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Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Dorset, United...
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Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Had a great time in Cabo, although the fishing (particularly for marlin) was way below what I've experienced in the past at this time of year - the water was very cold and green close to shore and even 35 miles out, not that real deep blue that marlin like. Apparently it's been that way for the past 3 or 4 years - el nino/la nina weather patterns, currents etc making things difficult. Actually saw very few marlin but luckily the ones we did see were hungry.

The first day I was out on my own on the super-panga Santi 1 with Victor (great boat with pretty new 115hp 4-stroke Mercury outboard) and after not spotting any marlin for the first couple of hours, we decided to go after tuna (Victor said there were not many marlin about, so we had got 15 smaller livebaits rather than the usual 10 larger ones in the morning). On finding a good school of yellowfin, rather than troll accross the front of the school, Victor would position the boat about a quarter mile ahead of them and we would cast livebaits out with the boat moving slowly forwards and let out about a third of a spool of line, then he would put the engine in neutral and wait for the tuna. It was a great way of doing it as it didn't spook the tuna (like it can with trolling) and we only caught the better fish. I ended the day with 10 good yellowfin between 25lbs and 40lbs, one of which was on light spinning tackle and took about a half hour to land! Great start and a great way of fishing - rod in hand waiting for the bite, some of which were real screamers. Other boats on the troll were getting nothing and even those bait fishing didn't do nearly as well as us - Victor assured me that it was due to the fluorocarbon leader I had brought with me .

The second day was a family day on the Guerita 2 and we had only been on the water for half an hour when we spotrted two marlin, one of which the deckie, Gabriel hooked up. I took the rod and started to play the fish but unfortunately it spat the hook on the first jump - I still had on a circle hook from the previous trip with Victor, which Captain Efren doesn't like as he says they lose too many fish.......

Anyway, 10 minutes later and we saw another school of 3 marlin but unfortunately they didn't seem hungry and went down.

Another 5 minutes passed and we found yet another marlin, which ate the bait straight away and the 'J' hook held firm right in the corner of the mouth for a clean release 10 minutes later - a small stripey of around 100lbs.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful however, but at least we got a marlin.

The next two days were with Victor again on the Santi 1 - the first of these I was on my own again and pretty much matched the first day on the tuna apart from losing a bigger one around 60-70lbs when the hook pulled close to the boat.

The following day I shared with another guy and I hooked up a big stripey (200lbs) right at the back of the boat which was spectacular but unfortunately the CIRCLE hook pulled after about 5 minutes. They work great on the tuna, not so sure about the stripies. That was pretty much it for the day as although we found some tuna, they weren't really biting.

The 5th and 6th days were on the Guerita 2 again and were both shares - the first of these was pretty slow - my share partner had a couple of small yellowfin fall off and we caught a couple of skippies but he spotted a mako shark on the way back and as I've caught a few of these in the past and it was his first game fishing trip I let him take it and he was stoked.

The last day we went right out wide and not long after sunrise Captain Efren spotted the sunlight reflecting off 3 marlin tails a long way off (he has incredible eyes) and as we came up to them, the deckie and I cast baits, both of which were engulfed in seconds - Gabriel hooked his and passed it to my partner but unfortunately I pulled the bait out of my marlin's mouth before he'd had time to eat it - not enough practice this trip!. The other one came in for a clean release after about 15 minutes and was about 130lbs.

We didn't see any more marlin that day but did get a few yellowfin on the troll.

Normally I would have expected to catch 10-15 marlin plus dorado and wahoo but like I said, the baiit and the water quality just wasn't there this year. Cabo has certainly grown a lot since I was there last but we all just totally 'chilled' within 24 hgours of getting there and found some really good places to eat and drink, which if anything were cheaper than when I was there years ago, so although the fishing wasn't the best, the trip was still really enjoyable and Captain Efren still managed to catch marlin for us 2 days out of 3!

If fishing on your own, I would highly reccomend Victor and the Santi 1 (he now has a website: www.santisportfishing.com or his email is : santisportfishing@yahoo.com.mx His daily rate for 8 hours is $250 (I paid $225 as I booked 3 days).

