All That’s Fishy – August 2019, Summertime Giants Arrive
Monthly Fishing Report
By That Baja Guy - Gary Graham
This is the time of year when many anglers’ interests shift gear – the BIGS begin to arrive. The blue and black marlin weighing hundreds of pounds cavorting in the waters surrounding Baja’s tip is a spectacle of nature that will be etched in the memories of observers forever -- both anglers and non-fishing tourists who never wet a line will have remarkable stories of these giants when they return home.
Watching these huge billfish slashing through schools of 20- to 30-pound yellowfin tuna, anglers realize the YFT would be a catch of a lifetime for them instead of just another meal for the giants.
The enormous yellowfin tuna that find their way to the local waters are no less impressive. They are often referred to as “Volkswagens” because of their massive size and shape; the current International Game Fish record is 425-pounds.
Adding to their draw are the many tournaments throughout the summer and fall where thousands of dollars are awarded to the angler who catches the heaviest one. In some cases, the winning checks are in the seemingly mythical MILLIONS!
Of course, most of you might enjoy spotting one of the monsters, but prefer to pass it by, wanting to catch something a little less ambitious. One that is scrappy and would be a great fresh fish dinner back at your hotel or favorite restaurant.
Well, you are in luck! The season of the “Summertime Giants” isn’t limited to giants. There are plenty of “Popular Giants” as well, biting ferociously throughout the water surrounding Baja Sur.
At the top of the class is the bizarre looking roosterfish with its unusual rooster- like comb. Before we go any further, this critter has all the attributes of most Baja gamefish -- a battler for sure. This year’s crop is exceeding expectations in both the quality and quantity categories. Biting lures and bait with equally reckless abandon from Baja’s tip all the way up to Loreto. Don’t miss out on this banner year for one of the most popular of all gamefish in Baja -- but with one word of advice: Release them! They have no food value at all, which accounts for the increasing number being tagged by many of the local fleets with tags being distributed by GrayFishTag Research.
The list of the tasty species is extensive, and only the quantity varies from location to location.
Right now, inshore has still been producing good catches for sierra mackerel that are usually considered a winter fish. It is a perfect candidate for ceviche, a Mexican favorite.
That’s just one of the many fish being reported by most fleets as summer settles in. Quantity and size will vary in each area. Up at East Cape (Los Barriles) the yellowfin tuna are mostly smaller football-sized fish to a few of the larger variety. Regardless of size, they are great eating. Sashimi, broiled, baked or fried are just a few of the different way they can be prepared.
Other popular species that are being caught occasionally are wahoo, though not in big numbers. There are several reasons, first and foremost, they have an impressive mouthful of sharp teeth and are often one of those mystery bites where all that’s left is a piece of the leader. If the crew is at the top of their game, they will have at least one wahoo-prepared lure in the pattern rigged with wire. FYI: if you happen to catch one, their steaks are one of the most sought-after fresh fish in Baja Sur.
Then there are the recent arrivals of the larger dorado, or is it that the dinks are growing up? Being caught are limited numbers from Loreto to the tip, which underscores that it is worth mentioning: Release the small dorado and hold out for the ones that are larger than 10-pounds.
Another good eating surface fish that has settled in for the summer are the white bonito, sometimes called “kawa-kawa” in Hawaii. The reefs and rocky pinnacles are producing an impressive list including snapper and cabrilla along with some late season yellowtail and trophy sized Almaco jacks.
Throughout the summer into the fall, if you happen to come across a crowd gathered at one of the many scales scattered around the Cabo San Lucas Malecon or on the beaches at Muertos, La Paz or Loreto, you might spend a pleasant afternoon watching the weigh-in festivities some of the big game sportfishing tournaments being held. They are open to the public, and it’s a fun way to be part of the celebration!