Monday, February 28, 2011

Next Move

A presentation in Fresno Thursday night and a casting demo and a PowerPoint presentation each day during the Pleasanton, California Fly Fishing Show makes seven talks in four days. That doesn’t include book signings, demoing art and yakking it up with hundreds of people. It was awesome! But I’m flat out exhausted. And Granny is flat out exhausted too just from watching!

It’s been a great tour through California. It’s been nearly all work but what I do for work is fun as heck. I know half the fly fisherman in every city the Fly Fishing Show goes to but at the Pleasanton California Show I know most of them and its three days of catching up with old friends. Granny and I are absolutely beat but we are on our way home.

I’m just waking up here in Fernley, Nevada after we knocked off nearly five hours of our drive home back to Victor, ID after the show ended last night. We slept like rocks and now it’s back to the pavement. Weather permitting; we hope to get home by 5 PM tonight. I have birds to feed and bags to unpack and pack. Thursday its time to leave for the AMAZON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Santa Barbara Fishing

Sunrise in Santa Barbara, California was spectacular this morning. The Pacific Ocean was as calm as a bass pond. I grabbed my 8-weight and some orangey crab patterns and Clouser like shrimps and headed for the wharf. There was hardly anyone on the huge dock and I had plenty of room to cast along parked boats and along the rip rap. I felt confident to start but after an hour without a strike or a follow that feeling left me. I walked to the very end of the wharf and cast to the open ocean but nothing. You can’t catch them all the time. Giving it a try was a great way to spend a couple hours.

Granny and I drove the back way to Fresno, California this afternoon. It was a great drive. We went up the 101 just past San Luis Obispo and then we cut on to Route 41 all the way to Fresno. It’s amazing all the different types of terrain we saw along the way. It was a very cool drive. We came to Fresno because I speak to the Fresno Fly Fishers tomorrow night before the late night drive up to Pleasanton for the next Fly Fishing Show.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Laguna Beach Perchin

I don’t care what they say about the traffic around here, Southern California is awfully nice in February. Granny and I know exactly what the weather is in Victor, Idaho at the moment – cold and snowy! Yet today we awoke in paradise. We stayed with Karl and Tina Weber and their house is literally right on the ocean in Laguna Beach. You can actually hear the surf breaking even with the windows of your room closed!

We got up around 7 and drank coffee and then Tina made us a nice pancake breakfast. All the time we watched birds and dolphin terrorize bait about ¼ mile off shore. The second I finished my last bite I grabbed my stuff and headed to the beach to try and catch a few more barred surf perch like I did last night.

I was using my 8-weight set up from last night and tied on an orangey colored shrimp pattern Granny tied up years ago for a Christmas Island trip. Word is that the perch chow on sand crabs and anything orange will entice them. Sure enough, I was into my first perch in minutes.

When I started the tide was low and the surf was gentle. I could wade in the chilly water with ease and make long casts. Long isn’t always key however, I went on to catch 5 perch and they were very close to me. They were literally right where the drop off was where the waves break. As the tide rose, the wave size increased dramatically and my perch fishing dropped off.

Granny and I relaxed with Tina and Karl till about noon then we headed north. We drove to Santa Barbara where we are for the night. I’ve spoke to the fly fishing club here a few years back and remember walking the docks and seeing some fish around. Naturally, I’ve kept that in the back of my mind and tomorrow I’ll be out early to take a crack at them. Now its time to take my Granny out for some seafood.

Monday, February 21, 2011

One Show Down

Extremely heavy rains pounded us in Pasadena during the Fly Fishing Show from about 3 PM on Friday nearly straight through to Sunday morning. All the surrounding mountains of the Los Angeles got buried in snow making for a unique scene around the city. Then around noon on Sunday the sun broke through and although it’s unseasonably cold, we should have sunshine for a few days.

I’ve only been to the Pasadena Fly Fishing Show once and it was about five years ago. What I remember from it was that it’s much smaller than most shows and the attendance is lighter. However, it draws an attentive crowd that you can really visit with. This weekend was exactly that.

