Fall Season Winds Down, Yellowfin Tuna to 25 lb. Active on Iman Bank ~ Nov. 23, 2013


November 23, 2013
Anglers –

As we enter Thanksgiving Holiday week we are seeing a steady flow of tourists arriving, it has been a busy fall season, next week is typically when crowds will lighten, as many people will start preparing the Christmas Holiday season. Los Cabos weather has been pristine, highs of 80 degrees, with lows in the 60s, scattered cloud cover, but plenty of sunshine as well, very nice climate now, how you wish you could feel and enjoy year round. Winds are now prevalent from the north, though recently have been moderate and anglers were enjoying comfortable ocean conditions most days.

Sportfishing fleets were traveling in all directions, targeting the normal offshore fishing grounds, finding a mix of billfish, striped marlin, blue marlin and sailfish were all reported, with multiple billfish days reported from charters targeting the Pacific grounds. Water temperature are now on a cooling trend, down to 75 degrees on the Pacific and still averaging right about 80 degrees off of San Jose del Cabo and north towards Los Frailes.

Bait suppliers have been working overtime to obtain sufficient supplies and variety for the full load of charters. Sardinas were being hauled in from northern areas and were being sold by the bag, as brined fresh dead bait, also there were limited supplies of live sardinas just in recent days being offered. These baits have been working well for the for yellowfin tuna on the grounds off of La Fortuna and the Iman Bank, combined with strips of giant squid, also available at the dock in the morning, along with ballyhoo and caballito. Drift fishing while chumming and fly lining baits has been the most successful technique for finding yellowfin tuna in the 10 to 20 pound class, catches were a bit sporadic, some days fish would bite late and on others the action was best early. Light leaders of 25/30 lb. worked best. Catches ranged from a 2 or 3, up to 15 fish per boat. After last week’s new local record 386 lb. yellowfin was brought in, the action for the larger cow tuna on the Gordo Banks has been almost zero, surely a combination of factors are contributing to the slower action, cooling waters, heavy boat pressure, from pangas to large sportfishers, hungry sea lions, dive operations anchoring on high spot and ever increasing numbers of spear fishermen also concentrating on these same banks, this combined with the fact that we have just not seen as many numbers of these giant tuna this season.

Last weekend Wahoo Tournament out of La Playita was a success, a 54 lb. specimen won jackpot honors. This weekend there is a new inaugural tournament being held, Los Cabos Big Game. Anglers renting a charter boat can enter free of charge, with $25 K in prize money guarantee, sounds like a great deal. Anglers can enter one or both dates, participating charters can depart from Cabos San Lucas, Puerto Los Cabos or Buena Vista. Will be interesting to see how this goes, maybe next year with further advance notice in order to promote increased interest, this could be a popular format, with free entry, it is a no loose proposition, though the 7:30 a.m. departure time was not to the liking of anglers wishing to target the ever elusive wahoo.

Other action included drifting larger baits off the bottom structure for a chance at hooking into a grouper or amberjack, though numbers were not high, there were some impressive fish accounted for, amberjack to 40 lb. and grouper to 70 lb. Inshore this past week we have seen more sierra moving in, striking on trolled hoochies, as well as sardinas. A couple very nice sized sierra of 8 to 9 lb. were brought in.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 180 charters for this past week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 9 striped marlin, 6 sailfish, 55 wahoo, 125 bonito, 6 roosterfish, 15 cabrilla, 8 grouper, 32 sierra, 170 dorado and 410 yellowfin tuna.

Good fishing, Eric

Weather Improves, so does all Around Fishing Action, New Local Record Tuna ~ Nov. 16, 2013


November 16, 2013
Anglers –

As we near the Thanksgiving Holiday there continue to be large crowds of anglers visiting the area, now being greeted with ideal weather conditions, winds resided and anglers enjoyed comfortable seas, with water temperatures averaging 80 degrees. Presently there is yet another low pressure spot some 400 miles to the southwest, threatening to push moisture into Southern Baja, we have seen plenty of rainfall already, hopefully this will be minimal. Heavy road construction on the main Hwy 1 now, so be cautious of this.

Charter fleets have been fishing the grounds off the Pacific to Gordo Banks and Vinorama in the direction of the Sea of Cortez. Wide open striped marlin action was reported for fleets out of Cabo San Lucas while fishing the Pacific banks, double digit catches were common. Dorado were found spread throughout the area, a bit sporadic from day to day where the better action was encountered, many dorado now in the 5 to 15 lb. class, some larger bulls up to 20 lb. mixed in.

The more consistent all around action was found around the Iman Bank, this is where yellowfin tuna up to 25 lb. were schooling, also dorado, wahoo, sailfish and striped marlin were all found in this general vicinity. Drift fishing with a mix of strip squid, fresh dead sardinas, which just started being available this week, imported from as far as La Paz, they have proved to be a good choice, other options included ballyhoo and caballito. Catches were ranging from a couple fish per boat, up to 15, depending where you happen to be, often the tuna were biting later in the morning, around 11:00 a.m., just like a switch was thrown, the yellowfin would decide to feed, becoming active on the turn of the tide and change of current.

