Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico



Dec. 4, 2005, Gary Graham, Baja On The Fly, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico Fly Fishing Tournament Report:

Cecila "Pudge" Kleinkauf of Anchorage was the first angler to strike pay dirt a scant 13 minutes into the game as Baja On The Fly’s 2005 Ixtapa Zihuatanejo catch-and-release Sails & Tales flyrod sailfish tournament got underway this morning.

Gordon P. Henriksen of Denmark followed behind Kleinkauf, hooking up only five minutes after the Alaskan had released her fish.

Picture perfect weather greeted the Sails & Tales contestants as they arrived at the Zihuatanejo Municipal pier before sun up for the first tournament day. Contestants and guides wasted little time boarding their respective pangas and speeding out for the hot spot outside the harbor entrance. It was teasers in the water at 7 a.m.

As tournament director and host, I was "teasing" for Kleinkauf. The brilliant neon blue sail came up behind the long teaser intent on inhaling it as I reeled frantically keeping the hookless lure just out of its reach until the fish was practically in the prop wash. Like a dance orchestrated perfectly, the teaser was snatched away, the boat came out of gear and Kleinkauf cast her Rainey fly where the teaser had been.

In an instant, the sailfish had the fly in its mouth was headed toward the harbor. Twenty-nine minutes later Kleinkauf had her second ever sailfish on the fly and the lead for the two-day event.

Henricksen managed to tag and release his Pacific sail in just less than 11 minutes.

Joe Dowdell, Marathon, Fla., yesterday’s highliner during the practice day, had his chance, when he hooked a fish later in the day only to have it come off a few minutes into the fight. The tournament concludes tomorrow.

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