Baja Mexico 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 listed below as are the specific conditions that they enjoy and the best methods to pull them in.
Baja Fish: Sailfish
Normally inhabiting tropical and subtropical waters near landmasses, the sailfish is found in Baja Mexico April through November. It’s a sprightly fellow that puts up a hard fight for even the best fisherman. Even though it is known to put on a spectacular show with its fighting and aerial acrobatics, it tires quickly and is considered by many to be a relatively easy fish to catch. Using whole mullet, ballyhoo, plastic lures, feathers, and spoons are common fishing methods. Trolling, strip baits, and kite fishing are also used.
Extremely valuable to commercial fishing operations, yellow fin tuna are taken in the millions every year. Despite this, there are plenty of them left for hobbyists to reel in. Yellowfin tuna are usually found in the deeper waters off the coast of Baja in 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 prized 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 known to be 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. It is also known in the Baja area as the Mahi-mahi or the dolphin. It frequents the surface of the open ocean and is most often found in the Baja area from April to November. It is commonly found 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-dutyfishing 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 can be found in the Baja area from January to April.
Among the most famous sport fish in the world, the striped marlin is found year-round in Baja while the blue marlin is most frequent June through November. Trolling is the most common method for catching them and large live bait such as mackerel, mullet, ballyhoo, and squid are often used. As you well know if you are a long-time fisherman, 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.