FLY HOOKER SPORTFISHING
Captain George Landrum
Cabo Fish Report
Jan. 6 – 12, 2014
WEATHER: We had wonderful weather this week with our lows in the high 50’s and the highs in the mid 80’s. The skies remained mostly sunny except for a bit of overcast on Saturday and while the wind did blow a bit in the evenings it was pretty nice and mellow during the daytime. No rain of course!
WATER: Water temperatures on the Sea of Cortez side were 73-74 degrees except for some warm water around the 1150 and Seamount area where it warmed up a bit to 74-75 degrees. The water was a bit off-color in the 73-74 degree area. Surface conditions on the side were very good with swells small at 1-3 feet and no wind chop until either the late afternoon or if you went up past Punta Gorda to the north. On the Pacific side of the peninsula the water was 73-74 degree almost anywhere you went, and the water was a lot cleaner than the Sea of Cortez side. Surface conditions were great as well with swells at 2-4 feet but spaced far apart. Around mid-afternoon during the later part of the week the wind picked up a bit and made for some choppy conditions, but there was no issue with the fishing being affected.
BAIT: There are more Mackerel available than there were last week and this trend should continue as the water becomes cooler every week. A mix of Mackerel and Caballito were the normal bait purchase this week. The price continued to be steady at $3 U.S. Per bait, and if the boat you were on was buying from the same bait boat all the time, often a bag or chunk of ice was included in the purchase.
BILLFISH: The concentration of Striped Marlin that we had at the lighthouse ledge on the Pacific side has either been thinned out due to the fishing pressure or has moved off to follow the bait! While there are still some Striped Marlin being caught there, the boats have been finding more and more fish on the Golden Gate and off of the point at El Arco. Remember last weeks report when I said that there were good numbers being found at the Golden Gate? Well, now it is beginning to look like the lighthouse did last week with up to 50 boats working it by drifting live baits, some deep and some on the surface, or by slow trolling live bait and rigged ballyhoo or by trolling lures. I listed those techniques in order of effectiveness. The same methods were being used at El Arco as well, with good results. If Marlin is your target, the Gate is the place to concentrate on right now. Some of the Striped Marlin being caught are quite large, we had one client release one fish he said was around 200 pounds and another that was around 110 pounds. This is the typical size range, with outliers being fish over 180 pounds and under 80 pounds. I will soapbox once again though about using circle hooks for fishing live bait deep for Marlin. Please practice “catch and release” on our Striped Marlin, not “catch and fillet”. While there seem to be large numbers of these fish out there, there are not infinite numbers of them. Using a “J” hook with deep dropped live bait is almost 100% certain to gut hook the fish, and these fish have a very low survival rate post release. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that if a Striped Marlin is bleeding when it is released there is 97% mortality. With a circle hook, the hook will not catch on the fish until it is pulled to the corner of the jaw, where its shape is designed to dig in via a cam-like action. There is no need to “set” the hook with violent swings on the rod, this type of hook-setting will instead jerk the circle hook out of the fish. The best method is to slowly apply increasing pressure until the hook is brought to the corner of the jaw, where it will then lodge. This is perfect for those deep drops where you never know a fish has hooked up until well after it has eaten the bait. Make sure you stop by one for the local tackle supply stores and buy a dozen on these circle hooks to take on your boat, and if the crew decides to use the deep drop or “bottom fishing” technique, insist they use the circle hooks you have brought. Thank you very much!
YELLOWFIN TUNA: Yay! I guess our crossed fingers and prayers have been answered, at least for this week. We had some great Tuna action as the fish were finally found, some 20 miles to the south and some near the San Jaime Banks, even a few inside the Banks areas. Most of the fish were 12-18 pounds with a few pushing 30 pounds. I even heard of a few boats catching fish in the 50-80 pound class. It doesn’t really matter to me, I am just glad they finally showed up! Boats that got into the Yellowfin were often getting limits for their anglers (5 fish per angler), and if there was just one angler on board, having all five lines go off at once resulted in a circus act! Feathered lures, hootchies and cedar plugs worked great on the football sized fish as well as fish to 30 pounds, but most of the larger fish were caught on live bait dropped well ahead of an approaching school. Almost all of these fish were associated with porpoise, so seeing the porpoise splash in the distance was a great way to find the fish, as was seeing small concentrations of birds working one area.
DORADO: While Dorado continue to be caught by boats fishing the Pacific side of the Cape, the fish have spread out and the bite seems to be tapering off a bit. Instead of limiting out almost every trip (2 fish limit per angler), many of the boats are returning with just 1 or 2 Dorado in total. The water withing a mile of the beach on the Pacific side is still the most productive area to work, and the better catches are by boats that are willing to do something a bit different, slow trolling live bait on a down-rigger. The problem with this method of course, is that you have to find the fish first. Trolling at a slightly higher speed than normal is one way, moving through the water at 9 knots instead of 7 knots covers a bit more area, but seeing another boat fighting or boating a Dorado is just as good (except they are the one getting that first fish).
WAHOO: There were a few small Wahoo caught this week by boats working near shore for Dorado on the Pacific side. The few fish I heard of were caught up past the Migraino area in 200 feet of water.
INSHORE: Sierra were still the inshore fish of the week as boats fishing for them were certain to catch at least a few. The schools that we had seen the week before up off of Migraino have split up, and now there are scattered small schools found all up and down the coastline. Fishing from just outside the surf break to 200 feet of water and watching for bait (sardinas for the most part) popping on the surface put you in the zone. Once the schools were found a few passes with hootchies determined the next step. If the fish would bite the hootchies it was great, if not, then you tried strip baits drifted through the same area. This method generally resulted in slightly larger fish. Of, by the way, the larger Sierra sometimes have parasites in the meat, so check them carefully when they have been filleted. Often the cleaning station guys will let you know if parasites are present. There have been very few Roosterfish found, and those that have been caught have been small. A few Yellowtail have been caught, but not in numbers large enough to have them as a targeted species. Toss in a few Snapper to 10 pounds and Grouper to 20 pounds and you have our inshore fishing report!
FISH RECIPE: This week it’s about shrimp! We are lucky to have some of the best shrimp in Mexico available to us, its caught up in Mag Bay and we can get it fresh. I like to take the shell-on tails and saute them for about two minutes in butter, then splash in some white wine, cook while agitating the pan for another minute, then adding a splash of tequila and some red pepper flakes, cooking for another 30 seconds. Remove them from the pan and serve them with white rice that you have drizzled the remaining saute fluids on. Peel and enjoy!
NOTES: I posted an interim report this week about the increase in fishing license prices. If you did not read it, then be aware, at the dock the agents of CONAPESCA are now charging $181 pesos for a one day license. If you pay in dollars it is $18 U.S. Last week I paid $179 pesos, and it was printed on the license. The week before it was $175 pesos, and was printed on the license. I have sent a letter (actually an e-mail) to the CONAPESCA office in San Diego asking them what the licenses are supposed to cost as many people have informed me that they are able to buy one day licenses from them for only $9.25 U.S. I have not had a reply yet, but will have news by next weeks report. On a lighter note, if you are fishing you are seeing whales and porpoise as well, but if you are out whale watching you are not fishing. So, if you want to do some whale watching, why not charter a fishing boat and do both? This weeks report was written to the music of Jack Johnson and Friends on the 2012 album “Jack Johnson and Friends – Best of Kokua Festival” on Brushfire Records. If you have never heard this, you deserve a treat! Until next week, Tight Lines!
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