Fishermen listen interested on what Mr. Kovach and Mr. Carson had to say during the evenings at the resort Guest ready to make their boat order for the following day. 
Dennis Artus with a nice 32 lbs dorado, he and the captain tried to revive the fish, but it could make, it was the only casualty of roosterfish.  William Lange and Friend from San Diego CA, weren't able to let this one go, but they did released its brother. They were fishing with captain Rosario on the Canica. 


By Steve Carson

Fishing Expeditions September 2002



Penn International ‘Baja Grand Slam’ Tournament scores East Cape variety

                Competitors in last weeks’ Penn International Baja Grand Slam Tournament scored an impressive variety of large fish in the event that took place at the Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort. Over $10,000 in prizes were awarded to winners in the various categories by Penn Fishing Tackle and the hotel.

                The event was hosted by the Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort, and this writer served as Tournament Director and Master of Ceremonies. All of the logistics, from fantastic food, to boat assignments, to the sound system went off flawlessly. The hotel supplied weighmaster Angelito Ortiz and a certified scale, while the hotel’s General Manager Esaul Valdez kept an eye on everything.

                The ‘Grand Slam’ format minimizes individual catches, and rewards anglers with a 100 point bonus for catching a fish each day in each of the four species categories: tuna, dorado, roosterfish or billfish, and miscellaneous fish.

                Overall winner Allan Larson of Littleton, Colorado was the only angler who managed a ‘Grand Slam’ on both days of the tournament. Larson took the top prize for his versatility, a return trip to Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort. Interestingly, Larson caught all of his fish using flycasting tackle.  

                The whopper of the tournament was a 287 pound blue marlin caught by Randy Johnson of Chico, who fought the beast for 35 minutes on 50 pound test line. The lunker ate a live caballito after it was lured up to the boat with a large teaser.

                “The fight felt like an hour and a half”, said Johnson. “It took one look at the boat and left. It was my first marlin ever, the adrenaline rush is just draining.” The big blue came up dead, but all of the other billfish caught during the tourney were released.

                Johnson followed up his catch by releasing a sailfish on day two. Unfortunately, a weigh-slip mix-up prevented Johnson from winning the ‘Glamour’ [billfish/roosterfish] category. Johnson added: “The whole experience was absolutely complete fun. Everyone at the hotel was incredibly nice.”

                The other qualifying species for the ‘Glamour’ category was roosterfish. Again, all roosters save one that came in dead were released. All of the roosterfish were reported caught on live bait near La Ribera or the Las Arenas lighthouse. 

                Dorado catches were scored using a wide variety of techniques. Trolling with marlin jigs, tuna feathers, and even slow-trolling with strips of skipjack were all successful. Dorado were reported everywhere from the shallow inshore roosterfish areas to the offshore marlin grounds.                 Most of the dorado were between 10 and 20 pounds, but a few over 30 pounds were scored, topped by the whopping 52 pound bull that catapulted angler Howell Cullens of Eatonton, Georgia to victory in the ‘Dorado’ category.

                During the ‘pre-fish’ period, 15-year old Derek Hazard of San Diego caught a 65-pound dorado that surpassed the existing IGFA record of 61 pounds for a ‘Junior Boy’, but did not complete the required IGFA paperwork. Young Derek fished with his grandfather, East Cape veteran Togo Hazard aboard the Dusty B II.        

                Although tuna fishing was a little on the slow side, tackle shop owner Mark Corrie of Chico topped the ‘Tuna’ category with an 11-pound black skipjack he caught using a 4-ounce Mega-Bait jig aboard the “Liliana’ with captains Marcos and Santiago.

                The ‘Miscellaneous’ category was topped by a 17-pound toro [jack crevalle] for Rocky Arola of Watsonville. Arola was using a small white Gitzit lure on steelhead-type spinning outfit and just 10 pound test line when the fish appeared among a school of needlefish about 100 yards offshore just north of Buena Vista. Notoriously tough fighters, the toro took Arola 45 minutes to land. 

                In second place for the miscellaneous category was Warren Winiecke of Gold Beach, Oregon. Winiecke landed a 15-pound wahoo on a Sevenstrand Tuna Clone, the only wahoo of the tournament.

                Several other wahoo were hooked and lost, including a very large one hooked by tuna division winner Mark Corrie. He related: “I was trolling an orange/black Marauder near a large school of skipjack. I got a hard strike, and the fish took 200 yards of 80-pound line off my Penn International 50SW in a big hurry. Then the hooks just pulled out.”

                A wide variety of miscellaneous fish came to the scales. Species caught included: jack crevalle, wahoo, amberjack, needlefish, triggerfish, four species of pargo, and sierra mackerel.

                This writer got to fish a little in between my official duties. I was able to catch 10 different species of fish, but was not able to ‘notch’ any new species for my list. My hectic schedule also kept me from pursuing any off-hours surf fishing, but I noticed several roosterfish boils right in front of the hotel every evening during the orientation meetings and awards ceremonies.

                On our final day of fishing we got into an almost ‘wide-open’ yo-yo bite that lasted from 7:30 am until 10:00 am, when heavy winds made it impossible to reach the proper depths. We had a nice mixed bag going of pez fuerte [amberjack], black skipjack tuna, pargo amarillo, pargo colorado, pargo de perro [dog snapper], huachinango [spotted rose snapper], and even a couple of bulitos [bullet tuna]. 

                 Television host Ronnie Kovach was on hand with a film crew, but was also not eligible for the tournament. Kovach was fishing aboard Captain Victor Garciglia’s ‘Vamanos’ hooked a 50-pound class amberjack while yo-yo’ing a sardine color 4-ounce Mega-Bait jig on day one, but fate intervened.

