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Monday, October 08, 2018
Billfishing busts loose


Wahoo make a big appearance at East Cape
Hurricane Rose dumps rain, but areas see little effects; La Paz cranks on nearby tuna, as does Loreto as fall season proves best

EAST CAPE — The East Cape wahoo action that boasted a fish here and a fish there busted loose this past week under perfect weather conditions, with only a quick Saturday downpour to show for Hurricane Rosa that moved up the west coast. In Cabo, the effects of the heavy rain were more pronounced with flooding in lower areas Thursday but life was back to normal by the weekend and charter boats were going after wahoo, bigger tuna, and blue marlin that are typical this time of year as summer turns to fall and preparations begin for big-money tournaments of October and November


John Ireland, owner of the iconic Hotel Rancho Leonero at the East Cape, said that while yellowfin limits have been the rule for the entire season, this was the week when the wahoo showed up in good numbers.


“It’s been a good year for yellowfin, with tuna taken literally every fishable day this season, and this week was no exception, but the big news this week was wahoo,” said Ireland. “The wahoo are a long ride south off Cerro Colorado, and anglers taking the ride are picking up two or three fish in the 20- to 50-pound class on Marauders and Rapalas. Striped marlin mixed with sails and blues are 20 to 30 miles offshore. As for bait, mackerel, squid and sardine are available.”


Ireland said the yellowfin are very close to shore, 1 to 2 miles offshore from La Ribera and Rincon, with limits on 5 to 20 pounders common with a few to 50 pounds mixed in. As for billfish, boats are searching for porpoise that are holding tuna and are catching and releasing stripers, sails and blues.


Inside, rooster, pompano, pargo are all there for the taking, but the emphasis has been on the tuna and wahoo.


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PERFECT WEATHER AND wide-open action were on the menu for anglers on the East Cape while fishing with the Jen Wren Fleet as wahoo moved in the picture that has been dominated by wide-open yellowfin action. Roosters on the coast and billfish are also on the outside as the area is in prime fishing mode.


Mark Rayor, Jen Wren Sportfishing reported in on Saturday afternoon. In his blog and even live Facebook reports for the week, he boasted of flat seas, no wind and a nice little downpour Saturday morning, but that was it. With a month to go in their “season” the fishing is the best it has been, and the weather has been perfect and none of the storms have affected the fishing for more than a day or two. This last one was a case in point.


“Hurricane Rosa with winds up to 145 mph went wide in the Pacific and we completely dodged the hard weather,” said Rayor. “Bait is plentiful and tuna, wahoo and billfish have been hungry. The high pressure has turned gamefish on and the bite has been full speed right through the full moon. Tuna have been biting the heavy gear on porpoise schools offshore while a better grade of fish have been line shy drifting on high spots. One day the fish are on live sardines and the next will only go on chunk squid. Halco Laser Pro 190s have been the ticket for wahoo. The blues, stripers and sailfish have been after lures, ballyhoo and live bait.”


Rayor had some tips on landing a tuna that has your gear overmatched. The key is, don’t panic.


“This goes for cows on 100 pounds down to 30- to 40-pound fish on 20-pound or even smaller gear,” said Rayor. “First thing to remember, if reel drag is set properly and line is peeling off the spool the fish will stop. Maybe not because it gets tired but because as the reel arbor gets smaller as the line comes off and drag pressure increases. An engineer could explain it better but I can assure that because of the laws of physics it will happen. I see more fish lost because anglers panic and put pressure with their thumb on the spool or tighten the drag. When line is coming off the spool the drag is tightening itself without the angler’s help.”


Keeping maximum constant pressure that is appropriate for the gear being used is key, said Rayor. Time is the angler’s enemy. An angler should be pulling on the fish, the fish shouldn't be pulling on the angler.


“This is a little hard to explain but when a fish wants to run and take line the angler should hang on, try to relax and let 'em go,” said Rayor. “When the fish stops it is time for the angler to go to work. Keeping the rod loaded (bent) at a horizontal angle is the proper way. When a rod goes to a vertical angle it takes pressure off the angler’s hurting back but the rod tip turns to a noodle and also takes pressure off the fish.”


