Fishing success varies by the year in Baja
Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a series about fishing off the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.
Our first morning in La Ribera, we went beach fishing after breakfast. We were looking for Roosterfish and were encouraged by the fact that Fred Wickman of Tahoe City had landed a small Roosterfish on his first cast while blind casting on the night we arrived.
We drove to a spot that had fished well on previous trips for Roosterfish. Two of us began walking in one direction and the other pair in the other direction along the beach. We were trying to spot fish, but the windy conditions made it difficult. We could see well in the direction the wind was blowing, but it was difficult in the windward direction.
After spotting several fish and having a couple of excellent shots at them, I was a bit frustrated. It was obvious the fly I was using was not quite right. While I got a couple of fish to turn on the fly, they refused to eat it. Other fish would just go around the fly.
That is how our morning would go, and for the most of the trip. We would all have chances, but none of us could find the right combination to get the Roosters interested.
After a frustrating morning, we went in to Los Barriles for lunch at one of our favorite places, El Viejo, for seafood tacos. This eased our bruised egos.
One of the reasons fishing from the beach was pretty tough was that the preferred baitfish of the Roosterfish was not available to them. The sardina, really a flat iron herring, a fish that is typically available in abundance during the time of our visit, was not there in their typical size and numbers. The sardina that were there were small fish in the 2- to 2.5-inch range.
As a result most of our flies were too big. Mullet and Caballito were present, but these are typically much larger fish. I tried large flies that represent these fish, but the Roosters ignored them equally.
The last day fishing from the beach, I tried a Clouser Minnow, a fly many had told me would work great. I had not had any luck with this fly, but I tied a box of them, so I gave them a try. I tied on a small olive and white one and was surprised to catch a small fish that looked a little like a white bass. Not sure what it was, but I caught a couple of them. I managed to catch a number of fish that day on that fly. The only ones that I could identify for sure were the Cornetfish and Ladyfish.
I wish I had tried that fly a little earlier during our visits to the beach, but I learned that the Clouser Minnow is a fly worthy of a try. Each year has proven different. That’s what makes this a great fishery. Our experience from the pangas also proved to be totally different than the prior year. I will talk a little about that next week.
and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.