Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco) Fishing: The Complete Guide for 2024

Feb 29, 2024 | 8 minute read Comments
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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Just a four-hour drive from Tucson and Phoenix, it’s no wonder that Puerto Peñasco earned the nickname “Arizona’s Beach.” The town is officially known as “Rocky Point” in English and bridges the Sonora desert to the sea. This charming resort lies a mere 60 miles from the US border and offers up golden beaches, crystal clear waters, and angling opportunities in abundance. The best way to take it all in is by fishing in Rocky Point. 

An aerial view of Puerto Peñasco/Rocky Point looking towards La Cholla

Hit the numerous bays just a stone’s throw from downtown, head a little further to the productive reefs, or venture out into the Sea of Cortez – the opportunities are endless! So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and find out what fishing in Rocky Point is all about. 

Best Fish to Catch in Rocky Point

First things first. When you go fishing, the first thing on your mind is what you’re going to catch. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of prized fish in and around Rocky Point. The productive waters here offer up a range of trophy-sized creatures and plenty of table fare for dinner. Here’s our pick of the bunch.

Triggerfish

Two anglers and a woman stand on a fishign boat, hold Triggerfish and a Grouper caught fishing in Rocky Point.

A close relative of the Atlantic favorite, Finescale Triggerfish is one of the most common catches in Puerto Peñasco. Small but sweet, these creatures are ideal for beginners and children who want to get their first taste of fishing – literally! Triggerfish always make for a good meal, and we’re sure they’ll help you get hooked on fishing, too. 

Whether onshore or in the bay, chances are you’ll find Triggerfish biting. Target them in the shallows as you bottom fish, and you may even attract a Rock Bass or Halibut to add to your menu. Beware, though, Triggerfish have extremely sharp teeth. Take care when unhooking them, as they could make more than just a dent in your finger! 

Mackerel

Six Sierra Mackerel on ice in the market having been caught in the Pacific Ocean.

If the Triggerfish didn’t whet your appetite, then this next beauty is sure to get you reaching for your rod. All around the world, different Mackerel species are revered for their quality meat. And you’ll have the chance to target not one, but two Mackerels when fishing in Rocky Point.

Sierra and Monterrey Spanish Mackerel provide fantastic light tackle action. Relatively light (they grow up to just 20 pounds), they’re fast as lightning and will rush through the water with your line to make you work hard to reel ‘em in. Surf fishing is a popular way of getting enough to fill the freezer, while bay fishing charters are also effective. Whether grilling them up on the BBQ or making ceviche, these fish won’t disappoint!

Groupers and Snappers

A group of anglers hold a Grouper each having returned to the dock from their Rocky Point fishing trip.

Leaving the bays behind, there’s a whole other world to explore out of Puerto Peñasco. The Sea of Cortez offers up reefs galore, just a short hop from the beaches. This is where you’ll find dazzling and delicious Groupers and Snappers. These two beasts are among the best fish you can catch in the region, growing to incredible sizes. They promise to put up an almighty fight before providing ample meat as a worthy reward. 

Cubera and Colorado Snappers will leave you lost for words, as their red hue shines under the desert sun. Meanwhile, Broomtail, Sawtail, and Gulf Groupers as big as 100 pounds will take your breath away for different reasons! It’s suggested that you release these Grouper species to fight another day, but Leopard Groupers and Spotted Cabrilla are excellent traditional table fare in this part of the world. 

Yellowtail Amberjack

Two anglers standing on a fishing boat holding a big Yellowtail Amberjack, with blue waters and skies in the background

Fishing the west of Mexico is pretty much synonymous with fishing for Yellowtails. These strong, tasty creatures are abundant from Tijuana to Cabo, and all the way up to Puerto Peñasco. Targeting them in Rocky Point is as good as pretty much anywhere on the planet! Head offshore and troll to entice the bite of these beasts, and you’re in for a real treat. 

These creatures show up in December and stay throughout the colder months to the end of spring. This means that you’ll have the chance to head out and get your fish on even when conditions aren’t great. It also frees up the summer months to go after Mackerel, Skipjack, and Mahi Mahi that take center stage.

