Prime Fall Fishing Continues!

by Tom Gatch

October 15, 2023

Cedros Island is a truly unique fishing destination. The fact that it is situated just over 13 miles northwest of Punta Eugenia, which is the westernmost point in the state of Baja California Sur, allows visiting anglers to enjoy a combination of both inshore and offshore fishing opportunities that would be hard to come by elsewhere. So far, the 2023 season has demonstrated just how varied the fishing can be when it comes to the wide variety of species that have been available over the past few months.

Unlike many other years when the late summer hurricane season begins off the west coast of the Mexican mainland the storms tend to head north until the reach the southern tip of the Baja peninsula, where they generally begin to dissipate.  However, this year Hurricane Hilary broke that pattern and moved all the way up the coast into central Baja and greatly impacted the fishing around Isla Cedros.

Although things were disrupted at first, after the storm had passed it pushed forth a flood of warm water northward, which brought with it a bevy of popular gamefish including dorado, yellowfin tuna, and even a few marlin.

A few weeks ago, Chris Marek, from Santa Barbara, was the lucky angler who caught the first striped marlin that had been taken around the Island in a few years. It was his first trip to Cedros and he was accompanied on the trip by his buddy, Steve Morales, who had been to the Island before and had raved about the great fishing that he had experienced when he visited.

The duo scored big time with several dorado in the 15 to 20-pound class while trolling black and purple feathered jet heads. Marek also said that they also managed to take limits of big yellowtail between 20 and 25 pounds by trolling blue mackerel Rapalas and throwing surface iron in mint green and scrambled egg patterns.

One of our regular charter clients, Charlie Thompson and Bass Rash Rods, brought over their second group of 12 anglers this season. One of the group, Brian Beckham, was there for the first time and was amazed by the quantity and quality of the fish that he was able to catch.

Beckham reported that the group consistently took limits of chunky yellowtail on blue mackerel Rapalas and iron, and also trolled outside for dorado limits of fish weighing up to 17 pounds or so. He also said that they caught several halibut between 5 and 15 pounds on live bait while fishing the sandy bottom on the lee side of the Island.

Beckam also indicated that the fishing for big calico bass around Isla Natividad was off the charts, and they caught and released multitudes of the big checkerboards using Gulp baits and Big Hammer plastics.  Jason Landrom, also with the Bass Rash Rods charter, reported that he took limits of yellowtail up to 20 pounds as well as an 18-pound halibut on a live sardine.

Mike Hidahl, a first time angler from Chico, came over with a party of 9 other anglers and said that they ended up with limits of yellowtail while trolling Rapalas, and also caught several dorado between 18 and 20-pounds that were taken on feather jigs.  They also caught halibut between 8 to 10 pounds on live bait. Hidahl indicated that they encountered no red crabs where they were fishing, but lots of bonito.

Another first-timer, Gary Hutton, of Cardiff, came to Cedros with a group of 12 anglers led by Joe and Jerry Metee of VG Donuts, also located in Cardiff, California. He said that they took a lot of yellowtail weighing between 12 and 30 pounds, and also several dorado off of the floating kelp paddies.

Hutton indicated that most of those fish weighed between 10 and 25- pounds and were taken on pink and purple feathers. He concluded by saying that a few members of the group also fished the lee side of the Island and ended up with a number of halibut up to 25 pounds that were caught on live bait and plastics.

Although we are still hoping for a few wahoo to pass our way before the season ends, nobody is complaining about the excellent fishing that we are experiencing right now. The good news is, there is still enough time to get in on the fun before the colder weather begins to arrive.