Warm Water Whammy Bass Fly, Sea of Cortez Early Season Report, Favored Saltwater Fly Rods, John Day River Report

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Warm Water Whammy
Fishing Methods Disclosed by Fly Originator: Kevin Price
The angler can modify their stripping technique to impart different movement to the fly as it is being retrieved across the water.  Fluorocarbon leader material sinks, and when the fly is stripped the sunk leader gives the fly a downward motion. Monofilament tends to float and works better for sliding a fly or staying on top of weed mats. Kevin reports that he has also been experimenting using intermediate-sink poly leaders, and riffle hitching his flies to get some insane darting and zig-zag action.

The Warm Water Whammy is an easy fly to cast, as it slides off the water easily to form your back-cast.  These flies also right themselves if they happen to land on the water upside down. The weed guards on these flies are very thick and stiff, which allows these flies to be fished in  heavy cover.

Buy a 3-pack of these fies and you will be convinced that a lot of research and development went into the design and construction of these unusual, but highly productive flies.  We're betting these Warm Water Whammy flies will prove deadly on baby tarpon and snook as well as large mouth bass.

Yellow & Chartreuse Also Available
Get More info on Warm Water Whammies
Item Description Price To Top
SIG1614 Warm Water Whammy, Olive and White, Size 1/0 3 for $17.85 Sale Ended
 
Sea of Cortez Early Season Report

Crease Flies can be deadly on Dorado - Click for more information on Crease Flies...

Weather at Loreto, MX NOW Water Temperature at Loreto, MX
The Weather, Water and Fishing is heating up in the Sea of Cortez. It is still early in the season, but Rooster Fish, Tuna, Dorado & Billfish are starting to appear in the waters along the Baja coast from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz (92-miles). From Lapaz to Loreto (144-miles) the water is a little cooler, but not much. At Loreto, day time temperatures are reaching the low nineties and night time low are in the mid-seventies. Water temperature is in the high seventies. According to reports there are much better concentrations of Sardinas and other bait fish than during the last three seasons. Smaller Dorado are starting to show along the shore-lines and the Roosterfish are already there in numbers. There isn't much Sargasso weed floating around Loreto yet, but northward there is quite a bit. In another month, when the big Dorado show up, there could be more Sargasso. Floating Sargasso weed mats make Dorado fishing easier. Flying fish spawn in the floating weeds. Dorado know this and hang around the weeds.

 
Favored Saltwater Fly Rods For This Summer in the Sea of Cortez
The Sea of Cortez is that long narrow body of water between Baja California and mainland Mexico. It is a large body of water, but it is protected on three sides by land, and sheltered from the stronger winds and currents of the Pacific Ocean. Yet, it has many of the same game fish that anglers seek in the rougher, bigger open water along the coasts of mainland Mexico, and Central America. Along with deep water fish, such as billfish, tuna, wahoo, and dorado, this Sea also has many inshore fish, such as roosterfish, grouper and snappers that inhabit the shallower waters along its extensive shoreline. This make the Sea of Cortez unique in North America as a fly angler saltwater destination. Many of the fish an angler will encounter here are fairly large and very strong. Most experienced anglers use 11 or 12 weight rods, and reels that will hold at least 250 yards of backing.
The rods for blue water fish are much stiffer that any used in fresh water. Some fish encountered can weigh over 100-pounds. Rods used in this arena need to be easy to cast, but also need to supply leverage against fish that pull hard for long periods of time. A battle with any of these fish that weigh over 40-pounds can last an hour. And since these rods are often banged around in boats, they need to be very durable. The more expensive rods made from the latest graphite and newest nano-resin materials are far stronger than those made from older less expensive materials. Rods made from the newest materials are also easier to cast. Rods that have longer extended handles give an angler the advantage of being able to use more leverage against large fish. Larger diameter extension butts are popular with experienced anglers because they provide some cushion against your belly or forearm. Sage SALT, Beulah Opal and G. Loomis Predator series rods offer the advantages of longer handles.
We have used most of the rods listed below in bluewater. Some we have used on many trips. All will do the job.
Sage 1290-4 SALT Sage 1190-4 SALT
Length: 9'    Line: 12     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
This is the ultimate one rod tarpon and for most blue water saltwater fishing where the angler expect to encounter fish weighing over 50-pounds. You will enjoy the benefits of the new longer handle when it come to testing will with heavier finny critters.
Rod weight: 4 7/8 Ounces
Length: 9'    Line: 11     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
This a the new generation of saltwater rods for the Sea of Cortez, replacing the venerated twelve weights with a lighter weight easier-to-use weapon for Dorado and roosterfish. You will like the longer handle, especially for fish weighing over 30-pounds.
Rod weight: 4 13/16 Ounces
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
1291-4 SALT Sage SALT Series Rod, 12-weight,
$850 Sale Ended 1191-4 SALT Sage SALT Series Rod, 11-weight,
$850 Sale Ended
NRX 10812-4 FLY NRX 1081-4 FLY
Length: 9'    Line: 12     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
You might find it hard to imagine a rod lighter and more powerful than the G. Loomis GLX tarpon rod, but this unbelievable 12-weight will change your thinking! When you need raw power, this is the rod. When you need a rod that you can cast all day long and still be ready for more, this is the rod. When it's time to put the pressure on a big "poon" this is definitely the rod! Bottom line? When you're after big fish, whether it's tarpon on the flats, cobia on the beach or striped marlin offshore, this rod will do everything you ask of it and more. It's scary light, sneaky strong and casts like a 10-weight! You aren't gonna believe this rod - it's the best #12 G. Loomis has ever made!
FREE RIO TARPON FLY LINE INCLUDED

