WINTER SEASON BAJA FISHING FOR MEXICAN PANGAS AT LA PLAYITA
Jan. 27, 2007, Gordo Banks Pangas, Eric Brictson, Los Cabos, La Playita Beach, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
The combined Los Cabos charter sportfishing panga fleet from La Playita beach sent out about 49 charters for the week, with anglers catching: 1 sailfish, 15 sierra, 11 striped marlin, 12 mako shark, 42 dorado, 135 skipjack, 115 yellowfin tuna, 9 cabrilla, 52 pargo, and 6 amberjack.
Crowds of vacation anglers were light at San Jose del Cabo. The new United States passport regulations, and also the recent increase of Mexican fishing license fees could be discouraging. A Mexican fishing license now costs a steep $13 for a one-day license.
Skies in the San Jose del Cabo vacation area cleared after last week's rain, but temperatures continued to be a bit cooler than normal. Daytime highs were reaching the lower 70s.
Ocean fishing conditions varied from location at Los Cabos. The fishing water temperature continued on a cooling trend and ranged from 67 to 71 degrees. The water was cleaner in the direction of Cabo San Lucas, although sportfishing operations were fishing in the direction of the Sea of Cortez as well as the Pacific where the billfish action was still concentrated.
Schools of mackerel bait fish were found in various locations, and anglers were able to jig them in the morning or buy them from the pangueros. Sardina bait was very limited and spread out, although on most days they were available.
Southern Baja California billfish action was best on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas this week, but the striped marlin are also being found off Chileno and towards the Gordo Banks, following their bait supply. We look for larger concentrations or marlin to move in the direction of the Sea of Cortez in the coming weeks.
The sportfishing panga fleets launching from La Playita at San Jose del Cabo found the most consistent fishing action at the Gordo Banks. There were not many other options since no consistent production was found either off the bottom or along the shore line.
Yellowfin tuna dominated the fishing on the Gordo Bank. The tuna seemed to be picky at times, but also at times would go on a frenzy. The quality of the fish was very impressive, as the average tuna landed was in the 25 to 50 pound class. Catches per panga ranged from one or two, up to a dozen tuna. San Jose del Cabo anglers had success with live and dead sardina baits, as well as mackerel baits, but more fish were hooked with chunk bait from freshly caught skipjack, which were available on the same fishing grounds.
Dorado were caught in good numbers earlier in the week, mostly medium sized fish, with some exceptions. But as the fishing water cooled off at San Jose del Cabo, the dorado became less active over the weekend and most likely they are migrating further south. The majority of the dorado hit on trolled or drifted bait, but schools of fish also found by trolling lures.
Humboldt giant squid are being found outside of Cabo San Lucas, to over 40 pounds and quite a few mako sharks are being hooked as well. These sharks also show up when the mackerel bait fish are plentiful.
Whales are now in their peak migrations off Mexico's southern Baja peninsula, with high numbers of both gray whales and humpback whales seen throughout the region.
So far the season has proved disappointing for inshore fishing action around San Jose del Cabo. There have been surprisingly low numbers of sierra caught along the beaches of San Jose del Cabo. We hope that these popular game fish are just behind schedule and will show up in force soon in Los Cabos fishing waters.