September 21, 2013
Crowds of tourists visiting Los Cabos were relatively light this past week, this is the normal pattern for the later part of September, though with the fall season just about ready to start in earnest, surely there will be a flood of visitors swarm the area in the coming weeks, as this is always one of the busiest times of the year. The great all around fishing action and ideal weather conditions, along with world famous high stake fishing tournaments attract people from all over the world. Another reason for limited numbers of tourists this past week was the highly publicized forecast of the most recent Tropical Storm Manuel, which first struck the southern mainland near Acapulco and cause disastrous flood damage, resulted in many deaths, the system was downgraded to a depression after making landfall but then regenerated strength once getting back over the warm ocean waters and heading in the direction of the Sea of Cortez, forecasters were unsure of its erratic path, with water temperatures near 90 degrees Manuel did reach category one hurricane status and ended up making landfall in Sinaloa, where it again caused major flood damage.
The Southern Baja region was bracing for probable impact, though they were spared any major damage, on Wednesday afternoon there was wide spread lightening, thunder and rain squalls, but there were not any reports of high winds or heavy ocean storm conditions developing. Local ports were closed for both Wednesday and Thursday, reopening for Friday morning. As a precaution the government also closed schools for the same two days, despite clear calm conditions on Thursday, this seemed a bit over overcautious, as there are already so many holiday vacation days scheduled.
Building up to this latest storm, anglers reported the most consistent fishing action for dorado and yellowfin tuna. The majority of the dorado were now juvenile sized, with a small percentage of these fish going over 15 pounds, scattered throughout the area in medium sized schools, striking on lures and various baits. Baitfish were scarcer during this period, as bait suppliers were finding it harder to jig up caballito during the dark hours and the squid that had been in the area the past couple of weeks had all but vanished, the commercial fleet is now scouting out new bait sources. The East Cape had been finding good supplies of sardinas, but apparently these schools were scattered from higher surf conditions that struck this area with the passing of TS Manuel.
The best action for the yellowfin tuna was found from Iman to San Luis Bank, anglers were using strips of squid to entice tuna up to 25 lb., while fly lining these baits on the surface they could find limits of five fish per license. Then when the source of fresh squid disappeared anglers had to rely again on trolling hoochies, smaller feathers or cedar plugs and the numbers of yellowfin were not as high. East Cape boats had been making the long run south to these same fishing grounds and with live sardinas they were having a field day for the yellowfin tuna, but now they are scrambling for bait as well. With the weather once again settled down we expect the bait situation to improve, even though we are also now dealing with the full moon phase, which never seems to help the abundance of bait sources. We do expect to see sardinas moving into local waters very soon, as this is the annual migration pattern.
On Friday, the first day that the port reopened after Hurricane Manuel, a group of three local La Playita pangeros hooked into a super cow sized yellowfin tuna while trolling a live bolito on the Gordo Banks from a 22 ft. panga, after a two and a half hour battle they were able to bring the fish to gaff, back at the docks the yellowfin was weighed in at 367 pounds, largest tuna reportedly caught this season, a definite tournament jackpot contender.
There has been limited bottom fishing opportunities due to very persistent strong currents, almost unprecedented, we do expect with weather patterns now transitioning that this current will reside and will open new option for anglers.
With the arrival of fall, we see the water temperatures start to fall and with this species such as wahoo normally become more active, so are all anticipating this, as well as improved bait resources. Though this is now always the period when we feel high humidity, the worst of the summer heat is past and we will now be enjoying ideal weather in the coming months.
The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 48 charters for this storm shortened week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 2 striped marlin, 1 sailfish, 4 wahoo, 2 amberjack, 4 dogtooth snapper, 225 yellowfin tuna and 160 dorado.
Good fishing, Eric