San Carlos Fishing Report with yearly guide, weekly fishing reports and fishing tournament information. San Carlos Mexico has great fishing in the Sea of Cortez. Sports fishing has been popular here for decades with the waters full of big game fish like marlin (3 types: blue, black and striped), sailfish, tuna, and dorado.
What you can hope to catch changes from month to month. Here’s a general break down (see more details in the week-by-week San Carlos fishing reports below):
- You can find grouper, cabrilla and sierra all year.
- Bonita: May to December.
- Dorado: May until mid October
- Marlin & Sail fish: June through October.
- Skipjack: June
- Yellowtail: October through May.
Some of the good local fishing spots: the Island, San Antonio, Seamount (just outside the entrance to Marina San Carlos), Haystack, San Pedro Point, Doble, Deer Island, the Reef, the Horseshoe. Up the coast at Pando, White Rock, Ensenada. Long boat ride out to Tortuga Island. Lake Oviáchic near Obregon is popular for bass fishing. There’s a map on the bottom of this page.
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Fishing in San Carlos Video
November Fishing Report
Water temps drop into 70s. Occasional storm early in the month.
Marlin in close. Big Sail (300 pound Blue on the reef). Yellowtail outside the Seamounts and around Deer Island. Skipjack, Sierra, bonita (the 15′ purple Rapala seems to be their favorite), some pargo, Roosterfish and Corvina. A lot of the bonita were 6 – 9 pounds, but as the water cools they seem to be getting smaller. Snapper, big cabrilla in close. Some dorado, but most have moved well offshore. Tons of bait in close.
We did find a few larger 10 – 18 pound yellowtail. Trolling within the first few miles for some 9 – 15 pound yellowtail taken on poppers, and jigging worked at times. We had an invasion of small yellowtail, and they came back on Tuesday. A lot of the fish have big mackerel in their bellies. There is a lot of bait out there. Purple seems to be hot at the moment.
I saw one boil of a thousand or so. Most are in small schools chasing limited bait though. It is still a little warm for them.
The shorelines have been black with bait at times.
Whales, dolphin and leaping rays spotting.
It seems to be a pretty consistent pattern. Get up early, catch a lot of fish, and then spend hours cleaning them.
November 30, 2021 Fishing Report
There was a lot of good fishing, but maybe not everywhere and all the time. The fishing is changing every day, hour, and location. A lot of people were around, but the fishing grounds never got too crazy. I think that some decent bites were found all around.
The warm water pushed in, fairly clear, but I don’t see any enthusiasm left for the pelagics. One marlin was caught by a panga in close on a jig. They may have thought that it was a yellowtail, before the video of it had it come up jumping next to the boat. I saw a 10 pound Dorado on the Seamounts. The warm water pushed in and marlin were hooked incidentally. Some good grouper were caught and usually lost in close. Sierra were around, and a ton of Bonita at times. The yellowtail went nuts on the surface at times, and were pushing 17 pounds.
Deer Island still had its fish. They were found all over in close at times. The Island had some good catches of larger fish. There were no reports from up the coast. It was great weather and the fishing was hopefully a bonus!
November 24, 2021 Fishing Report
The bite was decent for most of the week. We managed a yellowtail or two a day and a lot of Bonita. A few marlin and Dorado were out there and pushed in close, but I didn’t hear of anyone targeting them. We chased one on Tuesday inside the Bay. I still think that we may see some warm water move up the coast in the next few days.
Friends found good fishing for large yellowtail on jigs, poppers, and trolling at San Pedro at times. Another boat found world-class yellowtail fishing at Martir, with one going 25 pounds. The boat next to us found a couple cabrilla going up the coast.
The Bonita are still running a pretty good size. The Seamounts was the spot as of press. A few decent Sierra found their way into my smoker. The yellowtail were mostly in close for us, and the last couple were right along the Tetekawi and Doble. Some corvina are in the harbors still. Lots of great weather and the boats will be busy this week!
October Fishing Report
Water temps in the high 80’s at the beginning of the month, then dropping to low 80s. Weather cool to hot throughout the days, with some showers possible. Winds from the Northwest pickup by the end of the month.
Fishing for Bonita, grouper, snapper, cabrilla, sierra, corvina, Skipjack. Yellowtail season starting inshore. Last month for good Marlin, Sail fish & Dorado.
