CABO SAN LUCAS — The billfish are building in numbers and while not too many were eager stay on the hook, plenty of sharks were; until Friday the 13th when the bite started to turn around.
After a slow start earlier in the week, Friday things started to get going and the biggest news of the week was a 350-pound swordfish. “We started seeing the majority of boats getting at least one,” Tracy Ehrenberg form Pisces Sportfishing said. “The best day of the week was Friday, which was decidedly lucky for several of our anglers. Our guests aboard El Gallo, a beautiful 61-foot Viking had already released 2 marlin at the 11.50 spot, when they spotted what they thought was another marlin. But when the fish submerged and turned purple the captain, Nayo Winkler shouted, ‘swordfish!’ Everybody on board started scanning the water and then Winkler got out his binoculars and caught sight of it again.”
“The deckhand had already bought out his special swordfish fighter, a two-speed Shimano 30, rigged with 50-pound line, with two types of leader,” Ehrenberg said. “The first was 400-pound fluorocarbon with a No. 10 hook, the second, a150-pound fluorocarbon. They hooked it with a live bait, and the fight lasted almost two hours. One other notable catch was a 190-pound striped marlin, released at Punta Gorda by the Andrea. Fifty-three percent of our anglers caught marlin this past week, giving us a total of 29 striped marlin and 1 swordfish.”
“Roberto Marquez, the Fish Cabo Fleet owner said there was plenty of billfish action but the fish just wouldn't stay hooked,” Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters, reporting for the Gaviota Sportfishing and Fish Cabo fleets said. "Fish Cabo got luck and released 1 striped marlin following 12 billfish strikes for the day. They just couldn't get the fish to stick and this was not an isolated incident, it was happening throughout the fleet.”
“They tried slow trolling live baits with no luck at all, then they switched to live bait drop backs and again, no luck at all, the billfish just wouldn’t cooperate,” Edwards said. “The same report was coming in from all the various Cabo sportfishers. On the bright side, was the numbers of billfish being seen by the boat crews and anglers and that by Friday things did start to improve.”
“Our combined fishing count for a total of 28 charters included 8 stripers released, 2 mako sharks, 2 dorado, 2 jack crevalle, 17 skipjack tuna, 17 sierra and 6 yellowtail,” Edwards said.
Capt. Landrum from Fly Hooker Sportfishing reported the same results. “Boats were finding marlin in the area around the 1150 and to the northeast of there, but the fish were not very aggressive. You might throw a bait at five or six fish before you found one that was interested and willing to bit,” he said. “Once again there were plenty of sharks in the area as well with blue sharks, thresher sharks and small mako sharks being caught as often as the marlin were.”
With yellowfin tuna still a no-show and few dorado, Landrum said staying inshore was the way to go if you wanted to get anything other than marlin or shark and plenty of boats went this route. “With the water very bouncy on the Pacific side the action shifted to the Cortez side of the Cape,” he said. “Sierra were the most common catch and they bit well on drifted sardina and not quite as well on pink and chartreuse hoochies and small Rapalas. The yellowtail bite was off and on with one day a spot producing a dozen fish for a boat and the next day there, only being one caught.”
“Caballito and mackerel as well as a few mullet could be had for $3 per bait,” Landrum added. “A few of the bait boats had ‘frozen’ ballyhoo between $3 and $4 each, but you never knew how many times they had been frozen.”
WHAT’S A SWORDFISH WITHOUT A SWORD — After a two-hour battle with this 350-pound swordfish caught by Jess Richards from Sugarland, TX and just as they were about to boat it, the fish got a second wind and went nuts, breaking its bill off against the boat in the process. Proud of their prized catch, they taped it back on for the photo. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PISCES FLEET
In other Baja fishing action:
— BAHIA ASUNCION (Just south of Guerrero Negro): There are still yellowfin croakers being caught from the beach and calico bass from the pangas but weather has been a problem.
Abalone season opened on Tuesday in Bahia Asuncion much to the delight of the local fishermen. “Our village depends on the lobster and abalone fishery and the economy always gets a boost when the season opens,” Shari Bondy of Campo Sirena said. “Our village has two canneries and a can of ‘A’ grade abalone sells for about $80! There are 13 abalone pangas in one cooperativa and each panga has a quota of 100 abalone a day. The pangas have compressors on board and divers use a hooka hose system for diving.”
“Cheer up, the halibut should show up soon!”
— EAST CAPE: Wind was the culprit again this past week, that and ever growing number of marlin showing up that were still not too keen on biting. But there were some great stories this past week and by Sunday things looked to be turning a corner again.
“It was another so-so transitional week with lots of striped marlin on the outside banks,” John Ireland at Rancho Leonero said. “They were very picker biters and some boats baited as many as ten fish without a taker. They seem to have no interest in trolled lures, all were taken on live mackerel or trolled ballyhoo off the drop-offs from La Ribera to Los Frailes.”
Ireland said there were a few dorado starting to show up, taken on trolled marlin lures in the same areas as the billfish. “All were bulls weighing around 30 to 45 pounds,” he said.
“Inside has been good with smaller to medium sized roosterfish very active,” Ireland said. “And we’ve had limits of pompano in the 5- to 10-pound range for all anglers as well as some nice pargo taken to 25pounds this past week. “The water has been very mixed the last few days; a full 10-degree difference between the water north and warmer water south.”
“In Palmas Bay from 5 to 10 miles off shore, a large volume of striped marlin have shown up and are jumping, tailing and feeding,” Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing said. “By the time we get to the feeders they are gone.”
“There has been lots of wahoo in the area as well,’ Rayor said. “They have also been finicky and not very interested in artificials. We did get one to go on a Halco GT jig the other day but a trolled bruja (ballyhoo) seems to be their preference. We have been plagued with short biters.”
“The good news is conditions look right,” Rayor said. “It is fun seeing loads of bait puddling along with game fish. It is just a matter of time for them to turn on.” That was Rayor’s report Saturday; he sent this report in on Sunday.
“The worm has turned,” Rayor said. “After several days of tough fishing it turned on today. We had 5 marlin at the same time off the Jen Wren stern following our baits. They are still a little tentative but with the huge volume of marlin that have showed we were able to find some biters along with a nice dorado.”
“The fish are close to Buena Vista just 5 to 8 mile off shore,” Rayor said. “Marlin lures and ballyhoo both got them going today. Two striped marlin released and one 35-pound dorado for dinner. All the marlin we are sighting are bruisers in the 140- to 150-pound range. The action was off Cerro Verde (the Tuna Slides) between Punta Pescadero and Buena Vista. Ballyhoo worked best but one striper did come on a marlin lure.”
“We've fished four times this past week, including today, Sunday,” Theresa Comber from Baja’s Awesome Sportfishing said. “Last Saturday our 'Fish Slayer' Pat Nixon was on board and they slayed 2 big dorado and lost an even bigger one about 35 pounds and Nixon’s son Darren caught and released his first striped marlin.”
“Tuesday the Casto family caught a marlin and two dorado, also,” Comber said. “The marlin had been worn out during the battle and the angler was so concerned about reviving it, he jumped in to try to save it. Saturday’s Awesome clients tried their best, and there were a plethora of sailfish about 10 miles off Cardonal, although they were not very excited about biting. Capt. Luis Duran and his deck hand Joel baited five and hooked two but didn't manage to get either of them to the boat.”
You can read the angler’s story about jumping in to save the marlin and view the photos at WON’s sister site www.bajafisherman.com.
ARE WE THERE YET! — After another week of short strikers, it looks as though a few more of the many striped marlin teasing anglers in Palmas Bay are finally starting to bite. PHOTO COURTESY OF JEN WREN SPORTFISHING
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