared with 115 in the northern state of Baja California, which includes Tijuana), and four in Quintana Roo.

The report also states that BCS has a homicide rate 39 times lower than Washington D.C., 19 times lower than Houston and 17 times lower than Dallas. There's lots more but the point is as clear as a glass full of blanco tequila, which may or may not be offered to Obama.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Dolphin goes airborne at Cabo Dolphins facility alongside the Cabo San Lucas marina. Credit: Pete Thomas / Los Angeles Times

Sea of Cortez near La Paz springing to life for anglers

Robinson Whitaker of Atlanta, Ga., displays early-season dorado caught near Cerralvo Island southeast of La Paz, Mexico.

Few species of game fish are as photogenic and fun to catch on light tackle as dorado, above, which glow like golden ghosts as they dart about beneath the surface, and which leap repeatedly while on the hook.

There are few better-tasting freshly cooked species of fish, but one might be cabrilla, below. Both species, as well as many others, are being caught outside La Paz and to the south  beyond Las Arenas, reports Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International.

Winds and odd currents hampered the fishing effort some days during the last week, Roldan said, but conditions have settled and fishing ought to steadily improve during the coming weeks. Some of the dorado are pushing 40 pounds, and much larger striped marlin are filtering into the region.

I'll be playing the waters a bit farther south in the East Cape region in early May and will file a report and photos during or soon afterward. That is, if I catch anything.

-- Pete Thomas

Christina Moreno, a La Paz resident on her first fishing trip in the region, displays a cabrilla, commonly referred to as sea bass.

Photos, from top: Robinson Whitaker of Atlanta, Ga., displays early-season dorado caught near Cerralvo Island southeast of La Paz, Mexico. Christina Moreno, a La Paz resident on her first fishing trip in the region, displays a cabrilla, commonly referred to as sea bass. Credit: Tailhunter International


This yellowtail bite has a catch: You must fly to Baja to get it

Bill Evans, a recent transplant to La Paz, displays one of the yellowtail he caught off La Paz.Until something of quality begins to bite in Southern California waters, Outposts will continue to tease anglers with quality catches made elsewhere.

The yellowtail at right was caught off La Paz, in the Sea of Cortez, by Bill Evans, who recently moved to the Baja California Sur capital from Northern California.

Jonathan Roldan, who runs Tailhunter International, shared the photo along with a fishing report for the region, which states there are plenty of yellowtail being hooked, but many are being lost as the powerful jacks bolt for structure.

"These fish are not only tough, but when you get into the 25- to 40-pound fish and surround them with rocks, reef and other structure, the fish has the edge," Roldan reports.

The yellowtail pictured below was caught by Pasadena's Michael Brady, who was fishing well south of La Paz, on a Gordo Banks Pangas excursion out of San Jose del Cabo.

Fleet owner Eric Brictson says this is a transition period and soon marlin and other offshore game fish will filter into the region. His catch total for the last week: 53 charters accounting for one striped marlin, two mako sharks, four hammerhead sharks, three yellowfin tuna, five wahoo, 76 dorado, 45 bonito, 23 amberjack, 92 yellowtail, 14 jack crevalle, 26 roosterfish, 218 sierra, 15 cabrilla, three grouper, 18 triggerfish and 22 Humboldt squid.

-- Pete Thomas

Michael Brady of Pasadena poses with a 27-pound yellowtail caught off Palmilla Point while on a Gordo Banks Pangas trip.
Photos: Bill Evans, top, a recent transplant to La Paz, displays one of the yellowtail he caught off La Paz. Credit: Tailhunter International.  Michael Brady of Pasadena, above, poses with a 27-pound yellowtail caught off Palmilla Point while on a Gordo Banks Pangas trip. Credit: Gordo Banks Pangas

Mexico's drug war prompts newspaper list of most violent states vs. safer states

View of the Kukulcan pyramid at Chichen Itza, in the Mexican state of Yucatan west of Cancun.

Outposts has posted several items pertaining to Mexico's drug war and danger, or perceived danger, to tourists visiting areas on the Baja California peninsula such as Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.

Clearly, some areas in Mexico warrant more concern than others, and debate on this blog has been varied, with many leery of all of Mexico or critical of its government, and others supportive of and feeling safe in their favorite tourist destinations.

One commenter provided a link to the Mexican newspaper Excelsior, which is compiling drug-related murders for 2009. As of today that total is 1,367. Excelsior also colors the states according to number of murders.

Chihuahua, home to the ground-zero border city of Juarez, leads all states with 548 murders. It's colored purple. Four red states are led by Sinaloa (166), Guerrero (149), Durango (118) and Baja California (99). Most murders in the state of Baja California have occurred in or near Tijuana.

It should be noted that Baja California Sur, which comprises the southern half of the peninsula, is one of many blue states listed as zones with the fewest murders (1). Baja California Sur is home to its capital city of La Paz, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and Todos Santos. All are popular tourist areas -- there are many others -- and at least some have lost business because of a perceived danger related to the narco war.