Wildlife spotting: dolphins. Maybe Orcas, mantas, turtle
HammerDown Tournament, every October
- 2021: October 8 – 10. 11 boats competed. 1st place boat: Rebel. Top angler, Gerardo Fausto Grajeda. 2nd place boat: Scorpio. Top angler, Ken Diaz. 3rd place boat: Baby Girl. Top angler, Jeff Golden
- 2020: cancelled
- 2019: Relax took first place with five releases. Only one Dorado made weight, by four ounces, at 12.4 pounds.
- 2018: Seven billfish were caught by 54 anglers on 16 boats. Baby Girl won with 5 billfish and 4 dorado
- 2017: 54 anglers on 20 boats caught 38 billfish. Reel Mistress won
- 2016: 20 fish were caught. There were no weigh-able dorado and no tuna or wahoo caught. On day 1, 6 Sail and 5 marlin were caught, and on day 2, 3 sail, 5 marlin and 2 blue marlin. Telamon came in first and qualified for the World Offshore Invitational Tournament in Costa Rica.
Bisbee’s Black & Blue Tournament, every October in Cabo on the Baja. Boats from San Carlos / Guaymas often compete. In 2019 San Carlosteam Predator caught a 377 pound Blue to win the daily and most of the jackpots for $450K. Tranquillo landed a 577 pound marlin to win $2.5M in the Black and Blue.
October 26, 2021 Fishing Report
We are slowly progressing into the winter fishing. The water is still in the upper 70’s offshore and is fairly clear, but it is sad to watch the blue 80 degree water slowly leaving. On Tuesday it was almost 28 miles out, but I thought that I could start to see a plume forming that could push back our way.
The Dorado are scattered around in the ‘green’ water. I didn’t hear of any sailfish, but some marlin are still out there. Some of the Dorado are 10 – 20 pounds, but 6 – 8 pounds Dorado are still the big ones. They will survive the next few days of wind. If they find the bait they will stick around.
Yellowtail were jigged up at the Island. I haven’t heard of anyone looking for them up the coast. They don’t seem to be around here at the moment, but the Bonita were biting very strong Tuesday with many going 10 pounds. A lot of 2 – 4 pound Sierra are in the area, and we did get an 8 pound monster. I caught some very large corvina last week from the shore. It’s a great time of year to be in San Carlos!
September Fishing Report
Water temps in the mid to high 80s and up to 90 degrees on the surface. Summer SE trade-winds.
Fishing for Dorado, Bonita, Marlin & Sail fish, skipjack, grouper, cabrilla and sierra. Maybe some yellowtail down deep by the end of the month.
Wildlife spotting: bottlenose dolphin, Orcas, rays
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August Fishing Report
Dorado. Small ones are within a mile, right up to the harbor entrance, and up and down the coast. Small lures work best. Bigger dorado are further out.
150 pound marlin come in on a 3″ lure inside the Bay.
Skipjack and Sierra. Some bonita and yellowtail. Red snapper down deep.
Weather: hot and humid, possible rain or storm
July Fishing Report
It’s hot out! There are some pleasant days on the water though. Water temps in the 80s. The fish are biting, but you need to be in the right areas.
Beginning of July: Lots of small dorado within the first mile weighing up to 12 pounds. Starting to see Sailfish scattered in close and around the Reef – a couple caught a mile out. Occasional Wahoo.
Mid July: 20 – 30 pounds Dorados. 70 pound wahoo. Yellowtail. Big grouper. Occasional Roosterfish. Marlin in close and around the Reef. A few skipjack and Sierra are around. Corvina. Good action beyond the Reef. Water temps to mid 80s.
Wildlife spotting: Hundreds of Risso Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin, a few whale sightings, Turtles, Manta Rays.
International Billfish Tournament, every July:
International Billfish Tournament Results: Click for detailed results and photos from the annual International Billfish Tournaments.
- 2020 & 2021: cancelled
- 2019: 32 boats and 101 anglers. A boat had released 14 marlin a little farther out on Friday. Several of them were Blue Marlin, and they saw one big enough for us to win the grand prize of a new truck. We picked up a few marlin that day, but the hot bite was found mid-afternoon farther out. We passed a few on the surface Sunday, catching the first fish of the day, but we only released two more that day. We were getting closer to a hot area the previous day at 35 miles, but the bite exploded 5 miles inside of us. We did hook one there that upon the initial jump looked big enough for the truck, but it was probably only 175 pounds.
