Beautiful Baja Saltwater Fly Fishing

2013 Baja Mexico

The tip of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico was a maelstrom of winds when we arrived. Fronds were ripping off the palm trees, the swimming pool actually had waves in it, the sand was whirling up off the beach in clouds, and the surf was pounding like a giant at the front door of the hotel. Needless to say, we weren't going fishing for a while.

We settled in at the lovely Rancho Leonaro resort and started things off with their wonderful margaritas and a Mexican buffet for dinner. Retiring to our large and comfortable rooms, we enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in the next morning because no boats were heading out to fish. We relaxed on the patios and by the pool, and then got a taxi and headed into the village of Los Barriles to do some shopping and have the ice cream cone we look forward to every year.

When we finally got on the water, we had to do it from the beautiful new CABO RIVIERA MARINA that is being developed near the village of La Ribera, just to the south, because the surf was still too high on the beach in front of the hotel to launch the boats. The waves still existing after the winds abated were high enough to dwarf the super panga down in the trough but the sun was shining and the air was calm, at least, so we got our flies in the water. The larger cruiser managed the rolling seas somewhat better, but it was the panga that hit the bonito bite and landed the fish. Trolling various large streamers and tube flies, we had lots of doubles on these great "silver bullets."

Although the bait was still pretty scattered by the earlier winds, which made fishing difficult, the water was in perfect shape and we were on the boats before 7:00 a.m. the next morning to get the most out of our day. With Rene as our pangero, the trusty panga absolutely slammed the skipjack & bonito (with 3 people landing over 60 of them. We also saw a sea turtle swimming lazily along.  It was the cruiser that sited the marlin, and landed a couple of perfect yellow-fin tuna that we had for dinner that night. They also caught some bonito, but not nearly what the panga did. Many of the boats in the area were targeting the pods of marlin that appeared several miles out from the hotel, but with the exception of a couple of bait anglers, no one seemed to be able to interest them in anything else that day.

Our third day saw great water as well, and we took off with high hopes that the fish would have finally settled down after the storm and would be eager to bite anything we threw at them. The cruiser headed right back to where they had seen the marlin the previous day, and this time managed to grab the attention of three different fish that followed and attacked the teaser, but veered off before encountering the flies. Disappointment was clearly evident when they returned to the dock that afternoon, even though they brought back some pictures of teaser fish heads without bodies as the result of the marlin's attention.

The panga didn't do much better that day, either. Even when trolling through massive schools of bait fish right out in front of Punta Pescadero, where the manta rays were leaping all around us in spawning delight and the dolphins played and splashed for some kayakers that were in their midst,  we just couldn't seem to hook up. Changing flies didn't help, so we headed to a different area. It wasn't until the third location that things started happening again.  With Renee turning the panga into a curve around a nice bunch of bait, red deceivers and hot pink tube offerings finally did the trick and fish were absolutely slamming the flies as quickly as we put them back in the water immediately after releasing one of their brethren.  We tried popper fishing on our way home while driving through an area where rooster fish had been reported, but never saw or touched a fish.

Then it was time to head back to the US. As is often the case, we felt like our departure time occurred just when the fishing was heating up. Oh well, we'll be heading to the Baja again next April for more saltwater excitement, so let us know if you want to go along!

~Pudge



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