All that's “Fishy” from Loreto to Land’s End
By Gary Graham-That Baja Guy
The Los Cabos Big Game Charter Boat Classic, an angler event sponsored by Los Cabos Tourism Board, guaranteed $40,000 plus in cash purse prizes.
According to tournament director Dan Jacobs, “They had over 450 registered anglers from throughout the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia fish on more than 100 charter boats from San Jose and Cabo. The anglers stayed at some 60 properties in Cabo during the week. It's great to see the anglers, families, and friends booking the charter boats and resorts so that they can experience a big game tournament without any entry fees required.”
The largest fish of the event was a 330-pound yellowfin tuna caught by Cam Renaud from British Columbia aboard Cabo Playa.
Happy New Year to the anglers who arrived in Baja Sur for their first fishing trip in a brand new year! No point reviewing all the fantastic fishing we had in 2019. Like last month’s holidays – all of that is old news as we peer into the future of 2020.
Welcome to our alternative sportfishing universe with a variety of fishing challenges, ranging from first-timers to seasoned veterans offering memorable catches of billfish, tuna, wahoo, and roosterfish, that will become some of those “memorable moments” to be cherished for a lifetime.
Offshore on the Pacific side, the full spectrum of species seems to be in play. For the billfish “junkies,” there are still a few sailfish along with the larger blue marlin on the hunt from Cabo Falso to the outer banks farther north. Don’t be surprised if your group stumbles into numbers of striped marlin frantically chasing the fleeing baitfish on the surface eager to inhale those big lures that are being trolled off the stern.
Then there are the yellowfin tuna ranging in sizes from football to several hundred pounds lurking beneath the giant schools of frolicking porpoise looking for an easy meal. The wahoo, one of the faster saltwater fish capable of speeds nearing 50-mph are still in the neighborhood and adding to the excitement.
For those who prefer to stay closer to shore, there are the exotic, strange-looking roosterfish, joined by colorful dorado, as well as the hard-fighting jack crevalle. Don’t be surprised if there are a few sierra with a mouthful of teeth in the mix.
Heading up into the Sea of Cortez at Puerto Los Cabos, the yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and dorado are scattered on the Gordo Banks, Cardon, La Fortuna, and off Punta Gorda. Live bait is working best, especially the chihuil when available; they are like candy for wahoo. The Gordo Banks are producing yellowfin tuna over 200-pounds, with even larger fish lost in the area. Strips of squid, small skipjack, chihuil, and caballito have also been working.
Dorado are mixed in as well, but are scattered. It sounds as though there was some roosterfish action farther offshore while trolling for dorado and wahoo – nice-sized fish to 30 pounds. Also, a couple of yellowtail, one was an impressive 38-pounds, and there was a 70-pound Almaco jack, taken while chunk fishing for tuna on the Gordo Banks.
Billfish are limited off San Jose del Cabo, a scattering of striped marlin and a couple of small blues.
Up at East Cape, seasonal north winds are dominating the fishing. In between blows, there are still dorado just 10 miles offshore near the series of shark buoys. In the same area, there are both striped and blue marlin, sailfish, and even an occasional spearfish. “The water is still warm, and the fish are still biting,” volunteered one local captain.
Up at Las Arenas on the south side of Cerralvo Island near La Paz, anglers have found a few giant yellowfin tuna plus a shot at wahoo early mornings before the winds pick up.
Same story in La Paz – the best bet is either to fish only in the early mornings before the telltale wind line appears to the north or, try to fish the calm days in between the windy days. Most of the fishing is inshore for jack crevalle, snapper, and cabrilla, although some larger pargo were reportedly lost. Bonito schools can either be problematic or a lot of fun, depending on your point of view.
There are still some small schools of dorado running around with most fish in the 10- to 15-pound class.
When winds are down, there’s some excellent action with bait on light tackle for some better grade of tuna in the 40- to 80-pound range that can be fierce battles on smaller line that gets them to bite. Rapalas, like the darker, deep-runners, also picked up some wahoo.
Loreto’s wintertime yellows play “hide and seek” on different high spots both north and south of town and around the islands. There are fewer fish at each of the dozen popular spots. The 25-pound yellowtail are a rare addition to the pinto bass, orange snapper, and the few grouper and cabrilla that are deep enough to ignore the wind.
If it's not a hot bite, expect to see more boats searching the many rock piles for next week’s “go-to” yellowtail action.
Gary Graham -That Baja Guy