Magdalena Bay, Mexico



Oct. 30-Nov. 2, 2005, Bill Burkett, Fat Cat, Thetis Bank, Magdalena Bay, Mexico Fishing Trip Report:

My wife, Silvia and I pulled our boat, FAT CAT, over to Puerto San Carlos at Magdalena Bay from Las Barriles in the Baja East Cape area for what looks to be an annual fishing adventure in the remote Pacific waters off Magdalena Bay. We went last year and plan on returning next year as well.

This year we were accompanied by three friends from Buena Vista and their boat, MAKARIA, as well as six guys from southern California with two boats, MASCOT and BADFISH. It was the first time fishing the area for all but three of us and it turned out to be the kind of trip that Mag Bay is famous for.

We stayed at Mag Bay Tour's "Surf Camp" at Punta Hughes on Santa Maria Bay. I have to say that the service provided by Steve Warren and his staff were totally "top shelf." The food served by Ina was exceptional and everyone went out of their way to attend to any need we had. When we wanted to get up at 4 a.m. to catch bait, the coffee was ready and the panga was waiting. When we needed more fuel it magically appeared, although it cost $5 a gallon. We all highly recommend them.

Fishing on October 30, 2005:

With Steve's help, we got all four boats in the water and were on our way to the entrada by 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 30th.

We were all running heavy due to extra fuel and other supplies. As we cleared the entrada we got a call on the VHF from Captain Chip on the vessel OLD RELIABLE who told us about a fantastic marlin bite happening about 15 miles south of the entrada.

Chip's call ultimately made our trip, as without this information we'd have most likely never ventured that far south of the camp and therefore not been able to experience this epic Mag Bay marlin bite.

Two boats of our group headed down south while FAT CAT and MAKARIA decided to troll the hundred fathom line northwest toward camp. There was a good temperature break in the area, from 70 degrees to 73.5, and the water was clear and blue.

Not long after putting lines out, FAT CAT caught and released the first striped marlin of the trip. But that would be our only fish that day.

MAKARIA went one for two on dorado. But neither of us found much life in the area.

Meanwhile, BADFISH and MASCOT found the spot Skip called them to and ended their first day with several marlin releases as well as boating a half dozen dodo's between them.

After dinner at camp that night we all decided to head south to the marlin bite the next day, despite the nearly 40 mile run.

Fishing on Oct. 31, 2005:

On the way down the next morning we pulled in the bay to make bait, but found little, mostly due to heavy fog in the bay. MASCOT happened on a panga fishing for grouper and bought a few baits and shared them with us. But lack of bait kept our catch total down on FAT CAT as we had to pull lures in a bait-ball situation perfect for live baiting. We only caught one marlin and a pair of dorado, but missed many strikes.

The other three boats in our mosquito fleet fared much better, with each boat releasing 6 or 7 marlin and boating multiple dorado.

To be truthful, the numbers weren't all that important. Just being able to view this spectacle was worth the trip.

In about a 2 square mile area there were thousands of birds, fish, sea lions and porpoise feeding on bait balls. One 38 foot Cabo fishing only live bait reported a 40 fish day. It was exactly the bite Mag Bay is famous for, but that hasn't materialized the last few years. Looks like it's back!

Fishing on Nov. 1, 2005:

On day three, MASCOT and BADFISH again went south. While MAKAIRA and FAT CAT decided to try the Thetis bank. We'd gotten up early and made bait right where we were anchored, so we all left with lots of good mackerel in our tanks.

The bite to the south slowed down considerably, likely because cold green water moved into the area. The BADFISH still managed to release 5 marlin, but MASCOT only managed one. Both boats caught a couple of dorado and MASCOT got a wahoo of about 65 pounds.

On the Thetis Bank things were real slow despite 74 degree water. MAKARIA found nothing trolling around the high spot and tried drifting baits down deep. They caught a small yellowtail and a large sheepshead before leaving to check out another ridge 20 miles north called the double 23's, after another boat reported wide open wahoo there the day before.

On FAT CAT we had a jig strike when we first arrived, but it was bitten off by a wahoo when the lure slid up to the swivel. We also tried fishing the bottom without success. While bottom fishing we got a report of a porpoise school with tuna that another boat had found off Santa Maria Bay the evening before, so we went down to their numbers, but failed to locate the school. FAT CAT ended up skunky. However, MAKARIA caught a large wahoo at the 23's.

Fishing on Nov. 2, 2005:

On our fourth and last day of fishing all boats made fishing plans based on remaining fuel; we still had to return to San Carlos.

BADFISH and MASCOT went to the Thetis, MAKARIA went back to the south but went back to San Carlos that evening instead of returning to camp, and FAT CAT just fished the shoreline near camp.

MAKARIA released 5 marlin, but said the conditions weren't what they had been.

FAT CAT found a school of sierra mackerel and kept 9.

The guys on MASCOT got the fish on the Thetis to go on the feed by continually chumming squid they'd brought while trolling small tuna feathers. They caught numerous football tuna, a dorado and a wahoo on the bank and found a striped marlin to play with on the way back to camp.

All and all it was the fishing trip we all dream about. As Tim on the BADFISH said, "I'll remember this all my life."

(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Magdalena Bay and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Magdalena Bay may be found at's main Magdalena Bay page.