One thing I really wanted to do on this trip was swim with whale sharks but after speaking to Cabo Expeditions and not getting a very clear answer as to whether the sharks were there or not, let alone if they were seeing any, decided to forego the $175 tour and do our own thing. We ended up hiring a car ($ 70 inc all insurances) which we did online and were able to pick up at 7.30am and drove to La Paz. The road is pretty bad at the moment but it still only took us two and a half hours to get there. Down to the marina and were able to hire a panga for 300 pesos each for 2 hours and they supplied fins and snorkling gear (there were four of us) - it was a fantastic experience and a lot more intimate than being on a larger tour boat with 10 or more on board and a fraction of the cost of a tour (175 USD per person from Cabo!!!). We did quite a few other things that day, including stopping off at Todos Santos and "Beer and Arts' on the way back and ended up getting back pretty late - however I certainly wouldn't recommend the road in the dark!!!

Also got Victor to take us out one evening on the Santi 1 to see the grey whales (as I had fished 3 days with him he only charged us $80) which again was awesome - we found plenty of whales with no other boats around and with no wind, the sound of the whales breathing was amazing. Oh yeah! The sunset was absolutely incredible too!!!

Nevada
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1. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Great report. Did you see whale sharks? I swam with them in Nov and it was awesome!!!

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Thanks for the report. We were there in Nov with a group that said they had interest in fishing but it never panned out. And now my mom and I are going back on our own this Apr/May, and I've been thinking about going out on my own, as my mom doesn't care to fish, but I've been really wanting to get back out. Last time I was there with my hubby he caught a strippy and some dorado. And when we went to Hawaii a year ago we caught tons of Ahi.

So I need a fix. Might have to check out Victor. Do you know if he does half days or just fulls?

victoria, bc
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3. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Nice report Hector, one question about the bait? The only time I was out last year in San Jose we got probably 200 bait fish, he (Fati's Fishing) hooked one on and threw several over to chum the water for the tuna. We ended up with 5 tuna, nothing over 25 lbs. But he used lots for chumming, and we fished the same way. Just sitting, he would strip off 30' of line, hook up a little bait fish on a very small hook and throw it over. Then throw 10-20 bait fish over. This went on several times, basically until we ran out of bait then we trolled and picked up a wahoo.

My question is did Victor use anything for chumming?

I will be down early March and will look up Victor and see if I can get some tuna.

Duluth, Minnesota
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4. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Downey; what you did up in San Jose is typical for there. They use small baits, and toss lots of them out for chum/attractors.

Thats not done In San Lucas, the little baits aren't available, the ones we all the charters there use are Cabillitos or mackeral (mostly). They're far larger, 6 to 9 inches. They usually sell for 3 EACH, as oppsed toa pail of the little guys for 25.00 or so.

Duluth, Minnesota
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5. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Hector; great report! Lucky you to fish for 6 days straight:)

Yeah, it's been a tough winter, heck, couple of seaons for stripers. At least you got into a few.

As for the circle hooks...after finding out about them for marlin, we use nothing but and have a great hookup/and holding ratio. Far better than I was ever able to achive myself with J-hooks. Circles are just easier to hook up with, once you know what to do. Why yours were letting go I don't know...there are a lot of circles out there, some might be better for marlin that others. I know the ones I use are Eagle Claw 2004's, they are the hook santcioned by the billfish foundation.

Even if I were to drop off a couple, I still feel it's WELL worth the tradeoff for 0 guthooked marlin. Sounds like you've fished Cabo before...if you've ever deep dropped baits on the Golden gate in the fall you know what I mean. Can't even say how many deep hooked fish I saw out there when the bite was crazy out there a few years back. Circles save marlin, NO doubt about them. And there's plenty of guys to attest to that, who have had the same experiences as I have. You owe it to yourself (and the marlin) to not give up on the circles. please:)

Edited: 16 February 2012, 16:33
Dorset, United...
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6. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Yeah, we saw about 8 different whale sharks and swam with them too - like you say amazing experience! The visibility wasn't great when we were there due to lots of plankton (which is why the whales are there of course) but in some ways that made it better - from 8 feet away underwater you couldn't see anything and then suddenly there they were right in your face!

