Fish Stories and Fish Pictures

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Fish Stories and Fish Pictures
A fish story without pictures is just another fish story.
Testing a Winston fly rod for lifting power...

The last day of our recent trip to Loreto, Mexico, Patty hooked and landed a 20-pound Dorado with her first cast of the morning.  It seems that many days that start with a bang, wind up being a fizzle.  This was no exception.  The Ocean was full of bait.  Sardines, mackerel and flying fish were everywhere.  We found several more schools of  Dorado but their bellies were full enough that there was little interest in the live Sardines that we threw at them, let alone our flies.  So we spent the next 6-hours dragging teasers behind the boat for billfish.  Seven

groups of billfish were sighted.  Most shied away.  Only one small sailfish had been aggressive enough to grab at a teaser, but lost interest before I could present the fly.  There are few things more boring than watching the wakes of teasers behind a bobbing, moving panga and we dozed off several times.  Then we pulled up behind an island and fished though an area where we had spotted several large Rooster Fish the day before.  Nothing.  To make matters more trying, our friends Jeff and Tilda with their guide Fransico pulled up a hundreds yards away and immediately caught a dozen large Lady Fish and then they left.

Finally we gave up and headed back to the hotel.  As we rounded the other side of the island the surface of the water erupted with several dozen large fish crashing bait. At first we weren't sure what specie of fish was making the disturbance.  All we knew was that we needed a hook-up.  Eulogio cut the engine and the panga drifted into the mêlée.  The perpetrators turned out to be a couple hundred very large (20-30 pound) Jack Crevelles eating sardines.  That was perfect because we already had sardine flies 

My best Crevelle, ever...

rigged upon two rods we had used for Dorado.  Nothing should have been simpler than being surrounded by these large hungry, competitive feeders.  The next half hour proved to be an extension of what had proved to be an exceedingly frustrating day.  We got refusal after refusal.  Jacks would charge our flies from sometimes as far as 20-feet away only to veer away within inches of the fly.  Several fly changes produced no change in results....

Popper with bite tippet...

I dug though my well equipped boat bag looking for an answer.  Eulogio looked thoughtfully at a large box of poppers and pointed to one that was wrapped with bright silver reflective scale tape.  "Try that one Senior", he offered with an encouraging tone.  I thought, "what the hell" and tied it to the end of my leader, only then remembering that it was attached to the end of a 400-graing sinking line.  There was no time to analyze the situation further as about thirty Jacks came rampaging toward us.  The cast landed the popper six feet in front of the lead fish.  The first

hard strip produced a loud pop and then the heavy head pulled the fly under.  On the second strip the big fish inhaled the fly and then tore off 200-yards of bright yellow backing.  After a very hard 20-minute fight the fish was weighed at 22-pounds and the released, thus ending the day with a very memorable experience.  In the end it won't be the six hours of boredom or the refusals, but the picture of a big strong fish gobbling a bright shiny popper that will be logged in my mind.  Maybe that is the best thing about a fisherman's memory; is that it is not always perfect.

Witch Craft Popper. 0Witch Craft Saltwater Popper,
#2/0 -Body 5/8"x 2" plus tail
Holographic scale pattern.  Very reflective.  Very lightweight and easy to cast.  (Limited supply in stock).
Item Description Size Price To Top
06334-2/0 Witch Craft Saltwater Popper, Holographic Scale 2/0 $3.75

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Black Marlin, Loreto, Mexico
Evidently several readers didn't realize there were links to a video in the last newsletter. 
It is offered again.

Patagonia Women's Stretch SST Wading Jacket   new 

Patagonia Women's Stretch SST Wading Jacket Ashley. Pockets inside and out.

Every female angler needs this coat.
The Patagonia venerable classic is revisited, improved in all ways. It is offered in a new stretch fabric that is lighter, more breathable and more durable. Patagonia also streamlined the pocketing to provide even more storage but cleaner access and less bulk to get in the way of oars, rods and lines. The left vertical front pocket has an inside pocket for tippets. The reversed StretchCoat® gussets seal out water at the wrists; a protective cuff prevents line snags. It has an adjustable hood that folds into the collar, fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, abundant D-rings and a hidden rod holder. All exterior zippers are waterproof. A Houdini® drawcord hem shortens the length when you need to wade deep, or lengthen the coat for casual wear.

Item Description Size Price To Top
81850-S Patagonia Womens Stretch SST Wading Jacket Small $315

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81850-M Patagonia Womens Stretch SST Wading Jacket Medium $315

-->SALE ENDED
81850-L Patagonia Womens Stretch SST Wading Jacket Large $315

-->SALE ENDED
81850-XL Patagonia Womens Stretch SST Wading Jacket X-Large $315

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Loreto, Mexico - The Third Time
The morning sun touches Baja.
Patty's sailfish.

