Living Large In Loreto

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Loreto Report
Saltwater Reels
Vanquish V-12
Bunny Deceiver

Living Large in Loreto
On June 25, twelve Americanos from Oregon & California checked into La Pinta Hotel in Loreto, Mexico. Then we all fished in the Sea of Cortez for the next six days. Due to unstable weather conditions, fishing was much spottier than last year. Everyone caught dorado and some anglers loaded up on good days. For several anglers it was their first blue water trip. Beyond a doubt Patty and I agreed that this was the best group we had shared Loreto with. Thank you all very much!
Sunrise on the Sea of Cortez

Trip Log
06/26 windy, Patty & I each caught 2 dorado early in the morning, then the water got rough. We headed to protected areas inshore. Patty caught 20-pound roosterfish, I had a 40+ pounder follow the fly to the boat, but didn't take. Eric Gunter & Tim Kirby hit a big school of dorado on a weed patch close to shore, and caught 20 fish apiece. The rest of the crew a caught a few dorado, but fishing was generally regarded as tough.
06/27 calm morning, windy afternoon, Patty and I caught 4 dorado apiece in the morning, fished Coronado Island in afternoon, caught barracuda, pargo, cabrilla for the communal dinner. The rest of the crew caught a few dorado, but because of the rough water, fishing was still pretty tough.
06/28 very windy at daylight, Patty and I got tired of being bounced around, so we fished the protected shore line of Carmen Island. Even in the wind shadow it was breezy enough that it was hard to keep the boat in position for both anglers. Mark had the advantage and hammered the shorline with Clouser Minnows and a Big Boy 500-gran shooting head. We caught loads of small Roosterfish,  and fairly large Hawk Fish and Trigger Fish. The rest of the group regarded the fishing as poor.
06/29 rain & lighting in the morning, didnít get out until 12:30am, ocean was still rough until dark, Patty and I didn't find any fish. Others anglers in the group caught a few fish.
06/30 beautiful calm morning, Patty and I found a small school of dorado and caught a couple, then we found a school of skipjacks and caught a couple good size ones. Then we found Bruce & Laura Hampton at about 9:00am on a school of good dorado. Both boats landed several fish. Then our boat found another weed patch and a fresh school of big dorado. Bruce and Laura joined us and we all caught fish until we were exhausted. Several of the dorado were around 40-pounds. Most of of the other members of our group did well this day.
07/01 beautiful calm morning, We located a large school of dorado with about a dozen boats fishing on it about 10:00am. We saw Gene and Patty Gramzow catch a lot of dorado. Gene must have landed over two dozen big fish while we watched and was still catching fish when we left. Patty and I had caught all the dorado we wanted (about 20 apiece) by noon, then caught a few roosterfish & ladyfish on way home. Mark Whelan caught a sailfish by casting a Sardina Fly to it. His partner Lane Hoffman loaded up on dorado. Dick and Kathy Bushnell hammered the Dorado.
07/02 The group left for home, and we took day off.
07/03 beautiful calm morning, best day of the trip so far. We hit a school of dorado with a lot of boats fishing on it right in front of the hotel first thing in the morning. Patty and I caught about a half dozen apiece. Saw Al Lind and the Puget Sound Fly Fishers group getting their fair share of fish. Went further from shore and found another another weed patch with a lot of dorado about 9:00. Caught about another 20 apiece, including a couple of 40-pounders by quitting time.
07/04 weather calm, couldnít find dorado, caught skipjacks, roosters & trigger fish. Found several bill fish, couldnít get them to bite. It's amazing how fast things can change.
07/05 beautiful calm morning, went south, found weed patches, couldnít find dorado. Encountered a school of feeding 12" mackerel that must have covered a hundred acres. No larger fish were feeding on them. Found a few small roosters at Isla Monsurat. On the way around the front side of Isla Carmen we found a huge school of big jacks mixed with skipjacks, caught some very large skipjacks. Went to salt mine bay, encounters some large roosterfish, but only caught little ones.
07/06 storm in the morning with wind and lighting, took the day off
07/07 dead calm, ocean flat, Went out past Isla Coronado, no weeds, but spotted dorado cruising. Chummed some to the boat and caught one over thirty and two over forty, Patty landed one, probably a new women's world record, but released it
07/08 calm, went north, Encountered boat with dead motor and rendered assistance.  It took two hours towing the boat back to Isla Coronado. Encounter school of six sailfish basking on the surface. We chummed them in and Mark hooked two with Sardina flies. Both fish were lost when the small hook pulled loose. Both fish were over 100-pounds. Then we encountered school of skipjacks that covered many acres, caught fish until we were wore out.
07/09 came home and started thinking about returning to Loreto next year.

