January 20, 2013
As Icy winter conditions sweep across the U.S. and Canada, many residents are traveling south in search or warmth and the Los Cabos area is one of the most conveniently reached and popular destinations for winter time travelers. Increased crowds of visitors were seen in town, though this past week they were greeted with a cooler than normal weather front that swept in from the north.
North winds were relentless, with gusts to 25 mph, seemed like for most of the week, the San Jose del Cabo Port was red flagged (closed) for the day of Thursday, while Cabo San Lucas Port remained open, the same north winds were not hitting there, it was as calm as can be, a bit chilly, but ocean was smooth. This was an unprecedented Port closure for this time of year, typically when it is very rough offshore, charters would just be limited to options in the calmer waters close to shore. We hear that these orders came straight from Mexico City, which is a long ways away for officials to be able to judge the local weather patterns of Southern Baja. As north winds did reside some, on Friday the San Jose Port was reopened, though the actual red flag, which is flown above the La Playita panga dock area, could not be manually lowered because the cable had broken, so it will be interesting to see how long this flag will be stuck on the top of the pole.
With the north winds howling, this pushed in cooler water, temperatures readings were down to 66 degrees, currents were swift, high white caps whipping up on the outside, though there were warmer pockets of 70 to 72 degrees found. Clarity was still good, not like the deep blue summer time, but we did not see the murky green water that can plague the region at times.
As the weather front pushed through, fleets were scattered looking for action. Inshore it was sierra which dominated the action, they were striking on rapalas, hoochies and sardinas, most were smaller sized. Slow trolling baits produced roosterfish, most of them juvenile sized, with an occasional fish to 20 pounds reported. Dorado were still found, those numbers dropped off with the cooling waters, small schools were encountered, sizes averaged 5 to 20 pounds. The majority of the dorado were hooked in close proximity to shore, where bait concentrations were found. One dorado was reportedly caught by a local who was casting a jig off of the marina jetty.
Bait supplies remained plentiful for mackerel, chihuil, ballyhoo, sardineta, as well as the smaller sized sardinas, popular for the live bait wells, great all around baitfish, they are being netted off the beaches north of Punta Gorda. Large schools of mackerel are congregated several miles off of the San Jose del Cabo hotel zone. This attracted striped marlin and some dorado on these same grounds, even a couple of sailfish hanging around, unusual for the cooler current.
Rough conditions did not make it easy to scout out bottom options, for the few that did give this the extra effort, while using yo-yo jigs or bait, they did produce decent catches of cabrilla, with some pargo and others species mixed in. We expect to see more consistent action coming off the shallow water structure, should see some yellowtail showing up at anytime, red crabs came to surface a few days ago on the grounds north of Gordo, early in the season for them, always a sign the red snapper will not be far away.
Whales are the main attraction now for marine sightseeing enthusiasts, some porpoise and sea lions around as well. There were reports of charters out of Cabo San Lucas encountering yellowfin tuna traveling with large pods of porpoise, offshore, through to the 1150 to 95 high spots. Nice fish, up to 30 pounds, this is somewhat of a bonus opportunity, as tuna can become scarce during the winter months, maybe the range will shift to closer off of San Jose. The consensus is that people claim this is one of the cooler and windiest winters that they can recall, as global weather patterns continue to become increasingly more unpredictable.
The ocean conditions appear to remain favorable, clarity looks fine and there is a lot of baitfish in the vicinity, a reliable food source for migrating gamefish. Starting out to look like a good year for striped marlin, we expect that the rocky reefs will start to attract more species as well.
The combined panga fleets out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina, sent out approximately 62 charters for the week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of:
1 sailfish, 5 striped marlin, 6 wahoo, 3 amberjack, 3 yellowfin tuna, 75 dorado, 245 sierra, 22 roosterfish, 21 cabrilla,14 bonito, 5 surgeon fish and 28 yellow snapper.
Good Fishing, Eric