Text and Photography Copyright Bob Veverka, 2001 - All Rights Reserved

The Baja area boasts one of the finest Offshore fisheries in the World, not to mention the relatively unexplored beach fishing for the fly-fisherman. Spectacular offshore fishing for Billfish, Tuna and Dorado and inshore and beach fishing for the prize of Baja the Roosterfish. If leaping Billfish , powerful Tuna, large Dorado and tackle- busting Roosterfish sounds good to you , Baja is the place to go.

The Baja Peninsula is graced with the Pacific Ocean on itís West coast and the Sea of Cortez to the East. The Sea of Cortez is a vast expanse of water that runs from Cabo San Lucas, Bajaís southern tip , known as " Lands End" then runs north several hundred miles up the coast and is bordered on itís east side by mainland Mexico.

The Sea of Cortez is known as a fish trap, loaded with all types of baitfish and squid it attracts many of the offshore species coming in off the Pacific Ocean. Within these waters several hundred species of marine life exist. Depending on the time of year you can expect to catch Marlin, ( Blue, Black and the most abundant the Striped Marlin ) Swordfish, Sailfish, Dorado , several species of Tuna, Wahoo, Sierra Mackerel and the prize of Baja the Roosterfish. Inshore or beach fish include Pargo or Dog Snapper, Cabrilla, Pompano, Grouper , Jacks and several other species.

Click for full image Along Bajaís eastern coastline there are a number of villas that sit along its shores that are well known as fishing destinations. Resorts and hotels have been setup to cater to fishermen from all over the world who travel here for itís spectacular fishing opportunities. Most of these are located from Cabo San Lucas to the south, northward to the town of Loreto.

Iíve fished the Baja area for the past several years from Cabo north to San Hose Del Cabo and numerous spots on the East Cape area of Baja. Cabo is a bustling fishing town with great fishing and nightlife. As you travel further north the hotels are fewer in number, more remote and cater more to the serious fisherman. Most of my time is spent on the East Cape.

The hotels in this area are setup for the fisherman and are the finest I have seen for their spectacular views, friendly staff and great fishing. Each has itís own fleet of boats setup for fishing and are located right on the beach at your hotel. As far as the fishing itís as good as it gets. Iíve fished Baja for several years and have never on any given day been skunked. You never know what you will encounter while out on the water. Click for full image
click for full image A typical Day on the East Cape starts with Breakfast, anything you want. Then off to your room and pick up your fishing gear and head for the beach where your boat, crew and packed lunch are ready to go. You motor out and pick up sardines for chum, then head for the fishing grounds. While out on the water your sure to see things you have not seen before, Whales , Sea Turtles and hopefully Lots of Game fish.. Early afternoon you head back. Once back at the hotel you can have a cocktail and some Ceviche before dinner. Also keep and eye on the water for fish chasing bait along the shore in front of the hotel. 

Many times you will see this happen, and if you have a rod ready you can make a quick dash down to the beach and get into some beach fishing . Dinner is served family style , all you can eat. Then its off to Bed to get ready for the next day.

Prices for rooms include 3 meals a day and start at about $ 100. to $175.00 a night. Boats range in price from $200.00 for pangas, 22 ft. center console boats with Captains to 250.00 to $ 350.00 a day for 32 ft. Cruisers with a Captain and Mate. The further you head south to Cabo the rooms and boats run a little higher but still inexpensive as offshore fishing goes.

The FISHING...

The offshore fishing is usually close to shore with gentle seas. Most days fishing offshore has been from 1 to 5 miles off the beach, 15 to 20 miles would be considered a long run and at times you must travel that far. As far as offshore fishing is concerned this would still be considered a short run to the fishing grounds. Then there are times when we have caught Dorado and Tuna well within a swim to the beach.

The beach fishing is at your front door and you can go at it alone or hire a guide that will take you to the best spots via a ATV. You can also rent an ATV and go it alone with miles and miles of beach to explore.

TACKLE

I usually carry a number of rods with me to fit the different fishing situations. Rods from 9 wghts. to 12 wgts. If your going to target mainly Billfish a 13 or 14 wgt. will come in handy. If I were to limit myself to two rods I would bring a 9 or 10 wgt. for beach fishing and a 12 wgt. for offshore fishing. With these two weight rods you can handle most Baja has to offer.

Reels should be high quality with a good, smooth drag and the capacity for at least 300 yards of backing.  Fly lines should include floaters for fishing surface poppers and intermediates being the most useful with some sinking lines for times when you need to get your fly down.

Leaders should be your standard 9 ft. leaders with tippets in the 12 to 20 lb. range. Leaders with heavy shock tippets in the 60 to 100 lb. range are used for Billfish. If you run into large Dorado ( many times this is the case ) you can add a 30 lb. shock tippet to your standard leader.  Here are some additional tips:

  • Wahoo and Sierra Mackerel have wicked teeth so carry some steel leaders.
  • Other gear that comes in handy is a stripping basket and a pair of wading shoes for beach fishing.
  • A good pair of Polarized Sun glasses are a must.
  • Just remember to bring all the tackle you need as fly shops in that area are few and far between.
  • Donít forget your camera or Video, youíll need it!

BAITFISH AND FLIES

click for full image The main baitfish are Sardines, Flying fish , Mackerel and squid.  The most important baitfish in the Baja area is called the "Sardina", actually a Flat Iron Herring. A small baitfish in the 3 to 5 inch range with silvery sides and an olive green dorsal area and a wide profile. They are used live as chum to bring up fish and also used as bait for Dorado and Tuna and almost everything that swims in the water there.

There are a number of flies that match the sardina in size and color. My best fly is a fly of my own design that was developed for use there over the last several years so named the " East Cape Sardine".

The most important baitfish in the Baja area is called the "Sardina". (Bottom one is a fly)

Others include Deceivers in the appropriate colors, Trey Combís Sea habit, the Alf and any fly tied in the 3 to 5 inch range with a light colored belly, silvery sides and a darker back in the Olive color range.

At times large schools of Flying- fish are present and a fly with a blue colored dorsal area will work like no other. Dorado and Tuna feed heavily on them so I tie a variation of my sardine pattern in Flying fish colors, hence, "The East Cape Flying- fish".

The Sea of Cortez at times has large schools of Squid so the need for squid patterns is necessary. Iíve caught Skipjack and Yellowfin Tuna loaded with squid in the 3 to 4 inch range. A white Deceiver will work but many carry more elaborate Squid patterns.

Billfish will feed on all of the above and I have hooked them on the flies of this size but if you want to target Billfish larger flies will come in handy. Large Flying fish and Mackerel patterns that are tied in the 5 to 12 inch range are used.

Beach flies include small baitfish patterns, weighted and unweighted.

TYPES OF FLIES

click for full image Depending on the type of fishing you plan to do your flies should include small baitfish patterns for beach fishing ( size 2 to 1/0 ), mid -sized flies for inshore and offshore fishing ( 1/0 to 4/0 ) and larger flies for Billfish (4/0 to 8/0).  You should carry flies that are weighted , unweighted and some type of slider or popper patterns.

Weighted flies come in handy when you need your fly to get down and include small Clouser type flies for beach fishing and larger ones tied for offshore fishing . Weighted flies in sardine and Flyingfish patterns are used for Yellowfin Tuna.

Most baitfish patterns are tied unweighted and are used for inshore and offshore fishing . Sliders or poppers are used when fish are on top or chummed up to the surface.

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