The Los Cabos region at the tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula is a sport fishing shrine that draws worshipful anglers from all over the world. The famed tourist destination includes Cabo San Lucas with its sprawling marina and easy access to the merger of the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez, as well as the East Cape region a few miles north on the sparkling southeastern shores of Baja.
These waters harbor an incredible wealth of marine life, including gamefish ranging from billfish, mahi and wahoo in the blue offshore waters to roosterfish and grouper inshore. Here are some of the angling opportunities you’ll find around Los Cabos in spring.
Striped Marlin Mania
Few other fish attract anglers to the Cabo region like striped marlin. While this species feeds year around in these waters, the best time to fish for striped marlin runs from February through the end of June. While the stripers might show up anywhere, one of the best areas to find the acrobatic billfish in spring is the Golden Gate Bank, 15 miles north of Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific side, where upwellings create rich waters that attract sardines and Pacific mackerel. You might find a school of these marlin attacking a dense pack of bait on the surface, and well-placed live bait such as a mackerel or caballito (Mexican scad) will often draw immediate attention.
To be clear, the surface feeding activity by striped marlin described above does occur during every outing. On many trips, crews spend time trolling and, at the same, searching the horizon for the telltale clouds of birds hovering over schools of sardines and other baitfish driven to the surface by ravenous striped marlin and other pelagic gamefish. When a boat crew finds these birds, they race to the spot, and once within casting distance, the anglers fling live baits into the melee, often producing multiple hookups followed by releases—an extraordinary opportunity for anglers to achieve personal-best billfish catch-and-release totals.
Striped marlin might grab most of the offshore attention, but there are many other spring angling opportunities in this region, including dorado, yellowfin tuna and wahoo, often found in the same offshore waters.
Close to the sandy beaches of the Sea of Cortez on the East Cape, anglers also can target roosterfish in spring. This fish’s unique comblike dorsal fin slices the water as the rooster attacks schools of baitfish. Roosters often behave like the striped marlin, feeding on the surface.
When roosters don’t show themselves at the surface, one of the most effective techniques for finding them is slow trolling live baits such as mullet or sardines along beaches. Other inshore gamefish such as Pacific jack crevalle and sierra mackerel join in on the near-shore feeding frenzies. Both of these species eagerly bite anything moving, including trolled cedar plugs, tuna feathers and Rapala diving plugs in a variety of colors.
Other species to consider in spring include California yellowtail, cabrilla (leopard groupers) and pargo (Spanish for various species of snapper) These delicious fish can be found along rocky areas of the coastline, and will readily strike a live bait fished near the bottom.
Cabo Launch Points
Los Cabos Airport in San Jose del Cabo serves both Cabo San Lucas and the East Cape, and it is less than three hours by air from most major Southern California airports. A transfer to Cabo San Lucas takes less than hour, while the drive to the East Cape takes about one hour.
Cabo San Lucas features a huge, bustling marina; the IGY Marina company is the largest resident operator with 380 slips, many of them filled with sportfishing boats to meet the needs of anglers wanting to charter. Hotels ranging from economical to luxury 5-star properties surround the marina, and make it convenient to walk to your charter boat for an early morning departure.
On the other hand, the East Cape has no marinas. Instead, each beachside resort has its own fleet of sportfishing boats that anchor in the typically calm waters in front of the resorts. Some properties build small piers where passengers can board and de-board, while others use pangas to ferry guests to and from the larger boats.
Back in Cabo San Lucas, for more than four decades, the Ehrenberg family has run the Pisces Sport Fishing charter operation in Marina at Los Cabos. Their boats are equipped with high-end rods and reels spooled with fresh line, available in various sizes from 30- to 80-pound-test trolling outfits. They also provide bait-fishing outfits with either 30- or 50-pound-test line, plus lures, leader, terminal tackle and more.
“Pisces Sport Fishing has gotten off to a record-breaking pace in 2022,” says Rebecca Ehrenberg, Pisces vice president of conservation, “In January, our fleet released 2,361 marlin, with excellent catches of 315 tuna and 181 dorado (mahi), combined with 282 wahoo and other inshore species. Our bookings through June are rapidly filling up. Our spring season should be remarkable.”
Read Next: Cabo San Lucas Fishing
Few destinations can match the Los Cabos region for the remarkable array of spring fishing opportunities to catch saltwater gamefish.