How To Articles and Tips About Cabo San Lucas Fishing
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A striped marlin takes off on a line peeling run in Cabo San Lucas
PHOTO: Richard Chudy,

Fishing in Baja is unique, and so are the techniques that work best. Often times, anglers from other parts of the world try to employ the same tactics they use in their home waters here in Los Cabos. Most of the time, with little luck. Baja fishing is different than most other styles and the tactics we us have evolved over many decades. While West-Coast Stand-Up and East-Coast Chunking are very successful in the regions where they evolved, our fishery is better suited to methods that cover lots of water. Species that inhabit our waters tend to move constantly and feeding behaviors change on a frequent basis. Most if not all trips will rely heavily on trolling to locate fish. Some will be taken on these artificials while others, once spotted on or near the surface, will fall victim to a well cast live bait. The most important item in your arsenal is a local-wise Captain and crew.

While aboard any of our charter fishing boats, the Captain and crew will be constantly scanning the water looking for "signs of life".... whether that's birds working an area of bait, porpoise on a running feed or tailing billfish. When they spot those signs, they'll let you know and coach you on what's going to happen next. It may be changing out trolling lures for the current conditions and species found or it may be prepping live bait casting rigs to present to top-water fish on the feed. Novice anglers will best be served by allowing the crew to cast those live baits, and once hooked, the rod is handed off to your or your fellow anglers. If you're an experienced angler with the skills needed to accurately cast to feeders, by all means, cast away!

Other tactics we use, dependent on that day's conditions, include slow trolling or soaking live baits at depths from 60 to 150 feet when surface action is slow, chumming schools of fish into a feeding frenzy with small pieces of cut fresh dead baits or live sardinas or jigging over seamounts, ledges or rockpiles for bottom-hugging species like dogtooth snapper and grouper. Other times, high speed trolling with marauders or rapalas on wire leaders for wahoo offshore or sierra (spanish mackerel) inshore. Inshore fishing can also reward fisherman with priced game fish like the hard-fighting roosterfish and colorful and acrobatic dorado (also known as mahi-mahi or dolphinfish).

While testing out your own techniques is always your option, most of our clientele return to port with great success using the particular methods thought best by our Captains for that particular day. What may seem like a boat ride can quickly turn into a wide open bite for any number of species... from marlin to tuna, dorado and more. Patience plays a big part in fishing success. Remaining alert and scouting the waters around you for signs of life is always the right thing to do. While our crews are always on the lookout, it never hurts to have extra eyes.

Minerva's Spoetfishers are all fully rigged with a wide variety of rod and reel combos as well as fully stocked with a assortment of lures that are Cabo tested and proven. Should you still want to bring your own gear, you're welcome to do so. And remember, Minerva's Baja Tackle has a full-service tackle sales and repair shop should your gear need a little attention before heading out to fish. From filling your reels with new line to guide replacements, we're ready to help you make the most of your fishing in Los Cabos!

Photo of catch and release marlin fishing in Cabo San Lucas

Translated to English, that means RELEASE ME GENTLY!! Minerva's is proud to be an active Catch and Release Fleet for ALL billfish. We ask that you heed the advice of such notable organizations as The Billfish Foundation (TBF) and the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and practice catch, tag and release (or catch, photo and release) fishing. Give billfish stocks the chance to survive and remain for future generations of sport anglers to enjoy. Be open to learning new techniques that increase the survivability of released fish, like using circle hooks whenever possible.


There’s nothing like sharing your Cabo fishing memories with friends and family. Minerva’s will assist you in coordinating professional filleting, vacuum packing, smoking and freezing of your catch. If this is something you are interested in doing make sure and bring a hard shell cooler with you. If you forget, just let us know and we’ll arrange the purchase of one in Cabo. Remember no ice is allowed in your ice chest and all fish must travel with you through international borders as checked baggage. You can arrange pick-up of your catch before you leave to the airport and a full ice chest will keep your catch frozen longer than a loosely packed ice chest. If necessary you can fill the empty spaces with dirty laundry, shoes or other items that can handle some moisture.

If you don't wish to take home your catch, there are several restaurants in town and along the marina that will gladly prepare your fish in a number of ways and serve it up with side dishes. The prices vary but most restaurants will provide the service for about $7. Once again, if you need advice on where to go, just ask us. We've been visiting Cabo restaurants for over 30 years and know which ones do it right!


We found this guys website which led us to his YouTube page and we gotta say, it's a real quick and easy way to learn how to tie just about any knot you can think of for sport fishing. Here's a couple of his videos that show knots that are used down here in Los Cabos.