Length: 9'    Line: 11     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
When you talk "finesse" in a fly rod it usually refers to trout fishing, but when it comes to the saltwater scene, the topic quickly moves towards the flats. There are days when the tarpon are contrary and you need to use longer leaders, small flies and make quiet presentations. This is the rod for those kind of days. NRX makes it insanely light in your hand and so powerful it will get your attention - quick! When you want those big silver kings to tire out before you do, this rod can and will do the job. A great option for small billfish as well!
FREE RIO TARPON FLY LINE INCLUDED
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
11923-01 G. Loomis NRX Series Rod, 12-weight, Blue Wraps
$900 Sale Ended 11922-01 G. Loomis NRX Series Rod, 11-weight, Blue Wraps
$870 Sale Ended
12040-01 G. Loomis NRX Series Rod, 12-weight, Green Rod
$900 Sale Ended 12039-01 G. Loomis NRX Series Rod, 11-weight, Green Rod
$870 Sale Ended
Beulah OPAL 1190-4 Loop 1190-4 CROSS S1 Flatsman
Length: 9'    Line: 11     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
The Opal 11wt fly rod is amazingly accurate, quick and powerful, three necessary ingredients when fly fishing flats and blue water. This is fast action fly rod casts with soul, and has reserves of lifting power. You will feel the line load throughout the blank and recover in an instant. The Opal 11wt makes fly fishing for big fish fun again.. All Opal rods come with American Tackle Titanium Guides, IM8 Silica Nano Matrix (SNM) resin, AAAA cork and custom anodized reel seat with unidirectional locking ring.

Length: 9'    Line: 11     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
This is a very lightweight, but powerful rod that casts with ease. We tried one out at Loreto last year, and in its class, it was as good as any rod we have ever used. It was relegated to dredging with sinking shooting heads that weighed from 450-550 grains.

 

Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
OPAL1190-4 Beulah Opal Rod, 11-weight,
$620 Sale Ended CROF1190-4MF Loop Cross S1 Flastman Rod, 11-weight, $845 Sale Ended
Sage 1290-4 MOTIVE Sage 1190-4 MOTIVE
Length: 9'    Line: 12     Pieces: 4
Why to buy:
This is the rod for Florida tarpon and for any saltwater fish that weigh over 50-pounds. The MOTIVE Series has a somewhat slower action than other Sage saltwater rods we have used. They have a comfortable casting cadence.
Rod weight: 5 5/16 Ounces
Length: 9'    Line: 11     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
This is very comfortable rod for catching average size Dorado that weigh from 15-35 pounds. For larger fish you will appreciate a 12-weight, or any rod with more lifting power.
Rod weight: 5 1/4 Ounces
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
1290-4 Sage MOTIVE Rod, 12-weight,
$425 Sale Ended 1190-4 Sage MOTIVE Rod, 11-weight, $425 Sale Ended
G. Loomis FR10812-4CCGLX G. Loomis PRO 4X 10812/13-4 LHP FR

Length: 9'    Line: 12     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
This is one of my all time favorite big-fish rods! Mine has landed sails, striped marlin and tuna, this is an excellent rod for keeping the pressure on. It's really light considering the power it creates. Even though this rod really packs a punch, it has the feel of a much smaller rod. It will cast large, wind-resistant flies a mile. When those big 'poons' show up on the flats, this is the rod you'll want in your hands.
FREE RIO TARPON FLY LINE INCLUDED

