Fish Report

February 17, 2020 Edition
BY: GARY GRAHAM

Cabo San Lucas

Many locals have observed that Cabo experienced some of the coldest days in recent memory this year with sea temps recorded in the 73-to-74-degree range, warmer than the air temps, which were averaging 71 degrees. No worries, however. The striped marlin didn’t seem to care. The number of striped marlin caught held steady throughout the whole first month of the year.

The hot spot was not far from the Harbor – just off the Lighthouse at Cabo Falso. The Pisces sportfishing fleet kicked off the month of February with a report of a remarkable 31 striped marlin released along with roosterfish, jack crevalle, sierra, and needlefish.

The bite remained steady, and most of the marlin were caught either by soaking live or dead mackerel or caballito.

Dorado were scattered throughout the area on both the Golden Gate and Jaime Banks; plus, several boats scored on a couple of nice-sized wahoo out in the open water as they trolled offshore between the various banks.

The yellowfin tuna, which has been consistent since the first of the year, has slowed dramatically in recent days.

Closer to shore, while they were bottom fishing, anglers caught some grouper and cabrilla, plus a few landed Almaco jack. Several fishermen who caught them weren’t sure if they were lucky or unlucky as they battled these bruisers. The Almaco jack just happens to be one of the toughest fish there to haul up from the bottom where they hang out.

One panga, fishing for a half-day, scored four striped marlin, which they released, one dorado, several white bonito – all while fishing with the fleet off the Lighthouse. 

LOCATION: Pacific Side solely: Faro Viejo, Los Arcos, Las Margaritas, Migrino, and the Golden Gate.

WEATHER CONDITIONS: 71-degrees, chilly overcast days, with a maximum swell of between two to four feet.

AVERAGE WATER TEMP: The average water temperature has been between 72-and-74-degrees F.

BEST LURES: Mackerel live/dead, cedar plugs, hoochies, feathers, green/yellow, and guacamayo lures.

Puerto Los Cabos

A good number of tourists are arriving now at our Los Cabos destination; many of these visitors are anticipating enjoying warm weather, though, with this continued cold trend, we have felt low temperatures as chilly as 48 degrees and daytime highs barely reaching 70 degrees recently with scattered cloud cover. Although by the end of the first week of February, the pattern shifted and we had slightly warmer conditions. North winds were brisk, finally diminishing, and the ocean water temperatures were in the 67-to-71-degree range and were off-colored; currents were plaguing the area from off San Jose del Cabo towards Los Frailes. There are a limited number of serious anglers now in town, as they are following reports and they realize this is not typically peak season for much besides northern winds and peak whale migration. Last February we did see much more consistent action; it was a season when we did not have such constant winds and it was not as cold overall. So much depends on weather conditions this time of year. We do expect to see some warmer more stable conditions in the coming weeks .

The bait schools continue to be concentrated off San Jose – not many mackerel, mainly sardineta and chihuil at this time, also some limited numbers of caballito and ballyhoo. We are hoping they move within range soon. There have been no sardina reported; it would be nice to have the option of live sardina, but these baitfish have been scarce in our local region for recent months. Strips of squid are working. Lots of bait are also reported on offshore grounds ensuring that gamefish have more than enough natural food source. The all-around action has been slow, with cold conditions and off-colored water being the primary factor.

Anglers have worked hard for a handful of fish, and although there has still been a chance at finding a dorado or two, the surface action has become very scattered, and the best bet was while slow trolling bait. Many charters were also trying for more options off the bottom, though there was limited action. None were big fish, and all were good eating, but just no numbers at all. Anglers were fortunate to land a mix of a half dozen fish. Although there were not many mackerel, there was a mix of pargo, snapper, cabrilla, bonito, triggerfish, etc.

Yellowfin tuna were seen breezing on the surface of the Outer Gordo Banks, but they were not interested in biting; on Saturday, there was one 80-pound tuna caught while drift fishing with squid.

Billfish action was better towards Cabo San Lucas, but still scattered and hit or miss; reports were decent on the 1150 Spot for striped marlin. Also, more mako shark appeared in the cooler water. As water conditions settle, we expect more offshore porpoise and tuna action will develop; it’s the usual time of year for this.

Inshore action yielded roosterfish, sierra, and shallow rock species, although this was not guaranteed. We did see a couple of sierra weighing nearly 10 pounds, but the roosterfish were not so active in the cold water. However, there were a few 5- to 15-pound roosters caught and released.

East Cape

Cold and windy weather conditions are expected to continue throughout the remainder of February. Following the local anglers’ lead, most visiting fishermen are selecting the few good days in-between the stronger than usual north winds as fishing days, carefully waiting for the wind to back off.

However, patience has paid off for some with a few wahoo tucked in close to shore between Punta Arena and Rincon outside the Cabo Pulmo boundaries.

Farther offshore, remarkably, there have been a few striped marlin spotted and even a few hooked – a real feat considering the crank weather of late.

Another surprise catch has been a handful of dorado for the several boats that had stumbled on some floating debris, which was providing cover for baitfish; in turn, the bait attracted the schoolie-sized dorado (with a few over 10-pounds).

Again, the tin boat fleet managed to get out for a few hours now and then and were rewarded with some often sought after sierra mackerel.

La Paz 

It has not only been windy, but unseasonably cold, as an unusual cold snap has had pretty much everyone shivering and grabbing extra blankets!  Of course, it’s all relative because tourists visiting from Canada, Alaska, and other northern areas thought it was crazy to call 50-degree-weather “cold!”

However, for locals, that’s chilly, and when you add to that, there were the heavy rains that caused some localized flooding. And on the backside of that storm was when the winds came up.

Of course, there are always a few folks who still insist on fishing despite the advice of locals. Grumpy weather dictated that they devote their time fishing close to shore or that they get off the water early because of the weather and waves. Catches included some school-sized dorado, sierra, bonito, jack crevalle, and cabrilla. It’s hard to find live bait when the weather is so inclement, so at times, we had to supplement with frozen bait, and we had to troll inshore with small lures.