2011 Loreto Trip

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Posted by Carl Blackledge on 2011-08-02 21:14:48

Hey Gang,
I just returned from my annual 3-½ week fishing trip to Loreto, Mexico. Every year seems a lot different than the year before, and this year was no exception. This was a great year for Dorado, and we had tons of them - mostly on the smaller side. We did nail some big ones, though, right at the start of the trip. My largest Dorado was a hair over 40 pounds, and I also caught another dozen or so in the high 30-pound bracket, verified on my Boga Grip. My fishing partners and I landed Dorado, Roosters, Jack Crevalle, Sailfish, Skipjacks and Ladyfish on cast Crease flies. I also caught a few Sailfish while trolling around searching for Dorado.
The first few days we wanted to go out and just look around, since my guide hadn't been out Dorado fishing at all that year (because he was so busy Yellowtail fishing), so we started off trolling the big pink Chicken fly. That didn't last but a few hundred yards until we had fish on. We would bring that trolled up fish next to the boat, and throw live sardines to the other Dorado following the hooked fish. It was on! I would cast out and hook a large Dorado, and my buddy would land the other hooked fish, and he would cast out and hook another big boy, etc. On one of these special double hook-ups, my fishing partner and I both were hooked to large Dorado next to a Sargasso patch. These particular fish we had hooked on cast Crease flies, when all of a sudden an even bigger Dorado came up to play, so I handed my rod to the captain and immediately cast to the new guy and hooked him, too. At about that time my buddy lost his fish (the smaller one), so the captain handed him my other rod with the hooked fish. After we landed both of these fish they weighed in at 37 and 39 pounds respectively,
During these first few days, if there wasn't any Sargasso we trolled, and if there were lots of Sargasso paddies, we just went from paddy to paddy throwing sardines. On one of those early mornings we were trolling a fly searching for Dorado when a smaller Sailfish (around 50-60 pounds) nailed my pink Chicken trolling fly, so I proceeded to land that fish. As soon as I landed that Sailfish, within the next 30 minutes I hooked two more, but didn't land either one. By the end of that day I must have spotted at least 20 more Sailfish with no more takers. Those were the last Sailfish we were to see for at least a week. As time went on, we trolled less and less due to the fact that more and more Sargasso floated in. Now we just went cruising around looking under the grass paddies to find Dorado hanging out. The water temperature was rising very rapidly every day, which is probably why most of the Sailfish left. It also seemed like the Dorado and the Sargasso were getting more plentiful each day, but the Dorado also seemed to be getting a lot smaller on average. Don't misunderstand me - Dorado are Dorado, however I'm one of those guys that loves to catch the bigger bulls. So the rest of our trip was mostly looking around and searching the numerous Sargasso paddies for Dorado. When we found them, we would catch every one that would bite. We also had doubles on constantly and when that happened, we would go look for another patch, while keeping an eye out for Sailfish.
On a couple of our days heading in we spotted a large group of feeding Jack Crevalle busting water, maybe 5 miles from shore in front of the Oasis Hotel. We threw a few sardines at them and they went crazy. We cast the silver DIY Crease flies at them, and they ate them with reckless abandon as Jacks usually do, and the rest was easy. By the time we landed our first two fish the rest of the pack had vanished, and a few days later the same scenario repeated itself with the same results.
On another occasion I was hooked up to a rather large Dorado right next to a patch of Sargasso, when all of a sudden my guide started shouting, “Sailfish, Sailfish!“ I looked over my shoulder and maybe 75 feet away, a good sized Sailfish was swimming around a Sargasso patch with his sail up. I screamed at my boat partner that if he wanted to cast at that fish, I would back off the drag and the guide could get the boat closer for a shot at him. There was lots of confusion in the heat of that moment, and, long story short, the sailfish remained unscathed, and swam off happy. It was a great sight, and very exciting. It’s hard to believe that almost the exact same thing happened again a few days later, with the same results. I have never seen the Sailfish herding bait around a Sargasso patch like that before.
One day when my fishing partner decided to take a rest, my guide and I went out and were just about at the fishing grounds we had planned on fishing when he spotted some activity in the water. On further investigation we saw Dorado, and lots of Dorado, with some big boys in the mix. I cast out and hooked up almost immediately with a Crease fly. After I landed that beauty and then another 5-6-7 nice sized fish, I looked around and about 10 other boats had shown up and were crowding in on us, with lots more on the way. I told my guide, “Let’s go and find a new spot.” He agreed. I sat down and we left, and within a minute or two he stopped the boat real fast, and loudly announced he found Sailfish. I grabbed my other12-wt. Sage rod with a fresh leader and Crease fly already attached. The Sailfish was maybe 30 feet from me, and the guide threw a sardine to the Sailfish, and the Sailfish ate it immediately. So I cast my fly and he ate it, too, and before I set the hook, the fly just fell out of his mouth. My guide threw another sardine, and the Sailfish ate it, too, so I cast again. This time the fish was swimming away from me slowly, and my fly landed right in front of him; he ate my fly again and continued to swim away slowly. I just leaned back and broke his neck, with a very hard hook set, and I had a great angle this time to bury the hook. Well, needless to say that really made him mad and he kicked in the afterburner and left Dodge in a hurry! What a sight to have a Sailfish so close to you, then watch the fastest fish in the ocean scream away. I have landed quite a few hot Sailfish, but this one takes the prize for stripping my backing off, and this same fish must have jumped at least 20 times, and after landing him, and looking him over, he was released unharmed. What a beauty!
