Yay for May!
It has been worth the wait as fishing now blooms from Baja’s border to the tip. As reported on an exploratory trip last month, the limits of bluefin tuna have settled in and are part of the glowing offshore reports from the border to below San Quintín. In addition, there are reports of yellowtail and dorado under the kelp paddies.
Reporting on an epic one and one-half-day trip on the Pacific Queen, the captain said, “You simply drop down a jig and let the bluefin fight over it.” The anglers had limits for the boat in an hour of fishing…!
Unfortunately, the only “downer report” came from the Bull Ring and Coronado Islands just below the border, where sea temperatures and watercolor remain dismal, just as it has been throughout the winter and early spring.
San Quintín has bluefin offshore when the weather calms down enough to get there. It remains to be seen how long the bite will continue as summer arrives.
There are a few yellowtail at Bahía de Los Ángeles, though they are finally beginning to recede as the North Winds diminish. However, enough grouper, cabrilla, and spotted bay bass are still there to fill the cooler. According to reports, the water temperature was 67 degrees, and bait was everywhere, so it should pick up as May arrives.
Down Mex 1 at Gonzaga Bay, orange mouth corvina have appeared along with massive schools of micro-anchovy attracting African lookdowns, corvina, cabrilla, leopard grouper, sierra, all drawn by the baitfish.
Inshore at Bahía Asunción calico bass and bottom fish are prevalent as sea temperatures climb offshore to 62 degrees. A few scouting trips offshore confirmed improving conditions. There are many birds, flying fish, sea lions, and turtles to watch. Most kelp paddies hold baitfish and some small yellowtail weighing only a few pounds. Larger offshore gamefish should begin showing as the water gets warmer.
At Magdalena Bay, both Lopez Mateos and Puerto San Carlos are catching their breath after a busy whale-watching season. No reports of many offshore happenings. And inshore, few visitors are fishing. Instead, corvina, African pompano, jacks, and spotted bay bass were at the top of the catch list of the locals.
If you happen to be driving down Mex 1 and it’s a hot afternoon, you might want to blow up the floaties and cool off on the Mulegé River. Then, throw out a few lures while you are at it. You never know. You might even tempt a fish or two. According to some old Ray Cannon stories, this is the spot where he caught his first Baja snook decades ago.
The yellowtail bite has begun to sputter and may soon end the longer-than-usual season. The cabrilla have started hitting trolled hard bait, filling the gap nicely. May is a beautiful time to explore along the rocky shorelines now that the North Winds are just a bad memory. There may be some firecracker yellows lurking there.
Marina Puerto Escondido will be hosting their May 13th -15th Billfish Release and Gamefish Tournament. If you are not interested in competing in the event, the weigh-in schedule is from 3:00-pm to 6:00-pm both days, which is always a fun party with live music and is open to the public! Come, join in the fun. www.mpefishingtournament.com
At La Paz, it should be warm and fishy. Last month, the yellowtail that dominated the scene will take a back seat to jacks and roosterfish with a few sierra mixed in. The fly-fishing gang is already flocking to Muertos Bay and scoring some trophy-sized roosters. However, they are also biting live bait, so don’t despair. Everyone is crossing their fingers that dorado trickling in is a sure sign of a golden May.
At East Cape, the kiteboarders are packing up and disappearing with the North Winds. And the yellowtail that were at the top of the “catch list” are overlooked as boats explore offshore for early billfish, yellowfin, and dorado.
Meanwhile, “beachniks” prowling the lighthouse beaches have been hooking early dorado and even yellowtail from shore. Next, they should catch a roosterfish!
The grounds of Iman and San Luis Banks are producing a mix of Almaco jacks, grouper, plus lots of Pacific white bonito. The same area also holds some quality-sized yellowfin tuna. Sizes for these yellowfin ranged from 20 pounds up close to one hundred pounds. Most were striking on strips of squid. A few tuna were caught every day, and locals were optimistic that more action would come from these grounds when conditions improved. Also, there should be marlin, dorado, or wahoo when warmer weather stabilizes in early May.
Inshore action was limited as well. Some sierra and jack crevalle were the main deal, but the water was still too cold and off-colored for roosterfish.
Cabo San Lucas billfishing slowed to a standstill as sea temps dropped dramatically. Unfortunately, the condition slowed other surface species as well. Dorado, yellowfin, and wahoo all became difficult to find, but they seemed to have lockjaw when found. Sierra, white bonito, a few roosterfish, jacks, and pompano were caught, but none in large numbers. Fortunately, sea temps are back on the rise. The catch number appears to be picking up, and locals are waiting for May to arrive and become a banner beginning to the summer season.
If you happen to be at Marina Puerto Escondido during the tournament, look me up and say hello!
Gary Graham-That Baja Guy thatbajaguy@discoverbaja
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.