Fellow presenters included Gary Borger, Gary Graham, and Ken Hanley to name a few. There were a lot of good programs offered and things to see. More than anything, I cranked out some art. I painted up a California Golden Trout and with a sharpie drew up a smallmouth bass on a Cliff Fly Box for someone. Granny and I met a lot of nice folks and visited with old friends.

Today Granny and I took a casual drive down the Pacific Coast road to Laguna Beach. Here we met up with friends Karl and Tina Weber. They have a killer place right on the beach. We know them both from up in Jackson, Wyoming where they own the Gros Ventre River Ranch. Naturally because they are right on the beach, I strung up my 8-weight Ross FW and a 200 grain sinking line, grabbed their dog Izzy and made some casts before dinner. To my delight I landed two small surf perch. Tomorrow morning I’ll give it my best after breakfast.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Old Exploder Makes it to LA

Our old Ford Explorer with 245,000 miles led the way out of a snowy Victor, Idaho. The roads were treacherous all the way to Idaho Falls then we battled high cross winds all the way to Salt Lake City. Finally we got south of there and the drive became much more enjoyable. We made it as far as St. George, Utah before grabbing a cheap hotel and a heck of a dinner and a few beers at a Thai Restaurant.

This morning we got back on I15 and humped it to Las Vegas. We stopped in to dump 25 silver dollars in the slots but they don’t do it that way anymore. You use dollar bills and if you win you collect tickets. No more noise of falling coins. Boring! We did a mere $5 and said screw it and continued on our journey south.

We rolled into Barstow, California at mach speed when Granny spotted and
In-N-Out Burger. She’s never been to one and insisted we stop. Well, we don’t call it “In-N-Out Burger” anymore. It was insanely busy and after we gave our order and paid it took a chaotic 45 minutes before the food was out.

We arrived in Pasadena for the
Fly Fishing Show at about 3 PM. It is pouring. So much for “it never rains in California” – “Monsoon Currier” is in town!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

California Bound

I certainly enjoyed my nine days at home. The weather has been gorgeous. I got plenty of exercise on my skis, snowshoes, running etc. I completed some art projects including a pastel of this schipperke as well as some sharpie art on a few Cliff Boxes. I also edited pictures from the Baja trip earlier in the month – we sure didn’t catch many fish! That’s ok though because Sammy has us booked to head back in May – good stuff!

As fun as it was to be home, I like action and it’s time to hit the road again. Tomorrow I head for California to begin a nearly two week road trip that includes the
Pasadena Fly Fishing Show, a one night speaking engagement in Fresno and the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show. If you’re in the area stop by and catch one of my presentations and say hi.

definitely do a few posts while in CA. I’ll report after each show and hopefully I’ll wet a line along the way. I packed an 8-weight
Ross FW and plan to hit the surf a few times between shows. I’ve had some decent fishing over the years with barred surfperch and last time I caught a spotfin croaker. The good news is the blog will explode with good stuff in March. We’ll kick off with a trip to Brazil and end the month by starting Granny’s and my expedition to Madagascar. Yup, were doing it. I can only imagine what kind of fish I’ll be writing about from Madagascar. Stay tuned.

after each show and hopefully I’ll wet a line along the way. I packed an 8-weight Ross FW and plan to hit the surf a few times between shows. I’ve had some decent fishing over the years with barred surfperch and last time I caught a spotfin croaker. The good news is the blog will explode with good stuff in March. We’ll kick off with a trip to Brazil and end the month by starting Granny’s and my expedition to Madagascar. Yup, were doing it. I can only imagine what kind of fish I’ll be writing about from Madagascar. Stay tuned.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Playing Catch Up

I’m enjoying a nice week at home. Temperatures outside are miserably cold which is good because such weather keeps me inside. I have plenty to do starting with cleaning the salt off my reels, rods, pliers and etc from the Baja trip. Salt can take its toll on your equipment if you don’t clean it up quickly upon return. Save an old toothbrush (Granny gets ticked if I use hers!) to get the nooks and crannies of your reels and take your rods and raingear in the shower. I’d like to add, my Ross reels and rods as well as my RIO lines and tippet worked fantastic as always. These are products that can handle salt, sand and huge fish.

