January 2, 2012 was a pretty calm day for us down here in Cabo in terms of the weather. The morning had a nice light breeze that created a tiny wind chop near shore. Offshore, the wind was a bit heavier, but still less than 10-12 knots. Temperatures were hoovering just over 78 degrees for the majority of the day and the ocean temperature ranged from the low to mid 70’s. In the afternoon and towards dusk, the weather became very calm. Winds died down to almost nothing at all, and the ocean turned to glass before it was dark.
Fishing for Bonito
Although there were some yellow dorado flags flying on some of the fishing fleets boats in Palmilla Bay, our boat did not catch any. We fished again in the afternoon, and trolled three rods in back of the boat at about 7-8 knots. We used two plugs, and one “mexican flag feather lure”. The diving plug lures worked the best. The feather didn’t even get a single bite from any fish.
We were only able to catch football sized bonito, and in total we landed 5 in the two hours of afternoon fishing. We released all of the fish, and although I was hoping to chop up a few of them and use them for bait for grouper the next day, the boat’s captain would not allow for that. When you are reeling up a fish like bonito, you don’t know for sure what you have on the end of the line. There’s always a chance it could be a nice and tasty yellow fin tuna, but of course it might just be bonito. Thankfully, the fish we caught today were super strong and were pulling out line until the very end. We never used the gaff that was sitting in the back of the boat, since again the captain didn’t want to get fish blood flying all over the boat. We already had enough cleaning when we got on-board. We were lucky enough to have a flock of about ten pelicans sitting on the boat all day, pooping all over the place. If it wasn’t for the washdown hose on the boat, we would probably have been sitting in fresh white pelican poop. Let’s just say the fishing today was a bit stinkier than usual.
Two days from now on Wednesday we are headed back out again to fish the waters of the Gordo Banks up the Sea of Cortez. The goal is to leave a bit earlier in the morning, and we are expecting to finally get some live bait.
Very few reports of marlin caught came over the radio today. There was one boat out of Cabo San Lucas which reported 3 stripped marlin before noon, and the captain said that all the fish were taken at the Golden Gate Bank on the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo.
The new marina has arrived to San Jose Del Cabo, it’s called Puerto Los Cabos.
Most definitely, it has taken it’s fair share of time, but the Corona family has done a magnificent job in constructing and getting up and running the new marina and harbor in San Jose Del Cabo. So long are the days of needing to drive all the way into Cabo San Lucas to launch your boat at the launch ramp there. If you are living or vacationing closer to San Jose Del Cabo, it is a very simply drive through town and the estuary to the new marina. There is a nice webpage that talks about the making of the Puerto Los Cabos marina right here(for more information on that if you like.)
Some great features of the Puerto Los Cabos Marina:
Very easy to use launch ramp (never a wait, and some happy local Mexicans are there to help you out if you like)
Some of the nicest looking fillet tables for cutting up your catch when you return (look at the picture below)
Several nice public bathrooms (great places to drop a stinky load before or after fishing)
A nice beach to take a quick dip, or to drop your kids off at while you go out fishing for the day
Tons of panga boats to charter for fishing trips if you don’t have your own fishing boat
Live bait is often available from some of the locals if you arrive early enough in the morning
Several different taco stands and smaller restaurants are scattered around the marina (don’t be scared if they look like they haven’t been cleaned in years, those ones are usually the best tasting. Best bet is to hit up a taco stand that has the most locals eating at it. And feel free to bring your fish that you’ve caught right on in, and most places will cook it up for you
There is a fishing tackle shop that you can buy fishing gear and a Mexican Fishing License if you like (people over the age of 12 need to purchase a fishing license and it is around $15 or less per day)
Drydock storage facilities for boats that are needing a more long term solution
Other boat services and haul out options are available
Today December 29, 2011 is the beginning of an 11 day long fishing trip. What’s great is that the weather is looking quite a bit better this morning compared to the reports that we have heard from several amigos and local Mexican fishing guides down here in Cabo. I guess the past few days, the weather has been relatively cool, with some variable to heavy winds in the afternoons.
This morning, the winds are very light, and the seas appear very calm here at Palmilla Bay. Palmilla bay is located in-between the two towns of San Jose del Cabo and the more famous Cabo San Lucas. Of the two towns, it is much closer to San Jose del Cabo.
Later on today, we are going to launch the Grady White boat we have down here, and take it out for some fishing. We are still deciding where exactly to fish, but it is probably that we will launch out of San Jose del Cabo in their new marina, and then maybe take a stroll up the Sea of Cortez to the Gordo Banks. There have been some reports of yellowfin tuna and dorado being taken out at the banks which is great news. My wife is telling me not to come back to sea until we have some fish for her to eat. I’m sure other fishermen can understand the pressures we go through.
In terms of how we plan on catching anything, well, we will probably be trolling heavy lures behind the boat, and if we get lucky, we might end up purchasing some live bait from some other amigos.
Time will tell, but since it’s been three years since I was down here in Cabo, I think we should be really lucky this time around.
More Cabo fishing updates will follow over the week, and hopefully some nice pictures of fish both being caught, and maybe even some live fishing videos.
Setting Up a Fishing Trip in Puerto Morelos could not be easier than a quick walk down the main square to the one pier in the town. Don’t worry on having trouble finding it, the town square is pretty small and everything leads to the beach so its never a problem for tourists. What you will probably notice if you are in search of a fishing trip is that there are several different types of boats to choose from at Puerto Morelos.
As for the fishing, this is an excellent place to get out into the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and try your luck fishing for marlin, wahoo, mahi-mahi, dorado, yellow fin tuna, and all types of groupers and barracuda and other fish. Most of the days, the crew who I spoke with down on the docks of the fishing pier said they catch several types of fish unless the customers want to target one specific fish. The most common methods of fishing are trolling either lures or live bait to catch the bigger fish. The bait of choice is either small mackerel or ballyhoo which are plentiful. The prices for chartering a boat range on the boats size. For the budget choice, the cheapest day of fishing would be to charter a panga. Panga’s are small open air fishing boats powered by a gas outboard engine. There will usually be one captain and one crew member on board the boat, and this can cost between $200-250 for 4 hours of fishing. Bait, tackle, and fishing rods are all included, and sometimes you can negotiate for lunch to be included too.
Some other fishing boats that can be chartered are definitely going to cost more money. The larger boats can be upwards of $750 for a full day, although they can accommodate more people, usually in the 5-7 person range. Below is a picture of one of the local fishing guides cutting up a freshly caught dorado in the 30 pound range. This is an excellent fighting fish and also a great fish to bring back to your hotel and have the chef cook it up for you and your family for dinner or lunch. This fish was caught on a lure while trolling just a few miles off the coast. The fishing conditions in terms of weather are usually very pleasant. There are expected daily winds of 10-15 miles per hour on most days during much of the year. The hurricane season does exist, so you should plan accordingly. For example, much of the region is very vacant from August until November due to the potential for very high winds. The rest of the year is excellent. The seas are very calm on most days with just a light wind chop of small waves that are no problem for the fishing boats to handle with grace.
Make sure to ask your fishing guides if you will need a license to go out fishing. There have not been many incidents of fishermen from the United States running into the Mexican police demanding to see fishing licenses, but it is possible, so your best bet is to check beforehand on whether that would be necessary or not.