As expected, the beginning of August was an exciting month for sportfishing from the California border to the tip of Baja. Then along came Hilary and put a temporary stop to that! The worst damage was the midsection of Baja from Magdalena Bay to Bahia de Los Angeles on each side of the Peninsula, the west and the east coasts. However, the roads leading to BOLA and other places up and down the Peninsula are being repaired.
Imperial Beach Pier
Recent storms have shut down what had been an epoch calico bass bite. The water should be clear again in a couple of weeks.
South 9 / 439 / Coronado Canyon / 226-302 / 230 / 371 / 425 / 101 / Upper Hidden / 475 Knuckle / Above 32 00
The kelps have been holding lots of dorado, and they have started to bite. There are also some yellowfin around, so check out any porpoise you find for the YT! Fish are biting fly-lined sardine on 30 to 40-pound fluorocarbon with small circle hooks.
As conditions settle down and the water clears, locals expect dorado, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, trevally, rock cod, whitefish, and lingcod to top the catch list throughout September.
Finally, the yellowtail has begun to bite, and it is a full fish box for the few anglers visiting the area — bass, sheepshead, and other bottom fish round out an impressive list to target.
Hot, hot, hot yellowtail, grouper, and maybe even dorado are on the menu during September. Never caught a roosterfish? It isn’t often that you can expect to catch one to add to your bucket list this close to the U.S. Border!
Bahía de Los Ángeles
While “Hilary” did a number on the road leading into the area, local and state teams have done a remarkable job restoring it to the point that the area is accessible with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Late-season dorado will add a little spice to your expected catch list of yellowtail, grouper, and cabrilla, to mention a few.
Water temperatures hover between 72 and 73 degrees, making for excellent fishing for numerous species.
In addition to the big yellowtail and calico bass, there are some quality-sized white seabass weighing up to 45 pounds or more, and hordes of Pacific bonito and big, ‘log’ barracuda weighing up to 12 pounds.
Magdalena Bay (López Mateos)
September is usually good inside the bay – especially after the opening of shrimp season on the 5th. Then, live shrimp for the elusive snook, grouper, pargo, and palometa.
Outside, at the Banks, the 23, the 38, and the Thetis, it is prime time until the end of November for dorado, yellowtail, striped marlin, giant grouper, yellowfin, and, of course, the prized wahoo!
Cabo San Lucas
The catch success rate is 85% for the fleet. Our top species this week was tuna, with a few big ones weighing up to 180 pounds! Other tuna caught were decent-sized – 30 to 60 pounds. There were not tons of dorado, but there were a few decent-sized fish. Billfish numbers saw primarily striped marlin and a few blues, mainly in the 200-pound range. None of our boats targeted any inshore fish this week, so just pelagic species this time.
Puerto Los Cabos
Expect yellowfin tuna ranging in size from small football-size up to 80 pounds are schooling on these grounds and are ideal for drift fishing with squid strips.
The average boat catch ranges from one or two to five or six yellowfin, plus an occasional wahoo or dorado.
Off the bottom, there will be more triggerfish than anything else, though surprisingly, there will also be some colder water species – white bonito, leopard grouper, snapper, dogtooth snapper (up to 30 pounds, and maybe a nice-sized home guard yellowtail).
Lots and lots of dorado very close to shore. Many are in the 5 to 15-pound range, with some big bulls weighing up to 47 pounds. A trolled ballyhoo works best.
Boats going south of Frailes to the White Cliffs pick up yellowfin from 20 to 50 pounds, close inshore within a mile of the beach, dropping squid, cut bait, and iron off the bottom.
The billfish are very concentrated off the White Cliffs. Striped marlin mixed with quite a few blues and blacks are taking ballyhoo and darker trolled lures.
There have been quite a few wahoo taken recently, almost all on CD 18 Rapalas and marauders.
There have been many roosterfish around in the 5 to 20-pound class. Lots of them are released right off the Costa Palmas Marina entrance.
The exciting part is that there’s still some massive fish recently. Many were lost, and those boated were 30, 40, and even 50-pound fish.
Live bait is the best approach if you can get it. The dorado is so prevalent. However, pargo, snapper, cabrilla, jack crevalle, bonito, and some off-season roosterfish should be in the mix.
The dorado that was always the star of this fishery was a bit late arriving this season, and with any luck and no storms, may still be in the mix of yellowtail, cabrilla, and grouper normally expected in September.
Regardless of your destination, the month offers some of the best of Baja’s fishing! Comments and photos are always welcome!
Línea Apretada, (Tight Lines)
That Baja Guy
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.