Cooler Greenish Current Slows Action, Dorado Still Most Common Catch ~ Dec. 28, 2013


December 28, 2013
Anglers –

We are all now enjoying Christmas Holiday times, with the last week of 2013 now upon us, families and friends all gathering to reminiscent of past times and to experience new adventures. What greater place than Los Cabos to bring in the New Year, where the winter climate has been very mild and vacationers are soaking up warm sunshine, participating in many outdoor activities.

We have seen ocean water temperatures now drop down into the 71/73 degree range, this is normal for the time of year, clarity has become more greenish in areas, but still the water is not what you would call dirty. Anglers were finding fair numbers of late season dorado spread out throughout the region, often times found very close to shore, where concentrations of ballyhoo and other baitfish have been attracting them. More often they are found in smaller sized schools, striking on lures, rigging ballyhoo and live caballito. Sizes averaged 10 to 15 lb., with some larger dorado to 20 pounds also accounted for.

Finding yellowfin tuna was much harder, with cooler currents and lack of sardina baitfish, no tuna action was being reported. There have been more school of Bonita moving in over the structure, these are the good eating variety, also have sharp teeth, almost like sierra, scrappy fighters on light tackle, readily striking on trolled rapalas and retrieved jigs, weighed up to 10 lb. Cooling water temperatures have brought in more sierra along the shoreline, these aggressive fish are hitting on small rapalas and hoochies, the action is best early in the morning, if new sources of sardinas are located that will really help the overall inshore fishing action. There has been shortages of caballito as well as no sardinas at all to speak of, many charters are relying on lures and rigged ballyhoo. We are anticipating reports of schooling mackerel moving in on the local fishing grounds, but this has not happened yet, it seems to be the season of changing baitfish migrations, will be interesting to see what happens during this cold water transition period, every season can be different.

Only a handful of wahoo are being reported, these elusive gamefish fish never really did go on a consistent bite this season, with ocean temperatures now in the low 70s, this is typically when wahoo start to migrate in a southern direction to follow preferred temperate currents. Though we do expect we will see a few more wahoo in the fish counts before they vanish for the winter, often these fish will bite later in the day during this period of colder water, sunshine seems to warm surface temperature up and gets them more active.

Anglers have found minimal success searching for bottom species, finding more triggerfish, skipjack and bonita than anything else. The month of December was windy more often than not, northern winds were persistent, with only a few days of calmer conditions mixed in, this stirs ocean conditions, scatters bait schools and makes it hard to find productive bottom action.

Billfish are scattered on the offshore grounds, no concentrations, striking lures and ballyhoo and caballito. Some striped marlin were being hooked while drift fishing baits deeper over the areas where they were seen occasionally free jumping of tailing on the surface. We all know this is the season where a huge striped marlin frenzy could develop on any given day, if any bait concentration is encountered be prepared for action.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 88 charters for this past week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 6 striped marlin, 3 wahoo, 85 bonito, 134 sierra, 15 roosterfish, 165 dorado, 5 hammerhead shark and 22 pargo.

Good fishing, Eric

Lighter Crowds Find More Dorado, Tuna Spotty ~ Dec. 21, 2013


December 21, 2013
Anglers –

Crowds of tourists were light this past week, we do expect to see increased crowds during Christmas week. The weather has settled, winds were light and ocean conditions were great, air temperatures ranged from 60/80 degrees and ocean currents have now varied from 74 to 77 degrees. Clarity of the ocean fluctuated, having become greenish closer to shore, though conditions are still favorable for this late in the year.

Anglers found improved action for dorado in recent days, the majority of these fish have been found within a couple miles of shore, at times they were found in larger sized schools, with fish ranging to over 20 lb. Striking on caballito, ballyhoo and various trolled lures, many charters were rapidly limiting out once they did find where the fish were. Sardinas were not available at this time and caballito also became less plentiful with the passing of the full moon.

Inshore action produced roosterfish, sierra and jack crevalle. Most of the roosterfish are juvenile sized this time of year and should be released with care in order to grow to maturity. Sierra bite would be wide open if sardinas were readily available, though these scrappy fighters are striking on rapalas and hoochies type lures, best action being early in the morning at first light.

Billfish action was once again now centered on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas, where good numbers of striped marlin are concentrated off of the old light house and the more distant banks. We should see schools of mackerel and sardinetas soon on local grounds, this is now the season when we start to find these baitfish schooling and attracting more gamefish into the region.

Whale season is now in full swing and these mammals are being sighted throughout the area. Increasing recreational dive tour operations have put additional pressure on the Gordo Banks and it is getting to the point where rod and reel anglers can hardly even have a reasonable chance on these grounds with so many scuba divers in the water at a given time. Additionally these boats are anchored up right near the high spot, this makes it difficult to drift fish in the manner accustomed for productive fishing on these banks. This is definitely a confliction of interests and it appears that this situation will likely become worse before any changes are made.