I’m also catching up on artwork, getting
presentations ready for two weeks of shows in California and making travel preparations. Not only am I packing for CA but I’m even packing for Brazil. I don’t leave for the Amazon until March 3rd but I don’t get home from this CA road trip until March 1. There won’t be much time!

Here in
Victor the snow continues to pile up. I spent at least six hours shoveling yesterday. I did my porches, roof and the driveway. During my breaks I watch the battle of the birds (like this flicker) from my computer. This is by far the best bird year Granny and I have had at our feeders.

For those of you from the Boise, Idaho area, I will be there doing seminars and presentations with friends
Pete Erickson and Phil Rowley March 26-27. The event is called “Confessions 2011 Tour” and offers two days of presentations from the three of us. This is will be a fun filled weekend. For information email us or visit a local Boise fly shop!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mission Yellowtail Beaten by Lobsters

February 4, 2011

Sammy and I must be nuts because we were anxious to head back out on Magdalena Bay to try for yellowtail again. The temperature was even colder than yesterday, the wind was still strong and we left much earlier. We were on a mission to catch a big yellowtail on the fly.

The temptation was because of the two close calls we had yesterday.
Sammy had two monster 40lbers right behind his fly, literally nipping at the tail and I raised a pair of 20lbers from the deep that just followed my fly for a look. Then Grant landed a beast on a spin rod by jigging a massive Krocodile lure down deep. The fish were there now we just had to have some luck on our side.

Despite the cold this week, every day has been sunny and today was no exception. Although we took another beating from the waves, the long boat ride to the ocean side of Magdalena Island was gorgeous. Today there were even more gray whales around as well as sea lions. One would only think there would be more feeding yellowtail as well.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. When we finally arrived at the
yellowtail area, all the bird activity was in one spot close to the rocks of the Magdalena Island. They were feeding on what appeared to be an incredible spiny lobster hatch (If anyone can confirm this by the picture of the one we snagged I would appreciate it!). We drove to the birds and the ocean blue turned red. In all my life on the ocean, I have never seen such a phenomenon. These baby lobsters are bright red like a cooked lobster. They’re only about the size of a quarter but there are millions of them. Literally layers upon layers. Once we stopped the boat on top of the red glow I looked over the side and I witnessed the millions upon millions of these incredible little creatures. I was amazed at how fast and well they swam out there in the open ocean.

As amazing as the lobster hatch was, it was not good for our fishing. There was no doubt that all fish were feasting on the lobsters or even worse, were already full. This was a gift from Mother Nature for saltwater fish like a
salmon fly hatch is to the trout back home. We didn’t have a chance!

Naturally we tried though.
Sammy and I started dredging the deep where we left off yesterday. We even made Grant jig with the spin rod but he couldn’t roust up a strike either. It was useless. No birds and no yellowtails chasing bait.

At 2 PM we decided to give up on the yellowtail. Octavio took us in to the rocks where we cast to structure hoping to nail a snapper or a grouper of some sort but even against the rocks were heaps of baby lobsters. Even the fish of the rocks were full of the precious treat. I managed to squeak out on miracle fish, a non glamorous Pacific barracuda. At 3PM we packed it up and made our grueling trip in.

Tonight we are in
La Paz. Today was our last day of fishing and we fly home tomorrow. We chowed another great meal at the the Buffalo Bar-B-Q restaurant like we did the first night and chatted about our trip. This was a tough one to say the least. Abnormal cold and consistent wind slowed us down. Nonetheless, it was a great time well spent with good friends. The last part of our conversation tonight was about our next trip. We just may be back for big roosters in May. That sounds ok with me!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rough Seas in Magdalena Bay

February 3, 2011

Okay man – this is getting ridiculous! I slept with a bright pink girly extra blanket I borrowed out of Grants car that belongs to his kids. I put on fleece pants that I thought I foolishly brought along. And I wore my wool hat that I accidentally have along because I wore it from my car into the airport at Idaho Falls. And I still froze my butt off in our hotel room here in Baja! This is not the Baja I know and love!

