GORDO BANKS PANGAS
January 4, 2020
Crowds of vacationers brought in the New Year while visiting Southern Baja’s Los Cabos destination. Temperatures proved to be cool by local standards, lows were in the 50s and highs in the lower 70s, though still very pleasant compared to most of North America. Skies were clouds at times early, with sunny burning through by mid-morning. Winds were variable, the period started with light breezes, though through this weekend northern winds increased, this made for rougher ocean conditions and contributed to pushing in cooler and off colored currents. We are now in the season where conditions are cooling, north winds can be predominant and patterns can be unpredictable. Ocean temperatures were now down in the 72 to 74 degree range.
Bait supplies remained similar, caballito being the main bait found in the marina, slabs of squid and ballyhoo also offered. Schools of baitfish were non consistent, very few mackerel, more sardineta at this time. No reports of sardinas being available. This cooling trend normally would attract mackerel and sardinas as well, so we see what follows.
Early this week, before cool front swept through, the all-around action was good for a mix of dorado, wahoo and some yellowfin tuna, as well as roosterfish and some billfish migrating into local waters. Things changed significantly through the week, mainly due to cold winds from the north pushing in off colored colder current. Dorado, which had been one of the more common catches, all of a sudden became very limited and scattered, same for wahoo, they had been elusive, but were showing signs of becoming more active just before the weather turned over.
Also the first part of the week saw the yellowfin action starting to rebound for some larger cow sized fish in the vicinity of the Gordo Banks, no big numbers, though a handful of large yellowfin were brought in, the largest was by a group of local anglers from a small panga, fish was brought in a night, weighing over 300 lb. Overall tuna bite had been slow early in the week, then the north blow, which helped shut down the wahoo and dorado bite. But offshore of San Jose del Cabo, anywhere from 4 to 8 miles, there were rapidly moving pods of porpoise encountered, with the yellowfin tuna moving among them. Tuna ranging 10 to 30 lb. were being landed, best techniques was drifting under the porpoise with strips of squid. Charters targeting this hit or miss event were finding one of two, up to 7 or 8 fish. Easy to talk about, but this is a fast changing opportunist deal, with windy conditions making it even harder, also increased boat pressure would put things down and charters had to chase these schools all morning to have legitimate chance.
Inshore the roosterfish action slow way down have dirty cooler water pushed in. Bottom action was limited to various, mostly smaller sized, jacks, pargos, bonito and triggerfish. The exception was that we saw a couple of amberjack and cabrilla.
Billfish faded as the week progressed, though a few sailfish were still encountered in the cooler conditions, nicer sized fish which were released. A few striped marlin found, very scattered. As conditions do eventually stabilize and we see more offshore baitfish, we anticipate the marlin bite to break open.
Many more whales now being signed, these mammals were alter to show this season, next two months will be peak season.
The combined sportfishing fleet launching out of the panga area from Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out an estimated 96 charters for the week and anglers reported an approximate fish count of: 3 sailfish, 9 striped marlin, 61 dorado, 56 yellowfin tuna, 14 wahoo, 8 yellow snapper, 2 barred pargo, 4 tile fish, 5 sierra, 11 roosterfish, 28 huachinango, 3 blackfin jack, 2 amberjack, 4 big eyed jack, 6 jack crevalle, 8 porgy and 38 triggerfish.
Good Fishing, Eric