- 2018: 26 boats competed in the 71st International Billfish Tournament. The grand prize was for a truck with a 200+ pound marlin. We had the big gear and 16 – 20″ lures out. We ran a lot of skirted ballyhoo too, which got the bites. Telamon won with about four marlin and a sail release.
- 2017: 70th Anniversary of Ernesto Zaragoza International Billfish Tournament. back & white photo below is from the 3rd International Billfish Tournament in 1950
- 2016: The 69th International Billfish Tournament saw 9 boats releasing 24 billfish. No dorado were weighed. Kryptonite took the tournament, but Eleanor on Predator won top angler with six releases for the first woman ever to be top angler!
- 2015: Thirteen boats and 38 anglers came out for the 68th International Billfish Tournament. 21.4 Dorado. 72 pound sailfish. 33 sails and 6 marlin were released.
June Fishing Report
Weather and water temps heating up. By late June, water temps are in mid 80s. Seaweed / sargasum starts to clear out.
Fishing for Marlin, Sailfish, dorado, bonita, skipjack, cabrilla and sierra. Bottomfishing for red snapper and grouper.
Wildlife spotting: Turtles coming in, with a few of their favorite jelly fish to eat. Bottlenose Dolphin, Spinner Dolphin, Thresher Sharks, Fin Whales, mantas. If you’re luck, a Humpback whale, sperm whale or Hammerhead shark.
The Rescate Yacht Club Fishing Tournament every June:
- 2020 & 2021: cancelled
- 2018: 20 boats found a consistent bite of a billfish and a few dorado. Maybe a third of the boats released a billfish, with a handful of dorado topping the weigh-able 12 pounds mark. The winning fish was 24.8 ounds. A couple boats released two billfish. Baby Girl managed to find the hot spots and clearly won with five releases for their first major win.
- 2017: 73 anglers on 21 boats competed in the 2017 San Carlos Yacht Club Rescate Fishing Tournament. 178 billfish were released. Reel Mistress won with 25 releases, and Kryptonite and El Patron came in 2nd with 23 releases.
MarinaTerra Dorado Derby Fishing Tournament, every June
- 2020 & 2021: cancelled
- 2019: El Zancudo took first and forth with a 24 pound bull leading the pack.
- 2018: Over 40 boats entered into the Dorado Derby this last weekend. The winds were up and by twelve miles we were watching peaks and walls of water all over. Rodrigo Luviano Silva brought in an 11.6 pound dorado to win the tournament. Check out this video of the Dorado Derby by Rada SC.
- 2017: over thirty boats. 1st place. Heriberto Velazquez, on El Fantasma: 11.4 kg. 2nd place. Fernando Escalante, on La Revancha: 10.7 kg. 3rd place. Jose C. Ojeda, on Mirage: 10.3 kg. 4th place. Mario Puebla, on El Fantasma: 9.3 kg. 5th place. Arvidson Joshoa, on Chasen Tail: 7.6 kg.
- 2015: 13 boats compete in good weather conditions. Grey Goose released two the first day for the win and the invitation to the World Offshore Championships. Second place went to Predator with a sail release and one 12.2 pound tuna.
Wounded Warrior’s fishing event, every June
San Carlos Fishing Report: June 23, 2021
The bite is finally good. We were beginning to wonder about things. The fish were just swiping at the baits and repeatedly dropping them, now they are taking it down. There are still some reluctant fish, but there are plenty of players. Some larger marlin, sails, and Dorado are now here.
The large Dorado may be showing offshore after the last good blow. A lot of fish are within the first few miles, so it’s a tough decision to make a long run out. The Reef has had some fish. A few Bonita were still caught, but they may be going deep. The fish have been hitting the lures and teasers, but bait still rules.
Some 200 – 250# marlin were lost within a mile of shore. I see good Dorado being caught to the far south. One friend caught a 51 pound Dorado out of La Paz. The shoreline corvina fishing picked up, before the seaweed got stirred up. I heard of some big triggerfish caught. Some good weather is in the forecast, so hopefully there will be a good full moon bite.
San Carlos Fishing Report: June 16, 2021
The fish were found all over last week, and nowhere. Some concentrations of small Sailfish and Dorado were found in close, but they weren’t too hungry. The Reef, Island, and far to the south had a few catches.