Two other blue states are Yucatan (0) and Quintana Roo (4), home to Cancun. There are numerous yellow states classified merely as violent zones. 

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: View of the Kukulcan pyramid at Chichen Itza, in the Mexican state of Yucatan west of Cancun. Credit: EPA/Jacito Kanek

Forget Mexico's drug war, it's harvest time at Baja's Rancho Leonero


To reach Rancho Leonero Resort, most people fly to the Los Cabos airport near Baja California's tip, then board a shuttle for an hourlong drive north, through a desert landscape patrolled by cattle that sometimes halt traffic on the highway.

The turnoff leads east through more cactus and ungainly cows and, ultimately, to the stunningly beautiful Sea of Cortes (a.k.a Gulf of California), in what's called the East Cape region of Baja California Sur.

About 10 miles out to sea, beyond the sleepy resort sprawled on a bluff, the water changes from turquoise green to a purplish blue. This is where Rick Angelo, a doctor from Boston, caught the remarkable dorado you see in the photo.


Catching dorado on a fly rod is a thrill every angler ought to experience. Dorado are speedy and acrobatic but also radiant and delectable.

But as quarry, they're not nearly as challenging  as roosterfish (pictured immediately above), which are targeted in near-shore waters and can even be caught from the beach. Both species highlight a spring bite now underway throughout the East Cape.

Continue reading »

Boycott Mexico campaign targets illegal immigration issue

Hectic scene at U.S.-Mexico border.

The large bold letters scream, "BOYCOTT MEXICO!!'' and are followed by the plea, "Do not give your tourist dollars to Mexico! Spend them in the beautiful American Southwest!"

The Boycott Mexico campaign, by a group called Americans United to Halt Tourism in Mexico, is the last thing tourist destinations in Baja California and elsewhere in Mexico need, as they struggle with an image problem caused by an unrelenting drug war.

Campaign volunteers have been passing out fliers at the U.S.-Mexico border at San Ysidro and other points of entry. The group wants tourists to stop traveling into Mexico until the Mexican government complies with several demands related to the immigration issue.

"The AUHTM Campaign is designed to allow the American people to confront the Mexican people directly on these issues," it says on a campaign link. "The incompetence of the White House and U.S. Congress to do their jobs in this area is well known and leaves concerned and well-informed Americans few alternatives."

Reaction: This smacks of racism, and people in this country are free to travel wherever they wish. This campaign, which is requesting concerned citizens to print and distribute fliers and organize demonstrations, can only hurt businesses that have nothing to do with the illegal immigration issue and, in fact, employ Mexicans in Mexico.

But because it's a free country, those behind AUHTM, who obviously are frustrated and concerned about what they perceive as a major problem, are within their rights to call for a boycott.

As for the American Southwest, it is beautiful. But last time I checked you cannot catch a marlin there. Nor can you kayak with whales or scuba dive with giant Pacific mantas.

--Pete Thomas

Photo: Hectic scene at U.S.-Mexico border. Credit: Associated Press

Baja California Sur tries to shield itself from criminal element

Driving Baja California's transpeninsular highway means traveling through a sea of cactus and occasional stops at checkpoints.

Many aren't aware that Mexico's Baja California peninsula consists of two states: Baja California and Baja California Sur.

Now the latter, prompted by drug-related violence and other crimes occurring in the former, has enacted a three-point "shield" program it hopes will keep BCS safe and discourage criminals.

It's called "Baja California Sur, Estado Seguro," and it's essentially a stepped-up checkpoint effort that might, at times, represent a lengthy inconvenience for tourists.

The first phase was implemented at the ferry station in La Paz, an entry point for motorists from Sinaloa, which is home to the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel. The second phase was implemented near San Ignacio, close to the state's border with Baja California on Mexico's transpeninsular highway.

A third phase will be implemented at the international airport in Los Cabos. The shield program involves random checks that are much more thorough than those typically carried out. Mexican citizens and tourists are being fingerprinted and photographed, and asked to produce vehicle registration and vehicle identification numbers.

Continue reading »

Mexico's drug war, battered economy mean low air fares to La Paz and Cabo San Lucas

Kayakers paddle around La Paz.

Travelers interested in booking an inexpensive journey to La Paz, the beautiful capital of Baja California Sur, just missed out on a fantastic deal: $66 round trip.

In a promotion that ended Sunday night, thousands of seats were sold for travel throughout 2009 on Volaris Airlines.

Travel is via Tijuana's international airport but passengers using the airline, which is owned by billionaire Carlos Slim, can catch an airline shuttle from the train station in San Diego directly to the terminal.

"They sold 100,000 seats in 12 hours and their server crashed," Jonathan Roldan, owner of the outdoors outfitter Tailhunter International, said of the promotion. "It was a mad rush. I've been dealing with it all weekend."

Meanwhile, good deals remain throughout the busy spring season on Volaris and other airlines to La Paz and the Los Cabos region at Baja California's tip.

Continue reading »

Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.