Fishing in December renders an adventure for contenders that don’t surrender.
Bonito continue to flash up and down the coast from the border to Ensenada. Some are under birds working anchovy. Some are in the kelp line, and some are in the rockfish areas. That said, they are not a “slam dunk!” You could possibly have to hunt them down. They are nice-sized, most weighing at least three pounds and a few topping six pounds.
The best way to locate a school is by trolling small feathers and following up by trolling Rapalas, colt snipers, or fly-line a live bait.
Other than the fish named above, fishing is in winter mode. Rockfish, whitefish, sheepshead, and sculpin are the primary catches. There are no reports of squid or of any yellowtail or seabass around.
This time of year, you can expect cool mornings at San Quintin, similar to the coast in California. Recent reports were that there was good bait inside and outside the Bay. Spotted bay bass and halibut were reported inside. Outside, there were still a few yellows on the good days and excellent fishing for lingcod with live bait.
Continuing down the Pacific side at Bahia Asuncion – offshore, the yellowtail continues to dominate the catch, plus a few dorado which will remain until sea temperatures drop.
The main action La Bocana will revolve around bottom fishing for yellowtail, grouper, rockcod and lingcod with a possibility of some surface action for yellowfin tuna.
Magdalena Bay offshore at both Lopez Mateos and Puerto San Carlos is enjoying the winter season that continues with wahoo, dorado, and billfish still dazzling visitors, with double-digit catches being common. Plus, inshore at both locations, the snook catches have been extraordinary for snook along with pargo and corvina. So enjoy it while you can! The gray whales will arrive soon!
At Cabo San Lucas, double and, in a few cases, triple-digit striped marlin releases. Plus, trophy-sized dorado and chunky yellowfin tuna also offshore. While a few miles offshore on the Pacific side, grouper and pargo are on the bottom, and roosterfish and sierra are on the surface.
Puerto Los Cabos
Despite relentless North Winds, the local fleets found calmer conditions closer to shore on grounds such as Cardon and La Fortuna and sometimes outside on Iman Bank, but these grounds were more vulnerable to the winds. Wahoo and dorado were found closer to shore where winds did not hit too bad. Although trolling live bait was most productive, dorado were located on these same grounds. More wahoo strikes were missed than were actual fish landed, as is typical for these elusive gamefish. Sizes of the wahoo averaged 20 to 35 pounds, along with a few nicer dorado to over 30 pounds, though the majority were more in the 10-pound range.
At East Cape, early North Winds were a welcome addition for the arriving windsurfers, although they hampered the fishing for anglers. Usually, the Tin Boat fleet could sneak out early mornings to fish for sierra, jacks, and maybe even a roosterfish before the dreaded north wind line reaches shore.
At La Paz, there are a few dorado here and there. As well there were a few hookups on wahoo and billfish. However, most of the catch is cooler-water species with cabrilla, snapper, rainbow runners, sierra, and jacks, and most of these are inshore fishing. We even found small yellowtail under the tankers anchored in the Bay.
With the rougher waters, it’s getting more difficult to find live bait, but that’s one of the variables with fishing this time of year.
Windy winter weather has arrived in Loreto. Yellowtail are deep and biting live mackerel and cut bait.
Trolled hard bait has been stirring up a mix along the coast, while sierra and small roosterfish have been eager to inhale the offerings.
Before sunrise on the Marina, the rocks continue to attract some local surf casters. Live bait and almost anything shiny is the way to go as the water turns green and cold. Finally, winter in Baja with the North Wind and snowbirds have arrived!
Mulege and Conception Bay
A recent fishing tournament produced some impressive catches for this late in the season. Yellowtail, red snapper (huachinango) as well as other species according to Nathan Burbey at Casa Conception.
Punta Chivato Just south of Santa Rosalía
Dorado have thinned out, except for a few left for the stubborn locals that refuse to accept that the 2022 season is ending. Yellowtail are moving in with seasonal winds a factor. Roosters are roaming around the usual shallow beaches, along with some sierra, and then, of course, pargo off the rocky beaches, plus the occasional golden trevally.
Bahia de Los Angeles and Gonzaga report some fishing activity when the North Winds subside for a few days. Not wide open, but a chance here and there to put a bend in that rod you received for Christmas.
If any Discover Baja members have fishing info from your area to add, your input and photos are welcome @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Graham – That Baja Guy
Cellular (760) 522 3710
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.