Once again, it’s April… traditionally a transition month for all of Baja. This is confirmed by today’s weather report which promised more WARM—not cold—wind. So, expect more “rocks in the pocket” weather on both sides of the Baja Peninsula. The fishing has certainly held up well this winter which seems to indicate a promise of an exciting spring.
A reminder for all you anglers is that the Mexican Navy is on duty at Coronado Islands checking boats on a regular basis for Vessel Temporary Import Permits, FMMs and Valid Country of Residence Passports for each person on the boats (can’t purchase the FMM tourist permit without a passport anyway).
Required permits are listed on the CONAPESCA website for fishing within 12 miles of land including the islands. The permits can be purchased through their website or through Discover Baja for DBTC members.
Both the Coronado and Todos Santos Islands, and inshore all the way down to San Quintín, continued to produce some surface action for yellowtail, barracuda and the seemingly ever-present bonito.
Of course, the bottom fishing remained decent and filled coolers were a common occurrence much to the delight of both locals and visiting anglers alike. It is always reassuring to have that action for a backup when all else fails.
Another promising sign offshore is the trickle of reports of bluefin tuna being caught by long range boats coming and going from the San Diego Sportfishing dock. As soon as the wind diminishes, and the seas flatten out, it’s a pretty sure bet the bluefin fishing will kick into high gear.
Other locations farther down the Pacific side—Bahía Asunción, La Bocana, Abreojos, and Magdalena Bay—are still waiting for spring to find them.
On the Sea of Cortez side, the north winds that are always part of the winter conversation will become more sporadic during April all the way below East Cape.
However, recent trips for a few have provided intriguing results offering tempting prospects for anglers wanting to shake off the winter chill. The Gonzaga Bay area, not too far below San Felipe, has provided some eye-popping grouper catches as well as consistent limits of corvina, a smattering of yellowtail, plus near limits of cabrilla, pargo, and other rockfish when fished between blows.
Down at Loreto, north winds hampered, but never stopped the fishing completely. Lunker yellowtail and trophy cabrilla are a definite possibility as April unfolds.
Still some whale watching opportunities for your buddies who are into nature more than sportfishing.
While La Paz struggled through the winter as the north winds battered the Sea of Cortez. Las Arenas was spared somewhat as the Baja peninsula blocked the wind allowing local pangueros to find some yellowfin tuna that seemed to be hanging around Isla Cerralvo. Adding to those the catches of snapper…some pargo…a few grouper…and a few yellowtail, they were an early omen for a productive transition period for early season visitors.
Heading toward Baja’s tip, the prospects seem to blossom further. An early Easter Week arrived overshadowing April Fool’s pranks’ day and locals and visitors alike were delighted to hear that it was no joke that the tuna, dorado and striped marlin were biting full speed. Plus, the jacks, sierra and roosterfish had begun to show along the shore.
At Puertos Los Cabos, sea temps are beginning to increase hitting the 70- to 74-degree mark, a very optimistic sign of things to come. More good news is that sardina are schooling along the rocky shoreline near San Luis for the first time in several years. And also the pelagic red crabs were appearing out on the Gordo Bank… always a welcome sign.
Here, large yellowfin tuna were found in the 50-pound class in good-sized schools on the La Fortuna Bank, inside of the Iman Bank.
The same area has limited action off the bottom for yellow snapper, bonito, leopard grouper and an occasional amberjack. Add in a fair showing of dorado, plus inshore action producing a few early season roosterfish to 15 pounds and a handful of sierra that should improve as spring season settles in.
Down at the tip of Baja out of Cabo San Lucas, double-digit billfish ‘catch and releases’ are a regular occurrence for some of the boats in most fleets.
In the meantime, inshore sierra, roosterfish, small yellowfin and bonito are putting light tackle, spin fish and flyrod anglers through their paces keeping up with the bite.
Currently, Baja Sur is clearly dominate the sportfishing now. It won’t be long before northern Baja catches up on both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez side.
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.