I have never seen the bite near this tough. They would repeatedly drop the baits, or not hit them at all. Hopefully they are just going through a phase.
The ladies held a little tournament on Saturday. I think that only a billfish or two were released. One 26 pound Dorado was caught. Most Dorado seem to be running under 5 pounds, but I think that some larger ones will show soon.
Bonita continued to bite in close. Most were small, but some were 6 – 8 pounds. Sierra too were caught inshore. Things are getting warm, but it is still nice on the water and I think that the best is yet to come.
San Carlos Fishing Report: June 9, 2021
A lot of nice fishing days, but we are waiting for summer I guess. The south winds should come in this weekend, and we’ll see if that changes anything. The seaweed, flying fish, and bigger Dorado are to the south, or slipping up the other side. We are mostly seeing billfish and small Dorado here.
Most boats have stopped fishing for Bonita, but they are probably there. A very unusual find is the preponderance of sailfish in close. On Sunday we passed one a half mile off Deer Island when heading out. The next day we passed twenty, just a quarter mile off San Antonio. They certainly weren’t biting well, along with the small Dorado. I guess that they are full, or just used to slashing small bait. I even heard of one guy catching one off a zodiac inside of Window Rock. We had dozens of bites, but they didn’t even want to usually take a second swipe.
Reports farther out were usually limited, as far as the catch. Boats tried all directions, with some bigger billfish caught. I didn’t hear of any consistently good areas, although I did hear of one boat releasing five marlin and a sailfish. If the bite turns on in close, it will be pretty cool. It’s very special to be able to catch fish just minutes out of the harbor. In many areas you have to run for hours to get to the fish in rough conditions, and usually at a much greater expense. Some turtles, rays, and dolphins are out there. The water is very clear and warm this year and there is a lot of feed for the fish.
San Carlos Fishing Report: June 2, 2021
The sailfish, marlin, and Dorado moved in close last week. We were jigging in close and had a marlin swim by. Yellowtail were slim, but some decent sized fish were found. The Bonita were mostly small, but numerous at times. At least they allowed us not to have to keep the baby Dorado.
Dorado were everywhere, but few over 5 pounds. One friend did go 100 miles south, and caught a handful from 25 – 40 pounds. The billfish were small here too, but they were plentiful.
The fish are filling up on all the bait out there. Hopefully they will be hungry again soon!
May Fishing Report
Cool, dry weather. Water temps in mid 70s, getting to high 70s by the end of the month. Early May green water starts to turn blue and clear by the end of the month. The sargasso can be a nuisance at times.
Fishing for Bonita, Dorado, grouper, cabrilla, sierra, Barracuda and some yellowtail. Bottomfishing for snapper. Near the end of the month, skipjack, some billfish offshore and smaller dorado are further out with bigger ones on the way. By the end of May, the yellowtail fishing is usually done.
Good amount of all the bait – anchovies, ballyhoo, flying fish, crabs, and squid.
Wildlife spotting: Thresher Sharks jumping. Fin whales, mantas and maybe Orcas.
Ladies International Fishing Tournament, every May
- 2021 & 2021: cancelled
- 2019: Eleven boats entered and only Kryptonite was able to release two marlin. They went the distance to find them! Another boat nearby did find some better Dorado. The wind was up the second day, and only a few boats went out.
- 2018: Unfortunately, the official LIFT tournament was cancelled due to bad weather. But that didn’t stop the women from fishing the following week in an impromptu tournament in calmer waters
- 2017: 18 boats and 35 anglers. There were 5 billfish released. Vi West with Captain Mike on Catch-a-Lotta took first with the first release. A 7.4 pound dorado was the largest weighed.
- 2016: 18 boats with 35 anglers caught 25 billfish (marlin & sailfish). Congrats Judy on Kryptonite with eight releases for the win.
April Fishing Report
Water temps in high 60s to low 70s at begging of month and get into the mid 70s by the end of the month. North winds can blow.
Fishing for yellowtail, grouper, cabrilla, sierra, corvina. The Island is the consistent producer for big yellowtail in the Spring. Bottomfishing for Sea Bass, snapper, calicos. Could start to see the marlin. Inshore action picks up.
Wildlife spotting: Dolphin, Fin Whale, humpback, hammerheads, turtles, maybe whale shark and Orcas.