Patty Barnes with a 20-pound Roosterfish
Patty Barnes with a Roosterfish she caught the first day.
Bruce Hampton & Fidel
Bruce Hampton and guide Fidel.

Dick Bushnell and guide Gabrielle.

Eric Gunter with a dorado.

Kathy Bushnell and a dorado.

Lane Hoffman and a dorado.

Laura Hampton and a dorado.

Mark Whelen and guide Antonio with a sailfish.

Tim Kirby with a dorado.

Gene Gramzow hooked to a big bull dorado.

Reels In The Salt
Fly reels designed for use in blue-water applications have to be tough. The size and stamina of pelagic fish puts maximum strain on rods, reels and anglers alike. We didn't keep track of how many 12-weight rods this year's group broke, but know for sure that three were broken in the first couple of days. One reel froze solid. A couple of fly lines were damaged beyond repair.
Saltwater eats untreated metal. And if exposed long enough, even the best anti-saltwater finishes will eventually succumb to corrosion, if only in places where wear and abrasion has exposed the raw metal under the finish. To make matters worse, saltwater seems to penetrate into places you might never suspect, like between reel handles and the axels they turn on. Here the problem is not only possible corrosion, but the build-up of deposits of the dissolved salts themselves.

Pictured above are some of the best reels for saltwater application. Each went with us to Loreto. It was the second trip for the Nautilus and the sixth trip for the Abel and the other three Abels that also went with us. We suffered no reel malfunctions. When in transport, or in the boat each reel was in a protective cover unless actually in an anglers hand being fished with. We washed every outfit we used everyday with clean fresh water. Even with this extreme caution salt residue did built up in some handles and made them turn less smoothly. Protective reel covers can in themselves present a hazard. During the process of traveling from place to place or while landing fish, saltwater gets in a boat. Eventually it soaks into the fabric that reel covers are made from and continually bathes your reel in highly concentrated saltwater. At the end of each trip you will want to remove the cover from each reel and wash them in your clothes washer. Let them air dry

 completely before re-inserting the reel for storage. Another area where salt accumulates and concentrates is in the fly line backing. Potentially and area where corrosion can occur is in the reel spool where it touches this backing. For that reason the fly line and backing should be removed from each reel, every year. There are a number of ways to go about this, none of them totally easy when you are dealing with hundreds of yards of backing from each reel. Backing has the potential for extreme and sometimes unresolvable tangles. By far the easiest way to deal with the backing is strip it off, throw it away, thoroughly clean the reel and re-install new backing. However we realize that donating $50-$100 worth of backing to a land-fill isn't going to appeal to everyone. Here are a couple of alternatives. Wind the backing and fly line onto an old plastic fly line spool and store it separately from the reel. Then reinstall the line and backing just before your next saltwater trip. One of the problems with this approach is that fly line spools are made only to hold the volume and internal pressure created by a fly line. Winding hundreds of yards of backing on a fly line spool can make them burst open, and then the next step is the garbage can, because you will never be able to untangle hundreds of yards of backing. Also winding the line and backing onto the plastic spool can be laborious unless you connect the spool to a drill motor, etc. Winding backing with a drill presents its own hazards and challenges. There's also the handy little line winder offered by Anglers Image that works easier than the old plastic line spool. The potential for washing the salt from the backing is very good when in an openly exposed coil. Secure the  line/backing coil with zip-ties. After the backing is washed and dry, it can be reinstalled on your reel and be ready for your next trip. This approach is also not entirely trouble free and offer potentials for tangles. The easiest way to deal with your saltwater reel maintenance between trips, is to take (or send) your reel to your favorite shop (us), and let us deal with it.  There will be a fee of course, but in the end we can save you time (and money).

Salt accumulation under the backing.

Backing taken from the reel.

Backing & line secured with zip-tie.

Winder ready for storage. backing ready to wash.

Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Reels
Back in December, Garry Sandstrom, our Waterworks rep had mentioned that this innovative company was coming out with a new blue water reel. He said it would it would be built around a gargantuan conical braking system that would deliver consistent smooth drag pressure in excess of 15-pounds. That got my attention because the owner of Waterworks revolutionized braking systems for racing bikes. I mentioned to Garry that I would really like to take one of these reels to Loreto, Mexico in June. He said he would make it happen.
I received a new V12LT Production Test Reel on 06/18/09. It arrived in an exciting looking glossy silver box with a huge "V" on the lid. Inside the reel was enclosed in a typical, practical neoprene case. When I took the reel from the case, I just went, "Wow!
This is by far the most innovative, techy-looking reel I've seen. It has angles and recesses found on no other reels, and when you examine them, you will find that they were all engineered for extreme function. This reel is smooth with no projections to bark your knuckles and no recesses to stick a fly line. With this reel, form follows function with no sparing of expense or time in development. The finish is flawless, and parts fit together with the precision found in German race cars. Beyond that, the Vanquish is just plain sexy looking.
I loaded the test model with a WF12I Rio Outbound line and 250-yards of 50-pound Cortland Master Braid. There is a full 1/4" of clearance between the line and the polished stainless steel line guard, which is perfect.  This reel got a lot of boat-time in the last three weeks. It was paired up with a G. Loomis 9' #12 CrossCurrent rod. Both gave very good service.

Vanquish: the ultimate blue water weapon?
Waterworks says, "As the name implies, we created the Vanquish reel with just one thing in mind -- total victory."

Though not really a test of total victory over a giant blue water fish, this is about the 50th dorado the Vanquish reel helped land in a few days. It also landed at least that many other saltwater fish during this trip. This reel seems pretty tough.
Vanquish: the ultimate blue water weapon!
This is a big game reel...built to subdue fish that weigh over 200-pounds, yet weighs only 10-oz.
The extreme large arbor helps pick up a lot of line in a hurry, a real advantage when dealing with fish that can pull hundreds of yards of backing.
"V" is vor victory!
This reel is massive and super-strong, yet very lightweight. Vanquish is clean with no projections or sharp corners to get line wrapped around or irritate your skin.
Model Diameter Width Weight Line Weight Capacity
V8 LT 4.1" 1.5" 7.2 oz. WF8 220 yds #20
V10 LT 4.5" 1.5" 8.2 oz. WF10 220 yds #30
V10 4.5" 1.5" 8.7 oz. WF10 220 yds #30
V12 LT 4.7" 1.5" 10 oz. WF12 175 yds #30
V12 4.7" 1.5" 10.7 oz. WF12 325 yds #30

Choose winding hand.

Item Description Size Price To Top
VANQ-8LT-R Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Reel V8LT $799 SALE ENDED
VANQ-8LT-S Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Spool V8LT $359 SALE ENDED
VANQ-10L-R Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Reel V10LT $849 SALE ENDED
VANQ-10L-S Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Spool V10LT $379 SALE ENDED
VANQ-10-R Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Reel V10 $849 SALE ENDED
VANQ-10-S Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Spool V10 $379 SALE ENDED
VANQ-12L-R Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Reel V12LT $899 SALE ENDED
VANQ-12L-S Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Spool V12LT $399 SALE ENDED
VANQ-12-R Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Reel V12 $899 SALE ENDED
VANQ-12-S Waterworks Lamson Vanquish Spool V12 $399 SALE ENDED

Bunny Deceiver, Red/White
Roan Zumfeld guides flats fishing trips out of Naples, Florida and probably never considered that his Red & White Bunny Deceiver would become a hot item in the Sea of Cortez. Fly H2O sent us some samples and they were put in our saltwater boat pack. Patty tied one on during a Skipjack Tuna blitz. It was an instant success. I tied one on too, got a few bites, but many refusals until one inch of the rabbit strip was torn off. Then my fly caught more than hers. Little adjustments can make all the difference. Some schools of Skipjacks were mixed with Dorados and Green Jacks.


They all ate the Bunny Deceiver. We had many doubles. Skipjacks are very strong for their size.

Red and white is a primary saltwater fly theme.
Shown here, blood drips from hook wound of this Skipjack Tuna.

Wounded baitfish can become bloodshot too. This Green Jack couldn't resist this Bunny Deceiver that looks like a bleeding fish.

Even a giant, like this bull Dorado can't pass up an easy meal like a small wounded baitfish.
Red and white is a re-occurring theme in both saltwater flies and lures. Predatory fish will usually target prey that is easiest to catch, such as baitfish that have been injured and are bleeding. This fly is made from rabbit fur strips and hackle tips, which provide a lot of movement when wet. With the hemispherical eyes and epoxy head, this pattern proved to be very durable.

Bunny Deceiver, Red/White

Item Description Size Price To Top
07622-2/0 Bunny Deceiver, Red/White 2/0 3 for $14.50 SALE ENDED

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty