San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos), Mexico



Jan. 2, 2005, Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas, La Playita, San Jose del Cabo fishing, Baja California Sur, Mexico:

Los Cabos was bustling with tourists on vacation for the holiday season, but not a large percentage of them were anglers, so sportfishing fleets were only moderately busy.

San Jose del Cabo weather was a bit on the cool side for Cabo standards, with the days reaching the mid 70s and the skies were partly cloudy. It was still paradise like compared to most of the United States.

After dropping to 70 degrees last week the San Jose del Cabo sea water temperature actually warmed slightly, with the average throughout most of the zone ranging from 72 to 74 degrees. After having a dirty green current move in and cause the water to become cloudy and off colored it was a relief to see conditions clear back up at San Jose del Cabo and blue water was once again being found within a couple miles of shore.

Most common San Jose del Cabo fishing catches were dorado, yellowfin tuna, striped marlin, sierra, pargo and a few miscellaneous bottom species. Live bait was available on most mornings, though the sardinas were now concentrated in the area of Santa Maria and this meant back tracking for the pangas out of Palmilla and La Playita, though the commercial pangueros were bringing the bait back north to meet anglers about half way so their run would not be too long. Although this did require patience, it was worth whatever wait was entailed because without the live bait the action was not the same at all.

The La Playita panga fishing fleet found San Jose del Cabo fishing action to be most consistent at Punta Gorda (Zero), Cardona, La Fortuna and the Gordo Banks.

The two main species being caught at San Jose del Cabo were yellowfin tuna and dorado (also dolphinfish). Some days it seemed the tuna were more active, while on others it was the dorado that provided more action, but overall the bite was very good.

The best fishing technique was to either slow troll bait or drift while chumming, and this week the needlefish that had been such a nuisance were not too bad. The dorado were averaging 5 to 15 pounds off San Jose del Cabo, but there were some larger fish mixed in, including one bull that was close to 40 pounds.

San Jose del Cabo yellowfin tuna were mostly in the 10 to 20 pound class closer to shore, but there was another bite that developed on the Outer Gordo Bank for larger yellowfin that ranged in the 60 to 90 pound class. They were striking on chunk bait and dead sardinas being drifted in a chum line.

There was some north wind to deal with so most of the smaller boats were staying closer to shore for the medium sized game fish. There were reports of San Jose del Cabo fishing boats landing as many as three of the larger tuna, while inshore it was not uncommon for anglers to land 5 to 8 of the smaller yellowfin.

It was the same with San Jose del Cabo dorado, which had average catches of 3 to 6 per boat.

Off the bottom anglers found a mix of various species of pargo, none of them big, though all were of the good eating variety. A few smaller amberjack and cabrilla were also accounted for.

The striped marlin activity continued to be more productive off of Cabo San Lucas. Most fishing charters were accounting for multiple marlin each day, with trolled lures actually out fishing live bait on some days. Stripers were now being seen more in the Sea of Cortez as well, especially around the Gordo Banks, but still it was not as consistent as straight out from Cabo or around the corner on the Pacific.

Inshore at San Jose del Cabo, sierra were becoming more numerous, but with the offshore fishing still being productive they were not being targeted as frequently.

The overall roundup for the La Playita panga charters was as follows: 74 total pangas launched. Approximate fish landed: 224 dorado, 205 yellowfin tuna, 35 sierra, 160 pargo, 15 cabrilla, 12 amberjack, 7 wahoo, 35 skipjack, 30 triggerfish, and 4 striped marlin.

(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's main San Jose del Cabo page.