November 9, 2013
Weather patterns in Southern Baja California can often be unpredictable and this past weekend we witnessed a surprise formation of a late season tropical storm develop off to the west, before shifting directions and heading east, passing just offshore of Cabo San Lucas on Sunday afternoon. Tropical Storm Sonia made landfall near Culiacan, Sinaloa and was then downgraded to a depression. This was an unusual event for this time of year, though not unprecedented; remember the monsoon rains 20 years ago on November 4, this drenched 25 inches of rainfall in 12 hours over San Jose del Cabo. This latest system did drop up to 2 to 3 inches of rainfall in isolated areas and there were steady winds of 30 mph plus, but this did not last long and as the storm quickly moved past conditions cleared rapidly. Ocean swells never did increase very much, winds apparently were not strong enough to generate high swells. Conditions became stormy through Sunday morning the local ports were officially closed to all smaller crafts and did not reopen until about 7 a.m. on Monday. This was an inconvenience to hundreds of anglers who were all set to go fishing on Sunday, this was an act of Mother Nature and we were all fortunate that this only shut down operations for one day.
The local climate has now settled and conditions are nearly perfect, sunny skies, temperatures ranging from lows in the upper 60s to highs of about 84 degrees. Breezes were now predominately blowing out of the north, ranging up to 15 mph. Ocean water temperatures were in 80/82 degree range throughout the region, not much variance. Baitfish were now in extremely high demand with so many numbers of charters to supply. Live caballito were available, sardinas were very limited, schools of these baitfish are now being found near Cabo San Lucas, only a percentage of charters were able to obtain these baits. Other options for anglers were slabs of squid for strip bait fishing and ballyhoo for troll rigging.
Local fleets were finding more consistent action on the fishing ground from Santa Maria to Vinorama, versus the grounds on the Pacific. Overall the action has been below normal standards, factors related to the relentless winds and lack of sardinas, strong currents and gamefish migration patterns all seem to play into this situation. We have seen signs of improvement the past couple of days, more dorado being encountered than other species, most of these fish under 15 lb., with an occasional bull up to 20 pounds. Charters were using a mix of trolled lures, as well as drift fishing and slow trolling various baits. Average catches ranged from 2 to 8 fish per boat. Wahoo were scarce this past week, though everyday a handful were accounted for. Areas near Iman to San Luis seemed to provide the best chances for wahoo, anglers trolling rapalas and live baits reported strikes, these fish have been averaging 25 to 50 pounds. We anticipate a full other month of wahoo action, as water temperatures are still in favorable range.
Yellowfin tuna action was not as consistent as would be expected, though these fish are schooling in several areas, winds have not helped, the lack of sardinas seems to be the main issue, but these factors can also change on a daily basis, just as the weather can. Squid has been available at the dock area most mornings and this has been used for chumming and strip bait fishing for the yellowfin tuna, as well as dorado and others, even billfish have been hooked into on these strips of squid. There are smaller grades of yellowfin on the Iman, San Luis and Vinorama grounds, these fish ranged 10 to 20 pounds, though most anglers were fortunate to hook into these tuna, they proved finicky this past week.
The larger yellowfin are congregated on the Gordo Banks, though they have not been nearly as numerous this season as they have been in recent years, though this is still the spot where you have the best chance at hooking into a cow. Everyday there are reports of a handful of larger tuna hook ups, many of which are lost after extended tug of war battles. Last cow we weighed for the local panga fleet area was a 314 lb. on Saturday, Nov. 2. We typically see these cow sized tuna stay in the area into the first half of December, water temperatures and food source seem to determine when these schooling fish migrate south.
The combined panga fleets launching out of La Playita, Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out approximately 210 charters for this past week, with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 13 striped marlin, 11 sailfish, 16 wahoo, 32 bonito, 18 pargo, 12 rainbow runner, 20 triggerfish, 12 cabrilla, 22 sierra, 460 dorado and 145 yellowfin tuna.
Good fishing, Eric