On my annual trip to Baja this year, we had a lot of wind due to a hurricane passing just to the west of Cabo San Lucas. The windy conditions made for some difficult fishing on the beach due to a decrease in water clarity and lack of bait close to shore.
The winds also caused the water to cool considerably, so the species that we were most interested in on the Pangas, the yellowfin tuna, had moved considerably farther offshore. As a result, it was not practical to fish for them this year.
We did have some really good inshore roosterfishing on one particular day. On that day, I learned a lot about my own flies that I had tied for the trip.
I was using some standard saltwater fly-tying hooks for the first time. In past years, I had been using live bait-style hooks. This almost proved to be my undoing during my first day fishing for the roosters.
Flies must keel properly to imitate a swimming baitfish when it is retrieved quickly. The new hooks I had used were much lighter than the live bait hooks that I had used in the past. As a result, the flies tended to swim a bit to one side or the other. The result was that the roosterfish would turn off when chasing the fly. I could instantly tell it was not right.
We had gotten into a nice school of roosters and were keeping them around the boat with the use of live bait. I made a good five fly changes before I finally got one that would keel properly. It was one of my old ties. It swam properly and I hooked and released several small to medium roosters before we ran out of bait to keep the fish around the boat.
I learned an extremely valuable lesson on this trip. We have been going on this trip for quite a number of years and this was the second time that some of my flies did not keel properly. Last year I had tied some flies and used a lot of Softex glue, to put on eyes. The combination of light hooks and the weight of the Softex on top were just enough to throw the balance off.
Great care must be taken when tying your own flies for saltwater in order to make them swim properly. You can be sure that I will be paying greater attention to this in the future.
As far as fly selection was concerned, my boat partner who was fly fishing for the first time landed two fish with a standard Olive Deceiver. It was a great experience for him, and for me seeing him have success.
The use of proper flies makes all the difference when it comes to success. When selecting a pattern, it must be the right size, shape and color of the natural. And of course, it must swim like the real thing!
and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and other area newspapers.