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Striped Marlin

STRIPED MARLIN

When it comes to offshore fishing, Striped Marlin are the kings of the East Cape. The average size here is 120 pounds, but the world record is 494 pounds. They are found year-round but prefer water in the 72 to 80 degree range. This means that our best fishing normally occurs from November thru May, and occasionally we have a year with an exceptional number of fish showing up. It is not uncommon to catch & release as many as 12- 15 Marlin on a normal day long charter. Of course, that is the exception. If you want to catch a Striped Marlin, plan on three fishing days to give yourself the best chance. Insider Information: When the bait is thick, one of the best methods for hooking up is to drift with several live baits dropped below the surface with lead weights and one on top of the water. Since the objective is to fight, not eat them, experienced crews use circle hooks to ensure the least amount of damage to the Marlin during the fight. If the bait is not stacked up, slow trolling live bait, and artificial lures works well.

 

Blue and Black Marlin

BLUE MARLIN & BLACK MARLIN

In the summer, when the water starts to warm up above 80 degrees, the chances of hooking a larger Marlin improve dramatically. Both the Blue Marlin and the Black Marlin tend to be bigger than Striped Marlin, averaging 250-300 pounds. The heaviest recorded are 1,376 (Pacific Blue) and 1,560 pounds (Black Marlin). Every year there are fish caught here that weigh more than 700 pounds, which is why you see larger rods and reels on the boats once the water heats up.

Insider Information: Blue Marlin seem to prefer feeding offshore, around the current lines and along steep underwater drop-offs. Most of the fish here are caught on trolled artificial lures pulled at 7-9 knots, which is fast enough to leave a steady trail of bubbles behind them. If concentrations of fish are found, dropping a live Tuna deep into the water on a down rigger will often result in a hook-up of the larger fish. Black Marlin are targeted using this method of live bait fishing, since they seem to prefer shallower waters close to shore or atop underwater structures such as the 88 Bank and the ridge-lines of the Lighthouse. This means that there is not as much area to cover in finding them, so this method works well. They can also be taken on artificial lures.

 

Sailfish

SAILFISH

With out a doubt, the most acrobatic game fish in the East Cape is the Sailfish (Pez Vela). Capable of impressive aerials, flips and summersaults, the Sailfish is a more than worthy light tackle opponent. When targeting Sails, we don’t use anything heavier than 30 lb. test, as these fish rarely exceed 70-80 pounds. This allows the fish to show off it’s fighting ability, and test your fishing skills as well. Whether trolling lures, rigged baits, or using the “tease & drop back” method, Sailfish are willing and aggressive biters. It’s not unusual to have multiple hook ups when encountering these acrobats. Since they are of little value in regards to table fare, we practice CPR (catch, photograph & release) with these fish.

 

Dorado

DORADO

Also known as Mahi Mahi, Dorado are one of the most prolific fish in the ocean. They are beautiful and change colors as you watch, with gold, blue, and green backgrounds and spots. Dorado are mainly a summer and fall fish, they prefer warmer water, feeding on flying fish and any fish smaller than themselves. Dorado are normally schooling fish, so when they show up, there are usually large numbers of them and often large concentrations can be found under floating objects. Our average size is 15-20 pounds, but fish in the 50-60 pound class are often taken.  World Record is 87 pounds.

Insider Information: Slow trolling live bait is one of the best ways to catch Dorado once concentration is found. Troll artificial lures in bright colors to find the concentration. Once a fish is hooked on an artificial lure, others in the school often follow it to the boat. The live bait can then be dropped in to entice the fish to bite.

 

Yellowfin Tuna

YELLOWFIN TUNA

While Dorado are the acrobats, Yellowfin Tuna are the brawlers. Pound for pound, they may very well be the strongest fish in our waters. Found all year, they seem to prefer the slightly cooler waters, showing up more during the spring and in the fall. In the East Cape, fall is when you’re most likely to catch a larger fish. It’s not unreasonable to hope for a fish weighing more than 200 pounds, but most will fall in the 20-50 pound class. Our Yellowfin Tuna are normally associated with Porpoise, and seeing the Spotted, White Bellied, or Spinning Porpoise is always a good indicator.

Insider Information: Smaller Tuna are often caught on feathered jigs, but getting in front of a moving school and dropping a live bait deep can often get the big boys! Dropping a live bait back when getting a strike on an artificial lure, also works well for slightly larger fish. The small ones are faster and get the lure, the big boys are right behind.

 

Wahoo

WAHOO

The other big game fish available in our waters is Wahoo, and it’s the speedster of the ocean, capable of bursts exceeding 50 miles per hour. Never showing locally in great numbers, they are an incidental catch for most anglers, with most encounters happening while trolling for Marlin & Dorado. Wahoo have extremely sharp teeth, and wired trolling jigs such as Marauders, YoZuris, or Rapalas are a must when targeting these fish. Encounters with Wahoo rarely result in a catch when they hit lures rigged with monofilament leader, as it is no problem for them to bite thru 400 lb. test line!

