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Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Thursday, December 15, 2016
SAC doubling down…


Don’t look backwards. . .
RAIN .. Hmm . . . don’t get me wrong; the lake beyond the window is lapping it up as is the rest of Southern California. Is it too little, too late? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, the fact that the rain storm came from the south is unusual enough to make me wonder what may be in store for Baja anglers in 2017.

rainconstantCONSTANT FOR THE last 12 hours! PHOTO BY GARY GRAHAM

I was prompted to email, IM, call or check on Facebook with a few of my Baja buddies who often update me with photos and odds and ends about fishing in their area throughout the year — friends who share my passion and excitement for fishing cloaked in our fascination of Baja.


Each of their answers seemed to be filled with optimism along with a few caveats as they gazed into their own area’s crystal ball.


Captain Juan Cook , San Quintin, seems to have his game plan already laid out. He predicted good yellowtail catches holding steady in-between weather changes and storms, promising winter “tails” to 30-pounds,(mostly on iron) through late February; then moving into a windy period until June with bottom fishing for reds, lingcod and whitefish along with an occasional yellowtail for the persistent angler when the winds back off. June should bring white seabass, yellowtail and good bottom fishing, plus a good chance at halibut.


This should be followed by a summer yellowtail bite, with white seabass and bottom fish on the inside, plus a chance for tuna, dorado and striped marlin on the outside.


Captain Juan had a few other tips for Bahia de Los Angeles in June chasing cabrilla and ‘tails; then returning home to San Quintin for the summer before making another trip in October/November to Gonzaga Bay for cabrilla and grouper while looking for roosterfish and such.


Julio Meza, Fishco Tackle, Ensenada, was headed for La Bocana in early January to capitalize on the outrageous grouper/cabrilla bite that the area has become famous for, declaring that he anticipated another exciting fall season there for exotics offshore as well.


theunusualconditions
THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS in the recent past few years which produced an odd combination of results, including the disappearance of sardina in most areas, along with fewer of some species and more of others throughout Baja, seems to dictate that we “don’t look backwards” but instead, look forward to the return of normalcy in 2017! The experts in the quotes above agree, but only time will tell.

Jonathan Roldan, Tailhunter International , La Paz, was very optimistic about fishing opportunities for 2017. Now that the experts have declared that the El Niño phenomenon, which has hampered the fishing for two years with unseasonably warm waters and unusual catches, is over, the primary issue is whether the return to normalcy also heralds the return of the live bait stocks which are the heartbeat of the fishing resource.


This could result in the return of the large dorado schools, but also the return of a great range of other species like the tuna, wahoo, and billfish which rely heavily on the presence of live bait such as Mexican sardina (flatiron herring), anchoveta, caballito and mackerel among others as well. Hopefully, this would also include the return of the squid stocks.


If all of that happens, we should experience one of the better fishing seasons in our waters that we have had in several years. ...


Mark Rayor, JenWren Sportfishing, East Cape, commented that experience proves that fishing cannot be wide open all the time and that conditions and the bite are cyclical. The Sea of Cortez is a prolific body of water which seldom disappoints. Often, tough days outshine many other popular fishing destinations on their good days, resulting in higher expectations by returning anglers. While fishing has been consistent, there is no doubt the influence of the extreme El Niño conditions of 2014 and 2015 causing crews to work hard to make it happen for their anglers.


While Southern California enjoyed epic fishing then, this year all the yellowfin and dorado that migrated north are now returning to Baja, resulting in outstanding fall fishing in Magdalena Bay for the first time in several seasons.


Hang on to your hat! The cycle is turning our way. 2017 is going to be the year to be out there…


Cabo. Tracy Ehrenberg, Pisces Sportfishing volunteered recently, “after experiencing unsettled conditions and sea-temps for the past several years, it seems that our inshore and offshore fishing is returning to normal. Assuming the baitfish return as well, 2017 could be a phenomenal year for our fleet.”


The unusual conditions in the recent past few years which produced an odd combination of results, including the disappearance of sardina in most areas, along with fewer of some species and more of others throughout Baja, seems to dictate that we “don’t look backwards” but instead, look forward to the return of normalcy in 2017!  The experts in the quotes above agree, but only time will tell.  




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