Goodbye frigid February and hello warmer March (we hope). Future fishing prospects have been enhanced with the recent news that the first few bluefin of the season have been caught offshore outside of Colonet aboard two San Diego sport boats – the Pacific Queen, caught two tuna, one weighing 100 pounds and one weighing 60 pounds while the Tomahawk added a 120- and a 70-pounder.
Just below the border at the Bullring, a few private boat owners scored some nice-sized sand bass and sculpin.
Reports from Coronado Island by several San Diego fleet boats were that they located a few small schools of yellowtail that bit on yoyo iron, along with lots of quality rockfish. They are recommending anglers bring 40-pound outfits with FULL-SIZE yoyo iron, indicating the yellows are in deep water.
With the improved weather, several boats in Ensenada fleet found decent yellowtail action bolstered by a consistent-quality calico bass bite.
At Colonet, there were a few yellows caught while bottom fishing for the quality 9-pound reds and lingcod up to 30 pounds. At San Quintín, there was more of the same, with a little more emphasis on surface action along with equally good bottom fishing.
Along the Vizcaíno Peninsula from Bahía Asunción, La Bocana, and Punta Abreojos, the winter season sputtered to a close as anglers continued to sneak out on calm days for yellows and calico bass.
Whale watching is at its peak at Scammon’s, San Ignacio Lagoon, and Magdalena Bay – at both Puerto San Carlos and Adolfo López Mateos. On the Sea of Cortez side, Loreto is offering trips to observe the massive “blue whales.”
Anglers not interested in watching as much as catching have the option of a good 15- to 20-pound yellowtail bite going on at Loreto, plus assorted cabrilla hanging out on a few spots on the outside of Carmen Island’s Punta Lobo. Closer in among the rocks, fly-lining with sardina has been the ticket for the cabrilla.
Smaller yellowtail continue to bite from Coronado’s “Lagrima” south to La Cholla. The bigger yellowtail aren’t due until the middle of March if history repeats itself. Pinto bass and snapper are easy marks on the north side of Coronado. Most tour boats are hanging out with the blue whales by Danzante Island.
As the north winds subside, Bahía de Los Ángeles and Gonzaga should be seeing some surface action for yellows and good bottom fishing. The winds are still up and down so don’t expect to fish every day.
Some of the Captains are migrating to Gonzaga Bay for the spring season – if you are looking for an inside track on a place to go for a quickie trip.
La Paz is recovering from a spectacular Mardi Gras! (It might be a place to go in 2021). By all accounts, the chill has gone, and the winds are beginning their “on-again/off-again” routine.
Anglers who managed to get out of the bay found yellowtail north towards Espiritu Santo Island, plus there were school-sized dorado inside the bay.
Those fishing the Las Arenas/ Muertos Bay/ Cerralvo Island areas have been catching an occasional dorado and even a hefty 70-pound tuna taken on a trolled Rapala. On the East side of Cerralvo, there was a spot of yellowtail that ran from 15 to 25 pounds, especially if you had live mackerel. Inshore, pargo, cabrilla, and jack crevalle provided some fun.
The relentless north winds have blown themselves out much to the delight of a few fishermen who enjoyed a pleasant few days filled with catches of dorado, hefty skipjack, and too many needlefish.
Along the shore, the sierra stole the show for early-morning tin boaters, looking for something to bend their rods. There were plenty of juvenile roosterfish around feeding on sardina schools – a good sign there may be an early spring if the winds continue to dwindle.
Some boats fishing a few miles offshore in front of the Marina at La Ribera were rewarded with a mixed bag of rockfish, grouper, and small pargo. Yellowtail should arrive in mid-March.
Outside of Puerto Los Cabos, there were reports of pelagic red crab drifting to the surface – great to use over the high spots for red snapper (huachinango), which range in size from two to over ten pounds.
Chances of hooking into yellowfin tuna – from Gordo Banks to Iman and San Luis Banks – have improved with the weather. Anglers drift-fishing with strips of squid, or slow-trolling live caballito, hooked into tuna that averaged 20 pounds with several weighing 80 pounds.
Dorado up to 15 pounds are scattered, with a few sizable schools near shore. There were also roosterfish, and sierra found near shore with the best bite first thing in the morning, then slacking off.
A couple of wahoo were landed while using red crab over some deeper high spots north of Punta Gorda.
Shallow water action included yellow snapper, pompano, cabrilla, triggerfish, bonito, and an excellent red snapper bite.
Many boats are recording double-digit releases in a single day at Cabo San Lucas near Land’s End.
Sea temps are on the rise, and hopefully, the dorado will show up hungry as the water warms.
Speaking of showing up hungry, Cabo San Lucas locals are in a dither because the yellowfin tuna are among the missing outside. With sea temps rising, it is reasonable to expect them to return soon.
Inshore at Los Arcos, there is good fishing most days, including trophy-sized roosterfish, skipjack, and sierra taken on ballyhoo, live bait, and hoochies on the surface, as well as excellent bottom fishing.
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.