Thursday, January 6, 2011

Z Fish Report (1/6/11)

With cooler 77º water pushing down from the north, the fishing is remaining steady in the clean water, with most of the action taking place only a mile off the beach. The boats heading out to the 6-12 mile areas are running past the actively feeding fish, and averaging only 1 or 2 sailfish a day. Boats working the inshore areas are getting between 3 to even, as the El Renee did, up to six sailfish a day.

The reason for the near shore action is the water is a couple of degrees warmer than further out. The captains are all saying there are lots of sailfish out there, but they are lethargic and not willing to bite. The close in water is also producing a few dorado. They are only averaging about 12 to 15 pounds, but there are enough of them to help keep things exciting.

Plus, for a regular visitor here at this time of the year, which is the peak of the sailfish season, would find it incredible there are so few boats going out. We would normally have about 15 to 18 cruisers and about 25 to 30 pangas fishing every day. The pangas would be stacked up side to side 6 deep waiting to pick up their clients. Yesterday, only about 10 pangas and 8 cruisers had clients. The only “stacking” that occurred was when Cheva called out and asked me to get him a cup of coffee. Francisco, on the super panga Huntress, was at the pickup point getting a block of ice and loading the rods and gear. Cheva then brought the Dos Hermanos II over alongside and Francisco passed the coffee off to him.

The super panga Huntress with Francisco
Most of the lack of tourism is from the economy and the drug war scares, but also gone is the Tournament Anglers Association with their annual tournament here. They not only would help the local economy with 45 to 50 people for a week in the Dorado hotel, but also used an average of about 20 pangas for 5 days. In fact, a very sad thing is what they have posted on their web page ( http://www.fishtaa.com/Go_Fish/Home.html ) Our next tournament will be in Cabo San Lucas January13-17th. The host hotel is the Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos. This was the Ixtapa Sailfish Tournament previously. It has been moved to Cabo San Lucas due to the declining fishery in Ixtapa.

However, the overall fishing in all of Mexico is declining, and I certainly do not see how they will get better results in Los Cabos at this time of the year. They are true conservation conscious anglers, coming here annually for over 16 years, with over 6,000 bill fish releases between their East Cape and Ixtapa tournaments over the years. But, if they want things to be like they were years ago, rather than changing locations, it seems more effort in working with local authorities could have been in order. It is almost like a spoiled kid who will take, but not give anything back to help or improve a situation. What will happen when the bill fish stocks are too low? Are they going to do like commercial fishermen and start targeting lesser species?

Not really wanting to get on a soap box, but Paul Phillip’s small and underfunded Fintastic Fish Total Tag and Release Tournament did more for the conservation of the bill fish here than all the years of the larger money Tournament Angler’s Tournaments, for the simple reason Paul worked with the authorities and the leading conservation conscientious captains here. His tournament ran only 5 years, but we are still seeing the results of his endeavors every day. There is no telling what Paul could have accomplished if he had bigger money behind him.

Anyway, back to the current conditions: Gary Meger of Toronto is here for his annual 6 week vacation to escape the harsh winters of Canada, and will be fly fishing several times during this period. Yesterday, fishing with Cheva, they only had one sailfish come to the boat, but got a hook set. Gary fought the fish for about 15 minutes, and the hooks pulled. We’ll call it a long release.

Richard Gill of San Antonio TX with Jose of Puerto Vicente Gro.
 and a decent fly caught jack crevalle
Adolfo on the panga Dos Hermanos, is continually proving me wrong about the roosterfish action here this last month. Fishing his 19th day straight, of a total of 25 days, with his French man and wife team they really found the roosters up north again. Using spin rods with surface poppers and live bait, they came back to port with 10 roosterfish flags flying.
Inshore action has been very good for light line conventional gear fishermen, with a variety of sierras, black skipjack, and medium sized jack crevalle.

Ed Kunze

IGFA Representative