Southern Baja fishing update: Yellowfin tuna arrive by the thousands
You know summer has arrived in Baja California Sur, especially off the La Paz and East Cape regions, when vast schools of yellowfin tuna arrive and fresh sashimi becomes the main appetizer at the sleepy resort bars.
Summer has definitely arrived. Here's an intro to a report by Jonathan Roldan, who runs Tailhunter International from La Paz: "What a fish-rodeo! Yellowfin tuna made a surprise crash and literally foamed and exploded on our panga fleet. We had pangas coming in back to the beach early with shocked clients and bloody ice chests."
Roldan continued: "These fish started at 10 pounds, but toward the end of the week 20- to 25-pound muscle fish were not uncommon. Folks were saying they couldn't get baits in the water fast enough. The fish ate live bait, dead bait, lures, iron, surface poppers, flies ... they weren't picky and they came en masse."
From John Ireland, owner of Rancho Leonero Resort at the East Cape: "Limits for most anglers. Tuna from five to forty pounds are abundant under schools of porpoise both north and south. The buoys north of Pescadero to Ventanas are also producing smaller tuna. Hoochies and live sardines are working best in the schools of porpoise, live sardines exclusively on the buoys. Ranch anglers lost a couple of big tuna in the 100- to 200-pound range at the boat."
Farther south off Cabo San Lucas, dorado are the main catch but tuna counts also are up. An 81-pound tuna was caught aboard Retriever, which was participating in the Stars and Stripes Fishing, Golf and Music Festival.
Dorado catches spiked largely because of a dead whale whose floating carcass had attracted thousands of the feisty game fish, said Capt. George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing.
Landrum noted an influx of blue marlin but said that while some were being hooked, few were being caught. Striped marlin are numerous but not very hungry, and that could be due to an abundance of squid in the region.
A catch report from the sportfisher La Brisa of Pisces Sportfishing: 15 tuna, five dorado and one wahoo for a group from Colorado.
Photos, from top: A yellowfin tuna leaps while feeding in the Sea of Cortez; sunrise is a magical experience at the East Cape, generally followed by a productive day of fishing. Credits, from top: Steve Dykes / Los Angeles Times; Paul Sweeney / FishingVideos.com