pixel

Baja Fishing Report
By Tom Gatch

Baja Fishing Report - Spring 2014

By Tom Gatch

Ensenada Fishing
Capt. Louie Prieto stands on the dock in Ensenada with a nice catch after a quick trip out past the local islands. Photo: It’s4Reels

We are learning that, as weather patterns change, strange things can happen. And while this winter’s ‘Polar Vortex’ may have played havoc through several northerly states in the east and mid-west, Mother Nature has been kind enough to simultaneously bathe the southwest and Baja California in an abundance of sunshine accompanied by unseasonably warm temperatures. These changes have also impacted the activity patterns of numerous species of popular gamefish that have been fooled into thinking it is later in the year than it actually is.

Off the Pacific coast of Baja California Norte the rockfish action is at its seasonal peak, with good catches of reds and lingcod being reported by pangueros and private boaters. But this year things are a bit different. The further south you go, the more that yellowtail, bonito and barracuda are beginning to show up in the fish counts; a phenomenon that generally begins in late April or May. As this season progresses you have got to wonder how summer’s offshore surface bite will develop. Early yellowfin and bluefin action? Perhaps albacore or bigeye? Big bull dorado under floating kelp paddies just outside Isla Todos Santos? It is really anybody’s guess, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

The waters off of Ensenada are producing solid action for local captains like Louie Prieto of It’s4Reels Sportfishing, who indicated that his clients are already enjoying a good mix of species, some of which are definitely showing up a bit early.

This is also a great time of year to consider bringing your own boat south for a few days of fishing. One of the best private launching facilities on the western coast of Baja is conveniently situated just north of downtown Ensenada at the Hotel Coral & Marina. In addition to offering upscale overnight accommodations, the sizable cove adjacent to the hotel is equipped with both slips for larger craft and a modern concrete launch ramp to accommodate trailer boaters. There are even showers and a fish cleaning area available, which are included in the nominal launching fee. And, unlike marinas north of the border, the dockside PEMEX gas is reasonably priced and sold at the same rate as vehicular stations on the streets and highways.

Ensenada Fishing
Veteran Baja angler, Jay Johnson, and Capt. Beto Zamora recently hit the beach near Punta Banda with this sweet catch of big yellowtail up to 30 pounds. Photo: Vonny’s Fleet

However, if you would like to get away from the city and enjoy a more rural and traditional Baja fishing trip, there is nothing quite like launching right off the beach in a local panga. One of the best venues in this area to do that is in Punta Banda, not far from the famous La Bufadora blowhole. Passengers on pangas out of Vonny’s Fleet have been delighted to find that they also have a shot at some of the big homeguard yellowtail that tend to congregate near the end of the rocky point.

Down the coast in San Quintin, Capt. Kelly Catian at K&M Sportfishing says that the yellowtail bite is off to a fantastic start. “Fishing was even great in late February, with lots of yellowtail and great rockcod fishing too. The water temperature has stayed up between 58 to 60 degrees. The best yellowtail action has been at the 240 and the 15 fathom spot. The fish have been taking all kinds of lures from metal jigs to iron and even plastics. Yep, someone even caught a smaller one on a big Scampi twin tail. As usual, the old school colors of iron worked the best. You know, like a Tady 9 or Salas 6x in blue & white or scrambled egg.”

Cabo Fishing
Despite the fact that spring is barely on the horizon, the lucky anglers fishing out of San Jose del Cabo are still scoring of species that rarely show up before summertime. Photo: Gordo Banks Pangas

At Isla Cedros, Jose Angel of Cedros Outdoor Adventures reports that the fishing for quality grade calico bass is wide open, and that the bite for big yellowtail continues to improve as if it were late spring. A little further south, the sandy beaches of Bahia Asuncion are already beginning to produce halibut for those who enjoy fishing the suds with plastic or Krocodiles in their pursuit of a tasty lunch.

And this season, whale watchers are in for a real treat according to Jonathan Roldan at Tailhunter International. “This is turning into one of the best seasons in recent years! The whales are solid at Lopez Mateos near Bahia Magdalena and, as a result, we are now running daily trips out to see these magnificent animals.”

The striped marlin bite is really taking off at the Golden Gate, just off the southern tip of the peninsula. In fact, they are already beginning to move around past San Jose del Cabo and into the Sea of Cortez. In the same area, off the Iman and Gordo Banks, smaller yellowfin tuna were even beginning to show up in late February. Eric Bricston at Gordo Banks Pangas indicated, “Considering the time of year, anglers have been enjoying quality action for dorado, some wahoo and even yellowfin tuna. Despite the lack of bait, we are still seeing schooling skipjack, striped marlin and even a couple of sailfish anywhere from one or two miles from shore and on out about 20 miles.”