You can gaze from a boat drifting in the Sea of Cortez.  Seeing the barren spine of the Baja Peninsula, you realize what the our Northern Oregon Cascade Mountains might look like with a hundred less inches of rain each year.  There is little vegetation; a few cacti and sparse, low shrubs and a whole lot of sharp rocks make up most of the landscape.  When it does rain here, there are no prolonged soakers.  Rain comes here on violent tropical storms and hurricanes that cause flash floods that inflict massive erosions, but leave little lasting moisture.  Most storms happen September through March.  

The rest of the time, the relentless sun parches the barren soil out of a cloudless sky.  During the early summer the weather becomes stable and the turbulent surface of the Sea smoothes and warms.  Now the water blooms with life.  It is a time of reproduction and a time of extreme growth in many sport fish species.  It is the perfect time for skimpy attired anglers to fly fish from open boats.  Our June 19-26, 2005 trip included ten anglers.  Seven were with us last year in mid-July.  It started with Alaska Airline not forwarding the Portland area passengers luggage on from the plane change in LAX. Our seven veteran anglers were without their own fishing gear, clothes and toiletries for the next two days. (And quite frankly the airline didn't seem to care very much).  Pam Boles our good friend at Baja Big Fish Company in Loreto saved our trip by providing  enough fly fishing gear to get us by.  To make things more

Eric Gunter with an 18-pound Jack Crevelle.

First cast of the morning - Rooster Fish.

challenging, the Dorado and Billfish (main attraction) were sparse during most of our stay.   Instead most of the crew concentrated on shallow water species such a Rooster Fish, Groupers, Snappers, Bonito, Ladyfish, etc.  The area around Loreto has a lots of shoreline, seamounts and reefs.  Under water there are sand flats, boulders and rubble piles and vast ancient lava flows. This divers assortment of habitats results in a cosmopolitan assemblage of fish species.  There are long slim ones and short fat ones and many in-between ones. There are

red, brown and yellow ones and lots of silver ones trimmed in olive, gray, black or blue.  And everywhere larger ones are feasting on smaller ones.  That doesn't mean that every fish is easy to catch.  Many of the species are very selective in what they like to eat.  They can be even more selective in how they like to eat, or on which tide.  Saltwater species can take every bit as much study as the wariest spring creek trout.  The most experienced guide/angler teams caught reasonable numbers of fish each day.  Less experienced teams often

Pargo P.B.
Tilda Runner with a nice Dorrado that came to a perfect cast.

struggled.  Each day was different from the rest.  Most days were hard work.  On this trip I personally landed fourteen different species of great game fish with fly fishing gear.  Patty might have landed more kinds than I did.  Her 100-pound sailfish was the largest fish landed by any anglers in our group.  My best fish was a forty-plus pound bull Dorado; the largest Dorado I have ever landed.  My second best fish was a Jack Crevelle nearly nearly twice as large as the one pictured in the in the first article in this

newsletter.  It finally chewed through the #20 tippet while lying on its side next to the boat.  The 10 kg record is 39-pounds.  Doubt if it was that big, but nearly so.  It took about an hour to subdue with my trusty Winston 12-weight, after it ate a size-2 olive & white Deep Eyed Minnow.  My dear wife became known for a day as Pargo P.B. after landing the largest Pargo Snapper that we have seen caught on fly gear.  A funny thing was that a huge school of very large Jack Crevelle came streaking in from the north on our next to the last day.

Jeff Runner with a foot ball Bonito.

Cabria bite good & pull hard. Captain Antonio Ramero & Dr. Bruce Saunders.

They were traveling so fast that we intercepted them three times in fifteen miles in less than four hours.  At times we were racing at 25-knots just to get ahead of them so that we could get in a position to cast to them.  The next two days this school of trophy fish set up camp in an area clearly visible from our hotel rooms and neither the other guides or other fishing teams recognized them.  Only Eric's captain Tonio found them briefly.  Patty, Eulogio and I had them pretty much to ourselves.  There were at least thirty boats that that left port each morning that didn't see this school of fish, even though they often ran

over the top of them.  Reason being that these fish were extremely active in the afternoon when the tide was high.  But they were dormant in the morning when the tide was extremely low.  They fed actively along the shore in front of the hotel while every one was eating dinner.  By evening the tide had slackened and they went back to sleep.  Their activity cycles coincided with the human cycles to camouflage them from most of the anglers.  We fished later and were slightly out of the human cycle and the fish became visible to us.  That proves how difficult the game can be.  Fishing is just fishing.  And you have to have your fly in the water to win.


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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes

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