Toward the end of the year, there were small craft warnings, strong and chilly winds and everyone seemed content to huddle around the fireplace or heater and reminisce about the good old days.
Then out of nowhere a Santa Ana rolled in and the weather flipped -- balmy temperatures coupled with little or no wind brought out the angler in us all.
The reports of yellowtail lurking on the weather side of North Island are sounding attractive, although they aren’t biting full speed; however, the Rockpile did produce some rockfish and an occasional ling thing.
It’s the same story with mostly bottom fish, including some trophy-sized sheepshead at Ensenada. For those willing to slide down the coast to Punta Colonet, yellowtail action is pretty good on and near the high spot. The boats are stopping on sonar marks and dropping down full-size 6X and 7X heavy yoyo irons and scoring 12- to 20-pound yellowtail.
Blue/white, scrambled egg, dorado, and the bait wraps -- white squid and the sardine colors -- are all working great. The depth we are told ranges from 150 feet to 240 feet. “Guys are also seeing and catching a few monster bonito in the 8- to 15-pound class. Plus fishing for big quality 2- to 6-pound reds on the ridge nearby is excellent. Nearly all who fish them are scoring limits.”
Local charters conked more of the same according to Randy Peters, who fished with the Catian gang. “I've been fishing in SQ for many years now. I've always gone out with Kelly Catian or his boys, Oscar and George -- all are great skippers with top-notch equipment. On this trip, I fished Tuesday with my buddy Rock Sandoval from Riverside, using Tady 4/0 Squid pattern heavy jigs to fish the high spots for yellowtail. That means the 340, 6, Bens Rock, or 15. We headed straight to the 240 on Kelly's 23-foot Parker. His son George was the skipper.
“As there was no live bait, we arrived with an arsenal of jigs and some squid. When we arrived, Captain Tito had landed two yellows. It didn't take long for me to land eight fish on that Squid-colored Tady! We fished mostly the West side of the high spot in 150- to 200-feet. I had 30-pound mono on my new Shimano Torium reel.
“Some of these were brutes. I didn't weigh the fish but eyeballed them to weigh from 15 to 25 pounds. Our boat caught our limit of 15 yellowtails, then stopped and added some whitefish and lings that were biting squid.”
Upper Sea of Cortez
With more unsettled conditions, a rain squall and a rainbow or two, the spotted bay bass where the easy target. There was always that hope of snagging a cabrilla, grouper or a prized yellow.