December 30, 2012
Crowds of holiday season vacationers were traveling to Los Cabos, the majority of tourists were family groups, people were not greeted with a white Christmas, instead they felt warm sunshine, with high temperatures close to 80 degrees, the only thing white about Christmas in Southern Baja, were the miles of pristine white sandy beaches for all to enjoy and with the annual whale migration now in full swing, viewing these giant mammals is just one of many outdoor activities to take advantage of while across the United States residents are enduring blizzard like conditions.
Ocean water temperatures are now in the 73 to 76 degree range, around average for this time period. There have been winds from the north, on and off, blowing 15 mph on some days, this created choppy seas and limited options for anglers traveling north, in the direction of Iman Bank. This is time when ocean currents change rapidly and along with the cooling trend, we also see ocean clarity become off colored, more greenish brown close to shore and blue water typically starts to swift further offshore. So it is another transition period, gamefish migrating different directions according to their preferred food source.
Schooling mackerel and sardinetas have been holding off of the San Jose del Cabo grounds, this has attracted greater numbers of striped marlin and dorado. These fish are being found mainly in an area from 3 to 6 miles offshore. Trolling lures, slow trolling baits and drift fishing while soaking baits deeper for the billfish all produced. Offshore winds made this area a bit rough earlier in the week, conditions settled later in the week.
Average sized striped marlin was in the 80 to 120 pound range. Dorado were weighing from 10 to 30 pounds, many anglers were easily catching their limits and releasing others. Of all species now, dorado have proved to be the most consistent catch, though striped marlin are also being found in good numbers now.
Along the shoreline sierra and smaller sized roosterfish are making up most of the action, best bet is to troll sardinas, these baitfish became scarcer this past week, as surf conditions, tidal swings and feeding schools of jacks made it more different for commercial netters to find supplies. Many charters were using larger sized baitfish, which were fine for offshore, but the best for inshore.
Yellowfin tuna were found offshore traveling with porpoise, but this hit or miss action was mainly an option for fleets out of Cabo San Lucas, out of San Jose del Cabo, the few tuna that were accounted for this past week were taken off of the Gordo Banks and weighed up to 130 pounds. Skipjack remain plentiful on these grounds, though water temperatures are dropping and the season for the cows is ending. Last season there were nice sized yellowfin tuna caught during the winter, during the first part of February, we will have to see what plays out this season.
Not much bottom action now, a few yellowtail up to 30 pound off of the bottom on the Gordo Banks. There were reports of commercial shrimp trawlers, which have been working in local waters recently, netting and then off loading and selling quantities of juvenile sized yellowtail, not good news for the future of the local fishery.
The overall highlight for the 2012 fishing season would have to be the incredible action that developed on the Gordo Banks and endured from September into December for the cow sized yellowfin tuna. The biggest fish we heard about from these grounds this season, weighed 372 lb. yellowfin, this catch occurred during the WON Tuna Jackpot and was the winning fish by a big margin, netting 232 K for local La Playita team “Estrella del Norte”.
The combined panga fleets out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina, sent out approximately 96 charters for the week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of:
2 sailfish, 46 striped marlin, 9 wahoo,4 yellowtail, 485 dorado, 5 yellowfin tuna, 90 sierra, 36 roosterfish, 14 bonito, 6 amberjack, 12 cabrilla and 20 pargo.
Good Fishing, Eric