Loreto, BCS, MX Trip Report 2015, A Tribute To British Fortitude, Long Handle Fly Rods For Leverage, Oregon Girl: Entry #12

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Loreto, BCS, MX Trip Report 2015
Ten of us spent from June 25 through July 2 in Loreto, Mexico, during the annual saltwater fly fishing trip hosted by Mark Bachmann and Patty Barnes. The weather was perfect, very little wind, clear skies, and temperatures into the low nineties every day. Bait for chum was available every day at the marina. The fishing for Dorado at Loreto has always been best with water temperatures between 74 and 78 degrees. This year the water temperature averaged 82-84 degrees.
Our base camp was the beautiful Hotel La Mision on the malecon on the Loreto waterfront, a couple of hundred meters from the marina. The smooth side walks and handicap friendly ramps right to the marina became a valuable asset to two of our newest guests. Being equipped with modern elevators & wide walk ways, every one of our guests had easy access to the beautiful pool, bar, and dining facilities as well. Living is easy & comfortable at La Mision.
This year we ate most of our meals at the hotel, rather than dining out. The chef did an excellent job, when our guests elected to catch and keep a few fish on certain days and contributed them for a family style dinner. This fresh sea food was prepared to perfection, and at a very reasonable price. These meals became one of our most popular social events, thanks to one of our longest term guests, Bruce Hampton. This is the tenth consecutive June Loreto trip that Bruce and his wife Laura have attended with us.
Bruce's big brother, Greg retired from the beer business. Ron Oldroyd retired as a very successful pub owner. Danny Peet retired from the meat business, as did Peter Taylor. My favorite meal during this trip was a bacon wrapped filet mignon, which was easily the most tender and flavorful beef I've ever eaten (and I grew up on a cattle ranch where we raised our own milk fed veal).
Peter Taylor is pictured here with a typical 2015 Dorado. Although Loreto has long been known as the Dorado capitol of the Western Hemisphere, Dorado populations have been scant the previous three years. This year was no exception. There were Dorado in fair numbers, but most were small and populations were scattered, because there were no floating Sargasso weed-mats to attract them. Dorado averaged four to ten pounds. Patty caught the largest one, estimated at twenty five pounds. My best fish was an eighteen pound Dorado, but one afternoon, I looked straight off the bow at a six footer (easily the largest Dorado I've ever seen). That same afternoon I got shots at seven different sailfish from a stationary boat; which is a very difficult game, but one I will never get tired of.
Rick Varley from the UK displays an average Trigger Fish. This year there were massive schools of Trigger Fish, and many were very close to the hotel. They came in all sizes and a several different kinds. Triggers are excellent eating and pull hard for their size. Most would have been more fun if fished with eight weight gear, but Patty and I encountered small pods of triggers that were over five pounds, and some even larger ones broke our twenty pound class tippet. These larger triggers were encountered in rough terrain where they had to be stopped in a short distance, and even our heavy tippets weren't up to the task.
There were several large schools of hard fighting Skipjack Tuna available. Ron Oldroyd displays this one for the camera. There are usually more Skipjacks around when the water is 72-78 degrees.
Some of the Needle Fish we encounter were larger than average. Danny Peet caught this one while casting along the shore. Big Needle Fish are hard to hook, but put up a active fight, often jumping multiple times. They have vicious teeth and will bite you if you are not careful with them.
The main target this year were the many varieties of shoreline fish, such as Pargo and Cabrilla. This year they averaged larger than ever, with many break-offs. These fish live around big underwater structures, and they know where all of the tunnels and caves are. There are many different kinds of these beautiful fish, and some get too big for fly rods.
 