I think a lot of people don't realise it but the whale sharks are there from October time right through 'till late spring (sometimes year round) so there is plenty of time to see them.

Dorset, United...
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7. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Yeah I know, circles are the way to go. I think maybe it was just bad luck or the marlin were holding the baits in their mouths. On the two we failed to hook up on circles, I wasn't setting the hook and neither Victor or the deckie on Guerita seemed to give the marlin long to swallow the bait - certainly no more than the 4 to 6 seconds we used to give them on J hooks, whereas I would have probably gone for double that and then pushed the drag up - how long do you usually give the stripeys? With the tuna it didn't seem to matter - after the bite, by the time you pushed the drag up or closed the bail, they were hooked up solid in the corner of the jaw - hardly missed any.

I have to say that personally we had very few deep hooked fish on J hooks when the bite was hot a few years ago and we caught a lot of marlin back then too! But in saying that most of those fish were 'tailers' or on bait-balls - not deep dropping, which I agree is where that real deep hooking can occur. However, I totally agree with what you're saying and I'd rather lose a couple than kill one - I use circles for most of my fishing nowadays and promise I won't go back to the "dark side"!!! Just needed a few more marlin to get in the "zone" this trip!

Dorset, United...
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8. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Victor will do half days, which are ok if you don't have to go out too far - the rooster fishing should be good at that time and is just at the back of the surf line and might be an option (these are a tag and release fish though - not for the table). If you want to catch ahi (yellowfin tuna), dorado, marlin etc, you'll probably need to go further and I would always recommend a full day to give you enough time. Your best bet would be to talk to Victor and ask him what's biting and whether a half day is going to be long enough or not.

Good luck!

Edited: 16 February 2012, 21:28
Duluth, Minnesota
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9. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Hector; I usually give about the same 5 or 6 seconds after the pickup, but then it's another couple seconds to advance the drag gradually. Were the cappy and mate used to useing circles, or were they useing yours? I find quite a few Cabo fishermen are still getting used to fishing with circles (hey...so am I!)

You're right about the gut hooking out on the gate...when it was crazy it was mostly top feeding fish; in fact, thats when i got used to fishing with circles. Over the years out there is when we've done a good amount of deep dropping and gotten the gut hooked fish. Also a fairly boring way to fish marlin...

It sure is fun to hookup with the lighter spinning gear, isn't it:)?? I've taken down my own spinner a couple times and although the cappys aren't really into it, I managed to get a few hookups on smaller tuna/dorado...big fun!!

Edited: 17 February 2012, 13:15
Kelowna, Canada
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10. Re: Trip Report Jan 2012 Fishing and DIY Whale sharks

Great report !! It was Iike I was there with you.......

I just wanted to correct the first part where you said it has been slow the past 3-4 years. I haven't found that at all. There certainly have been better days than others but Marlin fishing has been at it's best the past few years in the winter. I was there last January and May. I was lucky to catch multiple Marlin both trips. Didn't catch Tuna in January but sure made up for it in May. The previous year , 2010 , I caught 9 Marlin one day in late January !! That was a great day , and the most I have ever landed in a single day. The guides told me that Marlin fishing was at it's best that they had ever seen in the cold water , hard to argue that. 2009 and 2010 were great winter Marlin fishing times. I went to Jamaica in late January this year so I'm not sure how it was. I just wanted to let some readers know that this could just have been an off year because it has been unbelievable the 3 previous that I was there in the winter. Funny how when things are bad all we think about is the negatives. For someone to tell you that it has been bad for years is simply untrue. I agree that some days are bad but not all. Don't be afraid to fish next year because it could be awesome again !!! Happy fishing...............

You can check out a video of me landing a Marlin last May on Youtube aboard the Bob Marlin from JCSportfishing in case you think I'm full of B$. I will video more now that I have had my camera for a bit. I posted some hunting videos too if that interests you. See them at Hew2424. Cheers !!!!