San Carlos, Mexico



Jan. 13, 2006, Jim Mori, Gulf Sierra, Sea of Cortez, Mexico Fish Information Request:

I am asking once for records, reports, or data for the Gulf Sierra, Scomberomorus concolor.

The gulf sierra was common in the Pacific Ocean in the late 1880's where it was known as the Monterey Spanish Mackerel. Mark Twain called it the best tasting fish that swims. It is now extinct in the Pacific. The last one taken in California was in the 1950s.

A relict or, or disjunct population of the Gulf Sierra continues to survive in the upper Sea of Cortez in very small numbers. The range is almost entirely along the eastern or Sonoran coastline of Mexico.

The Gulf Sierra appears along the southern Sonora coast, in shallow bays and estuaries, in the early fall and winter. By spring they are in the area of Guaymas/Kino/Desemboque. In midsummer they are in the Gulf of Santa Clara, in the extreme northeast quadrant of the Sea of Cortez. This is where spawning takes place. It is not known where they go from here. I suspect into the deep waters of the midriff.

There is only one saltwater fish known to have become extinct since man began to name fish. Many fish populations have been reduced but all named species except one, a Mediterranean skate, still survives.

The Gulf Sierra is high on the list of becoming number two. It swims with its near relative, the Pacific Sierra, and here is where the problem occurs. The Gulf Sierra get netted along with its cousin the Pacific Sierra. They look very much the same but the Gulf Sierra does not have the spots that the Pacific Sierra has.

So, if any of you fish the east side of the Sea of Cortez and see any of my pets, please let me know.

I have only four records for the fish from the west side of the Sea of Cortez. Very strange because we are only talking of less than a hundred miles from the east coast.

James Mori:

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