Winter fishing on the Nautilus with Captain Trevor.

coronado islands,
baja mexico


Specifically fishing the Coronado Islands in Mexico, you will need a passport for each and every person to book this trip. No exceptions. The Coronado islands offer an awesome variety of fish to catch ranging from Yellowtail to Rockfish. Generally speaking, fishing Mexican waters means more bites and more fish. The scenery is also incredible. There is also great bass fishing on the island as well! The islands offer a Yellowtail bite well after San Diego has stopped for the season. All charters includes light lunch and coffee, soda, water, snacks.

The Coronado Islands is a great trip for a 10 or 12 hour excursion on one of our 14 fishing vessels for hire. It is in Mexican waters, so every person will need a passport to go. Only 15 miles from the bait barge means its close, but it is also a world away. The fishing in Mexican waters is under much less pressure, and the island provides the perfect habitat for many species. Once you pull up, you can be sure there is action headed your way.

You will need to purchase a one-day Mexican fishing license and a bio-bracelet for $45 total from our landing  or online before departure. The only thing NOT included is a fishing license and any alcoholic beverages you wish to bring with you. (Coolers are OK!) To make a reservation to join one of our open party charters, please call or text us at 619-508-7823.

Numerous International Game Fish Records have been recognized for catches around the Coronados, attracting wildlife enthusiasts, divers, and anglers seeking thrilling adventures. These accolades highlight the rich history of the islands and provide opportunities for individuals to relive past experiences or embark on new explorations. Many remarkable catches in the region have garnered recognition, with several of them still prominently featured in the prestigious IGFA World Record book, showcasing the exceptional fishing opportunities that abound in the waters surrounding the Coronados.

Yellowtail Fishing at the Coronado Islands

When it comes to yellowtail fishing, the Coronado Islands are a great place to try your luck. With a little preparation, you're sure to have a successful trip. During the summer months, from June through late October, the Yellowtail line up on the floating kelp patties that surround the island and fishing is fast and furios. Many a boat has limited on Yellowtail at the Coronado Islands.  

The best method for catching Yellowtail at the Coronado is to troll around with cedar plugs while simultaneously manning the bridge, use the binoculars, and look for foaming fish, bait balls, diving birds, or other surface action. If you see a kelp patty floating, the Captain will make a bee line for it, and assign a deckhead or veteran passenger to the bow with iron. As the Captain approaches, he will order the bow angler to release the iron on to the patty. If yellowtail are under that patty, the iron will be bite. As soon as you get your first Yellowtail on, by trolling or kelp patty iron, the first mission is for everyone on the boat to switch to live bait. If you trolling, first reel in all the trollers, and then quickly switch to live bait. The deckhands will be dumping bait by now, and before you know it, there will be a school of them under the boat. Limits, here you come.

For sure it is some of the most fast paced, frenetic, and unforgettable fishing you will get. And the yellowtail is also a prized game fish because the meat is sublime.

The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, clear waters, and abundance of marine life. Fishing is a popular activity in the area, with many charter companies offering fishing trips to the islands. The most common fish caught around the Coronado Islands include yellowtail, tuna, Dorado, wahoo, and marlin. In addition to fishing, the Coronados attract visitors with their stunning underwater landscapes, making them a top destination for divers and snorkelers alike. The nearby deep ocean currents regularly wash the islands with clear blue water, creating visibility often exceeding 80 feet. This pristine environment provides an unparalleled diving experience, comparable to the Caribbean. Alongside fishermen, the Coronados are frequented by divers and snorkelers who appreciate the rich marine biodiversity and captivating underwater scenery. The islands are home to a diverse array of wildlife, including seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales. Visitors can partake in whale watching tours from December to April each year, adding a thrilling wildlife encounter to their island experience.

