GOOD OFFSHORE CATCHES MADE OF TUNA, WAHOO, AND DORADO
July 25, 2004, Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas, La Playita, San Jose del Cabo, Baja sport fishing, Mexico:
The month of July at San Jose del Cabo has followed a familiar course of increasingly warm days, with moderate crowds of tourists and fewer anglers to enjoy this tropical desert destination.
Tropical Storm Celia developed to the south of Manzanillo and steadily tracked towards the west, briefly upgraded to hurricane status, the only effect felt in Southern Baja was a scattering of threatening tropical clouds that actually gave welcome relief from the excessive heat for a few days.
Winds from the south had increased through midweek, though by the weekend had all but diminished. Ocean swells have been at a minimal, which meant anglers had comfortable fishing conditions.
Water temperatures were averaging 80 to 84 degrees, though the water was still a bit cloudy and greenish within several miles of shore. Lack of bait fish has become a problem, very limited amounts of caballito, mullet and sardinas, with last weeks high swells the bait became scattered off of the San Jose del Cabo area and panga fleets were really scrambling to find any bait fish at all and often times were forced to head out fishing exclusively with artificial lures, which meant higher speed trolling and high fuel consumption.
Despite the limited supplies of live bait the overall San Jose del Cabo fishing results were impressive, with daily catches consisting mainly of yellowfin tuna, dorado and wahoo. La Playita panga fleets found the action to be more consistent in the areas from La Fortuna to San Luis. Pangueros reported clean blue water in the low 80s and average daily catches consisted of anywhere from 5 to 20 fish in combination while mostly trolling various surface lures. Up to 4 or 5 wahoo were landed per boat, the majority of the fish ranged 15 to 30 pounds, smaller than the average 'hoo caught in the fall, but nevertheless they were still wahoo and provided anglers with some very tasty fillets. Dorado were found in small schools throughout the San Jose del Cabo fishing zone, the majority of them small to medium sized, but further offshore there were a number of reports of bull dorado landed in the 30 to 45 pound class.
Yellowfin tuna were found as close as one or two miles from shore, once the schools were located the fish would readily strike on medium sized feathers, cedar plug and hoochie skirts. San Jose del Cabo anglers that were fortunate enough to have live bait enjoyed success while drifting or slow trolling with sardinas. The numbers of yellowfin tuna were highest near the Iman Bank, with most of the tuna football sized, 5 to 15 pounds. There were a handful of tuna to 50 pounds accounted for from the Gordo Banks, but these fish wanted live bait only and even with live bait were finicky, most certainly if more chum was available these larger fish would be more enticed into a feeding mood. The lack of bolito and skipjack on the fishing grounds made it tough to try other options of either chunk or strip bait fishing.
Billfish were found from 5 to 15 miles offshore, a scattering of sailfish, striped and blue marlin striking on trolled lures in the open blue water. There were San Jose del Cabo fishing reports in recent days of monster marlin seen feeding on schooling tuna on the Gordo Banks and we look for the more serious anglers to target this area more in the coming weeks.
Off the beach of La Playita there were several more hefty snook caught by local anglers, the most impressive specimen by a 13-year-old boy that weighed in at 45 pounds and was landed on 20-pound tackle after a one-hour battle. This fish would qualify for a new IGFA line class record but was not submitted.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from San Jose del Cabo and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for San Jose del Cabo may be found at Mexfish.com's main San Jose del Cabo page.