How to Go Fishing in Rocky Point

Now that you know what to expect from the fish, your next step is deciding how best to fill your cooler. Puerto Peñasco was founded as a fishing village, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ways for you to wet your line. Next, we’ll outline the pros and cons of all Puerto Peñasco’s fishing opportunities.

Puerto Peñasco Surf Fishing

A lone angler stands on the beach, fishing from shore in the Sea of Cortez

Looking for a traditional fishing experience? Look no further than setting up camp on the each and casting from shore. All along the coast, you’ll find perfect spots where the fish come right up close. Enjoy the sun, sights, and even swimming and snorkeling alongside a good day’s work. 

Triggerfish, Corvina, Pompano, and Mackerel are popular catches from shore, with the best results coming from wading. So even if you don’t plan on swimming, it’s worth bringing your swimsuit! Beware that you’ll need to be 250 meters (around 800 feet) from any bathers or swimmers. Head to some of the more remote spots up or down the coast and make the most of it!

Puerto Peñasco Pier Fishing

Anglers cast their lines at sunset from a jetty in Mexico

Rocky Point’s piers aren’t exactly what you may think of when you conjure up the image of a fishing pier. Rather, what you’ll find here are rocky outcroppings. Despite that, you’re in for a true Mexican experience when you engage in Puerto Peñasco pier fishing. Set up camp for the day, sit back, and cast your line, before watching the results fly in. 

The two “piers” in town are at Pelican Point and in the Old Port. Here, locals and tourists alike fill the rocks to cast their lines. Get there early in the morning to find your spot, and you’re in for surefire success. Why else would the locals love it so much? Take your pick of the best inshore fish in Puerto Peñasco and enjoy the fruits of your labor after a productive day. 

Rocky Point Fishing Charters

A group of anglers standing on a Puerto Penasco fishing boat, holding a couple of Groupers

If you’re looking to get the most out of your Rocky Point fishing experience, then a charter is for you. Hit up a range of fishing grounds that no other method can offer. From the shallows to the deep, charter fishing reigns supreme. Thankfully, the harbors all around Puerto Peñasco are full of boats and captains ready to take you to sea. 

In keeping with the welcoming nature of the town, Puerto Peñasco fishing charters are designed to impress. You’ll have everything you need for a productive day out, including a professional guide and maybe even a deckhand to give you some help, aboard a striking sportfishing vessel. If the fish aren’t biting, you’ll simply whizz off to a spot where they are. And, as soon as you find them, you’re in for a treat. Trolling, bottom fishing, kite fishing, and more – charter fishing is your route to success!

Puerto Peñasco Fishing Spots

With so much on offer in Puerto Peñasco, it’s time to turn our attention to the honey holes that make this town such an angler’s paradise. Whether fishing from shore, a “pier,” or on a boat, there are some spots you shouldn’t miss! Here’s our pick of where to go when fishing in Rocky Point. 

  • Sandy Beach “Pier”: Just west of downtown towards La Choya, the far end of the beach is a prime pier fishing sport. Muelle Oeste sticks out into the sea, giving you purchase over the fish around you. 
  • Old Port: Downtown’s favorite fishing spot – the rugged coastline on the other side of the harbor is a great place to set up camp for the day and get your fish on in traditional fashion.
  • Cholla Bay: A few miles up the coast, La Choya’s beach looks out over the Cholla Bay where the sands stretch out for miles. This is your best bet for shore fishing and getting knee-deep in the action. Head out into the bay, and you’ll find some productive reefs, too!
  • Las Conchas: This stretch of beach east of downtown is so long that you’ll have no trouble finding yourself a fishing spot. Set up a marker 250 meters away – maybe even leave the family there – and get lost in the incredible angling action. 
  • Sea of Cortez: You may think we’re stretching it a bit with this one, but you get the picture! Head offshore to the deep waters and get your hands on some prized specimens, such as Yellowtails and Sailfish. 

When to Go Fishing in Rocky Point

A view towards Puerto Peñasco across the bay at dusk

Puerto Peñasco boasts a desert climate, meaning that whenever you embark on your fishing adventure, you’re in for good weather. Just 10 days of rain per year means that you’ll have to be very unlucky to catch a wet day. Even in the coldest months, you’ll find temperatures in the high 60s, so you’d think that there’s never really a bad time to come. 

