Flyfishing for Roosters is all about getting to within a cast-length's distance of them as they cruise the beaches hammering bait at break neck speed. And while this happens every single day right outside the doors of the lodge, our team of guides there have been chasing these fish with fly rods for over thirty years, and they've also got a few other tricks up their sleeves that are known to work quite well. The East Cape is truly the best beach in Baja for these fish. An extremely steep drop off allows easy in and out access for Roosters and all kinds of other pelagic species, including Dorado, Billfish, and even Tuna to take advantage of the beach while still staying close to the deep. This gives our anglers two options every day for how to approach the fish: the old classic beach run, or the heightened mobility and sardine-teaser advantage of a boat.
Seasons and Species
Fishing is excellent year round, but the best action and conditions in which to practice fly fishing for Roosters comes throughout the spring in May, June and July, then again in the fall from September through October. During May and the beginning of June, large Roosterfish migrate into the area and will aggressively take a well placed fly. As the summer progresses and hot weather sets in, Dorado (mahi-mahi) appear in greater numbers as well. Though Dorado and Roosterfish get a lot of press, there are numerous other exciting species to target. Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Skipjack, Bonito, Jack Crevalle and Pargo are a few that should be anticipated, and approached with appropriate gear. September and October provide the greatest mix of all species in the larger sizes, and often provides the year's best inshore fishing for large Roosters as well.
Fishing from the Beach
Most of our anglers want to spend at least part of their trip fishing from shore, and the fact that there are more IGFA records recorded from our stretch of beach than anywhere else on the peninsula makes a good case for the efficacy of this tactic here. While there is pretty much always a good supply of ten to fifteen pound Roosters cruising our shoreline, the bigger Migratory Roosterfish are here in droves throughout the spring and early summer, then again every year in the fall; corralling baitfish in the shallows, and sometimes driving them straight up onto the sand! Nothing is more exciting than watching the dorsal combs of these fish slash through the surf amidst the chaos of escaping prey. Truly a blitz to behold, and one that eagerly awaits the presentation of your fly!
Fishing from the Pangas
The boats we use on the Rooster Bum program are called "Pangas", 20 to 26 foot open skiffs with deep enough keels to make for a stable ride even offshore, but with shallow enough overall drafts to get anglers in close to the beaches and rocks where fish are often cruising. These boats have totally open deck designs that allow enough space for two to three casters plus their gear, and each one also comes with its own live well full of teaser bait. Fishing from the boats allows anglers to take advantage of both the increased ease of mobility in finding and chasing the shore cruisers, plus the opportunity to attract feeding fish to a stationary location.
Rods - For the Roosters and other inshore targets fast action 8 to 11 weight rods are the norm, generally in nine to nine and a half foot lengths. For offshore pelagics like Billfish, Dorado, Tuna, and Skipjack, fast action rods between 10 and 14 weight are appropriate. A full selection of top quality Buelah Fly Rods is also available for rental at the lodge, rigged with reels and lines, for $30 per day.
Reels - As with all fishing for big strong creatures of the salt, reels with substantial backing capacities (minimum 150 yards for inshore and 300 yards for offshore) and stout drag systems are a must. Backing should be between 30 and 50 pound test.
Lines - A variety of lines are effective in different situations, with the primary necessity being for weight forward floating, but often enough secondary needs arise for floating lines with clear sink tips, full sink clear intermediate lines, and (for offshore species) fast-sink tip shooting heads and fast full sink lines. Specifically recommended are the Scientific Anglers Tarpon Clear Intermediate, and the Scientific Anglers Tropic Express.
Leaders - Inshore Rooster leaders should be 8 to 20 pound fluorocarbon, with an optional 40 pound fluorocarbon bite tippet. Offshore leaders should be 12 to 20 pound fluorocarbon with 80 pound fluorocarbon shock tippets for Billfish, or 40 pound fluorocarbon shock tippets for Dorado.
Flies - A flybox stocked for both Roosterfish inshore and Pelagic species offshore should include a selection of sizes essentially the same patterns for both environments: Sardine Imitations (in blue, olive, or gray over white), Lefty's Deceivers and Clousers (in chartreuse), EP flies (in blue, olive or grey over white), Gummy Minnows, Shrimp & Krill Patterns, and Billfish Poppers (in pink and white).
Other Sundries - Any angler's kit for Baja should include sun block, a long billed glare blocking hat, light long sleeve shirts, light long pants, lightweight protective gloves and both boat and beach shoes. Other than these items your guide will have you covered!