Baja California, Mexico
Most of the Southern California fleet is staying busy offshore chasing bluefin, yellowfin, dorado, and a few striped marlin in SoCal instead of heading below the border.
There are some yellows around the Coronado Islands and the Rockpile – mostly little ones under six pounds with a few in the 15- to 20-pound range. Slow-trolled sardines or mackerel are accounting for all the bites. Nothing is biting the Rapalas except for good-sized bonito.
From Ensenada south, the action has been great with dorado, both inshore and offshore, along with bluefin farther out, plus a few striped marlin. Limits of bottom fish are the norm for those wanting to fill their freezers as fall settles in.
At San Quintín, the late summer white seabass bite has slowed as the transition from summer to fall begins. Still, some late-season yellowtail are there to be had before winter arrives and the bottom fishing becomes the most attractive option.
This is the time of year that the Vizcaíno Peninsula would normally come alive as sea temps climb. From Asunción to Abreojos, mossback yellows mixed with the usual smaller variety, are feeding on squid. Locals and visitors alike are buzzing about another by-catch – chunky calicos. Another popular option recently has been fishing the surf in the early mornings and late afternoons when you might pick up a halibut or corvina, you never know.
After a promising start on the wahoo last month, the water temps spiked to over 80 degrees. While some wahoo and some marlin were seen, there wasn’t the volume that was hoped for. There seems to be ample bait so it is expected that the upcoming fall/winter season will be good. Meanwhile, the bottom fishing sites are kicking out nice-sized grouper. On the inside, the pargo, cabrilla, and other species are taking up the slack while things are getting back to normal on the outside.
Bahía de Los Ángeles is already enjoying their fall season with limits of yellowtail, broomtail grouper, and cabrilla plus a lot of miscellaneous critters.
At Punta Chivato, the dorado have been keeping visitors busy, along with at least one unusual catch at the launch ramp – black snook.
And at Loreto, all the boats are reporting the same story regarding the summer of 2020: The baitfish are everywhere and the small dorado are in between the schools of bait. Roosterfish have been found on the south tip of Carmen Island and the west side of Danzante.
Trips returning from the north of Loreto are bringing back cabrilla and snapper in the five-pound range. Sardina and hard bait are working for this bunch along the coast. The high spot at San Bruno has been good for red and yellow snapper plus a few yellowtail which are just under 20 pounds.
The big news recently has been the catch of a blue marlin and wahoo offshore.
Marina Puerto Escondido partner Curt Hamann landed the first blue marlin on September 20th aboard the “Volador” operated by Outpost Charters. It weighed 377 pounds and took two hours and forty minutes to land.
La Paz has struggled with sporadic conditions with dorado weighing from 5 to 20 pounds dominating the catch. Bonito, jack crevalle, pargo, cabrilla, triggerfish, and snapper, and way too many needlefish, along with some nice roosterfish up to about 50 pounds being the best bet. Everyone who wants fish is getting fish.
The East Cape area is enjoying a strong, consistent yellowfin tuna bite, plus wahoo, big Almaco jack, pargo, some dorado, plus the roosterfish have returned. There is very little fishing pressure on the billfish. And as for bait, there is ample sardina available.
At Puerto Los Cabos there’s been an early bite for yellowfin, which has been in the 10- to 80-pound range. Larger cow-sized tuna were seen but proved to be finicky, quickly disappearing, though they are in the area, and with these calm conditions, the ocean is becoming riper for wide-open action to break loose. Boats now were averaging one or two tuna – and sometimes up to five or six.
There were not as many dorado or wahoo being found, though they are in the area and some were caught; most of the dorado were small fish, as there have not been any large bulls seen recently. The few wahoo that were caught were in the 20- to 35-pound class. There has been minimal bottom action, mixed species, a few quality fish – Almaco jack, dogtooth snapper, barred pargo, bonito, and pargo colorado.
Yellowfin tuna – from “cow-sized to throw ‘em back-sized” were at the top of the catch list in Cabo San Lucas for many of the anglers. In the billfish division, there were several striped marlin, along with some blue marlin – one was released that weighed approximately 600 pounds. Adding to the excitement were the bull dorado that showed up among the smaller dorado that had been around all month. Rounding out the impressive catch list were a handful of wahoo along with a few large roosterfish.
Gary Graham -That Baja Guy
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.