Fish Report

BY: GARY GRAHAM

As we begin the annual Baja Sur tournament marathon which peaks in October and continues into November, one aspect that should be noted is most of the tournaments set minimum weights for different species of fish, encouraging the release of the fish that don’t meet the minimum requirements. This results in lower catch tallies for the different events.

As an example, the 2015 Bisbee East Cape Offshore Tournament, held recently, recorded 62 billfish caught by the 61 boats fishing the ECO; they included 40 blue marlin, 13 stripers, five sailfish and four black marlin. Ten yellowfin tuna were also brought to the scales. Ignoring the fact that minimum qualifying weights are set intentionally high — dorado, 30 pounds; yellowfin tuna, 40 pounds; and billfish, 300-pounds, the uninformed might jump to the conclusion that fishing was poor. However, the report below seems to contradict that conclusion.

John Peelman and Team Hot Rod owner from Fresno, California celebrate boating a 409 pound blue marlin, which earned them $366,531 in the Bisbee East Cape.Cabo San Lucas

If you are in Cabo to fish, you’ve come to the right place. Conditions couldn’t be better — clean blue water in the high eighties — more calm than rough most days. Add in lots of bait to the mix and although your chances may not be 100% — maybe only 70/30% — those are remarkable odds anywhere in the world.

Striped, blue, black marlin and sailfish are all in the neighborhood ready to challenge your angling skills. All you need to bring is good luck.

If billfish aren’t your thing, there are some quality yellowfin tuna for the taking. We’re not talking about the dinky football models; there are a few reaching the 300-pound mark, if you are up for it.

Dorado catches remain slow and the few caught have been disappointingly small. Other fish caught were a couple of wahoo, including one weighing close to 100 pounds. Inshore skipjacks, bonito and a few yellowtail were also landed.

San Jose

Sardina are becoming scarcer with surf conditions now increasing and coinciding with early morning low tides. Many anglers are searching out other bait options; local super markets have been selling slabs of giant squid.

The tuna bite on the Iman Bank has continued, with the action best later in the morning; most of the yellowfin caught from these grounds ranged in the 6- to 50-pound class. The spot where a handful of very large yellowfin tuna have been lurking is on the Gordo Banks, with three tuna weighing 300 pounds or more landed.

Billfish have been scattered — trolling skipjack, bolito and small yellowfin tuna around the Gordo Banks has been one of the best techniques for having a chance at sailfish, striped, blue and black marlin or the cow-sized tuna, although this type of fishing requires a lot of patience. With hook ups on these fish being few and far between, more charters have been concentrating around the Iman Bank, where there are better chances at catching larger numbers of billfish and tuna, plus a handful of snapper/pargo species, an occasional amberjack, dogtooth snapper, cabrilla or grouper.

East Cape

After several weeks of exciting billfish action, the Bisbee East Cape Offshore Tournament, hosted by the Valdez family, came to their popular Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort. During the three-day event, there were both blue marlin and black marlin brought to the scale. The winning billfish belonged to Team Hot Rod owned by John Peelman, Fresno, Calif., crewed by Captain Eriberto Orozco and mate Ramiro Gonzalez, plus second angler Bob Garuvello, earning them $366,531— the largest portion of the $508,000 awarded. Other winners included:

Team Fisherman with Captain Jose Cosio; 170.3-pound yellowfin, $60,470 for the Day Three Daily and overall tuna prize money.

• The two other tuna daily jackpots, which paid out $34,850 each, were split between Team Tres Amigos (Erick Esteves, 57.6-pound yellowfin) and Team North Star (Gonzalo Castillo, 156-pound yellowfin). Both fish were caught on squid.

• Angler Randy Wickward landed the second-heaviest and only other qualifying marlin, a 389-pound black, aboard the panga Ardilla Ciega with Captain Gregorio Liera; $11,049.

Following the event, offshore action remained spotty with good and bad days interspersed. On the good days, some frantic sailfish and striper action was found by some out beyond the off-green water. Inshore, small dorado persisted and the wahoo bite returned. Many anglers turned to bottom fishing, scoring on some good-sized grouper, pargo and cabrilla, along with a few quality roosterfish which were landed from the shore from Rancho Leonero to Rincon by flyflingers and spinfishers.

La Paz

In La Paz, if you’re not catching a limit or near limit or double limit of dorado recently, there’s something wrong. Many days pangas are coming back early with tired anglers. In all honesty, the fish are much smaller than they have been in previous years, but there’s still good action. Even after limits, guys are sometimes catching another 5 to10 or more fish and releasing them just for fun or going after other species like billfish or inshore pargo, cabrilla or roosterfish.

There’s marlin and sailfish for those who want to give them a try and the majority of bites are right around the areas where the small dorado are hanging out since the billfish will eat the small dorado. There are also some big schools of huge 20-pound jack crevalle that are tearing up the anglers as well as some big bonito.

Las Arenas/Muertos Bay is still living up to its nickname as the “Roosterfish Capital of the World.” The “smallest” roosters this week were 25- to 30-pound fish. The largest were in the 40- to 50-pound class. They’re not good to eat so everyone is releasing them, but they sure are having fun with these big guys close to shore, almost in the surf. The ticket is getting the big sabalo (lady fish) or liso (mullet) for bait.

Added to the list was a surprise of yellowtail … yes, yellowtail pop up! Yellowtail are cold water fish. We haven’t had a yellowtail since May.

Cabo San Lucas

Tracy Ehrenberg www.piscessportfishing.com

Larry Edwards www.cortezcharters.com

San Jose del Cabo

Gordo Bank Pangas www.gordobanks.com

East Cape

Rancho Leonero Hotel www.rancholeonero.com

Jen Wren Sportfishing www.thejenwren1.com

East Cape Tackle Cindy Kirkwood, www.eastcapetackle.com

La Paz

Jonathan Roldan’s Tailh1unter International www.tailhunter-international.com.