Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Ride or drive, Baja fishing within a few hours of San Diego is great.

1.5-Day Boats are back online with good results

(left): Nice lingcod caught while fishing aboard the Horizon’s first seasonal Baja coastal trip off of Colonet.
(right): Chunky surf perch are back. This one measured 15 inches and weighed just over 2 pounds.
(left): Nice lingcod caught while fishing aboard the Horizon’s first seasonal Baja coastal trip off of Colonet.
(right): Chunky surf perch are back. This one measured 15 inches and weighed just over 2 pounds.

Dock Totals 2/11 – 2/17: 465 anglers aboard 23 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past week caught 9 bonito, 33 calico bass, 17 lingcod, 3 halibut, 9 perch, 185 rockfish, 661 sand bass, 446 sculpin, 2 sheephead, 1001 whitefish, and 2 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Better conditions this past week allowed for more trips in local waters for the half-day and extended half-day fleet targeting mostly sand bass, sculpin, and whitefish. One boat, the Nautilus out of H&M Landing, did make it out for a full-day run into Mexican waters for rockfish and reported limits for the six anglers aboard. No lobster trips made it out this week, though the Alicia and Jig Strike have plenty of hoop-netting trips scheduled until the season ends at midnight Wednesday, March 20. Those trips book up pretty quick, especially as the season is ending, so it is best to make a reservation ahead of time.

The Horizon began their 1.5-day Baja coast schedule for 2024 with 18 anglers aboard and reported good success on rockfish, lingcod, and a couple scrappy yellowtail off Colonet. With more boats like the Old Glory, Pacific Voyager, and Pacific Dawn beginning their 1.5 to 2.5-day runs this coming week, I expect to see more lingcod and yellowtail in the counts. As of this writing, the Pacific Voyager is off the Baja coast in the middle of a 2.5-day run with 21 yellowtail in the hold from 18 to 25 pounds. From Ensenada south along the coast of Baja California, fishing has been steady for the local pangeros when conditions allow, with good results on yellowtail, bonito, rockfish, and lingcod. 

That good fishing continues into Baja California Sur with the exception of lingcod and rockfish as the inshore/offshore biospheres changes to a more semi-tropical marine climate. Kelp dies out as one goes south and the range of species change. Some fish, like yellowtail, are able to stand wider variances in water temperature. Calico bass, or kelp bass, and sheephead can live a bit further south than the kelp forests extend, but begin to wane along the southern stretch of the Vizcaino Peninsula in the southern state of Baja. South of there, from San Ignacio Lagoon to near Cabo San Lucas, snook and groupers tend to be more prominent inshore. 

Sponsored
Sponsored

There haven’t been any trips running far offshore as of yet due to weather (plus, it’s still not quite the season), but commercial fleets are still working 40 to 60 miles off the coast in Mexican water from just south of the Corner down to outside of San Quintin for bluefin tuna with good success. Further south, where conditions have been much more pleasant, the long-range fleet has been catching some standout yellowfin tuna up to over 250-pounds along with some decent wahoo in the mix. That action is mostly along the Ridge and other high spots outside of Bahia Magdalena. 

As reported last week, surf fishing has been warming up nicely, with even a few halibut showing, though most of those caught have been more in Bay mouths and channels. It’s still a bit early for halibut to spawn, which is when we see more of them sliding up on beaches. However, perch fishing seems to be improving daily, with more pregnant females in the mix indicating a widespread spawn on beaches from the OC down into Baja California. Here in San Quintin, I have been catching dozens on each journey to the beach and the size has increased quite a bit over the past couple weeks. Since November, it has been slow, and most fish caught were what my friend calls ‘keychain’ sized, as in about the size of a leather tab on a keychain. Yesterday, I caught a dozen that were over 1 pound, with the largest coming in at just over 2 pounds and 15 inches long. Most of the larger fish from now into June or so will be pregnant females, so best to release them if able.

