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Late Season Quality Yellowfin on Gordo Banks ~ January 20, 2018

Anglers –
January 20, 2018

Another week with moderately light crowds of tourists visiting the Los Cabos area. For those that did make the trip, they were enjoying very pleasant winter time weather conditions. Mostly clear sunny skies, light winds, minimal swells, with high temperatures averaging in the upper 70s. early morning there was now more of a chill factor, as we felt temperatures as cold as 53 degrees, so those getting up early to participate in outdoor activities do need to dress accordingly, once the sun comes up it warms up fairly quickly.

Ocean temperatures are now ranging 74 to 78 degrees, warmer currents found several miles offshore. Clarity was also good for this time of year, blue water within a few miles of shore, lighter northern winds have kept conditions more favorable closer to shore. Schools of sardinas were congregated now near Cabo Real, though the first part of the week the bait netters also found these preferred baitfish north near San Luis, but then again returned back to Cabo Real. Other bait options were caballito and slabs of squid, which once again were used for drift fishing for a late season run of quality grade yellowfin tuna to over 100 lb. on the Gordo Banks.

The bite for the medium sized tuna in the 15 to 25 lb. class that had been going on near La Fortuna and to Iman Bank, became much more spotty and problem with pesky sea lions and sharks continued. The highlight this past week was the resurgence of the bite once again on the Gordo Banks for yellowfin tuna that were ranging from 60 to 100 and even to over 150 lb. No big numbers, though anglers that specially targeting these fish were sometimes coming away with one, two or three quality tuna. These fish were hitting best on the Outer Gordo Banks for anglers that were chumming consistently and using strips of squid, dead sardinas and chunk of skipjack, the key was to be persistent, lots of pressure, as the word of this action spread, boats of all sizes converged on these grounds to take advantage of this unusual late season opportunity.

With the billfish action out of San Jose del Cabo now very limited, the next best option was to target areas within a couple miles of shore, such as Punta Gorda, Cardon and La Fortuna, this is where decent numbers of dorado up to 15 lb. were being found, more often striking while slow trolling of drift fishing various baits. Only a handful of wahoo were reported, though they still are in the area, as water temperatures are still holder warmer than normal.

Fishing fish chunk bait and on occasion yo-yo jigs produced varying results off of the rocky high spots for a mix of quality eating specimens, most of them under 15 lb. This past week there were also chances at encountered pelagic red crags drifting to the surface. They could then be used for bait and were deadly for the huachinango, the true Pacific red snapper. This still being a very hit of miss deal, as to when and where the red crabs would surface on a given day.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 78 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 5 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 5 wahoo, 15 sierra, 72 yellowfin tuna, 165 dorado, 6 amberjack, 22 yellow snapper, 18 barred pargo, 18 Eastern Pacific bonito, 12 white skipjack, 75 black skipjack, 6 roosterfish, 22 cabrilla (leopard grouper), 5 broom tail grouper, 72 huachinango (red snapper) and 95 triggerfish.

Good fishing, Eric

Surface Action Continues, Mix of Bottom Species ~ January 13, 2018

Anglers –
January13, 2018

This past week there were less numbers of tourists in town, as we expected a decline as the holiday season comes to an end. Locally we continued to enjoy great winter time weather patterns, with mostly sunny days and high temperatures in the upper 70s. Light winds and minimal swells made for great conditions on the ocean, as anglers were targeting a variety of gamefish species.

The bait situation remained steady for sardinas and caballito, the larger baitfish, caballito, being found inside the marina area, while sardinas were schooling along the rocky beach stretches from Palmilla to Cabo Real. Offshore of the hotel zone there were concentrations of mackerel and sardineta. Water temperature is now in the 73 to 75 degree range, we have seen a cooling trend and also inshore areas were no longer as clean and blue, more greenish current starting to push in. This is common for this transition period. Warm water species of fish will now start to migrate towards southern regions and cooler water species will become more prevalent.

Main target species continued to be dorado and yellowfin tuna, early in the week the yellowfin tuna action was very good, with both Palmilla Point and La Fortuna producing tuna in the 15 to 25 lb. class. Drift fishing with fly lined bait was the main technique. There were problems with sea lions and sharks taking their share of hooked up fish, particularly near La Fortuna. The tuna bite was much slower later in the week, as more skipjack were showing up on these same grounds and winds increased some.

Dorado actin has been good now for the past month, even though most of these fish are not giants, averaging 5 to 15 lb. At least we finally saw more numbers of these popular gamefish. They have been found in smaller sized schools on the same grounds as the yellowfin tuna, as well as closer to shore, more often within a mile of shore. Striking best on a variety of baitfish, with a smaller percentage coming on trolling lures. This action for the dorado also tampered off later in the week, compared to the first part. This is mid-winter now and just about time these tropical species start searching out waters further south.

Wahoo action came to a halt, with only a handful of these fish reportedly hooked up this past week. The combination of it being very late in the season now, with cooling currents, becoming greener are all factors. Though the relentless spear fishing activity now going on close to shore off of Punta Gorda has been a major issue as to the more limited action for the conventional rod and reel anglers. This area is already a fragile fishery, dealing with ever increasing pressure, it is shame that authorities allow this to even go on.

