We did our best to represent San Carlos at the IGFA World Offshore Championships last week in Cabo. Team Margarita had won the Cantina Cup and the invitation last October. My rag-tag team that I put together the night before the Cantina Cup did their best against 42 international teams that had all won qualifying events. We were in second after day one but headed down the ranks to finish 10th. Not too bad though. I proved once again that circle hooks work going eleven for eleven on bites. My teammates five for twenty-three. It was a little painful to watch and plenty of tears were shed by myself, the captain, and mate. They needed a little practice before the event. Circle hooks are easy to use. They also bring the release survival rate of the fish close to 100%, over about a 50% survival rate using J hooks on dead bait. Only circle hooks were allowed on bait. They didn’t supply live bait like previous tournaments and it wasn’t needed until day three when the weather turned. We did lose six fish (three to broken leaders, one broken line, and two hooks straightened – didn’t realize the mate put on a thin-wire hook). They use 40-60# leader down there, so you pretty much need to run about 5# of drag and just fight the belly of the line until you are right up on the fish – or their tales cut the leader. I’m still not completely sold that the fish are that leader shy, but next time I’ll be running some light drag if I do use the 60#. The Cabo team won for a third year in a row, but I’ll be looking to take them down next year.
The first hurricane of the year is down off of PV. Vince was in Socorro, but hopefully he ran back to the shelter of Cabo. Some good moisture and strong southern winds are up. It should be bringing in the fish finally. We need it before the tournaments start and the summer charters. There are a few dorado and marlin out there but reports have been slim. We found one yellowtail at San Antonio trolling the other day and a few sierra. The Island sounded pretty done, but the bottomfishing is still decent. Tons of bait out there and it seems like the ‘second bloom’ is in process and stirring up the water. Temps are in the 80s and the blue water is out about 12-15mi. Time to focus on the open ocean thankfully and the fish will be found.