Length: 9'    Line: 12/13     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
In keeping with the them for a unique, new approach in rod design, the LHP 12/13 is the ultimate in power fly rods to help fly fishers handle big, bulky, air-resistant flies and the wire leaders needed to keep those big toothy critters from cutting you off. It will cast the largest poppers, strip leeches, streamers and heavily weighted flies. Take advantage of the new, aggressive short power taper fly lines of up to 550 grains and fish the heavy cover where the monsters live. As powerful as this rod is, it's still light enough to fish all day and give you a fighting chance for the fish of a lifetime!
FREE RIO TARPON FLY LINE INCLUDED
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
11292-01 G. Loomis CrossCurrent Series Rod, 12-weight,
$780 Sale Ended 12435-01 G. Loomis Pro4X Predator Series Rod, 12/13-weight,
$475 Sale Ended
Echo BOOST BL-1290S Echo BOOST BL-1190S
Length: 9'    Line: 12     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
Need to save money, but but you expect, and know how to use rods that deliver high performance. Or maybe you need an extra back-up rod. Or maybe you already know that these rods deliver performance far in excess of what the price sticker might indicate, whatever the reason, this is a great rod at a very affordable price.
Length: 9'    Line: 11     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
This may be the ultimate Dorado rod in this price range.
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
BL-1290S Echo BOOST Series Rod, 12-weight,
$249.99 Sale Ended BL-1190S Echo BOOST Series Rod, 11-weight, $249.99 Sale Ended
Temple Fork Outfitters BVK TF12904B Temple Fork Outfitters MANGROVE 1290
Length: 9'    Line: 12     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
Designed by: Lefty Kreh
Length: 9'    Line: 12     Pieces: 4 
Why to buy:
Designed by: Flip Pallot
Item Description Price To Top Item Description Price To Top
TF12904B Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Series Rod, 12-weight,
$299.95 Sale Ended TF12904M Temple Fork Outfitters MANGROVE Series Rod, 12-weight,
$299.95 Sale Ended
 
John Day River Report
By: Frank Day
May in the Central Oregon high desert, for many this brings to mind the wide (4000-7000cfs) spring run-off flows of the Deschutes River and it’s world famous salmon fly hatch. This draws many an angler to its banks to pursue the highly revered Deschutes rainbow, locally known as redsides, an to many the high point of the entire trout season.

For me this is perfect as it congregates many anglers there, and leaves many other prime spots with lots of solitude.

Our destination was farther east to the John Day River watershed. The Jon Day is the second longest free flowing waterway in the United States. Lined by tall basalt cliffs and cattle ranches, the John Day River is scenic if not entirely wild. Originally 75 smallmouth bass were introduced into the system and have since flourished. Smallmouth are not the only species present. There are also Channel Catfish, Red Band Trout, West Slope Cutthroat, Bull Trout, Northern Pike Minnow (smallmouth food), as well as Chinook Salmon and Steelhead.

Our trip was a 2 day float from Service Creek bridge to Twickenham bridge, 12 river miles total. We would float for the afternoon and make camp in the evening and finish our float the next day. The John Day is a beautiful river with limited bank access due to rancher’s properties. Because of this not seeing another angler, and finding excellent unfished water is not difficult.

The smallmouth we were targeting are generally found in the calmer runs between rapids 3-5 ft off the grassy bank in shallower water bordered by a rocky drop off. They hold on the borders of deep and shallow water due to the placement it gives them to ambush prey – both terrestrial and aquatic, as well as the sense of security they feel from their escape route to the deeper waters. Smallmouth are a real treat to experience on a 5 wt. They are not particularly picky feeders and can be taken on both subsurface and topwater patterns. We went armed with a variety of patterns but the most successful were Dirty Frogs, Sculpzillas in natural tan, Black Flash-A-Buggers, Conehead Autumn Splendors, and size 8 and 10 Paradrakes. We fished them off 3X and 4X RIO Powerflex Leaders.

Our lines were all weight forward 5's line with a non stretch core for more sensitivity and solid hook sets. Smallmouth are excellent fighters who will readily leap and run when hooked, and can challenge even the more advanced angler. Once landed proper handling and release of the fish is essential to its health.

