Having a couple of tacos and a cold beer on the beaches of Baja, Mexico is one of the things I love to do. Especially when you have just speared the fish yourself – you just can’t beat it! If you are interested in finding out the best spots to spearfish and types of fish you will find in Baja? Read on to find out.
First, a quick overview of spearfishing and then we will continue with the pleasures of spearfishing in Baja.
Spearfishing, in short, is the activity of fishing using a spear, and although it is an ancient method of fishing, it has been modernized to be used in our modern day life. Essentially, the spearfishing experience can be done through free-diving, scuba diving, or even snorkeling.
1. From the Shore
Being the most common form of spearfishing, shore diving is basically entering or exiting the sea from headlands or beaches. Divers are accustomed to spearfish in 5 to 25 meters deep water.
Headlands are often chosen over beaches, because being close to deep water is a common preference among spearos. Timing is crucial to put in mind when practicing shore diving, as the wave can thrust you onto the rocks. The easier option is beach entry, but a challenge is fighting the waves to get to the surf line.
Professional shore divers recommend threading the catch on a float to serve as a catch bag because it drastically slows down your movement. Spearguns and pole spears can be used specifically for shore diving.
2. From a Boat
Although this method is similar to shore diving concerning the gear needed, they widely differ in accessibility. To reach islands and offshore reefs, a boat or a kayak is necessary. Caution is required when in presence of such sharp equipment on the boat.
3. Bluewater Hunting
Blue Water Hunting takes place in drifts, that’s why elite spearfishers favor this type over the others. Spearfishers dive in clear and deep water in order to find certain types of fish. The prolonged process can cause sensory deprivation for some divers, they may misjudge a gigantic fish for a small one, which could be life-threatening.
Breakaway rigs and multi-band wooden guns are specifically needed for this type of spearfishing, the rest of the gear is the same as the two other types.
Baja, Mexico (Baja, California) comes to a point at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Being the meeting point of the Sea of Cortes and the Pacific Ocean, it is considered an ideal environment for marine life, because of its exceptional ocean currents and its nutrients filled waters. It is a place where you find experienced professionals and quality gear combined.
They offer private, semi-private reef tours and blue water spearfishing for both inexperienced beginners and experienced professionals. Their inclusive packages for tours are freediving gear, spearfishing gear, boat charter and captain, an experienced spearfishing professional, and other essentials.
In Baja California, recreational spearfishing is completely legal, as long as it is practiced on fish. You do need a license. Click here to get one directly. Spearfishing crustaceous, aquatic mammals, reptiles, amphibious, and mollusks are completely banned, with squid being the exception. Check the Official Mexican Norm NOM-017-1994, for the regulation of recreational-sport fishing activities.
Ideal Spearfishing Spots in Baja
Located at the bottom of Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos provides a vast amount of water for exploration. San Jose Del Cabo is the ideal starting point to head off hordes of pelagics beasts, moving from the Pacific into the Sea of Cortez.
Gordo Banks is a gigantic undersea mountain, which is considered one of the most significant locations there, focuses bait on beast of prey fish like tuna and marlin. This engages you for days on end. For an unforgettable experience, check out the nearby reefs where you can encounter species like pargo, snapper, and grouper.
Spanish for peace, La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. The crystal clear water that sloshes against beautiful white sand beaches of La Paz offer the best opportunities for diving, snorkelling and spearfishing.
The Sea of Cortez was called ‘The World’s Aquarium’ because it contains an abundance of fascinating species of fish. La Paz is your ticket to the marine world, with whale watching and even swimming with lions. Cerralvo Island or Espiritu Santo are ideal for hunting pargo and other reef game fish species.
Rancho La Aguja
Located only an hour away from La Paz, on the Pacific coast of Baja, this is your portal to the ocean. The pure, immaculate waters remain untouched due to the difficult accessibility and decrease in tourism compared to the others. The uncongested beaches make the perfect target for spearfishing, because of the abundance of fish.
