November 7, 2010
The Los Cabos area is now busy greeting visiting anglers, this is now peak fall season, the WON Tuna Jackpot took place this past week. The two day event brought swirling gusty winds, tough conditions, one yellowfin tuna over 200 pounds was landed late the final day and proved to be the winner for the team of Reel and Deal. The fishing was very good for yellowfin in the 30 to 150 pound range. Fleets were heading in all directions, trying to find the most favorable conditions for finding the jackpot fish.
There were many heartbreak stories as well, probably none of them more spectacular than that of Team Killer, consisting of local pangeros Jaime Pino, Eduardo Guluarte and long time friend Michael Angeles from Santa Barbara, Ca., who just happens to be a member of the team that won the inaugural WON Tuna event. This year the same team was entered with a 24 ft. super panga named “Como Quieras”. While drift fishing early in the day on the Gordo Banks they hooked up with what appeared to be a big tuna and while battling the fish in choppy seas, trying to keep from being spooled, they had their hands full, it was then they realized the intake hose for the bait tank had come loose, rapidly flooding the back compartment of the panga to the railings. Quick thinking is what saved the boat from sinking, the team went into action, Michael went all the way to the bow for ballast, the other guys all bailed with buckets, at the same time they had to accelerant the motor and try to get up on a plane enough to bail the rest of the hull and reconnect the loosened hose. Instinctually thinking, the crew attached a buoy to the rod & reel that had the big tuna hook up and threw it overboard, in hopes of finding it later.
The crew worked quickly to bail out the water and hurriedly fixed the hose, now they had the chore of finding the buoy that was hopefully sill connected to the tuna, all this in victory at sea conditions. They trolled in grids for what seemed like eternity in search of the drifting buoy, finally spotting it being hauled through the swells by the still very alive quarry. Hooked solidly on stout tackle they battled the fish for another hour and a half before noticing that it was tailed wrapped, but it was very much alive. The six foot long cow sized yellowfin was right under the panga where they could see that it would be in the 300 pound class, only to witness the circle hook pull free and watch their jackpot sink into the blue depths. Talk about tough luck, makes for a hell of a fish story though.
Early in the week anglers found much more pleasant ocean conditions, with areas such as Santa Maria, Iman Bank and the Gordo Banks all producing a mix of yellowfin tuna, dorado, wahoo, as well as other miscellaneous catches. Most consistent action was for schooling sized yellowfin up to 25 pounds, these fish were hitting on live sardinas, which remained plentiful, despite the heavy pressure. The tuna would come up to chum and at times the action would be wide open, then just as quickly the fish would disappear, other times the yellowfin could be seen all over on the surface, but proved very finicky to hook up. Plenty of black skipjack also in the feeding frenzy, often out numbering the yellowfin tuna.
Another story of a lifetime was witnessed by Mike Mahoney from San Leandro, Ca. and Frank Porter of Oakland, C., they were fishing with local skipper Sergio Carillo when they had a black marlin estimated at 900 pounds or larger attack a 80 pound class yellowfin tuna that Mike was battling. The black marlin inhaled the tuna then spit it back up and attacking it yet again, bill slashing the entire side of the yellowfin, what a show, watching this magnificent pelagic predator in action, all light up it her neon striped body armor.
There was one black marlin weighed in by a team of La Playita pangero, they battled the fish from two different boats for a total of about five hours, it weighed in at 653 pounds. Overall the billfish action has been spread out, though we did notice that more sailfish were now being found on the local fishing grounds. Dorado still are not up to normal counts, but anglers have been encountering smaller sized schools and when this happens they are accounting for two, three or four fish in the 10 to 20 pound class, only a scattering of larger sized bulls being encountered.
Wahoo were less active the second half of the week, still predominately found in the area of San Luis Bank, slow trolling live or dead larger baits resulted in most numerous strikes, actual strike to landing ratio was about one wahoo landed per three baits strikes. The wahoo ranged up to 50 pounds, most fish were 20 to 30 pounds. They also hit on Rapalas, skirted lead heads and rigging ballyhoo. The upcoming weeks is when these highly sought after elusive gamefish become more active. Clean blue water continues to de found close to shore, water temperatures are cooling and are now ranging from 78 to 82 degrees.
Strong currents limits most forms of bottom fishing, though a few dogtooth snapper and amberjack were accounted for, these fish were hooked on either whole or chunk bait, more action was found earlier in the week before seas became wind chopped.
The combined panga fleets launching from La Playita/Puerto Los Cabos sent out approximately 149 charters for the week, with anglers accounted for: 7 striped marlin, 1 black marlin, 14 sailfish, 22 wahoo, 84 dorado, 744 yellowfin tuna, 8 dogtooth snapper, 18 amberjack, 15 cabrilla, 34 rainbow runner, 16 sierra and 18 hammerhead shark..
Good fishing, Eric