Cabrilla (seabass) are anywhere where there are submerged rocks and reef. Near the populated areas they are small but the farther away north, south or even east off Carmen and the other islands you get, the larger they become. There are thousands of miles of coastline here that support cabrilla. On the fly they are easy to catch by casting and retrieving a heavy fly just above the rocks. They’re opportunistic feeders and wait in their reefy den for dinner to swim by. Once they spot something that looks good they pounce out of their cave with mouth wide open and swallow it whole. Sometimes, when conditions are just right, they will follow a fly or jig to the surface, and even jump out of the water for it, just like a freshwater bass. Clousers work well on Cabrilla in chartreuse and white, yellow and white, brown and white. Other flies are the deep candy, the jiggie and heavily epoxied streamer patterns in the same colors. They hit very hard and their escape tactic is to dive into the rocks and wait you out. Keep them up and out of the rocks immediately after the hook-set.
Grouper are found on most seasonal fishing charts for Loreto but we’ve left them out. Their season is the same as the Cabrilla but they’re caught too infrequently for us to lead people into believing that there’s a decent chance at them here. Less than a half dozen Giant Grouper are caught each year and usually they make international news (if you consider MexFish and Western Outdoor News, international news). Since the largest fish such as those below are the breeding stock, it makes no sense to target them now that we know this information. Smaller grouper are more frequent but are still not a common catch. The chart above would be a good indicator of when grouper may be caught here.
Two black sea bass or gulf grouper displayed at the Flying Sportsman’s Lodge circa 1950
© 1999 by Carla Laemmle, may not be reproduced without written permission The Unforgettable Sea of Cortez by Gene S. Kira