All That’s Fishy – June 2019
Monthly Fishing Report
by That Baja Guy - Gary Graham
Los Cabos has earned the reputation as being the billfish capital of the sportfishing world and the new season is looming off the horizon. Striped marlin, along with the much larger blue and black marlin, plus sailfish and swordfish are all beginning to appear in fish reports of local fleets, although not in the quantity, nor for that matter the quality, that will be common throughout the summer and into fall.
Meanwhile, the waters surrounding Baja Sur offer a dazzling array of species to excite both newcomers and seasoned veterans, meeting the demands of the “size matters” crowd as well as the “whatever bites” gang that only want to see their rod bent.
Regardless of which camp you fall in – newcomer or veteran, “size matters” or “whatever bites,” there are plenty of choices to brighten your fishing trip. In Cabo San Lucas, offshore on the Pacific side, big game hunters are finding billfish, plus occasionally some yellowfin tuna approaching 200 pounds mixed in with the smaller fish. All are under roving porpoise schools searching for food. Don’t be startled to have a wahoo bite (easily identified by their lightning speed) when they are hooked. Another possibility is the colorful dorado that startle anglers with airborne acrobatics. There are quite a few smaller ones that are fun to catch; however, they are too small for a meal, so it is better to let them go free, grow up and catch them another day.
Inshore football-sized yellowfin tuna join in with both black and white skipjack as well as bonito, perfect for light tackle (or the more-is-better crowd) and have been a consistent catch. Sierra mackerel which are often incorrectly considered a winter fish are still in the mix and are great fun to catch. Once again, they are the main ingredient of ceviche and saving a couple to take to a local restaurant can make for a pleasant evening meal.
Also, yellowtail and Almaco jacks continue to be caught in deeper water where there are pinnacles that provide cover for the baitfish that attract a variety of additional fish as well. Grouper, snapper, pargo, cabrilla, and unnamed others – the best way to identify them is to take a photo with your cell phone and Google them the next time you are online.
Already 2019 has produced a remarkable number of huge roosterfish. Anglers using both fly and conventional tackle from the beaches as well as aboard pangas, from Muertos Bay and East Cape to Cabo and up on the Pacific side, have been bringing in some trophy-sized fish. Groups have scored on trophy-sized roosters at Muertos Bay since early spring and reports are filled with consistent catches of roosters, as well as a few other surprises – wahoo, striped marlin, and some nice-sized dorado.
arther down the coast at East Cape, there seems to be a similar number of roosters cruising the beaches. While there have been glowing reports of “personal best” roosters for several dedicated anglers, there are also reports of beaches crowded with competing anglers.
With the bright Baja sun overhead, East Cape beaches seem almost like flats fishing for permit or giant trevally. Many believe the best time to fish roosters is from mid-morning until mid-afternoon. Spotting “grandes” betrayed by their shadows on the bottom is sight casting at its finest.
Large roosterfish, or in Spanish pez gallo, is the prime beach target on any tackle. They are often oblivious to any offering, which makes even the refusals memorable. Their “takes” demand a checklist of do's and don'ts. Even for the most seasoned anglers, let alone for a novice, this is daunting.
Up at La Paz, quite a nice mix of fish was taken this past week with sunny weather and relatively calms seas. Most of the fishing action centered over the inshore reefs and rocks where a surge of different species kept rods bent – and hearts broken – as fish often took frustrated anglers into the rocks.
Inshore species ran the gamut, from big cabrilla to several species of pargo, including pargo mulatto (barred pargo); pargo liso (mullet snapper); dog-tooth pargo (dog-tooth snapper) plus red and yellow snapper.
Add to that some big pompano; some brutish jack crevalle, common and white bonito and quite a few hawkfish.
In the same areas, we lost some big yellowtail that couldn’t be stopped on either iron or bait, plus slow-trolled Rapalas and Yo-Zuris, but those same lures also produced a couple of nice shallow-water wahoo up to about 35 pounds.
Dorado action is also picking up with some larger fish taken near Espirito Santo Island where Sargasso weed, which attracts baitfish and consequently more dorado as the waters get warmer, is starting to appear.
Up at Loreto, a fleet of boats decided to ditch the usual daily routine of hitting a few 'tails at the close in spots and headed north to Idelfonso Island. It’s a long run, and for that reason, it doesn't get constantly worked over by the Loreto sport boats. Also, in the same area is Almejas Bay and Pulpito with Idelfonso Island a few miles farther out.
The "big bite" is still eluding the searchers, but most of the earliest boats are landing a few 25- to 30-pound yellowtail. Almejas was good for pargo and cabrilla with the biggest "snapper" hitting 16 pounds. Still tons of bait and the sun is becoming "summertime brutal!" Bring lots of sunscreen.