October 2018 Baja Fishing Report


Heads Up: The chart above is from the Presidential Decree and the entire lime green area is the protected area (not just the area in the red box).

The Pacific Island Biosphere is considered a protected area and CONANP bracelets are now required to fish within that area, which includes the Coronado Islands, Todos Santos, and San Martin Island.  The bracelets can be purchased for $5.00 per person per day at Dana Landing Market & Fuel Dock Tackle Shop, Fisherman’s Landing Tackle Shop and Pt. Loma Sportfishing Tackle Shop. H&M Landing is now selling them also.

When purchasing bracelets for fishing the protected areas, you will need to provide your boat name, boat owner’s name, number of passengers, and dates you will be in the reserve areas, but you don’t need any other special IDs or info.



From the Coronado Islands all the way to Ensenada in terms of quantity, surface action begins with scads of bonito along with some smaller yellowtail.



Offshore in the same zone, yellowfin can be found in open water along with dorado under some of the kelp paddies with an occasional striped marlin showing up behind trolling boats.

More fish than anglers seem to be the case at San Quintín where locals are reporting good fishing inshore and around San Martin for calico and yellowtail propped up by plenty of bottom fish.



At Cedros Island, with the season soon ending, yellowtail and calico bass are thick, and over at Benitos yellowfin and wahoo are biting rapalas full speed.



Below there, the Vizcaíno Peninsula from Asunción to Abreojos, the season has just begun to heat up according to locals with some mossback yellowtail, yellowfin already present and hopefully, some wahoo arriving soon.



At Magdalena Bay, the offshore is more of the same with striped marlin already beginning to arrive for the October/November spectacle. Expect an armada of sport fishers to begin arriving, hungry for the billfish action that failed to develop in their So-Cal home waters.



For you landlubbers not comfortable in open waters, don’t ignore the esteros at La Bocana and Estero Coyote, as well as at Magdalena Bay; the species list is extraordinary and fishing any of them is like fishing a freshwater river.



South of Magdalena, on the “Finger Bank,” 50-miles above Baja’s tip, it is already double-digit billfish releases for the few boats willing to make the long run.

Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Los Cabos are both ramping up for what has become the single most spectacular month of BIG MONEY tournaments, offering jackpots of up to millions of dollars for the winning billfish, dorado, yellowfin tuna, and wahoo.



The money tournaments kick off beginning in mid-October with the Bonnier Los Cabos Billfish Tournament, followed in rapid succession by the Bisbee Los Cabos Offshore and the Black and Blue and in the first week of November, the Inaugural Rockstar! Tuna Tournament by Pelagic and the Western Outdoor Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot.



Even if you are not interested in being a participant, the pageantry and excitement is infectious and free. Registrations and weigh-ins are usually open to the public offering an opportunity to rub shoulders with world-class anglers, along with the many sponsors displaying their products, plus, a chance to see some monster fish weighing hundreds of pounds. Cow-sized yellowfin are already finding their way to scale while tales of huge black and blue marlin being released promise an exciting tournament month.



Up in the Sea of Cortez, the East Cape is buzzing with tales yellowfin tuna limits, along with the elusive wahoo and a few trophy dorado.



Here is another DIY beach fishing opportunity for roosterfish, jack crevalle, and pompano, as well as some species that will have you grabbing for your fish ID book.

Los Arenas and La Paz are more of the same as the late-summer yellowfin tuna bite continues with some fatties up to 100 pounds. If you are looking for something a bit smaller, try dorado or roosterfish. That should remain an option for another month or so.



As the season changes up at Loreto, there are still plenty of smaller dorado with an occasional bull for the persistent angler. Not to be overlooked are the few billfish and tuna still being caught by a few of the boats venturing farther offshore when weather permits.

Above Loreto, reports are sketchy. There are still a few dorado all the way up to BOLA where the seemingly ever-present yellowtail are found deeper in the water column. Trolling along the shore, cabrilla, grouper and other rockfish near the rocky points seem to be the best bet.

By the end of October, expect the seasonal north winds to begin in the Sea of Cortez, so don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of what has been described by both locals and visitors alike as a “great season like the good ol’ days.”

That Baja Guy,

Questions and comments are welcome.  garyg@garycgraham.com


gary graham

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.



One thought on “October 2018 Baja Fishing Report

  1. Michael Loynes says:

    Hi Gary; Mike Loynes (from Team Awesome) in L/B.
    Saw your note re: the Rockstar tuna tournament. New to me.
    I return to SJC on Oct. 30th for the winter and would like some more information on this tournament.
    Can you provide?

    See you in Nov.
    Senor Miguel

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