Fish Report

November 26, 2018 Edition
BY: GARY GRAHAM

This issue, in additon to the usual report on what’s happening in the local fishing scene, we are bringing you a retrospective of the fishing tournament season that just wrapped up

 

Cabo San Lucas

 The striped marlin fishing continues to improve with offshore fishing becoming more and more productive; solid catches of sailfish, blue marlin, and even a few black marlin showing up in the reports. The fleets have reported consistent blue marlin activity along with some sailfish and more and more striped marlin as the Pacific waters begin cooling.

The yellowfin have been a bit spotty after several commercial seiners showed up recently, mostly showing 20- to 25-miles out toward the San Jamie with most averaging in the 25- to 30-pound range. The dorado fishing picked up again with mostly mid-size fish showing. Most of the blue marlin are running in the 200- to 300-pound range.

More blacks have been showing up around the corner to the East than in the Cabo area. Wahoo were spotty, but numbers improved closer to the new moon – downriggers with Rapalas produced the most action.

Inshore fishing has continued to produce nice catches of smaller dorado and schools of skipjack with the sierra starting to show as well.

Great weather greeted the anglers for the 20th annual WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament which finished up Saturday. There were big fish on the banks, but more of them were targeted on the porpoise to the outside. the fish, weather and anglers, all combined for what many insist was the best event in the tourney’s history.

There have been bigger fish -- well over 300 pounds -- in other years, but the jump of the number of teams from 147 last year to 163 this year and the leap of the prize money from $639,000 to $841,600 in one year awarded to six teams, further established it as the biggest tourney in Mexico, and the richest and largest ‘team tuna’ tourney in the world.

The winning fish was a 272-pound yellowfin caught on the first day by teamCloud Nine, a locally-owned boat by Greg Lewis. They were in across the board, taking all the optional tuna money for $324,800 and another $68,000 in overall First Place winnings to reach that single team payout of $392,800 for the event.

Another team aboard the Hooray, was also across the board, won all the second day tuna optionals for $324,800 with its 241-pound tuna.

Second day wahoo was 57-pounds by Texas Tuna Ticklers aboard Blue Marlin worth $56,000.

Weather was calm with no storms both fishing days --Thursday and Friday -- and the 800-person awards dinner under the stars on the Cruise Ship Pier Saturday capped four days of tournament, fishing and celebrating Cabo San Lucas as the Sportfishing Capital of the world. And as good luck would have it, it rained the next night.

Cabo Climate: The month started with very pleasant weather and mostly sunny-to-partly-cloudy skies with average daytime temps in the mid-80s and evenings in the mid-70s. The outlook is for more of the same with daytime temps in the low to mid=80s and evenings in the low-70s. The good news is there is no rain forecast through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Winds are expected in the gentle 7- to 9-mph range through Thanksgiving week. Humidity is expected to run in the mid-60s toward the end of November.

Sea Conditions: Seas have been relatively calm in the mornings throughout the area with some swells showing up in the afternoons. Forecast is for more of the same with winds in the 7- to 9- mph range out of the WSW and WNW. Sea temps are running from 79- to 81-degrees (Pacific) to 80- to 83-degrees around the inside corner to the Gordas.

Best Fishing Areas: The hot spots seem to be shifting from the 95 and 1150 Spots to the west and north. Good counts of marlin are showing up around Cabo Falso and the Lighthouse out to the San Jamie Bank. Sailfish and striped marlin counts are good in the Migrino area and the quality of dorado seem to have moved north along Migrino as well.

The yellowfin are being found 15- to 25 miles out from the Herradura west to the San Jamie Bank. For those willing to make the longer runs, the Finger Bank has started producing multiple striped marlin counts with a few boats reporting over 20 fish per day. Traffic is light competing for increasing numbers of migrating striped marlin.

Best Bait; Lures: Feathers and cedar plugs were the favorite for the tuna with trolled smoke trail lures the favorite for the blue and black marlin. Live bait tossed to tailing stripers was also successful. Soaking live bait around the Finger Bank produced successful multiple striper counts.

