Fish Report

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Roger Thompson, formerly from Long Beach, Calif., has a house at La Ventana near La Paz and was slow-trolling a sardine in about 20 feet of water when this hog yellowtail hit! He got three to the boat and lost a freight train he couldn’t stop on a Salas jig. 
Photo, Jonathan Roldan's Tailhunter International

Cabo San Lucas

The striped marlin have continued to spread from the Pacific side out around the corner to the east as they follow the schools of bait. Dorado counts and yellowfin tuna counts have been sparse again and are down a bit from previous weeks.

The striped marlin fishing has continued to concentrate around the Lighthouse and out to the Golden Gate and San Jamie Banks with good results on the Pacific side, though the seasonal migration has begun to turn the corner up into the Sea of Cortez, again, following schools of bait.

Stripers have been reported off Palmilla and around the Gordo Banks, but the inside fishing has also been a bit slower. The fleets reported solid counts of striped marlin with most boats averaging a fish per day -- a few are still reporting multiple fish for their anglers.

The yellowfin have once again been showing in the 25 to 30mile range to the south and southwest, as well as off the Golden Gate – the key is finding the pods of porpoise and you will find the tuna! The average size is in the 15- to 30-pound range.

Inshore fishing has continued to produce nice catches of skipjack with the sierra showing in good numbers from Solmar to El Arco. Roosterfish are occasionally showing in the surf from Solmar around the point at the Lighthouse as well as in the Palmilla area.

Cabo Climate:Mid-February has been a bit cooler with a mix of mostly sunny-to-partly cloudy skies. The outlook is for more of the same with average daytime temps in the mid-70s and evenings in the low 60s. Winds are expected to lower a bit into the 8 to 11 mph range through early March, mostly out of the West and WSW. Humidity is expected to run in the mid-60s into early March.

Sea Conditions: Seas have been relatively calm in the mornings with 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 West and WSW. Sea temps have cooled and stabilized, but there are plumes of cooler water being pushed by the currents. Temps are running from 70 to 74 degrees on the Pacific side and a bit cooler on the inside around the Gordo Banks.

Best Fishing Areas: The billfish hot spots have remained primarily to the west and north. The Lighthouse area has been a major hot spot. Most of the fish were being found a bit farther out from shore in the 6 to 15 mile range. Good numbers of stripers have been showing in the Golden Gate and San Jamie areas. The yellowfin are being found 25 to 30 miles out to the South and SW near the Herradura, the 110, the 120, the 140 and the 160 Spots.

Favorite Bait: Trolled black/green or green/silver mackerel looking lures along with live mackerel and caballito were the favorite bait for the billfish. Trolled feathers and cedar plugs were the ticket for the yellowfin. Hoochies were by far the most productive lures for the sierra and poppers were the most successful bait for jack and roosterfish.

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

Puerto Los Cabos

Bait options have been caballito, slabs of squid, chihuil, ballyhoo and the limited schools of sardina that appeared inside the marina channel, which were quickly netted; this resource is now gone again. Anglers have been relying on slabs of squid, ballyhoo, mackerel, sardineta and chihuil. Despite the cooler weather, the all-around fishing action has improved. Fleets have been fishing from Chileno, Palmilla, Gordo Banks, Punta Gorda and north to Iman Bank. Water temperatures cooled off some, down to the 70- to 72-degree range, though clarity has remained good. The most constant action in recent days was found closer to shore.

The billfish action has been scattered, no concentrations found, though the striped marlin are spread throughout the area.Most of the Cabo San Lucas fleet is fishing in the direction of San Jose del Cabo.

There have been encouraging signs of yellowtail action; inshore off Chileno and Santa Marina, the areas were producing good numbers of smaller-sized yellowtail with trolled hoochies and smaller-sized Rapalas. Most of these fish were in the 3- to 8-pound class. Typically, the smaller fish appear first, then the larger-sized yellows move in on the same grounds; hopefully this will continue in the coming month.

There was decent wahoo action close to shore off Punta Gorda and the Iman Bank where fish ranged up to 40 pounds. They were striking on slow-trolled bait and yo-yo jigs. Dorado action was very good. Same deal. More dorado ranging up to 15 plus pounds were found closer to shore and the bite was often better later in the morning; many boats scored as three to five dorado which has to be considered very good, considering this is not the normal season for these gamefish.

Inshore action also produced a few roosterfish to 15 pounds, jack crevalle to 20 pounds, sierra, bonito and needlefish. Off the bottom, the fish have been smaller-sized red snapper, hogfish, triggerfish and an occasional leopard grouper or amberjack. A few glasseye snapper, baqueta, grouper and golden-eyed tilefish were found in the deeper water on the outside of the Gordo Banks.

East Cape

Inconsistent weather has stymied most of the fleet, even though a couple of days a few boats made it out and found some quality yellowtail up to 50 pounds. The Tin Boat fleet managed to make it out early to mid-morning scoring a few bonito, small skipjack along with a few nice-sized sierra.

La Paz

At times, the winds blew strong and consistently.Gusts up to 30 knots pushed a lot of white water around which made it hard to find bait.But that’s how it is during these months and it’s a big reason few folks are out fishing, even when the sun is out, and the daytime air temps are running in the 70s.

That’s “chilly” by Baja standards especially when there are little bouts of rain here and there.

Most of the fishing has been picky at best with a mixed bag of small cabrilla, jacks, snapper and bonito -- many of them were the white bonito which are actually pretty good eating and a lot of fun! But they are not fun if you’re in a bouncing boat and getting sprayed with white-water. A lot of the fishing relied on dragging Rapalas or lures trying to get a hook-up when we couldn’t get the bait.

However, what a difference when we did find bait…even when the weather was less than desirable.We had some exploratory boats we sent out of La Paz with some of our regulars who took a chance on the weather and hooked into some surprisingly decent dorado which aren’t very common this time of year.Each of our pangas got a handful and lost others.

Again, using bait, slow-trolling in shallow water in a chum line of sardina, fat yellowtail popped up and ripped some rods with some fish that couldn’t be stopped, especially with the rocks so close rising up from the bottom.

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