We have all seen the classic lipping maneuver done over the years with large bass. Just because it’s prominent doesn’t mean it’s correct. Fully grasping a bass by its jaw and curling your fist under its mouth is incredibly stressful on the animal. Its jaw is now supporting its entire weight; it’s ticket to feeding and survival. When a bass’s mouth is put under such stress it can dislocate and even break its jaw causing the animal to no longer be able to feed until its jaw heals. In some cases the jaw may not heal properly at all or may not heal before starvation takes its toll. The lipping technique is fine but the fist should never curl under the jaw. Gently but firmly grasp it by the tongue leaving the fish in the water for the unhooking process. If you wish to take a photo and insist on removing the fish from the water retain the same gentle but firm hold on its lip and tongue while supporting its body with your other hand  (Both hands should be wet to prevent removal of their slime which acts as a protective coating and immune system.) Keep the fish horizontal as it’s organs are oriented in this way, and holding a large fish vertically can stress or rupture its internal organs. When reviving simply place the fish in the current with its head pointing upstream allowing for oxygenated water to pass over his gills. Swishing a fish back and forth can damage their gill filaments as they are designed to have water flow only one direction and reversing that direction can tear them. Proper handling of fish is a must as one of the greatest joys in flyfishing is sharing it with others and seeing their enjoyment in successfully landing a fish. At the end of our float we had landed between the 5 of us several hundred smallmouth, a channel catfish, and several bolder redsides.

It was a surreal 2 days floating down the basalt lined canyon with only the violent takes of the smallmouth to snap us out of our rhythmic casting and stripping. For those of us who had made a trip prior, and for those who had been before, we all left with a renewed appreciation of the central Oregon high desert.

 
Chugging: Entry #7
By: Dave Bennett
I’m standing on the bank, high up above the run, watching.  Ron is chugging a waker through the bucket, I see a flash in the water, then the steelhead is fully defined, a lightning bolt vectored for the fly.  Only as the fish nears the surface can Ron see or sense that the fish is there.  I have a much longer and more vivid show. 
It’s not varsity-level beer drinking that we’re talking about here, chugging is about enticing the steelhead to the skated fly by wobbling the rod tip to produce an erratic fly movement and wake, sometimes with a little spray.  The ethics of chugging may be controversial, some even say sinful, but I’ve gladly added chugging to my list of sins, (it’s somewhere on page 12). 
Most of my chugging experience is on the Deschutes River during summer when the water is warm and fish rise readily to the skated fly.  As many agree, the best time of day to entice fish to rise on that river is when plenty of shade is on the water, and so it is with chugging.   Many fly-swinging anglers know more about chugging than I, so this writing isn’t an attempt at a primer on the technique, but a sharing of my excitement and love for the game. 

My good friend Ron and I fish the Deschutes regularly and like to team up for chugging sessions.  We take turns, one of us fishing and the other at a high vantage point watching the rise and the take, or no take, as the case may be.  Being able to see the fish move to the fly from the high vantage point is for me the ultimate adrenalin-peaking experience.  I can see the fish rise and move to the fly long before Ron can from his vantage point at water level.  I suppose river guides see some version of this every fishing day, you are the fortunate ones.  I hope the repetition hasn’t dulled the thrill.  The sometimes savagery of that move must come from millions of years of genetically-embedded instinct; survival of the fittest.  The fish often arcs out of the water to engulf the fly from the top, with a brilliant flash of chrome and massive amounts of displaced water.  The fish are so driven to smash the fly that sometimes in their frenzy; they miss it altogether, only to turn and charge it again.   Other times, the great fish is more timid, just boiling the water’s surface near the fly or tapping it with the nose.  Time for a smaller, less 

intimidating fly? Perhaps, or maybe a switch to a wet fly is the answer to a hookup. But that’s not the point.  By trickery that keys its instincts, we’ve managed to coax this wonderful creature out of the depths to reveal itself and allow us to experience for a fraction of a second the accompanying rush of adrenalin.  So what, you say.  Aren’t we tricking the fish each time we hook one, no matter with what kind of fly or technique?  For me the difference is the savagery of the take and the full self-disclosure, complete abandonment of the caution that has enabled this species to survive. 
Why this is attractive or maddening to the fish below is unknown to me.  Is it the pattern of a wounded prey that means an easy lunch that triggers the aggression, or is it a primal anger that drives it to erase this splashing pest from existence?  As far as food value goes, it can’t be worth the energy expended for a full-speed rush to munch a quarter-once bug, no matter how tasty.  Darwin would say don’t do that, you won’t survive wasting energy for so little gain.  Does the erratic wake make the fly’s imprint so large to infer that there is a nice dinner in the offing here?  All that I know is that explosion of fish and water is what brings me back again and again.
Steelheaders are very fortunate people. 

 

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