From Land’s End to La Paz
By Gary Graham
SUMMERTIME for Baja’s tip is underscored by both warmer weather and sea temps as the season changes, and outside Cabo, offshore on the Pacific side, the yellowfin tuna await — ready to give any unsuspecting angler who foolishly grabs that rod for the first time, a fight of his life. The angler often watches in awe as the line rapidly disappears from the spool and the fish hightails it away from the boat, signaling the beginning of a serious game of tug of war between angler and a stubborn tuna. And if the angler survives the test, he will be able to treat many friends with a seafood meal fit for a king.
Another summertime offshore favorite lurking in the same waters are the billfish, striped marlin or sailfish and occasionally joined by some of their big brothers, the blue and black marlin that may weigh five or six times more than the stripes or sails. Double-digit scores of released billfish are not unusual now.
And the long-awaited dorado also finally make their presence known both offshore and inshore as the water warms. A chosen target for most anglers both for their beautiful color and acrobatic displays but also because they are one of the most delicious fish in the ocean.
For those returning from a successful offshore trip seeking just one more challenge may want to visit the grande roosterfish that live in the waters close to shore. Imagine adding to an exciting day and enjoying the exhilaration of releasing an exotic monster roosterfish, one that is often on many angler’s bucket list
For those who prefer to be closer to land while fishing there is a variety of fish to choose from inshore. On the surface roosterfish, jack crevalle, and dorado are likely targets for eager anglers plus even a few sierra might still be around.
Another dimension is bottom fishing. Yellowtail, the most popular, is considered one of the toughest of the many different fish prowling the rocky pinnacles found along the coast on both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez near the bottom. Then there are yellow snapper, surgeon fish, sculpin, spotted rose snapper, cabrilla (leopard grouper), huachinango (red snapper), amberjack, barred pargo, pargo colorado, pompano, roosterfish, cabrilla, and triggerfish, only a few of the 800 species that are found surrounding Baja Sur.
To name specific areas for your summertime fishing, the Puerto Los Cabos fleet is finding lots of bait, both sardina and caballito, inshore. On the various banks offshore, more bait including chihuil, skipjack, sardineta and even some mackerel, are attracting yellowfin tuna schools holding fish up to 70-pounds. In this same area, there is good billfish action with a few dorado.
At East Cape, the water has warmed up to as high as 83 degrees. It’s calm with an afternoon breeze, making the beginning of summer pleasant. Sardina are also plentiful and are great for chumming up the yellowfin that are traveling with the porpoise a handful of miles off the Lighthouse at Punta Arena. There are also some of the larger dorado, to 45 pounds, to be found here.
Schools of roosterfish can be seen chasing sardina and mullet schools close enough to the beach to fish from shore in front of the hotels.
At Las Arenas below La Paz the fishing is improving as the water turns from off- color to blue and the quality has been remarkable. Larger roosterfish were running from 30 to 80 pounds; wahoo from 20 to 50 pounds are still around and dorado as well though mostly small, 8 pounders, but there are some nice bulls in the 20- to 30-pound class as well. There are a few 20- to 30-pound tuna. And there are a few nice pargo, cabrilla, jack crevalle, bonito and even some holdover cold-water species like amberjack and sierra.
At La Paz, there’s great action for snapper, several species of pargo and some hefty cabrilla; toss in some occasional tuna, some big roosterfish and some 10- to 25- pound dorado and you have the makings of a fun day and even some great fillets for the cooler.
Yellowtail is the hot ticket at Loreto, plus cabrilla and grouper are plentiful at San Bruno along with a mixture of a few nice-sized dorado. And, the striped marlin are beginning to show farther offshore along with the dorado.