Jeffrey Fortuna travels the world catching fish with his camera. As house photographer for Hobie, the shutter jockey has seen the most famous destinations through his lens. When we asked his favorite, he was quick to choose Cedros Island, Mexico.
Experience fly-in fishing only an hour south of Southern California. Cedros Island, off the coast of Baja, Mexico, is a bucket list destination for California yellowtail and calico bass. Flying into the small airport is part of the fun.
On the map, the island looks small. Once there, steep cliffs, crystal clear blue water, massive kelp forests and fishable structure galore are overwhelming.
Local outfitter, Cedros Kayak Fishing has trucks and kayak trailers to access many parts of the island, but the best fishing requires loading the kayaks in a large Panga boat. Cedros Island is a surprisingly affordable adventure for trophy fish in a remote location you’ll remember forever.
GUIDE AND OUTFITTER:
Host at Cedros Kayak Fishing, Jeff Mariani is an experienced guide with a passion for kayak fishing. The lodge’s English-speaking guides are friendly and knowledgeable.
Cedros Kayak Fishing has six private rooms with AC. The lodge has Wi-Fi, purified drinking water and a stocked kitchen. Daily laundry service is included, only pack two sets of fishing clothes.
A cook prepares three meals each day. They are happy to accommodate special requests. Don’t miss fresh tortillas made just down the road from the lodge. Keep your fish to eat fresh or freeze it to take home with you. The island is also known for lobster.
Yellowtail, calico bass, halibut, white sea bass, black sea bass, broomtail grouper, sheepshead and, during warm months, pelagic fish such as yellowfin tuna and dorado.
June through November is the best season. Late July until mid-October is primetime for yellowtail. Spring is best for halibut and calico bass; there’s always a chance at hooking into one of the island’s behemoth home-guard yellowtail.
Bring four rods. A medium-heavy and a heavy inshore combo with 300- and 400-size baitcasting reel, 65-pound Spectra, 40- to 60-pound leader. Include a heavy spinning reel and one heavy conventional set-up for live-bait fishing.
Cedros Kayak Fishing offers four- and five-day packages, but they’re open to building a custom trip. A typical day of fishing on Cedros starts with fresh coffee and breakfast burritos followed by a 6 a.m. departure.
Catch bait, then head to the fishing spot. Fish all day jigging the bottom, slow trolling live bait or chasing birds and breaking fish. Break for an island-style lunch.
Return to the harbor by 5 p.m. according to the harbormaster’s rules. Once back at the casa, take a warm shower before cold drinks and dinner. Spend the evening rigging and getting ready for the next day.
Finish up sharing fish stories by the fire then collapse into a comfy bed. Eat, sleep, fish and repeat is the motto.
More information www.cedroskayakfishing.com
Yellowtail central. | Featured photo: Jeffrey Fortuna