Southern Baja Fish Report

March 7, 2016 Edition
BY: GARY GRAHAM

Warmer sea temps persist, apparently part of the Eastern Pacific El Niño that’s been in the news — obviously having a phenomenal impact on the quality of sportfishing all along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to the tip. However, the slightest dip in local fishing and guess what also receives the blame?  Good luck, Gary Graham, gary@garycgraham.com

fishkiller2114.jpgCabo San Lucas

Offshore billfish action slowed recently as the fish seem to be scattered. There were some successes for striped marlin and sailfish; the most encouraging was the first swordfish of the year which was caught aboard the Pisces’ 38-foot, “C Rod,” by David Mitchell and Bill Hicks, from Hobbs, New Mexico. Other offshore action included a few wahoo and dorado, again spread out around Baja’s tip. Yellowfin tuna anywhere from football-sized to just shy of 50-pounds were the most consistent catch for most.

Inshore, red snapper, yellowtail, trigger fish, jack crevalle, snook, skipjack and small roosters rounded out the fish caught and released.

Cabo Climate: Air temps varied from 64 at night to 82 daytime highs and an average of 51.6% humidity level. It has been mostly sunny, warm and for Cabo San Lucas.

San Jose

Bottom fishing took center stage for the sport fishing fleet recently as the pelagic red crabs arrived in the area. A handful of nice amberjack to over 50-pounds were caught along with quite a few leopard grouper — a few over 20-pounds. Many variety of snappers, the huachinango (true Pacific red snapper), yellow snapper, barred pargo and scads of triggerfish . . . also one black sea bass weighing 45-pounds, a very rare catch for our area; this sea bass ate a red snapper being reeled in.

Very few dorado or wahoo, just an occasional fish or two were being found. Inshore water where these fish had been holding had cooled off.

Striped marlin became very scattered, just a few fish found. The schools of mackerel and sardineta also became more scattered. Most anglers were using either strips of squid, caballito, ballyhoo, or some mackerel and sardineta.

Little inshore action, mainly smaller-sized roosterfish and a few stray sierra. Not much inshore bait activity to attract numbers of gamefish. Still no signs of any sardina in the area.

Yellowfin tuna were limited to a few fish in the vicinity of Iman Bank or La Fortuna; these were hitting on striped squid. With the ongoing sea lion problem, anglers were fortunate to land one or two of the inshore tuna in the 15- to 25-pound class.

This has been an odd year, with water temperatures being warmer than normal, seemingly altering all of the normal migrations; even the whales are scarcer this season. This whole winter, we have had a bonus of finding yellowfin tuna.

Lately a few of the yellowfin in the 100- to 150-pound class were seen offshore of San Jose del Cabo, associated with rapidly moving schools of porpoise, and though only a few fish were landed; this could be the start of something more consistent.

East Cape

After weeks of up and down North Wind, recently there were a few calm days and warmer temperatures buoying the spirits of local anglers. Suffering from cabin fever, a few headed out and were rewarded with yellowtail action out in front of La Ribera.

A few boats ventured farther out and spotted a striped marlin or two for no bites. Aside from that, it has been pretty barren and most returned to fish the reefs and high spots inshore where they caught a mixed-bag of cabrilla, reef fish and snapper or two.

As it turned out, the calm weather was short lived and the North Wind howled once again.

Several fishermen exploring the beaches found a few roosterfish early in the mornings before the wind hit the beach. Another group of locals fishing near the jetties at La Ribera did score a few sierra and jacks early mornings as well.

La Paz

For one of the first times all winter, the winds backed down providing a break with minimal interference for once. Being off-season, there still weren’t many fishermen, but those who made it on the water were treated to some unusually great species of fishing. Normally winter fishing consists of inshore species for pargo, cabrilla, jacks, bonito, sierra and other rock and reef fish. Not bad fishing and some of these species can grow to hog-size, but generally there are few of the much sought-after glamour species that get all the headlines.

Recently, variety was the name of the game. And it wasn’t like they were far offshore. In general, the same inshore waters where the rock fish hang out… shallow waters inside Muertos Bay…just outside or over the rocks near Cerralvo Island…there were pargo, cabrilla, snapper and sierra.

But, crazily enough, there were some nice wahoo in the 20- to 40-pound class. Most of these were taken with trolled dark Rapalas or frozen mackerel — there’s not much in the way of live bait right now . . . plus some toad yellowtail in the 25- to 30-pound category were taken and more were lost. Several marlin were also lost in the shallows. Even more surprisingly, a few football yellowfin tuna showed up in the counts — nothing huge, but fun 10 to 15 pounders were just off the beach.

Normally these species, except the yellowtail, don’t arrive until mid-to-late-springtime. So, these were really nice bonus fish. The other thing it that most of the anglers fishing this time of year aren’t hardcore. Many are first-timers (never fished before or never visited before) or are one-timers in town on vacation and just toss in a day of fishing. You can imagine the grins when someone from say…Wyoming or Canada or Europe . . . used to catching trout suddenly latches onto a speedy, 30-pound wahoo racing up to 70 mph or gets slammed by a fat yellowtail intent on jamming back into the rocks — fish that would give even veteran anglers a run for their money! As long as the winds stay down, anything is possible!

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.