We were packed and on our way to Magdalena Bay before 6 AM today. The temperature reading at departure was 34°s. Yikes! After a three hour drive south we got to the fishing town of San Carlos and the temperature warmed up to a blazing 54°s. Here we met Grants friend Octavio to go out with him in his Ponga to fish for yellowtail. I’ve never met Octavio in my life but I could read his mind and he was shocked that we weren’t cancelling our day with him. (I must say Sammy was thinking about it)

By the way, a lot of people think they know what a yellowtail is and don’t. They are not the same as a yellowfin tuna or a yellowtail snapper. A yellowtail is a yellowtail. Often times called kingfish in places like New Zealand.

We pushed his monster ponga off at about 9:30 AM and quickly realized not only was the temperature cold but the wind was out of control – 30 knots! I’ve been in plenty worse on cold lakes back home where the chilled water can kill you in 2 minutes if you fall overboard, but on those trips I dress for the brutal weather. Once again, none of us ever expected such cold times in Baja.

It wasn’t just the cold that made our nearly 2 hour run to the mouth of Magdalena Bay and the open ocean uncomfortable, but the smashing of the boat on every rogue wave was enough to tense up every muscle in the body. However, once to the spot it all seemed worth it. The scenery was spectacular. Gray whales were breaching everywhere you looked amongst the crashing waves. And best of all, frigate birds, cormorants, gulls and pelicans were ravaging bait on the surface scared up from predators below.

Normally when chasing yellowtail with a fly rod, you use fast sinking lines and prowl among the deepest rocks. And with 400 grain Rio Deep Sea Lines, that’s exactly what we did. Not only was it the logical thing to do but also the area of rocks was protected from the wind by Magdalena Island. But this routine brought us nothing. To succeed today we had to step up and ride the waves of the open ocean and follow the foraging birds. That’s where the yellowtail were.

Off we went full speed bouncing off each and every wave so hard I swear my teeth were loosening from the gums. Every time the frigate birds dove to the sea we met them. Each time we were just a minute too late and the surfacing yellowtail were finished with their feeding spree. Than after an hour of chasing, two small groups of yellowtail stayed on top charging bait along the surface within casting range. Sammy launched a great cast from the bow to two massive fish. I made a cast to some behind the boat but they were just too far out. By the time my fly landed they sank out of sight. I shouted for Grant to launch a cast with his spin rod and jig. His cast went a mile and he let it sink. He had a yellowtail on in a split second! Meanwhile, the two giant fish chased Sammy’s fly to the boat and disappeared into the blue.

Sammy and I reeled in and we watched Grant fight his yellowtail as furiously as he could. These fish are fierce fighters and do not come in easy. Grant was really giving it to this yellowtail because he wanted us to hook up with the fly. Pump after pump he pulverized his desperate yellowtail and just as the yellowtail seemed to be getting close he came off. There was no doubt that Grant lost the fish on purpose because he wanted to see us get one on the fly. Now Grant was freaking out hollering for Octavio to chase the birds again. All three of us were certain there would be another chance soon.

But you know how it goes; we never had another prime chance like that one. We chased and chased and every time we were a minute too late. The yellowtail simply would not stay near the surface. That’s when Octavio told us there were yellowtail everywhere about 40 feet down. He wanted us to simply cast ahead of the boat with our flies on the fast sinking lines, let them sink deep and then strip in as fast as possible. And that’s what we did for the next two hours.

This routine got old fast. We were getting bounced around like you can’t believe. Our method of madness seemed hopeless. Here we were in the blue water in 6 to 10 foot high waves; it was freezing cold and dangerously windy, dredging for a fish. That’s when we encouraged Grant to cast the spin rod again. Sure enough, in minutes, he hooked another yellowtail about 50 feet down. Only this one he landed. It was a 40lb beast that had Sammy or I taken an equivalent yellowtail on the fly it would be a fish of a lifetime. Nonetheless we were all very happy. We had fish for dinner. Not only that, yellowtail make some of the finest sashimi on Earth. Best of all, the quick catch proved that Octavio was right, the fish were deep beneath us and somehow Sammy and I had to get down there.

To make a long story short, during another hour of casting, I had a close call. I raised two yellowtails. They were about 20lbs and I would have been more than delighted with one of them. But they simply surfed a massive wave and followed my fly to the boat and disappeared. Dang! So close again!

