Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Fly Side of Cabo

These days the Baja peninsula is receiving a lot of hype from the fly fishing industry, and for good reason!  Baja is the ultimate playground for fly anglers who wish to test their tackle and skills against some of the most challenging and amazing fish species that swim in our oceans.  Fly fishers pay particularly close attention to the East Cape and Loreto regions of the Baja, where warmer waters and calmer, gentler seas make for an ideal environment to pursue saltwater fish with a fly.  Most of the online and magazine articles you read about fly fishing the Baja are centered around these areas, and the majority of shops and outfitters are directing their customers or hosting trips to hotels and guide services there. 

The East Cape and Loreto certainly offer spectacular fly fishing and some unique opportunities to catch "rockstar" species like roosterfish from the beach, but there is a lot more coastline on the Baja, and a ton more productive water to explore.  I have been fly fishing out of Cabo San Lucas for the past couple of years and I am surprised at how little information there is available about fly fishing this part of the peninsula.

Sure, if you are going to spend the money on an all inclusive fly fishing trip or you have your heart set on catching a rooster from the beach than Cabo is probably not the right destination, but out of all the places down there someone could go, Cabo certainly offers the widest variety of things to do and ways to entertain yourself!  We get a lot of customers here in the shop who are headed down to Baja for a week with the family and might only have one or two days to fish.  Guess where they are going?  A resort in Cabo!

The reality is, many of us either don't have the budget or can't take the time away from our lives, families and jobs to spend an entire week running around on a beach chasing big roosters.  It is much easier to justify a day or two of fishing when the wife and kids are relaxing on the beach, going snorkeling or bouncing around on waverunners while you indulge yourself in some reel screaming, drag stripping action.  This is where Cabo is king!

Is the fishing good?  Do you need to ask?  For decades Cabo San Lucas has been known as the sport fishing capitol of the world.  More marlin are landed by Cabo sport fleets every year than any other place in the world.  Not after Marlin?  Depending on the season, every fish that you can catch in Loreto or the East Cape is available in Cabo.  So far I have a short list going that includes jacks, roosterfish and yellowfin tuna, all on the fly, but there are many more.  Dorado are a popular target and in the late summer and fall they are plentiful.  In the winter and spring sierra mackerel, yellowtail and snapper are bending rods and busting tippets.  Of course for those who are after a real challenge, the bait and switch game for Marlin and Sailfish can be played here nearly year round.

I just returned from a family vacation in Cabo where I spent most of my time relaxing on the beach, playing in the waves, sipping various cocktails and enjoying the nightlife.  I was able to get away for some fishing out of a panga and it was some of the most phenominal action for roosters I have ever seen!  The moment we motored out of the harbor and turned the corner around lands end there were pelicans diving right off the tip of the peninsula and roosters crashing a big school of mullet.  By the time we got over there and made a few casts the action had diminished, but this was certainly a good start to the day. 

A trip up the Pacific side of the Baja yielded similar results all day, and despite windy conditions we saw squadrons of large roosterfish surfing in the backs of the waves and plenty of them turned to follow in our live mullet teaser or a hookless plug cast on spinning gear.  There was seldom more than a twenty minute stretch where we didn't have fish around the boat. All told, a well presented mullet imitation brought several roosters in the 15 to 25 pound class to the boat and we had shots at far larger fish. 

While I would certainly like to be able to take a week (or three) and fish to my hearts content all over the Baja, for now I am happy to go to Cabo and spend a couple of days fishing from a panga.  The weather is hot, the drinks are strong and the fish are biting year round!

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