WEATHER: The feel of fall continued this week as we saw low temperatures of 78 degrees in the early morning hours. Like I said last week, normally we can expect the drop in temperature and humidity sometime around Oct. 15, this is just a hint of things to come. Meanwhile, the mornings have been great with cool weather and low humidity combined with a light breeze. As the day goes on the heat cranks up and we have been seeing some mid-days readings at 100 degrees, along with a slight increase in humidity. The winds have remained light, but fairly consistent, just switching directions throughout the day.
WATER: The large swells we were experiencing last week tapered down and they are now just 2-4 feet in all areas. If no more storms come into our area we can expect smooth sea conditions to continue this coming week. The small swells and lack of rain have helped clear up the inshore waters in most areas, and there has been more floating debris found drifting into our area due to the heavy rains from Tropical Storm Miriam that went ashore well to the north of us two weeks ago. It takes a while for some of this to reach our area since it has to travel 200-300 miles, but when it does arrive it has been in the water long enough to attract a great amount of sea life underneath. On the Pacific side of the Cape we have experienced beautiful blue water with temperatures averaging 85 degrees. On the Cortez side of the Cape we are seeing 86-87 degrees with the water only slightly off color, but still blue.
BAIT: Live bait was readily available with Caballito and Mullet at the normal $3 each as well as some frozen Ballyhoo at $3 each as well. With smoother surf conditions there have been some Sardinas available in San Jose, but you have to be very early, and it helps to make arrangements ahead of time since supplies are limited.
BILLFISH: Well. While there are still decent numbers of Sailfish and Striped Marlin showing up on the Pacific side of the Cape, there have been no large Blue Marlin reported to me this past week from that area. There have been plenty of small Blues however, and this is a good sign. Almost without exception Blue or Black Marlin that weigh over 300 pounds are female, and usually have as few as two or as many as ten smaller males somewhere in the area. Boats have been hooking up quite a few small male fish, and I have had reports of much larger fish coming in on trolled lures but not hooking up. I didn’t have any luck on Blues this week, but that might change this next week! Meanwhile, on Tuesday there was a Black Marlin reported as weighing 640 pounds caught by a boat out of San Jose. This is the first large Black I have heard of since the end of the East Cape Bisbee tournament. The day after the tournament ended there was a decent fish caught on the outer Gorda Bank, but I have heard of nothing since then. Hopefully this is a good sign for the tournaments coming up!
YELLOWFIN TUNA: In our local area the Yellowfin Tuna fishing has been a disappointment. Boats are having to search long, hard and far away to find any pods of Dolphin that are holding fish. Perhaps as few as 10% of the pods found have had any Yellowfin on them, and most of these fish have been football to 20 pound size. A few boats have been putting in the time required to go to Gorda Banks and fish live bait and chunks there, hoping to get into the big fish bite, and a few have had decent luck on fish that have gone just over 200 pounds. There have been fish over 100 pounds as well, but you have to have the patience to wait for these guys, and more boats get skunked than catch anything. There are reports of occasional schools of fish showing up just to the north of Punta Gorda as well, but there has been no consistency to them. Walking the marina in the afternoons checking on our clients I sometimes see boats flying a rigger full of white flags and get excited, but this week when I ask the anglers (or the crews of the boat next to the one with the flags) it usually turns out to be nice size Bonita or White Skipjack instead.
DORADO: The Dorado fishing has continued to be wide open on the Pacific side of the Cape. With a federal limit of only two of these fish per angler, many boats are picking up their limits first thing in the morning and then heading offshore to look for marlin and tuna. The action on Dorado to 25 pounds has been great from just off the arch all the way to inside the Golden Gate Banks, and there has been decent fishing for larger fish to 50 pounds farther offshore. Normally floating debris will hold good numbers of fish, and spotting something in the water gets the pulse pounding. Not all debris will hold, but the chances are good it will. Seeing frigate birds working one area and swooping down is the best signal you can get that there are fish in the area. Ballyhoo rigged behind a plastic skirt or a lure designed to run ahead of the bait works magic on the larger fish, and if you catch a few small skip-jack, cutting strips of them and running them the same way is magic on the smaller fish as well.
WAHOO: The full moon gave us the results we expected on Wahoo as several boats caught two or more of these speedsters. The action was spread out all over our area, from the flats up at Punta Gorda to the sea-mounts on the Pacific side, and everywhere in between. There were not hordes of these fish, but the chances were better than ever that you were going to have a shot at one. One boat managed to get six Wahoo that averaged 30 pounds, now that’s Wahoo fishing! Sorry, but I can’t tell you exactly where or what they used, I promised the Captain not to, but I saw the fish. Rigged baits got cut off quickly if the Wahoo were in the area, and once that happened, working that same area with lures like Marauders and Rapallas rigged on wire leader paid off. A good search lure was a blue/white Islander with a ballyhoo rigged inside and trolled in the shotgun position, set back about 150 yards. You have to be aware of other boats in the area to do this (in order to not get cut off), but it can pay off big time.
INSHORE: There were scattered Roosterfish in the areas beaches, both on the Pacific side and the Sea of Cortez, but most of the pangas were working just off the beach for Dorado first, then checking in the surf zone for Snapper and Roosterfish.
FISH RECIPE: Check the blog for this weeks recipe!
NOTES: Music of the week was Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown on his 2001 Universal release “Back To Bogalusa”. This is some really fine blues, and I asked my friend Brian Flynn (The Brian Flynn Band) about him because Brian is like a guitar player encyclopedia. Brian had played with him before Clarence died about six years ago and Brian said Clarence was one of the finest blues guitar players he has met. Listen to this CD and you might agree with Brian and myself. Thanks for reading this weeks report, issue #500 and something, coming at you every Sunday since January 2000 except for those week when we have not had power. Until next week, tight lines!