We had some new hope but that was it. We wore ourselves out for another half our or so and then it was time to go. It was time to travel straight into the wind all the way back to San Carlos. Octavio, who was nearly frozen solid in the back of the boat, did a great job driving us home without killing us. It was miserable but certainly could have been worse. Once back Octavio filleted the massive yellowtail. We took some but left most for Octavio and his family. Grant made fantastic sashimi out of some of ours and we took the rest to a local restaurant and had it grilled. It was a great way to end a tough day of fishing. Sammy and I want a big yellowtail on the fly so bad that we are going again tomorrow. Cross your fingers!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chasing Halibut just for the Halibut

February 2, 2011

That halibut we had for dinner last night was so darn good that when Grant started to make a plan for today we all leaned toward dunking flies down deep for full day of h
alibut fly fishing. Once again, even with the sun up the temps were cold as heck. I brought some warm clothes for this trip but not nearly enough. There was no way we were going to wade the surf yet, so again we had a casual breakfast and let the sun warm us up.

It wasn’t until about 10 AM that we got in Grants truck and drove the short distance to Toms halibut spot where we fished sunset last night. The tide was high so we couldn’t drive the shortcut down the beach so we took the long
way on the roads of the desert. I never mind a little extra driving on the desert because we always see roadrunners when in Baja. And we did.

e didn’t make first cast until almost noon. When I set foot off the beach to wade, the water was absolutely freezing and the surf was big. Fortunately the wind was out of the east making life easy for casting and the high tide was dropping fast. Gradually the big waves shrunk and rocks that protected Toms halibut lies began to show themselves. Regardless of things looking good however, the four of us cast relentlessly for hours but not even a strike.

At 4 PM the tide was low and we could walk everywhere. There were new rocks showing, logs sticking out of nowhere and you could see the sand that Tom frequently catches halibut. I was just beginning to wonder why we hadn’t had even a hit when suddenly Grant hooked up. Grant was hucking flies today so the hook up got Sammy’s and my attention fast. We ran over to him and sure enough it was our first halibut of the day. After a few photos Sammy and I went into serious fish mode.

From that moment until sunset we had steady good fishing. While Sammy, Grant and I caught the occasional halibut, barred sand bass and corvina on flies, Tom put on a clinic with his bait caster. Tom is not yet a fly fisherman and judging by how many more fish he caught then we did tonight, he may never learn. I watched Tom land about four halibut, ten sand bass and a few corvina. It was incredible. However, I wouldn’t trade the challenge of fly fishing for halibut for anything!

When we finished up our fishing we were all freezing to death. Grants truck showed a mere 53°’s! No wonder we were cold. We whacked one halibut for dinner tonight. It was so good last night we had to do it again. We made it into fish tacos and it was the best fish tacos I ever had in my life. Absolutely the finest! Thank you Mr. halibut. Now its time for a good night sleep because we are headed for Magdalena Bay in the morning – very early.

(One quick note. Incase you didn’t notice, the picture here that looks like nothing is actually a halibut we released. You have to look carefully as his ability to camouflage himself with the bottom is incredible)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Riddance Wind

February 1, 2011

Day 3

It was a cold night in our little hotel here in wherever the heck we are land. Our beds had some covers but not nearly enough for the cold temps we experienced. All night long I threatened to dig out my sleeping bag but I never did. Tonight will be a different story. The good news however, when we awoke it was calm.

Being that the temps were in the upper 40°s again, we took our sweet time getting going. Although I got up before 6, I didn’t think of waking up Sammy and Grant until after 7. Then we took our time and had a nice breakfast at the same place we ate at last night. Like a few turtles, we sat and drank coffee until the sun warmed us enough to make a move for the surf.

Today we had a guest join us fishing, the hotel owner’s son Tom. These folks are gringos and have been visiting Baja forever. Tom is a hardcore bait caster that fishes almost exclusively for halibut. Tom fishes everyday but rarely gets far from the hotel to fish so it was a treat for him to hop in with us for a little adventure.

All I can tell you is we drove north for almost 2 hours. The road was terrible at best. Dust, sharp rocks, sand and areas washed out from hurricanes make roads unthinkable for your average. And unfortunately we cracked a radiator hose. Fluid was leaking all over and we had to pour several of our drinking water bottles in to the radiator so we wouldn’t overheat. Then by miracle we went by an oasis where we filled up the now empty water bottles and topped off the radiator so we could make it to our fishing spot.

