The inshore fishing in Cabo San Lucas is dominated by the panga fleet and their indomitable owners.
I have fished with lots of these guys and they are all very knowledgeable and professional although I have to say that their fishing gear is often…well-used. That is not an issue for me as I have my own stuff, but it is worth thinking about when you are picking your own panga; may be wise to ask to see the rods and reels first to see if they suit you.
I’ve fished a lot with a guy called Normando and he is trying to learn English so we’ve made a deal; he speaks to me in English and I speak to him in Spanish. It works out well and he is a genial and companionable fishing partner (I like to have the guys fish with me rather than just drive the boat). His only fault is that he is little portly and he could use a bigger size of jeans or a tighter belt: every time he bends over I get a view of somewhere I could park a bicycle…
The most popular fishing spot for the pangas is along the beach just past El Arco headed up towards the lighthouse. Along this stretch of shore, the rollers are usually massive and it is just on the edge of these that the fish are to be found. It's also on the migration route of the Gray whales and more than once I have had my heart in my mouth as one cruised underneath the panga. If it decided to surface...hmmm...don't want to think about that!
The most numerous is the Sierra mackerel when they are running, usually fall and winter, and you can catch up to 50 in a session. On the usual panga heavy tackle they are no challenge, but if you have a light spinning rod and reel (you can pick one up for about $50 at Jansen in town or even Walmart) it is much more fun. They are fast and aggressive with teeth that will shred lures or cut leaders so a wire trace is mandatory.
Yellowtail cruise here too and will come to a trolled lure or a livebait.
The money fish inshore though is without doubt the Roosterfish. El Gallo is a formidable opponent and if they jumped when hooked up they would be one of the top game fish that you could target.
In Cabo they are present all year in the 5-20lb class, which is plenty big enough to make you wonder what the blazes you have a hold of, the fight is so strong for their size. I have brought Roosters in that were pretty much the same size as the bait they tried to swallow, so they are not shy about what they will eat.
It is in the summer though that the big girls arrive. They follow the schools of mullet and at that time you can hook into something that will pull your arms off if you get lucky.
Of course there are lots of other fish around and I have caught Gar (needlefish locally) and Snapper and Jacks and Ladyfish and even Dorado. I even saw a massive school of what I am certain were Milkfish once – a kind of Tarpon and a species I did not know were in the area and one which is almost impossible to catch on rod and line. I have seen them caught in Australia, on bread of all things, but they studiously ignored everything we threw at them.
Of course, at certain times of the year (mostly winter), those pangas go out there and catch Striped marlin – now that is what you might call a bargain.
$200 for a shot at a marlin? It doesn’t get any better than that surely?