Short strokes are the correct method, he said. With that technique an angler can keep the fish coming at them.


“If it can't turn around it can't swim away. With long strokes when the rod tip is lowered the fish can get its head turned. That turns into a tough war or Mexican standoff. The angler gets some then the fish gets some. Remember, time turns odds into the fish’s favor and there is more chance for it to end badly for the angler. I feel bad sometimes screaming at anglers ‘Take your thumb off the spool!’ It is about having fun and I don't mean to sound harsh but losing a fish because of a foolish mistake is not fun. That is what has inspired me to share these few important tips.”


He added, “Right now our fishing is like spring snow skiing. We only have about a month left in our season and it is the best.”


In other East Cape news, sportfishing on the charterboat El Rogalio was wide open on the wahoo this week, reported Matthew Clifton of Scorpion Sportfishing. Wahoo fishing went from a trickle to wide open in a matter of days this week. In fact, it seemed that the El Rogalo has the toothy fish dialed in all week.


“On Wednesday, aboard El Regalo, we landed 10 wahoo having at least double that amount strike,” said Clifton. “Rapala X-Rap Magnums were once again deadly.”


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GORDO BANKS PANGAS enjoyed some good action on the 50- to 70-pound yellowfin at the local banks.


SAN JOSE DEL CABO — Despite heavy rains from Hurricane Rosa, in which there were some isolated showers felt locally, particularly on Thursday night when Cabo San Lucas experienced heavy flooding in the lower lying areas, fishing continued to improve in areas of Puerto Los Cabos where Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas is headquartered. He said this time of year, tropical weather is always on the minds of people at Lands End and as he filed his report Saturday, a new storm Sergio was forming but was not expected to be a factor.


As for fishing locally, he said, there continued to be supplies of sardinas near the marina entrance, this was the main bait now being used.


“There’s heavy pressure coming with the fall season, so it’s hard to say how the baitfish supply will hold up,” he said. “There should be some control on how much brined dead bait is allowed during the upcoming high dollar tournaments, this always puts a major hurt on local bait supplies.”


With clean blue water now within a mile of shore and ocean temperatures averaging close to 85 degrees, Brictson said fleets have not had to go far offshore to find fish. Most consistent action recently has been found between the Iman and San Luis banks. Main species has been the yellowfin tuna, with the full moon passing these fish became a little more finicky than they already had been, but still there were quality yellowfin being landed every day, average size fish were in the 50 to 70 pounds range.


“Some days they would bite early, other times it was a late bite, hot spots would vary each day, early in the week San Luis was best, then Iman, then to the inside off of La Fortuna,” said Brictson. “With persistence anglers were able to land one or two, up to four or five of these tuna per day.”


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DAVE LINDELL FROM Pendleton, Oregon makes it down every year to fish with the Tailhunter Fleet in La Paz. During three days fishing, he hooked 5 wahoo, getting 3 to the boat fishing with Captain Armando. He was slow-trolling Rapalas just off the rocks near Bahia Muertos.


LA PAZ — Variety and solid fishing on local spots was the order of the day said Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunter International. They had yellowfin tuna between 10 and 60 pounds, schoolie-dorado up to 20 pounds, the wahoo at Las Arenas, Punta Perico and South Cerralvo Island decided to slam Rapalas and the largest were 50 pounders and they hooked several striped marlin and got a blue marlin.


Meanwhile roosterfish between 30 and 70 pounds were caught and released.


“A crazy week of fishing!” said Roldan. “In more than 20 years down here in La Paz, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much variety in the catches during this time of the year. From day-to-day this week, and even from one panga to the next, I never knew what our anglers were going to be bringing in!”


He added the inshore fishing is more like springtime. Huge dogtooth (cubera) snapper/ pargo were caught up to 50 pounds in shallow water as well as the big mullet snapper they normally don’t see until the cooler waters of springtime.


“I have never seen so many big pargo come up like we had this past week. Plus an incredible number of delicious big pompano and cabrilla.”


In other La Paz action, Bill Evans who lives in La Paz sent his brother, WON reader Gary Evans, a great report. “Went for tuna at Punta Perico after catching bariletitos and cusineroes at the buoys. Fished for tuna for a while but it was all bonito. Ran over to the lighthouse and tried for tuna there, but again it was only bonito. Moved over to the lighthouse and used the big bait and tried for pargo. I didn't have much faith in the day, with all the moving around, but you’re out there so make the best of it.


