Rocky Point, Mexico



Dec. 11, 2005, Stuart Burnett, Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco), Mexico Sportfishing Report:

Sometimes, the Sea of Cortez fishing gods smile favorably upon you. Friday, Dec. 10 was one of those days. Four of us, Dave Larsen, Paul Crays, Jimmy Planek and myself launched at the main harbor out of Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) on my boat, the Constancia, about 8:00 a.m. to find a fairly cold, stiff breeze out coming directly out of the northwest. This is typical of the winter weather pattern. Rocky Point fishing water temperatures have dropped since our last trip a month ago over 15 degrees to about 63 degrees.

From Rocky Point, we headed directly to the 16 mile reef and set up to make bait. With three guys making bait and one removing fish, we were able to fill the bait tank in short order with plenty of mackerel and some small croakers. Lots of horse sardines were caught, too, and we threw those on ice to avoid fouling the bait tank. After an hour and plenty of live bait, lines came up and I set "Go To" coordinates for the 51 mile reef.

The seas closer in were running 2-3 feet, but as we got further out, they turned into 4-5 foot rollers with an occasional whitecap here or there. With the wind out of the north, we had mostly a following sea and were able to make 30 m.p.h. most of the way out to the 51, arriving about noon. We did a short drift to see how the wind and tide were going to carry us while we set up to drop. Then, we motored in the opposite direction a short ways and dropped anchor. For a change, we had a perfect set on the anchor and drifted right over the rock pile I was trying to set up on. The bow was directly into the wind and 4 foot seas and the tide was outgoing, so we could fish directly off the back of the boat.

The first drop brought Dave a nice 15 pound halibut on live mackerel. We continued to hook halibut, but they were short chewing the baits and would spit it out about half way up without actually taking the hook. Although I didn't think of it at the time, a stinger rig might have worked well and gotten more halibut in the boat. Instead, we reeled up several well-chewed mackerel and croaker.

Paul's rod went serious bendo and I knew we had a black sea bass on. It took him awhile to work it up, but we boated a nice 90 pound black. Then, the huachinango, or red snapper, bite turned on. We boated about 16 of some of the nicest snapper I've ever had the pleasure of catching.

Dave had been fishing with a fairly light setup by 51 mile reef standards, using only 40 pound test line. He broke off on a fairly nice fish and decided to use one of my heavy setups, the "Big Johnson" 7 foot, 100 pound pole, Sealine 9/0 reel, spooled with 135 pound Dacron line.

This change in tactic was to his benefit, because the next mackerel he dropped almost immediately got inhaled by a very large black sea bass. We got him harnessed and he worked the fish for close to a half hour, sweating in the 60 degree air. He finally got the fish to the surface and we worked it up between the motors, only to drop it as two of us struggled to get it up and into the boat. I backed the boat down hard on the anchor because it started floating away, we managed to get two gaffs in it and three of us did the old 1-2-3 count and got him over the side. Of course, this would have been much easier in calm seas.

This pushed us to close to 3:00, so we cleaned up and organized, got the anchor up and headed back into a now 4-5 foot head sea. I could only run about 16 m.p.h. most of the way and we saw the sun quickly heading down over Baja. Fortunately, as the sun set and we got closer into Puerto Penasco, the seas calmed and I was able to run about 30 m.p.h., dodging a shrimp boat here and there in the dark. We made it safely back into the Rocky Point harbor about 6:45 p.m.

The water was a little rougher than I normally like and the Fish Gods did indeed smile upon us. The next day, neither motor would start and one of the sponsons on my cat had taken on a lot of water, due to a connection on the rear bilge pump that had broken. Thank you Fish Gods, for watching over the Constancia and letting us make it back in safely. All in all, another wonderful day on the beautiful Sea of Cortez!

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