The Coronado Islands are located just south of the Mexican border, roughly 15 miles from Point Loma.
Don’t confuse this place with San Diego’s Coronado Island, which is actually a peninsula and was named after the Mexican islands to the south.
These rocky outcroppings are in Mexican waters, meaning you are required to purchase a Mexican fishing permit and FMM visa in order to wet a line here.
The chain is made up of 4 main islands.
North Island is steep, rocky and exposed to the prevailing northwest swell. The frequent strong swell action has given the north end of the north island the nickname “pukey point.”
Middle Island (middle grounds) is relatively small (35 acres), adjacent to Middle Rock (pile of sugar or guano rock).
South Island is by far the largest of the chain. Measuring about 2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, South Island is inhabited by Mexican Navy personnel and a lighthouse keeper.
Due to the relatively short distance to San Diego, it’s easy to hop on a 3/4 day trip in the morning and cook your catch that same evening.
So what can you expect to catch?
Los Coronados offer abundant structure for migrating gamefish (yellowtail, bonito, barracuda) along with a year-round population of bottom grabbers such as calico bass, rockfish, whitefish and sheephead.
Every so often schools of bluefin tuna make their way around the islands. Warm water years may bring dorado (mahi mahi) and in 2015, wahoo were caught in more than incidental numbers!
The lack of fresh water supports very little vegetation and only a handful of Mexican Navy personnel are stationed on the south island.
A rich history actually surrounds the Coronado Islands, including tales of smugglers, rum runners, L. Ron Hubbard, a gambling casino and more.
Gary Graham has an in-depth look at that history in his BD Outdoors post.