Though I am fully supportive of our vast and capable fleet of sportfishing vessels and crews in San Diego, the cost can seem a bit steep once one considers multi-day trips. One alternative is to drive south and hire a panga than can get to some of those same areas fished by many of our 1.5 to 8-day trips. True, the smaller pangas are limited in range and the offshore spots further out than 30-miles are generally out of the question, but for the closer high spots, a drive south can be a great alternative. Cost will be a little cheaper to somewhat the same, but the experience can be much different and allow for a more varied experience. (This, of course, depends on where one stays and how many pitch in.) 

For example, a full day fishing on a panga is usually from early morning to early afternoon, though the trip out is usually short, maybe an hour or so. The cost at most outfits is somewhere around $400 for a panga that can accommodate up to three anglers. Other expenses would be fuel, required FMMs (Forma Migration Multiple, which replaced the Tourist Visas in 2010), and Mexican fishing licenses. FMMs and an annual license would run just over $100 for each person, and both are required. Insurance will vary per vehicle and coverage, but mine is $260 for six months. If planning on more than one trip, both an annual license and car insurance cost will drop per trip. 

So, if three anglers want to team up and drive down for a couple days of fishing from a panga, they could expect to spend $800 for the boat, a 15% tip of $120, maybe $300.00 for three nights in a quality motel room, and a tank to tank and a half of gas, so let’s add $120 for that. That would come to $1340 plus food and drinks. Food, and especially drinks can vary widely, but $50 per day per person is sufficient. Add another $450. Three people pitching in together can enjoy two days fishing and one travel day, to anywhere from Ensenada to San Quintin, for around $1800.00 total, or $600.00 each. Three day trips out of San Diego aboard one of our fine vessels run around $1000 per person, and you still have drinks and tips to consider. The experiences will be totally different – riding the boat down doesn’t involve the drive, border wait, and intangibles that can occur when traveling in a foreign country. But driving down can be an adventure, with more opportunity for sightseeing and street food vendors. As reports of theft and violence tend to get overexposure in the news, I can attest by my own experience going back for decades that Baja, especially, is much safer than one might think given the hyperbole. Either way, they’re out there, so go get ‘em!

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Goldfish events are about musical escapism

Live/electronic duo journeyed from South Africa to Ibiza to San Diego
Next Article

Why you climb El Cajon Mountain at night

The man with no rope fell 500 feet
(left): Nice lingcod caught while fishing aboard the Horizon’s first seasonal Baja coastal trip off of Colonet.
(right): Chunky surf perch are back. This one measured 15 inches and weighed just over 2 pounds.
(left): Nice lingcod caught while fishing aboard the Horizon’s first seasonal Baja coastal trip off of Colonet.
(right): Chunky surf perch are back. This one measured 15 inches and weighed just over 2 pounds.

Dock Totals 2/11 – 2/17: 465 anglers aboard 23 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past week caught 9 bonito, 33 calico bass, 17 lingcod, 3 halibut, 9 perch, 185 rockfish, 661 sand bass, 446 sculpin, 2 sheephead, 1001 whitefish, and 2 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Better conditions this past week allowed for more trips in local waters for the half-day and extended half-day fleet targeting mostly sand bass, sculpin, and whitefish. One boat, the Nautilus out of H&M Landing, did make it out for a full-day run into Mexican waters for rockfish and reported limits for the six anglers aboard. No lobster trips made it out this week, though the Alicia and Jig Strike have plenty of hoop-netting trips scheduled until the season ends at midnight Wednesday, March 20. Those trips book up pretty quick, especially as the season is ending, so it is best to make a reservation ahead of time.

The Horizon began their 1.5-day Baja coast schedule for 2024 with 18 anglers aboard and reported good success on rockfish, lingcod, and a couple scrappy yellowtail off Colonet. With more boats like the Old Glory, Pacific Voyager, and Pacific Dawn beginning their 1.5 to 2.5-day runs this coming week, I expect to see more lingcod and yellowtail in the counts. As of this writing, the Pacific Voyager is off the Baja coast in the middle of a 2.5-day run with 21 yellowtail in the hold from 18 to 25 pounds. From Ensenada south along the coast of Baja California, fishing has been steady for the local pangeros when conditions allow, with good results on yellowtail, bonito, rockfish, and lingcod. 

