June 23, 2024

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Sea of Cortez Fishing Guide for 2024

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Mexico is a hotbed of fishing opportunities and the Sea of Cortez is the jewel in its crown. This body of water is among the most unique ecosystems you’ll find anywhere in the world! Located between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland of Mexico, the sea runs north almost to the US border and empties into the Pacific Ocean near Cabo San Lucas.

Photo courtesy of Zach Lazzari

Anglers will find diverse fishing opportunities for pelagic and resident species whenever they visit. From Goliath Grouper to Striped Marlin, the Sea of Cortez is a world-class fishery. Read on to learn about the top species, best access points, and some trip-planning strategies to make the most of your next fishing adventure.

What makes the Sea of Cortez unique?

A view out of the back of a fishing charter in Cabo San Lucas with a fishing rod trolling behind the boat on the left of the image

The turquoise and greenish-blue waters of the Sea of Cortez give a Mediterranean vibe to this region. Long sandy beaches and often mild tides and surf make the region especially conducive to beach fishing. The real draw for anglers, though, is the ability to chase pelagic species from the beach. How, you ask? Well, there are plenty of deep drop-offs close to shore that bring Dorado (Mahi Mahi), Roosterfish, and even Yellowtail within reach of lures and flies.

While the beach fishing is world-class, the opportunities to chase Marlin, Tuna, and a number of other species is only a short panga ride away. And I mean short! You won’t need to travel far for incredible fishing in the Sea of Cortez.

Lastly, access to the water is excellent and that makes for an attractive destination. Convenient airports, boat launches, and beach access are easy to find. You can hit the popular stops or road trip the long coastline to find more remote places far away from any crowds. The Sea of Cortez really does have something for everyone!

Best Fish Species in the Sea of Cortez

The true list of species you can catch in the Sea of Cortez is very, very long. You can blind cast around structure or out in the open and catch any number of unique fish. From Trumpetfish to Triggerfish, the Sea of Cortez has it all.

The species I’ll focus on here are those most sought after by visiting and local anglers. Anything additional is a bonus on most trips!

Every angler is different in what they desire, and the seasons also dictate the availability of certain species. Seasons do overlap, however, and they can vary year-to-year so keep an eye on fishing reports from trusted captains and outfitters.

Dorado (Mahi Mahi)

A man in a baseball cap and sunglasses sitting on a beach and holding a mahi Mahi with a fly fishing line visible next to him on a clear day in Mexico
Photo courtesy of Zach Lazzari

Unique colors, aggressive feeding behaviors, and great fighting abilities make Dorado a cornerstone species in the saltwater game. They’re abundant throughout much of the year in the Sea of Cortez with winter being the slowest time. You can catch these stunning fish on flies and conventional baits from shore or a boat. It’s one of the rare places in the world where you can land one right from the beach!


A man in a fluorescent green shirt holding a Roosterfish in front of his face aboard a fishing charter in San Jose Del Cabo on a sunny day with water visible behind him
Photo courtesy of Cabo Sportfishing Crew – Blue Tail

The beautiful mohawk and pure power of a Roosterfish is something every angler should experience. Like Dorado, you can catch them from boats and beaches using all methods of rod and reel. From gallitos to grandes, these fish are exciting and are among the most coveted species in the Sea of Cortez.

Jack Crevalle

A closeup of a Jack Crevalle fish lying on the sand with a lure still in its mouth
Photo courtesy of Zach Lazzari

Often overlooked as a prize species, Jack Crevalle reach massive sizes in Baja. They feed in big groups and are extremely powerful and fun to battle. You’ll probably encounter them incidentally while chasing other species, but I think it’s worth seeking them out on their own. Whenever you find one on the end of your line, be ready to cast into a boil and hold on tight!

Tuna & Yellowtail

A man in a baseball cap and shorts standing on a fishing charter in Mexico on a clear day and holding a large Yellowtail Amberjack
Photo courtesy of Fernando’s Tours – “Fortuna”

When you think about Tuna, you probably think of an offshore game fish. And you’d usually be right. In this region, however, you can catch Yellowfin Tuna without traveling too far out. Throw in the Bonito (aka Skipjack or False Albacore), and you have plenty of Tuna action!

And that’s before you think about the Yellowtail! Prized across the entire Pacific Ocean, these brutes swim in big numbers in the Sea of Cortez, usually sharing the same fishing grounds as Tuna.

Marlin & Sailfish

A man stands next to a large Marlin that's hanging by its tail on a Mexico beach at sunset, with a panga fishing boat and the Sea of Cortez visible in the background
Photo courtesy of La Shina Sport Fishing

If you’re looking for a bucket-list fish, you’re in the right place in the Sea of Cortez. Striped and Blue Marlin are common sights in these waters, with Sailfish also providing consistent action through the warmer months. The speed, jumps, and fighting power of any of these species is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life!

And More

A man smiling and posing in front of a sign after a fishing trip in Mexico, holding a large Grouper
Photo courtesy of Mosquito Fleet – 26′ Super Panga

As I already said, there’s a very long list of fish you can catch in this rich body of water. Snappers, Groupers, Sharks, Golden Trevally, Halibut, Sierra Mackerel, Triggerfish, and many more species are often on the menu. Sierras are a staple throughout the winter months when fishing for many other warmwater species slows. Meanwhile, Triggerfish make for excellent ceviche so be on the lookout for reefs and structure to find them.

