December 2021 Baja Fishing Report

Gale warnings underscored November as it exited this year and the final month of 2021 begins, but not to worry. The giant bluefin tuna that dominated the fishing during the Fall just below the border won’t be intimidated by a little stormy weather.

Before the weather went sideways, a few calico bass were taken on red flake plastics at the Bull Ring kelp. The calico bass seem to be just outside the kelp line, suspended halfway down the water column.  Anglers did well on the bass fly-lining smaller sardine at the outer edge of the kelp line.

Although bottom fish dominated the catch at Ensenada, when weather permitted, the few anglers fishing San Quintín were treated with some nice-sized pre-holiday yellowtail.

Little news from either Bahía de Los Ángeles or Gonzaga. Perhaps the harsh weather producing hail just below there at Guerrero Negro has something to do with the lack of reports.

At Bahía Asunción, the lobster season has begun. In addition, the peak sportfishing season should continue through Christmas with yellowtail, dorado, and perhaps a wahoo or two to add to the catch list. The fishing grounds are not far from town.

The local short-range enthusiasts continue to have great success in Loreto battling sierra mackerel, dorado, and roosterfish along the coastline.

When this fishery cools off, the boats will join the few others working closer to the town’s high spots.

Candeleros and San Bruno Reef are good spots to pick up yellowtail and red snapper. The average sizes of these fish are in the small to medium ranges, with the biggest yellows hitting 12 pounds.

Lobo and La Cholla are seeing bigger fish, although the catch numbers aren’t attracting many boats.

Pulpito and the reefs around Almejas Bay so far have produced still the biggest yellows for the boats willing to make the long run.

Mackerel and sardina are in good supply. However, iron chuckers are hooking almost as consistently as live bait.

Trolling lures have been solid fun for the dorado seekers when catching some of the toughest bonito and toro.

The weather has been good, and some of the clearest water of the entire year has made for some jaw-dropping scuba diving!

However, winter in Baja is just around the corner!

Offshore the striper fishing at Magdalena Bay has been up and down, and expectations are not good for December. The dorado should continue to be “off the charts” for both the conventional and the fly guys. The action for small snook inside the esteros has been terrific for some, with corvina, various snapper, and grouper available as well.

In La Paz, you can expect breezy conditions; however, there are still some 10 to 15-pound dorado willing to bite and have not yet left the area.  Live bait was the best bet and having the weather calm has allowed the bait guys to get sardina.  Most boats got 2 to 5 dorado each, with many other fish lost.

Plus, there are a few marlin, wahoo, and an occasional tuna still around.

In addition, the inshore area continues to be productive for snapper, pargo, cabrilla, triggerfish, several species of bonito, jack crevalle, and palometas.

East Cape enjoyed a wide-open billfish bite, striped marlin, and sailfish prevailed as November passed, and the billfish should continue to be around right into December.  Anglers enjoyed multiple releases – mostly stripers with quite a few sails mixed in.

 The dorado were biting consistently, with limits of nice-sized fish weighing up to 30 pounds taken daily. Also, locals and visitors alike enjoyed a late roosterfish bite along most beaches. In addition, there were plenty of nice big sardina still available.

Recently a strong showing of striped marlin was located two to five miles offshore from San Jose del Cabo.  The marlin were readily striking lures and bait.  Most of the fish were in the 60 to 80-pound size, with a few topping 100-pounds. Even anglers fishing from kayaks got in on the action.

Wahoo action picked up at Cardon. Although it was not a very large spot, it was productive until the word slipped out. However, hopefully, the traffic will die down, and the wahoo will reappear in early December. The fish ranged in size from smaller juvenile-size (six-pound-fish to fish up) up to 50-pounds. They were striking on slow-trolled bait, Rapalas, ballyhoo, and cast jigs. Mid-week some charters scored up to six fish, but most were content to land one or two.

Five to fifteen-pound class dorado were spread out in the same area and were around some days more than others. Still, there were no yellowfin tuna at all locally.

Inshore, there were sierra and roosterfish, mostly smaller in size. Off the bottom, triggerfish dominated the catch, a handful of deep-water baqueta grouper, Pacific tilefish, a few cabrilla, yellow snapper, and barred pargo; there were even a handful of smaller-sized dogtooth snapper and Mexican bonito.

Cabo San Lucas continues to enjoy an exceptional striped marlin and sailfish bite that should continue into December.

The billfish bite has also picked WAY UP.

One hundred fifty-five billfish” released in the past THREE DAYS…mostly striped marlin with a few sailfish in the mix!!

“And for those of you who are wondering?  Yes, the boats who released these fish were all within a 30-mile radius from the marina in Cabo.”

“Two hundred fifty-seven dorado” caught (many of these were released, as well) last week!

All in all, whether you choose Baja (Norte) or Baja Sur, there seems to be more than enough fishing action to satisfy your desire to catch something up and down the entire peninsula.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tight Lines-Gary Graham-That Baja Guy

gary graham

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.

One thought on “December 2021 Baja Fishing Report

  1. Tim Ryan says:

    Thanks for the updates Gary…this is Tim Ryan with Stars and Stripes. Love reading your columns!!

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