The yellowtail bite is starting to get good albeit not really consistent right now, but its all for a good reason- they are likely spawning. We’re getting reports of aggregations of yellowtail visible but “they’re not feeding” (“no estan jalando”) from just about all of our nearby fishing spots- Pulpito, Puerto Almejas, San Basilio and San Bruno, and all points on Carmen. When they are caught, the sizes have ranged from 10 pounds to 30 pounds depending on the location. Larger YT have been reported (up to 40 pounds). So there’s YT all around the Loreto area but the bite may be fantastic one day and lockjaw the next.
Yesterday (Saturday March 16) was lockjaw for most boats, including mine. The fish weren’t eating much. We do know that commercial handliners are catching yellowtail but it is difficult work. They’ve reported yellowtail as being plentiful but not eating yet. The yellowtail bite right now is late and its common to see commercial boats returning to the marina after 8PM. Its only a matter of time when the YT fishing start going off in Loreto.
We’re still catching our own bait off Coronado Island and its not for sale off the marina yet. Its pretty easy early on but after sunrise baitmaking gets difficult.
While making bait yesterday we saw boats zipping from the North to La Cholla and Carmen Island and then returning back north again. According to the VHF boats from San Ildefonso Island to Punta Baja on Carmen were reporting no action on the yellowtail, absolutamente nada.
Of course the previous day Pedro caught 15 yellowtail right off Candeleros on Coronado Island. This became the hot topic on the VHF with all in the local fleet who are vocal on canal once (CH11). As we caught mackerel (it was slow going) we continued to listen to the banter and planned to check out Candeleros then go north if news of fish came through the radio waves. We finally settled on 8 mackerel and a bonete, then slow trolled from the seal point to Candeleros where there were no less than a score of boats with their mackerel free swimming on heavy mono.
On the way to the patch of boats we hooked into a small yellowtail that got away at the boat. The fish was about 10 pounds, as was consistent with Pedro’s tale from Friday. And that was it for us. We went back to Loreto and returned home before 2pm. On the way back in we got to see a big whale shark from the shallow water of the bajo, just south of el Picazon restaurant. The presence of this animal indicates upwelling, plankton and other microorganisms in the water. So for folks only used to seeing Loreto in the summertime, notice the green looking water. Cool SST’s high suspended Oxygen in the water, and nutrients spell spring in the water off Loreto. This is what creates the bait and attracts the Yellowtail here.
While fishing for bait off Coronado Island, its hard not to notice the many larvae of sardinas and shrimp there are. The reproductive cycle of the sardina looks very good from what we can see with just a casual glance. We anticipate a normal year for the availability of sardinas this summer.
We fished on Wednesday March 13th one day after the winds died down. The morning was calm but the wind picked up in the afternoon from the north-northwest. We fished San Bruno and caught two yellowtail neither of which were caught on the bottom. As we fished, Yellowtail would breeze all around us in the area but they moved too quickly. We targeted the bottom but both our Yellowtail bit halfway down the water column. As we fished for bait on Wednesday and yesterday at Coronado Island, we saw large boils and yellowtail feeding frenzies. These were very short lived events but we expect this to continue and increase in frequency at all the expected locations until we’re at WFO yellowtail.
This past week has had beautiful weather and we expect another week of the same. We’ve been able to fish 8 out of the past 10 days this month so far. We’re seeing a lot of sargasso along the shorelines already. The heavy rains we received in August and September over the coast, and then in October over the mountains encouraged its growth along the shorelines. It is now growing tall and winds will break its anchor, while currents carry it along the shore and out to sea. Our dorado season will get a boost by this.
We’re getting cabrilla and pargo (huachinango) while fishing for yellowtail or trolling lures along the shorelines. The cabrilla’s spawning time is typically just behind the yellowtail spawn cycle but Cabrilla feed better during their time. Right now, the occasional cabrilla is being caught but in a couple of weeks this bite will improve dramatically. The pargo is usually in the form of (red snapper) huachinango or pacific cubera (dog snapper). The huachis are caught on live mackerel at the bottom and usually taken while targeting yellowtail. San Bruno is a well known place for them but they move about. When they’re located they may be the main catch, but no complaints here.
No reports on Roosterfish yet. When the SST’s warm up later this month and next, we’ll start seeing them.
We’re not fishing offshore this time of year. There are some dorado that can be caught near the shorelines. These seasonally resident dorado will likely be found when the sea surface if calm enough to spot them. Once in awhile they will take a Rapala trolled along the shoreline.
Some words about the Weather-
In winter Loreto’s weather is very much influenced by winter storms that form in the northern Pacific Ocean in the Gulf of Alaska. These storms are often strong enough to push cold air all the way to us. These cold fronts can be seen on a satellite image as a semi-circle of clouds that move south. The cold fronts are marked by blue lines with ridges in them pointing in the direction of movement of the front. Here is a sat image from January 11, 2013: