We definitely closed out 2019 with a BANG with our last group of the year. With marlin action, an incredible cubera bite, some more world records and some great jigging action we sure had an exciting week! This week we had a group from the Bayou Coast in Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Alabama and Massachusetts.
Everyone headed out back behind the lodge and all paddled towards Vaca, our favorite fishing grounds. We trolled some Yo Zuri lures on the way out and picked up a few snapper, mackerel, and bonita on the way out. The guys who caught the bonita and mackerel started trolling them for live bait as we rounded the east side of the rocks. Bonita and cubera are excellent bait for our resident monster cubera snapper and roosterfish. The guys with the live bait hung around the rocks and the shallower rock near 40ft reef and the guys without live bait headed out a bit deeper to our jigging spots. Andy was the first to hook up big on a good fish and it was the first big corvina of the year! We knew they were going to show up sometime in December and getting one so fast the first day of this group was a great sign.
When you catch one there are most certainly many more with them. About the same time that Andy caught the corvina, Darret caught a nice broomtail grouper too! Lots of guys were getting bites but the fish were coming off and a few nice jacks were landed as well. The live bait bite near the rocks was a bit slow but some of the bonitas had been crushed by cuberas and the baits were cut in half. A few minutes before heading back in, Andy decided to drop a whole dead bonita near the spot he caught the corvina and boom! Hooked up with a monster broomtail! He battled it for several minutes and brought the beast to the surface. It was likely around 50 lbs… his largest grouper! He held it up for a few pictures and we used our fish descending device to bring it back down to the depths where it came from. We like to release the big groupers as they are the breeding fish and we want to keep a healthy population of one of our favorite species!
Day two everyone had pretty much the same plan. Grab live bait as quickly as possible and get to the roosterfish zone, and if live bait is tough… start jigging. Live bait did prove to be tough so most of the anglers went to the jigging spots. However, Aaron and Chuck headed to the exposed rocks and started slinging poppers. After a few casts they had a huge blow up from a cubera snapper but it missed the bait… they were determined now! Not long after that some roosters were showing interest, following the baits and short striking. Then a few jacks rolled through and made some thunderous strikes. They were able to land several of them. Back at the jigging spot, a few more species had been pulled up like some Pacific Bontita (what the locals call white tuna) some larger mackeral and some more corvina.
The next day we decided to change it up and take the kayaks on the pangas to wahoo rock. Adam and Pio were together on one of the pangas with Chuck, Jason, and Aaron. They decided to first catch some bait from the boat before unloading the kayaks. Quickly they were able to catch some bonitas and with the first, Pio hooked it up on a rod, let some line out and put it in the rod holder. As they were about to unload the first kayak, the bait got smashed! It had not been in the water more than 20 seconds. Chuck grabbed the rod and the fight was on! We could tell this was a massive fish immediately. The fish was making some slow steady runs and was really using its weight to its advantage. Just a few minutes later about 30 yards from the boat the fish broke the surface. Almost half of its body came out of the water and everyone on board got ecstatic! This was a monster fish. After breaking the surface the fish never dove again but started making runs on the surface with its comb sticking out of the water. Such an amazing sight to see as this huge fish just seemed to be showing off its size and beauty. A few minutes later we were able to bring the fish close to the boat and as we did, we could tell the fish was not hooked well, or even at all! We had a two-circle hook stinger rig on and none of the hooks appeared to be lodged in the fish’s mouth. One was dangling, and one seemed to be wrapped around the corner of the fish’s mouth. Upon noticing this, Adam knew he only had one chance to grab this fish and he better make it count. He went for the gill plate grab and held on for dear life. As soon as he touched the fish it stared thrashing and immediately the hooks flew out of its mouth. Luckily Adam had a firm grip and in one swift motion brought the fish into the boat. WE GOT EM! Immediately we were able to tell this was one of the largest roosters we had ever seen. We held it up quickly for some pictures, laid it out on our official IGFA measuring tape and got the proper documentation to submit as an All-Tackle Length World Record. We dropped it back in the water, drove the boat around to put some water through its gills, revived it for a few minutes and set it on its way back to get even bigger!
