The Fish Sniffer - Winter Anglers Find Marlin And Dorado Action
Winter Anglers Find Marlin And Dorado Action

Written By: Cal Kellogg, January 19, 2014
Species: Marlin Dorado Wahoo
Location: Baja California,

“At the end of the week the water in the Sea of Cortez continued to be a bit off-color and greenish while being in the 73-73 degree range. On the Pacific side the water was a bit warmer with 77 degrees being seen about halfway between here and Todo Santos and it slowly dropping to 73 degrees off of the lighthouse, with an occasional patch of 74 degree water,” disclosed Captain George Landrum of Fly Hooker Sportfishing.

“This water was cleaner as well. Surface conditions were great on the Pacific with swells between 2 and 4 feet and the prevailing wind early in the week was light and from the northwest. At the end of the week it shifted and blew out of the north. This caused some rough water on the Sea of Cortez side as the winds wrapped around the peninsula and came from the east, something we don't often see.”

“There was no real change in the striped marlin situation this week as the concentration of fish appeared to be on the ledge off the Pacific lighthouse. With 50 boats working the area the fish were getting pounded but there were plenty caught.”

“For those who focused on the area the results were between one and four fish released, and some killed unfortunately, per boat. The favored method was once again dropping a weighted line with a live bait on the end down into the water column. Most boats dropped two baits, one almost to the bottom in 250 feet of water and another at 120 feet and had a third bait on the surface, or just under it. I would like to once again stress that if you plan on releasing your marlin (PLEASE release them!) then let your crew know your plans ahead of time so there is no confusion about what to do with the fish when it comes boat side. Take a picture of the fish in the water (take a lot of them if you have digital) then buy a release flag and mount the picture and the flag in a frame for a trophy. There is no need to kill the marlin if you want a replica made. All you need is an estimated length. Once again, there is no need to kill the marlin. Ask the crew to use circle hooks when dropping bait down deep, it helps to keep the marlin from becoming gut hooked, and the hook-up ratio is just as good as if you were using "j" hooks,” exclaimed Landrum.

“When it comes to yellowfin tuna, I'm almost out of patience. These fish have still not shown up in any numbers and usually by this time of year they make up 50% of the catch. There are a few being caught, but my guess is that only 5% of the boats are getting any, and they are having to cover a lot of water to find them,” said Landrum.

“I am slightly amazed that dorado are still hanging around, but the water on the Pacific side has not gotten really chilly yet. I was out on Friday and we worked the area off of Pedregal for the morning and got our limit of fish between 8 and 18 pounds with the larger fish coming early and on live bait trolled off a downrigger. Most boats were getting a few as I did see plenty of flags flying for these fish at the end of the day. Smaller mackerel were working just fine for these fish and we had a marlin bite as well, even though we were several miles from the concentration of those fish,” disclosed Landrum.

“In terms of inshore action, sierra had to be fish of the week this week as anyone who wanted could get limits on these fish, ranging in size from 2 to 8 pounds. There were fish scattered all along the Pacific coastline but the big concentrations were up off of the Marguerite area, inside the Golden Gate Banks. The fish were concentrated in the area because of big schools of Sardines. Hoochies in light colors worked well on the smaller fish, on Thursday all our smaller ones came on pink or pink/white hoochies. Once the fish got a little finicky we put out ballyhoo rigged with a trailing hook and caught some larger fish, to 7.5 pounds. Another method that worked for us was chumming with cut bait then drifting a strip back, using a 12" section of light wire leader to avoid getting cut off. Doing this also resulted in some non-targeted species being caught such as triggerfish. There were few roosterfish found or seen but there were some amberjack found in 180 to 200 feet of water and a few snapper in the rocks along the beach,” concluded Landrum.


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