December 30, 2017
Christmas week we saw many more tourists arriving, the majority of these visitors were coming from climates far cooler than what we have in Southern Baja and were happily enjoying the great local climate and with all of the outdoor activities offered, There was a mix of cloud cover and still plenty of warm sunshine, up to 80 degrees, winds were far lighter this past week and ocean water temperatures ranged 74 to 77 degrees. Besides finding a variety of sport fish, there were increased sightings of whales, as well as other sea life, including, turtles, manta rays, and sea lions.
Local fishing fleets were concentrating on the fishing grounds from Chileno, Palmilla Point, Punta Gordo to La Fortuna. Bait options included sardinas, caballito, mackerel, sardineta, chiuhuil and slabs of squid. The schools of sardinas were now further south off of Cabo Real and with the heavier pressure you needed patience to wait and get in line for these preferred bait fish.
Most productive fishing grounds this week ranged from Palmilla, Punta Gorda and La Fortuna. Yellowfin tuna and dorado were probably the common species, though the wahoo action also rebounded this past week. Despite the winds not being as strong as the previous week, there was still a swift current running and this made it harder to try and do much bottom fishing, though for the anglers that did try drift fishing over shallower rocky reefs, they had some success for a variety of quality eating species, such as leopard grouper, yellow snapper, triggerfish, barred pargo, island jack and others.
The action for the larger grade of yellowfin tuna which had started back up last week on the Gordo Banks, again faded out in recent days and now the better bite for tuna was either off of Palmilla or at La Fortuna, with Palmilla being a hot spot one day and maybe not so good the next, also tons of black skipjack to deal with, which were mixed in with the yellowfin. There were decent sized tuna in the 15 to 40 lb. class found on La Fortuna, though the situation on these grounds were that there were a lot of aggressive and hungry sharks that were grabbing any hooked tuna that they could get a hold of, so more fish were being lost than were actually landed. Other grounds such as Iman or the Gordo Banks reported far less shark activity but more sea lions, which were also playing havoc and attacking any struggling fish they could. Many anglers also reported that besides dealing with natures predators like the sharks and sea lions, there are now numerous spearfishing operations offering chartered free diving trips right on the same local grounds where the rod and reels anglers are concentrated. This used to be only a limited sport on the local grounds, but now is a heavy factor of added pressure on the same already fragile areas. This region is filled with rod and reel anglers and now to bring in so many divers has only made for greater conflicts of interest.
Dorado were being found throughout the inshore areas, most of them caught on sardinas or caballito, sizes ranged up close to 20 lb. Please remember to help conserve this once abundant species and release all of the females as possible, these are easily identified by the different shapes of the head, the male having the squared off forehead and the female more rounded.
Wahoo action came back to life off of Punta Gorda and Palmilla. With greater pressure as well, the word now travels more quickly and these elusive gamefish can become very spooky with the added pressure and even increasingly so with so many spear fishermen swimming around on the same fishing grounds. Best bet for hooking into the wahoo was by slow trolling rigged baits such as chihuil or caballito, sizes ranged to over 40 lb.
The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 118 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 38 wahoo, 11 sierra, 320 yellowfin tuna, 145 dorado, 6 amberjack, 28 yellow snapper, 2 island jack, 14 barred pargo, 12 Eastern Pacific bonito, 3 dogtooth snapper, 18 white skipjack, 14 roosterfish, 26 cabrilla and 125 triggerfish.
Good fishing, Eric