BIG BAIT BALLS OF SARDINA IN FISHING WATERS OFF ROCKY POINT
Rocky Point, Mexico Fishing, Stuart Burnett, Aug. 31, 2004:
This was on my boat, the Mackerelena. Rocky Point fishing water temps were pretty consistent at about 86 degrees.
Sometimes the fun is in just getting away. That was the case for fishing in Puerto Penasco this past weekend.
Strong winds out of the south made for choppy Rocky Point fishing seas on Saturday. We headed west to a reef about 12 miles out of Puerto Penasco. With the strong wind and full moon tides, I could not get my anchor to hold bottom over the reef. On the fourth attempt, we caught bottom for a little bit, but the current was so strong it was nearly impossible to reach bottom, even with 16 oz. of weight. When the anchor broke loose the fourth time, we decided to head closer into shore.
My wife Connie and young step son Joey were along on this Rocky Point fishing trip, I wanted to give Joey a chance to pull on a few fish, so we headed just off the beach near Las Conchas and anchored in about 30 ft. of water. He immediately began catching triggers and sand bass and I would carefully remove the hook and release them.
A short time later, we noticed a large school of inch long bait fish surrounding the boat. It was interesting to watch them flash the surface and I was able to scoop a couple of them up with the bait net and determine that they were sardines. The school soon brought other predators. We switched to sabiki rigs and started catching small greenback mackerel that were feasting on the tiny sardines. I opted to start keeping these and bag them in ziplocks and put them on ice so that I would have some fresh dead bait for another trip. The catch on the sabikis stated to change. We'd catch large sardines feasting on their smaller brethren. Then, we caught a several tiny sierra that joined the feeding frenzy.
At first, the school of small sardines had been very large and loosely spread around the entire boat. They were now balled tight around the outboard on the back of the boat. The mackerel were relentless in feeding on them, driving them into the side of the boat and we could hear the thumps as the mackerel hit against the gunwales.
Next came the pelicans. Not shy at all, they would swim right up to the transom and scoop a whole mouthful of the sardines. The pelicans would swim up one at time to feed, then paddle out of the way so another pelican could come in and get a big scoop.
This lasted close to an hour and was kind of a surreal experience, or a real-life "Discovery" channel show. What was a huge school of bait with thousands of fish had been reduced to a small, tight ball of perhaps a couple hundred. We decided to pull anchor and give the remaining few a chance to make a run for it.
So, other than some sand bass and trigger fish that we released, I did end up with several bags of candy-sized greenbacks to use for bait on another Rocky Point fishing trip. Since we can't always make live macks, some fresh dead frozen ones are the next best thing.
On Sunday, we left the boat on the trailer. The Rocky Point wind had picked up considerably overnight, so we snorkeled at the tidal pools during low tide in the morning and relaxed poolside in the afternoon. Rocky Point is preparing for Mexican Independence Day on the 16th. The streets of Rocky Point are lined with with Mexican flag banners and looks quite festive. The humidity is still very high.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Rocky Point and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Rocky Point may be found at Mexfish.com's main Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) page.