East Cape Baja’s Fishing Playground

Sea of Cortez offers plenty of action on inshore and offshore species


Capt. John Keizer with a bull dolphin caught in the Sea of Cortez near East Cape, Mexico


The yellow streak moved at warp speed across the boat’s wake and quickly got my full attention leaving no doubt that my lure had gotten the attention of a very fired-up and hungry bull Dorado.

I grabbed my 30-pound Shimano Calcutta 700 reel and stand up rod and stood at the stern of our 30-foot cruiser as the deckhand reeled in lines and readied the boat for what turned out to be a long 30-minute fight on a 57-pound dorado. One of several caught during a week’s trip to the Hotel Palmas de Cortez.

Later in the day we put out the 50-pound Shimano Tiagra outfits and trolled for Marlin about 30 miles south of the hotel. We had had the gear in the water less then 15 minutes when the right rigger exploded and my brother in law, Paul Castillo, took the chair as 140 pounds of pure, pissed-off striped marlin went airborne. After the captain skillfully backed down on the fish we had a quick picture session before releasing the spectacular gamefish back into the blue depths.

On a similar trip in May this year we caught and released 3 striped marlin to 150 pounds, 5 dorado from 40-57 pounds, and two 30- to 35-pound roosterfish while fishing inshore just a couple of miles south of the hotel.


Excellent sportfishing, stunning beaches

Such is the fishing potential of the East Cape, a laid back part of the arid Baja peninsula. Hotel Palmas de Cortez is situated in a remote part of the East Cape (about an hour drive from the Los Cabos airport), and features beautiful white-sand beaches and a spectacular view of the Sea of Cortez.

Unlike Cabo San Lucas, the East Cape does not offer nightclubs, casinos or big hotels. What it lacks in nightlife, however, the East Cape more than makes up with close proximity to excellent fishing. You can even catch Roosterfish in the surf right in front of the hotel. Hotel Palmas de Cortez is the flagship of three hotels in the East Cape area owned by world-renowned fisherman Bobby Van Wormer and his wife Cha Cha. It features air conditioned rooms, excellent food, and plenty of ice cold drinks with the nicest pool bar I have ever seen in these parts. Even better, it’s located next to the beach with a breathtaking view of the ocean.


John Keizer and a roosterfish, which is part of the typical catch at East Cape.


Palmas is well known by top anglers and will be hosting the International Rolex Marlin Tournament this fall. This is a gathering of top marlin anglers from around the world who compete who compete for one of the richest tournament purses in the world.


Timing the run

Peak season is from April through October for striped marlin and tuna, with the larger blues and black marlin moving in the area in July, according to director of hotel fishing operations, German Cossio M. A lot can depend on weather patterns, of course, and its always a good idea to check with the hotel before booking a trip.

Rental tackle is $25.00 a day although many anglers bring at least some of their own tackle. A good choice is a 30 pound standup rod for handling medium size yellowtails, large roosters, and dorado. If marlin is your target species 50 pound rods with matching reels are the standard here. A lighter 20-pound spinning rod is great for catching bonita, jacks, small dorado and roosterfish.

Hotel Palmas de Cortez offers a wide range of fishing packages, including several specials throughout the year. Our trip ran $2000 for two people and included five nights at the hotel, 4 days of fishing from a cruiser, three meals a day, plus all taxes and service fees. Live bait runs $25.00 a day and the round trip shuttle from the airport costs around $120.00.


The swimming pool at the Hotel Palmas overlooks the Sea of Cortez.


The hotel has an expansive fleet of charter boats with hard working captains that pick guests up right in front of the hotel. The hotel will process and freeze your catch in regular plastic bags for you or you can have them professionally vacuum packed or smoked at the East Cape Smoke House just down the street from the hotel. Alaska Airlines offers daily direct fights to Los Cabos Baja from Seattle, which makes getting in and out of East Cape very convenient.

For more information on booking an East Cape adventure call 877-777-8862 x202 and ask for Eddie Dalmau at Van Wormer Resorts, or visit the Salt Patrol travel page and join us in November of each year for a great time. Salmon fishing is my first love, but a yearly trip to the Baja is truly a necessity for any NW angler craving a blue water fishing adventure.


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