Monthly Fishing Report – By Gary Graham
Fishing has been exciting throughout Baja Sur. In Loreto alone, some large 40-pound class dorado were landed by the 115 competing teams in the Dos Mares Gran Final sponsored by FONMAR, all winners of their 26 local tournaments throughout Baja Sur.
This was followed by news that local San Cosme resident, Robert Ross, had battled an estimated 500-pound yellowfin tuna near Catalan Island before the line suddenly went slack and Ross reeled in the straightened-out hook!
Ross and his son-in-law Jay Yadon, Outpost Charters, described the scene around their boats as “monster-sized yellowfin boiled on sardines just a few feet off the stern.” They saw several huge YFT as well as the one that Ross hooked, all candidates for topping the current IGFA All-Tackle 427-pound record held by Guy Yocum set nearly six years ago. The remarkable fact is that there are so few anglers on these fish when an IGFA record could be waiting to be broken.
They did successfully land a second large tuna which he returned to his home at San Cosme to weigh on his digital scale. It weighed 310.2 pounds. Another caught by a local fisherman was estimated to be approximately 250 pounds, bringing the total number of cow-sized tuna caught to seven for the year 2018 thus far. Odds are there will be more news coming from this relatively unknown fishery before year’s end.
The La Paz and Los Arenas areas are enjoying more tuna…bigger dorado…wahoo…billfish…and everyone who had a roosterfish on their bucket list caught at least one! Plus, they have enjoyed some of the best weather of the year with sunny days, cool nights and flat blue waters!
Farther south at Los Barriles, Van Wormer’s East Cape Gold Cup Wahoo Jackpot attracted 56 teams of 210 anglers who caught 22 wahoo with the largest fish weighing 41.1 pounds brought to the scales by the winning team of Victor Locklin of Corona and Luis Beltran of San Jose del Cabo on the Oso Negro.
The cash jackpots ($200, $300, $500, $1000) totaled over $40,000. Combined with a brand-new VW Tiguan SUV valued at $25,000, the fish caught by Locklin earned the Oso Negro team more than $60 thousand!
Although wahoo has held center stage, the yellowfin tuna has remained fair-to-good for nice-sized fish, and smaller- to medium-sized dorado seem to be spread out throughout the area. Inshore pargo, amberjack and pompano, along with roosterfish swimming in shallow water along the shore, are the best targets.
At Puerto Los Cabos, the main species has been yellowfin tuna ranging in sizes from football- up to 80-pounds, hitting on the strips of squid and sardina. The fish were finicky, being more active early mornings on some days, while on other days, they were more active later in the day; boats were moving around to the various spots, trying to find some cooperative fish. Catches ranged from one or two yellowfin, up to ten.
This is normally the time of year that the largest of cow-sized yellowfin tuna start to arrive lurking around the local high spots. There were a couple of reports recently of large fish being lost after extended battles on the grounds near the Gordo Banks. Presumably these were thought to be big tuna. That same area is now producing some action for larger marlin, including one black marlin that was estimated to weigh 500 pounds landed mid-week aboard a 22-foot panga.
Only occasionally are dorado being found, and most are under 15-pounds and close to shore. Water is now clear and blue within one mile of shore, with ocean currents warming, averaging 82 to 86 degrees.
Limited bottom action for a few snapper, bonito, cabrilla, amberjack, but most charters are targeting the finicky tuna, which has proved to be the best bet for filling a cooler full of fresh fillets.
The Cabo area yielded few seldom-caught, short-billed spearfish, several huge black marlin, along with a few large bull dorado and a beautiful big sailfish — whose size is rarely encountered anywhere in the world.
Offshore fishing has continued to be productive with dorado and yellowfin sandwiched around striped marlin, sailfish, and blue marlin – even a few black marlin showed up. The fleets reported blue marlin in the double-digits along with sailfish and striped marlin. Big numbers of 10- to 20-pound yellowfin are being reported in the fish counts with some 200-pound cows showing up. The fleets are also having some success with school dorado as well as the more singular big bulls running in the 40- to 50-pound range. Most of the blue marlin are running in the
200- to 300-pound range with more blacks being seen farther up in the Sea of Cortez.
Inshore fishing has continued to produce nice catches of roosterfish along with a nice catch of jack crevalle in the Palmilla area.