However, the winds that sweep out into the Sea of Cortez may disrupt your fishing trip in winter. Sand from the desert can make sight casting conditions a little tricky, with the waters becoming choppy nearshore, too. There’s no reason you can’t go offshore and get your hands on some Yellowtail, though!

Spring and summer are peak fishing times, with inshore fishing reaching its yearly heights from March through May. Some creatures stay in these waters all the way through summer, when the bigger beasts appear offshore. Summer is probably the best time to come to grab a mixed bag – Mackerel, Corvina, Mahi Mahi, Halibut, Skipjack, and even Sailfish are all possible! However, the fishing can be just as good with the return of Snappers and Groupers in fall. 

Rocky Point Fishing Tournaments

The shallow inshore waters lead out into the Cholla Bay outside Rocky Point with rocky mountains in the background

If you’re looking to see Puerto Peñasco in all its glory, we recommend visiting during one of the town’s legendary fishing tournaments or fiestas. Pretty much every month of the year, the locals find a reason to celebrate something or other. We’ve got our favorite events, but for a comprehensive guide, follow this.

  • Fishbowl Seafood Festival: It may be offseason, but there’s no better way to get ready for the return of the fish, than by chomping on delicious seafood. Fill up on fish fillets in February and enjoy Rocky Point’s rich culinary scene.
  • Rocky Point Fishing Derby: Every year, Puerto Peñasco comes alive in April and May with the annual fishing derby. Test your skills in a whole range of competitions or watch on and see some trophies get hooked. 
  • Summer Fishing Tournaments: From the Grouper Tournament in June, through the Deep Sea Tournament in July, there’s always something going on to mark peak season. Book your accommodation early to avoid disappointment!

Rocky Point Fishing Regulations

A view along the beach towards downtown Puerto Peñasco at sunset

Some more good news for anglers looking to take advantage of Puerto Peñasco’s fishing frenzy is that you’ll only need to get a license in a rare number of instances. Fishing from shore here is allowed without a permit, while most charter operators cover everyone on board. Head out on your own vessel, and you’ll need to get a Mexican sportfishing license, however. 

Catch limits here are also relatively liberal, so you’re free to land plenty of meat to take back to shore and savor after a fruitful day on the water! You can keep up to 10 fish, with big game creatures counting as 5 of your limit. Just remember to cast your line at least 250 meters from swimmers, and away you go!

Get ready for some of the best fishing on offer in the west, all just a short trip south of the border. There’s plenty of culture to soak up with a dose of familiarity to make you feel right at home, making Puerto Peñasco a prime destination to get your fish on. Come and see for yourself!

We love hearing from you. Have you ever been fishing in Rocky Point? What did you make of “Arizona’s Beach”? Let us know in the comments below!

Author profile picture

Growing up next to a river, Rhys was always on the water. From Carp fishing in his native Wales to trying his hand at offshore fishing when traveling abroad, Rhys has vastly expanded his horizons when it comes to casting a line and continues to test new waters whenever he has the opportunity.

Comments (42)

Saul

Oct 26, 2023

Looking to fish in Rocky Point. What stores sell fishing gear? What am I allowed to cross over the border with, such as filet knives, etc?

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    Marko

    Oct 26, 2023

    Hi Saul,

    Thanks for reaching out! You’ll find tackle stores near the marina in Puerto Peñasco, however, you’re also allowed to bring fishing gear and tackle across the border.

    When it comes to fillet knives, I’ve tried doing some research but there’s nothing on it online that I could find. Kitchen utensils are not explicitly mentioned on the list of prohibited items, so you’ll probably have no problems bringing in a knife, especially if it’s packed away properly. However, it might be best to contact the AZ Customs Service directly (520-387-6005) and ask.

    I hope the information helps!

    Tight lines,

    Marko

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Mike

Feb 13, 2023

Years ago a group of us fished the Second Estuary s of Rocky Point. We caught tons of sea trout as the tides were perfect. We mainly fished from the shore . The road (?) was a dirt washboard experience. I trust that it would be easier getting there all these years later. Has that area developed….I hope not but I would think it would be an awesome spot.