A Tribute To British Fortitude
By: Mark Bachmann
Winston Churchill already knew, what Adolph Hitler came to find out, that the British people have a lot of resolve, and many of them are very tough. I just spent seven days with two of the most resilient men, that I have ever met: Rick Varley and Danny Peet, both from the UK. Due to spinal injuries both men have spent much of their lives in wheel chairs, which has to be damn inconvenient, but it doesn't keep them from fly fishing for large fish in exotic places, such as Africa, South America, and Mexico.
Here are Rick and Danny heading out in the morning with Captain Fidel & Pam Boles. These two guys caught as many fish as anyone else and became an inspiration to us all. On top of that, these guys tie some of the nicest bait-fish flies I've ever seen, in fact I'm going to copy a couple of them for my next saltwater trip.
Danny Peet braces this chair against the side of the boat and pulls back against a hard fighting fish. Much of Loreto has very good handicap access.
Rick Varley displays a twenty pound Roosterfish, which may be the best trophy caught by any of our crew this year. Way to go Rick! We hope to see all you folks again in the years to come.
 
Long Handle Fly Rods For Leverage

Leverage matters when you are playing hard fighting saltwater fish, and even sometimes with larger fresh water fish, such as muskies. Long handle rods are really an advantage for fighting fish like large Dorado, Billfish, Tuna or Tarpon. Patty and I took five longer handle rods with us to Loreto. Even though the fishing was sub-par this year we still enjoyed the extra leverage.

My trusty old G. Loomis CrossCurent is displayed for comparison against: Sage 1291-4 SALT, Sage 1191-4 SALT, G.Loomis PRO 4X 10810/11-4 LHP FR & (2) Beulah OPAL1190-4 On the average, rods with extended handles only weigh 1/8 of an ounce heavier than rods with conventional weight handles. There seem to be no disadvantages to longer handles. There are even advantages when playing smaller fish.
This Barred Pargo pictured here may only weigh about six pounds, but they have a nasty habit of hiding in caves under the rocks unless you put the brakes on them in a hurry, which requires leverage. An angler can always "crawl" up the rod and grip the blank above the handle, but sweaty hands can make this slippery business. Cork is much more comfortable for an extended battle, which always occurs with any fish over twenty pounds.
Long handles and large diameter extension butts are advantages when fishing for heavy, athletic fish that may run hundreds of yards (or miles) and take over an hour to land, but these same leverage advantages apply when you are fishing sinking shooting heads for fish that have to be stopped in the first four to six feet. If you have ever caught a large Bluegill that weighed over a pound and had to keep it from burying itself in the weeds, then imagine what they would be like if they weighed five to ten pounds. A ten pound Pargo is nearly impossible to land within their preferred terrain with regulation fly gear, even heavy 10kg fly gear. Leverage Matters!
 
Oregon Girl: Entry #12
By: Paul Willerton

    Another drift boat passed in silence. It’s guide and sports gawking at the vision of her full bikini clad derrier facing river center. She waded along a narrow bar of fist and head sized boulders, her flies dancing through the gut of a deeper, dark slot between her and the shore. Any woman holding a fly rod is usually enough to pique the attention of a boatload of fishermen, beer addled or not. The site of one wading thigh deep through a swift run well offshore in a bikini nearly had them falling out the boat at. Their mouths formed small, dark ‘O’ shapes visible under the shade of their brimmed hats. The girl from Oregon knew the power of swift, cold current against her skin. She would make a pass through the run, climb out into the campground below, lay in the sun for a while, then grab the rod and go to the top, again. There was no science to it. Just a love of being outside by water through the afternoon heat of an Oregon Summer.

    He could not have put her in a better spot for fish. The run was just downriver from the sleepy, high desert town of Maupin. Over the years, in the myriad of campgrounds here, he and the girl had spent more sun soaked days and passion fueled nights than his recollection could count. Always content to watch, she had never wet a line. “Come on, you should try this. You’d enjoy it.”, he said to her on so many occasions. “Seriously? Those trout are small. I’m just not interested in catching small ones.”, she would reply.

    She had grown up on the Oregon Coast in the town of Reedsport. Standing in a makeshift shelter on Highway 101, she and her brother, two years her senior, would wait for the school bus to arrive. For much of the year, torrential rains beat down on the shelter. On it’s route, the bus rolled to a stop on an overlook high above the ocean to pick up the “coasties”, children of Coast Guard workers. Each morning, the girl would look West toward the jetty in Winchester Bay where the Umpqua meets the mighty Pacific. The ocean rolled heavy against the Reedsport coastline. She heard there were sharks, there. Not just any sharks. Fishermen who made their living off of Reedsport spoke often of occasions when the Great White shark had shown itself. The girl in the bus squinted at shapes and swirls between crashing waves.

