Fish Report

April 4, 2016 Edition
BY: GARY GRAHAM

Seems as if the banner fishing that had been anticipated for March was delayed a tad by some unexpected and unusual weather. Hopefully, it is all behind us now and better spring fishing is just around the corner. Tight Lines and good luck, Gary Graham, gary@garycgraham.com

Cabo San Lucas. Tough conditions continue as a cool current swept down the Pacific side around Land’s End up into the Sea of Cortez. The billfish catch remained less than normal. Striped marlin dominated the billfish catch with few boats managing to score multiple releases of up to three per day.

Although March is normally a slow fishing month, this year is different; everyone thought it would be a bumper crop year with El Nino conditions along the Pacific — so far, that has not been the case.

Yellowfin catches have mostly been football-sized with a few exceptions up to 25-pounds. One notable exception was Ralph Clock’s (Newport Beach) catch of a 98-pound yellowfin tuna aboard Tomas Cantor’s Baja Mar. It took Clock nearly two hours to subdue the beast. Rounding out the offshore catches were a few smallish wahoo and a handful of dorado.

Inshore produced an incredible variety of species: triggerfish, amberjack, yellowtail, ladyfish, grouper, sierra, roosterfish, red snapper, seabass, jack crevalle, sheepshead and cabrilla. Cabo Climate: Mostly sunny and warm with air temps from 68 nights to 76 daytime highs. Sea Conditions: Surface breezes mostly from the northwest from nearly calm to 7- mph. Sea temps cooling on both sides of the peninsula and vary from 72 to 73 degrees from the Finger Bank on the Pacific side to Los Frailes on the Sea of Cortez side. We are now seeing the push of cooler waters from the Pacific side that wraps Cabo San Lucas and flows into the Sea of Cortez, typical for March.

San Jose. Spring season’s weather was a bit unpredictable, starting off with heavy winds from the south, pushing in cooler Pacific currents, which also created murky inshore conditions. Ocean temperature ranged from 71 degrees on the Pacific to 73 degrees in the direction of San Jose and Los Frailes. Recently we have endured tough conditions, though now clarity is rebounding, combining factors such as, full moon, strong cool currents, high winds, and choppy seas, which can add up to more difficult fishing. Bait availability has been mainly caballito, strips of squid and ballyhoo.

The majority of the fleet is concentrating on the grounds north of Punta Gorda, namely, La Fortuna, Iman and San Luis Banks. Drift fishing over rocky structures, using various baits and yo-yo jigs for snapper, pargo, amberjack, cabrilla, triggerfish have been the most successful, common catches. There was one 70 pound amberjack, but the majority of the bottom species are up to 15 pounds. Reports from Cabo San Lucas of larger boats venturing towards Todos Santos that located schools of yellowtail traveling with porpoise that were able to land up to a half dozen nice sized yellowtail while trolling marlin, tuna, dorado surface-type lures — a promising sign that more yellowtail are heading in our direction.

Action for dorado, wahoo or yellowfin tuna has been limited, with only an occasional wahoo or dorado landed. Tuna are being found on the Iman Banks towards Vinorama, drift fishing with strips of squid. Though hit or miss, a handful of yellowfin were landed each day, including fish to over 70-pounds; most common-sized tuna were in the 15- to 25-pound range, and anglers were fortunate to land one tuna in their combined catches. Inshore, there were a few larger-sized roosterfish hooked off of the San Jose del Cabo hotel zone.

East Cape. Cool in the mornings with nice warm days. Sea temps around 73 degrees inside and up to 78 outside. The bait boats continue to provide great stuff including mackerel and caballito.

There are not a lot of boats going out, so it’s hard to know exactly how the fishing is all over the area.

Dean Stella and his son, Nino, were out on a panga Thursday and boated three striped marlin while soaking bait off La Ribera. Targeting billfish has been successful by soaking bait with a weight but the fish seem to have dropped down into deeper water. We are still picking up a few yellowtail and amberjacks on the bottom off La Ribera. Don’t be surprised if you latch onto a marlin while doing this. Inshore has been providing a lot of fun for fly-fishers targeting smaller roosters and jacks along the beaches. Sierra are also on the bite for the early risers. Best bet is around Leonero and the marina.

La Paz. Fishing recently; nothing really to write home about but we caught fish. They were a little hard to locate, but this is still very early in the season. Here’s how it broke down this week.

This is the first real week or two that Tailhunter La Paz Fleet has been out since late October. It’s just been too windy so everyone was fishing from Las Arenas. However, winds are down and folks don’t want to take the one-hour drive with us to Las Arenas so we put out the boats. Inshore, we’re finding some decent-sized pargo and cabrilla along with sierra and off the drop-offs there’s some big yellowtail starting to poke up. But, finding the spot is still hit-or-miss. Some days we find ‘em or rather one boat finds them. Other days it’s a miss.We’re getting some nice schools of firecracker-sized dorado. The fish are 5- to 10-pounds max and can be very voracious if you hit the spot. Some days, there’s limits to be caught with the best spot being off Espirito Santo Island. Still the most consistent fishing is Las Arenas.  No doubt, there’s still wahoo in the area with some decent 20- to 30-pound fish falling to the darker Rapalas and Yo-Zuri lures. Bonito, jack crevalle and sierra have rounded out the catch along with cabrilla.

Cabo San Lucas

Tracy Ehrenberg www.piscessportfishing.com

Larry Edwards www.cortezcharters.com

San Jose

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.

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