Baja California, Mexico



Dec. 12, 2004, Doug Pierson, Estero de Coyote and Laguna la Bocana, Baja California, Mexico Fishing Report:

I fished at Laguna la Bocana, Baja California, on the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 27-28, 2004, water temperature 69 degrees at the entrada to Estero de Coyote, in an 18-foot panga, with my personal friend Jesus Espenoza and his friend Juanchy.

I also fished at Estero de Coyote, Nov. 7-9 and Nov. 30-Dec. 2, water temperature 65 degrees, in my 15-foot Gregor with 15-h.p. Merc.


Fishing at Campo Rene, Estero de Coyote, this place was very technical but once learned it was red hot. Various gringos in tin boats came and went, usually back on the trailer and down the Estero de Coyote road after only one or two hours of cussing the seaweed and the drastic winter tide swings.

One young couple flew in from Alaska but left after one day.

The entire Campo Rene staff at Estero de Coyote was fired while I was there, which was strange as they were doing a great job and were so very helpful with launchings and chasing live bait with me.

New staff is now in place and a 50% increase in cabin rates. Still a bargain!

This was my 4th time fishing at Estero de Coyote and I am getting it “wired”.

For 4 hours each day, centered around the high tide the fishing was as good as it gets for me. You might say I am easy to please. I don’t have to do the Big Boy thing of the Big Five to be very happy.

I found fish-a-cast paradise in 69-degree water for broomtail grouper, large spotted bay bass, sandbass and halibut, with a few oddities along the way. I caught hundreds of fine fish.

The best fishing at Estero de Coyote was in the 10-foot deep channels from the tin boat and from the shore in front of the restaurant.

Days when the Estero de Coyote water was clean and clear trolling gold/black Rebel Spoonbills produced a few fish, but trolling was never that successful. I tried all kinds of lures. The biggest halibut was caught on trolled very large green/blue Storm swim bait.

Estero de Coyote fishing was far better with live and dead bait fish caught in a minnow trap and a cast net. The best bait fish was live finger mullet. I also caught and used small smelt, sardinas and “minnow” species unidentified.

All the broomtail grouper were taken on finger mullet. None of the grouper were taken under or near the Estero de Coyote mangrove roots, but were taken 20 to 30 feet from the mangroves in the center of the deeper channels.

Not one gill net was in Estero de Coyote and none seen the 3 previous trips. Fishing at Estero de Coyote is on the upswing. Really nice, large spotted bay bass, many 16-18 inches, barred sand bass, and in the fast waters near the entrada scores of 2-6 pound catfish, many 4-6 pound plus. Great eating but the Mexicans did not know they were edible. A note on these catfish: no one goes to Baja to catfish but I must say this species of catfish, called “chihuiles” by the locals are not to be compared to the suck-along-the bottom, slow moving bullhead types. These catfish were only in the fastest waters on the moving tides and fought faster and harder by far, pound for pound than the bass or groupers. They looked like the USA channel cats, shining gold and bronze in the sunlight but without the spots.

For diversion I would drive 7 miles in the direction of Laguna la Bocana and fish the shore reef at the big house on the hill for fish-a-cast yellowfin croaker and barred sandbass with swarms of spawning 1-pound fish I am calling “smelt” for lack of identification. Estero de Coyote: let’s keep it a secret!


Fishing at Laguna la Bocana, Pacific Ocean, after sitting on a sand lump for two days watching the ever higher tides rise on my Explorer buried in the salt/mud and fishing the laguna while waiting for help I was finally rescued by my worried Mexican friends and off we went to the town of La Bocana to try fishing the Pacific.

The Laguna la Bocana fishing reports were not good. None of the many pangueros had hand-lined up a single yellowtail for many days. One friend, Juanchy had finally scored two jurel at Whale Rock so we planned to try Whale Rock for 2 days and maybe get lucky.

Wow! We were blessed with the jackpot and as good of fishing as I have experienced in my 60 years. How good? Honestly I hesitate to report as it will sound like a “fish story”. Day one, fly lining live mackerel in 80 feet of water on calm seas out of Laguna la Bocana, I boated 11 good yellowtail, 5 over 30 pounds and 2 bull dorado also on fly lined mackerel. Before that day at Laguna la Bocana the most yellowtail I had scored in my very limited experience with them was three in a morning. After 11 yellowtail my small muscles were in a world of hurt!

I used 40-pound tackle, a Newell and a Shimano Torium with 80-pound shock leaders and Owner 4/0 and 6/0 circle hooks.

The dorado, one of my favorite game fish, seemed absolutely anemic after the jurel.

Day 2 on the reefs of La Bocana, as on Day 1, we never got anywhere near the Whale Rock with immediate hookups on the closer reefs. This day my Laguna la Bocana score was 18 yellowtail in four hours, actually three hours, after getting bait and setting up. The yellowtail largest on the scale was at 42 pound. My three bite-offs were attributed to “garropa grande” by my local friends Jesus and Juanchy. Next time I’ll switch the 80-pound mono leaders for wire.

Back to the #4 anchored white buoy that marks the boundary between the Laguna la Bocana and Punta Abreojos lobster/abalone coop areas and it was one more bull dorado. All dorado were bulls. All at #4 buoy and all on slow trolled fly lined mackerel. This place is something else and all of my Laguna la Bocana trips have been the very best of fishing. Let’s keep it a secret!