May 2023 Baja Fishing Report

Baja Fishing Report Gary Graham

Underscoring the remarkable bluefin tuna fishing already beginning from the border to San Quintín, the inaugural Baja Bluefin Tuna Tournament will be held in late May in Ensenada.

Regardless of the tournament, if you haven’t taken advantage of this extraordinary “bucket list” opportunity, I strongly recommend adding bluefin tuna to your list. There are day trips from Ensenada and San Quintín and three-day trips out of San Diego. Do it!

Coronado Islands / Rockpile

Most of the early season action has been coming from Pukey Point, the weather side of North Island, and deeper sections around the Middle Grounds. Full-size yo-yo iron is working best, but you’ll need to be ready to drop quickly as soon as you run over any schools on your meter. You’ll want to focus on the 150 to 250- foot depth zones and look for schools in the lower half of the water column.

Near the border and NE of North Island are reds, whitefish, sheepshead, and occasional lingcod biting at the Rockpile.


There has been excellent fishing for red rockfish, big whitefish, and some lingcod down the beach at Santo Tomás and Soledad Reef. In addition, the local panga fleet has reported limits of big rockfish there.

San Quintín

The area still remains very quiet as spring settles in. The only news has been similar to Ensenada, with bottom fish dominating the catch.

Gonzaga Bay

A leisurely crossing at Mexicali and a pleasant four-hour drive (220 miles) down Mex 5 have recently attracted visiting anglers to the uncrowded area, where they have had a field day for yellowtail, sierra, grouper, halibut, and many other species. Locals predict that it will only get better as spring continues into summer.

Magdalena Bay (López Mateos)

Lots of variety out there at the Grouper Rocks—viejas grouper, big trigger, and octopus.  There are also some nice-sized grouper inside. So overall—better, more varied fishing is coming up. 

Cabo San Lucas 

Billfish bite heated way up moving into this weekend, and with the marlin, a few nice dorado came, too. Although not many, those caught were of very decent size! Crews primarily fished inshore at the beginning of the week, with some wind and choppy seas. However, they still produced catches mainly in our “Other” Category – catching basically sierra mackerel, bonito, and grouper. But by Wednesday, we saw the marlin begin to show at the 11:50 Bank. By Saturday, the fleet had released 100 marlin… total! Compared to last week, when we saw about 15% of the boats releasing marlin, we had nearly 50% of the boats land them this week. The weather also got friendlier towards the end of the week, with winds dying.

Puerto Los Cabos

More charters concentrated on the bottom species, with the main catch being the bonito – the white variety, the good-eating kind – unlike the California variety. Also, on the same grounds, a mix of amberjack, leopard grouper, barred pargo, yellow snapper, red snapper, spotted rose snapper, white fish, triggerfish, and a couple of yellowtail were landed. However, the bonito were the most numerous by far.

Inshore, the main deal has been the smaller-sized roosterfish and jack crevalle. Only a few sierra were brought in. We need more consistent supplies of sardina for them. However, we did see a couple of yellowfin tuna throughout the week, taken off the same grounds where bottom action was found. Also, we had one nice wahoo and a handful of dorado that were accounted for.  

East Cape 

As north winds finally fade into the past, the beach fishing from shore has begun to heat up. Roosters, jacks, and even an occasional African pompano cruising in search of sardina are easy to spot at sunrise. Farther offshore, dorado, bonito, and a few Yellowfin can be part of the mix. In addition, there may still be one or two yellowtail that can be found at the pinnacles off La Ribera.

La Paz

It looks like the big pargo have come inshore to spawn.  These formidable fish schooling over the rocks are tough fighters but great sports.  However, even the smaller 5 to 10-pounders can be brutally frustrating with their sharp teeth, scales, and ability to get back into the rocks.  We did get some larger 15 to 25-pounders, although many were lost.

The same area also holds rainbow runners, barred pargo, snapper, small yellowtail, amberjack, cabrilla, bonito, and jack crevalle, making for excellent full-speed action.   In addition, we are starting to see some 20-pound roosterfish, and a few free-swimming dorado moving in, which keeps the area promising.


The annual spring run of yellowtail is well underway. The locals use a combination of surface, artificial lures, and live mackerel fly-lined on the surface early in the morning and deeper down in the water column later in the day. Some of the pinnacles also produce a mixed bag of cabrilla and grouper.

Mulegé and Conception Bay

In Mulegé and Conception Bay, small sardina attract excellent grades of yellowtail and cabrilla in shallow water with rocky bottoms. Anglers are catching them with lures like small surface irons, darts, and Yo Zuri Minnows. As soon as the fish bite, the trick is to yank them up 5 to 10 feet before they cut you off in the rocks.

Overall, the fishing is excellent, and the weather is fantastic! It’s THE IDEAL TIME to come to Baja!

That Baja Guy
Gary Graham

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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.

2 thoughts on “May 2023 Baja Fishing Report

  1. thomas vasquez says:

    I am going down to Bahia de Los Angeles May 19
    20 and 21. Is there any info
    re:fishing available?

  2. Dave Gregg says:

    Hi Gary,
    Do you hear anything on fishing up out of Turtle Bay-Bahia Asuncion area? What are they charging for diesel these days at the fuel pier in Turtle? Can you get fuel from pangas off the beach at Asuncion?

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