The bill fish action off of San Jose del Cabo, which had just started up the previous week, came to a standstill, as the greener water seemed to be a factor, though off of the Pacific the fleets did report much better chances for striped marlin. A few thrasher sharks also now being reported, as well as makos.

Along the shoreline there were more juvenile sized roosterfish showing, which should be released on every possible chance. The annual run for sierra is overdue, heavy gill net pressure on the Pacific is also another situation to deal with. More closed off sanctuary zones, such as Cabo Pulmo, are needed locally.

Bottom fishing beginning to show better signs of producing, though strong currents are still plaguing preferring areas. Best catches were made in waters ranging 60 to 120 ft., using various whole and cut baits, catches included leopard grouper, yellow snapper, surgeonfish, amberjack, bonito, triggerfish, barred pargo and dogtooth snapper.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 82 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 4 striped marlin, 1 black marlin, 2 sailfish, 9 wahoo, 9 sierra, 195 yellowfin tuna, 245 dorado, 13 amberjack, 19 yellow snapper, 10 barred pargo, 22 Eastern Pacific bonito, 25 white skipjack, 255 black skipjack, 38 roosterfish, 29 cabrilla (leopard grouper), 3 dogtooth snapper and 105 triggerfish.

Good fishing, Eric

New Year Starts off with Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Marlin ~ January 6, 2018

Anglers –
January 6, 2018

The New Year started off with continued large crowds of Holiday tourists visiting Los Cabos. Though next week numbers of visitors will be much lighter, as it will be time when people return to work and school classes resume. While people across North America were enduring frigid record setting icy cold temperatures, local weather has been very ideal considering this is the middle of winter, though low temperatures dipped down into the upper 50s, daytime highs reached near 80 degrees. Mostly sunny skies with variable clouds, light wind and swells in recent days made for great conditions for anglers taking advantage of great late season action for a variety of gamefish. Ocean temperature were in the 74 to 78 degree range, warm enough to keep action hot for the surface pelagic species.

With the Pacific being the best area to find striped marlin action in recent weeks, particularly towards Golden Gate Bank, though this action for the billfish is now switching closer to Cabo San Lucas and on to the grounds off of San Jose del Cabo, because the schooling mackerel, the favored food source, are also now abundant off of San Jose del Cabo. We anticipate to see the marlin bite open up in coming weeks

The most common action being consistently targeted has been the bite for yellowfin tuna, dorado and wahoo, with the most productive grounds being from off of Palmilla, Punta Gorda and to La Fortuna, all within a couple miles of shore. Sardinas are being netted in the surf zones, from Palmilla to Cabo Real, these are now the best bait for having success on the yellowfin tuna, as well as dorado, though caballito, mackerel and sardineta are also being used. The yellowfin are striking best while drift fishing baits, at times they are seen feeding and proving to be finicky, lots of boat pressure this past week, but with patience many nice tuna in the 10 to 25 lb. class were being landed.

Best chances for dorado were on the same grounds where the tuna were found, running in smaller sized schools, striking the sardinas and the larger baits, slow trolling was the belter technique for the dorado, sizes ranged 5 to 20 lb. Nice late season bonus, actually for the past month we have seen better dorado action than during the previous fall months.

Wahoo action rebounded again this past week, though as we know, these fish are especially susceptible to becoming finickier when there are larger crowds of boats. For anglers that specifically targeted the wahoo while slow trolling larger baitfish either off of Punta Gorda or Palmilla, they did well, landing as many as two, three or four or five wahoo per morning, with other strikes lost. Handful of these fish also hit on cast yo-yo jigs or higher speed trolled lures, but by far the best chance was on larger baits such as caballito, mackerel, sardineta or chihuil.

There were many wahoo coming in that were in the 10 to 25 range, but there were also equal numbers of fish in the 30 to 45 lb. range accounted for. We expect the wahoo action to continue through the month, as long as we do not get blasted too much from frigid north winds. Water conditions are ideal now, as clean blue water is found within one mile of shore, also an abundance of baitfish in the area, these factors contribute to making the wahoo even more active.

Bottom action was spotty, even though winds were moderate, there was still strong currents running. Best action was found off the shallower rock reefs, using chunk bait in about 70 to 90 feet of water, a variety of snapper, pargo, cabrilla, triggerfish, bonito and a handful of amberjack, including one we saw in the 60 lb. class.

Good numbers of juvenile roosterfish moved in off of the hotel zone, remember to release these prized fighting gamefish when at all possible, they are not known for their eating quality. Only limited numbers of sierra now being encountered, as water cools we should see increased numbers of these.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 160 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 6 striped marlin, 72 wahoo, 15 sierra, 470 yellowfin tuna, 310 dorado, 11 amberjack, 21 yellow snapper, 17 barred pargo, 24 Eastern Pacific bonito, 35 white skipjack, 42 roosterfish, 28 cabrilla and 160 triggerfish.

Good fishing, Eric