“After three drops with live bait and a sinker, I had three chewed up baits within 10 minutes by triggers. The fourth drop was better, rewarded with a pargo. We moved up with the gear to 80-pound test line and 130-pound test leader. The fish had two other old hooks in its mouth. What a fight. Fifth drop was another bruiser, but I lost him the normal way, he just came unhooked. After fighting two big pargo, one went in the boat and the other was lost. I told Rigo I wanted a break and passed the rod to him and I grabbed a water.


“Rigo was out with a live bait for about five minutes and away we went again. This fish started coming towards the boat, so I grabbed the wheel and controls and hit the gas. Rigo was cranking like crazy until the fish decided to head down. Then I thought it was going to pull him over board. When we finally got to deep water and I put the motor in neutral, I looked over the side and s… my pants (not really). My pargo was 38 pounds and Rigo's was 48 pounds. Went back to Punta Perico and caught several tuna 12 to 15 pounds.”


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TIM AND ANDREA Craft and guide Beto (right) on a Tony Reyes Midriff trip out of San Felipe with big grouper and cabrilla. PHOTO COURTESY OF LONGFIN TACKLE


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WAHOO ACTION ON the charterboat El Rogalo with Scorpion Sportfishing went off late last week, going from a trickle to wide open in a matter of days. The epic tuna fishing continued as well with limits of football tuna found around the lighthouse with bigger models at San Luis and Iman banks. Marlin, sailfish and snapper rounded out the action. In the photo are Capitan Oscar Verdugo and Sheila Verduzco, Los Barriles.


MIDRIFF — The mothership Tony Reyes out of San Felipe just returned from a fishing charter led by Jeff Tseng from Phenix Rods. The group on the 6-day run had great fishing. Working waters around La Guardia Island they landed yellowtail up to 40 pounds. Capt. Tony Reyes Jr. reporting to Tom Watd at the Longfin Tackle in Orange said the Midriff Islands right now are producing lots of big yellowtail and groupers as well as outstanding fishing for cabrilla and pargo. The weather was nice and calm and with the full moon they only had bait for a couple of days but the fish were eating jigs quite well. A 225-pound black seabass was the big fish of the trip.


The count: 371 yellows to 40 pounds, limits of cabrilla and bass, 35 pargo, 20 grouper, 2 black seabass to 225 pounds, 3 sierra, 47 lingcod, 3 white seabass, 6 amberjack, 22 dorado and 342 assorted other fish released.


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OUTPOST CHARTERS HAD great action on the Cast ‘N Reel out of Puerto Escondido, with dorado limits one day and then they scored some nice tuna on the porpoise to 75 pounds.


LORETO — Capt. Ricky Trevor of the Cast’ N Reel with Outpost Charters had a great week of chasing pelagics out of Puerto Escondido. The tuna under porpoise were a nice target. He fished Saturday after a week of limiting out on dorado one day and scoring some quality tuna another.


“Got out with a plan to go after big marlin, that was quickly sidetracked as we found another pod of porpoise with birds again,” said Trevor. “We changed our course and headed that way, putting on the trusty cedar plugs. Not long after entering the porpoise the lines were going off again. As we were landing the first yellowfin tuna more started to come to the back of the boat.


“We started throwing out sardines and fly lining sardines hooking up to some tuna that way as well. The tuna were a lot more active today as they were jumping across the surface as well. We caught some good-sized tuna with the biggest being 75 pounds. There were definitely some bigger ones in the school just didn't get luck with them. Water is starting to get a little choppy with storms approaching, and temps were 86.”


Rick Hill of loretotours.com reported: “Consistent catches for dorado was the name of the game this week and all along the coast. Boats didn't have to go far to get limits on medium-sized fish with catch and release for the half-pints.


“Outside the bay on Coronado Island live sardinas and a few small dodos worked while farther south towards Danzante and El Bajo boats found more variety. Roosters, cabrilla and an assortment of snappers filled out the ticket. No hoards of sierra, yet.”


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