April 4, 2016 5:08 pm

FISHING REPORT All that’s fishy from Land’s End to La Paz by Gary Graham Solar eclipse, El Niño and “bad juju” are all taking equal billing for the recent fishing slump plaguing both the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez.  This might sound pretty dreadful, but please bear with me. Of the hundreds of fish found in the waters surrounding the tip of Baja, only a few handfuls are targeted on a regular basis. If the exotics like marlin, tuna, dorado, wahoo and roosterfish fail to bite, the sport fishing reports go negative or even silent. Last week, a first-time visitor sent me an email, excitedly relating what a wonderful day he and his teenage daughter had catching triggerfish on light tackle.  He reminded me of how often visitors make the mistake of fishing only for the “exotics,” even when the odds are not in their favor. The inshore fishery is almost always a “go-to” option if the offshore isn’t producing. Currently, several varieties of skipjack, including black and white, are putting on a show close to shore. Both are fun to catch and the white skipjack is good eating. Small roosterfish and jack crevalle also have been a frequent favorite for anglers just looking for some fishing fun, as are sierra mackerel. Although smaller, they still fight like their larger counterpart, the mighty wahoo.  Other common catches are several different varieties of pompano that can show up in the mix. Keep a couple of the sierra and ask your favorite restaurant to prepare a killer platter of ceviche with fresh-fried tortilla chips. Your ho-hum cocktail hour will suddenly become a Baja party to remember. Back to the aforementioned triggerfish — usually caught near the bottom; now think perch on steroids with buck teeth and ugly. Often overlooked, they fight hard, and fresh-caught the fillets are considered to be some of the best eating fish by locals. Last but by no means least, is Baja bottom fishing. From 50 to a few hundred feet beneath the surface exists a world without sunlight — home to a long list of Baja fish that seldom see the sun — unusual creatures with a well-earned reputation of being tough as nails. Grouper, cabrilla, pargo and red snapper hang out in these rocky crevices, ready to dart out and snatch a big bait, then dash back into their lair before they can be stopped more often than not. As spring settles in, there is no doubt that the “exotics” will reappear. Meanwhile, don’t overlook the fun fishing that beckons just beneath the surface.    ]]>