WEATHER: Once again the great weather continues! This week our nighttime lows were in the mid 70’s and the daytime highs stayed in the low 90’s. Combine that with a humidity level that has been in the mid to high 20% range, sunny skies and light breezes and you can understand why this is the perfect time to be here. Not only that, but if you are a fisherman, the action this week, and normally this time of year, has been great!
WATER: On the Pacific side of the Cape this week we had blue water, really blue to the north of the lighthouse and just a slightly off-color blue closer to home, at least late in the week. Very early in the week the water close to home and off of the lighthouse was a dirty green. This was probably due to the large swells produced by the passing of Hurricane Paul. Later in the week the water on the Pacific had swells in the 2-5 foot range with a bit of wind picking up in the afternoons putting some chop on the water within 6 miles of the beach, but it was a bit smoother farther offshore. Water temperatures have been between 81 degrees offshore to the north to 85 degrees 10 miles off the beach inside the San Jaime Bank area. On the Cortez side of the Cape the water has been just a bit off color with an occasional spot of dirty water, but for the most part very fishable. The temperatures have been 85 degrees with a few areas showing as high as 88 degrees. Swells have been small to non-existent at 1-3 feet with no wind within 20 miles of shore.
BAIT: Sardines could be had here in Cabo this week, probably due to the demand of the tournament boats who use them to catch skip jack and small Yellowfin for bait. A scooped bucket would set you back $25, but they were in much better shape than the Sardines we were getting earlier in the week from bait boats farther north. Caballito and Mullet could be had easily at $3 each, and there were frozen Bally-hoo for $3 each.
BILLFISH: I am going to give some data here, then some explanations, so be ready. First off, there were two Billfish tournaments held in Cabo this week, the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament, scheduled for three days but fished only two days due to swells from the passing of Hurricane Paul on Tuesday, the first day scheduled. The second tournament was the Bisbee Los Cabos Offshore Tournament, fished on Saturday and Sunday. This tournament is the reason the report is a day late, I was fishing in it. What we have then are 37 boats fishing the first tournament for two days and 80 boats fishing the second for 2 days, a total of 234 fishing days. During that time frame there were a total of 51 billfish either brought in or released, an average of just under 1 fish for four days of fishing. That’s not a great statistic, especially for an area known as the billfish capital of the world, but here is a quick explanation. Most of the boats fishing these tournaments were fishing for large Marlin. There were three fish weighed in over 300 pounds among the 51 caught, a 483 pound Black Marlin, a 583 and a 565 pound Blue Marlin. 1 Black Marlin, 12 Blue Marlin, 23 Striped Marlin and 13 Sailfish were released. These numbers would have been much higher, if the weights smaller, if the target for the tournaments would have been numbers instead of size. On the boat I fished, we only pulled very large lures for a reason. Elephants eat peanuts, but so do monkeys, and we only wanted elephants, so we did not pull anything a monkey could eat. Many boats did the same thing. So there you go, for a tournament, 1 fish per 4 days is a bit slow here, but the average was higher for regular charters. The catch per unit of effort was about the same for both tournaments, so it appears that the moon phase has not had a great effect so far. That could change for the Black and Blue Tournament coming up this week as the moon will be just before full instead of coming off new phase into the first quarter.
YELLOWFIN TUNA: Yellowfin were the high point of the past week for many boats fishing, both in the tournaments and regular charters. Some stats for you that might make you thing about coming down and entering the Tuna Tournament the first week of November: 4 tournament days of fishing, with very few boats targeting Yellowfin resulted in tuna weighing 247 and 227 in the first tournament, and in the second tournament the top five weighed in were 314, 299, 276, 234 and 218. That’s 7 fish over 200 pounds, a better success ratio by 100% than that of large Marlin. This is not counting the fish that were under 200 pounds! Many of these large fish were caught off of the inner and outer Gorda Banks, an area that has been producing some large fish for the past few weeks. Slow trolling live skip jack and Bolito on the surface or on down-riggers produced the hook-ups. The success rates on the hook-ups is probably higher than normal for a couple of reasons. One is that most of the tuna were caught by boats trying to catch a large Black Marlin, so the gear was much stronger than that used by normal charters, and the fact that most of the baits were fished on very strong flouro-carbon leader, 400 to 500 pound breaking strength. There were Tuna caught in other areas as well, and some of them were very nice sized, with a few in the 100+ class and most in the 25-35 pound class. Boats working the outside of the Cabrillo Seamount, the south side of the San Jaime Bank and the north side of the Golden Gate Bank found dolphin pods that held fish. Some of the dolphin looked like a catch would be guaranteed, dolphin feeding everywhere and hundreds of birds working, only to produce no strikes, but if you kept searching you would find a pod with fish on it eventually. Making a 20 to 30 mile run to get to the fish was the only issue, once out there it was a matter of time for most boats. Small lures, large lures, it didn’t seem to matter, if the fish were hungry they would eat. If not, go find the next school.
DORADO: It might be a tie this week for fish of the week between the excellent Tuna fishing we have been experiencing and the large numbers of Dorado that showed up once again. It did take a couple of days at the start of the week for the fishing to pick back up after the passing of Hurricane Paul, but it did get better. Not all boats were able to get limits but most were able to get enough Dorado to keep anglers happy, then on Friday one boat found a very large dead whale just to the south of the Golden Gate Bank. Mike reported that he saw “thousands” of Dorado around the whale when he arrived, the first boat on the scene. They released all the small ones and kept their limit of fish over 20 pounds, eventually releasing 25 fish that were smaller. Other boats came in on the action and did very well, and on Saturday it was a parking lot, albeit a stinky one if you were downwind, but by the afternoon the bite had died off. Still, most of the boats were able to catch limits of good sized fish for two days. Elsewhere, there was a decent bite along the Pacific shoreline out to two miles from the Los Arcos area to Todo Santos, and a scattering of fish on the Cortez side. The tournaments had Dorado of 54, 45, 42, 41 and 40 pounds as the top 5 fish for the second tournament and 42, 39 and 28 for the first tournament. Imagine the numbers if Dorado had been the target instead of Marlin!
WAHOO: We did not hear of any Wahoo being caught in the tournaments this week, even though there was a category for them in the first tournament. Also, there were none I heard of from the charter fleets, but possibly a few were caught.
INSHORE: Early in the week the large surf conditions from the passing of Hurricane Paul made fishing close to the shore dangerous. Later in the week there were some small Roosterfish as well as some Amberjack caught, and a half-way decent bite on Snapper and Grouper by those fishing the bottom. Most of the Pangas in the early and mid week were fishing just offshore for Dorado. At the end of the week the fishing outside of the Cabo Real area in 200 feet of water turned on for football Yellowfin and large White Skipjack, something for the tournament boats to keep in mind next week!
FISH RECIPE: Check the blog for this weeks recipe!
NOTES: This report may be a bit longer than normal, but it has been a while since I have had this many days on the water in a row. Being out there makes it so much more detailed, just wish I was fishing myself four or five days a week instead of one or two if I am lucky! Our fingers are crossed for a big fish in the coming Black and Blue tournament, we will be fishing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. If you want to follow the live action you can log onto the Bisbee website and click on “live action”. Hopefully you will see “Sporty Game” on the leader-board! OK, off to post this and then get the lawn cut. My music for this week was “Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears” on their CD “Scandalous” on Lost Highway Records. He sounds like the new James Brown! Thanks for the CD Mark! Until next week, tight lines!