Baja California, comprised of two states in Mexico, is a 1,100-mile-long arm extending from Alta California -- better known as simply California -- between the vast blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, which Jacques Cousteau once labeled "The Aquarium of the World" for its biodiversity. This makes it a mecca for deep-sea fishermen in pursuit of a big catch -- the biggest blue marlins can weigh over 1,000 pounds.
But people are advised to fish responsibly: Catch-and-release is recommended with many trophy fish, including marlin. They aren't very tasty and the trophy is merely a facsimile of a fish that you could pick up in a junk store for half the price. Dorado and yellowtail are more plentiful, but there's no need to catch more than those aboard can eat.
The catch in the Sea of Cortez changes with the season. The best months for dorado, marlin, and yellowfin tuna are June, July, and August. Those seeking yellowtail should visit March through May. There is a nice seasonal chart up at the website www.bajafishing.com.
I've personally booked through Blue Water Tours (tel. 562/799-8475; www.bluewaterfishing.com) in Long Beach, California, on several fishing trips to La Paz and Loreto and heartily recommend them. They offer package that include airfare from Los Angeles, accommodations, fishing, and airport taxis in Mexico in Loreto, La Paz, and Cabo San Lucas, as well as other destinations on the peninsula. Expect to pay about $800 to $1,000 per person for three-night trips with two days of fishing on a super panga boat, and more for deep-sea boats.
1. La Paz is my favorite bigger city in Baja California and it offers one of the best locations for deep-sea fishing -- not to mention sea kayaking, scuba diving, and snorkeling. I've gone out with Mosquito Fleet (tel. 877/408-6769; www.bajamosquitofleet.com) several times and recommend their services.
2. About midway down the peninsula, Loreto (www.loreto.com) is small and fairly quiet, defined by the 18th-century Spanish mission on the laurel-lined central plaza and the brand-new resorts five miles south of town. This is an excellent area to launch trips to fish for yellowtail, dorado, and other species.
3. Cabo San Lucas offers anglers access to both the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez, plus the biggest city in B.C.S. at Finisterra -- the literal end of the earth. It offers more nightlife than the rest of Baja put together, which can be a bit of a curse for those looking to rise for a fishing excursion at the crack of dawn. There are numerous fishing guide services based out of the harbor.
4. About 80 miles north of Loreto, Mulegé (www.mulege.net) is a town of about 3,000 people with a historic 18th-century mission and one of the greenest locations on the peninsula. It wasn't known for its fishing because the sea's waters have been extensively trawled for shrimp in the area, but a comeback has been reported in the lush palm-lined estuary that runs through town. Anglers have the unique opportunity to land a big, tasty snook at the estuary's mouth.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers in our Baja California Forum today.