Huge tuna off Loreto 424.6 pounds
Several huge tuna taken at El Seco over three days
424.6 pound yellowfin just three pounds off all-tackle mark, is a pending 50-pound line class record; Huge tuna of 424.6, 319, 212.5 pounds are caught in three days at El Seco, a pinnacle south 50 miles south of Puerto Escondido.
LORETO – It’s wintertime in Baja. You don’t often see huge tuna being caught off Cabo, and you sure don’t see many big cow tuna being caught off Loreto in the news. That might be because you haven’t been paying close enough attention all these years.
This week’s report as Baja enjoys a mild winter and toasty water temps saw several huge tuna caught over three consecutive days at a pinnacle 50 miles southeast of Puerto Escondido in the Sea of Cortez. The biggest tuna over three days was a 424.6-pound beast caught Monday by Jorge Lazo of Tijuana, who the day before had caught a 319 pounder at that pinnacle called El Seco, The day before that, Saturday, a 212.5 pounder was caught by the group from Outpost Charters www.Outpostcharters.com
THE 424.6-POUND yellowfin was caught on the third day of fishing, on Monday at El Seco, a high spot off Loreto by Jorge Lazo of Tijuana, a crewman with outpostcharters on Robert Ross’ 37-foot Boston Whaler Rampage. The day before, Lazo caught a 319 pounder. For the full Baja report and more pictures, go to: www.wonews.com/t-BajaReport_Pat_011018.aspx
For most people, waters of Loreto are an outpost for big game fishing, the region better-known for its summer dorado fishing under floating sargasso grass and winter homeguard yellowtail action on reefs off Coronado and Catalan islands.
The reality is that Loreto and Puerto Escondido are jumping off points to some of the best big game fishing in the world. To be more specific, the playground for big gamers is El Seco, a conical mountain, a pinnacle rising from 2,500 feet deep to a mere 14 feet or less, is located about 10 miles southwest of Catalan Island. At various peak times, it attracts swordfish, black marlin, blue marlin, wahoo, and big tuna. This year the big tuna are early. Timing is everything. The beauty of the spot in terms of yellowfin tuna is you can anchor on it, and chunk frozen squid.
Jay Yadon owns Outpost Charters (www.outpostcharters.com). His father-in-law is Robert Ross, a Cabo native, champion motocross rider in his youth and a Newport Beach and Mexico real estate developer who is a big game sportfisherman and regularly fishes El Seco on his 37-foot Boston Whaler Rampage he runs from a quiet anchorage below a hillside home he built to the south of Puerto Escondido in an isolated town north of Aqua Verde. He picked that spot for a 10-room home overlooking the Sea of Cortez because it is undeveloped and a mere 11 miles from El Seco, and best of all, a natural estuary below provides safe anchorage.
Two years ago WON did a feature on Robert Ross when he caught a 450-plus pound yellowfin he did not weigh on a certified scale, although he did weigh it on a cattle scale after being gutted, and it weighed 430 pounds, but he measured it. It would have easily been the all-tackle record for yellowfin. He told WON at the time he has no desire to set any records. He just likes to catch big fish, and El Seco is a target-rich environment. He seems unconcerned about a secret getting out. The spot is far too isolated to be impacted by fleets and the big tuna and other big game species have their own schedule.
Yadon started Outpost Charters just after he moved to the area two years ago. El Seco is a prime charter spot for customers, and while Ross is not concerned about records, Yadon knows they are a great calling card. Thus, Yadon and Outpost Charters invested in two certified digital scales obtained through a friend, IGFA rep Chris Wheaton who directs the Loreto Fishing for the Mission charity tourney. Those scales came in handy over three days.
Anyway, when the big tuna are on El Seco, Yadon and Outpost Charters captains are alerted by local commercial pangeros who anchor on the shallow spot for smaller game. Yadon and Ross heard the tuna were on the reef late last week, the weather has been good, and he went out Saturday with Ross and crew on the Cast N Reel, a 40-foot Luhrs, one of the three charterboats based out of Puerto Escondido, a picturesque, natural harbor located 15 miles south of the town of Loreto. The bay is located 50 miles from El Seco.
Two boats fished as buddy boats all three days. Ross employed his sport fisher and the crew moved between boats on the three days of crew trips.
The first day on the bank, Yadon and crew on the 40-foot Cast N' Reelanchored on the spot and began chunking frozen squid, and after 20 minutes a 212.5 pounder responded, and was caught on one of the two big outfits with Okuma 50W reels and Seeker custom rods. They rushed home to Puerto Escondido, posted some pictures on FB and sent some details and photos specifically to this reporter. Yadon said that night, Saturday, that winds had picked up and while he wanted to get out there again Saturday night, he waited until morning to head out again. On the boat was Jorge Lazo, a crewman with Outpost Charters and who like Yadon, is a son-in-law of Robert Ross.
“We had set up a chum line for a couple hours with the heavier gear (Okuma Makaira 50 wide reels with 100-pound P Line and 100-pound Hi-Seas pure flourcarbon),” said Yadon, who said Lazo was looking for a big yellowtail that had been caught there recently. And after the mackerel was slammed, they thought it was a big yellow.
“Jorge got 20 cranks on it, and then the fish figured out what was happening, and took off.,” said Yadon. “He was using 60-pound P-Line on an Accurate Valiant 800 and a Seeker rod, and was flylining a mackerel with a 6/0 Mustad hook. Super light gear, and the battle went on for 2 1/ hours resulting in the 319 pounder. They thought they had a line class record, but there is no 60-pound IGFA line class for yellowfin, and the record for 50-pound line they learned from rep Chris Wheaton back in the States was 285 pounds. So Lazo re-rigged the Valiant 800 with 50-pound line and 100-pound Hi-Seas’ pure fluorocarbon leader to go after the line class record the next day.
“We are heading back out with a few hundred pounds more of squid and hopefully we will have some more big fish photos for you,” Yadon told WON Sunday night. The word was, the big fish were on the pinnacle. Huge fish. One fish on the Sunday trip was on for an hour, hooked on chunk squid on the heavy gear, the Okuma Makaira 50W with 100-pound. “It pulled off 1,000 yards and snapped the 100-pound “like it was nothing,” said Yadon. “so we knew there were much bigger fish there than the 319.”
Sure enough, the two boats went out and Lazo, fishing on Ross' boat, hooked up with another big fish at El Seco on Monday, again using a mackerel over the chum slick to get the one he wanted for the world record on 50-pound line. The 424.6 pounder was gaffed after a battle of one hour and forty-five minutes in stand up gear. The fish was just three pounds off the all-tackle world record.
If the catch is submitted to the IGFA, it would obviously be the 50-pound line class record and would be the second biggest yellowfin ever caught on rod and reel that was weighed on a certified digital scale. The 427-pound yellowfin all-tackle record yellowfin will remain in the possession of Guy Yocum, caught in 2012 on his sport yacht El Suertudo on a multi-day trip out of Cabo.
By Monday night, the winds were cranking, and it took seven hours to get back to Puerto Escondido 50 miles northwest with the huge fish. This week the winds will blow, Yadon said. But by this Monday Outpost Charters will be back out at El Seco. The big fish are likely to still be there.
“Coming here this early, I think they will stick around a while,” said Yadon.
In other Baja action, there was a Cabo yellowfin of 322 pounds on 40-pound line, plus wahoo, football-sized tuna, and dorado are still in the mix in Baja Sur with 77 degree water at the Cape; San Quintin yellows are BIG! Ensenada also kicking out yellows.