Fishing in Baja

Panga by the Water

Looking for a getaway from the stresses of city life? If you’re the kind of person who loves the challenge of wrestling with your dinner before you eat it, consider heading south of the border for an exciting Baja fishing trip!

Since Hernán Cortes first discovered its abundant waters in 1536, Baja has been known internationally for its excellent and diverse fishing opportunities. For nearly five hundred years, anglers of all varieties have enjoyed the thrill of wrestling species such as yellowtail, halibut and seabass from the deep. However the development of the 1063 mile Mexico Highway 1 (aka Transpeninsular Highway) from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas now makes it possible for vacationing and serious anglers to arrive at their favorite fishing spots more quickly and easily, and to enjoy several trips every year!

Fishing pangas at sunset

Older generation fishermen may be concerned that the recent frenzy of property development in Baja has taken the soul out of their favorite wilderness escape. This is definitely not the case. In fact, despite improvements to the roads and towns, most of Baja remains as desolate and rugged as it has ever been - with the same unique fishing opportunities! Whether you are looking for an exciting sport fishing adventure in the Pacific Ocean or a quiet weekend dropping your line off the side of a panga in tranquil Gulf of California waters, you can still find exactly what you are looking for in Baja.

Many resources exist to help you plan your driving route, select desirable fishing spots based upon their recent catch, and help you find your ideal accommodations: whether remote camping spot or luxury hotel. Some of the very best include Mexico Fishing News and The Baja Catch. Below we will give brief descriptions of solid fishing spots in Northern Baja and provide links to Baja Fishing websites and charter tour companies.

Cabo Fishing

Great Fishing Spots in Northern Baja

Ensenada

Happy Fisherman

Ensenada is a terrific place to fish in any season. During the winter you’ll find good bottom fishing around Bahía de Todos Santos and Punta Banda, with large numbers of lingcod, rock cod, ocean whitefish and sheephead. Spring months bring occasional runs of seabass and halibut; while in warmer months (May through November) there is excellent surface fishing. Summertime fishing frequently yields yellowtail, bonita, calico bass and barracuda; and the potential to run offshore for albacore, yellowfin tuna, big eye tuna, dorado and marlin!

Puerto Santo Tomas

Just getting to this fantastic fishing spot will give you a rush, as your truck or car jiggles over twelve miles of dirt washboard road which lead to the beach at La Bocana. Interested? Head 25 miles south of Ensenada on Mexico Highway 1 until you come to the signed turn-off at the bottom of a big grade, just before crossing the riverbed that would lead you into Santo Tomas. After you get to La Bocana, head a few miles north along the shore and you will reach the bay and a resort with camp spots, cabins, good food and a cluster of fishermen’s homes. Since the launch ramp faces directly into the Pacific, it’s probably more trouble than you need to launch your own boat here. Instead, MexFish.Com recommends taking a guided panga and you will enjoy abundant fishing similar to that of Ensenada.

Erendira and Castro’s Camp

The Castro family owns and operates Castro’s Camp, an old-time Baja fishing operation. This is a great spot only 15 miles south of Puerto Santo Tomas. Getting to Castro’s camp is pretty straightforward since you will be on paved roads until the last stretch of dirt. The cabins are comfortable and include kitchens, bunk beds and flush toilets. Their superpangas are well-outfitted and run by seasoned guides. Depending on the time of year, you may catch rockfish, lingcod, sea bass, yellowtail, bonito and barracuda. Prices are quite reasonable. You’re probably better off taking a panga than bringing your own boat, since (like Puerto Santo Tomas) the launch can be very tricky.

