SAN JOSE DEL CABO (LOS CABOS) — The 14th annual Los Cabo Tuna Jackpot will be underway, starting Wednesday, Nov. 7. With the tuna bite going off on 200 and 300 pounders for the past two or three weeks now at Gordo Banks, make sure you don’t miss any of the action. As of Tuesday, Nov. 6, 116 teams have signed up. We are already above last year’s team count. Teams can still sign up as late as Wednesday, Nov. 7.
“The Outer Gordo is getting a lot of attention because it's close and there are huge fish being caught on it; 200 and 300 pounders and plenty of 100 to 130 pounders,” Pat McDonell, director of the event said. “But the other banks — and porpoise schools — will spread out the pressure when fishing gets underway Thursday and finishes up Friday, Nov. 8-9.” Brandon Hayward, WON's saltwater editor will be blogging each day on www.wonews.com so you don’t miss a beat, or a big fish!
Also not missing a beat this past week, was Esaul Valdez of Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort on the East Cape. Fishing out of San Jose on the Dottie II with Vicente, the pair caught two; the big one was estimated at 290 pounds and the smaller one at 160 pounds. There’s a reason the Dottie B II is moored down at the Puerto Los Cabos Marina until the 18th of this month….it’s the closest launching spot to the Gordo Banks fishing grounds, home of the big tuna that some locals are saying is the best big tuna bite in the history of Cabo. Anglers Buzz and Mary Fedorka, who own a home in San Jose Del Cabo, also fished with Capt. Vicente on the Dottie B II last Saturday and Wednesday, their tuna were just over 200 pounds.
Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said the recent full moon was exceptionally bright (Hunter’s Moon) and seemed to slow the action down a notch or two. “There is also heavy boat pressure now as well,” Brictson said. “San Jose del Cabos is no longer the small fishing town it was, it’s hard to keep a hot spot secret. The word is out that the cow-sized yellowfin tuna are schooling on the Gordo Banks. Everyday tuna of 200 pounds are being landed, no great numbers, but there are a handful of impressive tuna being landed daily.”
“Some days more than others, the yellowfin would show breezing the surface or be seen feeding in the chunk bait slick,” Brictson said. “These fish are present in force, but are finicky to bite, these larger grade tuna are striking on various baits; live, dead, chunk or combinations.”
“Anglers are now mainly drift fishing baits while chumming, normally a recipe of sardina mixed with chunks of skipjack,” Brictson said. “It is wise to use heavier 80-pound tackle, fluorocarbon 80 to 120 pounds have been the most common leader sizes, as these tuna became progressively more line shy throughout the past week.”
“Our largest yellowfin tuna brought in this past week for the local panga fleet was landed by Michael Brady of Pasadena and weighed in at 280 pounds,” Brictson said. “Brady was fishing aboard the 23-foot Katie with skipper Jesus Pino on the Gordo Banks. The fish apparently hit on a couple of dead sardina mixed with a piece of skipjack chunk bait. Other specimens up to 260 pounds were brought to the docks and of course many big fish were lost after long battles due to broken lines or pulled hooks or came in late.”
Brictson said anglers found comfortable seas, particularly closer to shore, where some of the most consistent fishing action for the past few weeks has been. “The grounds off of Santa Maria to Cerro Colorado have produced a quality mix of yellowfin tuna, skipjack, dorado and wahoo,” he said. “There are no significant numbers of wahoo yet, but everyday some were being hooked into on trolled lures; Rapala X-raps in purple have been taking a good share of strikes. The majority of the wahoo strikes reportedly were taken earlier in the day, then the action on the yellowfin tuna, skipjack and dorado dominated the bite. Yellowfin tuna in the 10- to 16-pound class were schooling with what the locals refer to as white skipjack, a very feisty aggressive fish which are fair eating as well, unlike the black skipjack.”
Brictson said there hadn’t been much bottom action encountered and with tuna and other surface species now available, most charters were targeting these fish. “As water temperatures drop a few degrees we expect some better options for bottom dwellers to open up,” he said.
The combined panga fleets out of La Playita and the Puerto Los Cabos Marina, sent out 182 charters for the week, with anglers accounting for 20 wahoo, 8 sailfish, 355 dorado, 1,160 yellowfin tuna, 6 amberjack, 4 dogtooth snapper, 16 sierra, 24 pargo and 1,500 skipjack.
