In my youth the Guinness Book of WORLD RECORDS captivated me, I’d marvel at the pages of impossible feats and natural oddities. As I aged in years my infatuation with fishing grew to the obsession it is today, and similarly, I’m still attracted by records, but now it’s based on the size of fish caught, line class, and locations. The documentation of special moments within the angling world and the ability of nature to surprise us by nullifying what we thought was normal intrigues me. Often these special moments are recorded and documented by IGFA (International Game Fishing Association). While catch sizes and locations for these records do not constitute the best fishing locations in the world all the time in most cases it’s a good place to start.
As you look through IGFA Records you start to see a reoccurring pattern for a large array of species, that pattern is based on location. La Paz in Baja, Mexico is at the center of many of these, the area between Loreto and Cabo San Lucas, a 200-mile span of fertility, places La Paz right smack in the middle of these two locations. This plot of the ocean is responsible for pumping out over 80 IGFA records!! Many of these records pulling from a list of some of the most prolific species recognized as gamefish.
Below are some of our favorites and as we get ready to depart to La Paz with two lucky winners in our RACE TO LA PAZ contest, we keep these images and stories top of mind as this trip might place us in the history of sportfishing by catching our own fish of a lifetime.
The All-Tackle record for Wahoo was caught in 2005 this specimen topped the chart at 184 lbs. As an avid spearfisherman and angler, I can’t imagine seeing this creature in real life, a marvel of nature equipped with razor-sharp teeth and frightening speed to match. This Wahoo was caught on the Mean Green Joe trolling lure which is a must-have in any Marlin fisherman’s arsenal. This momentous catch occurring just south of the La Paz area.
Amberjack is also known as Pez Fuerte, translation: Strong Fish. One of my favorite target species in the Sea of Cortez, I like to think of them like an overgrown Yellowtail. They regularly take live large baits and vertical jigs making them a great gamefish target, but what you’ll experience once a hook set ensues is a painstaking fight that will challenge your gear and body to the max. The current record stands at 132 lbs. caught out of La Paz.
Probably one of the most sought-after gamefish the Roosterfish is equal parts beauty, toughness, strength, and ability. Unique in fin composure and coloration this species provides a big game element for the inshore fisherman. The All-Tackle record currently stands in at 114 lbs. caught out of La Paz. While catching a 50-70 lb. Roosterfish is common, a catch over the 90 lb. mark is something special. The area of La Paz is one of the key areas in the world to target these beauties.
Sailfish, the all-star of the sportfishing world, has the looks and coloration, unique physical attributes, no lack of speed and prowess, the acrobatic ability to walk on water all with the prestige of a world-class gamefish. Anglers travel from around the world to target this species in an array of locations. In the Pacific, sailfish tend to get noticeably larger than their Atlantic cousins. La Paz is just the place to target them come summer and fall. The current All-Tackle record is 192 lbs. out La Paz caught in the fall.
While the Snook has gotten most of its notoriety along the Atlantic Coast as a game fish, its cousin in the Pacific is worth a notable mention, in fact from a scientific standpoint they are remarkably similar. For this species along both coasts, there is a great amount of respect among fishermen due to their voracity of striking and difficulty in catching. In the Pacific/ Sea of Cortez, La Paz is a premier location to target Snook along areas merging rock and sand and arroyos. The All-Tackle is 52 lbs., out of La Paz.
Whether you’re fixing is to tangle with a billfish, fish the reefs, intercoastal areas, or merely surf-cast from shore, La Paz has a species of gamefish that will get the blood pumping. The list above is simply an appetizer to the possibilities of this great fishing destination.