Many commercial drift netters have been seen in the area lately, it is a shame these boats are even allowed to operate in touristic zones. They are truly destructive, their main catch is dorado and marlin, both of which are supposedly protected sport fish only species, but are blatantly being commercially exploited as a by catch. It is time to seriously put some thought into protecting the future fishery and set priorities straight.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 56 charters for this past week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 4 striped marlin, 5 wahoo, 22 bonito, 11 cabrilla, 6 amberjack, 14 pargo, 23 sierra, 18 roosterfish, 175 dorado, 24 triggerfish and 16 yellowfin tuna.

Good fishing, Eric

North Winds Hamper Conditions, Variety of Gamefish in the Area ~ Dec. 14, 2013


December 14, 2013
Anglers –

Crowds of tourists were noticeably fewer this past week, with less than two weeks to go until Christmas, people are now occupied with preparations and other priorities. As much of Northern America has been enduring icy conditions, the climate in Southern Baja has been comfortable, mostly sunny skies with highs of 80 degrees. Northern winds increased in recent days and this made for choppy ocean conditions, though water temperatures are still averaged a bit warmer than normal at 76/78 degrees throughout the region. We do expect currents to cool more rapidly now, as this is the month with the shortest days of the year. More and more whales are now arriving from the north, these mammals will be in this area for the next several months.

Supplies of bait consisted of caballito, ballyhoo, squid slabs and some skipjack and chihuil offshore. Sardinas became scarce again as the north winds made this a difficult task, limiting the range of the commercial fleet. Sardinas have been very scattered this fall, when found have been juvenile sized, a combination of factors contributing to this situation.

Fishing was spread out in all directions, inshore, offshore and some bottom action, a lot depended on ocean conditions and available bait source, as to where anglers targeted on a given day. Catches ranged from a couple fish per boat, to over a dozen of combined species. There is a wide variety of fish now in the area, though most of them were caught in limited numbers. We have seen striped marlin, dorado, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, skipjack, bonito, amberjack, yellowtail, cabrilla, pargo, sierra, roosterfish, triggerfish and others.

We are seeing more commercial tuna pens being moved north offshore of San Jose del Cabo, being towed at 1 or 2 mph, from 10 to 20 miles offshore. Charters boats at times were fishing in proximity of these pens and were finding good numbers of small 4 to 8 lb. yellowfin tuna and a few dorado, mostly a long boat ride for smaller sized fish. The new trend of hauling tuna pens filled with bluefin tuna from north Baja grounds into the Sea of Cortez is causing some concern, because this will only increase the already heavy pressure on the local bait resources, because these penned tuna require tons of fresh bait. Same deal that has happened in Northern Baja, discussion is that perhaps they are relocating these pens because the bluefin are able to grow faster and with lengthier proportions in warmer water.

Besides finding some small tuna action while fishing near these slow moving tuna pens, anglers were not finding yellowfin elsewhere, the action on the Iman Bank became fruitless due to northern winds. The exception was on Thursday, when a few larger yellowfin tuna were hooked into on the Gordo Banks, the prize was a 277 lb. yellowfin tuna that was landed by Bob Deeter of Fort Brag, Ca. Deeter was drift fishing with a chunk of skipjack when he hooked into the early Christmas gift. Last weekend during a local tournament these were a pair of tuna over 100 pounds taken, 107 lb. and 130 lb., though for the past two weeks, no one had reported any big yellowfin action, getting late in the season now, though there definitely still is a chance, maybe someone will pull out another 300 lb. cow before the end of the month.

Anglers are now starting to make more attempts off the bottom structure when weather allowed, no big numbers of fish found, though a few nice amberjack, pargo, yellowtail and cabrilla were accounted for, it is the time of year where we will start doing more of this type of drift fishing over shallow water rocky areas, this can produce a variety of quality bottom dwellers, though it is also the type of fishing where it is best when the seas are not too rough.

Schools of sierra are now found close to shore, striking trolled rapalas and hoochies, though easier to entice with sardinas, which have not been available on a regular basis. Lots of roosterfish also found in certain inshore areas, mostly juvenile sized this time of year, though a few roosters over 20 pounds were reported.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 72 charters for this past week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 2 striped marlin, 9 wahoo, 24 bonito, 13 cabrilla, 2 yellowtail, 8 amberjack, 1 dogtooth snapper,115 sierra, 55 roosterfish, 65 dorado, 80 skipjack and 88 yellowfin tuna.

Good fishing, Eric