At the Pacific, there is always an outstanding place to dive in with a variety and a plethora of fish. Pelagics like dorado and wahoo at the deeper rocks are targeted, pargo and groupers at the various vivacious reefs within the space, and finally, yellowfin tuna at the banks.
A rather small fishing village located the farthest away in a bay on the Sea of Cortez, in front of Isla San Jose. A true adventurer would love it there, since it is a home for a wide array of rocks, reefs, fish and blue water sports. Populated by families of fishermen, this village provides you with a homey experience despite the fact that it is very distant.
Spearfishing here allows for multiple experiences for all skill levels, because of the numerous spots and depths. Species that you’re bound to find include big pargo, grouper, amberjack, yellowtail, sailfish, tuna, marlin, and wahoo.
Fish to Look Forward to in Baja
Being opportunistic feeders, this type of fish take bait and escape into the rocks. Catching them is tricky therefore, you need to always be on your feet when luring resistant big pargo.
Colorado Snapper, Dog Snapper, and Barred Pargo inhabit the Sea of Cortez, these will hit if you fish right above the rocks. Snappers have the ability to grow up to fifty pounds, but the majority in Baja are twenty pounds on average.
Ideal months to fish Pargo: April-July
Yellowfin Tuna (Atun Aleta Amarilla)
They are the most commonly found and one of the most popular species of fish in Baja. To catch these you must sum up a great deal of strength because they’re tough ones to reel in. Make sure you are in possession of your top-notch equipment, live bait, and a good fight.
Ideally, yellowfin tuna is to be found through diving schools of birds, therefore, find a school of purposes, fling the live bait and wait for the excitement of your catch.
Months to fish: July-October
Yellowtail (Jurel de Castilla)
In the springtime, when the water is a bit cooler, plenty of yellowtail fish make an appearance. Mackerel and live sardines are the most common bait of choice for this type of fish. When all fails and they refuse to surrender to live bait, blue, green, or yellow bait are sure to do it. Yellowtail weigh about ninety pounds, so muster your energy and prepare for a fast and steady reeling motion.
Months to fish: February-April
Wahoo are characterized by being rapid swimmers, hard to catch, and delicious fish. They prefer the warm water and can swim up to 70mph. Reeling them in is a thrill, and what a challenge that is. Because of their extremely sharp teeth, you’ll need a wire leader that wouldn’t just break in their mouths.
Months to fish: after June, starting July.
Sailfish (Pez Vela)
Another fast, warm water fish that can travel up to 60mph, but is pleasing to the eye.Their dorsal sail gives them a mesmeric appearance, since they do tend to spend most of their time on the surface. Sailfish are not to be taken for granted as they are incredible fighters and will most likely run off your reel. The ideal technique for catching them is the ‘tease and switch’ approach.
Months to fish: after June, starting July.
- Striped Marlin
Most commonly found in the Sea of Cortez, and weigh up to 200 pounds.
- Blue and Black Marlin
Weighing up to 1000 pounds, they appear on occasion and are pretty rare.
This warm water species of fish just love a challenge, and tend to stray away from the top of the ocean. When they infrequently make an appearance on top, luring them with live mackerel or sardines would do the trick. All kinds of marlin prefer green and yellow, purple and black, and blue and white lure.
Months to fish: late June, early July.
Dolphin Fish (Dorado)
Unlike their bright appearance, a Dorado, or a Mahi Mahi can be quite aggressive. In their first year, a Dorado can grow up to 20 pounds in size. They can be caught using trolled lures, live bait and flies. Since they are in fact warm fish, smaller dorado may start visiting the Baja as early as May. If you’re up for a challenge, wait on the water to get warmer for larger ones.
Months to fish: June-November
Spearfishing is both fun and exciting when you’re feeling a little bit adventurous. It is literally catered to all ages and all levels of experience. If you decide on embarking on a spearfishing journey, make sure to follow all regulations and safety precautions.