That good fishing continues into Baja California Sur with the exception of lingcod and rockfish as the inshore/offshore biospheres changes to a more semi-tropical marine climate. Kelp dies out as one goes south and the range of species change. Some fish, like yellowtail, are able to stand wider variances in water temperature. Calico bass, or kelp bass, and sheephead can live a bit further south than the kelp forests extend, but begin to wane along the southern stretch of the Vizcaino Peninsula in the southern state of Baja. South of there, from San Ignacio Lagoon to near Cabo San Lucas, snook and groupers tend to be more prominent inshore. 

Sponsored
Sponsored

There haven’t been any trips running far offshore as of yet due to weather (plus, it’s still not quite the season), but commercial fleets are still working 40 to 60 miles off the coast in Mexican water from just south of the Corner down to outside of San Quintin for bluefin tuna with good success. Further south, where conditions have been much more pleasant, the long-range fleet has been catching some standout yellowfin tuna up to over 250-pounds along with some decent wahoo in the mix. That action is mostly along the Ridge and other high spots outside of Bahia Magdalena. 

As reported last week, surf fishing has been warming up nicely, with even a few halibut showing, though most of those caught have been more in Bay mouths and channels. It’s still a bit early for halibut to spawn, which is when we see more of them sliding up on beaches. However, perch fishing seems to be improving daily, with more pregnant females in the mix indicating a widespread spawn on beaches from the OC down into Baja California. Here in San Quintin, I have been catching dozens on each journey to the beach and the size has increased quite a bit over the past couple weeks. Since November, it has been slow, and most fish caught were what my friend calls ‘keychain’ sized, as in about the size of a leather tab on a keychain. Yesterday, I caught a dozen that were over 1 pound, with the largest coming in at just over 2 pounds and 15 inches long. Most of the larger fish from now into June or so will be pregnant females, so best to release them if able.

Though I am fully supportive of our vast and capable fleet of sportfishing vessels and crews in San Diego, the cost can seem a bit steep once one considers multi-day trips. One alternative is to drive south and hire a panga than can get to some of those same areas fished by many of our 1.5 to 8-day trips. True, the smaller pangas are limited in range and the offshore spots further out than 30-miles are generally out of the question, but for the closer high spots, a drive south can be a great alternative. Cost will be a little cheaper to somewhat the same, but the experience can be much different and allow for a more varied experience. (This, of course, depends on where one stays and how many pitch in.) 

For example, a full day fishing on a panga is usually from early morning to early afternoon, though the trip out is usually short, maybe an hour or so. The cost at most outfits is somewhere around $400 for a panga that can accommodate up to three anglers. Other expenses would be fuel, required FMMs (Forma Migration Multiple, which replaced the Tourist Visas in 2010), and Mexican fishing licenses. FMMs and an annual license would run just over $100 for each person, and both are required. Insurance will vary per vehicle and coverage, but mine is $260 for six months. If planning on more than one trip, both an annual license and car insurance cost will drop per trip. 

So, if three anglers want to team up and drive down for a couple days of fishing from a panga, they could expect to spend $800 for the boat, a 15% tip of $120, maybe $300.00 for three nights in a quality motel room, and a tank to tank and a half of gas, so let’s add $120 for that. That would come to $1340 plus food and drinks. Food, and especially drinks can vary widely, but $50 per day per person is sufficient. Add another $450. Three people pitching in together can enjoy two days fishing and one travel day, to anywhere from Ensenada to San Quintin, for around $1800.00 total, or $600.00 each. Three day trips out of San Diego aboard one of our fine vessels run around $1000 per person, and you still have drinks and tips to consider. The experiences will be totally different – riding the boat down doesn’t involve the drive, border wait, and intangibles that can occur when traveling in a foreign country. But driving down can be an adventure, with more opportunity for sightseeing and street food vendors. As reports of theft and violence tend to get overexposure in the news, I can attest by my own experience going back for decades that Baja, especially, is much safer than one might think given the hyperbole. Either way, they’re out there, so go get ‘em!

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

For its pilsner, Stone opts for public hops

"We really enjoyed the American Hop profile in our Pilsners"
Next Article

Chula Vista not boring

I had to play “Johnny B. Goode” five times in a row. I got knocked out with an upper-cut on stage for not playing Aerosmith.
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.