Cow Sized Yellowfin Showing on Gordo Banks
This week started off with thundershowers on Monday, this squall developed from a local disturbance, shifting in from the east and joining forces with the outer bands of Tropical Storm John, red flag conditions throughout the area, ports were closed, winds to 30/40 mph, swells increased to 4/5 meters, before resided that same afternoon, a bit unusual to see such a swell weaken so quickly. On Tuesday skies were clear and ocean conditions nice, though for some reason local Port Authorities left the red flag flying until later in the day, which meant morning charters were canceled, at least this was the situation for Puerto Los Cabos Marina. There has been a calming trend all week, the satellite map is the clearest it has been for weeks, no area of low pressure at this time, of course this is still the peak season when tropical storms can develop virtually overnight. In the meantime the Atlantic has two named storms brewing, Hurricanes Leslie and Michael. The next Eastern Pacific system will be named Kristy, hopefully she stays clear of Baja, because local cleanup crews are already working overtime, tackling the mess left by flooding rainfall. We can say that the desperate local drought situation is now officially over.
We are starting to feel that first sign of cooler early morning fall airflow, though by mid day the humidity is off the charters, September is always a humid time of year, as days progressively shorten, in another few weeks weather will really transition. Ocean currents are following unpredictable patterns, raging shift one day and slacking off the next, normally summertime has slower drifts, water temperatures are now in the 85/87 degree range. Inshore waters have been murky from recent runoffs, but are now clearing daily, as surf conditions are weakening.
Crowds of anglers are light, ocean conditions are ideal, it is the perfect time to try your luck fishing on the many local hot spots. In recent days there has been encouraging signs, with large concentrations of skipjack found on the fishing grounds, sardinas are once again available, being netted off the Vinorama stretch and caballito is the common baitfish near the marinas.
Yellowfin tuna have been slow to move in this summer, no real consistent action throughout the summer, just in recent weeks there has been more tuna activity being reported, most commonly smaller football sized, but there is another grade of 100/200 lb. yellowfin in the area, a handful have been landed. Everything appears to be gearing up for the action to bust loose at any time. Though there is one discouraging note, that many commercial tuna seiners are also now present in the area, just like clockwork, as soon as the season's first tuna are appearing within the range of local charter fleets, now we have this armada of commercial vessels, equipped with helicopters on board that are able to pinpoint the schooling yellowfin, they rarely miss when they set their gear. Taking every last fish there is, It is a big ocean, these operators can go elsewhere to fill their quotas, would be hopeful to see enforcement of particular zones, designated for commercial of sportfishing, very hard to maintain a sustainable fishery how the situation is now managed.
Dorado remain the most common species being encountered by charter fleets, the majority of the fish have been small to medium, 5 to 15 lb., though there has been a fair share of larger specimens mixed in. Limits have been the rule, remember to release as many females as possible, they have the smaller rounded off forehead, the males have the squared off front.
Bottom action remained a productive option for early bird specials, as these fish were only really striking on the yo-yo jigs early in the day. The San Luis Bank was the spot for red snapper (huachinango), amberjack, cabrilla and even a few yellowtail were rounding out this action. Of course plenty of triggerfish for the asking, they hold in that shallower 30 to 100 ft. inshore zone.
Striped marlin and sailfish continue to be the more common billfish encountered off of San Jose del Cabo grounds, we do expect to hear new reports about more black and blues being hooked into. Recalling that during this same period last year there was action on the Gordo Banks. More tournament teams will now start to scout out and prefish the grounds, preparing to gain an local edge for the upcoming high stake tournaments.
The combined panga fleets launching from La Playita/Puerto Los Cabos sent out approximately 36 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of: 4 striped marlin, 8 sailfish, 184 dorado, 12 yellowfin tuna, 8 cabrilla, 17 amberjack, 2 dogtooth snapper, 2 yellowtail, 28 huachinango, 18 white skipjack, 8 bonito and 6 hammerhead sharks.
Good Fishing, Eric
About The Author: Captain Eric Brictson
Company: Gordo Banks Pangas
Area Reporting: San Jose del Cabo
Bio: Have operated a Sportfishing Charter service in Southern Baja California for over 20 years. We are now located in the new Puerto Los Cabos Marina.