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Baja

It is 6:30 pm and 88 degrees outside, a cool breeze is blowing across the tops of the palm trees as I sit here overlooking Land's End on the Baja peninsula. Sorry Dave, I might not be coming back!!! Puget Sound's beaches are beautiful and unique, and the cutthroat that chase and slash at balls of sand lance, herring and salmon fry are a blast on a fly rod. I have had many an exciting morning watching cutties blow up on schools of bait and casting to them with a fly, and this fishery will always be a favorite. Down here those 10 to 12" fish you see jumping are mullet, and they aren't eating anything they are trying to escape being eaten!!! Nothing gets my heart pounding or excites my imagination more that watching a school of mullet loafing around on the surface only to be completely annihilated by a big Rooster or Jack charging at mach speed! There is so much life down here! I spent all day today at a beach called Cerritos on the Pacific side. It is a surfing beach, not a fishing beach, but I brought a rod anyways. Upon arrival I scoped out a nice little rock outcropping with a deep slot next to it on the north side of the beach away from all the people playing in the water. Within five minutes I was playing tug of war with a nice Jack! As the day progressed it became very rough and impossible to fish so I played in the surf and hung out on the beach. As I lay on a lawn chair watching all the people play in the waves something caught my eye. Mullet began jumping out of the water right in the middle of everyone! I watched longer and caught a few glimpses of the telltale comb of a rooster working just below the surface. Within minutes it was an all out feeding frenzy, with BIG Jacks joining in the fray RIGHT in the middle of all the people! With so many people on the beach it took every ounce of self control not to go get my rod and throw a big popper into the froth. Either way it was very exciting! I fished on a Panga yesterday with Victor Saizar, captain of "Santi 1". Victor was great and very savvy. With less than stellar conditions (heavy wind and chop) we still managed to tease up some nice Jacks and Roosters. Unfortunately I was humbled by my inability to adapt to casting from a tiny rocking boat in heavy wind. It took a while to cast accurately enough to get a good presentation, but by the end of the day we were working in concert, Victor teasing fish in with a big topwater plug and me casting and hooking small Jacks. We targeted Roosters all day and with the conditions the way they were didn't have a ton of shots, but the ones we did have were quite memorable. Victor worked hard to find the fish and we saw some HUGE ones. At about 10:30am we made a long run to a new beach and immediately pulled up on massive schools of mullet. Victor tossed out a live mullet as a teaser and we pulled it behind the boat, working so close to the beach that ten foot waves were cresting just off the port side before pounding into the beach. Victor expertly controlled the boat while casting and retrieving his plug through the surf. The tip of his mullet rod began to dance as a frightened mullet tried to save itself from an acid bath and before I could say "Roo," the surface exploded and the rod doubled. Victor ran to pull the teaser but it was too late, the fish had hooked itself and was headed for Alaska. A little disappointed at the missed opportunity and being a fly fishing freak I offered the fish to my brother Leo, who made a valiant attempt to muscle the fish in. All the hard work he does in the gym nearly payed off, but we had just gotten a glimpse of the leader when the fish bolted again. Leo threw in the towel and I reluctantly stepped up to the plate. I'm glad I did because landing a giant Rooster on any tackle is the shit! I would like to get one on a fly rod, and we will be continuing our hunt on Tuesday when the conditions are reported to be more favorable! A bittersweet victory, but a good time had by all. Until next time!
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