Bait Supply: Live bait is available at the $3.00 per bait upon exit from the harbor. With recent tournament action and an increase in seasonal traffic, quality live bait has become scarce at times.

Puerto Los Cabos

Still busy with visiting anglers; after Thanksgiving the numbers of visitors will lighten up. The strong gusty northerly winds were a major factor; relentless, beginning on Monday, finally weakening some on Friday. Ocean water temperatures dropped into the 78- to 80-degree range. Clarity was still very good, though strong winds made it difficult to fish on the more productive grounds from Iman to San Luis Banks. More frequent sightings of whales has been reported, along with the first wave of the annual migration of these mammals arriving.

The main bait being used now has been slabs of squid, caballito, ballyhoo and some chihuil and small-sized skipjack. Fleets have been fishing in all directions; no hot spot. Heavy boat pressure, along with windy conditions made for tough fishing, though it did not keep charters from launching, nor did it limit what options were available.

Wahoo are now in peak season, though they are finicky, striking best on chihuil, ballyhoo and caballito baitfish.They are also striking lures, Rapalas and skirted lead heads. Though with heavy boat pressure over the past month, these fish are hit or miss; fortunate to land one, but other anglers have had as many as four or five. Sizes range from juvenile 6-pound fish, up to trophy-sized 65-pound specimens.

Dorado were more scattered than they have been; very few of these fish have been seen in recent days -- same for billfish.Still an occasional sailfish or smaller-sized striped marlin, although there was one blue marlin taken of around 220-pounds.

Yellowfin tuna action on the banks to the north, Iman and San Luis, proved very difficult recently; the main factor was the north wind … it was hard to drift and chum … the wind swept you off the spot so quickly. There were yellowfin caught everyday though, from small football-size all the way up to 90-pounds. Heard of tuna to over 200-pounds offshore of Cabo San Lucas, traveling with porpoise, but these fish were not very numerous at all. We expect as weather conditions settle down and stabilize, that we will see much improved action.

Bottom action was even more limited due to swift currents and winds. More triggerfish than anything else, a few various snapper, pargo, bonito and cabrilla species. One 60-pound class roosterfish was caught and released while trolling near Punta Gorda, trying to escape the wind some; nice-sized rooster considering we are out of season for them now.

East Cape

Winds are here, and the fishing is not easy. Tin boat guys are sneaking out some mornings and scoring sierra before the winds come. Other than that, few cruisers are even thinking about heading out both because of lack of visitors, as well as the north winds and the upcoming holidays. There were some yellowfin tuna offshore along with a few of the largest dorado caught recently.

La Paz

Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International reported a mixed bag of fish as La Paz transitions into the cooler aspects of the season. “Not really many folks fishing these days,” he said. “Many are walk-in visitors or snowbirds who just want a day of fishing and sunshine, rather than folks coming specifically for fishing. So, many aren’t very serious fishermen either and just want some fun and action.”

He added, “This is that time before the holidays when folks aren’t travelling much. Families are doing other things. Also, the weather and waters are changing. It’s wonderfully sunny, but cooler and also getting more and more breezy. So, it can be a tad rougher which makes it harder to get live bait.Either the bait guys aren’t going out very much since not many folks are fishing or because of the weather, the live bait is scattered.

Roldan said that despite all that, they still got some action.

“Good bites of bonito keep things interesting,” he said, “But in between, we’re getting a few yellowfin tuna up to about 25 pounds. There’s some nice dorado not far offshore. Inshore, pargo and cabrilla are becoming more predominant, especially as it gets tougher to get too far from shore because of weather conditions. Also, surprisingly, some nice 30- to 50- pound roosterfish are still around.

San Lucas

Tracy Ehrenberg www.piscessportfishing.com

Larry Edwards www.cortezcharters.com

San Jose del Cabo

Gordo Bank Pangas www.gordobanks.com

East Cape

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