After what seems like months of gale wind warnings extending from the border down the West Coast of Baja, reports of waters teeming with baitfish both in and offshore are an encouraging hint of things to come as May begins to unfold.
The kelp beds that extend from the U.S. border to Ensenada are producing good yellowtail and calico bass action on both artificial lures and both live and dead bait.
Farther offshore, large bluefin tuna are roaming in search of food from outside of the Coronado Islands down the coast past Todos Santos to below San Quintín.
Out at the various offshore islands and extending south to San Quintín, the yellowtail should begin to bite as the weather warms up. Meanwhile, the bottom fishing for lingcod, reds, and sheepshead are a great way to fill the coolers.
At Ensenada, the fleet is reporting nice-sized bonito and barracuda in the lee of Todos Santos on the surface, as well as rockfish and lingcod that are biting on the San Miguel Reef.
Visiting anglers fishing out of Bahía Asunción are patiently waiting for the warmer sea temps as the summer season settles in, while locals pick off a few halibut, as well as a corvina or two from shore.
On the Sea of Cortez side, Gonzaga Bay’s winter/spring season is coming to an end and the few guides that were working out of there for the past few months are heading back to their respective homes throughout Baja for the summer fishing season.
The anticipated spring yellowtail bite at Bahía de Los Ángeles seems to have fizzled with few visitors, perhaps curtailed by the lack of visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Down the road from San Bruno to Loreto, the epic yellowtail bite continues with some large ones included. Stories of sargasso spotting stimulated the dorado debate – will they or won’t they show up this year? Meanwhile, there is the Marina Puerto Escondido Tournament scheduled for mid-May from the 14th to the 16th. More info: www.mpefishingtournament.com
In La Paz, the yellowtail remain at the top of the list; however, the bite has tapered off, and the roosterfish have arrived to supplement the yellowtail along with dog-tooth snapper and pargo liso. In addition to some hefty pargo, bonito, cabrilla, and some huge pompano and jack crevalle as well as mega-sized sierra for quite a variety.
There has been pleasant spring weather with no North Wind –75 degrees throughout Palmas Bay. There is a variety of good bait available with sardine and caballito being plentiful which helps the fishing. There is more bait available than I can recall. The striped marlin are around in good numbers. They are picky biters one day, and wide open the next. Big yellowfin to 70-pounds are being taken off the lighthouse and Rincon on the park boundary. There has been wide-open African pompano bite, nice size fish, literally as many as an angler wants to take, and as usual limitless white skipjack are spread throughout the Bay.
The striped marlin have moved farther outside, from 15 to 20 miles off Punta Colorado. They are biting everything one day, and are very picky the next. On good days, there are multiple releases where they are taking any bait, even loving the slow-trolled ballyhoo.
At Marina Puerto Los Cabos, the spring season continues to be unpredictable, with conditions changing daily. The overall climate is great, with highs in the low 80s. The most common catch was the Mexican bonito, although there were some quality red snapper, cabrilla (leopard grouper), and amberjack being accounted for, average catches per boat was in the 8 to 15 fish range, so overall the bite has continued to improve.
There were more yellowfin tuna this week, with sizes ranging from 15 to 90 pounds; the tuna hit on strips of squid mainly, but also some were taken on the yo-yo style jigs.
There have been reports of decent billfish action being found offshore near the 1150 Spot, as well as a few nice dorado being found on the same grounds, where water has been blue and warmer.
Inshore action was limited to mainly an on and off sierra bite, depending on where the fish happen to be on a given day. Also, there have been a few nice-sized jack crevalle and an occasional pompano or pargo colorado.
There were a fair number of striped marlin between 100- and 130-pounds caught out of Cabo San Lucas. They have been coming up and biting lures and pitching live bait. We have been fishing at the 95 and 1150 Spot.
Few sierra, roosterfish, white bonito, along with a few grouper, and snapper were caught this week at the Lighthouse, Gray Rock, Chileno, and Santa Maria.
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.