September 10, 2016
At last report we were following forecasts of tropical storm develop off of mainland Mexico, this was all with good reason, as Hurricane Newton quickly formed and gained strength as it headed directly for the Southern Baja Peninsula and the resort towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, making direct impact on Monday night and causing widespread flooding and property damage. Newton hit land as a strong category one hurricane, packing sustained winds of 90 mph, with gusts to over 115 mph. Five crewmen aboard a shrimp trawler which had departed from Ensenada and was heading towards Mazatlán sank in local waters and all men drowned, No deaths were reported on land. Although the damage left behind was nothing compared to that of Hurricane Odile two years ago, nevertheless it was substantial. The panga dock area in Puerto Los Cabos Marina was hit particularly hard, having just been rebuilt after the devastation of Odile, now major work will be needed once again. This area needs to be re-engineered or this appears to be an ongoing problem we will see for any large storm that strikes this vulnerable docking area. Throughout the region there were no basic utilities for most of the week. So everyone will be in clean up and recovery process during the coming weeks, hoping that this is it for the season and that no other storms come our direction.
Before Newton hit, sportfishing charters were concentrating their efforts on the grounds from the Gordo Banks to as far north as Vinorama. Anglers were using baits such as caballito, strips of squids, as well as bolito and small skipjack which were found in large schools on the same fishing grounds. Water temperatures were 85 degrees or more, clear blue water being found close to shore. The Gordo Banks was the one area where larger sized yellowfin tuna were seen, though hooking into one was not a sure bet by any means, though fish of over 200 lbs. were spotted and another class of tuna in the 40 to 60 lb. range were breezing the surface. These medium grade yellowfin did bite sporadically, with some charters landing two or three, or even up to eight yellowfin tuna. Yellowfin tuna were also found on the normal grounds north of Gordo, Iman to San Luis, striking more often on strips of squid, though no huge numbers. Same areas produced some decent numbers of dorado up to 20 pounds.
Off of the offshore Banks there were a mix of striped, blue and black marlin being encountered, but again no big numbers, but everyday some billfish action was being found. We saw one black marlin of 380 lb. accounted for. A couple of wahoo reported, but these fish have been off the bite for the most part. Bottom action was spotty as well, though a few nice dogtooth snapper and amberjack were accounted for, more triggerfish than anything else off of the structure now. After the latest storm there could be many changes to which fish are biting best. So far in the first couple of days that the fleets have back in operation, the action has been slow, off colored water conditions, slowly improving each passing day. Yellowfin tuna of 30 lb. has been the common catch, a few scattered dorado, but only an average of a few fish per boat in combination. We do anticipate improved action in the coming week, as forecast looks favorable and will give the ocean conditions a chance to stabilize.
The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 44 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 2 black marlin, 1 striped marlin, 2 blue marlin, 36 yellowfin tuna, 15 dorado, 2 wahoo, 6 yellow snapper, 3 dogtooth snapper, 5 leopard grouper,38 triggerfish, 9 amberjack, 6 rainbow runner and 8 jack crevalle.
Good fishing, Eric