With winter weather definitely arriving, on the good days at the Islands, there is a menu of mackerel and bonito on the surface or bottom fishing for rockfish, whitefish, sand bass or sheepshead , a great way to fill the freezer!
Along the coast in front of the Tijuana Bullring, dedicated anglers can find a few sand bass, halibut and possibly a legal white seabass or two.
Bottom fishing is the best bet for now and probably will until sea surface temperatures warm back up.
Another option often overlooked this time of year is the gray whale migration down the Baja coast. Seldom is there an opportunity to be able to get this close and personal with some of these largest mammals on the planet as they travel from the Bering Sea to the bays and estuaries down the Baja coast to mate and give birth. In addition, there is much more marine life to be found: porpoise, sea lions as well many unique sea birds.
The inshore surface fishing has little pressure this time of year and those who do make it out are finding bonito and mackerel, along with a few yellowtail, a few small white seabass with a few legal-sized mixed in. The bottom fishing is a popular fall back producing limits of lingcod, reds and rockfish plus a few sheepshead.
In the bay, anglers fishing from shore or in kayaks, have been catching corbina on ghost shrimp near the Old Mill.
Upper Sea of Cortez
The upper (Northern) Sea of Cortez is always a favorite during the holidays. Although the North Winds can hamper fishing, there are always die-hard (stubborn) fisher folk who will give it a go. Shallow-water yellowtail will often pop up close to shore -- nothing huge…maybe 15-pounds.Other favorites are trigger fish, spotted bay bass and enough mystery bites to fill in the one that got away category.
On the days the wind fails to appear, huachinango in deep water plus some nice-sized grouper and cabrilla a few mile offshore are always an attractive option.
Surprisingly, there are still a few yellowfin tuna along with skipjack above the north tip of the island.Closer to the island near Punta Norte there is also great calico fishing to 6-pounds out in 50 feet of water.
Off the south end of the Island, the jumbo-sized, 10-pound bonito were gorging on sardine and action was basically non-stop for more than the 20-mile loop. Each one was stuffed full.
Closer to the south end near San Augustine there was good calico fishing along the shore and out deeper. Plus in a couple of coves it was wide open on the juvenile-size white seabass. Several were pushing the legal size (for the U.S.) but all fish were released to grow and fight another day.
Adding to the excitement, several nice-sized yellowtail were hooked and one 35-pounder was landed. ,