Biologically, the Sea of Cortez is one of the richest bodies of water on the planet and has rightly earned the epithet of the “world’s greatest fish trap.”  With over 900 different kinds of fish (around 20% of which are endemic) and 2000 kinds of marine invertebrates to be found in its waters, the Sea of Cortez is truly swimming with life. Indeed, one of the reasons the Sea of Cortez is filled with fish is its abundant food supply.

Though this body of water is too small to have its own lunar tide, it does produce a strong tidal flow also impacted by those of the Pacific Ocean. Due to a collision of currents and other factors such as the contour of the bottom of the sea, the Sea of Cortez experiences an interesting “whirlpool” effect that circulates lots of nutrients, plankton, and sea life. There’s always plenty of eating to be found in the Sea of Cortez, and as such there are always plenty of happy fish. Of course, that means there’s also plenty of happy fishermen.






The Sailfish are easy to spot with their distinct dorsal fin that resembles an erect sail that stretches from its head to its back. Another distinguishing characteristic is its elongated bill that bears a resemblance to the pointed noses of marlins or swordfishes. These fish are also incredibly speedy creatures that have been clocked at swimming along at 68 miles per hour. Of course, to make itself as aerodynamic as possible, the Sailfish tucks in its sail to its side. But when threatened by predators, it often pops up again to make itself look larger and more menacing.



These warm water fish can be found in the east Pacific from Baja to Peru. Much like the Sailfish, the Roosterfish has a characteristic dorsal fin comprised of seven large, separated spines commonly referred to as a “rooster comb.” The rooster comb is often retracted but rise when the fish is either excited or threatened by a predator like its other Baja fish buddies. The Roosterfish are known to prefer the sandy bottoms of the surf. They are also fun to watch when hooked on a line or in pursuit of smaller fish prey as they “greyhound” over the water’s surface in graceful leaps.

Yellowfin Tuna


As highly migratory fish, Yellowfin Tuna care nothing for international boundaries and enjoy the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans. You can identify their bullet-shaped bodies made for speed by the yellow sides that slash against their dark blue blacks and silvered underbelly. They also have long dorsal and anal fins that are easy to identify by fishermen that manage to wrangle these 400 pound beasts out of the water. While these pretty fish do enjoy playing with dolphins, humans generally enjoy them served up as sashimi. Overall, the Yellowfin Tuna holds an important role as a top marine predator as well as a top commercial tuna product.



“The Dorado,” or “golden” in Spanish, lives up to its name with its bright gold body that doubtless reminded sailors of the glittering mineral. You may recognize the Dorado better by one of its other names—mahi-mahi or dolphin fish—though neither really touches on the unique and brilliant coloration of this popular fish. They enjoy tropical waters and are rather omnipresent throughout Baja’s shores. They are known to enjoy trailing after boats in schools, so if you happen to see one you will probably see many as they swiftly trail behind you or languidly gather in the shadows of floating objects.