Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baja's Intoxicating Target "Dorado"

No other fish motivates the masses like the dorado and nowhere is that more evident than in Loreto.
The impatient anglers begin arriving in June hoping to find an early bite along with discounted room rates. The savvy make their reservations early for July, the heart of the season when the sun is the hottest and the humidity is almost unbearable. The hesitant wait until the reports confirm that the season is in full swing before deciding to go; and often, they are disappointed that their belated arrival coincides with a season that is fizzling out. 

Dorado are like warm, freshly salted tortilla chips. What is there not to like and chances are one is not enough, which is fine because most of the time they come by the basketful.
They are wrapped in many different colors constantly changing hues like a soap bubble. Ask a cockpit full of anglers what color their fish was and each will have a different answer. 
Few fish have as many desirable traits in one package. Fast growing in ideal conditions, a one pound male dorado distinguished placed in a large tank at the San Diego Sea World grew to 35 pounds in eight months.
Almost anything floating on the surface, from a piece of rope to sargasso, (a form of seaweed) can provide enough cover in the hot Baja sun to attract huge schools of dorado as dense as a swirling bait ball.

When located the fish will usually eat almost any bait or artificial offered, is seldom line-shy and  provides a memorable fight punctuated with repeated dazzlingly-colorful acrobatic leaps. They can be caught on any tackle and are the absolute favorite saltwater catch for many flyrodders in Baja.
The past several years have been disappointing.  Dorado goes with Baja sportfishing like the salt on the rim of an icy margarita.  It's just not the same without them.

Some say this has been caused by the illegal commercial fishing recently addressed by the Mexican Government. Others point to the extreme El Nino/La Nina events as the culprit.  However, we all agree that a missing ingredient has been the lack of the sargasso seaweed patches that usually provide  cover for the dorado and other species.

This year early reports of plenty of sargasso seaweed is being reported throughout the Sea of Cortez all the way down to East Cape along with the early arrival of some large fish up and down the coast from Mulege to Cabo San Lucas.

The results of the Bomberos de Mulegé Fishing Tournament is encouraging for the upcoming season right around the corner....lots and lots of fish were caught on both days all the way from just a few miles off the river mouth to 30 miles out. The water temperature throughout the event was right around 76 degrees.

Congratulations to the following winners of a turnout of 74 anglers in 29 boats!
Dorado First: Charles Jetton 33.7 pounds on "Reel Music"
Dorado Second: John Macy (very exciting!) 27.2 pounds on "Poco Mas"
Dorado Third: John Dinning 25.0 pounds on "Mi Mujer"
Largest Other, Cabrilla:  Marlin Larsen 16.0 pounds on "Marlin Azul"

The tournament committee announced that a total of 59,000 pesos had been raised for the charities in Mulegé supported by the annual event.