THE BEST BIG-TUNA BITE EVER? — Some say the bite going off at Gordo Banks recently is the best ever! We’ll find out his coming week when WON hosts its 14th annual Los Cabo Tuna Jackpot. Here’s just one of the cows this past week, from Esaul Valdez of Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort on the East Cape. He was fishing on the Dottie B II with Vicente, now docked at the Puerto Los Cabos Marina to be closer to the Gordo Banks. PHOTO COURTESY OF HOTEL BUENA VISTA BEACH RESORT
In other Baja fishing action:
— ENSENADA: The bad news is the fishing season is definitely starting to fade away and the bait barges are out of bait until next season, which will begin in spring. But the good news is that they have acquired a new vessel, so two bait boats will be doing the work next year; increasing the bait availability. Also, more good news; just because the anglers have gone home doesn’t mean the fish have gone home as well.
“During this weekend we spoke to our friend Mike Kraus on the Black Jack,” Mariana Hammann from the Coral Marina Store said. “They headed to the 238 area and caught 2 yellowfin in the 20- to 22-pound range, one 18-pound dorado and limits on firecracker yellowtail, with water temperatures of around 68 degrees.”
“And the home team, Reel Adventure, captained by Wes Price and crewed by friends went out to Todos Santos Island and caught 4 yellowtail weighing about 20 and up,” Hammann said. “They were using live macks and trolling with 6X Salas and Rapalas’ in blue/white. The water temperatures in their area were 64 degrees.”
Hammann said there’s been lots of creel in the water, bringing lots of whales and lots of bait toward the San Miguel Reef.”
— SAN QUINTIN: No report this past week.
— BAHIA DE LOS ANGELES & SEA OF CORTEZ MIDRIFF: No report this past week.
— CEDROS ISLAND: The good fishing hasn’t ended, but the chartered trips have for the season.
— BAHIA ASUNCION (Just south of Guerrero Negro): Asuncion mourns the loss of one of its fishing community leaders.
“Last week we had no fishing report due to the sudden death of our good amigo and fishing legend Surfdoc, Stan Stutzka who passed away on Oct.23rd of a heart attack,” Shari Bondy of Campo Sirena said. “Stutzka lived here in Asuncion and lived to fish. He taught so many people here how to catch fish, including our daughter Sirena and started a program to give donated fishing gear to kids in exchange for them cleaning up the garbage from the beaches.”
“He was a generous, kind, caring gentle giant who was well loved and respected in the village,” Bondy said. “He volunteered with the flying doctors, the vet clinics and attended to health issues of lots of expats and tourists here. He was always there to pitch in to help everyone and I'm proud we were there to help him in his passage to the fishing grounds on the other side. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten as plans are already underway to have a shore fishing tournament in his name next year at this time and keep his kids donation program alive.”
“But this past week it felt good to get back out on the water he loved so much and the fishing was excellent,” Bondy said. “Our clients who flew in were really excited to catch 10 different species in one day. The yellowtail bite is wide open with 15- to 30-pound fish and there are dorado around as well.”
“The big surprise was when Mike Peyroux caught a nice wahoo on the surface as he was reeling in a scrambled egg iron,” Bondy said. “Their mixed bag consisted of yellowtail, dorado, wahoo, barracuda, skipjack, grouper, calico, sand bass, white fish and bonito.”
“Pete Delcour and his buddies Edwin, Robert and David flew in for the first time to fish in Bahia Asuncion, not knowing just what to expect,” Bondy said. “They have been having the time of their lives catching the biggest fish they've ever caught, dining like kings on lobster, sashimi, grilled fresh halibut and their own fresh yellowtail. Some of them are already making plans to come back in a few weeks with their wives. Even with some cloud cover they managed to catch lots of yellowtail in the 15- to 25-pound range, skipjack, bonito and calico. It was nice to see two planes on our airstrip!”
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HATS OFF TO SURF DOC-RIP — With the passing of local legend Stan Stutzka, the Asuncion community lost one of its most innovator fishing and community supporters. Shown here with Shari Bondy’s daughter Sirena, his memory will live on through local programs he started and contributed to. PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPO SIRENA