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Imagine the dream: you wake up as the first rays of sunlight are illuminating the horizon. You head to the marina, where your Captain is waiting for you. The boat is good to go so you jump aboard and get the paperwork done on your fishing license and then you’re off to get some bait, either from the local panga guys or to catch some yourself. Bait in the well, the engines are cranked up and you’re headed out into the blue. If you’re new to the area, and you’re smart, you’ll let your Captain pick the destination: they know where the fish are bitin’ after all.
The run out can take an hour or more – sometimes the fish are far away and you need to make sure you are with a charter that will go the distance; something that is not always explained fully when the cheapest price is being negotiated on the marina. If you’re serious about fishing, ask the right questions before you shake hands on the deal, otherwise all you’ll get is a boat ride around the bay! Gas is the biggest cost of the charter – if they need to burn it to get to the fish somebody has to pay for it.
The money fish around Los Cabos is, of course, marlin and there are Blues and Blacks in season (July – October normally), however the most reliable catch will be Striped marlin. This feisty speedster can stack up in stupefying numbers off Cabo – double figure catches in a day are not unheard of and there have been some astonishing catches made when conditions are right. They are mostly caught by pulling lures or dead baits and then, when you get one in the spread, a well-pitched live bait usually seals the deal. At times you can even catch them by free-lining a live mackerel from a drifting boat: now that is something quite unique and has to be experienced to be believed! It happens when the bait stacks up over the famous Golden Gate and pray you are in Cabo when that happens – you’ll have your arms pulled off!
Stripers are, for many folks, the perfect marlin. They run around 100-180lbs off Cabo and that usually translates into about a 30 minute fight. It’s a tough 30 minutes though, and some Captains are very aggressive on backing down so that they fight is shortened (better for the fish and means you can go fishing again real fast!). Where Stripers excel though is in their initial reel searing runs with them usually grey-hounding and jumping spectacularly. Breath-taking.
As well as marlin, there are dorado, wahoo, tuna, roosterfish, sierras…and many more that will put a serious bend in your rod.
Catch and Release is highly encouraged, especially for marlin, but there are normally enough opportunities to catch something tasty for the table for you to enjoy when you get back to the dock. In fact, many restaurants in Cabo will happily cook your catch for you. Washed down with a few cold beers there isn’t a better way to end the day.
For many visitors and locals in Los Cabos, this isn’t a dream, but a reality. Fishing in Los Cabos is a world-famous phenomenon, drawing sports fishermen from all corners of the globe. It’s like stepping back in time, to a time before the arrival of commercial fishing.
Let's face it: Cabo an Lucas is still largely a fishing town.
So why is it that Los Cabos is such a great place for sport fishing? The secret lies in a combination of environmental features that align to make fishing some of the best in the world. Two oceans meet in Los Cabos, the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. A huge part of what make Los Cabo great for fishing is the California current, which brings nutrient-rich waters from the north and allows the waters of Los Cabos to support huge populations of fish. These cool Pacific waters meet the warm waters of the Mexican coastline right at the point of the peninsula, at Cabo San Lucas. The tidal currents of the Sea of Cortez mix these two waters together and the result is an abundance of eddies and gyres that promotes a huge food chain from plankton to bait to marlin to whales.
Combine the ideal water conditions with underwater seamounts and vast ledges and you have a near perfect fishing location.
This unique environ was a secret from the rest of the world until about the 1950s, when this sleepy fishing village witnessed the first rush of millionaires that built their luxury homes around Cabo San Lucas. Now, Los Cabos has coalesced much of the world to become a fisherman’s Mecca. International fishing tournaments come to Los Cabos every year, bringing in visitors and a whole lot of fish . But it’s not all glitzy competition, and anyone with a hankering for fish can get out on the water and try their hand.
Cabo San Lucas is the most developed area for chartering a boat. A number of companies offer packages, which range from simple pangas to high-end luxury yachts. You can check them out here on iTravel-Cabo. San Lucas has the advantage of being right at the meeting point of the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez, opening up a variety of options for fishermen.
San Jose del Cabo, about 20 minutes north along the Sea of Cortez, has opened a sparkling new marina and is home to a bourgeoning charter market. Right next to the marina in San Jose, you’ll find La Playita, an iconic local beach where families and fishermen come to share the wealth of the sea. Here, interested fishermen can find traditional pangas, beach-launched boats that catch the abundant reef fish, right alongside sumptuous yachts. San Jose is near the famous East Cape, a fertile fishing ground along in the Sea of Cortez.
San Jose and San Lucas are undoubtedly the most popular places for chartering a vessel, considering their locations and the well-developed marinas. If your destination is outside of Los Cabos you can also find marinas along the coast, in La Paz, Cabo Riviera (near La Ribera in the East Cape), Los Barriles and more.