In 1996 some great friends and I drove to Baja from Jackson, WY. We had a pickup truck camper and towed a fourteen foot tin boat. We almost got killed in that tiny boat several times because it was the El Nino year. The wind and waves were so bad even the shrimp boat trawlers hid for cover. During what was a five week trip, I eventually smartened up and decided I was going to catch a roosterfish off the beach on a popper. We spent thirteen days camped on one particular beach that I absolutely fell I love with. Every time I think of it I reflect of how it was like a home away from home. I caught two quality roosters off that beach during those days. Man what a tough fish to catch!
Amazingly I have not been back. So when the chance to do so today came about, I was all over it. Sure enough it turned to a day of reminiscing of one of the great trips of my life. The beach was the same. The only difference there was other anglers. We didn’t see a one last trip. Times have changed but the roosters are still here.
I easily walked four miles up and down this fantastic beach. I remembered every inch of it and the good casts and the bad. Today there were plenty of jacks but the roosters were hard to come by. Just when I was giving up, I saw one of the greatest rooster blitzes I have ever seen. I was nearly asleep perched on a high sand point when pelicans on a rock near me headed for the water. Then I saw the splashes. There was no doubt that the chaos was either Pacific Jack Crevalles or roosterfish slamming bait. Despite the slow day, I had my line stripped out on the sand ready for a cast. This is general procedure for sight fishing, and I sprinted down the beach while false casting to meet the attackers.
It was indeed roosters. And the first crashing roosters I saw were no slouches either. Two fish of 20lb or better sent ballyhoo skyrocketing in the air. The fish were in casting range so I launched my fly only to find the surf had tangled my line in my feet. I cleared the mess but then the fish were gone. Man! Seconds later in came some smaller roosters. Naturally, I got a perfect cast to the peanuts but they followed and refused. This was roosterfishing at its best.
I got five good cast to the frenzied roosters. I bolted up and down the beach to the point where I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. The roosters followed the fly but none sealed the deal. The rest of the day I got only two casts, but the memories of the frenzy made the day.
I fished alone most of today. Grant and Sammy took a different beach route in the morning but met up with me about 3 pm. Sammy landed a small jack and that was the only caught fish for both of us. I did have a low moment to add. A giant crevalle ate my fly and as he ripped deep into my backing, somehow I got a twist of backing around my rod butt and the speeding fish broke me off. I was horrified! And how that happened I don’t know. But that’s saltwater fly fishing and playing with the big boys. Tomorrow we head back to the island where the snappers and cabrilla live!