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Subscriber Bob Dahlberg says fishing was slow during his trip to Los Barriles in Baja California Sur this past May in search of roosterfish and dorado on the fly. His outfitter and guide was Mike Rieser of Baja Fly Fishing Company (www.bajaflyfish.com). Dahlberg has this to say about the overall experience.
“It was a slow week. We did manage to hook some roosterfish on the fly three days out of the four we fished by teasing them up with live bait and with a hookless white plug when we couldn’t get live bait. We also managed to find a few dorado, but they were not plentiful. To keep us from getting completely skunked several days Mike put us on some small jacks and ladyfish in the late afternoon.
“The basic program was to leave the dock at 6:45 a.m. and run and get bait. Then we would fish near the beach for small roosterfish using sardines as teasers. Around 11:00 we’d seek dorado around small buoys or troll the current line about three miles offshore. Around 1:30, we’d return to the beach waters to go after large roosterfish that would be feeding off of mullet.
“Before we came, Mike told us that that his favorite month to fish the North Cape is November. It’s after the rainy season then and the land is green. The fishing calendar on his Web site shows that May and June are good, too. We selected May thinking it would be cooler. Indeed, temperatures were in the high 70s all four days, with high clouds two of the four days. There was wind during the day that would come and go. The wind was not strong enough at any point to hinder our casting off the boat. We were told by locals that Los Barriles stays cooler than La Paz and Loreto to the north. This is due to the 6,000-foot mountains west of town that draw cool sea air inland on hot summer days. As a result, the town rarely sees temperatures rise above 100 degrees.
“One of the problems in the area is finding bait, which is essential for teasing roosterfish up to the surface to take the fly. The problem stems from the construction of a new marina south of Los Barriles. It’s called Cabo Riveria Marina. The bait in the area tends to concentrate around the marina, and the developers only allow Cabo Riveria property owners inside the marina. Marina patrol boats make sure non-property owners stay out. For two of the four days we fished, we ran north up the coast for about an hour to buy sardines that had been caught between Punta Arena and Isla Cerralvo. One day we were able to buy some small jacks that had been caught just outside the Cabo Riveria Marina. On our last day the bait catchers were completely sold out when we approached them.
“On the plus side, I should point out that we had a number of shots at decent sized roosterfish on three of the four days that we had bait. We hooked some large ones, too, that broke off. So, Mike has definitely broken the code on how to catch roosterfish on a fly. He is a very experienced fly fishing guide having guided in the eastern Sierras and Colorado for a while. He even guided for steelhead at one point. He’s now been in the East Cape area for more than ten years. He is author of Fly Fishing the Baja and Beyond available in paperback on Amazon.com. He is a FFF-certified fly-casting instructor, and he speaks fluent Spanish. We found him to be very patient and willing to share his knowledge.
“Mike used to be the house fly fishing guide for the Van Wormer Resorts (www.vanwormerresorts.com), and he still uses Van Wormer pangas and captains. He usually puts his clients into one of the two Van Wormer hotels (Playa del Sol or Palmas de Cortez), but he is working on getting house rental with cooks as an option. The only real negatives of the trip were the dinner meals at the Hotel Playa del Sol. They were not to our liking (bland, salty, and overcooked) so we sought dining elsewhere. Mike recommended two restaurants that we enjoyed, Otra Vez (Italian seafood) and La Terraza (Mexican seafood.) Both are easy walking distance from the hotel.”