Lingcod Fishing at the Coronados

Hardest fighting and ugliest fish award go to this mean-looking bottom dweller. When this fish picks up your bait, you will instantly know it. Putting up a good fight is what they do, especially on the lighter tackle that we use during the winter and spring season. The meat of this fish can sometimes have a blue tint, but I can assure you that it is quite tasty. It is a strong fighting fish! These oddly colored fish fight heavier than their weight. If you hook into a 10-30lb Lingcod, you will be what feels like a much bigger fish. Woe to the angler who hooks one of these monsters on super light line. Remember I was telling you to end your line with a heavier leader, this fish is the reason why. With a solid hook up, you will eventually get him over the side. At that time you will see one of the most beautiful colored fish species there is. Did I mention that this fish is great to eat, and considered a delicacy. 

Dorado Fishing at the Coronado Islands

The Coronado Islands are a chain of six volcanic islands located just off the coast of Tijuana, Mexico. They are a popular destination for both tourist and locals alike because of their rich marine life and beautiful scenery. The Islands are also a hotspot for Dorado fishing.

Dorado, also known as Mahi-Mahi, is one of the most popular fish to catch in the area. These brightly colored fish can grow up to eight feet long and weigh up to 50 pounds. They are usually found in tropical waters and are prized for their flesh, which is considered to be some of the best tasting fish in the world.

If you're looking to catch Dorado at the Coronado Islands, there are a few things you need to know. First, it's important to use live bait when fishing for these fish. Second, they tend to bite best during the early morning hours or late in the evening. Finally, Dorado typically congregate around floating debris or areas with high concentrations of baitfish - so keep your eyes peeled for any surface action.

Like the Yellowtail above, they like kelp patties, or any debris. For real I have found a school under a floating solo cup. So keep your eyes open! Bait balls, diving birds, and other surface disruptions are all worth investigating. Trolling is good, iron is good, and live bait is good if you use it on the patties , after the first hookup on iron.

If you follow these tips, you're sure to have a successful Dorado fishing trip at the Coronado Islands!

Rock Fishing at the Coronado Islands

The Coronado Islands are a group of four islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico. They are a popular spot for rockfishing, as there are many reefs and rocky areas to fish from. The islands are also home to a variety of other fish, including bass, yellowtail, and Dorado.

Here is the lowdown on Rockfish at the Coronados, use a double hook setup and a TWO SPEED reel. If you are on one of our private charters, the Captain will provide these for you. The rockfish are deep , so you use a lot of lead to get the bait down there, and keep it on the floor of the ocean. If its not on the floor of the ocean, you will not get any bites. When you do get a bite, it is not the strong bite of a tuna, but more of the weight of a bowling ball. Especially if you have a lot of lead and two on.

Great fun for young anglers, and anybody else who just wants a lot of fish. Easy to catch, bucketfulls! Great tacos can be made from this fish as well. One fish equals two tacos. Do the math.

There are many different techniques that can be used when rockfishing at the Coronado Islands. Some anglers like to use live bait, while others prefer squid. It is important to experiment and find what works best for you. There is no wrong way to fish, as long as you are having fun and staying safe.

Halibut Fishing In the Coronados, setting records.

Some notable anglers who frequently visited the Coronado Islands and achieved fishing success there were Don and Shirley Blackman. The Blackmans enjoyed spending their weekends anchored near South Island, where they would fish for halibut before the peak season began in the spring. Shirley Blackman, in particular, achieved significant success in fishing, setting several International Game Fish Association line-class world records for catches of California halibut and tuna around the islands. Specifically, she held world records for a 38-pound, 8-ounce California halibut caught on a 6-pound test line and a 41-pound halibut caught on a 16-pound test line at the Coronado Islands.

These islands provide a fertile fishing ground for these flatfish, with depths ranging from 30 to 60 feet. The halibut found in these waters can reach impressive sizes, often exceeding 20 pounds, and provide a thrilling challenge for anglers of all skill levels. The best time to target these giants is during their peak season, which spans from late spring to early summer. Anglers can employ a variety of techniques, including drifting or anchoring and using live bait such as sardines or mackerel. The key to success lies in finding areas with sandy bottoms and good current flow, providing the perfect environment for halibut to ambush their prey. The Coronado Islands offer a diverse and rewarding fishing experience, with the chance to land a true trophy halibut always within reach.

