December 14, 2013
Crowds of tourists were noticeably fewer this past week, with less than two weeks to go until Christmas, people are now occupied with preparations and other priorities. As much of Northern America has been enduring icy conditions, the climate in Southern Baja has been comfortable, mostly sunny skies with highs of 80 degrees. Northern winds increased in recent days and this made for choppy ocean conditions, though water temperatures are still averaged a bit warmer than normal at 76/78 degrees throughout the region. We do expect currents to cool more rapidly now, as this is the month with the shortest days of the year. More and more whales are now arriving from the north, these mammals will be in this area for the next several months.
Supplies of bait consisted of caballito, ballyhoo, squid slabs and some skipjack and chihuil offshore. Sardinas became scarce again as the north winds made this a difficult task, limiting the range of the commercial fleet. Sardinas have been very scattered this fall, when found have been juvenile sized, a combination of factors contributing to this situation.
Fishing was spread out in all directions, inshore, offshore and some bottom action, a lot depended on ocean conditions and available bait source, as to where anglers targeted on a given day. Catches ranged from a couple fish per boat, to over a dozen of combined species. There is a wide variety of fish now in the area, though most of them were caught in limited numbers. We have seen striped marlin, dorado, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, skipjack, bonito, amberjack, yellowtail, cabrilla, pargo, sierra, roosterfish, triggerfish and others.
We are seeing more commercial tuna pens being moved north offshore of San Jose del Cabo, being towed at 1 or 2 mph, from 10 to 20 miles offshore. Charters boats at times were fishing in proximity of these pens and were finding good numbers of small 4 to 8 lb. yellowfin tuna and a few dorado, mostly a long boat ride for smaller sized fish. The new trend of hauling tuna pens filled with bluefin tuna from north Baja grounds into the Sea of Cortez is causing some concern, because this will only increase the already heavy pressure on the local bait resources, because these penned tuna require tons of fresh bait. Same deal that has happened in Northern Baja, discussion is that perhaps they are relocating these pens because the bluefin are able to grow faster and with lengthier proportions in warmer water.
Besides finding some small tuna action while fishing near these slow moving tuna pens, anglers were not finding yellowfin elsewhere, the action on the Iman Bank became fruitless due to northern winds. The exception was on Thursday, when a few larger yellowfin tuna were hooked into on the Gordo Banks, the prize was a 277 lb. yellowfin tuna that was landed by Bob Deeter of Fort Brag, Ca. Deeter was drift fishing with a chunk of skipjack when he hooked into the early Christmas gift. Last weekend during a local tournament these were a pair of tuna over 100 pounds taken, 107 lb. and 130 lb., though for the past two weeks, no one had reported any big yellowfin action, getting late in the season now, though there definitely still is a chance, maybe someone will pull out another 300 lb. cow before the end of the month.
Anglers are now starting to make more attempts off the bottom structure when weather allowed, no big numbers of fish found, though a few nice amberjack, pargo, yellowtail and cabrilla were accounted for, it is the time of year where we will start doing more of this type of drift fishing over shallow water rocky areas, this can produce a variety of quality bottom dwellers, though it is also the type of fishing where it is best when the seas are not too rough.
Schools of sierra are now found close to shore, striking trolled rapalas and hoochies, though easier to entice with sardinas, which have not been available on a regular basis. Lots of roosterfish also found in certain inshore areas, mostly juvenile sized this time of year, though a few roosters over 20 pounds were reported.
The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 72 charters for this past week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 2 striped marlin, 9 wahoo, 24 bonito, 13 cabrilla, 2 yellowtail, 8 amberjack, 1 dogtooth snapper,115 sierra, 55 roosterfish, 65 dorado, 80 skipjack and 88 yellowfin tuna.
Good fishing, Eric