By That Baja Guy - Gary Graham
The recent unsettled conditions for offshore and inshore have made a challenging game out of where to fish. On the Pacific side, local banks have been inconsistent as strong spring currents sweeping down the coast bring both off-color and lower sea temps.
Tenacious anglers are finding some striped marlin ranging from so-so to fair results along with a few yellowfin tuna and an occasional wahoo or dorado for the very fortunate. There have been rumors of larger yellowfin caught on the banks farther uphill to the north, although none have been weighed at any of the Cabo Marina scales.
Inshore on the surface, sierra, roosterfish, and skipjack plus a few smaller- size dorado have been found; while deeper, there have been some yellowtail, grouper, snapper, and cabrilla while fishing around the many pinnacles near the rocky points dotting the Pacific coastline.
Working offshore southeast of Lands End, some yellowfin tuna were seen traveling with porpoise schools, mostly football-sized to 25 pounds, with a few billfish mixed in. There was even an early swordfish landed by one of the local fleet boats.
Up at Puerto Los Cabos, the Eastern Pacific bonito averaging 4- to 6- pounds, with some as large as 10-pounds, were schooling on the pinnacles throughout the area. Like their bigger brothers, the yellowfin tuna dominated the catch. Not only are they good eating, but they are also great fun to catch on light tackle.
A few cabrilla, pargo, snapper and amberjack, and the old, reliable triggerfish joined the party, along with some quality-sized huachinango and one monster amberjack weighing near 100 pounds were landed from a panga using a whole bonito for bait!
Wahoo, marlin, and dorado were tougher to locate, though with the sea temps beginning to make their seasonal climb, the action should improve.
Small-to-medium yellowfin tuna are being hooked on the Iman Bank as well as the Gordo Banks, mainly using strips of squid for bait. It’s tough to get them to bite and of course even tougher to land the larger ones – sizes ranged from 25- to
90-pounds. Most restaurants throughout the area will prepare the freshly-caught fish in a variety of ways from Mexican sashimi to broiled to perfection.
Along the shore, roosterfish, sierra and jack crevalle were scarce for those fishing from both the shore and by boat.
Los Barriles at East Cape is shrugging off the mild, but winter-like conditions as seasonal north winds subside – a promising sign that has only lured a few local boats out to see what’s happening.
The best results centered on a good-to-excellent snapper bite while bottom fishing on some of the favorite high spots off Buena Vista. Some breezing yellowtail were spotted, and the sierra and jack continue to make the beach scene interesting for small tin boaters frequently seen trolling close to shore.
Locals at Muertos Bay and La Paz are finding what they refer to as “transitional” time that usually is a bit later in the season. However, they are quite content to exploit the early arrivals.
Catch cooler-water species like cabrilla, pargo, sierra, yellowtail, amberjack, snapper and more as they remain in the vicinity. However, species like dorado, tuna, wahoo, billfish, and larger roosterfish are starting to arrive with the surface waters warming.
Add in bonito, jack crevalle, skipjack, and other year-round species, and you have plenty of variety right now providing some early spring action for several kinds of fish.
You may not get a lot of any one species, but you could finish a day with six, eight, ten or more in the box at the end of the day. The boat right next to you could have another three or four different species. The next day you might get completely different species. As they say, variety is the spice of life.
Farther up in the Sea of Cortez at Loreto, visiting anglers are just beginning to arrive in any numbers. They have been pleasantly surprised at the variety with catches of yellowtail, barred pargo, dog-tooth snapper, sierra, amberjack, bonito, jack crevalle, roosterfish (released), yellow snapper, cabrilla as well as tuna (lost) and wahoo (lost); plus signs of striped marlin seem to point to a productive spring and summer season.
The hitch is that many of the fish are in shallow water right now or they are over structure, so many of the larger fish are being lost in the rocks, even though they’re willing to bite.
The captains are returning from their trips slightly down about the catch results, but excited about the many huge rafts of sargasso already beginning to appear. It’s still early to daydream of jumping dorado because the next normally scheduled event for local fishing trips is the surface feeding of cabrilla and yellowtail as they do their “tail chasing!”
“Tons of yellowtail” are out at Catalana according to recent reports; nevertheless the 40-some mile distance one way keeps the visiting boats at a minimum.
For the few people wise enough to troll an “orange tiger” lure, the result was the next best action – an “angry” instead of a “hungry” attack – resulting in pargo, cabrilla, and triggerfish, but didn’t include snagged baitfish!
It’s super late for the big blue whales that are usually gone by now but are still in the area in smaller numbers.
This is the time of year when change is welcome, and both the local and visiting anglers consider the improving conditions as an indication of another remarkable spring season for Baja Sur.