The Best Time to Go - Year Round Fishing!

When planning a trip to fish the Coronado Islands, it is important to consider the time of year. The best time to go is typically from mid-March to mid-November, with the summer months being best... as this is when the weather is most favorable and the water is at its warmest. However, it is also worth considering that this island holds year round yellowtail, rockfish, halibut, bass, lingcod, and bonita fishing that never really stops. So yes, this is a year round spot that you can always depend on to deliver fish.

What to Bring

Each passenger on this charter must bring the following items:

Please speak with your Captain, and he will aid you in obtaining all of these items. If you or one of your passengers does not have a booklet passport, they cannot go. The Mexican Navy is very strict.

What You Need to Know Before You Go

If you're planning a fishing trip to the Coronado Islands, there are a few things you should know before you go. First, be sure to obtain the proper permits and licenses from the Mexican government. Secondly, the waters around the islands can be treacherous, so be sure to check weather and sea conditions before setting out. 

With that said, the Coronado Islands are home to some of the best fishing in Mexico. The waters are teeming with marlin, tuna, sailfish, and dorado, making it a paradise for anglers. And with its beautiful beaches and lush landscape, it's no wonder the Coronado Islands are such a popular destination for tourists and fishermen alike.

About The Coronado Island Chain

The Coronado Islands are a group of four islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. The islands are named after their discoverer, Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered them in 1542. The island group consists of three larger islands - San Diego, Santa Catalina and San Clemente - and a smaller island called Coronado.

The islands are known for their beautiful beaches, clear waters and abundance of marine life. Fishing is a popular activity in the area and there are many charter companies that offer fishing trips to the islands. The most common fish caught around the Coronado Islands include yellowtail, tuna, Dorado, wahoo and marlin.

The islands are also home to a variety of wildlife including seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales. Visitors can take part in whale watching tours which operate from December to April each year.

San Diego is the largest and most populous island in the group with a population of over 3 million people. The island is home to the city of San Diego which is a major tourist destination in its own right. Visitors to San Diego can enjoy attractions such as Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California.

Santa Catalina Island is the second largest island in the group with a population of over 4,000 people. The island is best known for its town of Avalon which is a popular tourist destination with its

The International Yellowtail Derby has undergone significant changes in its format over the years. Initially starting out as an event solely focused on fishing for yellowtail in the Coronado Islands, it has expanded to encompass different fishing dates and activities. In recent years, the event has been extended to cover a longer period, now including fishing from April 30 to June 4, with the awards ceremony taking place on June 5. This adjustment allows for more anglers to participate and increases the chances of catching various fish species during the tournament. Moreover, the International Yellowtail Derby has seen an increase in participants ranging from seasoned anglers to beginners, all drawn to the islands for its diverse fishing opportunities. 

There has been a notable rise in the number of International Game Fish Records awarded for catches made around the Coronados, with some records still standing in the IGFA World Record book. Additionally, the tournament has seen remarkable anglers like Don and Shirley Blackman achieving multiple IGFA line-class world records for catches such as California halibut and tuna, contributing to the event's prestige and history. Overall, with the inclusion of different fishing dates, a broader range of fishing opportunities, and the participation of various anglers, the format of the International Yellowtail Derby has evolved over the years to become a more inclusive and diverse fishing event celebrating the rich history and excitement of fishing around the Coronado Islands.

Stephen P. Cushman, the Chairman of San Deigo's Board of Port Commissioners at the time, played a crucial role in urging John Campbell to revive the International Yellowtail Derby. With Campbell's extensive experience in the fishing community, he was considered an ideal candidate to bring back the tradition of the derby. Under Campbell's management and with Cushman's support, the International Yellowtail Derby was successfully resurrected in September 2009.

Fishing the Coronado Islands in baja Mexico is once in a lifetime!

Looking for a new and exciting fishing destination? Look no further than the Coronado Islands in Mexico! These beautiful islands offer some of the best fishing in the world, and they're just a short boat ride from San Diego. In this blog post, we'll give you a rundown of everything you need to know about fishing the Coronado Islands. We'll tell you what kind of fish you can expect to catch, what gear you'll need, and how to get there.  You will never forget how perfect a spot this is, and how good the fishing is. So read on and start planning your next fishing adventure!

