Cabo San Lucas
While striped marlin in double-digit numbers have been caught and released recently, the catch of a 772 pound blue marlin by Victor Johannsson, a 60 year old farmer from Montana, aboard his boat Reel Machine, supports a common theory that most of the really huge fish in Cabo are caught out of season. In fact, the first week of January usually yields a fish in the 500 to 800 pound category; perhaps it’s a little earlier this year due to the warmer weather and sea temperatures.
Oddly, the dorado that have been scarce throughout most of the season have also arrived on the scene just in time for a New Year’s show. This may account for the larger blue marlin’s appearance since dorado are one of their favorite meals.
Inshore there has been a variety of action available with a healthy mix of jack crevalle, roosterfish, grouper and amberjack for those anglers hugging the coast line.
There has recently been a minor drop in the area water temps along the Pacific side, flowing southerly toward the end of Baja from the Magdalena Bay area; this may have some bearing on the past year's El Niño warm water conditions all along the Pacific Coast areas.
Cabo Climate: Warm and sunny; great weather conditions. Day temps holding at 85 and nights at 60.
Sea Conditions: break is about 10 miles above the Golden Gate Bank as it falls into cooler water in the lower 70s and climbs to 76 to 78 degrees from the beach and outside the Golden Gate Bank and on down to.Jaime Banks to Chileno and on up to Las Frailes, all at 77 degrees. Surface breezes flowing mostly from the southeast at about 9 mph.
Best Fishing Area: Golden Gate Bank and into the beach areas, within one to three miles off shore and the Jaime Banks’ area.
Best Bait/Lures: baits, (especially mackerel) and rigged baits were working very well for the billfish and dorados.
Bait Supplies: good supply of both caballito and mackerel at the $3.00 per bait rate.
There are now large concentrations of mackerel, with sardineta in the mix, being found several miles off of the San Jose del Cabo hotel zone. So far we have seen a few dorado and marlin in this area as well. Ocean water temperature has been averaging in the 75 to 77 degree range, which is still a few degrees higher than normal for this time frame. Water clarity was greenish on the grounds north of Punta Gorda, depending on where you were; some areas were off-colored, though blue water was also found near these same grounds. Currents moving through were changing daily, a lot was depending on how persistent the North Winds were. The annual whale migration is behind schedule this season; same thing happened last year. Expectations are that more numbers of both humpback and gray whales will appear soon.
Anglers were using strips of squid to target the yellowfin tuna; Punta Gorda continued to be one of the more productive areas. Yellowfin tuna in the 10- to 30-pound range were schooling there. Some days the fish would not bite until late in the day. There were porpoise found a bit farther from shore that were holding yellowfin tuna as well; charters were chasing these schools down and dropped strips of squid and hooked similar-size tuna. Gonzalo Castillo and crew fishing the twilight bite, as the sun was setting, came in with three tuna in the 150-pound class on one evening.
There was good action on red snapper (huachinango) found close to shore off of Punta Gorda, same place where the yellowfin tuna bite was. The snapper were hitting on the strips of squid and ranging from 4- to 10-pounds mixed in with some triggerfish to 8 pounds, as well as a locally rare sheepshead of about 24 pounds, a few scattered wahoo (though not many are being landed), and an occasional fish to 40 pounds.
Few boats are venturing offshore as the holidays loom. Still, a few small yellowfin tuna, skipjack and even an occasional dorado are caught when the wind backs off for a few days.
Inshore the tin boat fleet is having a tough time. The lack of small baitfish along the shore seems to have brought the sierra, normally a winter favorite, to a standstill. There are a few small roosterfish, ladyfish and jack crevalle scratched up by the early-rising anglers prowling the beaches.
Full moon? Winter? No problem. As if to underscore just what a crazy season it has been, once again we’ve had some of the best fishing in the last few weeks. The fact that the winds dropped back a few notches had a lot to do with it, but honestly, some surprisingly good fishing for species normally not caught this time of year!
Not many fishermen out on the water, but that’s pretty normal as this is off-season. But, those who were out, ran into some minimal winds, flat seas and quality fish.
In addition to the usual inshore species like barred pargo, snapper, and cabrilla, there were also bonito and jacks plus some huge needlefish working the waters for the anglers.
However, the biggest surprise were the yellowfin tuna off Punta Perico and the south side of Cerralvo Island on the high spot. These fish were nice quality 15 to 30 pound fish.plus the wahoo are still hanging out and willing to chase deep diver, Rapalas, Magnum Yo-Zuri and Mega Bait lures. Some of the fish ran 30 pounds or so. These blue-water pelagic fish are a nice bonus this time of year.
Cabo San Lucas
Tracy Ehrenberg www.piscessportfishing.com
Larry Edwards www.cortezcharters.com
San Jose del Cabo
Gordo Bank Pangas www.gordobanks.com
Rancho Leonero Hotel www.rancholeonero.com
Jen Wren Sportfishing www.thejenwren.com
East Cape Tackle Cindy Kirkwood, www.eastcapetackle.com
Jonathan Roldan's Tailhunter International www.tailhunter-international.com