Skipjack have been prevalent on the fishing grounds and were being used for chumming and chunk fishing, particularly on the Gordo Banks, where the super cow sized yellowfin tuna have been lurking. On Tuesday local angler Memo Rueda, aboard a 24 ft. center console named “Koi Sushi” hooked into a super cow yellowfin tuna while drifting on the Gordo Banks, after a brutal two hour battle Memo landed the monster which we officially weighed in at a whopping 386 lb., this is the largest yellowfin tuna that we have weighed in out of La Playita, the previous local record was a 378 lb. fish about four years ago. I believe a couple of 400 lb. tuna have been brought into Puerto Los Cabos Marina, though these were yellowfin tuna were taken off large sportfishers from PV or distant banks, not from our local grounds. These larger sized yellowfin have not been as numerous this season, though everyday there have been hook ups, one or two, up to four or five. Chunks of squid or skipjack, as well as whole baits have all accounted for strikes. Other tuna taken from these banks this past week weighed 80 to 250 pounds.

Wahoo are definitely in the area, but recently they have not been wanting to strike often, any slight change in water conditions could trigger these elusive fish into action, this is peak season now for these highly sought after gamefish. Limited numbers have been brought to the docks this past week, though just yesterday one panga arrived with four large wahoo, largest about 60 pounds. This Sunday is the annual Wahoo Tournament in La Playita, so surely a team will need a fifty pound plus wahoo to win this event, along with jackpot prize money is a new VW compact car up for grabs.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 204 charters for this past week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of:17 striped marlin, 14 sailfish, 29 wahoo, 450 bonito, 1 yellowtail, 22 pargo, 8 rainbow runner, 4 roosterfish, 18 cabrilla, 18 sierra, 405 dorado and 540 yellowfin tuna.

Good fishing, Eric

Weather Patterns Unpredictable, Anglers Search Hard for Best Possible Action ~ Nov. 9 , 2013


November 9, 2013
Anglers –

Weather patterns in Southern Baja California can often be unpredictable and this past weekend we witnessed a surprise formation of a late season tropical storm develop off to the west, before shifting directions and heading east, passing just offshore of Cabo San Lucas on Sunday afternoon. Tropical Storm Sonia made landfall near Culiacan, Sinaloa and was then downgraded to a depression. This was an unusual event for this time of year, though not unprecedented; remember the monsoon rains 20 years ago on November 4, this drenched 25 inches of rainfall in 12 hours over San Jose del Cabo. This latest system did drop up to 2 to 3 inches of rainfall in isolated areas and there were steady winds of 30 mph plus, but this did not last long and as the storm quickly moved past conditions cleared rapidly. Ocean swells never did increase very much, winds apparently were not strong enough to generate high swells. Conditions became stormy through Sunday morning the local ports were officially closed to all smaller crafts and did not reopen until about 7 a.m. on Monday. This was an inconvenience to hundreds of anglers who were all set to go fishing on Sunday, this was an act of Mother Nature and we were all fortunate that this only shut down operations for one day.

The local climate has now settled and conditions are nearly perfect, sunny skies, temperatures ranging from lows in the upper 60s to highs of about 84 degrees. Breezes were now predominately blowing out of the north, ranging up to 15 mph. Ocean water temperatures were in 80/82 degree range throughout the region, not much variance. Baitfish were now in extremely high demand with so many numbers of charters to supply. Live caballito were available, sardinas were very limited, schools of these baitfish are now being found near Cabo San Lucas, only a percentage of charters were able to obtain these baits. Other options for anglers were slabs of squid for strip bait fishing and ballyhoo for troll rigging.

Local fleets were finding more consistent action on the fishing ground from Santa Maria to Vinorama, versus the grounds on the Pacific. Overall the action has been below normal standards, factors related to the relentless winds and lack of sardinas, strong currents and gamefish migration patterns all seem to play into this situation. We have seen signs of improvement the past couple of days, more dorado being encountered than other species, most of these fish under 15 lb., with an occasional bull up to 20 pounds. Charters were using a mix of trolled lures, as well as drift fishing and slow trolling various baits. Average catches ranged from 2 to 8 fish per boat. Wahoo were scarce this past week, though everyday a handful were accounted for. Areas near Iman to San Luis seemed to provide the best chances for wahoo, anglers trolling rapalas and live baits reported strikes, these fish have been averaging 25 to 50 pounds. We anticipate a full other month of wahoo action, as water temperatures are still in favorable range.

Yellowfin tuna action was not as consistent as would be expected, though these fish are schooling in several areas, winds have not helped, the lack of sardinas seems to be the main issue, but these factors can also change on a daily basis, just as the weather can. Squid has been available at the dock area most mornings and this has been used for chumming and strip bait fishing for the yellowfin tuna, as well as dorado and others, even billfish have been hooked into on these strips of squid. There are smaller grades of yellowfin on the Iman, San Luis and Vinorama grounds, these fish ranged 10 to 20 pounds, though most anglers were fortunate to hook into these tuna, they proved finicky this past week.

The larger yellowfin are congregated on the Gordo Banks, though they have not been nearly as numerous this season as they have been in recent years, though this is still the spot where you have the best chance at hooking into a cow. Everyday there are reports of a handful of larger tuna hook ups, many of which are lost after extended tug of war battles. Last cow we weighed for the local panga fleet area was a 314 lb. on Saturday, Nov. 2. We typically see these cow sized tuna stay in the area into the first half of December, water temperatures and food source seem to determine when these schooling fish migrate south.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 210 charters for this past week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 13 striped marlin, 11 sailfish, 16 wahoo, 32 bonito, 18 pargo, 12 rainbow runner, 20 triggerfish, 12 cabrilla, 22 sierra, 460 dorado and 145 yellowfin tuna.

Good fishing, Eric