700 MARLIN CAUGHT!
OVERALL CATCH SUCCESS RATE ALL SPECIES COMBINED: 93.2
Billfish Catch Success Rate 61%, Tuna 27%, Dorado 20%, Other Species 23%
BILLFISH: The last week of 2022 was hectic here in Cabo, with the town packed with tourists and anglers alike and boats in great demand. The docks were busy morning and afternoon, and catches were good. However, we did see the marlin move further from Cabo, so the easy multiple marlin days at Golden Gate and off of the Old Lighthouse became less frequent. The real, double-digit, make-your-arms fall-off numbers were at the Finger Banks.
Most charter fleets will not go to the Finger Banks, as it is too far for the fuel allotted and can be a safety issue to travel those 52 miles, or 104 miles round-trip. That’s why you need to go with Pisces. Yes, you will be charged for extra fuel, but for a once-in-a-lifetime day of fishing, it’s well worth it. “Bill Collector,” our 35 ft Cabo Flybridge was first out of the gate with great catches on December 23rd for the Chiavetta family from Los Gatos, California, fishing with the Remings. Between four anglers they managed to pull in 47 feisty striped marlin, ranging from 100 to 170 lb each, and landed a nice 30 lb dorado for dinner – all marlin were released. The day after Christmas, “Happy Ending,” one of our top boats, a 60 ft Viking convertible, headed up to Finger Banks for a workout, releasing 49 marlin for Kevin Burke and his guests, who also got a couple of nice size dorado for the table.
Fishing closer to home at the Golden Gate Bank, “La Brisa,” a 31 ft Bertram, released an out-of-season sailfish, which was around 70 lb. Likewise, they released a striped marlin and a couple of yellowfin tuna for the Darwins from Crystal Beach, Texas. This same day “Ruthless,” another one of our trusty 31 ft Bertrams, traveled to the Finger Bank and released 25 striped marlin in the 80 to 120 lb category and landed a total of 7 dorado for the Clarks, a group of Brits from Hertfordshire, England.
The Dow family booked the 38 ft Blackfin “C-Rod” on December 28th and were not disappointed by paying a little extra to go the Finger Banks, where they were able to release 25 striped marlin and land a solitary 25 lb dorado. This same day “BBII,” stayed unusually close by at the Golden Gate. This crew loves to fish marlin and have no problem making the long trip up the coast. However, anglers decided to stay close to home and were not disappointed to release 5 striped marlin on live bait. Perhaps feeling a little deprived of their usual catch numbers, they headed out the following day to the Finger Bank with the Bullocks from Texas on board. Using a combination of frozen ballyhoo and live mackerel, they achieved 50 marlin releases and 4 dorado boated and were back at the dock at 4:00 pm.
There is actually a bit of friendly rivalry between “BBII” and “La Chingona.” They are both beautiful Viking Billfish models and sit side-by-side at the marina, so a quick glance at their outriggers and the number of flags displayed every afternoon will give you an idea of who caught most fish. Topping the table this week, though, was “La Chingona,” with an amazing 62 striped marlin and 5 dorado for Katie Easterling and Lars Losee from Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, in one day. The catches took place at the Finger Bank on December 30th. As if this was not enough, these same anglers headed out again on New Year’s Eve and went on to release an additional 52 marlin and caught an incredible 16 dorado.
This same day Golden Gate yielded some nice catches such as 13 marlin released, though slightly smaller, with fish under 100 lb, for the Swanners from Union Grove, North Carolina, aboard the 45 ft Viking “My Way.”
61 percent of Pisces anglers hooked up to marlin this week, giving us a total billfish count of 700 marlin. One sailfish was caught. Just two fish were boated.
TUNA: As the marlin catches slowed in the area, the slack was taken up by the tuna, which were plentiful on many days, accompanied by huge schools of porpoise, making them fairly easy to locate, albeit sometimes a long way out. Tuna schools move around so the fact that they are in a spot one day does not guarantee they will be there the next. It does take a lot of traveling to locate them and success is never a given. The tuna are school size, from 10 to 30 lb, with catches ranging from 1 to 30 fish. The average this week was 15 per day. The top tuna boat was “Bill Collector II,” a 35 ft Cabo that had 30 in one day, 33 miles out from the 240 spot, for Kelly and Shalane Lee Pinkerton. San Jaime was a good spot to find tuna on several days: it is known to be a bank they frequent. Cedar plug and assorted feathers worked to hook up these yellow fins. 27 percent of our boats caught tuna, giving us a total of 413 fish.
DORADO: Dorado are always a welcome catch as you know you have dinner in the bag if you get one of these. However, smaller fish are released: normally anything under 15 lb we prefer to let go. Thankfully this week we did have some bigger fish, such as a 40 lb specimen that was swimming 23 miles out mixed in with a school of tuna. This one was caught aboard “Karina,” a 30 ft Bertram Moppie that also managed to catch 10 yellowfin tuna for Eddie and Robert Gogny. The very best catches were, again, a long way at the Finger Banks, with “La Chingona” again taking top honors with 16 in one day. Catches tended to be more often of a solitary fish, though others had up to a half dozen. 20 percent of our boats caught dorado this week and our total fish count for this species was 90.
OTHER SPECIES: We are pretty excited about the wahoo we are seeing, with sizes that we have not seen in years. When found, some of them, perhaps the best eating fish in the ocean, topped 60 lb. “Friday Bank” is a superb 66 ft Viking with a great crew that were able to locate and catch two wahoo for the Holmes and Puddicombe families, fishing inshore near Pedregal. The largest was 45 lb and took a dead mackerel. They also released a smaller striped marlin in the same area. Inshore small game fishing is a lot of fun for the kids and this is just what “Tracy Ann” managed to do for the Rudnicki family on December 26th, when they caught 12 sierra, 3 groupers, 2 ladyfish, and 2 red snapper near Migrino. “Chasin Tail,” a stunning 62 ft Viking, had the unusual catch of two 100 lb hammerhead sharks, both released at Golden Gate, and also released a striped marlin. As well as the distinctive hammerheads, both a silky and thresher shark were caught this week by our anglers. Skipjacks were also common this week. 23 percent of our charters caught small game and sharks this week.
LOCATION: Pacific – from Pedregal to Finger Banks and offshore for tuna.
WEATHER CONDITIONS: A couple of overcast days, seas mostly calm. Air temp 75-78 F.
WATER TEMP: 70-72 F.
BEST BAIT/LURES: Live mackerel, dead ballyhoo, cedar plugs, feathers.
Based on the catches of Pisces, by Tracy Ehrenberg