Offshore World Championship, Every April
- 2021: Congratulations to the San Carlos Hammerdown team who fished in the Offshore World Championship in Costa Rica last week and came in 3rd. This is the largest and most prestigious sportfishing tournament series in the world. They qualified for the tournament by winning the 2019 San Carlos Hammer Down Tournament. The team included Pete Finocchiaro, Alex Hammer and Frank Kastl with Captain Gilberto Lachica. For Top Angler, Lachica came in second and Kastl fourth place. Read the results here.
- 2016: The crew from Grey Goose, the winners of the 2015 Labor Day Tournament, represented San Carlos in the 2016 World Offshore Championship in Costa Rica. They released 22 sails — good for 22nd place of 66 teams.
March Fishing Report
By mid March the water is getting into the mid-60’s.
Fishing for Yellowtail, Red snapper, grouper, cabrilla, sierra, barracuda. Some marlin could come through. Best fishing is often at the Island.
Lots of bait. Seaweed can make trolling difficult.
Wildlife spotting: Large pod of Bottlenose. Maybe Mako shark, turtle, Fin Whale, Orcas, rays
February Fishing Report
Water in the low 60s.
Fishing for Yellowtail, calico, grouper, cabrilla and sierra. Bonita earlier in the month.
Wildlife spotting: dolphin. Maybe Whale Shark, Humpback, Fin Whales, Grey Whales, turtle
Yellowtail Tournament, every February or March
- 2020 & 2021: cancelled
- 2019: 13th Annual Yellowtail Fishing Tournament. Many braved the high seas and went over to the Island. Most boats caught 2 to 4 yellowtail, although Team Catch-a-lotta weighed 9 yellowtail weighing 150 pounds, and the big fish of the day at 21.5 pounds. Their luck wore off for Sunday, losing the one fish that they needed to win. Team Fins Up weighed six good fish, and the big fish of 22 pounds for a second consecutive win. A few teams caught a number of smaller fish up the coast, and jigging off Lalo’s.
- 2018: Thirteen boats fished the worst tournament ever. The weather was at least good on Saturday, where Fins Up won the tournament with six fish, and the biggest at 26.2 pounds. Only four other fish were caught that day, and seven on Sunday. Fins Up caught two other fish for a total of 151 pounds. The next biggest fish were 22.2 and 20 pounds. I think everyone still managed to have fun though.
- 2017: 11th Annual Yellowtail Tournament. We had 14 boats and 49 anglers. Catch-a-Lotta took Day One with ten of their largest fish weighing 158 pounds, and the biggest of the day at 19.77 pounds. Day Two saw Zancudo weigh in at 132 pounds to take third being Telamon. Catch-a-Lotta held on to win with 220 pounds. Play Time weighed in the big fish of the tournament at 22.86 pounds. Day One saw rough conditions, but Day Two saw most every boat at San Pedro for some decent catching.
- 2016: 12 boats and 47 anglers. Day One saw very slow fishing after great reports the previous day. All the good reports had been coming from up the coast. That day though the fish came up at San Antonio where a few fish were caught. Many boats tried the Island where there was tons of bait and hopefully the big one for the jackpot. The Saturday jackpot though was won up the coast with a 14.1 pound fish. The total for the day was also taken late up the coast by Warpath. The bite was found up there again, with the best action 25 miles away at White Rock. The fish were chasing bait on the surface and several boats loaded up with limits of nice fish on poppers and jigs. In the end, Warpath took the day again, and the tournament with 185 pounds for their 15 fish. One other nice check though went to Rod Tuggers for their 19.1 pound yellowtail. I think everyone had fun in the nice weather.
January Fishing Report
Water in the mid to low 60s.
Fishing for Yellowtail, bonita, calico, grouper, barracuda, cabrilla and sierra. Yellowtail season is in full swing. You might find some marlin.
Wildlife spotting: Bottlenose Dolphin, Mobula Rays. Maybe Orcas, Fin Whales, Humpbacks
December Fishing Report
By late December, the water starts to dip below 70 degrees.
Yellowtail season with some big yellowtail starting to show. Tuna (a 100 pound tuna). Skipjack.
Some Sierra, Bonita, snapper, cabrilla and Marlin (a 220 pound Blue Marlin) at the beginning of the month, but the season is pretty much over for them.
Dolphin spotting and maybe the orcas.