It wasn’t until about 11 AM that we finally got to our spot. I say our spot but it was simply a location Tom knew about and Grant saw on Google Earth a few days earlier. My best description would be an incredible rock finger sticking straight out into the middle of the surf. We observed the out of place geographical structure from a cliff above where remarkably, a pickup hung off the edge. Not to far from this rock fingertip, herds of porpoise swam by. There had to be a lot of fish here.

It was a good hike down from the cliff to get to the rock finger. Once down there the rock finger was basically some incredibly-hard-to-walk-on lava. It was lined with barnacles, seaweed, scurrying crabs and other creatures. On one side the surf annihilated the rock formation while we had calm on the other. Sammy and I stuck with the exact rigs we used yesterday and began pummeling the water. Tom thought a particular spot looked good for halibut and he started casting and retrieving a white jig while Grant spincast the beach route and was quickly hooked up to something that got away.

The unique spot didn’t take long to produce fish. I quickly landed about five consecutive queen fish. To be honest, I only knew what they were because I’ve caught queen fish at Christmas Island. I never thought about catching them in Baja. Then I nailed a few corvinas. Meanwhile, Sammy was having no luck at all and Tom was catching corvina and a type of croaker.

We fished here for a couple hours and decided begin driving and fishing our way back. We climbed up the rock cliff and hopped back in the truck only to find we were leaking radiator fluid at a faster rate than we expected. Although it killed us mentally, Grant felt it was best we make it back to the village of our hotel and find someone to fix the leak. Sammy and I were extremely bummed but nothing we could do. That is other than reach to the cooler and have several Pacificos apiece on the 2 hour drive back.

It was probably 3 by the time we limped back into what most still wouldn’t consider civilization. Sure enough our radiator was nearly on empty. The great thing about being in Baja though, something like this is not only a simple fix but it gets done pronto and doesn’t cost much. We were on our way in about 45 minutes.

We went to one of Tom’s favorite spots. This cool place was only about a 20 minute drive from the village. It was one of Tom’s favorite halibut places because it was rocky formation place amongst the beach with a small estuary river near. The rocks protected an area of sand bottom and which in turn are great places for halibut. Unfortunately this particular place is great during a low tide and our radiator hose deal made us late. The tide was incoming at a very fast speed and the rocks and the protected areas for halibut covered up fast and in no time it was hard to reach the hot spots with a fly.

Luckily, as we tried to get our flies to the halibut sand but couldn’t reach, one spot of water screaming in with the tide like a furious river there were fish. Every cast we made produced a shortfin corvina. Sammy and Grant literally stood in the same place and landed 20 of them. Then Tom landed our one halibut for the day and he generously kept it so we could have the local restaurant cook it up for us.

It was an exciting drive back to the hotel. Grant decided to take the beach as it would save us about 30 minutes over driving through the desert. However, the tide was rolling in so if we got stuck in the sand he could lose his truck. Nonetheless, time is time and we went for it and although tricky and hair-raising in a few spots, we made it. Best of all, Toms halibut was about as delicious as a fresh fish dinner could be!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Arctic Baja

January 31, 2011

One of my hardest things in life is getting a good nights sleep. I am not a sleeper. In fact, that’s how I have time to write blogs, paint, speak, sort photos and fish so much. I hardly ever sleep. But yesterday after the long day of travel I hit the wall and last night I was out by 9 and didn’t crack an eye before 6. Of course traveling with the Sammy who is a doc, he may have had something in his bag to help with that. Nonetheless, I felt great this morning.

Grant Hartman wasn’t kidding when he warned us the weather was off down here in South Baja. This morning was far colder then one would expect. It was 49°’s! Then the wind kicked up and I can honestly say it turned into one the windier fishing days I can remember.

Our first move was to buy gas under a bright pink sky and get coffee. Then with coffees in hand we drove 2 hours up to Ciudad Constitucion across the Baja desert. Even during daylight hours, one must be very careful on this piece of road because of fog from Magalena Bay.

