Magdalena Bay, Mexico



Dec. 10, 2006, Bill Erhardt, Puerto Lopez Mateos, Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico:

This, as the young bloods say, is what I'm talkin' about.

For years I have been reading about the marlin "pileups" in the fall around the Thetis Bank off Magdalena Bay, but only in the past couple of weeks have I witnessed them first hand.

Schools of marlin, sometimes a dozen or so and sometimes many more, were cruising the area, herding balls of sardines to the surface and slashing and gorging on the bait. In the meantime, flocks of frigate birds of similar size languidly patrol the skies above until the feeding begins and then dive to pick up scraps and direct you to where the action is.

When the sea is calm as it has often been as we approach mid-December it provides perfect fishing conditions for running and gunning between the feeding schools with the schoolie marlin and the dorado that have been swimming with them until recently as the prize.

Last week I trailered my boat from Loreto to Puerto Lopez Mateos at Magdalena Bay and fished three days around the Thetis Bank.

On Tuesday, December 5th, I launched through the Magdalena Bay mangroves at first light and ran directly to Thetis. I found no wahoo on the high spot, but midmorning about 4 miles south found frigate birds with marlin and dorado feeding below.

I caught and released 5 striped marlin and 5 or 6 dorado between 20 and 30 pounds before calling it a day and heading into Bahia Santa Maria for the night.

I had planned to fish again Wednesday, but the wind came up overnight and by sunup there were seas of 4 to 6 feet and wind of 12 to 15 knots from the north.

I worked my way back to Boca de Soledad trolling, since it was not possible to go much faster than trolling speed, but managed only a couple of skipjack for the effort.

On Friday, December 8th, I launched again at Puerto Lopez Mateos at daybreak. The day before I registered in the Lopez Mateos, Baja California Sur Circuito Copa Gobernador Torneo de Pesca Deportiva fishing tournament. It was an easy decision to make since it involved doing exactly what I would have been doing anyway, dragging lures around Thetis Bank trying to catch the biggest fish I could.

The sea was calm and the striped marlin were still feeding around the bank. I caught 2 marlin and went in early since my daily limit is one and I had a dead fish in the boat. I was the first at the weigh-in.

On Saturday, yesterday, tournament fishing and a 100 mile round trip to the bank had to be sandwiched between a 7 a.m. starting gun and a 1 p.m. deadline to present fish for weigh-in at the whale watching pier.

I ran again to the area south of Thetis and found less activity than earlier in the week. Around 11 a.m. in only the second school of fish I had worked I caught a nice striper. I arrived back at the pier around 12:30 p.m. and weighed in the fish which turned out to be the tournament winner at 139.8 pounds.

The tally for the week was 8 striped marlin and 5 or 6 dorado in one full day and two short days. It was Thetis Bank at its best. I was bothered by no pesky dorado Friday or Saturday.

I also caught no wahoo, although one was caught by another fisherman in the tournament and I saw one jumping, which will be enough to get me back over there next week.

The Mexican fishing waters surface ocean water temperature off Magdalena Bay was higher than last week and registered around 78 degrees at midday Friday and Saturday. This warm El Nino December water is as warm as it was in October last year.

(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.