La Paz Fishing
Many anglers visiting La Paz this season have been pleasantly surprised by exotics like this beautiful dorado, which normally only make a showing during the months of summer and fall. Photo: Tailhunter International

A few miles up the Cortez coast at Rancho Leonero, Owner John Ireland says that the 2014 fishing season has gotten off to a great start. “We have very light fishing pressure here in the East Cape with maybe two or three sport boats a day fishing, but that is likely to change quickly as word gets out. The anglers making it out right now are enjoying some phenomenal fishing. And the action is very close to shore; the La Ribera bank is cooking. There is also a wide open Dorado bite, with fish up to 30+ pounds and limits for all anglers.”

Ireland continued on to say, “The drop-offs are also holding lots of striped marlin, and white bonito are plentiful both inside and outside. To top it off, Anglers fishing off the beach have been enjoying a wide open roosterfish bite. Our hotel Manager, Gary Barnes Webb, has been releasing at least two of them a day off the beach, all taken on iron! The Sierra are also biting well, especially in the early morning and late evening.”

The same situation is the case further north in La Paz, where Jonathan Roldan indicated, “The Tailhunter fleet has been in winter mode, when our catches are generally inshore and consist of species that bite in cooler water. Well, the bite has certainly been inshore, but the actual catch has been rather extraordinary. We have indeed been catching the usual sea bass, sierra, pargo and jack crevalle close to the beach, but are now being occasionally surprised by fish like dorado or even wahoo, which are usually caught offshore during summer and fall.”

Sea of Cortez Fishing
Southern Californian Jeffrey Lalley hooked and landed this brute 350 pound black sea bass, which is legal to take in Mexican waters, while fishing in a Tony Reyes panga near Bahia San Francisquito. Photo: Longfin Tackle

Fishing the Midriff of the Cortez between Loreto and Islas Encantadas this time of year can be particularly rewarding to those who have a passion for catching grouper and cabrilla, most of whom lie skulking in their rocky grottos until a likely candidate for ambush swims by. They are most prolific around the rugged volcanic islands scattered throughout these waters, and can be quite challenging to actually bring onboard before they have a chance to wedge their way back into the rocks. When filleted, they also provide some of the finest table fare of just about any species that swims around the Baja California peninsula; and this makes targeting them well worth the effort.

One of the best ways to do this is from a Mothership panga operation that takes passengers from San Felipe down to these coveted islands on multi-day fishing adventures. One of the most respected in the region is Tony Reyes Sportfishing, a multi-generational outfitter that has put many a smile on the faces of the anglers that have enjoyed one of the many successful voyages that have taken place over the past four decades. These 6-day trips include your Mexican fishing license, fish filleting, meals, bottled water, beers and sodas, cocktail ice and ice for your return trip home. You are welcome to bring your own additional drinks or snacks. The boats generally depart at approximately 10:00 A.M. on Sunday and return the following Friday evening. They also offer secure parking in San Felipe.

Without a doubt, if you have been waiting for the right time to visit Baja for a shot at enjoying the fishing trip of a lifetime ...this is it!

4.7 93 Reviews
  • user logo
    Benjamin Driebe
    From logo

    Absolutely fantastic, I already forgot her name because I have a terrible memory but the woman that helped me on the phone was wonderful,...

  • user logo
    richard carr
    From logo

    fast replies and great price!

  • user logo
    Juan Zuniga
    From logo

    I just would like to know if you guys are going to update the fastpass direction any soon, during the month of January the lane changed to...

  • user logo
    Richard Schweiger
    From logo

    Very professional, very helpful, great policy, I couldn't be happier with Baja Mexican Insurance, the friendly smiles and ease of it all in...

  • user logo
    Ryan Frisby
    From logo

    We use them every time we travel to Mexico. Luckily we have not needed their services yet but getting insurance through them is quick and...

  • user logo
    Jan Muhammad
    From logo

    I need a tourist visa for maxico I'm from pakistan help me sir

  • user logo
    Tracy Moore
    From logo

    Very easy, quick, and professional

  • user logo
    robert kepper
    From logo

    They are very good . There website doesn't show you need a title to bring a vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

  • user logo
    Edilver Martinez
    From logo

    Our go to Baja car insurance, everytime we take a visit down south . Usually it's for a day trip either for a quick getaway with the family...

