Hint of Spring, Dorado, Marlin Bite ~ February 26, 2023

February 26, 2023

Winter time crowds of tourists continue to arrive, enjoying the great weather now prevailing in the Los Cabos area. As much of the west coast of the U.S. endured cold snap this past week, with snow levels recorded in regions rarely seeing any snow fall. Locally we are starting to feel the first signs of springtime, not quite as cool early in the morning, scattered cloud cover throughout the day with average highs of about 75 degrees. North winds seem to be finally tapering off some this past week, ocean temperatures averaging about 70 degrees, water clarity much improved, slight ocean swells and the most consistent fishing action now being found is concentrated in the diction of San Jose del Cabo, where even the Cabo San Lucas fleet is now heading, making for more crowds than normal on local San Jose grounds.

Bait fish remain scattered, changing daily as to what might be available, some days limited sardinas, caballito and mackerel were found, on others only ballyhoo or slabs of squid were being offered. Occasionally anglers were able to use sabiki rigs to jig up bait found schooling on offshore grounds. 

Most common catches this week were dorado, striped marlin, a mix of bottom species and for a few fortunate anglers a handful of yellowfin tuna were found near the Iman Bank. Dorado were spread out, from inshore to offshore, no large schools, mainly single fish, sizes up to 20 lb., striking on trolled lures and a variety of bait. Striped marlin were found spread out as well, seen tailing on the surface or taken by blind strikes while trolling. No big concentrations of bait schools are being reported to create surface feeding frenzies, lots of local pressure with Cabo San Lucas fleet now fishing on the same grounds off of San Jose del Cabo, since they have no fish now on their normal Pacific or Cabo grounds.

The best chance for yellowfin tuna was to concentrate all of your efforts on the Iman Bank, chumming and drift fishing with strips of squid. Though the bite was tough, a lot of patience was needed and  sufficient supplies of the squid, some days the bite was early, some days late or on other days never happened at all. The yellowfin that we did see accounted for ranged from 25 lb. up to 75 lb.

Not much consistent bottom action being found, the highlight we saw was one 37 lb. amberjack, mainly bonito, smaller sized pargo, leopard grouper, whitefish and triggerfish. 

Good Fishing, Eric

Cooler Conditions, Marlin Show up ~ February 19, 2023

February 17, 2023

This month has lived up to normal expectations of unpredictable weather patterns and even more. We have seen cooler temperatures for the past few weeks, consistent lows in the mid 50s and daytime highs were only reaching up into the lower 70s. It is winter time and expected, though this year it seems a little more extreme, as north winds have been persistent and limited what options anglers were able to practically target. Water temperatures at this time have been in the 66 to 70 degree range, swirling currents, shifting daily and pushing in greener water.

Bait situation remains much the same, no sardinas are being found to speak of, very limited caballito or mackerel, main options being ballyhoo and slabs of squid. Most local charters are now doing a combination of trying for surface action and then also working bottom rocky structure. Just not much consistent action off the bottom now and even tougher when wind is blowing. We did see bonito, leopard grouper, various pargo, snapper, whitefish, small amberjack and triggerfish. We expect this action to improve as spring times arrive and weather patterns stabilize.

Good news this past week is that the striped marlin have shown up in good numbers off of the San Jose del Cabo area. Since bait schools are more scattered now, so are these marlin, not found feeding on balled up schools of bait as they were at this same time last season. The stripers are spread out, found tailing on the surface and by taking blind strikes while trolling lures. Sizes were averaging 70 to 120 lb.

Dorado were still being found, despite the cooling water temperatures, though numbers were less than in previous weeks and average size a bit smaller, with a few exceptions up to 15 lb., most under 10 lb. They were striking on trolled lures and ballyhoo, some charters landed up to four fish, others one or two.

Yellowfin tuna action was slim, though a few were still being found by dedicated anglers working the strips of squid on the Iman Bank, including a 133 lb. yellowfin landed on Friday from the super panga “Lydia”. A handful of other tuna accounted for in the 40 to 70 lb. range, though not being found every day and on the days they did bite there just a few fish for the combined fleet being actually landed. Again the persistent north wind has made this a challenging option on most days.

Not much action being reported along the beach stretches, lack of live bait, particularly the sardinas, has hurt this normally productive sierra season. Lots of whales now, no shortage this season, these mammals should be around a couple of more months.

Good Fishing, Eric

Cooler Cycles of Wind Limit Action ~ February 12, 2023

February 12, 2023

Typical February patterns continue, with lighter crowds of anglers, cycles of winds predominantly from the north, cooling ocean temperatures, scattered fishing action as we wait for more stable warmer spring time conditions to arrive. Water temperature ranged from 66 to 71 degrees, warmer currents now found off of Cabo San Lucas, coolest areas in the direction of Los Frailes. Bait supplies are now limited to ballyhoo, slabs of squids and some days live sardinas being found in limited supplies around the entrance to Puerto Los Cabos Marina.

Majority of local charters are fishing in the direction towards Cardon, La Fortuna and Iman Bank, as scouting trips towards Palmilla and south did not produce much. A mix of surface and bottom action now being found on grounds towards the north. Scattered numbers of dorado striking on various lures and trolled ballyhoo or sardinas, sizes ranged up close to 20 lb., though the majority were smaller fish under ten pounds. No larger schools, mostly single fish, with charters accounting for an average of one or two fish, actually surprising that these warm water species are still hanging around in local waters. No wahoo to report, as is usual for this time frame.

Billfish continue to be more prevalent on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas, only a few striped marlin being found on the grounds off of San Jose del Cabo, late to migrate in this direction this season. We did see one nice sailfish caught and released earlier in the week, an unusual catch in the cooler waters.

Anglers were still having chances at hooking into a quality yellowfin tuna on the Iman Bank, though ocean conditions were a major factor, as well as having persistent patience and sufficient supplies of squid. Drift fishing, while chumming  and using strips of squid was how these few tuna were being hooked into. Sizes ranged from 30 to 80 lb. Though on an average day only a handful of these yellowfin were accounted for by the combined fleet.

Off these same grounds anglers were working the rocky bottom reefs, there was a variety of species found, though no species were very abundant and most were smaller in size. We saw a not very common California sheephead of 15 lb., leopard grouper, broomtail grouper, barred pargo, yellow snapper, red snapper, spotted rose snapper, white fish, bonito, triggerfish, porgy and amberjack. All great eating fish, we do expect to see improved bottom action in coming weeks, hoping that the season’s first yellowtail will appear soon.

With limited supplies of sardinas we only saw a few sierra now being accounted for, most of these hooked on the troll or over shallow rocky reefs. Not much talk of roosterfish being found, lack of bait and cooler water are the main reason for this.

Good Fishing, Eric