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    Tanya

    Feb 13, 2023

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for reading our blog. It’s always good to hear from our fellow anglers and see what your experience was like. Do you have any tips or tricks for that estuary? What bait did you use?

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    Mike

    Feb 14, 2023

    We used light rods and reels w silver colored or metal lures that resembled shad. We’d cast out past the surf and reel in. There was a particular time of the month when the fishing was awesome. I think it was a full moon but my memory of our trips in the mid seventies has faded.

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    Tanya

    Feb 14, 2023

    Thanks, Mike, sounds great! Our readers will love your tips 🙂 And yes, your memory serves you well, fishing can be very productive during the full moon. But if you ever want to refresh your memory and go fishing in Rocky Point again, don’t hesitate to reach out. Tight lines!

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Becky

Feb 1, 2023

My husband is interested in deep sea finishing. He’s never been on a chartered boat, just boats out of Cape Cod that sell tickets for about $50. It’s not a big group of people who all know each other, just random people who all want to go fishing. Does Puerto Penasco have anything like that? I haven’t been able to find anything. Thank you.

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    Tanya

    Feb 1, 2023

    Hi Becky,
    Glad to see that you guys are up for a deep sea fishing adventure.
    Our Puerto Penasco charters currently offer only private trips.
    However, our Customer Support might have an idea on how to go about your situation.
    Feel free to reach out to them, they’re happy to help 🙂

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Raul

Dec 15, 2022

Thank you for this very informative article. We were there last month and my first time trying fishing by the Sandy Beach pier. I came empty handed but maybe I wasn’t doing the rig or wasn’t lucky. I want to black and try again. If I want go there for a short weekend trip and will just stay and sleepover in my SUV, where would you suggest to park/stay overnight? A place that is safe and close by the beach. Thanks.

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    Tanya

    Dec 15, 2022

    Hi Raul,
    Sandy Beach Pier is a good shore fishing spot, but it yields the best results in spring or summer. So, give it a try next time on an early May morning, and let us know how it went. As for the parking corner, we can’t truly recommend anything but it seems that there are a couple of decent RV parks close by. There’s one – The Reef RV Park – right in front of Muelle Oeste and Sandy Beach Pier that you might find convenient due to its location.
    Hope this helped.
    Tight lines!

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RyanO

Nov 3, 2022

Coming to Rocky Point in April 2023, Will be staying close to the fishing Pier at Wrecked at the reef called Muelle Oeste Pier. What can I expect to catch? and what bait should I use to fish from the Pier? Will probably fish early morning.

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    Marko

    Nov 4, 2022

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for reaching out! You can expect to reel in Triggerfish, Bass, and Flounder from the pier. You can usually get squid or shrimp locally, cut those into small pieces and you’ll have great Triggerfish bait.

    I hope the information helps, enjoy your trip to Rocky Point!

    Tight lines,

    Marko

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Lawrence Radford

Oct 23, 2022

I plan to be three in jan. orearly feb. what fish are available then and are there rental shops for gear

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    Vuk

    Oct 24, 2022

    Hi Lawrence,

    Thanks for getting in touch. At the start of the year, you can expect to have the most luck going after the likes of Cubera Snapper or Yellowtail Amberjack, with Grouper and others also found in smaller numbers. There are a number of stores near the public launch area where you can rent anything from kayaks to fishing gear, so you should have no problems in that regard.

    We hope you have a great time in Rocky Point next year, tight lines!

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Alicia

Feb 14, 2022

My husband does a lot of surf casting in RI. We are planning a trip to Rocky Point and he plans to try his hand at surf casting there. Is there a resort/hotel on a beach that you would recommend so I can sunbathe and he wouldn’t have to walk to far away from swimmers to fish?

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    Vuk

    Feb 15, 2022

    Hi Alicia,

    Thanks for reaching out. While we don’t know enough about the current state of the local hotel industry to make specific suggestions, we’d suggest looking for a place to stay close to the Old Port area since that’s a very popular surf fishing spot for locals and tourists alike.

