November 17, 2012
Ideal weather patterns continue to attract crowds of anglers in the direction of Southern Baja California. Warm sunny skies with temperatures reaching into the 80s, variable winds, more predominate from out of the north. Ocean swells were minimal, tidal swings are high now and water temperatures are ranging from 80 to 84 degrees. Currents are appearing favorable for an extended fall season, possible into the new year.
Last week WON held their annual Tuna Jackpot Tournament, this event is the highest stake tuna tournament in the world and definitely lived up to its billing once again. The majority of the 121 teams concentrated their efforts on the Gordo Banks, as these fishing grounds had been the only place where larger yellowfin had been consistently found for the past month. Local knowledge would definitely be imperative, knowing exactly how to fish these particular grounds is an art passed down through the generations. In a story book ending, the local La Playita team aboard the custom sportfisher “Estrella del Norte” pulled off first place honors with an incredible super cow that weighed in at 372 pounds, walking away with a check for $223 thousand dollars. Great achievement for these local anglers, big congratulations goes out to team members James Rosenwald, Donald Luhita, Carlos and Eduardo Beltran.
There is only one drawback to this tournament being held during the busy fall season, as this puts tremendous pressure on the inshore bait source, namely sardinas, as scores of these teams spend days gathering as many freshly brined sardinas as possible in order to have the steady chum to give them the possible edge needed to hook that winning fish. We have noticed for the past several seasons that immediately following this event there has been a significant shortage of baitfish available to supply the busy charter fleets, commercial netters are scrambling to find sufficient sources. There is a combined factor that these same baitfish follow migratory patterns, but there is the issue of relentless pressure on the available source that should be addressed and there should be set limits of how much of a certain bait source a team can acquire.
Charter fleets have been fishing in areas where they have been able secure baitfish, some days near Santa Maria and once again they are finding batfish inshore near Vinorama, either spot has been a long run for boats departing out of Puerto Los Cabos Marina. Punta Gorda and Iman Bank has been producing action on yellowfin tuna in the 10 to 18 pound range, mixed with skipjack and at times the fish are just coming to the surface in brief periods of flurries. Some charters scratched to get three or four tuna and others had their limits per angler. The larger sized yellowfin remain on the Gordo Bank, but have become more elusive, heavy yacht pressure on the Outer Banks does not make it easy for the normal day charter boats to be able to drift fish how they normally prefer to do. Every day we are still seeing a few fish in the 100 to 200 pound class being accounted for, but this is for quite few boats, not a lot of hook ups considering how many lines are in the water. We expect these yellowfin tuna to continue to hold around the Gordo Banks as long as these conditions remain to their liking.
Wahoo have seemed to have had lockjaw this past week, there were scattered reports of lines being cut off and baits sliced in half, but very few wahoo have actually been brought in to the docks and this is the time of year when we expect to see more activity for these prized gamefish. Perhaps we will benefit from late season action, since water temperatures are still holding a bit higher than normal.
The combined panga fleets out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina, sent out approximately 215 charters for the week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of:
4 striped marlin, 12 wahoo, 9 sailfish, 3 yellowtail, 105 dorado, 955 yellowfin tuna,
8 amberjack, 16 cabrilla, 45 sierra, 16 pargo, 22 rainbow runners and 850 skipjack .
Good Fishing, Eric