ERROL FLYNN, ORSON WELLS, JOHN SNOW, AND THE ZACA BLENNY!
Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2007, John Snow, species fishing, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
As the ocean cools around San Jose del Cabo, the abundance and variety of fish species decreases and what we see "by the car load" during the warmer months, snappers, triggerfish, etc., have virtually disappeared.
With the exception of some good-sized Atun, or yellowfin tuna, hanging around Gordo Banks I, which attracted way too many boats and related noise and congestion and a very boring week, my fishing week was slow and I wasn’t even able to take home food for lunch on two of the four days.
I did spend a significant amount of time exploring the bottom with my 10-hook Sabiki rigs enhanced with small light sticks. This fishing method generated a bunch of little guys but nothing much of significance.
In surf fishing around the tip of Baja for four days, and five 1 to 2.5-hour trips, only 14 fish were caught, of 5 different species. Based on expected mid-January results of low fish productivity I didn’t work at it very hard this week.
I did spend two afternoons at El Tule working the tide pools generated by the astronomically low tide and picked up a truly gorgeous Gulf Sun Star and remain in “awe” of what lives in these places.
Fishing deep sea off San Jose del Cabo during four Panga trips with good live bait supplies, the major targeted species count was: 0 Amberjack, 0 Dorado, 3 Grouper, 0 Marlin, 0 Sailfish, 7 Yellowfin Tuna, and 0 Wahoo. I had ten quality fish, two “break-offs” which were exciting while they lasted but mournfully painful once the line breaks.
We put 33 fishing species, including only three from the bait guys, into the panga Salomé with a total fish count of 119.25, an average of 30 fish per day, which is about average but the eatable count was way down.
San Jose del Cabo vacationing Gringo traffic was nonexistent at La Playita probably due to “no fish” but the Mexican locals were out in force.
For the six days of fishing at San Jose del Cabo, a total of 123.25 fish were caught, with 41 different species of which one was a new species for me. I am waiting for someone to ask me about the 0.25 fish.
From the beach, no big fish were caught. Nada! From the deep sea, a couple of 50 pound Atun and a 10 to 12 pound Estacol, or Gulf Coney. We did have two “break offs” indicative that they were capable of breaking 50 pound test line.
San Jose del Cabo vacation area weather for the week was excellent one day, otherwise cold and wind or just cold.
The fish of the week, from the beach was a 1 cm Zaca blenny!
The Zaca blenny was named for one of the world’s finest yachts, the Zaca which is surrounded by extensive myths and legends. In 1946 actor Errol Flynn took the Zaca on a scientific expedition to Acapulco which included Carl Hubbs, then curator of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography fish collection. The trip ended up a fiasco as all hands including the crew jumped ship in Acapulco. The Zaca is featured in movie, "The Lady from Shanghai" starting Orson Wells and Rita Hayworth and it is currently moored in Monte Carlo.
From the ocean one Shortfin Mako Shark was caught, a mixture of Superman that can leap several tall buildings in a row with multiple bounds and a 'possum. I brought him in hotter than anticipated and when El Capitano put a gaff in him and he went ballistic. I got him back to the boat and after three whiffs with the gaff I guess I put too much stress on the line and it broke. That generated a grumpy duo and dead silence for about 20 minutes.
I am now 0-for-2 with photos of Mako Sharks. The other one, about 80 pounds, was caught in March of 2006 and got carved up for dinner before I could get his picture.
Fish Species Summary:
Bait Guys: Croaker, Longfin; Herring, Flatiron; Herring, Yellowfin.
Beach Collections: Beaubrummel Major; blenny, Zaca; Crab, Lightfoot Sally; Frillfin, Panamic; Sun Star, Gulf (new).
Panga: Bass, Damsel; Bass, Rose Threadfin; Cabrilla, Flag; Cornetfish, Pacific; Creolefish, Pacific; Eel, California Conger; Flagfin, Eastern Pacific; Grouper, Gulf Coney; Grouper, Northern; Herring, Round; Jack Mackerel; Jack, Green;Lizardfish, Reef; Lizardfish, Shortnose; Mackerel, Pacific; Needlefish, Flat; Needlefish, Pacific; Octopus, Mexican Pigmy; Pelican, Brown; Perch, Big Head Sand; Perch, High-Fin Sand; Scorpionfish, Red; Serrano, Barred; Shark, Short Fin; Snapper, Red; Tilefish, Golden-Eyed; Triggerfish, Orangeside; Tuna, Black Skipjack; Tuna, Yellowfin.
Surf: blenny, Largemouth; Croaker, Longfin; Sergeant Major; Wrasse, Sunset.
San Jose del Cabo Surf Fishing Report, 100 percent Catch-and-Release:
Day 1, January 20, 2007:
Amigo Dennis came to town via a cruise ship so I took him fishing but had a very limited amount of time. Fished at Km. 12, Twin Dolphins, 1 hour at midday, zero surf, falling tide, water temperature 72 degrees (YIKES!), utilizing a size 4 Mustad 92553 hook with frozen cut Squid. Catch Summary: one Largehead blenny, 6.5 inches, and one Longfin Croaker, 7 inches.
