EAST CAPE — Although the fishing in general seems about a month behind here, sizes came up a bit and a few more of the big boys were reported.
“For the last few months all the good fishing has been mainly south of the hotel,” John Ireland from Ranch Leonero said. “The fishing south of the hotel remains good, but the bite has definitely picked up north of Pescadero to off Cerralvo Island. The yellowfin have shown back up, under porpoise, about 40 miles from the ranch, due north. It’s a long boat ride, but limits of 5- to 15-pound tuna were waiting for anglers willing to take the ride.” Ireland said hoochies and cedar plugs were working best for ranch anglers.
“The south end of Cerralvo was also producing quite a few blue marlin mixed with sailfish,” Ireland said. “There were more blues released this past week than the past few months combined. The striped marlin bite is still very good in all the same areas as the past few weeks; from La Ribera south.”
Ireland said for the past few weeks the dorado have been biting consistently from the light house south. “Inshore fishing has really picked back up,” he said. “There’s been lots of roosterfish both small and large, some big dog-toothed snapper and unlimited jacks all working inside. We’ve had lots of kayakers at the hotel for the past two weeks, taking big gallos, pargo, and jacks.”
Schooling tuna are once again being found and close in as well, according to Axel Valdez from Buena Vista Beach Resort. “We have all been saying that the fishing seemed to be about a month behind and I think this past week was proof of that,” Valdez said. “Some of the sizes are still not up to par but they are getting bigger and there are some larger fish also being caught.”
“On Sunday the Eclipse, captained by Alejandro Castro radioed in that he had a big dorado on board and word spread fast of its arrival,” Valdez said. “By the time he got in a small crowd had gathered on the beach to see what they had. It looked to be every bit as big as the one that won the Bisbee, which was 57.5 pounds. This one may have even beaten it.”
Valdez said his boats ran south again, but north as well, which is where the bull was taken. Along with that bull the Eclipse also boated a 35 pounder Sunday. “This past week we had 1 released blue marlin, several sails released, 1 released striped marlin, 1 wahoo, 42 dorado, 83 tuna, 5 cabrilla, 9 roosters and 12 triggerfish,” he said.
“In my opinion, our season has finally kicked into gear but it is about a month behind,” Mark Rayor of Jen Wren Sportfishing said. “We are normally knee deep in yellowfin starting in early May but this year they didn't arrive until June. Traditionally blue marlin fishing turns on early July but it didn't happen this year until August. Looking ahead it is going to be interesting to see what fall brings.”
Fly fishing guide Jeff deBrown from the Reel Baja said it’s been hot, but it was also an action-packed week. “We are still focusing mostly on the beach, but the dorado bite is really strong and the tuna are back in,” he said. “After a few weeks of being offshore at 25 to 50 miles out, the tuna are back in. Tuna can now be found 8 to 10 miles offshore, some with porpoise but most are in their own schools.”
“The dorado fishing has been very strong and the most action is coming off of the lighthouse,” deBrown said. Striped marlin can be found off of the lighthouse as well. The water clarity is still perfect and we are still seeing very low levels of chlorophyll, which has given us some good clean water.”
AUGUST BRINGS A BETTER BITE! — Fishing on the Eclipse out of Buena Vista Beach Resort, anglers Brian Chilstrom, left, from Chino, CA and Jeff Sandwell of Chino Hills told Capt. Castro they were after big bulls and that’s just what they got, out at the shark buoys. PHOTO COURTEY OF WON STAFFER ROBIN WADE
In other Baja fishing action:
— SAN JOSE DEL CABO (LOS CABOS): Sportfishing charters concentrated on the fishing grounds from the 95 and 1150 spots, to the outside of the Gordo Banks, Iman, San Luis and north to Los Frailes as the action has been spread out.
“This recent full moon phase seemed to have slowed the offshore activity down in recent days, we are looking forward to improved action soon, conditions are just too ripe now for the bite to not bust wide open,” Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said. “The fish counts ranged from two or three fish, up to a dozen fish per charter. The most common catches have been for dorado or yellowfin tuna in the 10- to 20-pound range, but the bite has not been consistent from area to area or day to day.”
Brictson said anglers did find decent numbers of yellowfin tuna on the 95 spot outside of Chileno and also near Los Frailes. “More often than not, these schooling tuna were encountered without porpoise, though other times they were found associated with fast moving pods of these mammals, feeding on the same source,” Brictson said.
“For the past week the larger tuna in the area of San Luis have not made much of a showing, though a few missed strikes on trolled bolito were reported in recent days,” Brictson said. “So we at least know that these 100-pound-plus fish are still in the area and when conditions are to their liking we should see some quality action. The month of August is typically the time when anglers report the largest numbers of quality-grade tuna.”