The Nautilus cleans up at the Coronado Islands!

History of the Coronado Islands

The Coronado Islands are a group of four islands off the coast of Mexico near San Diego. They were discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542 and named after his patron, King Charles V of Spain.

The islands have been inhabited off and on over the centuries. In the early 1800s, they were used as a base by pirates who preyed on ships passing through the area. In 1846, during the Mexican-American War, American troops occupied one of the islands and built a fort.

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Coronado Islands Reservation to protect the area’s natural resources. It was later expanded and became a national monument. Today, much of the area is protected as a national park.

During Prohibition in the 1920s and 1930s, the Coronado Islands, specifically South Island, played a significant role in illegal activities related to alcohol smuggling. The cove at Puerto Cueva on the northeast side of South Island served as a rendezvous spot for bootleggers who smuggled alcohol into the United States. With the absence of radar and frequent foggy nights, the high number of boats in the area often led to collisions. Moreover, the proximity of Mexico's vibrant nightlife scene in places like Rosarito Beach and Ensenada further fueled illegal activities on the Coronado Islands. Prominent figures such as Mariano Escobedo and Fred Hamilton were involved in establishing a sophisticated gambling casino and hotel on the rocky cliffs of South Coronado Island. This elaborate establishment featured luxurious amenities such as 60 rooms, bungalows, a restaurant, cabaret, and a casino painted in striking blue. The casino on the Coronado Islands, much like the famous Agua Caliente Casino, attracted guests who sought to indulge in bootlegged alcohol while enjoying the scenic views of the coast. The interior was lavishly decorated with carpeted floors, large mirrors, and eye-catching paintings on the walls. The second floor boasted a large terrace offering panoramic views stretching from Rosarito to San Diego. Guests could sip illicit drinks while taking in the stunning sights, further cementing the Coronado Islands' role as a hotspot for Prohibition-era activities.

These four infertile islands, belonging to Mexico and forming part of Tijuana, State of Baja California Norte, have been witness to various events and tales that have earned them a place in local folklore. The recorded history of the Coronado Islands dates back to 1542 when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first described them as desolate islands. Named Los Cuatro Coronados (the four crowned ones) in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno to honor four martyrs, the islands have been associated with myths and legends, including tales of pirates and smugglers. One notable event in the islands' history is the Annual Yellowtail Derby that was held from 1946 to 1973, attracting anglers from across the country to compete for cash prizes and other rewards. The islands also served as a popular fishing spot during World War II and have continued to be a key destination for sportfishing enthusiasts. Additionally, the Coronado Islands have seen unique commercial endeavors such as a gambling casino and hotel constructed on South Coronado Island during the Prohibition era. The failed businesses and schemes on the islands highlight the challenges presented by their rugged terrain and lack of freshwater sources. The islands have also been linked to peculiar naval incidents, such as the controversial target practice conducted by a U.S. Navy lieutenant in 1943 that led to diplomatic tensions between the United States and Mexico. Notably, the lieutenant involved in the incident was L. Ron Hubbard, the future founder of Scientology. Today, the Coronado Islands continue to attract visitors, including fishermen, divers, and snorkelers, thanks to their clear blue waters and diverse marine life. Popular dive sites like Pukey Point and Lobster Shack offer unique underwater experiences, making the islands a sought-after destination for adventure seekers on the West Coast.


Arguably the best fighting fish for its weight, and they can get up to 300 pounds each!

Although smaller than the Bluefin, this ferocious fish puts up a fight you will not soon forget.

This is the big one. If you hook up on this you will be in the fight of your life. These fish way hundreds of pounds!

Not technically a tuna, but in the same weight class, it  is known for the best tasting sashimi on earth.

The colorful skin of this fish is iridescent!
It is also known for its high flying antics.

This beautiful fish is an exotic species that you have to target at deep depths.