December 9, 2012
Pre Holiday Season crowds have been light, for the people making the trip to Los Cabos they have enjoyed great weather conditions, mostly sunny skies, highs up to 80 degrees and moderate winds, predominately from the north. Currents were quite strong and there was a anticipated drop in water temperature, with cooler early mornings and continual shorter days, it is time when we see rapid changes, local ocean temperatures is now averaging 78 to 80 degrees, which is favored range for many of the more sought after pelagic gamefish. If patterns continue on this same course, it appears we might have longer lasting fall season, another transition period, when water temperatures fall and migratory fish move on and other cold water species arrive. The first wave of whale migration is now being seen in the region, this the time when gray and humpback whales arrive after feeding throughout the summer in Alaskan waters, they typically stay in the lower Baja area until April.
Baitfish have been more scattered, sardina schools are now more prevalent off of the Palmilla Point, other bait options were caballito, mackerel, moonfish, ballyhoo and catching larger baitfish on the fishing grounds, typically bolito, skipjack or chihuil. Mackerel are being found in the cooler Pacific waters, mixed with sardineta. This is also where charters are finding some world class action on early season striped marlin, the old light house has been one of the most productive spots. In the direction of the grounds off of San Jose del Cabo there have been more sailfish than striped marlin, with cooling currents arriving these sailfish surely will start moving to southern waters soon. Overall it was the popular dorado that provided the most consistent action this past week, sizes ranged from juveniles up to 40 pounds, many fish were in the 10 to 20 pound range. These fish were caught on trolled lures, rigged ballyhoo and other baitfish, traveling in small schools most of the time. There were a series of set buoys off of the Desteladera grounds and these were holding better numbers of larger sized fish, long run though, not many charters were even going that distance.
You did not need to travel far to find dorado, some were caught very close to shore, often under circling frigate birds, remember the limit on dorado is two fish per person, smart practice is to release the easily recognizable females with their rounded off forehead, let them grow up and continue to spawn, in order to sustain future stocks. There were sierra now moving inshore as well, they prefer this cooling trend and should appear in big numbers soon, provided great light tackle sport, a few roosterfish were found in recent days, one 30 pound fish was landed right off the panga docks. Larger concentrations of moonfish in the marina now, this always attracts some predators. Make great bottom baits for amberjack, grouper, dogtooth snapper etc…A few nice amberjack were taken off of Iman and we expect this action to improve once the current slacks some.
The dorado took up the slack on where the yellowfin tuna action dropped off, the bite on Iman Bank has declined to an average of one or two tuna here and there, this is for the 10 to 20 pound models, which have been hitting on sardinas, these yellowfin have become more line shy, a times making strong showings, but not wanting to strike a baited hook, other days the tuna would not even show and only a few bonito, dorado and skipjack would bite. This is when anglers started targeting the more cooperative dorado, best chances usually are by either slow trolling baits or using lures, same methods that are used for targeting the elusive wahoo when they are in season, which in the Southern Baja Region typically lasts into the first part of January. So far wahoo action has not been as consistent as we would expect, though everyday there are stories of sliced baits, cut lines, etc, just not that many of these ‘hoo are being landed. Conditions are still favorable, we are optimistic that the coming weeks will produce some exciting wahoo action, these same local grounds is where the existing wahoo world record was caught.
The Gordo Banks is still the spot for anglers trying to join the 200 pound club for yellowfin tuna, this past two month period has produced more cow sized tuna that we have seen for many years. Getting late in the year now and action has slowed down, but everyday there are a handful of quality fish being accounted for, there have been several 200 pound fish landed this week, others weighed in the 100 to 180 pounds class, lots of baitfish on both the Inner and Outer Gordo Banks and the action has been switching back and forth. Other factors can be the presence of very pesky sea lions, they make it practically impossible to troll whole large baits, so being ready to move from one bank to the other has been wise. Most of the larger tuna hooked recently were on chunk baits versus whole baits. There is a new La Playa, Puerto Los Caught Tuna Tournament being held Saturday, excitement is high as there is a new Ford F150 4×4 up for grabs to one angler who catches the largest tuna, other side categories include dorado and wahoo, should be very competitive as well.
The combined panga fleets out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina, sent out approximately 122 charters for the week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of:
7 sailfish, 5 striped marlin, 3 yellowtail, 575 dorado, 98 yellowfin tuna, 15 wahoo, 12 cabrilla, 6 dogtooth snapper, 16 amberjack, 35 sierra, 6 roosterfish, 45 misc. mixed pargo species and 330 skipjack .
Good Fishing, Eric