Cabo San Lucas
A cold rainstorm, and the rapidly changing water temperatures throughout the entire area on both sides of the peninsula, seemed to dampen the billfish bite even further.
In the game fish department, the yellowtail has been the poster child for those seeking some action closer to home on some of the rocky high spots. Other options have been both roosterfish and jack crevalle on the surface. Or even the seemingly ever-present sierra that are biting bait strips and hoochies.
Farther offshore on the San Jaime, the yellowfin tuna are hanging out on the Golden Gate Bank and outer Jaime Bank. They are mostly the more manageable football-plus size, with only a few of the larger 30 pound models showing up.
Another option now on the list is bottom fishing, which can bring a mixed bag of good eating fish. In addition to the yellows, there are a few amberjack, pompano and plenty of triggerfish to round out the catch for the table.
There seemed to be larger crowds of tourists in town recently enjoying the spring-like weather conditions, though not many anglers were reflected in the number of trips reported. The all-around fishing action tended to slow down, which is understandable with the unusual rain and more winds, both from the south and then returning from out of the north. Water temperatures are averaging about 69 to 70 degrees through most of the region. Currents have been strong at times and swells have increased briefly before subsiding. Crazy weather as we begin to transition from winter to spring.
Bait netters are still finding sardina near Palmilla and towards Regina Resort; other options have been fresh squid strips and yo-yo jigs. The tuna action has been centered near the Iman Bank where fish up to 60 pounds were caught, though now this action has slowed. Anglers are fortunate to land one or two yellowfin averaging 20 to 30 pounds. More anglers are also starting to work the bottom for various pargo, snapper, amberjack, cabrilla, bonito, yellowtail and other species, however, there are lots of sea lions to contend with, all eager to snatch their share of the catch.
There has been a great bite on huachinango (red snapper) on the Outer Gordo Bank, though not many people even knew about this. There was an unusual run of larger-size reddish crabs drifting to the surface, averaging two to three inches in size, which is much bigger than the more common pelagic red crabs that we see this time of year. These large crabs are a much rarer occurrence.
The routine is to cruise the grounds and net what crabs you can, rig them up with sinkers and drop them towards the bottom. The few that tried this did very well, getting quality snapper up to 14 pounds. They also had to battle the sea lions that also knew about these schooling snappers and were waiting for their chance at easy pickings of hooked up fish.
Big numbers of humpback whales are still congregating on these same popular fishing grounds.
Smaller-sized yellowtail, mostly in the 4- to 8-pound class, are still waiting for larger fish to move in off of Palmilla. There are also some amberjack in the 5- to 25-pound class, with an occasional leopard grouper or yellow snapper and lots of triggerfish in the mix as well. Not much going on for inshore action. Only a few boats are even trying for the limited number of smaller-sized sierra.
While wind has been the 'thing' recently, some local anglers were able to sneak out early in the morning and score some nice-sized amberjack and cabrilla. Esaul Valdez, Hotel Buenavista Beach Resort, and his buddy scored on both cabrilla and amberjack at the drop off in front of La Ribera.
It has been chilly, windy and even rainy in the La Paz area recently, with a little bit of everything coming at us. From day-to-day, the weather patterns were so erratic it was hard to pinpoint. But, that's how it's been all winter – up, down and sideways.
The effect on the fishing and fishermen has been just as erratic. We normally don't have that many folks out on the water during the winter, but the few walk-in clients we've had have been disappointed when we turn them away after warning them of impending winds and rough water. Sometimes they decide to go out anyway and, except for the occasional flat day, they get tossed all over and the fishing is not that good.
After several months of pretty consistent wind, the waters are green, cold and cloudy from all the turbulence. Captains on both the Las Arenas/Muertos Bay side as well as captains in La Paz are saying the waters are really turned over. It’s going to take a while to settle down.
The upside is that this is the kind of winter conditions needed for good fishing. The colder water brings in the nutrients, which brings in the baitfish. It's a good sign for the upcoming fishing season. In the past two years with El Niño, the waters stayed warm and the nutrients for the baitfish never showed up.
Just the same, there were some small windows of fishing available! Or, if you were willing to brave the elements, there were some scattered fish to be caught.
There are a few dorado, either holdovers from last year or the advance scouts for the upcoming season. They've been running up to 12 pounds. Some yellowtail were caught off the south end of Cerralvo Island and Punta Perico just outside of Bahia de los Muertos. Mackerel are the preferred bait, or fishing the yo-yo iron, but bait is key. However, if the waters are too rough, it's hard to catch the bait.
The yellowtail caught were a nice grade, 20- to 25-pound fish. There's also jack crevalle, bonito, snapper and cabrilla. It's surprising that there are not more sierra this time of year.
Cabo San Lucas
Larry Edwards www.cortezcharters.com
San Jose del Cabo
Gordo Bank Pangas www.gordobanks.com
Rancho Leonero Hotel www.rancholeonero.com
Jen Wren Sportfishingwww.thejenwren.com
East Cape Tackle Cindy Kirkwood,www.eastcapetackle.com
Jonathan Roldan's Tailhunter International www.tailhunter-international.com