Gear/Pattern Suggestions At Bottom Of Page
“Making Bait” Guide catching the days supply of sardines at first light. Bait may also be purchased on the water. Chumming with live bait is incredibly effective. Cast to schools of frenzying fish and hang on !
“Matching the Hatch Baja-Style” Sardines and other live baits vary in size. Similarity in size is often more important than color. At times, however, an excessively large pattern that stands out from the crowd can be deadly.
El Toro ! Beautiful jacks like this appear during the winter months, these guys will test your gear to the limit.
Roosterfish. Tailor-made for the flyfisher. Exotic, aggressive, surface feeders, long surface runs with dorsal “comb” exposed, just rip line from your reel ! Awesome !
Rods and Reels:
We strongly recommend 10-12 weight rods and large arbor, durable, salt water reels with reliable drag systems and with enough capacity for 300 yards of backing or more.
Reels must have exposed rim for palming as the drag is usually not enough on its own.
Smaller 8-9 weight outfits can be used inshore or for schools of fish up to 8-10 lbs, but larger fish mixed in can surprise you and leave you holding a splintered mess.
All of the various fly lines are useful here, but to keep it simple, we recommend a full length floating, a full length heavy sink tip V or VI sink rate, 425 grain etc. and if you are planning to fish offshore, marlin, sailfish etc. a shooting head will give you more room on your reel for backing. 12-14 weight gear is best. Trolling flies can be extremely effective here! (I know what you purists are thinking…) but full length, full sink lines trolled over bottom structure in shallow water can really produce! This works very well when moving from place to place, and helps locate schools of fish..so leave your lines out, but not too fast! The slower the better, and be careful that they don`t spin too much or your shiny new fly line will look like a slinky!
I have found that leaders of extreme length and complexity are not necessary here. This is a subject of some debate, I like to keep it simple. Basic leader setup: 3 foot butt section of 30 lb. mono, the middle section (class tippet) 4 feet of 20 lb. mono. The tippet (shock tippet/leader) depends on fish species targeted. Some require the use of wire, others fluorocarbon and everything in between. Knots, loops and connections are also a personal preference loop knots at the fly do provide better action in most cases and work well with larger diameter tippets. For fish we intend to release, a strong tippet allows you to play the fish more quickly for a better survival rate. Please call for more details anytime.
Fly Patterns: Sardines change color!
Like most situations, imitating the natural food source gives the best results. Here that means sardines. (for the most part, anyway) of course other bait fish are always present, squid, ladyfish, mackerel, ballyhoo, even crabs, etc. are some of the other food sources, but sardines being most predominant. Something we have noticed is that live sardines will change color from bright blue backs in the morning to the more common mossy-olive throughout the day. Sardines range in size from 2-5 inches in length. Sea Habits, Clouser Minnows, Decievers, in sizes 1/0 to 3/0, white bellies in blue, olive, chartreuse, red or yellow are all effective. Alot of the smaller species seem to prefer silver/green, silver/blue with lots of flash. Sierra, bonita, green jacks, ladyfish like a fast retrieve with these. Poppers can also be useful during early mornings/low light conditions ripped fast to make a lot of “noise”
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