Kayak Fishing a Pacific Island Off Mexico

Share the excitement as adventurous kayak anglers tangle with sharks, yellowtail and other game fish around Cedros Island, Baja.
Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- angler wrestles with a thresher shark
Hooking several thresher sharks one day had never been among the expectations of the anglers exploring the waters around Cedros. Adrian E. Gray


Cedros Island, roughly midway down the Baja pensinsula on the wild Pacific coast, has gained a reputation among Southern California calico (kelp) bass anglers as something of a holy grail. When a group of adventurous fishermen flew down to join Hobie Kayaks and explore Cedros Island fishing from kayaks, they found plenty of calicos — and some other species they hadn’t expected.
Catch the action in these 15 images and then see 15 more in a second gallery.

After you’ve seen these galleries, check out the images from another Sport Fishing Mexico kayak-fishing adventure, this one to Loreto on the Sea of Cortez, last year.

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- locator map
Located roughly halfway down the Baja peninsula on the Pacific side, the island is remote by any standard, but enjoys semi-regular air service from Ensenada. Courtesy Google Earth

Standard Mexican Airstrip

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- air strip
The airstrip on the island resembles many small Mexican strips, complete with uniformed, armed soldiers and drug-sniffing dogs. Adrian E. Gray

A Fleet of Hobie Fishing Kayaks

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- cleaning up
After a day on the water, the staff at Cedros Kayak Fishing cleans each kayak so it looks like new, rinses all Mirage Drive systems, seats and tackle, then organizes everything so it is ready for early-morning departure. Adrian E. Gray

Dodging a Thresher Shark

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- attacking thresher shark
Normally thresher sharks aren’t a danger to people, but when you’re in the water right next to a pissed-off thresher, there’s no telling. On that basis, photographer extraordinaire Adrian E. Gray tries to stay clear of the marauding thresher that Cedros Kayak Fishing owner Jeff Mariani is working on subduing. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Holding a Thresher’s Amazing Tail

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- amazing tail of the thresher shark
Though a thresher’s huge, whip-like tail (as long as the fish’s body) can be an easy grab, caution is essential since more than one thresher has slapped some sense into careless anglers. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Man Vs. Shark

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- man wrestles shark
Jeff Mariani thought this thresher was tired enough to hold for a quick photo, but instead he gets a lap dance of the worst kind from the shark that suddenly got very feisty. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Working the Boiler Rocks for Bass

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- fishing boiler rocks for bass
Pacific swells roll in under a calm sea to wash the shallow reef and rocks off the southwestern end of Cedros Island. In the foreground, Hobie’s Morgan Promnitz, a machine of the fish-catching kind, is about to release yet another calico bass as two more kayakeros work the rocks nearby. Adrian E. Gray

Space Alien Lurks Beneath an Angler’s Kayak!

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- space alien threatens kayak anglers
Okay, it’s not really an alien life form, but to the uninitiated, this little pelagic red “tuna” crab looks otherwordly, drifting like a tiny space ship about to land. In fact, we encountered zillions of these things one morning in the calm water where the surface was alive with them — and with calico bass, blue perch and other fishes busting on the little crustacea. Adrian E. Gray

Big Sheephead Makes for a Great Kayak Catch

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- big sheephead caught by kayak angler
Promnitz managed to net a little red crab (they move more quickly than you might think) and affixed it to a red lead-head jig. That proved too much for this fat sheephead to pass up. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Shore Lunch, Mexican Style

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- shore lunch
Grilled carne with fresh tortillas will soon become mouth-watering burritos in the capable hands of Omar Rodriguez and, in the background, Luis Lopez. The pair had set up for lunch and the kayak anglers pulled up at the beach for a welcome break. Adrian E. Gray

Miles of Unspoiled Cedros Island Coastline to Explore

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- kayak anglers explore the coast
The vast coastline of this very large, unspoiled island dwarfs kayak anglers exploring seemingly endless reefs and rocky outcroppings. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Hooked Calico Bass Runs for Bottom

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- calico bass darts for the bottom
One of Southern California’s favorite game fish, the calico bass, abounds around Cedros. All anglers on this trip found the Savage Gear Sandeel to be the go-to lure. This fish had grabbed a 5-inch mackerel version. Adrian E. Gray

Fat Bass on a Beautiful Morning

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- angler lands a fat calico bass
Metal jigs also proved effective for a variety of species, including big calicos like the one I’m landing in this selfie, on an Okuma Azores spinning reel. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Adrift off a Desert Island in the Late-Afternoon Sun

Kayak fishing Cedros Island, Baja -- drift fishing off a desert island
The warm glow of a late-day sun lights up Cedros Island behind me, as I enjoy the waning hours of a memorable day on the Pacific. Adrian E. Gray