  • user logo
    Daniel Markofsky
    From logo

    Third time working with Baja Bound and they made it easy! Thanks!

  • user logo
    Steve Bender
    From logo

    Have never needed to use the insurance fortunately but the website always works great. Can buy a policy in about a minute.

  • user logo
    Jose Paez
    From logo

    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

  • user logo
    JUSTINE SERRANO
    From logo

    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

  • user logo
    Christian Minor
    From logo

    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

  • user logo
    Joey Digiovanni
    From logo

    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful

  • user logo
    George
    From logo

    Excellent customer service

  • user logo
    Kellye Pummill
    From logo

    Fast and easy!

  • user logo
    Jennifer Toups
    From logo

    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company. The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

  • user logo
    Cesar Lopez
    From logo

    Very convenient, great price !!

  • user logo
    Louis Schneidman
    From logo

    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound. Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service. I have total peace of mind...

  • user logo
    Phil Noble
    From logo

    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

  • user logo
    Jeff Bunker
    From logo

    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

  • user logo
    Burrell DeVine
    From logo

    Easy to navigate and very competitively priced! I had to call in and add an additional day, they couldn't have been any more pleasant to...

  • user logo
    Nereyda Torres
    From logo

    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

  • user logo
    james whitmer
    From logo

    Best insurance I've had so far

  • user logo
    Rail1riders
    From logo

    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re not living in Jalisco. Printed...

  • user logo
    Matt B
    From logo

    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico. Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

  • user logo
    Refugio I. Rochin
    From logo

    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

  • user logo
    Kelly Carney
    From logo

    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

  • user logo
    Slumdog Gump
    From logo

    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

  • user logo
    Jeff G
    From logo

    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA but no...

  • user logo
    don letson
    From logo

    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

  • user logo
    len buckholtz
    From logo

    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

  • user logo
    Susana Judd
    From logo

    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

  • user logo
    Seismic Waterfinder
    From logo

    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

  • user logo
    Nicolas Dervé
    From logo

    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

  • user logo
    Blake Glassco
    From logo

    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

  • user logo
    JohnPaul Gemelli
    From logo

    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

  • user logo
    Jeff Brandt
    From logo

    so far so good, however I have read good things about them

  • user logo
    Sengoz N
    From logo

    SERIOUS.

  • user logo
    Kenneth Trass
    From logo

    Getting a policy was simple, Provided more than provider for price comparison.

  • user logo
    Esther Valencia
    From logo

    Super easy to purchase just the coverage you need when crossing the border in your own car. I especially appreciate the fact that I was...

  • user logo
    Larry Cottingham
    From logo

    Great service, very helpful people there.

  • user logo
    Luis Cortes
    From logo

    Easiest way to purchase insurance when traveling to Mexico. I have used their service for the last 7 years and it only gets easier and...

  • user logo
    j dougher ty
    From logo

    EZ Peasy insurance purchase. Great service every time I've used them. Had to cancel one time when my travel plans went away - no problem....

  • user logo
    Paul Niehouse
    From logo

    Extremely easy to acquire a policy. Many options available. Reasonable rates.

  • user logo
    Colin
    From logo

    Super-easy and instant. Very happy with initial purchase.

  • user logo
    Howard M Elster
    From logo

    2nd year with Chubb. No problems

  • user logo
    Cyndee Congrove
    From logo

    Great customer service, quick, friendly staff helpfully answered all questions, very patient with my learning curve on a new product. Would...

  • user logo
    Art Eugenio
    From logo

    I've had Baja Bound insurance for more that ten years now with thousands of miles logged in Baja. Fortunately, I've only had one fender...

  • user logo
    Gabe Matthews
    From logo

    Where do i start..... you dont know you have good insurance until you have to actually use it. I have had Baja Bound INS for over 5 years...

  • user logo
    keith berkley
    From logo

    Been going to baja for 45 years. This is best insurance company i have come accross.

  • user logo
    Ryan Perkio
    From logo

    I have been using BajaBound Insurance for 15 years - multiple trips per year. Their website is easy, their coverage is great, and the...

  • user logo
    RaMon McBride
    From logo

    I have not had any claims thus far so rating is based on ease of purchase.

  • user logo
    Larry French
    From logo

    By far the best service for Mex insurance in Baja. They are personally there for you if you have problems south of the border.

  • user logo
    Tudor Thomas
    From logo

    Baja Bound makes buying insurance for going south of the border as easy as it gets. The website is the easiest I have used and the staff...