Southern Baja Fish Report

May 30, 2016 Edition
BY: GARY GRAHAM

From dead slow to full speed ahead! Billfish, dorado, a continuing wahoo bite, coupled with some of the largest roosterfish in several years has visiting anglers giddy. There are plenty of “bucket list” fish out there with your name on them — don’t miss out! Tight Lines and Good Luck, Gary Graham, gary@garycgraham.com.

Cabo San Lucas The billfish bite continues to be near a 70% catch rate for the boats — all-in-all pretty decent fishing that allows most of the boats to enjoy fighting a billfish or two and as always there have been a few early releases in the mix.

With air temps varying from 69 nights to 84 daytime highs and a 51% average humidity level recently, there have only been a couple of days with clouds passing through the area.

On the Pacific side, sea conditions are cool along the shoreline at 63 to 65 degrees and out to about five miles or so and then warming to 69 to 71 degrees across the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks. Cabo San Lucas to Chileno and out to the 95 Fathom Spots is at 75 to76. Chileno northerly to Los Frailes is at 79 to 80 degrees. Surface breezes are flowing in from the northwesterly direction and are varied from calmer mornings to about 13 mph in the afternoons.

There continues to be more small dorado with larger ones appearing every day. The other popular fish is the wahoo that haven’t stopped biting all spring. They are being caught all day but early morning remains the most productive period. Another bonus currently are the larger roosterfish and jack crevalle being found close to shore. While of no food value they are strong fighters and are a favorite target of many anglers.

San Jose The majority of the sportfishing fleets are fishing off of the Chileno area and the various grounds to the northeast. Common bait being used is ballyhoo, cocinero, caballito and squid strips. There are reports of more skipjack and bolito activity, though these food sources are just starting to appear; still no mullet schools to report.

Striped marlin has been the main action found offshore with most marlin 10 to 18 miles from shore. Some days they were found within one mile of shore. Many boats had multiple catches per morning trip. Sizes ranged from 60 to 140 pounds. Billfish were striking trolled lures and rigged ballyhoo, as well as live bait. There were also a few sailfish in the warmer waters, with concentrations of pilot sharks and threshers as well.

The same offshore grounds have been producing quite a few wahoo strikes and even a few dorado — no big numbers, though wahoo were as large as 50 pounds or heavier and dorado were up to 25 pounds.  Increased porpoise activity is being reported, with a few larger-sized yellowfin being seen; the largest was landed out of Puerto Los Cabos Marina — an 80-pound-class tuna.

Anglers trolling areas closer to shore — anywhere from Chileno, Red Hill, Iman and towards the San Luis Banks — found a mix of wahoo, yellowfin tuna, dorado, sierra and miscellaneous bottom species. No volume of any species; off the bottom triggerfish were most common, along with some early morning snapper, amberjack and an odd yellowtail.  Most of the dorado caught have been small juveniles, with occasional nicer-sized fish reported. Wahoo ranged from small 15 pounds to over 50 pounds.  Not much roosterfish action reported; a couple of snook catches by beach anglers signaled the start of the main shore fishing season.

East Cape Spring conditions have settled in and daytime temperatures are reaching the high 70s during the day. Finally the local bait resources include the full gamut of live bait: caballito, mullet and finally some sardina.

There were tuna spotted down south. Boats choosing to chase them had a bonus of wahoo and dorado on the way back up the line. Tuna were an “on and off” bite with fish mainly caught on squid, and they were all better fish in the 20-pound class. The striped marlin bite returned and most boats targeting them were able to boat at least one fish. They are spread out all over the East Cape. Some boats had success by using downriggers, which means fish are probably feeding more in deeper water than on the surface.

The consistent wahoo bite has been and continues to be a crowd pleaser. These are good-sized wahoo with some in the 50-pound class. They were hitting smaller Rapalas, making them a must for the tackle box. While there are a lot of smaller dorado around, there are some very nice fish near the Lighthouse and farther south.

Some very good-sized jack crevalle were taken along the shore. Roosters are also on the rampage all along the beaches. Best areas fare around the Marina and all along the coast to Los Barriles. Pompano and barred pargo are still on the reefs.

La Paz After pretty much writing off the cold-water bite for the season in La Paz, it’s finally getting warm. The sun is out and both the water and air are showing summer everywhere. We hadn’t caught yellowtail in weeks. Even when they were biting, it was so-so. I would not have even called it a yellowtail season. With El Nino, our waters were just too warm to give us much of a cold water season.

Then out of nowhere, the yellowtail started biting. And not little weenie firecrackers either. These were 25 to 50 pound sluggers that came pretty close to pulling guy’s outta’ their socks. They landed a few, but probably lost three for every fish boated.

And these were not fish skulking down deep. These fish were foaming and crashing on the surface and were taking fly-lined (no weight) live and dead bait! Some guys had some epic battles.

Those little dorado are still around, too, and we’re seeing a bit more activity with pargo and cabrilla! Billfish are around, but not yet willing to chew!

At Las Arenas…it’s crazy! Cold water monsters came back! Big yellowtail showed up to about 40 pounds; amberjack to 30 pounds. Sierra, big cabrilla, jack crevalle, delicious white bonito…

And the return of the big dog-tooth cubera snapper and the mullet snapper (pargo liso)! We lost quite a few fish in the shallow water, but the fish that came in were beasts!

And then, late in the week, not only did the 20 to 40 pound wahoo show up, but we also hooked some yellowfin tuna as well…footballs of 15 to 25 pounds! Again, we lost more fish than we caught, but you never knew what was out there.

Cabo San Lucas

Tracy Ehrenberg www.piscessportfishing.com

Larry Edwards www.cortezcharters.com

San Jose

Gordo Bank Pangas www.gordobanks.com

East Cape

Rancho Leonero Hotel www.rancholeonero.com

Jen Wren Sportfishing www.thejenwren.com

East Cape Tackle Cindy Kirkwood, www.eastcapetackle.com

La Paz

Jonathan Roldan’s Tailhunter International www.tailhunter-international.com.