Monthly Fishing Report by Gary Graham

As we transition from winter to spring (temps average 66° in March), the operative word is “experimentation.” If you are a seasoned angler, try to step out of your comfort zone; this is a great time to add a species or two to your catch list.

The novice angler should ask the captain what species is biting and go for it! The number of choices is dazzling in our local waters from the usual catch to the exotic – the unusual.

Striped marlin is at the top of the list recently as many boats have been scoring multiple releases on a regular basis.

TIP: Look out over the IGY Marina. Those blue pennants fluttering from boat outriggers in the afternoon breeze signify a marlin taken, and if accompanied by red ones, it indicates a successful release of the fish. That tells the story.

Another common sight is the white flags that attest to the catch of yellowfin tuna. What they don’t reveal is the size. They are being caught from the tip all the way up to La Paz with some in the 50-pound class – that’s a lot of sashimi! Although others are not quite so large, they are still ample for a fresh fish feast prepared at one of the many restaurants offering that service. And though it hasn’t happened often, there were several tuna caught on the Pacific side from shore with spinning equipment by two local anglers.

Though they have been scarce this year, the yellow flag is flown for dorado catches; however, with sea temps beginning to climb, there may be more and more of those fluttering in the wind.

One final flag, used to proclaim the catch of wahoo, is orange. Catching a wahoo is a real feat since they are rated by marine biologists as the fourth fastest- swimming fish in the ocean, often reaching speeds just a click below 47mph. They earn high marks as one of the best eating fish caught in saltwater as well.

All the above species are usually caught on or near the surface, but another option now is fishing down deeper in the water column where an entirely different group of catchable fish hang out.

The list includes: yellowtail, yellow snapper, red snapper, cabrilla, pargo liso, pargo perro, and barred pargo. They all live in a hostile environment and have earned a much-deserved reputation of being tough fighters that don’t give up easily. Often unaware, anglers are sure they have snagged a big rock in the beginning of the battle that may last awhile.

Up into the Sea of Cortez, the dreaded North Winds are a fact of life during the winter months, but they begin to weaken as the season changes with fewer windy periods.

The good news this year is that there seems to be many more sardina available from the tip, along the coast all the way up to La Paz and beyond according to local reports … a good omen for improving inshore fishing throughout the area.

Outside of Puerto Los Cabos at San Jose del Cabo as well as East Cape, yellowfin tuna and billfish are at the top of the catch list, along with improving inshore action for jack crevalle, pompano and some smaller roosterfish being caught close to shore fishing from both cruisers and pangas.

Anglers can still expect to catch a few sierra mackerel, much improved this year, though their numbers will wind down as sea temps rise. A word of caution: they have sharp teeth, so wire leaders or long-shank hooks are a must.

Muertos Bay and La Paz are enjoying the early spring as well. Sardina have already begun appearing along the shore, and it’s evident that the waters are changing. With a bit of transition going on, both warm- and coldwater fish are occupying the same water space! There are some dorado, tuna and billfish around. Normally, they aren’t seen this early.

The coldwater species that are still around – cabrilla, snapper and sierra – were caught recently as well as several species of pargo (dog-tooth/cubera snapper and barred pargo), the usual jack crevalle and lots of bonito.