Now in mid-October and we continue to monitor another possible storm off the southern Pacific Coast; this is quite unusual for this late in the year. We are having slightly cooler mornings, with some in the low 70s and days in the low 90s and high 80s. The current conditions are still perfect for the formation of new cyclones. We are expecting some rain and winds of up to 20-40 kts next Monday and Sunday. This late in the year, we hate to have to worry about these storms as we have busy weeks ahead of us. We will have to keep our generators close by in case of power outages, which we are quite confident will happen according to the current weather forecast.
Yellowfin tuna at Vinorama and Iman banks has been the main focus this week. Sardines made a huge difference, though they continue to be in low supply and high demand. Sardina schools continue to be scattered and hard to find some days, something that seems to happen every year around this time due to heavier pressure by numbers of charters all competing for bait resources. The boats that were able to get sardines were coming back early with their limit of 5 per license. There were some days that these tuna stayed low and we had to strategize accordingly with small weights or drifting dead sardines. While drifting bait, there is a good chance of picking a nice variety off the jig, such as white bonita, red and yellowtail snapper, and grouper.
We continue to see big yellowfin tuna at the Gordo, but it has been more difficult due to the heavy pressure of the bigger boats scouting the areas and getting ready for the big tournaments. We have seen a good bite later in the day when most of the boats leave, with a few fish over 200 pounds. This is definitely a great sign and will make these tournaments very interesting and competitive.
With the showing of sardines, we also saw a significant increase in the number of dorado showing up. Most boats were able to find small schools of dorado while trolling or drifting with live sardines. There were a few days where most boats were able to catch their dorado limit and still release a half-dozen. Most of these dorado are under 10 pounds, with an occasional nice bull in the mix.
On these same grounds, we saw a few sailfish and striped marlin being hooked into. Bottom action is showing better signs week by week. Although the numbers are not big, we are seeing a nicer variety that consists of white bonita, red and yellowtail snapper, grouper, and an occasional amberjack in the mix.
The big three tournaments will be starting up this coming week, Offshore Bisbee, Black and Blue Bisbee and then the WON Tuna Jackpot. Most of these events typically have 200 or more teams. This adds greater pressure on local bait supplies and the fishing grounds.
We are now in the midst of the fall season and we are seeing more numbers of anglers arriving. We have been closely monitoring the development of a few storms off the south pacific coast. The storm closest to us, Lidia, has been acting funny for the last few days as it continues to change directions drastically day by day. We had some light rain for the last few days and expect to have a bit more for the next couple of days, which should make it interesting as we saw a great tuna bite throughout our heavy rain early this morning. At this time, it seems that this storm will not be a threat and we will continue with our operation unless the Mexican authorities suggest otherwise.
The bite at the Gordo has been consistent, very similar to the previous 3 weeks. We are mostly using strips of squid and small skipjacks that you can catch on the fishing grounds. Bait supplies, such as sardinas and caballito have been limited at the marina. Drifting with strips of squid has been the most effective way, especially if you are taking plenty of it to chum with; we are recommending 4-5 kilos of squid per boat to have a good chance at multiple big fish. Some of the boats have arrived from the Gordo with 2-3 tuna per day, most of them pushing the 100-pound mark.
We continue to see many of the boats go all the way to Vinorama and Iman as there is a chance of catching quite a few of the smaller sized tuna, 20-30 pounds. Dorado can also be found fishing the grounds from Gordo to Vinorama. These dorado are found scattered about in small numbers, the majority being under 10 pounds. We have not seen the number of dorado caught increase within the last month, but we do anticipate a new wave of fish to show by the end of October/early November as we see the water get a bit cooler.
On these same grounds we also saw a few sailfish being hooked into. Not much bottom action being reported now, although we did see a few grouper and yellowtail snapper being caught on the jig while drifting bait for tuna.
Weather conditions have remained consistent for the last month or so. We are currently seeing the development of a storm off the south pacific coast, though it seems it will not be a threat for us at this time. We will continue to closely monitor this one; there is a possibility that we will get a couple days with higher winds and some rain. We are hoping that it continues to shift out of our reach as we have some busy days this upcoming week. With the beginning of October, we can now say that our busy season has officially begun. October and November are the busiest months and should be interesting as we continue to see bigger fish show up. We are also excited for temperatures to cool off a bit within the next couple of weeks.
The main action as seen in previous weeks has been mostly yellowfin tuna. We continue to see a good variety of sizes depending on what area you are fishing. If you are looking to catch a tuna in the 100 pound club or bigger, then Gordo is the way to go. Again, these fish are mostly caught on strips of squid or slowly trolling bulito/skipjacks that you can catch on the grounds. One captain reported hooking one of the bigger cows on squid. Unfortunately, the tuna broke off the #80 flouro leader after an hour on the line. There is also a chance of hooking a black marlin while slow trolling bulito and smaller skipjacks. This week, we had a 365 pounder that was caught while looking for tuna.
We are also seeing smaller sized tuna averaging 20-30 pounds on the Imán and Vinorama Banks. These schools of tuna are hit or miss on most days. We saw a few good days were some boats were catching between 4-6 per day. However, there are other days where they are only seeing a few caught. Some captains have reported seeing more bait and bird action on the banks later in the day. That said, we will definitely see some of them scout these areas later in the afternoon/evening.
In between the mix, there is always the chance to find a few dorado and wahoo. These wahoo are in the same area as the tuna and can occasionally hit on the strips of squid or live bait. Bottom fishing has been a bit slow and there is not much to report at this time, rather than a few triggerfish and red snappers.