Now it was time to actually start fishing… We put the kayaks in the water as quickly as possible, rigged everyone up with live baits and set the anglers loose. Not much time went by before anglers started getting strikes. The cubera bite was on and they were really putting a hurting on our anglers. These cuberas appeared to have super strength and almost all of them were breaking off in the rocks. We must have had over 20 strikes in a relatively short amount of time. Greg was able to bring one up and it was a brute! Once you get a good look at these fish you realize why they win the fight more often than not! After loosing some battles with the monsters of the deep some of the anglers started trolling around and were able to catch some tunas. Aaron and Randy were up for some marlin fishing so they both started trolling the tuna as live bait. They headed for the deeper ledge off the back side of the rock we were fishing and slowly started trolling around. The action was still steady by the rock so most of the boats were with the majority of the other anglers. Not an hour goes by and we hear on the radio Aarons voice… “IM HOOKED UP ON A MARLIN!” We look up and saw the beast jumping right away. He was about 200 yards from Adam and Pio’s panga and they dropped everything and punched the throttle in Aarons direction. Flying towards him Adam scrambled to grab the camera, got to the front of the boat, took the cap off the lens just as the marlin made one last jump and broke Aarons leader. It never resurfaced. In a few seconds they arrived to Aarons side and clearly saw a big smile on his face. Though he did not catch the fish, the rush he felt was unmistakable. Just hooking up to one of these fish is an absolutely incredible experience and the opportunity to hook black marlin of this size by kayak really is almost non-existent anywhere else in the world, apart from here at Los Buzos. We don’t know exactly how, but it did manage to break his 80lb leader. In no time we were able to get him another bait and rig and he was back to give it another shot.
As it got later in the day Adam and Pio decided to drop a dead blue runner to the bottom and see if they could bring up one of the cuberas that was bullying our anglers. Just like that, before the bait hit the bottom it got slammed. Pio was able to turn the fish and bring it up. We brought it up from a depth over 100 feet so its air bladder was expanded and the fish was not able to swim down on its own power. So Adam jumped in the water, dove the fish down about 20 feet so the pressure would compress the fish’s air blatter and enable it to finish the rest of its journey back to the ocean floor. Denes got in on the action too and filmed the whole thing.
Most everyone had a great time at wahoo rock so we headed back there again! The day started similar to the previous one as the moment we got to the spot we saw a huge rooster smash through a school of blue runners on the surface. We dumped the kayaks in the water as soon as possible and hooked everyone up with some blue runners. The anglers started trolling them around the spot and we were all waiting to see who would be first to get the bite! Not too long into the day we hear Chuck on the radio say “Hooked up!” right at this moment we also hear a “WOOOO!” come from behind Adam and Pio’s boat. They turn around and see a big mahi mahi jumping just inches from Bri’s kayak! She had hooked it on a jig! As she tells it, she had dropped a jig to the bottom and was bringing it to the surface as several mahi swam right under her boat. One of them saw the flash of the jig and rocketed strait down towards it and crushed the jig! After realizing it was hooked it came flying out of the water and gave us all an awesome show. She fought it a few minutes and stuck it with the spear gaf perfectly and brought it into the boat. After getting some quick pictures we were about to head back to Chuck but again the cubera had appeared to be victorious and had broken off.
While this is all happening, Greg had been trolling a yellowfin tuna in hopes that another marlin is in the area… his suspicions were correct! This time a smaller marlin had snagged his bait. It smashed the tuna hard and immediately went airborne. It only made a handful of jumps before breaking off again but seeing this happen one more time was absolutely amazing. This one appeared to be under 200 pounds, a perfect size for landing from the kayak, but the rig could not hold up to it unfortunately. When everyone got back to the lodge we knew we had to make some stronger leaders for the final day. We set everyone up with some 200lb mono rigs with 2, 18/0 circle hooks. We were not going into the next day under gunned!
Day 5 we split the group up again and some headed out with Denes to Wahoo Rock and some headed out to Vaca with Darret and Adam. Darret and Adam started the day off again at the jigging spot looking for some more grouper and corvina. Aaron was able to hook up a few and brought a massive one up. Then not long after, Jason brought one up as well. They were hitting jigs just off the bottom moved very slowly. Darret was demonstrating to the others how to properly use the jig and boom he got a huge hit! We knew it had to be a big grouper or corvina. He battled with it for a few minutes and brought it up. It was the largest corvina we had ever seen. We brought it home and put it on our IGFA certified scale and it measured 39 pounds! We have since sent this info to IGFA as a potential All-Tackle World Record whitefin corvina. We are currently awaiting approval. After dropping the jigs a few more times, Todd and Trisha were able to hook up on some jacks but the grouper and corvina seemed to elude them. So they began following Adam around some of the roosterfish hot spots with live baits. The fish seemed to have lockjaw this day and would not commit to eating even perfect size blue runners.
Back over at wahoo rock Bri had again gotten into some awesome action. She had caught a yellowfin tuna and was trolling it with her new beefed up marlin rig. It got hammered, but this time not by a marlin. The fish took a dive and gave her a serious fight. We all thought she either had a big cubera or a roosterfish. After seeing the fish surface we were all happy to see it was one of our rarer catches, a giant mullet snapper! We think this is also the biggest one we have seen here. Only 3 large ones have been caught by our anglers so we were all through the roof with excitement for her. It was definitely an epic end to the trip!
We feel very happy and lucky to be able to help these anglers get these experiences and be there to share it with them. All of us at Los Buzos hope they come back soon to create even more awesome stories to tell all our lives!