Fishing The Estuaries of Mexico’s Pacific Coast By Mike “The Griz” Ritz  

One of my favorite places to fish is in the estuaries—also known as the mangroves. There you can fish however you want. You can troll, bait cast, use a spinning rod and reel, or for me it is the fly rod. 

The estuaries are the nurseries of the sea. A very high percentage of fish are born or hatch there and spend a good part of their lives there growing until they head out to sea. However, some never leave. This makes fishing good there all year round. 

The mangroves of Mexico’s Pacific Coast have about 800 square miles of this vegetation. It makes one hell of a fishery. It's known by very few sport fishermen because it is kind of hard to get there. That’s all changing. The Mexican government is now protecting them, which is a big step for this fishery. 

The estuaries play a very important roll besides being the number one nursery for the fish. For example, they give protection against storms, give nesting places for more than 250 species of birds, and two-thirds of the fish population depends on them one way or another. 

In Baja California Sur at San Carlos and Lopez y Mateo, hundreds of gray whales come to give birth. The mangroves are like giant fast food restaurants for the fish because of all the invertebrates. Here is a list of some of the game fish that you can hook there: spotted bay bass, sand bass, white sea bass, snook, halibut, trigger fish and three different species of grouper. Now remember we are talking about the Pacific side of Baja. Other parts of Mexico have many other species such as tarpon, bone fish and permit, but that’s another story. The Adventure! 

The wind had been blowing for four days, and Charles, my 15-year-old son and I had a show to film. We decided to head to the mangroves of San Carlos. That’s the great thing about the mangroves. When it's windy the mangroves give you the protection you need to fish. We headed off to San Carlos which is about 3 1/2 hours by car from La Paz. It was a nice day to drive. There were no cows on the road or anything. 

When we got there we went looking for Juan, a good friend and one of the best fishermen in the estuaries. We wanted to ask what was biting. "Well" he said, "I don't know. I'm so busy taking people out to see the whales. There are about 50 cows and calves in the bay." When whales get there the fishermen put everything down and take the tourists to see the incredible sight of mother whales with their babies. 

So we were on our own. We loaded up our boat and went for it. The first thing is to find the fish. It isn’t as hard as it sounds. When looking for fish this is what we do. We put a six-inch swimbait on one rod and a six-inch diving crankbait on the other. You should use light blue for the swimbait, and the crankbait should be orange or red. Now, start trolling about eight feet out from the mangroves. You should always look for eddies. This is where two estuaries meet, making a circular motion in the water. Troll through this area four or five times. A lot of fish hang out there waiting for food. Once you get a strike or catch one, stop the boat and start casting. 

Well, that’s exactly what we did. In about one hour I hooked a real nice halibut on the crankbait. It hit like a ton of bricks, taking my light tackle Wright & McGill. The reel screamed. So right there we stopped the boat and started casting. Charles caught a snapper and a small snook, but that was all. 

So we started to troll again. We hadn't gotten far when all h--- broke loose! It was a monster of monsters! My reel went zzzzzzzzzzzzzz! It wouldn't stop or even slow down. All my line was almost gone. I was yelling for my son to take over the motor and chase the fish. I had no idea what it was, but the fight was on. About one hour later it surfaced. It was the biggest snook I had ever seen. We weighed it and it was 49 pounds! It was the biggest snook of my life. It was a great fight and a monster of a fish. What a great fishing day, but most importantly, I was with my son. 

Guys, there is one thing I would like to add. Be careful of the sun. Its beauty can kill you. Protect yourself from it so you can enjoy fishing for a long time.  
Until the next adventure with The Griz!

The Griz
    Mike "The Griz" Ritz is a classic. His love of fishing began when he was four years old, fishing with his father in Montana. He has continued that tradition fishing with his son Charles since Charles was two years old.    

Mike has a PhD in biology. He did his first television show from Alaska in 1979. His legendary guide skills began when he was a hunting guide in Montana at the age of 16. He has since been a fishing guide in Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Alaska and all around Mexico. He has hunted in Africa, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tasmania, and has fished in Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Peru, and all over Mexico and the U.S.    

Mike has been in Mexico since 1985 and is currently an adviser to the Mexican government. His television show, Adventures South of the Border, is broadcast on MegaCable Mexico, WFN (World Fishing Network) in the U.S. and Wild TV in Canada. He has just added shows in Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil and Chile. Mike is also co-host on Fish Talk Radio and is a contributor to five different publications.    

One of the most impressive things about Mike is his belief that parents and children should watch way less TV and get outside and be active. Though he wants you to watch his show, he routinely encourages his fans to get up and go, do things outside together and then shows them a great way to spend that time. Fishing!    Mike is a great lover of the sea and wildlife. He is actively involved with programs protecting the bounty of the sea and waterways for future generations.   

Don't forget to watch The Griz on WFN in the U.S. and Canada. If you want you can also watch his show on www.asobonline.com. Also, feel free to write Mike at thegriz@asobonline.com. He is always happy to hear from you.       

Follow The Griz as he opens up a world of “Adventure” for you and your family.    

Take it away Mike!