Cedros Fishing Explodes; Dorado and Tuna Join the Frenzy!

by Tom Gatch

September 15, 2023

It was bound to happen after Hurricane Hilary swept up the Pacific coast of Baja California in late August. The swirling waters left in the wake of the powerful storm eventually worked their way north, bringing with them a host of exotic fish species such as dorado and yellowfin tuna; once again validating the old adage that ‘it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good’.

The benefits enjoyed by Cedros anglers from this turnabout in weather and fishing conditions have been significant since they now have access to an even greater variety of species.  While the specific bite on any given day can vary, our guests have been able to hook up with quality-grade dorado and yellowfin tuna in addition to the usual big home-guard yellowtail, white seabass, calico bass, and halibut.

The weather and ocean conditions have also been extremely favorable in contributing to the blissful days that visiting anglers have been able to enjoy out on the water. As is typical in early fall, the daytime temps are warm and sunny, but not too hot, which makes for far more comfortable fishing when you are out in a panga all day. As an added bonus, there have also been plenty of live baitfish available, adding to the variety of species that can be successfully targeted.

SoCal anglers, Rick Hopper, Jay Shultz, and Jack Millin, were visiting Isla Cedros for the first time and were surprised at the quality of fishing that they encountered on their trip. The trio caught limits of fat yellowtail up to 30 pounds or more using scrambled egg patterned Salas jigs.

They also took advantage of the ever-present Pacific bonito that have been a bycatch over the past several weeks. Rather than being disappointed when they inadvertently hooked one, they employed the old trick of cutting it up into chunk bait and dropping it down to the bottom to catch bass, ocean whitefish, and even a chunky 20-pound sheephead.

By the end of their trip, the group agreed that they were amazed by the quantity and quality of the fish that they caught.  Hopper concluded his report by saying that they enjoyed a classic saltwater fishing adventure that was further enhanced by the “…impeccable service from the staff at the Magic Lodge.”

Last week, Bill Egan, a former staffer with Western Outdoor News, brought down another WON Charter to the Island that was comprised of 11 anglers, several of whom had been to Cedros previously.

Egan reported that, despite the occasional light winds, the group was still able to score several yellowtail that weighed between 15 and 40 pounds, few white seabass up to 28 pounds, and dorado in the 15 to 25-pound range. He added that they also had a great time catching and releasing the fat calico bass that Cedros Island has become famous for.

Long Beach resident, Steve Bivinetto, who had visited the Island on several different occasions, brought a group of 8 fishing buddies along with him this time. Rather than making live bait, they decided to fish almost exclusively on the troll, pulling Rapala X-Rap lures at between 6 and 9 knots.

This technique paid off big time, as the anglers nailed yellowtail between 20 and 25 -pounds, dorado weighing up to 25 pounds, and limits on several days of yellowfin tuna in the 15 to 25-pound class.

One thing is certain, as we head into the next few months, Mother Nature may have even more surprises in store for us; possibly even a few wahoo to go along with the dorado and yellowfin tuna that are already being caught. All we can do is cross our fingers.