Many consider October the Grand Finale of the summer season in Baja, where Magdalena Bay is just beginning its eye-popping striped marlin season, attracting anglers worldwide to experience triple-digit billfish releases in a single day.
Imperial Beach Pier
The IB Pipe is seeing a fair sand bass bite outside the kelp line, along with plenty of sculpin. Squid fished on lead head is the bait of choice.
Coronado Islands / Rockpile
Only a few cattle boats from the landing go to this area as the bluefin are farther offshore. Private boaters recently reported that while the water quality is good, and plenty of bait is around, there are few signs of yellowtail, bonito, or barracuda. There are plenty of whitefish off the north side of North Island and decent fishing for rockfish and lingcod at the Rockpile.
ATTENTION: You must stay at least 250 meters (820 feet) away from any tuna pens. If you don’t, you risk losing your boat and landing in a Mexican jail.
Large bonito and a few yellowtail are closer to shore. Boats fishing farther offshore found good-sized dorado and yellowfin tuna to add to the catch list. Even farther out, a few larger bluefin were spotted on the surface feeding.
There have been recent reports of limits of yellowtail, calico bass, and some bottom fish, a few funky sheepshead, and some good-sized doormats (halibut) inside the bay. These should continue throughout October or until the winter weather arrives.
“What kind of fish can you catch at San Felipe?”
Some of the types of gamefish you can expect to catch are comber, flag cabrilla, blunt head triggerfish, grouper, catfish, white snook, corvina, sole, and Pacific sierra, to name a few, plus yellowtail, dorado, and a long list of bottom fish.
Bahía de Los Ángeles
Top-water action is off the charts for trophy-sized dorado and wait for it! ROOSTERFISH!!!
The recent storm activity late last month left an exciting variety of species in its wake. While the bite can vary on any given day, anglers are catching quality-grade dorado and yellowfin tuna and the usual big home-guard yellowtail, white seabass, calico bass, and halibut.
Color in October should be yellowtail and fin tuna.
Magdalena Bay (López Mateos)
The 82.8 degrees 20 miles offshore area continues to produce good yellowfin tuna, dorado, and wahoo. For best results, locals suggest purple Bomber divers and Rapalas. Billfish will begin to trickle during the last half of the month as long as sea temps hold.
Cabo San Lucas
On another day, Pisces 46’ La Chingona had one blue marlin released around 230 pounds on a petrolero lure. They also found eight yellowfin tuna 40 miles out at the 150 Spot. The yellowfin were 50 to 60 pounds each.
Puerto Los Cabos
As long as the weather holds, wahoo and large yellowfin tuna in the triple-digit class can be finicky this time of year. They only bite briefly, either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Most of these fish are hitting on squid strips or slow-trolled live skipjack or bonito that you can catch on the fishing grounds. An occasional black marlin was caught while slow-trolling live bait, though there is nothing to report now. These marlin range from 250 to 300 pounds.
Dorado, yellowfin, and possibly shots at striped, black, and blue marlin are for those looking for offshore significant game action. Another intriguing possibility often overlooked is the remarkable inshore action at this time of year. Roosterfish, yellowtail, jacks, sierra, African pompano, and many more species lurk in this zone.
There are still some massive fish in this area. Although many were lost, 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, plus dorado, 15 to 40-pound tuna, roosterfish, sailfish, and other species.
Remember those small dorado release photos from last summer? Thanks to the many anglers that released their catch. The young dorado have grown up, and as long as sea temps don’t drop rapidly, some will still be around. Plus, yellowtail, cabrilla, and grouper are on the high spots. “GO GET ‘EM!”
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.