San Quintín

Although Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo first discovered this bay in 1542, it was renamed "San Quintin" by Spaniard Sebastian Viscaíno in honor of Catholic Saint Quentin. The bay itself remained largely untouched until the early 1950s, when a small motel and sport fishing lodge called The Old Mill was created on the site of a failed milling operation. Owned for forty years by Al and Dorothy Vela, this little hideaway was treasured by anglers who eagerly drove 200 miles south of the border just to enjoy its excellent bottom fishing and peaceful atmosphere. In the early 1990s, the Velas retired and The Old Mill was taken over and renovated by its new owners into even more of an angler’s dream: launch ramp for sport fishing boats, fishing tackle store, charter pangas and pangueros for hire, an RV campground and a comfortable motel with an adjacent (delicious!) restaurant. If you love yellowtail and don’t feel like dealing with the crowd offshore in Ensenada, San Quintín is a great bet.

Rocky Point

For a few short years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, hundreds of anglers came to fish at Rocky Point (aka Puerto Peñasco) every weekend. They arrived in droves by boat and car, and some even rode in Pullman cars to fish aboard fancy charter boats. Rocky Point and its plentiful schools of totuaba, triggerfish, spotted bass, corvine, red snapper, grunts, pompano and croaker provided their fishing fantasy playground. Unfortunately this drastic over-fishing, coupled with massive destruction caused by commercial shrimp and fin fish trawlers, left the Rocky Point fishery nearly decimated of all species by the late 1970s. Nearly 30 years later, the fishery has begun to spring back and it is now possible to make a good catch in this area if you are an experienced angler. During spring and summer, sportfishers may find good action for bass, halibut, whitefish and red snapper at submerged offshore reefs. Spots closer to shore can yield pompanos, corvina, and other mixed species. Shallow water in warm months sometimes offers up marlin, dorado or sailfish.

San Felipe

Only 125 miles south of the US-Mexico border, the newer town of San Felipe offers a few decent fishing opportunities - although it’s not what it used to be. Established in the 1920s as a fish camp, the attraction of San Felipe has greatly diminished thanks to overwhelming species decimation caused by gill nets and shrimp trawling. The once thriving totuaba catch is now nearly extinct, and although you may catch a handful of corvina or croakers from pangas that can be rented on the beach in front of the malecon, it may not be worth your trouble. If you plan to be in San Felipe and are keen to fish, consider hopping aboard one of four 85 to 115 foot superpangas. These large boats load multiple panga on deck and then head to the Midriff Islands a few hundred miles south, where they are unloaded. Midriff fishing is usually excellent with a typical haul consisting of yellowfish, snapper, cabrilla and a ton of bottom fish. Trips run from April through October, and sometimes head as far south as La Paz or even below Cabo San Lucas!

Puerto San Carlos / Magdalena Bay

Approximately half way between Guerrero Negro and La Paz (about 800 miles south of the US/Mexico border) you will find Baja’s Pacific-side treasure, Magdalena Bay. This natural whale reserve has an incredible coastline and waters rich in sea life and diverse species of fish – over 200 varieties. The area does not cater much to tourists, which may be its greatest attraction! Still, be aware that there are only a few places to stay and a handful of guided pangas to take out. Those who venture into the mangrove channels with light tackle will be rewarded with halibut, grouper and snapper among others. World famous big game fishing offshore!

 

Featured Baja Fishing Website

MexFish.Com

Gene Kira of MexFish.Com is a great writer whose "Mexico Fishing News" reports are incredibly detailed and accurate. The sport fishing reports and photographs from his site are gathered weekly from hundreds of resident and visiting fishermen, and dozens of charter fishing boat fleets around Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. He includes current information on species caught, fish counts, charter boat names, beach fishing, conventional and fly fishing guides, effective fishing tackle, bait and lures, current sea surface water temps, ocean conditions and weather, etc. You can’t go wrong using this terrific site.

