San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos), Mexico



Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2005, Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas, San Jose del Cabo sportfishing, Baja, Mexico:

The combined San Jose del Cabo sportfishing panga fleets launching from La Playita beach sent out approximately 165 charters for the week with anglers accounting for a fish count of: 2 striped marlin, 12 sailfish, 4 shark, 5 wahoo, 85 dorado, 680 yellowfin tuna, 620 white skipjack, 15 dogtooth snapper, 18 amberjack, 16 grouper, 20 cabrilla, 40 pargo, 45 sierra and 12 rainbow runners.

Anglers at Los Cabos are filling sportfishing fleets to near capacity levels. San Jose del Cabo fishing weather was paradise like, clear sunny skies with high temperatures in the upper 80s. Overall ocean conditions had to be considered very good, with the average water temperature ranging from 79 to 82 degrees.

Live bait consisted of caballito and sardinas, with some nicer sized sardinas now being found to the north of Punta Gorda.

This week we had the ever-popular Western Outdoor News Jackpot Tuna Tournament. For the most part the fishing action was good enough to satisfy most anglers, even though there was a lack of big fish in the counts.

Anglers searching for tuna on the Thursday, the first day of the tournament, had reports of seeing scores of striped marlin tailing on surface in all directions. Up into the Sea of Cortez there were not as many billfish present, though there still was a chance at hooking into a late season blue or black marlin.

One monster sized blue marlin was battled by angler Gary Shirley while fishing off the super panga “ Ginny “ from the Gordo Banks fleet, though after a couple hours the 50 pound line that was being used to target tuna wore through.

San Jose del Cabo panga fleets were concentrating their efforts around the area of the Iman Bank and north to Vinorama. The best bite was while using live sardinas. Flylining bait on the surface produced good results for yellowfin tuna in the 10 to 20 pound class, with some larger fish up to 50 pounds mixed in the same schools, average catches per boat ranging from 4 to 12 tuna per morning.

In recent days there was a big showing on what the locals call white skipjack, a good eating variety that mix with the yellowfin and range up to 12 pounds.

San Jose del Cabo dorado counts were down for how they normally would be at this time of year, but some anglers were lucky enough to land as many as 6 in one day, up to 30 pounds. Average dorado counts were more like one for every couple of charters. Wahoo were much scarcer. There is still no chihuil action on the Gordo Banks, which is one of the preferred bait fish for the wahoo during the fall season.

Where the tuna are being found there is much rock structure below and some anglers had success soaking larger baits down near the bottom for a mix of dogtooth snapper, amberjack, grouper and cabrilla. A few more sierra have started to trickle into the counts, some up to 6 pounds and as the water temperatures drops we expect these smaller cousins of the wahoo to show in better numbers.

Just as the Gordo Banks were showing some encouraging signs of increased fish activity a group of three midsized purse seiners illegally moved in and were working the surrounding area for a couple of days in the afternoons. They were reported by telephone to the authorities in Cabo San Lucas who said that they would send a patrol boat to investigate, but no action was ever taken and these pirates worked the area freely before disappeared a couple of days later, very discouraging not to get any help when these boats should have been confiscated and the crews imprisoned to be made as an example. The local pangueros from La Playita were so upset they contemplated taking action into their own hands by surrounding the boats in their pangas and slashing nets with machetes. Maybe this is what it will take to get some action taken to this form of fishing that is decimating local fish stocks and is not being enforced.

(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.