As this fledgling New Year begins in Baja, “Have a cool one!” has nothing to do with drinking.
A check with a couple of locals at Baja’s tip confirmed temperatures are in the low 50s and “Mexico News Daily” reports “The snow has been flying in the sierra of Sonora and Baja California, delivering a white Christmas to areas of both.”
All of which hasn’t seemed to cool off the fishing at Baja’s tip according to Tracy Ehrenberg in Los Cabos who is reporting steady catches of both striped marlin and dorado with an occasional wahoo.
Even more exciting is the continued dorado bite from shore. Mark Feaster and his wife hooked 12 fish in two days using 13′ Century 144L rods with Daiwa Saltist 6500 reels and 40-pound PowerPro and using 3-ounce Cabo Killers in Blue/White. They were fishing at Sunset Beach by the Old Lighthouse on the Pacific side near Cabo San Lucas. Beaching only four, the largest one is featured in the photo above.
Spoiler alert! Beaches in the area are very steep and when the surf is up they can be dangerous as this photo I took several weeks ago demonstrates. BE CAREFUL!
Typical for this time of year, the North Wind influences the fishing in the Sea of Cortez — at Puerto Los Cabos and at San Jose. The Gordo Banks offshore are still holding black marlin and larger grade of yellowfin tuna. Some locals have been packing 20+ pounds of squid slabs and heading out for this late afternoon action. Tuna to 140 pounds were landed; many other even larger yellowfin were lost — sea lions were a pesky problem on these grounds as well. This action should last into January. Same for wahoo — not many being landed, but they are in the area.
Farther up at East Cape most of the hotels and charter operations have either pulled their boats or moved them down to Puerto Los Cabos. Leaving the waters to the many wind-surfers who have arrived to frolic and compete in the strong breezes.
Most of the fishing there is limited to inshore early morning for sierra and maybe a dorado or two before the winds arrives.
Los Arenas and La Paz are also picking their fishing days around the North Wind with inshore stuff being the best deal. Working the rocks and shallow areas, there’s some decent cabrilla with barred pargo around. As well, there’s some sierra and bonito. There had been yellowtail biting at the drop off at Las Arenas but with the wind, it is difficult to reach those areas. Offshore, there’s a few dorado breezing through and still a wahoo or two.
For Loreto it’s yellowtail with the incidental catch of various snappers and bass that are the target. Seems like larger yellowtail in the 15- to 25-pound range may be moving in as reflected by the increasing number of break-offs on the rocky strewn bottom.
In spite of the wind, Mulege is producing a few early or late yellowtail on the smallish side according to Mike Reichner
Wind kept Craig Cove, Temecula, CA on the beach at Punta Chivato on his recent trip. Not to be denied he managed to catch halibut, snapper and cabrilla on artificials. Farther up into the Sea of Cortez, all the way to San Felipe, the action was similar as the wind ebbed and flowed.
Back on the Pacific side at Lopez Mateos, Bob Hoyt is calling this the best “wahoo year” since he’s lived there.
Moving up the coast, David J. Lee, Fair Oaks California found good leopard grouper action at Estero Coyote.
La Bocana is still reporting good fishing in the Estero (release only) while offshore grouper fishing improved. The exotics — wahoo and dorado — have begun to dwindle as the sea temps plummet along the Vizcaino Coast all the way to Ascension Bay.
Recent storm fronts moving down the coast from the border to Cedros Island have hampered boats from going out every day.
However, in-between the storms yellowtail, bonito and log barracuda, along with rockfish and ling cod, fill anglers’ limits at San Quintin and Ensenada. Up at the Coronado Islands few boats have bothered to check them out with the continued yellowfin tuna action offshore.
January appears to show promise for anglers who are willing to adapt and target the species available when the weather allows.
Good Luck and Tight Lines…
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.
Contact Gary at email@example.com