The spring season here in Northern Baja has certainly had its share of stormy weather, often with northwest winds from 10 to 20 knots and local gusts to 25 knots combined with seas from 6 to 8 feet. It seems like I’ve promised better weather every month to no avail. So, you are on your own this month!
Below the border at the Bull Ring, the kelp beds are producing good calico bass catches. And just outside in the Flats, to the Rockpile below South Island, the bird schools are the best sign of fish feeding activity – so it’s a “run and gun” till you find them. Hopefully, the spot will be loaded with barracuda, bonito and if lucky, yellowtail as well.
At Ensenada, conditions are improving, both inshore and at the Islands. There is surface action for calico bass in the kelp, plus there is action for barracuda and yellowtail on the surface, along with an ongoing bottom fish bite to fill the cooler if all else fails.
Offshore, outside the Islands down to San Quintín, the trophy-sized bluefin can be found feeding on the surface. Use heavy tackle or be prepared for an extended battle. Back inshore at San Quintín, rockfish and calico are the best bet.
After a long COVID-19 closure Cedros Island is opening back up in July. By all accounts, the extended closure was a welcome respite. According to the locals, the yellowtail and calico bass are off the charts!
Most of the Vizcaíno Peninsula, from Turtle Bay to Punta Abreojos, is shaking off the winter and spring doldrums expecting local fishing will improve as the sea temps begin to climb.
Not to be overlooked are the mangrove-lined Estero La Bocana and Estero Coyote South of Abreojos. Both offer an opportunity to fish and explore these unique fisheries found scattered throughout Baja Sur.
Lopez Mateos is in the grandaddy of Esteros, Magdalena Bay, and anglers visiting recently found excellent fishing for corvina, pargo, grouper, halibut, plus the “holy grail” of mangrove species “the black snook.”
Over on the Sea of Cortez side, the north winds have subsided. Gonzaga Bay is winding down its successful spring season with a mixed bag of yellowtail and grouper. While at Bahía de Los Ángeles, both the weather and fishing have heated up for the few anglers visiting there recently.
Judging from the results of the recent big game fishing tournament held at Marina Puerto Escondido, 61 dorado and 34 yellowtail were brought to the scale, and 61 billfish were entered in the release division by the 30 teams entered in the event.
The dorado season is still around the corner when the sea temps rise about 10 more degrees but, some visitors have had exciting mornings fishing from shore for small roosterfish on their flyrods.
Down La Paz way, the sea temps in the mid-to-high 70s with blue patches of water, have produced a much-improved surface bite.
Roosterfish, ranging from 10-omg-90-pounds chasing live bait like the sardina. The larger fish especially loved the larger ladyfish (sabalo) as bait. Added to that were the 15- to 30-pound dorado that finally began to bite – bending rods, with some larger fish lost as well.
There were also some great pompano, some yellowtail, and amberjack, several types of pargo, cabrilla, jack crevalle, yellow jack, red and yellow snapper, plus blue and white bonito as well.
All the signs indicate the East Cape area is on the verge of summer. Striped marlin are not far offshore, yellowfin are traveling with porpoise and a sprinkling of keeper dorado seem to point to better days ahead.
On the beaches jack crevalle, roosterfish, and even a few pompano have anglers running clickety split up and down the white sandy beaches.
At Marina Puerto Los Cabos, there were more yellowfin tuna recently 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 any given day. Also, there have been a few nice-sized jack crevalle and an occasional pompano or pargo colorado.
Cabo San Lucas is enjoying a phenomenal beginning of billfish season. Double-digit scores of released striped marlin, sailfish plus a record year thus far of swordfish caught on the surface.
All are overshadowing the still to come dorado and yellowfin tuna bite that will arrive as sea temps stabilize. So far there have only been a smattering of wahoo, always a favorite.
For the inshore and beach crowd, roosterfish, jack crevalle, and sierra are at the top of the list. While in the bottom fish category, pargo, red snapper and grouper are all a possibility.
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.