January 2, 2016
Holiday crowds were greeted by weather conditions which were cooler than most people were hoping for, as much of this past week was overcast, cloudy, with only occasional sunshine, persistent northern winds and high daytime temperatures were barely reaching into the lower 70s. It is now winter season and considering that this is about as cool as the Southern Baja California region can be, we should feel fortunate to enjoy such a moderate climate during these normally chiller times.
Average ocean temperature locally is now 76 degrees, we are seeing this cooling trend, though this is still several degrees warmer than seasonal normal. Along with the unusual weather patterns of this past year, we continue to see abnormal fish migrations as well, even the annual migration of whales has been late to arrive to its peak. This is the time of year when we normally would find schools of sardinas congregating along the shoreline and mackerel mixed with sardineta on the offshore grounds, so far we are not seeing any of this baitfish and are relying on bait sources of caballito, cocinero, slabs of squid and some ballyhoo.
Fishing action has been more scattered than we would normally expect, options are limited without the mainstay of sardinas. The most productive grounds this past week was found two to four miles straight out front of Puerto Los Cabos Marina, this is where practically the entire fleets from both San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas were congregating. Striped marlin with a few dorado in the mix were striking on slow trolled baits, or while drifting baits down deeper, occasional feeders on the surface. No huge numbers of fish, heavy pressure. But still the best bet to find action. Most of the stripers were in the 60 to 90 lb. class, with a few reaching 120 lb. There must be some food source now holding in this area, porpoise are being seen cruising through this zone as well. Commercial shrimp trawlers are moving in our area now, and these are the same grounds where they regularly work, often contributing to scatter any action that does start to develop.
Ocean currents pushed in cooler, greenish water from the north and combined with persistent northerly winds, this made it tough to find any action around the Gordo Banks and further north. Some yellowfin tuna were accounted for, one tuna of 143 lb. was weighed in early in the week, others in the 15 to 80 lb. range were taken, but numbers were not significant at all and until conditions stabilize, this will most likely be the same situation. Tuna at times could be seen coming into chum lines or just breezing the surface, but proved to be very skittish. Late in the week anglers found sporadic action for yellowfin closer to shore off of Punta Gorda while drift fishing with strips of squid, these fish weighed up to 20 lb. and some charters landed as many as five tuna. Though this bite would slack off as quickly as it had started and be over just like that. Unusual to not see any of the larger sized needlefish that are typically present this time of year.
Only a handful of wahoo were reported, ranging 20 to 40 lb., though as conditions settle, we expect these fish to become more active. This coming week is forecast to be warmer and less windy, so this combined with a favorable moon phase could trigger improved action, of course these particular fish are very unpredictable. The bottom continues to show signs of more life, as more numbers of snapper and cabrilla were appearing, a couple of amberjack, yellowtail, ever present triggerfish and bonito. Need calmer conditions though to have better chances at these species.
Inshore there are now good numbers of smaller sized roosterfish, not always easy to hook on the larger baits which are being used, though still this has been an option for variety, please remember that these fish should always be caught and then released with care, so that they can mature and help maintain the future fishery of these prized gamefish, which are known for their fighting qualities and not as good table fare.
The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 80 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 48 striped marlin, 26 yellowfin tuna, 56 dorado, 4 wahoo, 2 yellowtail, 16 cabrilla, 11 huachinango, 20 yellow snapper, 2 amberjack, 8 rainbow runner, 1 dogtooth snapper, 4 white skipjack, 22 bonito, 44 roosterfish and 26 triggerfish.
Good fishing, Eric