 

Featured Sport Fishing Companies

 

Ensenada

 

Sergio’s Sport Center
Contact: Sergio Susarrey Medina
Telephone: 011 52 (646) 178.2185

Gordo’s Sport Fishing
Isaac Ptacnik
Sport Fishing Terminal
Telephone: 011 52 (646) 178.3515

El Dorado Sport Fishing
Guillermo Gomez Chavez
Sport Fishing Terminal
Telephone: 011 52 (646) 185.1245

Juanito’s Boats
Luis Juan Cardona
Sport Fishing Terminal
Telephone: 011 52 (646) 174.0953

 

Puerto Santo Tomas

 

Castro’s Camp
Teresa Castro
Km 36 of Carretera Ensenada – San Quintín
Telephone: 011 52 (646) 176.2897

Coyote Cal’s Mexico Hostels
Telephone 011 52 (646) 154-4080

 

San Quintin

 

Old Mill Sport Fishing
Sergio A. Guzmán Granados
Bahía San Quintín, Molino Viejo
Telephone: 011 52 (616) 165.6034

Pedro Pangas
Paul Anthony Hills
Bahía San Quintín, Molino Viejo
Telephone: 011 52 (616) 159.8626

Tiburón Pangas
Genaro Flores Aviña
Bahía San Quintín, Molino Viejo
Telephone: 011 52 (616) 165.6003

Bertoldo García
Bertoldo García Duarte
Bahía San Quintín, Molino Viejo
Telephone: 011 52 (616) 165.3372

 

Rocky Point

 

Santiago’s Ocean Services
Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico
Telephone: 011 52 (638) 383.5834

 

San Felipe

 

Alex’s Fishing Charters
Alejandro García
Av. Mar de Cortes 75
Telephone: 011 52 (686) 577.1911

 

San Carlos

 

Hotel Brennan
Individual Sport Fishing Excursions
Telephone: 011 52 (613) 136.0288,
Fax: 011 52 (613) 136.0019

Various local guided panga

 

Los Cabos

Los Cabos Fishing Charters

Los Cabos Day Charters

PFISH (Pacific Fishing, Inc) is located in the new Puerto Los Cabos Marina in San Jose del Cabo. For over a dozen years Mexico has been part of our 3-pronged attack on Pacific Bluewater Gamefish which also includes operations in Alaska and Panama. From the red-letter days of the annual striped marlin infestation, to herding cows at the Gordo Banks and slow trolling "Chiwillies" for torpedoes with fins (wahoo), LITTLE SISTER, our freshly re-powered 32' twin-diesel Rampage is ready, willing and most of all, ABLE.

Along with Owner/Operator Capt. TA "Tat" Tatterson, our local crews have been fishing "The Capes" since the 70's and not only know how to put our clients on fish, but are renowned for their exceptional customer service. As an example, our client base is over 75% repeat and referral and our TripAdvisor rating of 93% "Excellent"... well, that hopefully speaks for itself.

We hope that you'll find our website a friendly, informational tool although we cannot emphasize enough the importance of a phone call or email to answer additional questions and get to know us. Please feel free to ask for references!

Day Charters in San Jose del Cabo (Puerto Los Cabos)

Charters out of San Jose del Cabo are run each day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day. With countless species to choose from including Black, Blue and Striped Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado (Mahi Mahi/Dolphin), Wahoo, Yellowtail, Roosterfish and many, many others, we offer something for everyone. There is always plenty of snorkeling gear aboard and even a professional speargun... inviting a lunch-break swim in our warm, clear waters. Day Charters in San Jose (Puerto Los Cabos) on Little Sister run $695.00 USD for up to four anglers.


Article Sources:

BajaQuest.Com, http://www.bajaquest.com/baja17j_01.htm
Cited on August 27, 2007

Wikipedia.Org, "Sport Fishing", Author Unknown
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_fishing
Cited on August 27, 2007

BajaFishing.Com
http://www.bajafishing.com/species.html
Cited on August 27, 2007

Mexfish.Com, http://www.mexfish.com/baja/baja.htm
Author: Gene Kira
Cited on July 24, 2007

Wikipedia.Org, “Mexican Federal Highway 1”, Author Unknown
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Federal_Highway_1
Cited on July 30, 2007