Tuna Scarce, Wide Open Striped Marlin Action ~ May 19, 2018

Anglers –
May 19, 2018

We saw slightly larger crowds of tourists arriving this past week. Weather patterns were now on a warming trend, though still very comfortable, barely cold at all in the early morning, with clear sunny skies and highs averaging 85 degrees. Winds from the north have resided, more breeze now on the Pacific, also much cooler and greener water to below 70 degrees on that side of the Peninsula, while off of San Jose del Cabo and towards the East Cape the ocean currents are now in the 76 to 78 degree range, also this is where the clear blue water is, concentrations of baitfish and in turn the more productive fishing opportunities.

Supplies of sardinas remain steady, schools of these baitfish are now back in close range, just north of the Puerto Los Cabos Marina jetty. Other bait options were mullet and caballito, as well as rigging ballyhoo or finding bait offshore, such as skipjack and chihuil. Overall this past week showed promising signs for options close to shore, off the bottom structure and offshore.

The yellowfin tuna bite has been concentrated near the La Fortuna or the Twenty-Five spot, just inside of the Iman Bank. Drift fishing with sardinas for bait has been the best bet for this, though these yellowfin remain finicky, often they can be seen coming up and feeding on the free chum, but getting them to bite is another deal, anglers have been fortunate to land one or two of them, many hook ups were lost to sea lions or sharks as well. Average sizes for the tuna we have seen recently was in the 20 to 60 lb. class. Only an occasional dorado even being seen, a handful of wahoo strikes also reported, with more baitfish activity seen on these grounds and the favorable ocean conditions we expect the wahoo bite might develop.

Shallow water rock piles are now holding a variety of species, best bite did seem to be earlier in the day. Amberjack up to 30 lb. were encountered coming to the surface, not a normal action for these jacks, but it is the time of year it can happen. Quite a few yellow snapper being found, some over ten pounds, island jack, surgeon fish, leopard grouper, barred pargo, rose spotted snapper, sierra and pompano were also accounted for, so basically a smorgasbord of quality eating fish. We saw one sierra of 12 pounds, end of the season for these members of the mackerel family, time of year when the big ones show up.

With more mullet now moving into local inshore beach stretches we are also seeing increasing numbers of roosterfish arriving, the majority are still under 20 pounds, though larger specimens were reported. During the next few weeks is usually when we see peak action locally for the larger grade of roosterfish. Remember that these fish should always be released with care, as they are not known for their eating qualities, rather they are a true gamefish, known to be very powerful fighters and grow to over one hundred pounds, having a limited habitat, Southern Baja California being one of the few regions in the world where they can be found.

The action for striped marlin broke wide open through this week, particular so the later part of the week, with the best action being found from the Gordo Bank’s north to Desteladera Bank. Once the word spread the fleet converged, as far away as Cabo San Lucas and even the East Cape. Marlin were coming up on and feeding on balled up baitfish and boat battles ensued, with the first few charters arriving to the scene hooking up and then everyone waiting for the stripers to come back up on another bait ball. Also many marlin were striking on trolled lures, though the higher percentage of hook ups were from live baits such as caballito, chihuil or skipjack, as well as rigged ballyhoo. The majority of the charters targeting this action were reported multiple chances, some boats landing as many as seven or more fish in one morning. Sizes ranged from 60 lb. to 130 lb.

The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 83 charters for this week. Anglers reported a fish count of: 78 striped marlin, (majority released), 5 dorado, 37 yellowfin tuna, 2 wahoo, 65 yellow snapper, 9 surgeon fish, 45 spotted rose snapper, 42 cabrilla (leopard grouper), 16 huachinango (red snapper), 11 bonito, 36 amberjack, 19 barred pargo, 6 pompano, 52 roosterfish, 12 jack crevalle, 32 sierra, 18 flag cabrilla, 14 Island jack, 1 tiger shark (released) and 140 triggerfish.

Good fishing, Eric

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