our disbelief, here we were going into the last day and hadn’t seen another big fish since Monday.
I couldn’t tell you where the heck Grant took us today. I thought I’d hit all the beaches of Southern Baja the last 15 years, but today we ended up in a very secret place. Once there, Grant ordered Sammy to follow him down the beach and away they went. I want nothing more than for Sammy to catch a beast so I kicked back and watched. Grant was firing his spin rod with a hookless teaser far beyond fly rods reach and bringing it back with vengeance. Meanwhile, Sam stayed on Grants heels, dropping perfect cast after perfect cast behind the teaser as it returned to the beach. Each time in hopes a huge rooster was chasing.
Once they were well down the beach, I meandered out and made some long blind casts. Blind casting is kind of hopeless as far as catching a monster rooster, especially fishing behind Sam and Grant, but early in the morning the sun isn’t high enough to help you see into the water so it was my only option. And like every day this week, it didn’t take me long to nail a couple small roosters, a couple of houndfish and the crazy-looking-backwards swimming-elongated trumpetfish.
One thing we’ve noticed is that it’s gotten hotter everyday this week. In fact now the sand gets so hot at mid day that it scorches my bare feet. You might suggest shoes, but I prefer to feel that my fly line isn’t tangled in my feet. Today rather than walk at all, I just staked out a good looking point where once the sun was high enough, I could see any oncoming fish for at least a 100 feet in both directions. And I stood there like a heron and watched all day.What kept my interest all day was an event that will play in my mind for many months to come. Two of the biggest roosterfish I’ve ever seen wallowed their way into my beat. They were massive! And they were close, a mere 6o feet off the beach – an easy cast on even a bad day.
I’ve had a devastatingly good rooster fly all week. Every rooster I cast it too eats it. That’s not normal. In fact it’s unheard of. Neither Grant nor I can believe how devastating the fly has been. The
bad news however, I only had two of them and by today they wore out. They have been badly chewed up by fish and even after numerous sharpening; the hook points have brushed the sand too many times. They are finished. So I was trying a new fly. The fly was similar but not quite the same.
I kept my cool when these huge fish arrived in my view. I actually had the time and sense to watch them swim along. Then I planed exactly where my ambush would take place and moved stealthily into action.
Just like trout fishing on a spring creek, when roosterfishing you must limit your movement and false casts. Once positioned I waited till the roosters were exactly where I wanted them and then made only one false cast and shot my fly right into the lane of the two fish.
By now I could see them clearly. They truly were enormous! These two spectacular roosterfish were traveling one behind the other. There was approximately a 6 foot gap between them. When the lead fish was 5 feet away from my fly that was now slowly sinking into the rooster’s level, I gave two hard strips. I was crouched low to the water so it wasn’t easy to see, but the front fish turned towards my fly. It’s during the pause that roosters like to eat the fly, and I prayed that on my next strip I’d come tight. But I didn’t. Instead my strip-set turned into two more hard strips. Again the giant fish lunged forward behind my fly. At this point I could see his huge comb dorsal waving in the waves. It was truly unbelievable because the fin was extending from the water about 15 inches! But again my fly wasn’t in the rooster’s mouth. I gave two more strips and paused. Then two more and paused.
Usually when a big rooster wants your fly he eats in sooner than later. Things were not looking good. The monster was so close I could see him as if he was in my hands (right where I wanted him). His vivid paint job was bright and glowing, his dorsal comb was electric in blues, purples and yellows and both his eyes were fixed on my fly. He wanted to make a meal of it but something wasn’t perfect. I too was so fixed on this presentation. I had no idea how close I actually was and when I stripped again, I felt resistance, but it was my leader butt entering the rod tip.
I’ve caught a few fish that I hooked with my leader well into the rod. Miracles do happen. But this time one didn’t. The large rooster simply tilted up at me and looked me right in the eye as if to say “Nice try dude. You almost got me. But not today,” and off he swam with his pal. It was the most disappointing moment of my year.The event made me very confident for the next few hours. But that confidence left me fast. The tide rose. The sun set and soon my ability to see was gone. That was my only cast to a big rooster all five days. Welcome back to roosterfishing.
It was a challenging week. The fishing was tough and of course Sammy got struck by a Portuguese Man o” War, but somehow the week was great. I guess just spending time with Sammy and Grant is a huge portion of what it’s all about. Good things, high stakes, whatever you want to call it don’t come easy and we know it. That’s how we make it fun.
I’ll fly home tomorrow then spend the next couple days cleaning the salt off my gear that’s accumulated this winter. I’ll catch up on some art and whatever else has come into play. Then its June and time to trout fish. Expect my next report after Tue and Wed fishing on the Henrys Fork with Granny.