    As she came of age, she gazed at the horizons. Reedsport was small, but what lay to the East and West were huge, unknown, and entirely different. She chose to go West, into the Pacific. In the Reedsport harbor, she approached a commercial fisherman in his mid 30’s. “Do you need a deckhand, sir? I’d like to help you fish.” He didn’t respond like a salty old coastal fisherman. He was of a newer generation. “You’re pretty young, girl. Think you can handle it out there?”, he said. The girl knew she could. “I can.” She quickly learned the thrill, terror and timing of getting over the treacherous bar of Winchester Bay. Timing waves wrong there drew an immediate and heavy toll on a boat and it’s crew. Three trips a day, all Summer, she rigged live bait and bonked limits of salmon for customers. She could tell within seconds whether a quivering rod held a silver or a king on the other end. Besides payment in cash, her daily reward included two salmon to bring home to her family. They didn’t have much money, but they were never want for good food.

    The fishing lifestyle, along with love and respect for the ocean, had buried their barbs deep within her. Nearly 19 years old, she had saved the money and banked the confidence to look toward the East. There had been a softball scholarship to see her through colleges in Arizona and Florida. When that was behind her, she went further, to Washington DC. She confidently found her way into journalism and television. The desire to achieve and succeed fueled a pace that ripped and tore at her life until it churned into a howling tornado. It was then that she suddenly realized she was about to step across the point of no return. Either get blown out of the tornado or maybe never build a life in Oregon, again.

    “Well, I’m all warmed up” she said, sitting up, dirt falling away from her already dry skin. “I’m going back out.” She grabbed the rod and headed upstream to the shallower slot he had shown her, earlier. It was the only way to make it across to the bar further out without getting swept downstream. “Fish both sides, this time.” he called after her. “There are fish in the riffly water between you and the middle of the river, too.” He laid back and pulled the hat over his eyes. Somehow, his path had crossed hers a handful of years after she had made it back to Oregon. She had returned, wanting to regain a life in the State she loved. To share it again with her family; with her brother. It hadn’t turned out the way she dreamed it would. They had all chosen new trajectories. Her brother, married with kids and a growing business, had no time for the way things used to be. One morning, in a conference room at a TV station in Eugene, there she was. Sitting across from him at a table with five men. There was no way of knowing how much Oregon was in the girl, but it was evident within seconds that some other force, heavier than life itself, was pulling them together.

    Sometimes he enjoyed watching others fish almost as much as fishing himself. Even from his position on the East bank of the river, he couldn’t see very well into the water. The hot, descending Sun reflecting off the surface. He watched her line, instead. He had tied on an elk hair caddis this time, mostly for buoyancy, a couple of feet above a caddis pupa. She turned toward the bank to fish the riffle as it fed into a narrow, dark vein. He had never grown tired of looking at the shape of her figure, now backlit against the Sun. As he watched, he noticed a slight belly form in her line. Instinctively, she lifted the rod. She giggled as the line went taught. He saw roost spray from behind the line as the fish bolted downstream and out toward the main current. His old Hardy reel screamed and he then heard her yell at similar decibel level. She had found a thick, Deschutes “hotty”. With the line backing just out of the tip of the rod, the old English reel finally hushed. She held tight to the fish for a few more seconds, then the line went limp. “Ahhh! It’s gone!” She laughed and threw her arms up. He sat, smiling. Months earlier, he had proposed to her above the Blue Pool on the McKenzie River. Rivers in Oregon had been their sanctuaries, points of rendezvous, from the beginning. The girl from Oregon was going to be his wife. It had never mattered to him that she didn’t fish like he did. This time, he let himself wonder for a moment if that’s how it would always be.

 

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