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Cabo Sportfishing Fish Tips



Tackle Tips
If you are bringing some fishing gear, here are some of the basic rule of thumb for the Cabo Region.
Make sure your rods & reels are in the best working order.  The fish in Baja are hard running serious fish, and will push the limit of your tackle.  Have fresh main line on your reels.  have fresh leader line on your lures. Be careful here to not confuse 100# mono leader with 100# mono line. Many (most?) manufacturers use a harder, more abrasion resistant mono for their leader material. Most manufacturers also usually under rate their mono leader by 25% or more (300# actually breaks at 400#). A 100# leader of hard, under rated leader material like Momoi is fine for striped marlin, but a piece of a nice soft 100# line like Berkeley Big Game may get sawed off pretty quickly.

Blue Marlin: 80lb line with 500 yards,  with drag set properly, it will generally slow one down and catch the marlin.  Or you can have a reel with 50lb line, but with 700 yards of line.  Most Blue Marlin caught in the Cabo region are males, in the 250-350lb class.  Once you get above that weight, its generally a female.  Rods are 5 1/2 ft to 6ft, usually E-Glass, with a minimum of a tip and stripper roller guides.  The rod butt must have a trolling gimbal, otherwise it will not set in the boat trolling slots properly, (the reel will turn over).
Blue Marlin Lures & Rigging: There are 4-5 basic lure colors that the local skippers use allot.  Green/Black   Yellow/Orange   Blue/Pink   Purple/Black   Green/Blue

Lure style & size is a 10-12 inch, plastic or soft, but soft lures are gaining popularity in Cabo.

Rigging is 400lb  12ft clear mono leader with a tamdum double hook 12/0 Mustad Big Game.

Blue Marlin Live Bait: Their are several different ways to rigg a large live bait.  The mexican skippers simply attach a 9/0 chrome stainless mustad hook, with a 250-400lb 8-12ft leader.  They then run the hook through the bonito, tuna's nose.  Other techniques include a wire threading and attaching the live bait hook to the baits forehead.  More on this topic later.

Stripped Marlin:  Leader length for lure fishing 12'-15' of 200# - 300# for striped marlin.
12'-15' of 100# to 150# for live bait for striped marlin and sailfish. The leader is usually tied to the main line with an albright.
Yellowfin Tuna:
Leader length of 8' of 80# for live bait or chunking for tuna over 100#. A swivel is optional for live bait, but mandatory for chunking.  5' of 50#-60# for trolling or bait for  tuna over 40#; 20#-30# for smaller fish
(usually no leader).

Leader length is usually 6-8 feet, with 50-80 lb line.  Live bait is the same with 60 lb line.

Leader Length of 2'-3' of 60#-100# single strand wire for live bait and trolled lures, 40#-60# cable for iron (Hopkins, Tady, Salas, UFO, etc), and 250# cable for Marauders, Bonitas, etc., for wahoo.
Leader length of 5-7 feet with a swivel clipped to a CD4 Rapala

Leader length of 3' of 30#-40# (green mono may work better than other colors) with a rubber core sinker for for pargo.
Leader Length of 3' of 50#-80# with a dropper loop and whatever weight of torpedo sinker, usually 4-16 oz., is necessary to get to the bottom for Amberjack or  cabrilla and other things living in rock piles. Make the dropper with a spider hitch, with a 2' loop and 3' tag, with the hook on the loop and sinker on the tag, and with a half hitch in the tag near the sinker so it busts off first when you get hung in the rocks.

What can I do with my fish:
Cabo Sportfishing believes in the conservation of billfish and therefore requests that you release your billfish, unless it is your first, or you want to take the meat.

It you want to have a taxidermied fish as a wall trophy, it is seldom necessary to kill the fish. Nowadays new techniques have enabled taxidermists to produce high quality replica mounts, which are taken from molds of actual fish. Skin mounts are still possible, but the quality deteriorates after a few years.  Our captains are skilled at estimating the size of any fish released and photos are helpful too. More details from any Cabo Fishing Vacation staff member.

Your catch (on the Fly Hooker only) will be cleaned, bagged, and ready to be frozen.  Billfish are cleaned at the main dock, and is subject to rates on the dock, usually $12.00.

Most people take their catch home with them. If you did not bring a cooler with you, local stores normally have a good supply, though they are generally quite expensive. Usually a 42 quart cooler will make the 44lb restriction on most airlines.  You can bring a bigger one, but you will have to pay the excess baggage charge, usually $1.00 per lb.  Airlines vary, so check with the air carrier on exact cost.  Also, the cooler is considered 1 piece of baggage.  Most airlines allow you to check in 2 pieces of baggage and 1 carry on.   Unless your trip home is extensive, most fish makes it back in a perfectly fresh state.

You can also arrange to have your fish cooked at a local restaurant. For a small cost of about $4.00 per person they will supply the side dishes to accompany your fish and prepare it in 3 or 4 different ways.

Any non-resident alien 16 years or older must possess a valid Mexican Sportfishing License before fishing in Mexican waters. This license covers all types of fishing and is valid anywhere in Mexico. Everyone aboard private boats in Mexican waters must have a fishing license if there is fishing gear of any kind, or fish, or fish parts on board.

Mexico laws for fishing Licenses, for people fishing on charter sportfishing boats, have changed in 1998.   No longer will the charters have 1 license that covers everyone fishing on the charter.  Each person must have in its possession a fishing license issued my the Mexican fisheries department.  You can get that from the Mexico Fisheries office in the city you are fishing at.  A fishing license is also required for underwater fishing.

Fishing licenses are issued for periods of one week, one month, and one year, effective at 12:01 am on the starting date specified on the license application. The prices for Mexican fishing licenses are as follows:
Daily License-          $8.00 Average in Mexico
Weekly License - $12.15

Monthly License - $19.00

Annual License - $25.30

All prices are in US Dollars. These licenses are not transferable, and each license must include the person's full legal name, home address, and telephone number.

Applications for Mexican Sportfishing Licenses can be obtained at the Mexico Department of Fisheries office in San Diego, however, most people purchase them through their local fishing and tackle store or Mexican Insurance dealer. If you receive your application from the Department of Fisheries office, upon completion, applications should be submitted to:

Mexico Department of Fisheries
2550 5th Avenue, Suite 101

San Diego, CA 92103
The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm to answer any questions. The phone number is (619) 233-6956.

Applications sent to this address must be accompanied by a cashier's check or money order for the exact amount due, and made payable to Oficina Recaudadora de Pesca; personal checks are not accepted. For mail orders, be sure to include a stamped self-addressed return envelope.

The Mexico Department of Fisheries also has offices in Mexico (Oficina de Pesca), but it is advisable to obtain fishing licenses before crossing the border.

Daily Bag Limits and Other Regulations:
Each fisherman is permitted to catch up to ten (10) fish per day, with no more than five (5) fish of any one species. In addition, anglers are subject to the following limits:

No more than one (1) full-grown Marlin

No more than two (2) Tarpon, Halibut, or Sailfish

In brackish waters, anglers are permitted to take up to twenty (20) Perch and twenty (20) Carp per day.

Except when skin or scuba diving, fish must be taken by angling with a hand-held line or a line attached to a rod. The use of nets (except handling nets), traps, poisons, or explosives is strictly prohibited. Skin and scuba divers may only fish with hand-held spears or band-powered spearguns. It is illegal to sell, trade, or exchange the fish caught. Fish can be eviscerated and filleted, but a patch of skin must be left to permit identification.

The taking of abalone, lobster, shrimp, pismo clams, cabrilla, totuava, oysters, and sea turtles is prohibited by Mexican law. Anyone wishing to purchase any of these species to take into the United States must first obtain a form from the Mexican Government Fish Commission; only the Oficinas de Pesca located within Mexico provides this form. All purchases of these species must be made at designated public markets or fishing cooperatives.

US Customs Regulations:
Sportfishermen may bring into the United States only fish for personal consumption. US Customs requires that the fish catch must be accompanied by a California Declaration of Entry form, obtainable at California Fish and Game offices and at the US Border ports of entry. (Note that different regulations may apply if you live in a state other than California; for information regarding your state's regulations, contact your local Department of Fish and Game or your local US Customs office) The number of fish must not exceed the Mexican bag limit. Fish transported across the boarder can be eviscerated but must be identifiable; usually the head, tail, or patch of skin left intact wi>

Anyone bringing fish into the United States may or will be asked by Customs officials to present a valid Mexican fishing license or a Mexico Department of Fisheries form covering the purchase or sportfishing of the fish. For more information, contact the California Department of Fish and Game at 1350 Front Street, San Diego, 92101; (619) 237-7311.

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