Cabo 6/13/01 to 6/19/01


John (El Mackerele) Vallon

Summary of a 6 day trip with ONE day of fishing:

IT SUCKED!  Cold (59) degree water, windy the first 2 days, then calm.  The water was, well, it looked like pea soup.  Surf fishing was all but shut down.  Friday the fleet boats all returned from the gulf side with many marlin flags.  Late Saturday afternoon there was an unreal bite just a few hundred yards off the arches - mostly jacks and yellowtail with a few amberjacks.  Fished Sunday from the Arches to just off the 95 spot.  Water temperature was averaging in the low 60's, and filthy.  Tons of bait 1 to 2 miles out from the Arches.  Results: one small (90 lbs) striper, one bonita, and a nice grouper.  Yuk!

Prior to this trip I added a new tool to my arsenal - Terrafin SST- View , a source for satellite images, enhanced to show sea surface temperatures.  Most of the internet savoy cabo captains have been using these charts for several years, but they only recently have been discussing it in the internet chat rooms.  I guess it was some remarks that Fred Archer made that got my attention.  Knowing where the temperature breaks are located can really help in locating fish - at least that is the plan.

The problem with this trip was,  I should have listened to Lance Watkins warnings and paid more attention to the recent posts on the Bja Fishing Discussion Center, however, not having made the Cabo run since last September, I was ready to take a gamble.

As we got closer to our departure date, the water and weather conditions took a turn for the worse.  The plan was for my brother Geoff, from San Diego, to come along  to do some surf fishing with me until Lance showed up.  We were going to rent some ATV's from a place called Sergio's across from the Plaza not Glorias Hotel.  We later found that they don't open in the morning until 8:00 AM and you can't keep the ATV's overnight so that blasted a hole in our plan to fish early in the morning and late evening.

We arrived on Alaska flight 230 around 5:20PM, 6/13 only to find the wind blowing out of the south at almost 20 knots.  At least it wasn't raining I thought.  Lisa Dobson, Pacific Bluewater Sportfishing,  was there to pick us up and take us to our hotel rooms.  Geoff opted for the Hacienda and I stayed at my favorite - the Mar de Cortez.  Lisa told us that the winds had been consistently blowing off the Pacific and virtually all fishing was confined to the Gulf side, but looking out the window, we could see that not even that was looking very good.  I've been fishing Cabo for 5 years straight now, and that was the dirtiest water I've ever seen.

I awoke Thursday morning around 7:30 AM to find white caps on the Mar de Cortez HOTEL SWIMMING POOL!  This will be a pool day I thought - and it was.  After breakfast I headed to town to find an Internet Cafe to download the latest SST charts.  No change - cold water still showing along the pacific side and around the cape to almost the 95 spot and outside to 30 miles or more.  By the way, pick your Internet Cafe carefully.  Some now are free, but you get what you pay for.  I checked the PC I was using and it was a very old 100mhz with only 32meg of RAM, not enough to run Windows 98, which requires a minimum of 64meg to run properly.  They were VERY slow.

That evening, I joined Geoff at the Hacienda for happy hour.  Nice hotel and a great view of the boats coming back to the marina.  Most of the boats were coming in early with no flags and they looked like they were getting wet from the huge white caps and wind blowing.  We had several margaritas and decided to skip dinner and turn in early.  At least that is what Geoff told me the next morning.

Friday I spent the day at the Hacienda pool.  Nice lounge chairs - but is the $175/day vs. $48 at the Mar de worth the difference?  Not to me.  Today was a surprise in that the wind had completely died down.  Virtually every returning boat had flags waving, some with 3 to 5 marlin releases.  All of the boats were coming from the gulf side.

Lance and his girl friend, Sierra, got in around 6:00 PM from Los Angeles.  Later they joined us briefly at dinner to discuss the next days fishing plans.  Lance had called a few Cabo friends and all the reports were the same.  Jeff Klassen had said that the surf fishing was poor, and others had said that the water was too cold and green.  Nothing new in that report!  So with that, Geoff decided to go back early and not miss Father's day with his kids.

We all met the next morning at Lenny's for breakfast.  Lance would work on the boat and make a test run, I went back to the pool for the day and Geoff left on the 5:30 flight back to San Diego.  Later, Lance called me from the boat and said the boat was running ok and he was going to hit the evening bite off the arches.

Sunday morning I met Lance and Sierra at the boat around 11:00 AM and we picked up some bait and headed straight out. The water was getting colder and greener the further we got from the arches.  After about 2 hours of trolling we headed for the 95 spot.  The water was almost a mud color in spots, but it was flat with no wind.  I think Lance and Sierra were just enjoying the boat ride, because I was running the boat and looking for marlin.

Our GPS track for the day is shown in blue

It wasn't long before I spotted a fin.  I slowed down and maneuvered the boat so that Lance could toss a pitch bait.  It was a striper, and a nice one too, but it sounded and we never had the opportunity to pitch the bait.  Just about 10 minutes later we would repeat this again.  This time, Lance got the bait out but the striper wasn't interested so we resumed trolling again.  I wondered, why bother with trolling lures, the water visibility is probably no more than 10 to 20 feet?  It would be simpler to just cruise around looking for a fin and then pitching bait to it I thought.

By now we were right on top of the 95 spot, and there were a couple of boats along with us, one of which had just hooked up a nice striper.  It wasn't long before we spotted another fin, this time Sierra spotted it.  I pulled into position again and Lance fired off the pitch bait, which the marlin quickly inhaled.  Lance motioned to Sierra to get into the fighting chair and Lance passed her the rod.  Because we were short handed, we were not able to get any video or tag the fish.  Sierra did a great job on her first marlin, bringing the striper starboard side in less than 10 minutes.

Without seeing any more tailers, we headed back to within a few miles off the arches again.  As we arrived, we could see huge schools of sardines all around us.  The sardines were clearly being bunched up at the head of the school because you could see the ripples in the water from their swimming frenzy.  Iím still a bit perplexed as to why there were absolutely NO birds overhead feasting on the surfacing sardines. Manta birostris by Yin, RobertThere were also 10 to 20 manta rays around that kept fooling us in thinking it was marlin fins.  We trolled for nearly an hour, first around the schooling sardines, then dragging the lures across the leading edge of them.  Nothing.  Without any success, we decided to head into the marina for lunch.

After putting away a few burgers, and calling our fathers, Jeff Klassen showed up with Karen Morgan, and their clients, SportFishing Magazine Editor-in-Chief Doug Olander and his daughter. Since the surf fishing was so bad, Lance offered to take Jeff and his clients out with us for the afternoon bite.  Iíve never met Doug Olander before, but heís quite a fisherman/writer with several published books.  In fact, Iíve still never met him!  The only reason I knew who he was is because I happened to see his business card laying somewhere.

Well, itís just another story of ďyou should have been here yesterdayĒ.  The bite didnít happen.  I did manage to escape a skunk early with a small bonita caught on a blue and white Salas jig.  Then Jeff landed a nice 12lb grouper for dinner.

Mycteroperca xenarcha - Broomtail grouper
Jeff Klassen and his Broomtail grouper (left-click on image for details)

All in all, the trip was very relaxing and I learned a few things again from Lance. Maybe we can squeeze in one more Cabo trip before we head to Madeira together in late July for a week of grander chasing. 


Last fooled with 03/26/05