“Besides the very early morning bite for red snapper, a handful of cabrilla, grouper and amberjack were rounded out the bottom bite,” Brictson said. “But this is the time of year when anglers have the opportunity to hooking into a big grouper. Drifting with whole, large baits over the rocky outcroppings is a proven method of getting bent by one of these brutes, although it’s a whole different story to actually battling them to gaff, even on the heaviest of tackle.”
Brictson said roosterfish and jack crevalle were the main species found close to shore, although this action typically starts to slow down around this time, as schools of mullet and other baitfish begin to migrate elsewhere. “Depends on heavy surf conditions, which tends to scatter bait schools, as this time the surf is lighter, but hard to predict for how long; southern swells continually arrive during the summer months.”
The combined panga fleet out of La Playita and the Puerto Los Cabos Marina sent out 40 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of 3 striped marlin, 5 sailfish, 1 black marlin, 76 dorado, 66 yellowfin, 11 amberjack, 8 grouper, 12 cabrilla, 18 roosterfish, 12 jack crevalle, 56 huachinango (red snapper), 30 yellow snapper and 24 triggerfish.
— CABO SAN LUCAS: While the fishing was good, this past week what everyone was talking about were the tuna seiners that had also heard the news and moved in to wrap their nets around the schools.
“We had some decent tuna catches this past week, that is until the tuna seiners moved in and started wrapping the schools in their nets,” Tracy Ehrenberg from Pisces Sportfishing said. “Unfortunately, tuna is categorized as a commercial fish, not a species reserved for sportfishing, which is a shame, because commercial fishing techniques take a lot of non-targeted species including billfish, dorado and turtles as by-catch.”
“The Tracy Ann had the busiest tuna day earlier in the week with 43 (many released) and also released a striped marlin and caught a dorado,” Ehrenberg said. “Catches of 12 to 20 fish were not unusual in the size range of 12 to 25 pounds. Our total tuna count was 224 fish. Fifty-four percent of our boats caught tuna, while dorado catches were just a shade higher; that is they were found slightly more frequently but catches were usually of one or two fish only. The dorado preferred the mackerel, while the tuna stuck to their favorite cedar plugs.”
With an overall catch success rate 99 percent, Ehrenberg said generally, the fishing was remarkably good considering there was a big moon and quite rough seas on the Pacific. “At the end of the week we saw huge waves hitting the shore, mostly on the Sea of Cortez; they were so large they left the steps of some of the resorts buried in sand and made swimming unsafe. This is very unusual as we don’t see this unless there is a hurricane around, which there wasn’t.”
“The best catches were at the start of the week when the Adriana release 5 striped marlin and a sailfish at Gaspareño,” Ehrenberg said. “That same day Andrea released 4 marlin as did the Ruthless, while other boats averaged one to three. For variety, the Tracy Ann had one of the best day’s mid-week, with 2 striped marlin and a sailfish released, 9 tuna and 2 dorado. As the week progressed and the moon reached its zenith, marlin catches slowed a little but tuna took up the slack, however, the most likely catch was still billfish. Seventy-three percent of our boats caught marlin and sailfish, giving us a total of 38 marlin and 4 sailfish.”
Mary Landrum from Fly Hooker Sportfishing also had something to say about the seiners. “Well, the story of the week was tuna: here they are and there they go,” she said. “The purse seiners arrived in force and the tuna are gone. Upset with this? Please take a few minutes to let the Mexican Government know what you think about the purse seiners repeatedly fishing in our waters. Go to http://www.inapesca.gob.mx/portal/tramites-y-servicios/quejas-y-denuncias and fill out a complaint, English replies are accepted. Also, try dropping an email to Senator Luis Coppola, who is said to be sympathetic to Cabo fishermen at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Reporting for the Gaviota Sportfishing and Fish Cabo fleets, Larry Edwards said the yellowfin tuna counts soared this past week and allowed for an average of 5 tuna per boat per fishing day. “Many anglers found full fish limits on several fishing days and the bite continues,” he said. “The big schools of tuna are on the Pacific side and in the Golden Gate Bank area, but the seiners are rapidly lining up on the schools and they may all wind up as cans of tuna. Most of the fish were in the 15- to 25-pound range, with a few larger fish in the 45- to 50-pound class.”
“Scattered dorado throughout the area allowed for an occasional fish for dinner,” Edwards said. “Most of these fish were in the 12- to 20-pound ranges. The striped marlin action was fairly consistent, with fish being caught over a wide area and the better fishing on the Pacific side, spanning from the Herradura area to the Golden Gate Bank. The overall fish reports included 21 stripers (20 releases) 2 sailfish released, 22 dorado and 145 yellowfin tuna, the fish of the week.”
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