My guide was slapping me on the back, and I was trying to drink some water when he turned and yelled, “SAILFISH” and started pointing again at another spot maybe 30 feet away. I cast the same fly, with the same beat up leader that I just landed the last Sailfish with, when I realized with frustration that I was standing on the line. As I was looking down and removing my feet from the line, I felt a tug on it. This new fish had already eaten my fly and was starting to swim away, and about the time I realized it, I struck hard, I mean real hard, and that pathetic, beat-up leader wasn't up to the task, and failed. All I got out of the second Sailfish was a big splash and one jump. But I didn't care because I still got the best of both those fish. I sat down and finished my water with a big smile and a great tale to remember. That night I took my guide to La Mission for pizza and beer.
During my trip, I had lots of opportunities to go fish for Roosters. First off I will report that my partner and I, plus a few other boats that I know of, went to the same haunts that produced big Roosters last year, but this time with zero results. We couldn't find any big boys at all, and I didn't hear of anybody catching anything over about 12-15 pounds. I found numerous places that held the smaller Roosters. We also went to the regular hangouts - places like San Bruno beach, and Escondido Harbor entrance. Our friend who was staying next door to us told me when they were finished for the day, they dumped all their sardines overboard, and all of a sudden the Roosters were everywhere, streaking through the water eating the discarded sardines. This happened right at the entrance to Loreto Bay harbor, under that giant half-mooned rock, so we went by there the next day on our way home and looked around. We found plenty of little Roosters to catch, and to our surprise we also found a few dozen Dorado hanging out, and the Dorado were good-sized ones. I don't know how many Roosters I cast to and landed on my trip, but I found they liked that silver DIY Crease fly with a 20-pound leader. Those little guys really tug hard. I also caught Ladyfish while casting for the little Roosters, and also Dorado in that same area.
We stopped many times and beat up the Skipjacks, just for a change of pace, and we decided we would use Crease flies only. We would throw in large handfuls of sardines and bring the skippies to the surface; they are a blast with surface flies. They sure are tough little critters, because they fight you straight up and down (very good way to break a rod if you’re not careful).
I got to test lots of flies, and the results were just about what I figured they would be. The brown Tube Crease fly just might be the best and most durable Dorado fly I ever tied. The Roosters just loved that silver DIY Crease fly. I also took the silver Crease fly and painted the back a metallic blue and a few others a metallic green with little stripes running down the sides. I called them my Chicken Taco flies. I only had a few, but they all got eaten. I also got to test my hybrid fly lines. When Dorado fishing as most of you know, it’s not like Tarpon fishing where you need pinpoint accuracy, where you need to drop the fly in the imaginary hula hoop 80 feet away. For Dorado just a 40-foot cast is all you need, but you need a line that will deliver that big Crease Fly-Popper out there with ease. No false casting through the boat, no water hauling; just a nice, easy cast with a large fly. I took a Wulff Ambush line, which has a real short and thick 26-foot floating head, and cut the first six feet off the tip, then added 10 feet of a Cortland clear line to the remainder of the line. At the back of the head on the Wulff Ambush line it had a very skinny little running line that will hang up on anything near you. It probably worked well at the casting pond, but in the real world it was pretty worthless. I cut that skinny line off close to the back of the head and replaced it with a lot thicker and stiffer running line. Now I could get a hold of the line, and it was tangle free. The result is a full floating line that casts those big Tube Crease flies with ease. It also has the 10-foot clear floating tip, which lets me get away with a short 6-foot one piece leader that really turns a fly over easy. I just love the line, and used it every day. My roommate bought my spare, and as soon as I got home I made another. This line worked better then any line I ever took to Loreto in the past. For my other rod set up, I just used a Cortland crystal-clear floating line, with maybe a 6-foot leader, and the fixed hook Crease fly. This line also has a very short, fat head, which is perfect for those big Crease flies.
I took 6 Sage XI3 fly rods on my trip from 12 wt.-16wt. The 12-wt. rods were the cream of the crop with the new Ambush hybrid fly lines. I took 4 Abel Super 12’s with 500 yards of 50-pound Power Pro backing. All my leaders were Seaguar material. This gear has given me great success over the last 12 years.
My trip was orchestrated by Fishing International. They did a superb job of handling everything and it was smooth sailing all the way. We stayed at the Oasis Hotel again for because the food is great, the rooms are great, and the staff and management are first class. We get to use the computer, shoot pool, and play darts in the air-conditioned bar free, while watching Nascar on the big screen TV.
As usual I had a ball on this trip, and my Captain is the best in Loreto. My only regrets are I really wish the big Dorado would have hung around longer, and I also wish the majority of the Sailfish wouldn't have left so early. It was really neat to see so much Sargasso. We didn't have to troll hardly at all, because there was so much Sargasso with Dorado under most all of it. All my roommates have already signed up for next year, and we are counting the days until we return again to Loreto.
If anybody that reads this report has any questions about the fishing, the flies, fly lines, leader setups, or any other part of this trip to Loreto, please just send me an email. carlblackiedge@aol.com
Carl Blackledge

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