Insider Information: If you wait till water temperatures are in the 76 to 86 degree range or there is a full moon, your chances are better. And they’re best if you’re the first boat out in the morning. Once a few boats have been in the area, the bite tends to wane. Stay close to steep underwater drop-offs near the edge of the large banks or on top of large rocks in shallower water. These fish do school, and it’s always possible to get multiple hook-ups on Wahoo that range from 20 to 40 pounds with an occasional fish reaching 80 pounds. The World Record was caught in our local waters in 2005. 156 pounds of teeth and speed!

 

Yellowtail

YELLOWTAIL

Baja’s world-famous reputation, and it’s enormous tourism industry as well, are founded on warm water big game fish, but during the winter months, those species can be hard to reach. In the East Cape, winter is instead the season of the Yellowtail. Beautiful and smoothly streamlined, the Yellowtail, referred to as “Jurel” (hoo-rel) in Spanish, is a mainstay of our winter fishery. As an ideal, middleweight winter quarry, the Yellowtail possesses so many excellent characteristics, it seems almost custom designed for the job. To begin with, Yellowtail are the best eating of the larger Jacks, always a welcome addition to any angler’s ice chest, be it for sashimi, smoking, or grilling. Next, you don’t need to be an “expert” with Yellowtail. Another important reason that they are so popular is that they are really quite easy to hook (that is “hook”, not necessarily “land”). In fact, Yellowtail are one of the most predictable and cooperative of the major Baja quarries. Yellowtail mean to please, whether you’re trolling plugs or feathers, flylinning live bait or sinking it deep on dropper loops, chunking, casting chrome, or jigging and yoyo-ing iron in the rocks. These winter “Bruisers” will usually hit just about anything offered to them. Finally, Yellowtail are a truly magnificent game fish, one of the toughest fighting fish in our waters pound for pound, with a very powerful strike, and short but very, very powerful runs that can have you “rocked” faster than you can say “Ranchero”. Average size Yellowtail in the East Cape run about 20-30 pounds, with larger fish (40-50 lbs.) taken regularly. Live bait, has been used as the primary tactic for years down here, but over the last 4-5 seasons, the use of iron has become more popular. Jigs up to 1 pound (but mostly 6 to 8 ounces) can be bounced just off the bottom, or reeled up as fast as possible. The classic tools for this work are the Salas 6X and 6X Jrs. Light aluminum jigs of similar shape are also excellent on and near the surface. Take a whole selection of colors, as long as they are all blue and white, blue and chrome, green and yellow, or scrambled egg.

 

Roosterfish

ROOSTERFISH

While the above fish are the most readily available offshore, there are also several great inshore sport species to bend your rod. Fishing the shallow water, you can hook-up to Roosterfish Pargo, or Sierra. Anglers come from around the world to fish the Southern Baja coastline for Roosterfish, a member of the Jack family. Though they are not all that great to eat, Roosterfish are like all members of the family: hard fighters, never giving up until they are released.

Insider Information: Slow troll a live bait on the surface; this method offers the excitement of Marlin fishing on a much smaller scale. The Roosterfish will follow the bait and have its trademark high dorsal fin raised as it weaves in for the attack. In spring they average 10 pounds, sometimes getting up to 25 pounds, but the big girls arrive come summer. The World Record Roosterfish was caught back in 1960; it weighed a whopping 114 pounds and was caught near our local waters. WHERE TO FISH: Rocky areas near to sandy beaches tend to attract Roosterfish as they cruise the shoreline looking for something to eat.

 

Pargo

PARGO

Often called Red Snapper, Barred Pargo, or Cubera Snapper, they all share the same characteristics and habitat: They love the rocks. The closer you can get your bait to the rocks, the better your chances of hooking one of these brutes. All shoulder with great pulling power, your drag has to be almost locked down to keep the Pargo from diving right into the razor-edged rocky area they live in. Live bait is almost a requirement, but lures do work on occasion.

 

Sierra

SIERRA

Sierra, are our cool-water inshore fish, which show up once the water along the beach has reached 76 degrees. Much smaller than Wahoo, they share one attribute: teeth that can slice through mono. Sierra, also known as Pacific Sierra Mackerel, school in great numbers, and the action can be fast and exciting. Many anglers look forward to fishing from the beach, but greater numbers can be reached when fishing from a boat. Working long sandy areas of beach to find baitfish spraying out of the water attempting to escape the school of predators is the best way to locate Sierra. Once you have located them, use live bait, or small chrome lures. While Sierra are not large fish (they average about 5 pounds), they do offer steady action and make great ceviche.

 

There are plenty of other species available besides the ones mentioned above, but these are the core of our fishery.