Over the past few weeks, tropical weather systems down near the tip of the Baja peninsula have brought more humidity to Cedros and its neighboring islands along with changing water conditions that have altered the complexion of the types of fish being caught. The water temperature has been hovering between 72 and 73 degrees, which has made for some great fishing for numerous species.

In addition to the big yellowtail and calico bass that have made Isla Cedros famous, we are now seeing an influx of quality-grade white seabass weighing up to 45 pounds or more. However, on the other side of the coin, hordes of Pacific bonito and big, ‘log’ barracuda weighing up to 12 pounds are also present, which is a bit reminiscent of summer fishing off the southern California coast back in the 1960s.

One of the greatest impacts that these large schools of ravenous predators have had on local fishing is making the usually present native population of smaller, bait-sized mackerel virtually disappear in fear for their lives. Hence, making live bait for species like halibut has been a bit challenging.

The good news is that even the halibut off Cedros will attack well-presented lures, and that is exactly what the anglers at COA’s ‘Magic Lodge’ have been using to catch the vast majority of the fish that they have been taking.

As it turns out, the most successful lures for the yellowtail and white seabass have been surface and bottom iron in blue & white, blue & chrome, and mint green. The halibut on the sandy lee side of the island tend to respond well to 5 to 7-inch plastic swimbaits in sardine or anchovy patterns, and those big calico bass will also quickly inhale an iron, or plastic artificial, although the best color patterns for them are red, or red/green combinations.

First-time Cedros angler, Chris Swearingen, accompanied his friends, Mark Fineman, and Robert Chavez, who have both to the Island several times before over previous years. Chris had no idea what was in store for him once he had arrived. The trio came with visions of big yellowtail and seabass and were not disappointed.

Their success, however, came quickly as all 3 anglers began throwing 4/0 blue & white iron and each hooked up to feisty yellowtail. Unfortunately, they all ended up getting broken off. Swearingen reported, “I was disappointed, but in a hurry to get my lure back in the water and, on my second cast of the trip, I ended up with one of the biggest birds-nests that I have ever had to try to untangle.”

When he was finally successful after several frustrating minutes, Swearingen began reeling his line in and got the surprise of his life. “I realized that there was actually a fish on my line, a really big fish!” After a spirited battle, a 45-pound white seabass was brought to gaff.

By the conclusion of their trip, the group ended up with several more seabass and yellowtail up to 25 pounds. They also caught and released many large calicos weighing up to 6 pounds.

Bob McCabe, Joe McLeod, Dylan Staack, and young Sawyer Staack came to Cedros Island with a party of 12 anglers.

The group did extremely well in catching large white seabass, yellowtail, and even a nice halibut, which was taken on a lure. It was young Sawyer’s first trip to Cedros and, from the broad smile that he was wearing throughout the trip, it will likely not be his last.

One of the groups that regularly pays us a visit this time of year is the annual Jeff Long Memorial trip, which has been conducted for the past 6 years by Noli Yan out of Huntington Beach.

This year, a total of 11 anglers participated, some were on Cedros for the first time while those who had been there before were looking forward to watching the newbies as they experienced some of the best saltwater fishing that they had likely ever encountered before.

There have already been a few sightings of occasional dorado being noted, although none have yet been caught. Nonetheless, they will likely be showing up in far greater numbers as the weeks progress.

There are still a handful of prime dates that are open over the next few months, so if you are in a position to get in on the action, give us a call. If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the fish!