It’s hard to imagine that there are still bluefin tuna at the Coronados, primarily around the Rockpile below South Island. However, they are mostly an anchor-and-chum deal if they are around. Also, some surface yellowtail, barracuda and big bonito are still lurking about, all the way down the coast from the Bull Ring to Ensenada. Remember though, the season is in transition so don’t expect it to last much longer.
There are still a few dorado offshore. As the northern west coast of Baja cools, the fishing continues to have more good days than bad, depending on the weather.
Eventually the surface action will give way to bottom fishing that many will find entertaining and will enjoy the fillets it produces for the freezer.
Cedros Island’s season, on the other hand, is just beginning and will continue for several months with yellowtail and calico along with nice-sized halibut being the favorites.
Down below there in the Vizcaíno area you will find yellowfin tuna at present, and any day now, the wahoo will also become prime targets.
Even farther down at Magdalena Bay, the wahoo, dorado and yellowfin tuna are prime targets for some, and feeding striped marlin, sailfish and maybe even a few blue and black marlin are targets for the billfish crowd.
Some of the sport fishers from both southern California and, coming up the other way from Cabo, are reporting double-digit releases of billfish and easy limits on everything else at Magdalena offshore. Joining in the fun are a bevy of trailer boats. As I’ve always said, “When Magdalena offshore goes off, there isn’t anywhere on the planet that offers any better striped marlin fishing. If possible, don’t miss it!”
Jumping back over to the Sea of Cortez, you can expect the surface action for dorado to slow at Bahía de Los Ángeles as sea temperatures begin to fall. Yellowtail should remain active through the end of the year along with cabrilla and grouper in the upper regions of the Sea.
In Loreto, the dorado remain an item… regardless of size, along with some wahoo which really confounds usual expectations. Plus, a blue marlin bite that is mind-blowing to most local anglers. I’ve only heard of a few times that a blue marlin was caught here… any month of the year. Maybe it’s just that few have ever been targeted.
Like most of Baja Sur, both La Paz and Los Arenas are enjoying a late fall snap that is stubbornly hanging on later than normal.
Los Arenas and Muertos Bay are still reporting summer-like conditions. Yellowfin tuna are from near the launch ramp stretching all the way around from Punta Perico to the lighthouse… nothing huge but lots to pick from with an occasional beast up to 100 pounds, plus an occasional wahoo, some big rooster fish, dorado, pargo, cabrilla, jack crevalle, and several species of bonito. There are even a few billfish too, enough to keep a sharp angler on his toes.
There are hints from the weather that things are a’changin and it’s a good bet when the North Wind wakes up, La Paz will be its first victim. Meanwhile, if an angler is into wide-open, small dorado action there is still a good chance the itch can be scratched at La Paz.
At Los Barriles (East Cape) resident Mark Rayor is singing the same song. A few days of North Wind didn’t slow the outstanding action for yellowfin tuna, dorado, wahoo, and blue marlin. Finding the larger tuna on porpoise schools has been very difficult but the high spots off Pescadero, La Ribera, Rincon, and Los Meganos have provided limits of the smaller grade for anglers using calamari and sardina. Wahoo have been cruising the same high spots and it hasn’t been uncommon to get bit off while drifting for tuna.
The buoys off Pescadero and Cabo Pulmo are loaded with bait and the clean blue water provides a perfect setting for marlin and sailfish; many of the blue marlin are caught slow-trolling live bait.
Inshore, roosterfish are still crowing, and if that’s your thing there still is time to add one of the grandes to your 2017 catch.
San Jose reports more North Wind, making it more difficult to find a panguero with sardina, so buying a slab of frozen squid may not be a bad idea.
Yellowfin tuna are at the top of the catch list now. Anything from football-sized to OMG. One cow caught in the Gordo Banks Fleet officially broke the 300-pound cow-sized mark.
Dorado and wahoo are few and far between. There were a few black marlin caught from 300- to nearly 600-pounds slow-trolling football-sized yellowfin tuna. Several local pangas scored putting two or three wahoo in the box… at least one had four. They weren’t huge, but averaged about 20- to 25-pounds.
Cabo San Lucas is holding its own with an unusual billfish bite within a ten mile radius of IGY Marina. With some winners in the recent Bisbee Black and Blue coming from there. A tuna seiner working off Cabo Falso has provided an obvious visual reference to where the bite has been. One Captain related that he was slow-trolling a tuna near the seiner when they spotted a dorado jumping; they quickly reeled in the bait and ran a quarter of a mile before putting their bait back out. They were soon hooked to what turned out to be one of the recent B&B qualifiers (300-pounds).
Renegade Mike sent a text on his way in last week telling me of a couple of tuna weighing 100- and 245-pounds which he wanted me to photograph.
One of the attractions of Baja is the endless fishing it offers anglers, but remember, you still must follow your fish…
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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.