Fish Report

February 18, 2019
BY: GARY GRAHAM

Fish Killers Of The Week

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About 30 miles out from Cabo, owner/angler Mark Chiavetta, aboard his 32-foot boat Bill Collector spotted a swordfish running on the surface of the water. Sneaking up on the fish, Chiavetta cast a live mackerel to it from the bow. The swordfish turned, inhaled the mackerel, and was hooked!” Chiavetta said, “It fought hard – almost like a tuna but we landed it quickly!” at the dock, the “swordy” weighed 98-pounds. Pisces Sportfishing.
 

Cabo San Lucas

Numbers at a glance: Billfish 87%, tuna 27%, dorado 10%, other species 20%.

The fleets reported another solid week of striped marlin fishing in the Cabo area.Many boats were still reporting multiple-fish days with the overall daily success still being exceptional for anglers who were chasing their dream fish. The marlin were beginning to spread out as they followed schools of bait. The dorado counts were down substantially but the yellowfin tuna counts have continued to be good for the third week in a row – although the fish are now a bit more scattered.

The striped marlin fishing has continued to produce positive results overall on the Pacific side with the fishing being concentrated from around the Lighthouse and out to the Golden Gate and San Jamie Banks.It appears the seasonal migration has begun to turn the corner, following the schools of bait up into the Sea of Cortez. Stripers were reported off Palmilla and around the Gordo Banks. The fleets were reporting solid counts of striped marlin with most boats averaging one to two fish per day. The yellowfin are again showing in the 25- to 30-mile range to the south and southwest and also off the Golden Gate and Gordo Banks – the key is to find the pods of porpoise and you can often find the tuna, with most averaging in the 30- to 100-pound range – with some weighing up to 150 pounds.

Inshore fishing has produced nice catches of schools of skipjack with the sierra showing in good numbers from Solmar to El Arco. Roosters are occasionally showing in the surf from Solmar, around the point at the Lighthouse and in the Palmilla area.

Cabo Climate: Early February has had very pleasant weather with a mix of mostly sunny to partly-cloudy skies, with an average daytime temp in the upper 70s and evenings in the low to mid-60s. More good news in the forecast is for mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies with zero chance of rain as well as winds in the gentle 8- to 11-mph range through late February, mostly out of the WSW and WNW. Humidity is expected to run in the mid-60s into late February.

Sea Conditions: Seas have been relatively calm in the mornings throughout the area with some swells and chop showing up in the afternoons as breezes increase. Forecast is for more of the same with winds in the 8- to 11-mph range from the WSW and WNW. Sea temps have cooled but stabilized and are running from 73- to 76-degrees on the Pacific side, and a bit cooler in the 72- to 74-degree range on the inside around the Gordo Banks.

Best Fishing Areas: The marlin hot spots have remained primarily to the west and north but good action was reported on the inside for the first time this year.The Lighthouse area has been a major hot spot again.Most of the fish are being found from one to eight miles out from shore.Large numbers of stripers are also showing in the Golden Gate and San Jamie areas. Success was reported by soaking live bait off Palmilla and the Gordo Banks. The yellowfin are being found 25- to 30-miles out to the South and SW near the Herradura, as well as the 110, the 120, the 180 and the 200 Spots.Good counts of quality yellowfin were also coming off the Golden Gate area and some yellowfin up to the 100-pound mark were reported around the Gordo Banks.For those willing to make the longer 50-mile run, the Finger Bank has continued producing double-digit striped marlin counts. Traffic is lighter up there recently as the fish counts closer to home increase.

Favorite Bait: Trolled blue/green smoke trail lures along with live mackerel or live cabillito were the billfish favorite. Soaking live bait around the Finger Bank and off the Lighthouse area produced successful multiple stripers. Trolled feathers and cedar plugs were the ticket for the yellowfin. Hoochies were by far the preferred and most productive lure for the sierra, and poppers near the surf were the most successful for the roosterfish.

Bait Supply: Live bait is available at $3.00 per bait upon exit from the harbor. Mackerel, when available, are popular with the captains.

Puerto Los Cabos

Bait options were caballito, slabs of squid, chihuil, ballyhoo and mackerel. There have been no sardina and no one is quite sure where they are.Last year there was a steady supply.

Most local charters were on the fishing grounds from Red Hill to Iman and La Fortuna, as well as the Gordo Banks; no hot spot and very scattered action from day to day.

The Gordo Banks has been producing a quality-grade of yellowfin, a few weighing nearly 100 pounds. The problem was that there were very few being landed; on a normal day we were seeing only a handful of these yellowfin brought to the fillet tables. The offshore action for the tuna associated with porpoise faded out some and being 30 to 40 miles offshore, they were out of the range of most boats.

The billfish action has also become scattered – still being found, but not in any numbers like the past months. Despite cooler waters, there have been a couple of sailfish hooked into, though the striped marlin, averaging 60 to 100 pounds, have been the most common.

There have also been a few wahoo landed from the La Fortuna area with squid and chihuil being the main bait used. Only an occasional dorado was seen in the mix.

Due to lack of charters, bottom fishing has been limited; the swift currents along with the choppy and windy conditions did not make for ideal conditions for the few that managed to go out. More triggerfish and small snapper were seen, but only an occasional cabrilla or amberjack. One day the commercial fleet imported some red crab and had good catches of red snapper (huachinango).

An occasional smaller-sized roosterfish, sierra, or miscellaneous snapper were found close to shore, along with a rare, infrequent stray dorado.

East Cape

A plume of colder water that came down from the north recently all but shut the bite off. There were reports of a dozen fleet boats departing one morning with only one boat returning with a marlin flag flapping in the wind!

The tin boaters in their twelve- to sixteen-foot boats have been staying close to shore (and home), and they are bagging yellowtail, sierra mackerel, white bonito and other inshore species.

La Paz

There have been lower winds and calmer seas for once, though not many anglers in town. However, a few that went out surprisingly got into some warm-water action with a handful of dorado popping up. Nothing big, but it’s surprising to get dorado in the winter, and for first-timers hooking an acrobatic 10- to 15-pound dorado is exciting!

In addition, jack crevalle, good numbers of fat bonito, plus cabrilla over the rocks, provided some fun action, especially on light tackle. As time went on, it got colder and the winds came up – hard enough to bend the palm trees and put little white-caps on the bay.

Cabo San Lucas Tracy Ehrenberg www.piscessportfishing.com

San Jose del Cabo

Gordo Bank Pangas Eric Brictson,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