Guadalupe Island Fishing

Baja California's remote Guadalupe Island offers legendary fishing opportunities for catching big gamesters like this quality grade yellowfin tuna.

Situated just beyond the continental shelf, 150 miles off Baja California’s western coast, Isla Guadalupe or Guadalupe Island is a stark, barely populated volcanic island that draws in anglers and divers from around the globe. Although the high seas and unpredictable weather that can occur in winter make this unique and exotic locale less than enticing during those months, the deep blue seas that surround this remote and rocky islet can offer underwater visibility of 140 feet or more.

Guadalupe Island supports a distinctive array of marine life that ranges all the way up the food chain from massive schools of sardines or anchovies to great white sharks that grow to over 20 feet in length. The waters around Guadalupe Island spring to life between May and early October, offering world class fishing for quality grade yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, calico bass and occasional dorado and wahoo.

Although there is an airstrip on the island as well as a small port on its western coast, there are only around 200 permanent residents on Isla Guadalupe; mostly abalone and lobster fishermen. Since this venue offers no terrestrial tourist accommodations, the only reasonable way to visit the region is aboard one of the several multi-day sportfishing or dive boat charters that regularly travel there on a seasonal basis. The running time from San Diego to Guadalupe Island is around 24 hours.

        

In addition to sleep aboard lodging and a full galley, most charter operations in the San Diego long range fishing fleet are equipped with the latest in fish finding electronics, refrigerated saltwater storage units and live bait receivers. Hook and line anglers tend to focus their attention on the large yellowfin tuna, big yellowtail and plentiful calico bass fishing for which the island has become famous.

If no working birds are present to help skippers find action, the calculated trolling of Rapala-style baits usually puts them on the fish. Once feeding fish are located, live baits can be flylined by the rest of the passengers aboard, which often results in multiple hookups.  Anglers who enjoy casting out plastic swimbaits can expect to find an excellent seasonal bite for calico bass around the edges of Guadalupe Island's dense inshore kelp beds.

This is also a prime area for free divers who spearfish. It is the only way to take fish underwater by spear in the Republic of Mexico, which forbids the use of SCUBA gear for that purpose. Nonetheless, highly experienced veteran free divers regularly spear trophy class yellowtail weighing 40 pounds or more. But in these waters, it is imperative that they surface with their catch and return to the boat as quickly as possible. The large populations of fur seals, elephant seals and California sea lions that live on Guadalupe Island make this prime territory for encountering a great white shark.

As a matter of fact, the predictable and burgeoning proliferation of great whites in this area has acted as a magnet for the adventurous. Those with a desire to submerge themselves in a steel cage and observe the behavior of these grand beasts in the wild can do so here better than almost anywhere else.

It is an experience that can simultaneously be both inspiring and terrifying.

Admittedly, a voyage to Guadalupe Island takes longer and costs more than an average fishing trip. But without a doubt, it offers a one of a kind encounter with a natural marine environment that still has only been experienced by a relative handful of lucky visitors.

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Gatch, Tom. "Guadalupe Island Fishing." ThoughtCo, Oct. 19, 2015, thoughtco.com/guadalupe-island-fishing-2929053. Gatch, Tom. (2015, October 19). Guadalupe Island Fishing. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/guadalupe-island-fishing-2929053 Gatch, Tom. "Guadalupe Island Fishing." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/guadalupe-island-fishing-2929053 (accessed November 18, 2017).