Once in CC we had a great breakfast at a street side restaurant, picked up few items and headed for the Pacific. It was a bumpy dirt road for nearly 2 more hours before the ocean was in sight. I already mentioned it was windy, but I’m telling you it was nearly unbearable. The ocean was a frothy mess and looked unfishable.

We drove some dirt roads and beach roads before we parked at the mouth of an estuary. It looked like a place with some shelter but when I stepped out of Grants truck I nearly got blown over and the car door almost blew off its hinges. It was no laughing matter.

There was little confidence amongst the three of us but on a short trip like this you take what is given and go for it. The only good news was that things had warmed up considerably from when our day started. It was about 70°. I rigged up Sammy with my 10-weight Ross FW and a Rio Tropical Outbound Short line and off he went. I followed with my 9-weight and the same line. Grant wisely rigged a spin rod and a plug.

My past experiences in and around estuaries in Baja are that you can expect to catch numerous different species such as halibut, corbina, corvina, spotted sea bass and various grouper and snappers. A good fly for any of these fish is chartreuse Clouser Minnow. In fact when you’re in any sort of doubt Clousers are a good fly for any fishing situation.

Sam and I walked down to a channel where the mouth of the estuary met the open ocean while Grant headed out to the teeth of the north wind and started hurling his plug far out into the raging surf. Time went fast while somehow Sammy and I were getting some decent casts. I think most the time we simply had the violent wind behind us and roll casted about 80 feet with ease. Our biggest hindrance was actually entanglement with drifting seaweed rather than the wind.

In the distance I could see Grant hucking long casts into the surf. Over and over I could see him working hard with the plug. I kept a watchful eye hoping he would find some fish and then we could head out and join him. Sure enough I finally saw his rod bend. He had a fish on. And although he was a long way away I could see that the fish was a good one.

Sammy reeled in immediately and headed out to see what Grant was into. I was feeling good about the particular area I was in so I continued. I had waded out to a sand bar and was prowling the surf in hopes of a corvina. I could still see Grant in the distance and by now he landed what appeared to be a pretty nice fish. We were in search of one nice fish of any flavor for dinner and I was excited to see Grant carry the fish up on the beach.

Grant was further away then he looked and it probably took Sammy nearly ten minutes to reach him. I watched as Sammy waded the surf near Grant and started casting. Sammy lasted in the spot about three minutes then he left the water and started running to where the truck was parked. Something was going on.

I reeled in and met Sammy on his way. Grant caught a nice snapper and they were in a hole out there. Sammy made one cast and got broke off in seconds. I had Sammy rigged up with a 20lb tippet and it wasn’t enough. He was heading for the truck to find some heavier stuff. I had some and I quickly tore off five feet of 40lb tippet and looped straight to his and my fly line and back we went.
By now Grant was running to the car because he hooked two more snapper and got broke off by both because he reel was failing. We passed each other and I got to see our dinner snapper which was a beauty about 7lbs. When Sammy and I got to the spot, I set down my rod and walked out in the thrashing surf with my camera to try and get picks of him hooking up and landing one of these gorgeous snappers. On his first three casts he had three strikes and swirls but couldn’t hook up. Then nothing for five minutes. I then went to shore grabbed my rod and joined the fun.

Grant got back and couldn’t believe we didn’t hook up. I guess when he caught that first one there were snapper everywhere. We all casted out for awhile before Grant hooked up again. This fish was way out far beyond where Sammy and I could reach. This was another dandy and after a long fight Grant landed a 10lber which he then released.

We continued pounding the area, but that was it. The snapper vanished as fast as they appeared. Then we all began to realize how cold and wet we were from the wind and splashing surf and although I made a weak effort to fish the estuary itself, we packed it up.

This trip was planned to be a camping trip. But wherever the heck we are, Grant found a cheap hotel on a beach and we got a room. I could care less but Sammy and Grant didn’t want to deal with camping in the wind and cold. Once settled we took Grants snapper to a small restaurant here in the village and they cooked it up for us and it was fantastic. As I prepare for bed its freezing cold but the wind has stopped. We can only hope that our opportunities for the fly will be better tomorrow.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing Website