No Naps, There’s a Marlin Out Here

by | Nov 15, 2009 | baja anglers, baja billfish, dorado, marlin, ross reels, skipjack, teasers

November 4, 2009

Today was Sammy’s and my last attempt at a marlin on the fly with Grant Hartman. As planned we left Cabo Harbor early and traveled up the Pacific side of Baja for over an hour. Then we pointed our bow out to sea and started dragging our hookless teasers. We expected a weather change of wind and clouds today, but instead it was exactly like the previous two days, calm rolling seas with hardly a cloud in sight. Figuring a change in weather was needed to get the marlin feeding meant to me that we would not find our prize.

Unfortunately I was correct and in fact, even the dorado didn’t show up. It was simply a brutal day and at 3pm the hum of the motors and lack of action had us all borderline insane. What such a day does to me is make me eat excessively and take numerous naps. Thank God we didn’t have a case of beer or I’d of probably drank it all!

In order not to go crazy Grant, Sammy and I were swapping stories. I was well into my “tiger story” when while gazing out to sea over Grants shoulder I saw just the tip of a marlin tail 50ft away. As I jumped up to confirm my sighting a wave rolled just right that I could see the whole magnificent fish beneath the surface, it was indeed a marlin. It took the boys a few more waves to get the view I had, but when everyone confirmed we had a marlin in range they jumped into action. Let me make this clear, this was not an active marlin in our teasers, but rather a sleeping marlin on the surface. While Grant began to circle the great fish with the boat hoping he would charge a teaser, our mate Arturo launched a live bridled hookless skipjack the marlins direction attached to a large spin rod. He let it sink, but the marlin ignored the treat. After several attempts the marlin sank from sight. Sure enough within seconds a tug of war was on as the marlin tried to take the live skipjack from Arturo.

This marlin was by no means the aggressive one we needed. Arturo easily pulled the skipjack away several times before at last he was behind the boat. I was fully ready and launched the 8” tandom-hooked 6/0 popper at the marlin. By now he was fully identified as a striped marlin of about 130 pounds, a perfect candidate to test my new Ross Momentum LT #8 reel. By now Arturo had yanked the skipjack out of the water and we hoped the marlin would think my fly was it. Unfortunately, this billfish was smart and expressed little interest. He false charged my fly twice before disappearing to the deep.

My heart was pounding as Arturo tossed the skipjack back out several times with no response. Then suddenly the marlin appeared on the surface again. We motored his direction and Arturo cast the skipjack right at him. The problem was it was over the marlin and the line crossed his back. This evidently scared the living crap out of that marlin and he took off gray-hounding as if he was hooked. That was it. That big boy was a mile deep after that. We dragged the teasers through the area for two more hours but nothing. No marlin this trip.

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!