Fish Report

January 11, 2016 Edition
BY: GARY GRAHAM

If you like Baja better when it’s not blistering hot, this is the right time for you to visit. The fishing is as good as it gets anywhere, regardless of your personal favorite. Billfish or maybe roosterfish to pull on before you release them? Or perhaps a dorado, yellowfin tuna or even a sierra mackerel for dinner? Baja is the right place to enjoy your first fishing trip for 2016. Tight lines and good luck! Gary Graham, gary@garycgraham.com

Cabo San Lucas. The striper bite seemed to be slowing down at the end of 2015; even the live bait situation was difficult. The boats were being limited to five bait (mackerel) per day which created another problem as seals were waiting for them to put bait in the water — especially around the area at El Faro (Cabo Falso) which was the focus of the hot spot. However, most of the boats were forced out because of competition from the seals, they had to leave the infested area even though they knew the stripers were there. Their alternative was to watch the numerous whales rolling through the area which did cause a lot of customer excitement.

fishkiller2111.jpgThe cooling air temps are showing lows of 61 nights to 76 daytime highs with a 63% humidity level. A few cloudy and a few windy days make fishing areas more selective.

There were a few rough and bumpy days in-between the calm days when the surface breezes varied from calm to about 10 mph. Sea temps have remained around 76 to 77 degrees and extended from the Golden Gate Bank, down around Cabo and up to Los Frailes on the Sea of Cortez side.

Best Fishing Area: El Faro, (aka Cabo Falso), Herradura and Pozo de Cota seemed to be the most productive but the stripers were difficult to catch, especially at Cabo Falso, with the seal problem.

Best Lure/Bait: Live bait was best for most, including dorados, though a few were taken on artificials.

Bait Supply: All mackerel and limited to five per boat. Good news — the price remained stable at $3.00 per bait.

San Jose. Fishing action has been more scattered than we would normally expect; options are limited without sardina. The most productive grounds were found two to four miles straight out front of Puerto Los Cabos Marina; this is where practically the entire fleets from both San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas were congregating. Striped marlin, with a few dorado in the mix, were striking on slow-trolled baits while drifting baits down deeper, or an occasional surface feeder. No huge numbers of fish, and heavy pressure, but still the best bet to find action. The stripers were in the 60- to 90-pound class, with a few 120-pounders.

Ocean currents pushed in cooler; greenish water combined with persistent northerly winds, made it tough to find any action around the Gordo Banks. Some yellowfin tuna were caught — one 143-pound tuna was weighed in, others in the 15- to 80-pound range, but until conditions stabilize, this will most likely be the situation.

Tuna could be seen coming into chum lines or breezing the surface, and proved to be skittish. Recently anglers found sporadic action for yellowfin closer to shore off Punta Gorda while drift-fishing with strips of squid; these fish weighed up to 20 pounds; some landed as many as five tuna, though this bite slacked off as quickly as it started. Unusual not to see the larger-sized needlefish typically present this time of year.

A handful of 20- to 40-pound wahoo were reported. The bottom continues to show signs of more life — snapper and cabrilla, a couple of amberjack, yellowtail, ever present triggerfish and bonito. Calmer conditions are needed to have better chances at these species however.

Inshore smaller-sized roosterfish, though not easy to hook on the larger baits, have been an option for variety. Please remember they have little food value and should be released.

East Cape

The wind surfers’ annual migration is larger than ever. Their “Lord of the Wind” competition draws some of the best in the sport.

From their point of view the North Winds have cooperated while anxious anglers can be seen hunkering on the beaches, hoping the winds will dissipate long enough to allow a few hours fishing. When that occurs, the catch consists of sierra, smallish roosterfish and a few jacks.

La Paz

It’s off-season and really breezy. So many of the captains have their boats out of the water.

There’s still a surprising variety of fish out there on the days we can fish. Cold water species like sierra are becoming more frequent. Inshore species like pargo and cabrilla are around the rocky and reef areas. They make great eating as does trigger fish. Plus, a few pelagic species are around like dorado and billfish.

Some of the commercial guys are still finding yellowtail and amberjack off the drop off by the Lighthouse. Those guys have to feed their families so they’re a little more inclined to go out even in less than favorable conditions. But that’s a different ballgame than folks who want to sport fish. But, even then, it’s hard on the commercial guys because the winds limit their access to the waters as well. But, when they do get out, they’re finding the fork tails in the deeper water.

Lots of folks are trying to swim with the whale sharks, but like fishing, it hinges on the ability to get out there in-between the winds. Although the whale sharks are right in the bay in shallow water, if it’s windy and choppy, it’s difficult to find them, let alone trying to snorkel with them.

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.thejenwren.com

East Cape Tackle Cindy Kirkwood, www.eastcapetackle.com

La Paz

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