Just below the border, calico bass can be found along the outer edge of the beds at the Bull Ring. From there out to the Coronado Islands, the water is still cool and off-color sporadically. Slow-trolling sardine or Rapala is the best bet for small boaters for a few decent-sized yellowtail, although the cold, dirty water has slowed the bite way down.
Schools of yellowtail are found mainly by sonar along the weather side of North Island, along the ridge in the Middle Grounds, and the area between SKR and the Rockpile.
Offshore, the bluefin, as well as a few yellows under the kelps, is the story. The best zone is below the 425/101 and just west of the 475 Knuckle. In the afternoon, the area moves a bit to the west, but it’s still in the same general area.
The tuna are running mainly between the 60-90-pound class, with an occasional larger one up to 150 pounds being hooked.
Continuing down the Pacific side, Ensenada and San Quintín, conditions are unsettled as the late season weather moves out. On the good days, there are limits of yellowtail, lingcod or perhaps a white seabass or two, which is always a “high-fiver” for visiting anglers.
On other days, it’s “fill the freezer” with limits of bottom fish of every description.
Below there, Bahía Asunción is already planning their big tournament in July.
At Magdalena Bay, there have been rumblings of yellowtail and white sea bass inshore around some of the pinnacles and small-grade yellowfin tuna offshore.
On the Sea of Cortez side, San Felipe anglers are beginning to catch a nice variety of cabrilla and grouper out at Con Sag Rock after a seemingly long winter.
At Bahía de Los Ángeles the waters are alive with fish as the winds of winter finally subside. Yellowtail are boiling on the surface along with large bonito, large grouper, cabrilla, and pargo.
At Gonzaga Bay, the action has been equally good for same species, and an often hoped for but seldom caught, golden grouper.
Loreto action continues to be a story of “some” yellowtail and “lots” of everything else that hang around this time of year. Limits of everything else seems the norm with cabrilla, snappers, and triggerfish.
The good news is the near-shore water quality shows great promise for next month’s expected arrivals. There are huge mats of Sargasso floating around in warm surface waters and to make things better, a cold-water layer keeps the growing green stuff fresh and ready for an additional burst in a few weeks.
The first annual Robert Ross Fishing Tournament was held at the Marina Puerto Escondido in mid-May drawing 28 local and visiting teams from mainland Mexico and as far south as Cabo San Lucas.
The two-day affair produced yellowtail, dorado and remarkably 136 billfish releases according to the event’s namesake, Robert Ross.
Total amount awarded to the winning teams was $53,000!
Locals at La Paz and Muertos Bay are convinced that for both amount and quality, this has been their best month of 2019 – amberjack, yellowtail, three species of pargo (pargo liso/pargo mulatto/dog-tooth), cabrilla, yellow snapper, red snapper, both common and white bonito, jack crevalle, and wahoo (caught, but not landed), in addition to the first marlin of the year.
Also, anglers caught some of the largest pompano that have been taken in several decades — big hefty 10-pound fish!
The roosterfish came on strong also with fish between 40- and 90-pounds caught and released with sightings or entire schools of roosterfish crashing on bait along the beaches. One captain said, “There could have been “hundreds” of big roosterfish in one school!”
The first solid bite of 40- to 100-pound yellowfin took one to three hours on lighter live bait tackle to bring in as most of the fish were taken in shallower water.
East Cape is enjoying similar conditions with reports of striped marlin one to three miles off the beach in front of Buena Vista and throughout the area.
No wonder the sea temps outside are 81- and 82-degrees and bait is puddled up almost everywhere; no wonder the yellowfin tuna is also suddenly thick.
Mark Rayor, Jen Wren Sportfishing, reported several different spots of roosterfish feeding ten feet from the sand.
Farther down the coast off Puerto Los Cabos, the fleet is still waiting for the same conditions to filter down to their area. Meanwhile, there are some nice-sized red snapper and bonito and bottom action for cabrilla, leopard grouper, pargo, and Almaco jack.
At Cabo San Lucas, the fleet reported their top boats caught and released up to 13 roosterfish in one day. Marlin “catch and release” also remained constant; several boats spotted lots of marlin but struggled to get them to bite. With that said, the top boat released five stripers.
Adding to the count were some good wahoo catches – one weighed an estimated 60 pounds.
Inshore fishing has been solid with some nice catches of large sierra along Migriño. Roosterfish showed up again in the surf from Solmar to the Lighthouse and off Palmilla. Yellowtail in the 15- to 30-pound range were hitting on live bait off Migriño. Some very nice catches of red snapper and grouper were reported close to the rocks around El Arco.
May lived up to expectations in most areas, buoying expectations for an interesting June as summer warms up.
Gary Graham, That Baja Guy
Questions and comments are always welcome.
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.