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The areas fished depend on the length of trip you decide to take. Let us start with the shortest trips. From the second week of July through August and into September long range boats run two, three, four and five day TUNA/FREE-LANCE trips. Albacore is the most valued member of the tuna family and is prized by both commercial and sportsmen alike. Bluefin and Yellowfin usually arrive off the Southern California Coast within the second week of July along with the elusive albacore. Good to excellent tuna fishing will sometimes be within 30 or 40 miles offshore, or they might be 300 miles out. With no way to tell in advance, taking the longer trips makes more sense than going on a one-day trip. Now about "Free-lance", what this basically means is that if for some reason they are unable to put their customers into good and productive fishing for tuna, the boats reserve the right to fish San Martin, San Benitos, or Guadalupe Islands.
This brings us to September through November, when boats run eight, nine, and ten day Fall trips. These trips offer the greatest variety of fish. You have the opportunity to fish for Wahoo, Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Yellowtail, Dorado, grouper, bass and many other species. All within 600 miles of San Diego at this time of year. These trips are very popular with our customers, fishing San Pablo, Uncle Sam Bank, Thetis Bank, Magdalena Bay area and as far out as Alijos Rocks.
From November through May long range boats run 14 to 18 day giant yellowfin tuna-wahoo specials. The area fished is the Revilla Gigedos Island group, which is made up of San Benedicto, Socorro and Clarion Islands, Roca Partida with an occasional trip to Hurricane Bank (Shamada Seamount). The Yellowfin Tuna grow to tremendous size in these areas and several world records have been taken in the past few years. We are sure there is a 400 pound yellowfin down there just daring you to take him on. The Wahoo fishing is the best to be found anywhere. In addition to this you can catch Rainbow Runners, Dorado and several species of jacks and grouper. There is always the chance you will find yourself hooked up with a Marlin or Sailfish.
During June and July boats run six and eight day trips. The primary target on these trips is Pacific Yellowtail and tuna. The yellowtail is a hard fighting game fish, and very good table fare. Other species that may also be taken on these trips include Bluefin, Yellowfin, Calico Bass, White Sea Bass and grouper as well as assorted rock fish. The areas fished on a six day trip include Guadalupe, San Martin, San Benitos, Cedros Islands, and as far down as San Pablo Bay. On an eight day trip the Rooster can fish as far down as Magdalena Bay and as far out as Alijos Rocks. Good catches of Yellowfin tuna to 200 pounds have been landed on these eight day trips. If conditions are right, during July there is a good chance of running into schools of tuna on the way.
HISTORY OF AREAS
The whole coast of Baja California is a 750 mile stretch of ruggedly beautiful desert wilderness. Baja is very mountainous from the California Border south for about 400 miles, and from there to the end it is 350 miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Several beautiful bays and small protected anchorages line the coast and offer a welcome retreat after a hard days fishing. These retreats are where the mackerel are caught to be used as bait on the following day.
When you see the islands off Baja California it will be apparent to you that they are 100% volcanic origin, and Guadalupe Island is no exception. Located 150 miles off the coast of Baja California and 220 miles south of San Diego, Guadalupe is 22 miles long and 5 miles wide at the north end where the elevation goes from sea level to over 4000 feet in an almost vertical climb. The only human population on the island is on the south end, where the Mexican Navy maintains a weather station. A few seasonal Mexican lobster fisherman and abalone divers maintain a camp in the north-west anchorage. Guadalupe was designated as a Federal Wildlife Preserve to protect the sea elephant and Guadalupe fur seals that were hunted to near extinction, they now have made quite a comeback. There is a large population of Spanish goats on the island that make their home on the high slopes. During the dry seasons these goats often come down to graze on sparse greenery that grows on the lower parts of the island. Guadalupe Island was used long ago as a Mexican Federal Prison, and ruins can still be seen at the north anchorage.
The largest island on the west coast of Baja is Cedros, which is only 15 miles off the Mexican coast and 280 miles south-east of San Diego. Cedros Island is 22 miles long and 9 miles wide at the south end, the peak elevation is just under 4,000 feet. This island has a population of about 3000 people. There are two industries on the island: a large cannery that processes mackerel, lobster and abalone, and a salt works. The salt works is quite a large operation where thousands of tons of salt are stored and shipped by tanker after being collected in huge evaporation ponds in Scammons Lagoon, 50 miles east of Cedros Island. Scammons Lagoon is known as one of the main breeding and calving grounds for the California Gray Whale that are seen in large numbers up and down the coast in winter months. Located 15 miles west of Cedros Island are the San Benitos Islands, a fairly small group of islands inhabited only seasonally by Mexican lobster fishermen.
Alijos Rocks is located 500 miles south of San Diego and 150 miles offshore. When you see these rugged, desolated rocks you are seeing the summit of a mountain that is close to 12,000 feet high with only the last 112 feet above water. At this distance from San Diego on the mainland you will find Magdalena Bay, which is one of the largest naturally protected bays in the world, further south is Cabo San Lucas.
Lying 220 miles south-west of Cabo San Lucas is San Benidicto Island, which is the start of the Revilla Gigedo Island group. This group includes Socorro, Clarion, San Benidicto, and Roca Partida. On Socorro and Clarion the Mexican Navy maintains weathers stations. Socorro is 10 miles in diameter and has a peak elevation of 3,700 feet. Clarion is 5 miles by 2 miles, has a 1,000 foot peak elevation, and is the furthest offshore at nearly 400 miles from Cabo San Lucas. These two islands are the oldest of the group and are covered with dense vegetation while San Benidicto, an active volcano, is the youngest and still quite barren. This area off Baja is quite virgin noted by the volcano eruption on Socorro Island in early 1993 causing the island to be evacuated. Hurricane Bank, also known as the Shamada Seamount, is almost 200 miles from Clarion and 600 miles from Cabo San Lucas. Roca Partida is the Alijos Rocks of these semi-tropic waters, a 110 foot high lonesome twin peak rock out in the middle of nowhere with only the fish and sea-birds keeping it company between our visits there
Text and Map courtesty of Lee Palm Sportfishers