October is shaping up to retain its reputation as one of the best months of the year, despite several hurricanes in September that brought more rain than wind.
On the Pacific side, just below the border near the Bull Ring, a few corvina have been seen tailing in the shallow surf. In the meantime, reports were that some bonito were chasing bait farther out in the deeper water, and bonito have been dominating the catch at the Coronado Islands, in-between brief flurries of yellowtail in the early mornings and late afternoons.
Offshore, both yellow and bluefin tuna are spotted traveling with porpoise pods. Occasionally, they are underneath kelp paddies—along with a few dorado stretching down the coast below San Quintín.
Meanwhile, most of the Ensenada fleet is still focusing on the inshore action for surface bonito, calico bass, barracuda, and there are frequent limits of bottom fish.
Offshore at San Quintín, boats traveling up and down the Pacific coast caught tuna, dorado, and a few striped marlin (released).
Inshore around San Martin Island, excellent bottom fishing and calico bass have dominated the catch. In addition, locals predict another month of white seabass, yellowtail, and bonito before winter settles in.
Recent reports from Cedros Island confirmed that bonito were as thick there as the mainland. In addition, there are 10- to 18-pound yellowtail, not wide open like the calico bass, but enough to keep things interesting. Plus, there are halibut and sheepshead to boost the species count.
As expected, at Bahía Asunción, just like clockwork – the yellowtail bite is on!
“Our guest, John, limited out today on some nice-size fish…and we have the photos to prove it! Sharpening my sashimi knife now…” Shari Bondy, Owner-Operator at La Bufadora Inn.
Gosh, it seems like the annual migration of sportfishing yachts down south gets earlier each year. With the Los Cabos Billfish, Los Cabos Offshore, and Bisbee Black and Blue tournaments all scheduled for the latter half of October, many participants seek to take advantage of Magdalena Bay’s already hot offshore action – sort of a dress rehearsal for the upcoming events.
Both at Lopez Mateos and Puerto San Carlos, offshore action has already begun. Those fishing the inshore are reporting great fishing – enough to convince me to spend a few days fishing the mangroves in mid-October.
In Bahía de Los Ángeles, thankfully, fall weather has arrived and it is much cooler. However, there are still a few dorado on the surface and some nice-sized yellows are hanging out around the pinnacles.
At Loreto, the best change has been happening, with cooler temperatures. They have had consistent mid-ninety-degree temperatures since June, and the ten-degree drop is welcome! Dorado action is unchanged, with many spots kicking out limits of peanuts to 20-pound fish.
Most of the action this season has been focused north of Coronado, but catches are being made straight east of town at La Cholla, as well as good catches down south. Billfish seem to have bypassed Loreto, and most anglers are not targeting the roosterfish.
The La Paz area bite faltered after several hurricanes passed through last month, leaving unsettled conditions in their wake. According to Jonathan Roldan, Tailhunter International, the action continued with about 90% dorado weighing from 5 to 30 pounds; they were in several areas, including as close as the oil tankers anchored only several hundred yards off the beach. They are also surprisingly holding cold-water fish such as sierra and Almaco jacks.
At Bahía Muertos, the catch remains quite mixed with a variety of species. It seems like the inshore species can be caught all day long, producing some sizable cabrilla, snapper, several species of pargo, big triggerfish, and others.
Just offshore, there are scatterings of dorado in various places; some boats are doing better than others, plus there is a mix of jack crevalle and bonito. Surprisingly, there’s still some great action on roosterfish this late in the season, with 30 to 50-pound fish not uncommon. Add in some marlin and the occasional wahoo, and you’re never quite sure what the day’s catch will be.
As fall settles in at East Cape, sea temps should remain favorable. As a result, the locals expect good catches of most species. Offshore, yellowfin tuna, dorado, and billfish will chase live sardina, a variety of colorful lures, and ballyhoo, if the warmer water remains.
Inshore, roosterfish, and skipjack are found on the surface, and as for bottom fish, Almaco jack, pargo in the 20-pound class, along with a few pompano, should keep anglers busy.
The Gordo Banks fleets caught skipjack and a couple of 25 to 30-pound home guard yellowtail around the Iman and San Luis Banks.
Drift fishing with strips of squid was the best bet for hooking into a nice yellowfin tuna. A handful was also hooked while slow-trolling live bait such as chihuil. Sardina were available in limited quantities from near the marina entrance and off Palmilla Point.
The tuna have been very finicky, at times showing on the surface, at other times not appearing at all. Chumming with sardina seemed to help, but most fish hooked were on the strips of squid.
The fish ranged in size from 50 to 150-pounds. The best chances were early in the day; anglers were doing well to land one of these yellowfin, though opportunities for multiple fish are there.
On these same grounds, a few dogtooth snapper were landed, up to 45-pounds, also other snapper, pargo, bonito, and of course, triggerfish. Only a few dorado here or there, and most of these being small juvenile fish. The exception was a handful of dorado over 10-pounds. There have been no wahoo in recent days, but reports of some being hooked north of San Luis, as water temperature soon begins to cool off; this should help increase odds of finding them.
A fair number of sailfish, striped, blues of over 300-pounds, and blacks over 400-pounds, were landed.
And at Cabo San Lucas, in addition to a few trophy sized wahoo, the billfish are starting to show, plus a few blue marlin, striped marlin, and sailfish at the 1150 and the 95 Spots on live bait and lures.
Wide-open dorado are found inshore at Cabo from 10 to 25-pounds, with the best action at Los Arcos on lures and ballyhoo.
Boats caught a few small grouper and a few small snapper from Gray Rock to the Lighthouse – all taken on cut bait.
Tight Lines-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.