Day 2, January 28, 2007:
Km. 8, north of La Playita on the East Cape Road, 1 hour at sunset, nominal surf, rising tide. Water temperature 72 degrees, utilizing a size 4 Mustad 92553 hook with frozen Sardines and cut Squid. Catch Summary: one Longfin Croaker, 7 inches.
Day 3, January 30, 2007:
Km. 21, Cabo Real, 2 hours at sunrise, zero surf, peaking high tide, water temperature 72 degrees, utilizing a size 4 Mustad 92553 hook with frozen Sardines and cut Squid. Catch Summary: three Longfin Croaker, to 7 inches; one Sergeant Major, 7 inches; and three Sunset Wrasse, to 8 inches. Three very personable amigos arrived midstream indicating I was going about it all the wrong way and offered me replacement gear which I declined. When I left they had “nada”.
Fishing at Km. 17, El Tule, 2 hours mid-afternoon, zero surf, bottom low tide, water temperature 70 degrees, utilizing a size 4 Mustad 92553 hook with frozen Sardines and cut Squid. Catch Summary: three Sunset Wrasse, to 8 inches. Beach Collections: I bailed one tidal pool and picked up three species: one juvenile Beaubrummel Major, 1 inch, very photogenic; one Zaca blenny, 0.5 inches; one Panamic Frillfin, 1 inch; one mature Lightfoot Sally, 5 inches. I learned from this trip that Lightfoot Sallys actually are pretty good swimmers and they can stay under water for extended periods of time.
Day 4, February 2, 2007:
Km. 17, El Tule, 2 hours late afternoon, con Amigo Eduardo, zero surf, bottom low tide, water temperature 70 degrees, utilizing a size 4 Mustad 92553 hook with frozen Squid. Catch Summary: Nada! Skunked! Beach Collections: We bailed one tidal pool and the take was too small so we moved. We spend about half the time fishing and half the time viewing the tidal pools. Picked up one new species, a 15 cm Gulf Sun Star which is new for me.
Fishing with Captain Pata, Panga Salomé, La Playita, San Jose del Cabo:
Day 1, January 29, 2007:
Fishing for 6 hours with Captain Pata. We were late departing as I brought 96 1-pint Mason Jars and he took them home prior to departure. Cloudy day with no wind. Sea had a chop early which flatted out midmorning. Water was a pristine blue, 72 degrees. Spent the day on Gordo I with about 20 other boats. Traditional bait guys provided an excellent amount of large sardines. However they were very late perhaps traveling to and from the Cabo Pulmo area. They brought me a large Longfin Croaker as a gift. Fishing style was flylined sardines, flylined 2 to 3 pound Chilly Willies (unproductive), traditional bottom fishing with live sardines (unproductive), or sabiki rigs. Catch Summary (27.25 fish): one Damsel Bass, 14 inches; five Pacific Creolefish, to 11 inches; one Eastern Pacific Flagfin, seven inches; one Gulf Coney Grouper, 5 pounds; one Green Jack, 12 inches; nine Jack Mackerels, to 3 pounds; one Shortnose Lizardfish, 7 inches; one Brown Pelican, 5 pounds (catch and release); one Golden Eyed Tilefish, 10 inches; two Black SkipJack Tuna, to 4 pounds; and four and one quarter Yellowfin Tuna, to 20 pounds. An abundance of life was present, dolphins, high flying somersaulting manta rays, sea lions, and whales.
Day 2, January 31, 2007:
Fishing for 6 hours with Captain Pata. Sunny day at San Jose del Cabo with nominal wind, sea was tranquil, water was a pristine blue, 71 degrees. We started out bottom fishing for Snappers 5 and 10 miles north of the Gordo Point and abandoned that after getting skunked. Spent the balance of the day on Gordo I with about 20 other boats. Substitute bait guys provided an excellent amount of large sardines. Style was the same. Catch Summary (25): one Flag Cabrilla, 1 pound; one Pacific Cornetfish, 18 inches; one Eastern Pacific Flagfin, 7 inches; four Jack Mackerels, to 3 pounds; four Reef Lizardfish, to 4 inches; one Flat Needlefish, 36 inches; one Pacific Needlefish, 36 inches; one Mexican Pigmy Octopus, 1 inch; one Barred Serrano, 5 inches; one Golden Eyed Tilefish, 10 inches; four Black SkipJack Tuna, to 4 pounds; two Orangeside Triggerfish, to 2 pounds; and three Yellowfin Tuna, to 20 pounds.
Day 3, February 1, 2007:
Fishing for 6 hours with Captain Pata. Sunny day with nominal wind, sea was tranquil, except for the last hour when a strong El Norte appeared causing chaos and a ruff ride home. Water was a pristine blue, 71 degrees. We started out Sabiki fishing seeking live Green Mackerels for bait and got skunked. Spent the rest of the day on Gordo I with about 25 other boats. Normal bait guys provided an excellent amount of large sardines. Style was same. Catch Summary (17): one California Conger Eel, 9 inches; five Eastern Pacific Flagfins, to 7 inches; one Gulf Coney Grouper, 10 pounds; one Sharpnose Lizardfish, 7 inches; one Big Head Sand Perch, 5 inches; High-Fin Sand Perch, 6 inches; Red Scorpionfish, 7 inches; one Shortfin Mako Shark, 40 pounds; three Golden Eyed Tilefish; to 10 inches, and two Yellowfin Tuna, to 40 pounds.