How to tie a Palomar Knot

How to tie a Palomar Knot

How to tie a Dropper Loop

  How to tie an Improved Clinch Knot

How to tie a Double Overhand Loop

How to tie a Rapala Knot

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When it comes to game fish conservation, circle hooks are worth their weight in gold. Not only are they better for the fish, they often out-fish standard J-Hooks. The key to successful hook-ups is patience. Unlike J-Hooks where you're actually swinging back on the rod to set the hook (often deep in the fishes gullet doing major harm) – circle hooks require no such damaging action on your part. Simply follow these three steps and you'll see your hook-up, catch and healthy release stats go up... way up!

Circle hook in corner of Striped Marlin's jaw
Circle hooks will find their way into the hinge of the jaw of the game fish you're targeting making a healthy release the norm, not the exception.

1) When you feel your bait getting picked up, point your rod tip towards the fish with your reel in free spool. Apply light thumb pressure on the spool to "feel" the bite and to prevent overruns.
2) Wait for the fish to take the bait and start swimming away.... keep the rod tip low and pointed towards the fish. For billfish, a 5 second count is about right, same for dorado. For tuna, a second or two is all it takes once your prey takes the bait and swims away.
3) Slowly bring the drag pressure up to strike still keeping the rod tip low, pointed at the fish. You'll feel the line come tight, then bring your rod tip up to fighting position and you're on!!

All fish react to their brethren, whether they're chasing bait or running from predators, curiosity often triggers their behaviors. For instance, the wily and acrobatic dorado often travel in schools and when one breaks away from the pack, the others often turn to see what's up.

Underwater photo of a Dorado caught in Cabo San Lucas
One on the hook often leads to more on the way... if you play it right. One of those instances happens when you've hooked up your first dorado, and if you play it right, you'll bring a host of brothers and sisters to the boat. If you'd like to fill your cooler with these tasty fish, fight that first fish all the up close to the boat.... then keep it there in the water far enough so that you don't lose it to the props or edges of the boat. By allowing that fish to swim, the rest of them will usually come up right behind them. That's when a few well placed live baits or lures can entice a wide open bite and a boatload of smiling faces!!


A tasty Wahoo ends up on the business end of a gaff in Cabo San Lucas
Wahoo can reach speeds of nearly 70mph for short runs. A wire leader is a must to land these toothy predators.

Keeping in line with the curiosity of fish, another thing to keep in mind once you've found and caught your limit of dorado is that the toothy speedsters of the ocean are often close by.... the wahoo. Wahoo also form packs around structure and seamounts like many pelagic species. We'll find a school of willing dorado at places like the famous Gordo Banks and fill the cooler but still have fishing time left. When that happens, we may just deploy some deeper running lures like Marauders or CD 18 Rapalas and make some wide circles trolling them outside the edges of the schooling dorado. Hungry hoo's often stalk those edges and are frequently willing to strike those lures and add meat to the coolers to go with your dorado. Hoo's there? Wahoo, that's who!

Another thing to remember about wahoo is the fact that their scissor-hinged jaws are loaded with sharp, line-cutting teeth. Wire or steel leaders are an absolute necessity, unless you like losing expensive lures. On our boats, we're rigged and ready for these awesome gamefish at all times!

Some folks say that the yellowtail is one of the hardest fighting fish in the ocean and many say that for whatever reason, Baja yellowtail fight harder than most! We don't know why, but we tend to agree. Come late winter into spring these great eating game fish congregate on rockpiles and near shore structure and are targeted by using a couple of methods. First, jigging with iron like a Salas 6x in scrambled egg, blue and white or chrome colors. Drop down on top of the structure and bounce the jig a few times or start a fast retrieve to get the jig about thirty feet of the bottom, let it drop down again and start over. You'll know when you've tied into one but don't forget to put pressure on the fish and get them off the bottom or they will rock you and bust off.

Soaking a live bait just off the structure below works well, too. Green mackerel are the perfect bait for this type of fishing and you'll know that something's chasing your bait as you'll "feel" the bait getting nervous and active trying to get away from the predator in chase. The difference between jigging iron and live bait is with live bait you'll need to give them time to "eat" before you set the hook and start the battle.

One thing to remember is that you're also apt to tie into other rockfish species including grouper and pargo... if you're lucky enough to get bit by a big one, hold on tight and work that fish fast and furious as they're famous for diving to the rocks to find a place to dig in and break you off. Pargo to 50+ pounds are caught every year and make for terrific table fare. Spectra or other braided lines are a good idea when working these types of structure fish.