January 2022 Baja Fishing Report

Baja Fishing Report Gary Graham

The year 2021 ended with reports of the heaviest, record-setting rains and snowstorms in some parts of California since 1983.

These reports were followed by Captain Aliyar’s (Polaris Supreme) exciting news, “We are back on the giant bluefin off the Northern Baja Coast with 16 bluefin from 100 to 200-pounds! It is a great start to the New Year’s five-day trip.” 

Not to be outdone was a message from Fly Fishing Guide Lance Peterson about an epic, trophy-sized roosterfish his client, Daniel Kim, from New York City, landed near Baja’s tip at Punta Arena.

These messages and reports provided astonishing bookmarks of exciting fishing from the top to the bottom of the Baja Peninsula.

As the cranky weather continues from the Coronado Islands to San Quintin, locals and visitors accept what nature offers, often a continued good bottom fish bite.

Down a bit farther below Guerrero Negro, surrounded by salt flats, whale watching camps are springing up. San Ignacio Lagoon and Lopez Mateos and Puerto San Carlos at Magdalena Bay, most of the panga fleet participate throughout the whale watching season lasting into February.

At Bahía Asunción, there is excellent yellowtail and grouper action not far from town. Barring any significant changes in the current weather, their season should hold up.

Up at Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez side, as winter arrived, Discover Baja’s good friend Graham Mackintosh posted on Facebook:

“Off to the big island. Bears, kayak, and gear stowed on the boat. Bringing way too much food. Lots of fruit and my usual cabbage … and cans of tuna!

“Normally great fishing from the kayak, but now catch and release. Four sets of eyes will be looking at me accusingly if I even think of cooking one!

“Seaweed, cactus fruits and passion fruit to enjoy, and all kinds of shellfish. Won’t starve.

“Plan B is to camp in the beautiful cove of Este Ton, 20-miles straight across from LA Bay, but I’d rather be on the east coast with a bit of shelter from west winds.

“So rare to see anyone out there, usually only poachers from the mainland. But great memories of kindness and hospitality. Giving me their excess water. ‘Out here, we are all brothers.’

“And it’s nice to have Paddy’s protection. So, we all feel very safe.

“Have a wonderful New Year, everyone. Huge hugs!” …Graham Mackintosh

At Loreto, the best fishing spot has been the high spot north of Coronado, one of the easiest to reach for a quick shot at yellowtail and grouper.

Assorted metal jigs or live mackerel did the most damage on the yellowtail, with most fish under 12 pounds.

Punta Colorado continues to be hot for soaking sardina. Roosterfish are dominating the action with aggressive attacks. Firecracker yellowtail and dorado are in the swirling mass, too. 

At La Paz, breezes of 10 to 18 knots might not sound like much, but most fishing in La Paz is in a panga, so, with the wind and then wind-generated swell, it can seem like a mix-master. 

With most winds coming from the north, it means that you must motor against the wind and waves to get out of the bay if you fish out of La Paz.  Chances are, you won’t find any or much live bait either because not much of anyone is on the water, so those guys aren’t going to go out and catch bait for nothing or struggle to find live bait with waves crashing. The coming week looks like the winds will settle down a bit through the new year when it ramps up again. 

At East Cape, when the kiteboarders are on the beach praying for wind, smaller dorado are around with an occasional larger one. Inshore, cabrilla, snapper, and jack crevalle provide action when nothing is farther out, while the tin boat fleet enjoys a banner season for sierra mackerel.

At Puerto Los Cabos, large schools of baitfish have shifted in the direction of San Jose del Cabo, mackerel, chihuil, and sardineta, attracting striped marlin, as well as dorado. The main action is from Red Hill/Palmilla to straight off the San Jose del Cabo hotel zone, anywhere from four to six miles from shore. Most charters targeting the billfish have had multiple chances.

Dorado were found in mixed sizes, and although the yellowfin tuna were spotty, they were seen in the area; they just haven’t been willing to bite consistently. Nevertheless, there were a handful of excellent 60 to 90-pound yellowfin brought in, as well as some medium-sized 20 to 40-pound fish caught.

Cabo San Lucas’s recent “catches and releases” for billfish have been double digits for several boats targeting billfish. Others have found limits of yellowfin tuna up to 60-pounds along with some good-size dorado.

It sounds like January should provide some good fishing action to kickstart the 2022 Baja sportfishing season.

Tight Lines and a Happy New Year to every one of you!!

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.

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