SARDINA BAIT SCARCE IN WINTRY
Feb. 13, 2005, Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas, La Playita, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico sportfishing Report:
The La Playita panga fishing fleets at San Jose del Cabo sent out about 78 charters for the week for an overall catch of 195 dorado, 15 yellowfin tuna, 25 bonito, 180 pargo, 1 golden grouper, 25 amberjack, 10 yellowtail, 2 gulf grouper, 18 cabrilla, 6 striped marlin, 4 Mako sharks, 50 triggerfish and 4 rainbow runners.
Tourists fishing at Los Cabos were greeted with winter like weather most of the week. On Friday afternoon the skies dumped some major rainfall until Saturday morning when the sun finally came out. This made a mess of streets and the main highway at San Jose del Cabo. It is very unusual to have such weather systems cross the Southern Baja Peninsula at this time.
The high surf from last week has gradually diminished and now San Jose del Cabo sea conditions are back to normal. Winds have not been much of a factor. Overall this made for comfortable sport fishing for the moderate crowds of anglers.
San Jose del Cabo fishing water temperatures ranged from 70 to 72 degrees through most of the region and clarity was improving once again after becoming a bit cloudy from the recent swell.
There are still plenty of opportunities for whale watching off San Jose del Cabo, with sightings of humpback and gray whales being very common.
Live sardina bait continues to be very scarce and the main fishing bait available now has been mackerel. Some days anglers off of San Jose were able to jig them up themselves, but in recent days this became more of a hit or miss deal and most anglers were buying the bait from commercial pangueros when they found the opportunity to do so.
Striped marlin fishing continued to provide good action for anglers offshore, both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez were producing, the areas off of Chileno and the 95 spot put out good numbers of the billfish, striking on both lures and bait, ranging up to 150 pounds, with charter sportfishing boats averaging 1 to 3 stripers each day, with other missed opportunities.
Fishing areas from 5 to 15 miles offshore were most productive. Mixed into the catches were dorado (mahi-mahi), with more of them actually being found nearer to shore. Dorado were one of the main species now being caught by the panga fleets which were concentrating closer in. The San Jose del Cabo fishing area of Punta Gorda continues to be one of the best places to find them while slow trolling with bait. In fact the dorado fishing has been just short of phenomenal for February. This can be the time where these tropical fish become scarce and head south looking for warmer currents, but so far they have stayed around and San Jose del Cabo boats are averaging three to five fish per day in the 15 to 25 pound class, nice sized fish for winter time.
Yellowfin tuna catches dropped to almost a standstill, mainly because of the lack of the preferred sardina bait fish. A handful of tuna did strike on mackerel and trolled lures, but they were very few and far between.
All of the schools of mackerel in the area this also brought in some Mako sharks and the combined San Jose del Cabo panga fleet was accounting for several of them each day, from 40 to 150 pounds.
It is the time of year when San Jose del Cabo charters start to target more bottom fish and this week there were some impressive fish taken off of the various bottom rock piles. The numbers were not high, but there was some quality, included were pargo, amberjack, yellowtail, gulf grouper, cabrilla, golden grouper, bonito and triggerfish.
(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.