Gordo Banks Pangas
San Jose del Cabo
June 3, 2011
Late spring season in Southern Baja is greeting tourists with pleasant weather conditions, sunny days near, 90 degrees, water temperatures averaging 76 to 80 degrees, variable breezes circulating, north to south, keeping conditions quite comfortable. Anglers were finding options from offshore to inshore and in between. Most of the sport fishing fleets are now concentrated from Santa Maria towards the Gordo Banks and north to San Luis Bank. Swells have been moderate from the south, weather changing from day to day, now it seems to be stabilizing, with less wind and on a warming trend.
Commercial pangeros found it difficult to net sardinas due to more persistent surf conditions, the most consistent live bait source now for anglers out of the San Jose del Cabo area have been jurelito, caballito, moonfish and mullet. Ocean currents were stirred up and murky closer to shore, but clean blue waters were encountered within several miles of shore.
The most consistent and talked about action this week was for striped marlin, they were found in season high numbers, as anglers reportedly were seeing scores of these billfish on any given charter, scattered throughout the region, but particularly abundant straight off of San Jose del Cabo and near the Gordo Banks. The stripers were found as close as one mile or two miles from shore, tailing, free jumping, feeding and just blind striking on trolled lures. Slow trolling live baits was almost a sure bet, once you located an area of fish. Dropping baits back to the fish seen was successful more often than not. Of course there were a couple of days earlier in the week where the marlin seemed more finicky, even though they were seen on the surface in groups of up to ten fish, a case of lock jaw. A few sailfish up to 90 pounds were mixed in, with the majority of the striped marlin being hooked into weighing in the 80 to 120 lb. class. Many charters, both pangas to larger sportfishers, were landing and rereleasing up to five or more marlin in a matter of hours. For anglers departing from Puerto Los Cabos Marina, you could not ask for billfish action this wide open in such close proximity.
Yellowfin tuna action tapered off this past week, main reason being that conditions were not favorable for several days, now as things settle back down we anticipate improvement on the tuna bite. Yellowfin tuna ranging from large sized footballs to cow sized specimens over 200 pounds are schooling on the same grounds. These fish congregated from San Luis to the Iman Bank, within several miles of shore. Tuna were found associated with porpoise further offshore, but for the local panga fleets, the spot for yellowfin has been from Iman to San Luis Banks. At times these schools were spotted by keen eye sight, breezing just under the surface near food sources, drifting fishing with live jurelito has been the method that most of these inshore tuna were striking on, most of fish being landed from this area were in the 20 to 50 pound range, but fish to over two hundred pounds are lurking. Local pangero Jesus Pino was out with long time Baja angler Frank Harbin in the past couple of days, they encountered rippling currents near Iman that turned out to be a school of yellowfin, quickly they had a triple header going, all on jurelitos. Two tuna were brought to gaff relatively quickly, weighing in the 40 to 50 pound class, the last hook up was the big one, this fish towed the boat around some, as it circled and ran initially on the surface before heading deep. After well over an hour of heavy pressure on stout tackle with one hundred pound spectra with 80 pound fluorocarbon top shot, they finally spotted the fish, conservatively estimated to be in the 250 pound range, a couple more big circles and this cow would be gaffed, it was just not meant to be, as on what appeared to be the last circle the line parted and the fish was gone.
Dorado are now appearing in daily fish counts, most of the fish are found scattered offshore on the same fishing rounds as are the marlin, striking equally on trolled lures or bait. Most of the dorado now found are of quality size, 15 to 40 pounds, though they just have not been numerous yet, just really filtering in with warming currents in the past couple of weeks. Wahoo activity has been limited to scattered of strikes on trolled lures, most resulting in cut skirts and lines, but a few wahoo were brought in. As the conditions become cleaner, with more baitfish moving in, we do expect to see the wahoo to become more active.
Inshore there has been spotted reports of slow to frenzied action for species such as jack crevalle, roosterfish, amberjack and even the toughest of them all, the gladiator dogtooth snapper. We expect this inshore bite for these seasonal species to peak in the coming weeks. Slow trolling with larger sized baitfish has been the best bet for this, with areas from La Laguna towards Cardon all producing mixed action.
The combined panga fleets launching from La Playita/Puerto Los Cabos sent out approximately 76 charters for the week, with anglers reporting a fish count of:
4 sailfish,85 striped marlin, 22 dorado, 29 yellowfin tuna, 15 amberjack, 5 dogtooth snapper, 36 various pargo, 5 wahoo, 46 roosterfish,75 jack crevalle, 10 cabrilla, 6 pompano, 14 shark and 8 sierra.
Good fishing, Eric
GORDO BANKS PANGAS
Los Cabos 1421147