SALTWATER FLY FISHER TARGETS BILLFISH AT CABO SAN LUCAS
Sept. 18-Oct. 2, 2005, Boots Fawcett, Cabo San Lucas offshore fly fishing, Mexico:
As the moon began to wane, cool green water invaded our Cabo San Lucas fishing holes and we were forced to change tactics.
Our trolling patterns were now 15 to 25 miles offshore and still favored the Sea of Cortez over the Pacific Ocean. We would begin at the 95 Bank and end up taking dead aim at the Cabrillo Sea Mount.
Although we were fly fishing for billfish, occasionally we would end up in schools of small dorado or in schools of tuna in the 20 to 40 pound class.
The favored lure colors were now Mean Joe Green patterns and a Coggins Copa -- Invert with a violet and blue outer skirt and a white inner skirt. This plug had all the qualifications of becoming an important addition to my lure collection. The marlin loved it. Especially when I fished it on the second wave behind the daisy chain of 5 medium-size rubber squid. For me there are only a handful of lures which reach superior status and when you find such a lure, it will become an integral part of your being.
I kid you not. That week continued to fish well and I took two more Cabo San Lucas striped marlin and a Pacific sailfish on the fly.
The blue marlin were still avoiding us. The bird life this fall was abundant. There was the occasional red-billed tropic bird; the always present brown pelicans and magnificent frigate birds or " Man-O' Wars " and several species of shearwater and booby. I personally think the adult masked booby is a very handsome seabird. But the birds that dominated the offshore this fall were the storm petrels. These little birds subsist on crustaceans, plankton and small fish and we saw flocks numbering into the hundreds. They are identified by their erratic flight and I noted 4 different species, including Leach's storm petrel with its conspicuous white rump. The seabirds play an important role in the arsenal of the offshore angler.
On Sunday, September 25th we had the pleasure of saving a green turtle's life. It had become ensnared in some rope and plastic material and was so starved it tried to eat one of my lures on the deck. Importantly, this was the third green turtle we have rescued in Cabo San Lucas over the years. Trash in the ocean carries many negative implications for the denizens of the deep.
Two days before they closed the port of Cabo San Lucas for Hurricane Otis the striped marlin went on a feeding rampage. It was Wednesday, September 28th and I took two striped marlin and one Pacific sailfish on the fly. On that day the ocean was in repose and when I set the hook you could follow the luminescent forms of the fish on their initial runs.
Fly fishing offshore is the essence of purity. There is no harness. There is no rod belt. There is only you and the fly rod and the marlin. It is an incredibly magnificent sport and I would have it no other way.
I was only able to fish 19 of my scheduled 22 days; because of Hurricane Otis the port was closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is the downside to the month of September. The upside is the blue marlin and this season they beat me. And yet I would not have given up one of those 19 days offshore. I know that big son-of-a-bitch is waiting for me.
Since I have always brought my own tackle and equipment to Cabo San Lucas, I need to stay on the same boat everyday to avoid a logistical nightmare. I have fished with many different captains over the years. I used Octavio Castro exclusively at the Solmar until his departure. Octavio and I had some incredible times together, including releasing one 900 pound class blue marlin. Of course, I miss him.
Some years ago I settled on the Solmar III. The Captain was Jose " Pepe " Cesena who is very experienced. I have caught 32 striped marlin and six blue marlin on the fly rod with Pepe. My mate for most of these fish was Francisco Castillo, who has since moved to the Picante fleet.
I assure you that fishing for marlin with a fly rod is a team effort. And this is where the problem began. In the early days of this trip they were revolving two young mates -- Juan and Carlos -- onto the Solmar III, which made developing a team very difficult. I explained my problem to the Solmar and they gave me Oliver. I must say Oliver understood bait and switch tactics. Unfortunately his presence in the equation came too late as the hot bite on blue marlin had already tailed off. Personally, I believe we should have caught at least one or two blue marlin on the fly rod during those 19 days of fishing. I think Captain Pepe would agree with this assessment.