As the fall season ramps up, Southern California trailer boaters who are planning a quick-fix fishing trip below the border at the Coronado Islands and beyond have some challenges. Although the much-needed repairs and expansion of the Shelter Island ramp are underway, FishDope.com reports that it is still closed and the MCRD ramp is also closed until March. Alternatives are Dana Landing or South Shores in Mission Bay for the remainder of the season.
With all of the tuna, dorado and marlin action offshore, the Islands and inshore coastline have been ignored; the smattering of smaller bluefin, yellowtail, bonito and barracuda are no match for the offshore fishing prospects.
However, the Mexican Navy has been there consistently checking paperwork.
All the way down to San Quintín, offshore seems to be hit-or-miss, right-place/right-time kind of bite that should improve as October settles in. Some kelp paddies are holding dorado, small yellows, and occasionally bonito, skipjack, and tuna.
Inshore, outside the kelp beds, all the way down the coast, yellowtail, white seabass, barracuda, and bonito are found on the surface, as well as the usual laundry list of bottom fish… including nice-sized lingcod, sheepshead, and rockfish.
Todos Santos Bay has been good for mostly smaller yellowtail, barracuda, bonito, and calico in the kelp and off the bottom.
From below the border all the way down past the Coronados and the high spots to Isla Todos Santos, fishing is booming. Surface and bottom fishing are producing a mixed bag to fill limits. Closer to shore from the Tijuana Bull Ring, the flats and kelp beds are producing similar results for calico bass and small yellowtail.
The Pesca la Baja tournament in San Quintín recently produced mostly smaller variety of yellowtail with a sprinkling of white seabass, to underscore that fall has arrived. It’s notable that the bluefin are still not far offshore.
Farther down the coast, Cedros is enjoying its best season in three years according to Cedros Outdoor Adventures’ Jose Angel Sanchez-Pacheco, with a mix of lunker-sized yellows, calico, and white seabass.
As usual, the fall season bite evolves into “the farther south you go, the more the fish open their mouths.” Bahía Asunción and La Bocana seasons should be in full swing now.
At Bahía de Los Ángeles, the dorado were biting along with the usual variety of bottom dwellers. However, there has been little fishing news from there, other than a litany of complaints about the condition of the Mex 1 between Cataviña and Puerto Prieta where the potholes have become a dangerous obstacle for drivers.
In Loreto, the mainstay dorado have disappointed anglers this summer as once again size mattered — most of them so small the hero shots were embarrassing!
So now it’s back to 75° at night and 85° midday with rumors of yellowtail and baqueta being caught on the “50” Spot… with a few 30-pound fish being landed and many more broken off. www.bdoutdoors.com/baja-dorado-downfall/
This year we have the luxury of a multi-day boat running trips out of Lopez Mateos providing insight to this remarkable offshore fishery famous for the billfish pileups in late October. El Wahoo Loco, a 52-foot Delta operated by Mag Bay Outfitters, has been running 2- to 5-day trips for several months for yellowfin tuna, dorado, wahoo, and a few billfish. According to owner Bob Hoyt, several of the trips had to return early because their Mexican limits were filled… a promising indicator of another Magdalena Bay banner offshore season.
La Paz and Las Arenas fishing held up extremely well in spite of the seasonal storms this year.
The sardina that have been absent for several years have returned for the moment and are hanging out next to the Muertos Bay launch ramp, attracting small yellowfin tuna, some dorado and some big roosterfish lured close to shore for easy pickings by anglers.
The La Paz fleet is enjoying some decent dorado action, although anglers have to pick through the small ones for the keepers. With a two-fish limit strictly enforced, releasing the dinks is wise. Reports are they range from 5- to 15-pounds so it’s worth the wait.
Not often targeted, the billfish ranging from 150- to 300-pounds have refused to be ignored. They are biting anything that gets in front of them… little dorado or lures trolled to catch bonito for bait, according to Jonathan Roldan.
Mark Rayor reports that sardina have returned to East Cape and of course anglers are ecstatic. Here, yellowfin tuna are seen in all directions. To the North, Punta Perico, Punta Pescadero, and Cerro Verde are yielding limits. To the South—same story—as well as at Rincon and other high spots farther down. In addition, dorado have been plentiful. While most of the tuna have been bigger than football-grade, dorado have mostly been below keeper-size, but there are a few 15- and 20-pound fish mixed in.
Throw in the roosterfish bite from the beach and from the pangas working close to shore as well.
At Puerto Los Cabos, the passing storms stirred things up a bit. However, the huge tuna have begun to show on several of the banks along with billfish that have also begun to filter back in. This is a good omen for the bevy of tournaments held in the last half of October. For more information, click here; www.bdoutdoors.com/los-cabos-tournament-time
Inshore anglers using yo-yo style jigs had mixed success on various red snapper, pargo, and amberjack… no big numbers, but a handful of nice yellowfin were also hooked on the same lures.
Los Cabos fleet has had to endure several port closures during September. The offshore and inshore fishing has recovered nicely, producing some of the larger variety dorado as well as some hefty yellowfin tuna, plus a few larger blues and blacks and ample striped marlin offshore.
Questions or comments are welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org
With more than five decades of fishing experience – from light tackle and fly to offshore billfish – Gary Graham has experienced all aspects of fishing in the Southern California and Baja waters. His observations of species behavior, tackle and techniques are always from his unique perspective, earning him the respect of his peers as well as anglers who eagerly follow his Baja reports and features.
Gary maintained a home at East Cape in Baja Sur for more than 18 years and still spends nearly half of each year exploring the entire peninsula in his self-contained Roadtrek van. He observes everything Baja, from the mysteries of a tide pool on a deserted Baja beach filled with tiny sea creatures to the largest billfish in the sea.