Where to Go Fishing in the Sea of Cortez

Most of the best fishing spots around the Sea of Cortez are on the Baja Peninsula. This area is geared to tourists, offering not only the best fishing, but also solid infrastructure and easy access. Mainland Mexico does have a few jumping-off points but the fishing gets more attractive when you reach Mazatlan and continue south down the Pacific coast.

Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point)

The only mainland destination I’ve listed here is Puerto Penasco – or Rocky Point, as it’s commonly known. It’s a short drive from the Arizona border to reach this popular party town on the northeastern side of the Sea of Cortez and, while the fishing isn’t quite as robust for pelagic species as farther to the south, you will encounter some great fishing for Grouper, Triggerfish, Yellowtail, and more.

Bahia de los Angeles

For those seeking a truly remote experience, consider driving to Bahia de los Angeles. It’s located on the northwestern side of the Sea of Cortez at the end of a long and remote road. Gas up because the community is isolated and operates on a cash economy! The reward, though, involves remote beaches, rugged coastlines, and places you don’t want to miss. Oh, and the fishing is out of this world!

East Cape

A view along the beach towards the town of Cabo San Lucas with waves crashing in from the turquoise waters on the left of the image on a clear day

The combination of great beach fishing and inshore waters makes the East Cape a hotspot for anglers of all persuasions. Los Barriles is a great base camp or you can push farther south to Cabo. Everything between these two points is just fantastic, too. The options for lodging, DIY, and commercially-outfitted trips are robust.

La Paz

This attractive city is also a fishing mecca. The local beaches are phenomenal and the marine environments are hard to beat. You can hit La Ventana and Bahia de Los Muertos to the south, or focus on charters right out of town. All of the major species are available in the La Paz region, so get ready for a fishing feast! Between trips, you’ll also find amazing food, culture, and a beautiful malecón to explore as well.


A view from the waters of the Sea of Cortez, looking towards the town of Loreto, with palm trees visible in the foreground and a large, rocky mountain visible behind

A little more isolated than some of the other hotspots I’ve pointed out, Loreto is a cool place to explore if you’re looking to get away from the crowds. The local airport makes it very accessible but you can get to remote places quickly from the local marina. The fishing is phenomenal with healthy marine environments supporting Dorado, Tuna, Yellowtail, Roosterfish, and more.

San Felipe

The farthest hub on the northern end of Baja offers quality fishing in a vibrant community. It’s an easy drive from the border and has great lodging options as well. If you want to dip your toes into a road trip while feeling things out, San Felipe is a good place to make your base for a rewarding fishing trip.

Important Information for Your Trip

An infographic featuring the flag of Mexico and text featuring "Sea of Cortez Fishing Trips: Need to Know" against a blue background with a vector of a boat and the FishingBooker logo visible too

Travel Info

Here’s where the allure of the Sea of Cortez becomes even more apparent. American and Canadian citizens and residents make the most of these waters because there are regular, pretty short flights to numerous destinations right on the water. Major hubs for commercial flights include San Jose del Cabo, La Paz, and Loreto.

Rental cars are also easy to book and secure at each airport. Driving is pretty intuitive and easy on paved roads, while mapping apps connected to your cell phone are very accurate and will lead you right to the destination.

Lodging is especially simple with a robust short-term rental market. There are also resorts that will arrange fishing trips in the Sea of Cortez. Throw in the hotels and you can put together a trip without much forethought.

Fishing Info

A lone man casts his fishing line into the surf on the Sea of Cortez's coastline at sunset on a bright day

And now onto the fishing. Book a captain ahead if you plan on fishing during peak dates. The best captains book out quickly as they have many repeat customers when the fishing is red hot. The good news is that there are plenty of captains out there, catering to a range of fishing preferences.

Hire a guide to find the best beach fishing spots, or go fishing the traditional way on a panga boat to discover the inshore fishing grounds. Of course, there are also plenty of luxurious deep sea fishing charters that promise to give you the adventure of a lifetime.

But before you visit, don’t forget the usual travel essentials! Make sure to bring your passport, get some travel insurance, and stock up on sunscreen – the weather is unforgiving, especially out on the water. Oh, and make sure you get a Mexican fishing license to cast your line legally. Get yours online and save the hassle of any stress. After all, you’re on vacation!

What will you catch in the Sea of Cortez?

Four anglers standing in the shallow waters on a beach in the Sea of Cortez, showing off their haul of three Mahi Mahis and one Marlin
Photo courtesy of Mosquito Fleet – 26′ Super Panga

Now that you have some background on the species to catch and locations to visit, it’s time to wet your line! Look to early summer and fall months for prime fishing dates but, truth be told, you can’t go wrong whenever you visit. The great thing about this region is the ability to catch fish every month of the year. So get to planning and have a great trip!

Have you been fishing in the Sea of Cortez? Maybe you’re looking for travel tips? We’d love to hear your questions and fishing stories in the comments below!

The post Sea of Cortez Fishing: An Angler’s Guide for 2024 appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Zach Lazzari
Title: Sea of Cortez Fishing: An Angler’s Guide for 2024
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/sea-of-cortez-fishing/
Published Date: Fri, 17 May 2024 15:46:59 +0000

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