    We hope you have a great time in Rocky Point!

    Tight lines,
    Vuk

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Keelia

Feb 11, 2022

Thanks for the great info. We will be headed to Puerto Penasco in a week Feb 20- Mar 1st and I was curious if there is any fly fishing in the area? We would love to explore and get off the beaten path a little if you have any recommendations.
Thank you!

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    Lisa

    Feb 11, 2022

    Hi Keelia,

    Thank you for reaching out. Puerto Peñasco is actually a pretty good choice for saltwater fly fishing. There are various places available for fly fishermen, such as Mirador Beach or the Playa de Oro RV Park. You can explore a couple of estuaries or simply head offshore.

    Have you considered booking a professional guide to show you the best spots? Take a look at the available trips here, maybe you’ll find something suitable for you.

    Hope this helps!

    Lisa

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John

Jul 13, 2021

Thanks for the information, super helpful and greatly appreciated! Do you know of any local tackle shops? Thanks.

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    Andriana

    Jul 14, 2021

    Hi John,

    Thanks for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

    From what I know, there should be a tackle shop near Safe Marina that has some supplies, and there should also be a tackle place in Chola Bay, you can ask locals for directions when you get there, it shouldn’t be very hard to find.

    I hope you have a wonderful time at Rocky Point, John.

    Tight lines!

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John G

Jul 6, 2021

Regarding the markers on the beach for surf fishing…. so is that 250 meters on either side? How is this enforced? If I get there first, and some swimmers come after, will I be in trouble? I would imagine certain areas are simply known for fishing and others for swimming so hopefully this would reduce that..

And what kind of marker?

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    Rhys

    Jul 6, 2021

    Hi John,

    Thanks for reading and for raising a good question. The law doesn’t expand on the rule that you must be 250 meters away from swimmers, but it is clear that it does mean either side of where you’re fishing. It’s recommended to fish at times when swimming isn’t popular, such as first thing in the morning (when the bite is better, too!) to avoid running into these situations or to fish a less-populated stretch of beach, exactly as you say, where fishing is more popular.

    When it comes to markers, that’s up to you. You can set up anything that lets you know where 250 meters is, so that if someone comes, you can adjust your spot accordingly. I hope this helps.

    Tight lines,

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Dan

Jul 3, 2021

What is the best way to rig your line for fishing from the shore?

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    Rhys

    Jul 5, 2021

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for reading and for your comment. The rig you’ll want to use will depend on the type of fish you’re going for and the bait you’re using. If you’re going for the smaller creatures that live closer to the shore, shrimp and squid are always good bait. A 1–2 oz weight with a pyramid sinker will give you your best bet of attracting the fish’s attention.

    If going for bigger creatures, like Sharks, Yellowtails, and some bigger Snappers in Rocky Point, I suggest larger fish-finder rigs. A 4 oz weight with a couple of inches of bait should do the trick, although you may want to add a float rig too.

    Of course, there are plenty of specialized rigs you can use, but I suggest starting with the above. I hope this helps.

    Tight lines,

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L Cervant

May 25, 2021

My brother caught a beautiful Monterey Spanish Mackerel today fishing off the shore on one of the east beaches. It was 30 inches long, not sure the weight.
Pretty large in my opinion, we have been coming for years and one of the largest fish I have seen caught off shore-

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    Andriana

    May 25, 2021

    Hey,

    That’s amazing, major kudos on such a great catch! I can only imagine what a thrill it was reeling it in. I hope you guys have many many more trophies like that in your future.

    Tight lines!

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Reinaldo Alexopoulos

Apr 20, 2021

Really good site,thank you very much for your effort in writing the posts.

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    Rhys

    Apr 21, 2021

    Hi Reinaldo,

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed reading and hope you’ll find it useful when you next cast a line in Rocky Point.

    Tight lines,

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Josh

Apr 20, 2021

Thanks for the informative article. I’m going in June, fishing from shore and trolling a crankbait from my kayak. I’ve had success with a jointed Rapala Shadrap in San Carlos, but lost that lure. What kind of baits/lures are typically used in Rocky Point?

