Baja California, Mexico
With Halloween in the rearview mirror, the monsters that made their appearance at the end of October seem to have disappeared as the warm water moved out. Before the water turned over, one huge catch that deserves recognition is the 412-pound bluefin tuna that was weighed in on the pier at Avalon.
Others have been seen in that weight class offshore from the border to below Turtle Bay. Also, there have been a few huge marlin, like this one that died during the fight, caught just south of Turtle Bay at the Potato Bank.
Below the border, from Coronado Islands to San Quintín, winter is beginning to settle in and bottom fishing becomes the best option. They are catching some sculpin, lots of mixed red rockfish, a few sheepshead, and the odd lingcod, or deep-water sand bass, with a few yellowtail still in the mix, while farther offshore the yellowfin tuna still frolic.
The locals at Vizcaíno Peninsula are reporting cold weather and water patterns seem to be flipping from fall to winter mode.
The offshore season at Magdalena Bay is in full bloom with reports of herds of striped marlin, some good-sized dorado, and wahoo; inside the bay, the water temps are lower than normal and action is slow.
Another bright spot is Bahía de Los Ángeles on the Sea of Cortez where visiting anglers are reporting a good yellowtail bite plus quality bottom fish, including a few gulf grouper.
At Loreto, roosterfish to forty pounds are off the south tip of Carmen Island. Dorado have been found at different spots around Danzante Island and when it’s time to change up the action, many boats have been sliding over to Carmen where along with the roosterfish action to 40 pounds, the cabrilla are responding well to live sardina and silver Krocodiles.
Up the coast near El Faro, the cabrilla have been hanging out. An indication is the bent hooks and cut mono! However, soon coming are the pargo with their healthy bites that break-off your line!
The first big taste of the winter north winds this past weekend triggered the start of a new focus. Instead of dorado first and adventuring after that, the new aim is yellowtail first until the sun gets hot. Roll the dice after yellowtail, and shoot for a shallow rock pile for cabrilla and snapper, or cool off by pulling some lures for whatever is handy and hungry.
With water temps running about 85 degrees and air temperatures in the mid-90s, the dorado came on strong. Limits were not unusual.
Often folks caught and then had to release so many dorado, some were back to the beach before lunch. Most of the fish were school-sized, from 5- to 15-pounders, but lots of fun, especially on light tackle or for first-timers.
For the Las Arenas Fleet, the dorado were some of the largest of the season. No big monsters, but fish were in the 10- to 25-pound range…a size not seen in many months. There were a few days when it was bumpy and windy, and anglers had to fish inshore for pargo, snapper, and cabrilla, but overall, most folks fish several days and they made up for the slow days on when they stacked up the larger dorado.
There was always the chance of wahoo. Not many wahoo were caught, but the fish were there. Maybe one panga per day got a wahoo on the average. The best lures were the dark Rapalas and dark Nomads. The downside? If you went trolling for wahoo and they didn’t bite, it was often too late to go chase anything else, so you stood the chance of missing out on something to put in the box to take home.
There’s still some 5- to 20-pound roosterfish around to release and there are always rockfish to chase.
Just a heads-up! This is the typical time of year when the winds are getting strong and are coming from the north. Once these get pretty consistent, waters can start to cool; get rougher; and change the complexion of the fishing.
Van Wormer Resorts reports a successful 8th Annual Van Wormer Resort Tuna Shoot Out. Forty-seven teams participated in the largest yellowfin tuna tournament. The winners were 1st Place-David Moore-Team Jen Wren lll; 2nd Place – Chris Campanella – Team Mi Sueno; 3rd Place -Preston Burton-Team Jukate. Congratulations to David Moore and his team for taking First Place in the 2020 Tuna Shoot Out with their winning tuna weighing 70.7 pounds. They collected $53,510 in cash, which included the grand prize plus $300, $500, and $1,000 jackpots. Chris Campanella and team Mi Sueno took home over $20,000 in cash for the $2,000 jackpot for their 52.7-pound fish.
At Puerto Los Cabos, the overall tuna bite was slow, although another 110-pound tuna was brought in, taken from a super panga mid-week, as was a scattering of a few other yellowfin in the 30- to 70-pound class, but in limited numbers. Most of these fish were taken near the San Luis Bank.
Wahoo, in sizes ranging to over 15-pounds, were becoming more active, although they were still spotty. Most of this action was near the Iman Bank and farther north caught while trolling Rapalas. The wahoo bite should improve as the water cools down. Dorado action was sporadic as well and was mostly for fish up to 15-pounds. On other days, we would only see a fish or two.
Off the bottom – a handful of various pargo species, bonito, and even some off-season roosterfish, a couple of which were over 40-pounds, were caught near shallow rock outcroppings.
A few sierra were starting to show as well, as their season is just getting underway.
The Cabo San Lucas striped marlin bite is picking up again this week in addition to dorado. Plus, recently, 11 roosterfish were released by 10 a.m. for our anglers out on local pangas.
As far as the larger blue and black marlin, the Bisbee Black and Blue failed to produce one qualifier weighing over 300 pounds, though they did break some large marlin off, and the Release Division brought some in for the winning money.
Gary Graham -That Baja Guy
With more than five decades of fishing experience – from light tackle and fly to offshore billfish – Gary Graham has experienced all aspects of fishing in the Southern California and Baja waters. His observations of species behavior, tackle and techniques are always from his unique perspective, earning him the respect of his peers as well as anglers who eagerly follow his Baja reports and features.
Gary maintained a home at East Cape in Baja Sur for more than 18 years and still spends nearly half of each year exploring the entire peninsula in his self-contained Roadtrek van. He observes everything Baja, from the mysteries of a tide pool on a deserted Baja beach filled with tiny sea creatures to the largest billfish in the sea.