How to Fish in Cabo San Lucas - Tips, Tutorials and Lessons in Baja Sport Fishing

Underwater shot of dorado in Cabo San Lucas
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HOW WE FISH IN CABO SAN LUCASOur Informal Cabo Fishing Academy... We Teach, YOU FISH!
Okay, we really should apologize as we decided to call this particular section of our website "How We Fish". It really should be called "How You Fish" since we're all about you being the angler, not just a guy or girl sitting in a chair waiting for someone to hand them a rod with a fish attached.

The real fun in fishing comes from experiencing the connection between the angler and the fish and everything that comes before it. Nothing compares to the excitement felt when you're part of every step in the process leading up to a hooked fish and the battle that follows. You didn't just reel in the fish. You had a hand in it all with a little help from the Captain and crew. We want you to cast to your own fish... we want you to feel the thrill of coming tight on a "lit" marlin.... we want YOU to be the angler. On one of our charters, you're in our classroom where it's all about you and how YOU'LL fish. And come the end of the day, you'll have had more fun than you would on an ordinary fishing charter. If you really want to learn how to fish our waters, we'll teach you.

Charter fishing boats in Cabo San Lucas marina and bay
A typical morning in Cabo San Lucas as the fishing fleet heads out to fish our bountiful waters where billfish, tuna, dorado, wahoo and countless other species await.

Perhaps the greatest reason we love fishing in Cabo is that we have such a variety of sought-after game fish. We often target 3, 4 or 5 species in a single day, each one them presenting unique challenges requiring specific tactics to fish them effectively. Our Cabo Fishing Academy is ready to teach you how to fish for billfish, dorado, tuna, and wahoo offshore. Inshore anglers can learn new methods for light tackle roosterfish and sierra with tuna and dorado mixed in. We're also here to show you proven techniques for deep dropping and jigging structure for snapper, grouper, yellowtail and amberjack.

Why are the lures in a trolling spread spaced out like they are?
We'll tell you why and what works best for that day's conditions. You'll even take part in setting up the spread that bring the fish to you.
How do I set the hook when using circle hooks?
Circle hooks confuse a lot of anglers. Most are accustomed to fishing J-hooks where setting the hook with strong swings of the rod are what to do. Circle hooks require a different approach, but once learned, you'll land more fish and have the option to release those you don't need to keep without the internal damage that J-hooks cause. We'll teach you how to do it and you'll find your hook-up ratio goes sky high!
How do you rig a dead bait to swim like a live one?
It's not as hard as you think, it just takes a few tools, a couple of steps and a properly cared for bait, but doing it right makes 'em swim like mad. We'll show you how.
How do I make my own leaders and tie stronger knots?
Our crew will demonstrate how to properly tie the knots most commonly used both inshore and offshore. Want to tie your own leaders? No problem... that's something we offer in our on the water fishing classes.
How do I cast a bait without bird-nesting the reel?
It's mostly technique and proper reel set-up. It's one of the hardest things for new anglers to learn, but trust us, we'll get you there!

These are just a few things you can learn in our on-the-water classroom. But keep in mind we'll teach you as much, or as little, as you'd like during the time we spend together.

Woman catching marlin on stand-up gear in Cabo San Lucas
You don't need to be the size of an NFL linebacker to catch marlin on stand-up gear. In fact, we've taught plenty of ladies how to do it and it's something they'll always remember!

We're never happier than when we teach someone who never fished before to love the sport. Likewise, we're always eager to further the skills of fishermen and women who are already "hooked" and want to learn new techniques and become better anglers. We'd like to send you home with some incredible memories knowing that when you tell your friends all about your trip, they won't be hearing fish stories from someone that just "sat in the chair"..... they'll be hearing real stories from a real angler!

School's out, hope to see you in class soon!
TEASE & SWITCH FISHING FOR MARLINA Quick Look at a Time-Tested Fishing Method
Ask any Cabo San Lucas fishing boat Captain what's the most popular method for catching billfish in Cabo San Lucas and they'll all tell you the same thing. Tease and Switch is the way to go. The best part is that the technique isn't rocket science. In fact, it's fairly simple once you understand the dynamics. We'll drop trolling lures into the water and set up a spread of anywhere from 4-6 lures set out a different distances and positions behind the boat to "raise" the fish.

Teasers, like Black Bart's "Big Breakfast", are pulled behind the boat to "raise" fish.

We'll work the water looking for all things fishy like temperature and current breaks, flotsam or weed lines, and of course porpoise and birds, especially frigates. What we're hoping for is to spot a marlin up on the surface or raise a fish with our trolling lures. Sometimes we'll get a blind strike and a hook up on the trolling lures, other times, we'll troll with hookless teasers just to get the fish excited.

Rigging live bait with circle hooks for Cabo marlin fishing
Above: Two different methods of rigging a live bait on circle hooks for trolling, but they can also be used to pitch live baits at marlin.

For this discussion, we'll be using a live bait pinned on a circle hook. We prefer circle hooks to J-hooks as they offer two advantages: 1) Excellent hook-up ratios if the angler uses the proper technique, and 2) Circle hooks will "hook" into the corner of the fishes mouth 95% of the time, thereby minimizing damage to the fish making a healthy release possible.

Once we do raise a fish or spot a tailer or feeder up on top, we're looking to pitch a live bait right in its face. If we spot the fish coming up the spread of lures behind us, we'll start reeling the lures in to "tease" the marlin closer to the boat and as it follows the lure in, we slide a live bait back right alongside the lure it's following.... thus, the "switch." Many times, the fish is off to the side of the boat and as the Captain swings the boat into a good position to present a bait, the angler casts the live bait in front of the marlin.

Photo of marlin with circle hook in corner of jaw
If fished properly, circle hooks will nearly always result in a corner of the jaw hookset and a fish healthy and ready for release.

The key is to let the fish take the bait and swim AWAY from you and the boat. As it swallows the bait and swims away, tighten the drag, point the tip of the rod at the fish and let it come tight all by itself. The circle hook will allow the bait to slide right up out of the fishes stomach or gullet without embedding in or damaging internal organs or the gullet and gills. As the hook comes out of the gullet, the design makes the hook turn and it comes to the corner of the mouth hooking the fish for you without swinging or jerking the rod, whatsoever.

Easy and effective and conservation minded, that's why the "Tease and Switch" is tops amongst tactics for catching billfish here in Cabo San Lucas.