                Just as the big pez fuerte was about to be gaffed, the largest bull sea lion this writer has ever seen charged in and grabbed the fish. Although Kovach tried valiantly, the 1,000 pound ‘lobo’ was not to be denied, and ultimately got to keep the fish.  

                Several “Penn International Grand Slam” tournament events are planned for 2003 in both Alaska and the East Cape  The first will be held at Kingfisher Lodge in Sitka, Alaska on May 14-18 [call Kingfisher Lodge at 800-727-6136 for booking information]. Watch this site for exact dates of other Penn International Grand Slam Tournament events in Baja and Alaska.


Total ‘Baja Grand Slams’ scored- 5

Blue marlin- 3 [largest 287 pounds]

Striped marlin- 2 [all released]

Sailfish- 2 [all released]

Roosterfish- 14 [largest 42 pounds]

Tuna- 16 [largest 11 pounds]

Dorado- 25 [largest 52 pounds]

Miscellaneous fish- 25 [largest 17 pounds]


Grand Prize Winner

Allan Larson/Littleton, CO- 459 total points- [Return trip to Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort]     

Glamour Category [billfish/roosterfish]

1. Jack Collier/Millbrae, CA- 250 points w/tiebreaker- [Penn Formula 10KG reel and Sabre rod combination]

2. Allan Larson/Littleton, CO- 250- [Penn International 975 reel and Sabre rod combination]

3. Joe Polance/Huntington Beach, CA- 175- [Penn Senator 4/0 reel and Sabre rod combination]

Dorado Category

1. Howell Cullens/Eatenton, GA- 60- [Penn Formula 10KG reel and Sabre rod combination]

2. Chrystie Lange/San Diego, CA- 34- [Penn International 975 reel and Sabre rod combination]

3. Mokoto Watanabe/San Mateo, CA- 23- [Penn Senator 4/0 reel and Sabre rod combination]

Tuna Category

1. Mark Corrie/Chico, CA- 11- [Penn Formula 10KG reel and Sabre rod combination]

2. Howell Cullens/Eatenton, GA- 9- [Penn International 975 reel and Sabre rod combination]

3. Bud Isaacs/Englewood, CO- 8- Penn [Senator 4/0 reel and Sabre rod combination]

Miscellaneous Category

1. Rocky Arola/Watsonville, CA- 17- [Penn International 975 reel and Sabre rod combination]

2. Warren Winiecke/Gold Beach, OR- 15 - [Penn Senator 4/0 reel and Sabre rod combination]

3. Joe Polance/Huntington Beach, CA- 9- [Penn 500L reel]

Tournament Director’s Award

Randy Johnson/Chico, CA- [Penn 500L reel]


Last Week Fish Report Hotel Buenavista Beach Resort Fleet

Last week's Fish and Condition report brought to you by Esaul Valdez, General Manager 

From: Aug 30th - Sep 5th, 2002 

Total boats out: 55 Fisherman: 135

Weather Temperature: High 80´s - Low  100`s

Water Temperature: 84°- 87°

Type Capture Release Total
 Blue Marlin 2 2 4
 Black Marlin ~ ~ ~
  Striped Marlin 2 3 5
  Sailfish 1 12 13
  Dorado 86 32 118
  Tuna 9 ~ 9
  Wahoo 1 ~ 1
  Roosterfish 1 19 20
  Grupper ~ ~ ~
  Shark ~ ~ ~
  Snapper 22 ~ 22
  Jack cravalle  1 6 7
  Amberjack 14 ~ 14
  Bonita ~ ~ ~
  Yellowtail ~ ~ ~
  Ladyfish ~ 1 1
  Pampano ~ 1 1
  Triggerfish ~ 12 12
  Needlefish ~ 30 30
  Cabrilla ~ 0 ~
  Skip Jack ~ 32 ~

Water Temperature:  It has increased a little, this is what the summer is all about, the good water is everywhere and so that the fishing. 

Weather Temperature:  First week that the thermometer reached the 100's but nice breeze and early in the week a small storm came by, I think it was because Pro fisherman, Mr. Ronnie Kovach was at the resort, he always has a good luck being at the resort when this happened, or bad luck it is a mater of how you see the glass. But over all, good weather, no big storm or anything, once a storm hits Baja you really hear about it, but before then, they just small "Colltas" o "Toritos" that is how we call them.   . 

Fishing Spots and Distance: 

Off-shore fishing.- Bill fish weren't as shy as last week and there more fish caught and most of them released, still our average this year is like two points below of how it was last year. Dorado wise, when we have rain we will have dorado, plain and simple. Tuna some were found still to far to go out. Some guests decide to go for them and end it up with nothing, in the other hand we know they are here, but luck plays a big factor.  A lot of wahoo hits, but not catch, I was talking to captain Vicente and he told me that he lost three lures, right after he pulled in the wahoo lures and put out the marlin lures. One guest only got lucky and pulled one in. 

In-shore fishing.- With the Penn International East Cape Grand Slam  Light Line Tournament going on, there were a lot of fishermen fishing the inshore, but the conditions where there 100% because of strong winds, still everyone was able to catch most of the species that were required.   

Successful lures: Mean joe green and petrolero above all..

Bait Used: Sardines plentiful, but larger bait was hard to get.

Highlight of the Week: Mr. Larson while fly fishing won the Penn International East Cape Grand Slam  Light Line Tournament, he out scored the conventional fisherman, of course he new the rules and he was fishing for the correct species to get the grand slam pints.