Several weeks ago,
Chris Wheaton, Western Outdoor News contributor, pointed out that Jim
Wittmaack's catch in the "Biggest Other" category in the Mulege
Yellowtail tournament was a 25.6-pound jack, fortune (Seriola peruana), similar
to one that he had caught in June 2013 which had earned him an I.G.F.A.
Chris went on to say that their Captain’s cousin in Loreto had caught an even
larger one recently up north of Loreto in the same area Chris caught his record
fish last June.
Jim caught his last
Thursday on the 20th of February. The Captain also commented
that he hadn't seen one caught in nearly twenty years.
Tailhunter International Sportfishing, reports throughout the winter have
reflected that the warm water has had an impact on the fishery at Las Arenas
with many exotics mixed in with the standard winter assortment.
One only has to look
at Jeff Gannon's Terrafin's sea surface chart of the Sea of Cortez to figure
out that something is up. The sea temps have been bouncing around 74°, wrapping
around Baja's tip all the way up above Loreto creating and conditions normally
associated with late Spring.
striped marlin on the Golden Gate, a serious wahoo bite from Baja's tip to
Cerralvo and dorado that forgot to leave for the winter according to Eric
Brictson of San Jose del Cabo's Gordo Banks Pangas.
One of Roldan's captains,
Captain Hugo, hung a monster amberjack while fishing with Roger Thompson who
decided to assume the role of photographer. Caught on a yoyo iron, the fish was
estimated to weigh about 100 pounds.
About the same time
another huge amberjack was brought to the scales in Cabo, according to Tracey
Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing.
That AJ which weighed
in at 150 pounds was caught by Craig Heiges from New York aboard the Edith V, with Captain Vicente. It took
Heiges forty-five minutes on 20-pound test tackle to subdue the giant which
according to locals was one of the largest ever brought into the marina. It was
just a tad shy of the current I.G.F.A. all tackle world record of 156 pounds,
13 ounces. However, the scale used was not certified, resulting in
disqualification of the brute for any Mexican or I.G.F.A. record consideration.
When weighed sometime later on a certified scale the weight was reduced to
105 pounds … still a catch of a lifetime for angler Heiges.
Another oddity was a louvar which was captured in
Loreto last week. Juan Pablo "Tropicana" Martinez, of Loreto, Baja
California Sur, captured this nearly six foot long creature last Saturday in
the waters of the Bay National Park of Loreto.
For you who aren’t
familiar with the species, according to one popular Fish I.D. site, the louvar
is an oceanic pelagic fish species that reaches a maximum length of 6.5 feet, feeds
on jellyfish and is found up to 500-feet deep in the water column. It is found
in all Mexican fishing waters, including the oceanic islands. Ironically, the Fish
I.D. site also states: "with the
exception of the Sea of Cortez where they are absent" … so I suppose they can scratch that sentence now.
"Louvar are a
pre-courser for the modern tunas. We used to see a few each year when the
Southern California purse seiner fleet was active along with the
shark/swordfish fleet. They are extremely tasty to eat, but hardly ever found
in fish markets — and only as a bycatch," according to DFG retired Senior
Marine Biologist Steve Crooke.
Underscoring all of this was a remarkable fish story
from John Duteil whose hometown, is shared by Jonathan Roldan, Tailhunter
"We were in La Paz
for the past two months; one day we were at Playa El Tecolote having lunch on
the beach with friends. Wow! The fish
were literally jumping out of the water! Two dorado came speeding right up to
the shore flopping around. One dashed back out to sea while the other became
stuck in the shallow water. Our friend Dennis, still eating his lunch, casually
walked over and picked him up. Moral of the story: if you can catch them this
easy on the shore, imagine what you can do in a boat! Just wanted to
share our fun time fishing in La Paz!”
The Sea of Cortez
remains mysterious and coughs up just enough oddities from time-to-time to keep
us in awe.
Who knows what else
may turn up in this even-numbered year with its odd catches?
Wow! The fish were literally jumping out of the