What about using a casting net to catch live bait? Is that recommended?

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    Rhys

    Apr 20, 2021

    Hi Josh,

    Thanks for your kind comment and for the good question. Shrimp are a tried and tested bait in Rocky Point, while strips of Squid can be productive if dragging along the rocks. If you prefer to fish with artificial lures, then crocodiles and kastmasters will do the trick, along with any other kind of spoon.

    When it comes to using a net, it’s definitely illegal for foreign citizens to use casting nets, although some commercial bait catchers use them. I’d advise against using them.

    Tight lines,

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    Josh

    Apr 21, 2021

    Thank you so much for the info! Is bait-shrimp purchased in town? I’m looking into buying some of the lures you recommended, do you have associate links to Bass Pro shops or Amazon?

    Do you know if I need a fishing license when using a kayak with a trolling motor on it?

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    Rhys

    Apr 21, 2021

    Hi Josh,

    No problem at all! Yes, as Rocky Point is a shrimping town, you can find plenty of shrimp for bait all over town. Whether at the Old Port’s shrimp market or at some bait and tackle stores. Unfortunately, we don’t have any associate links as a company, but I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for at Bass Pro or Amazon.

    When it comes to fishing licenses, yes – you will need a license to fish from any kind of vessel in Mexico. You can get these online here. Don’t be alarmed that the website is based in Baja California Sur as, unlike in the US, all saltwater permits are the same, and we’ve found these guys to be the most efficient at sorting them out. I hope this helps.

    Tight lines,

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Laurie

Apr 6, 2021

So much good info in your article. Heading to Rocky Point next month for some over due tiem away for the hustle of the medical field. During the month of May. what would be the most caught fish off shore? Hoping Grouper or Snappers.

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    Rhys

    Apr 7, 2021

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks or reading and for your hard work during these tough times – you definitely deserve some rest! Offshore fishing in May is the best of all worlds, as you can catch the end of the Snapper, Grouper, and Yellowtail seasons, along with the beginning of the Mahi Mahi, Mackerel, and Skipjack seasons. Let us know how you get on!

    Tight lines,

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Beau

Dec 28, 2020

Thank you for this informative article! Maybe I can get a straight answer from you, the question being, I have asked several fishing guides in Rocky Point about sailfish and tuna and every one of them say there is none or has never been any. Is this true? And if there is how come nobody wants to say that there is? I am very interested in this as I like tuna fishing and the big sport fish.
Thank you!

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    Iva

    Dec 29, 2020

    Hi Beau!

    Glad to hear you found the article informative.

    While I can’t give you a completely straight answer, what I can say with certainty is that these fish are a rarity in Rocky Point.
    The waters likely just aren’t warm enough to support Sailfish or the likes of Yellowfin Tuna.

    You’ll have better luck finding these big sportfish on the southern tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas in particular!

    Tight lines,

    Iva

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james R merkle

Nov 28, 2020

when is the best time to fish for halibut in puerto penesco ?,,, and can you catch them from the shore ?

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    Rhys

    Nov 30, 2020

    Hi James,

    Thanks for reading and for raising a good question. The Halibut you can find in Puerto Peñasco is closer to what we’d call Flounder in the US. These smaller creatures, referred to locally as Cortez Halibut, are best caught during the summer months – June to October – and you can catch them from shore. I hope this helps.

    Tight lines,

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Duke Kahana

Oct 24, 2020

I’m heading out in 3 weeks to Rocky point. I’ll be there for a week. Any good charter you would recommend?

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    Rhys

    Oct 26, 2020

    Hi Duke,

    Thanks for reading, and I’m very envious of you getting to go to Rocky Point soon! FishingBooker has a list of charters, here. Keep an eye out for those with the “Angler’s Choice” badge and high ratings. Enjoy your trip!

    Tight lines,

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Esperanza Martin

Oct 12, 2020

We went for the first time and it was amazing made many friends and memories. Plan to return and meet up with my family.

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    Rhys

    Oct 12, 2020

    Hi Esperanza,

    Thanks for reading and for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the incredible fishing on offer in Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco). I’m sure you’ll enjoy again next time!

    Tight lines,

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