WEATHER: It has been a strange week for us on the weather front as we started the week with a bit of high cloud cover then went into a period of sunny skies for a few days. After enjoying the sun it appeared that we had just been teased as the clouds moved in on Thursday morning. The rain began and it was on and off all day and night with an eventual dump of about 1 inch total. We expected the clouds to move away then but upon looking at the animated shots could see that this may last at least through the weekend, and perhaps even longer. I don’t know if I should call this a “pineapple express” or not as it is coming at us from at least 800 miles south of Hawaii. There is a frontal system to the north of us that is preventing this system from going further north, if it lets up perhaps our skies will clear. Looking over my reports for the past 10 years we normally get this type of weather at the beginning of the year, and it is short lived giving us a little rain every week for about three weeks. One thing this has done for us is wash off all the trees and plants, giving back that green look, and of course it will help everything continue to grow. I just hope that since the weather is cooler with our lows in the high 60’s that the mosquitoes and flies will not be as prevalent. Our daytime highs have been in the mid 80’s.
WATER: Once again due to the cloud cover there were no good shots of the surface temperature, but from what we could see and what was reported by the boats it appears as if the water temperature across the area has dropped another degree or two. On both the Cortez and on the Pacific side of the cape we had inshore water at 75 to 76 degrees while just offshore on the Cortez side it warmed to 79 degrees and on the Pacific side to 78 degrees. With the rain came murky inshore water and the off-color conditions extended out for about ½ mile around all areas where arroyos entered the ocean. The cloud cover was moving in from the southwest but the surface winds were from the north, and with the north wind came choppy sea conditions on the Pacific side. Swells from the southwest collided with the wind from the north and it was a bit uncomfortable, at least on Thursday and Friday. By Saturday the winds had died off and the water settled down. On the Cortez side of the Cape the water was very nice with small swells at 1-3 feet, and if you were within 10 miles of shore the wind had little effect on you.
BAIT: There were bigger live baits such as Caballito (goggle-eye scad), some Mackerel (pacific greenback mackerel), Lisa (yellowtail mullet) and a few mixed baits available at the usual $3 each. Frozen horse-ballyhoo were available as well at $3 each and if you went north in the morning with plans to fish in the Punta Gorda area there were some Sardina available as well if you were there early, at the usual $25 a scoop.
BILLFISH: Not surprisingly there are fewer and fewer Blue and Black Marlin reported as the water cools off, but I know of at least one boat that caught and released a Blue Marlin they estimated at #250, and this was reported by experienced anglers. The fish was found inside the 95 spot to 1150 line, an area this boat fished heavily for several days. The Striped Marlin bite continued to pick up, and we do expect the action on these guys to improve on a steady basis. Drifting the high spots along the shore on the Pacific side with live bait dropped deep is still the most constant producer, but more and more fish are being found on the surface. As the cool water continues to wrap around the Cape from the Pacific side the Striped Marlin are following, and the fishing is improving on a daily basis on the Cortez side of the Cape. This was nice to have happen this week as conditions on the Pacific side were a bit bumpy. I think that perhaps 75% of the boats that went out this week were able to hook into a Striped Marlin. Unfortunately there are still many of these fish being killed by the crews, even though the anglers want to release the fish. I keep seeing the buckets going up the docks with a Marlin folded into it and no longer wonder why so many boats refuse to use circle hooks, I know that the crews want to keep the fish, sigh.
YELLOWFIN TUNA: Perhaps we will not see good Tuna action in our area until the beginning of the year, but there are still some cows being caught on the Gorda Banks every day. The fish have been under some heavy pressure but they are there, it is just a matter of spending the time, waiting them out, waiting for the bite to happen. Most of the action has been on chunk baits with hooks tied directly to the main line, and the fish are running between 150 and 250 pounds. Elsewhere the porpoise pods continue to be a hit-or-miss experience, with the first boats that find pods holding fish managing to get two or three in the 25 to 75 pound class and boats showing up a bit later just getting practice at trolling lures or soaking bait. I heard from a couple of private boats that there is an on-off bite on fish averaging 25 pound on the high points off of Punta Gordo, but they are getting there before sunrise to get into the bite, shortly after sunrise the local fleet pangas out of San Jose show up and the bite quickly drops off. Porpoise have been found from 5 miles due south to all along the 1,000 fathom line, so you never know when or where they may appear, you just have to keep your fingers crossed that the ones you come across hold tuna. The larger fish have been caught on live bait while lures, especially cedar plugs and dark colored feathers have been the best producers on the medium and smaller fish mixed with porpoise.
DORADO: Dorado action continued, but at a reduced pace as the water continues to cool. Most of the action has been found within 5 miles of the beach on the Pacific side, and while there are fewer numbers, the size continues to improve. Many of the fish being found are in the 20-25 pound class, and most of these fish are being found under feeding Frigate birds, and caught on live bait tossed out directly under the birds. You have to be careful though, because these birds are also a good indicator of feeding Striped Marlin, and it has not been uncommon for a couple of baits tossed out to be inhaled by a pair of Marlin! My guess is that about 75% of the boats are coming in with Dorado these days, but only 20% of them are coming in with limits, compared with 60% coming in with limits two weeks ago. The Cortez side is now producing more Dorado as the warmer water is now in this area and the Pacific side is cooling off, so look for the bite to slowly move from the Pacific side to the Cortez side over the next few week.
WAHOO: As always, a hit or miss fishery is the best way to describe the Wahoo bite. Mostly this week it has been a miss, but there are a few boats that are having fairly regular action of fish ranging from 20 to 35 pounds, as well as a few fish that are only as big as Sierra. Trolling lipped plugs like Rapallas, or swimming plugs like Marauders has been the best method of getting a Wahoo bite, but boats that are chunking or live baiting are getting bit as well, it’s just that most of these bites are cutting the leader!
INSHORE: The inshore bite has not changed from last weeks report with the exception of the fact that at the end of the week the areas around the arroyos have had dirty water due to the rain run-off. More and more Sierra are beginning to show up locally and while small at 3-5 pounds they have been biting when the schools have been found. Add in a few early Yellowtail to 20 pounds, a few red Snapper to 15 pounds and a few grouper to 20 pounds and the traditional inshore fishery is beginning to shape up nicely. Still, most of the Pangas are fishing slightly farther off the beach, taking advantage of the continued Dorado bite and the close proximity of Striped Marlin.
FISH RECIPE: Check the blog for this months recipe!
NOTES: We are seeing more and more whales showing up, both Humpbacks offshore and Gray Whales along the beach. Christmas is usually the start of the season for these guys (actually girls) to show up and they are not disappointing us this year. Just before the holidays is normally a slow time for tourism as family are staying home in celebration, but as soon as Christmas is over we expect to be very busy again, and hopefully the fishing continues to improve! My music choice for this week was the CD “Underground Whispers” by violinist Alex DePue and guitarist Miguel De Hoyas. I listened to this one again as Miguel was playing in Las Riberras this weekend and we wanted to go listen, but all the hotels and motels were sold out due to an off-road race taking place. I had to listen to the CD instead, sigh. Until next week, tight lines!
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