Baja California is one of the most exciting places in the world to fish on the open ocean. Conditions are great all year round, the scenery is beautiful, and there is a surprising variety of fish species that are regularly biting – some of them are pretty dang big too! The eight most popular sport species are below as are the specific conditions that they enjoy and the best methods to pull them in.
Baja Fish: Sailfish
You can find the sailfish in tropical and subtropical waters near land masses. In Baja April through November are when the sailfish thrive. It’s a sprightly fellow that puts up a hard fight for even the best fisherman. It puts on a spectacular show with its fighting and aerial acrobatics. However, it tires quickly and is relatively easy fish to catch. Using the whole mullet, ballyhoo, plastic lures, feathers, and spoons are common fishing methods. Trolling, strip baits, and kite fishing are also favorite baits to reel these in.
Extremely valuable to commercial fishing operations that reel millions of yellowfin every year. Despite this, there are plenty left for hobbyists to reel in. Yellowfin tuna are in the deeper waters off the coast of Baja June through November. Trolling or chumming with squid, small fish, or artificial lures is the top method for catching them.
Fishing Baja: Rooster Fish
Found in small amounts all throughout the year, the best time to catch rooster fish is June through October when they are around in large quantities. In fact, they are among the most popular species to fish for because they are so abundant and they frequent the shallower coastal waters of Baja. They also taste great. Trolling or casting baits, lures, or live bait is the best way to catch them.
A year-round resident of the Gulf of California, Pargo are an inshore species that like to hide out in reefs, caves, and shallow waters. Because of the fight they put up and their excellent taste, they are excellent sport fishing catches. The best method to catch them is with live baits, spoons, feathers, jigs, or plugs. You can also troll for them at speeds of less than 5mph.
October through December is the time of year that you’ll find wahoo biting in Baja Mexico. They tend to cluster wherever smaller fish gather so areas around old wrecks or reefs are great places to look. Wahoo is incredibly fast, extremely tough fighters, and some of the biggest fish in the area. Trolling and live-baiting are the best ways to catch them, but remember that they’re big – you’re going to need heavy-duty equipment to reel one in.
Dorado (or Mahi-mahi)
The dorado is a fish that goes by many names. In Baja, they call it Mahi-mahi or dolphin. It frequents the surface of the open ocean, in Baja from April to November. It is common in schools and seems to cluster around open-ocean debris such as buoys, logs, and clumps of seaweed. It’s a ferocious fish – capable of tail-walking to speeds of up to 50 mph during a fight – so make sure that you bring the heaviest-duty fishing equipment that you can handle when you set out for this sucker.
Occasionally occurring in very large schools, the yellowtail is a coastal fish that is most active in the mornings and at night. Trolling or using lures and live baits are the best way to pull them up. Though they are not as strong as other fish, they have the endurance to match even the most seasoned of fishermen. They are available in the Baja area from January to April.
The most famous sport fish in the world, the striped marlin available year-round in Baja. The blue marlin is the most frequent June through November. Trolling is the most common method for catching these fish. Large live bait such as mackerel, mullet, ballyhoo, and squid are choices for catching them. Veteran fishermen know, marlin put up a spectacular fight. They run hard and long, pull viciously, dive deep, and leap high into the air.
There are too many types of sport fish in the Baja area to name. It is one of the reasons that it is such a popular ocean fishing spot. In addition to the big species of sport fish, there are several smaller fish that are just as fun to catch. If you’re a fisherman, then you should definitely consider heading out to Baja Mexico on your next fishing vacation.
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