January 2023 Baja Fishing Report

While January is often a Hail Mary kind of month, conditions are looking favorable for 2023’s beginning.

Below the border, from the Coronado Islands to Ensenada, bottom fishing will probably be the best fishing option in January. Sandbass, halibut, rock cod, ling cod, sheepshead, and sculpin are all likely targets in the winter months. In addition, there are rockfish and whitefish, with a possibility of stray yellowtail or white seabass.

Live bait is best if available; however, a few packages of frozen squid are always handy as a backup if your Captain/Guide comes up short in the bait department. Your other option is a variety of metal and plastic lures.

San Quintín reports fishing in the area has been slim recently as few anglers have ventured down this far from the border. However, in the bottom fish category, the catch of the day includes some good-sized lingcod and a few yellowtail hanging out in the area.

Bahia Asuncion – Offshore action continues at a good pace, with yellowtail dominating the catch. However, as the sea temps continue to cool, some recent visitors have opted to remain ashore.

The main action at La Bocana has revolved around bottom fishing for yellowtail, grouper, rock cod, and lingcod, with a possibility of some surface action for yellowfin tuna.  

Magdalena Bay – Offshore, the bite for billfish and other topwater species has begun its usual winter slowdown, and in the mangroves, the snook seem to be getting bigger and bigger. These are some of the largest I have ever seen at Magdalena Bay! Meanwhile, the gray whales should arrive soon.

At  Cabo San Lucas, the phenomenal billfish bite that began in December continues with no hint of slowing. Some boats are scoring double- and a few triple-digit releases. Add to that the continued dorado and yellowfin tuna bites, and it is safe to say January in Cabo should be fantastic!

Puerto Los Cabos  – The activity center has been from Cardon, La Fortuna, to Punta Gorda.
The yellowfin tuna mostly come from the Cardon area, while drift fishing with strips of squid within a mile or two of the shore. The sizes ranged from 20 to 70 pounds. Some accounted for up to four tuna. The bite varied a bit from day to day, depending
on currents, etc. Overall, this was the best yellowfin action seen in the past month. Dorado are the most common fish hooked, with limits and additional releases typical. The sizes were primarily under ten pounds, but some exceptions were larger bulls up to 15 pounds, striking mainly on trolled ballyhoo. Throw in some early morning bottom fishing that produced a few yellowtail, grouper, and red snapper providing tasty fillets.

At  East Cape, north winds are hampering the fishing somewhat. From daybreak till mid-morning, the weather is fine. After that, it’s prudent to check the horizon for signs of a wind line racing towards the shore. The boats have reported some great mornings catching white bonito that are excellent eating! Fewer braver crews even found a few striped marlin to release.

There is not much to report at La Paz.  The only boats on the water seem to be commercial guys working to catch fish to sell.  Or other Captains who know they can get out for just a few hours, then come back in with whatever they can catch if the winds kick up, which they often do. For most, the winds are just too strong, and the waters are too rough, and there are too few windows of opportunity.  In fact, it was so windy the city of La Paz canceled the Christmas Boat Parade.  And that was INSIDE the harbor and bay!

But there were some exciting catches.  Still, strangely, some dorado are swimming around, despite the weather. Some excellent 20 to 25-pound fish are still being hooked, but most are the fun 10-pound class fish. There are also sierra, white bonito (good eating), jack crevalle, snapper, and cabrilla reported caught. But, again, few reports are coming off the water since few Folks are fishing.

Windy winter weather has arrived in Loreto. Regarding fishing, only a few boats were out on the water. (The boat ramp was not much of an issue due to the fall-back beach launching nearby!)

The weather remains good, with only a few days of wind.  Tourist trips to Coronado Island and some scuba action sum up the week’s activities. Yellowtail and whale seasons should kick in as the New Year rolls in.

Mulegé and Conception Bay 

Snook are currently at the mouth of Mulegé river with a 20-pounder caught by kayak plus a small cabrilla. The dorado bite was slow on Sunday – Full Moon. We hooked a large jack close to shore. After the release, an 8-foot hammerhead ate it right next to the boat! I went trolling the bay today with impressive results. Lots of snapper and a decent cabrilla. Lots of bait balls with medium to large roosterfish.

Bahía de Los Ángeles and Gonzaga reports have been scarce since the North Winds arrived. 

If any Discover Members have fishing info from your area to add, your input and photos are welcome @ thatbajaguy@gmail.com … 

 Gary Graham – That Baja Guy 

Cellular (760) 522 3710

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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 “January 2023 Baja Fishing Report

  1. Greg Sewell says:

    How’s the fishing in San Felipe? Looking for a reliable guide for day trip next week around Feb. 3 or 4.

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