Sunday, March 14, 2010

February Frenzy

This rounded off A February frenzy in Baja that went unnoticed by many but was thoroughly enjoyed by some.

Wind, rain and cold are usually the common denominators in Baja fishing reports during the month of February. My emails plus Google search reflects an entirely different story this year. Like a seismograph reporting unfelt tremblers, there is a whole lot of fishing going on.

Last year in April's column ‘Snook Stirring’, I reported that the Santa Rosalia River, which runs through the middle of Mulegé, was producing some phenomenal snook catches after thirty years of MIA according to local resident Mike Reichner.

Eyebrows rose, “a fluke” some snorted, and others who were more mean spirited suggested that it was an outright lie. On February 8th this year Mike's email practically vibrated in my inbox: “They're back! Roz and I were fishing with jerk baits and catching pargo when we were busted off by a toad and lost another in the rocks. Then standing on a rock looking at my Rapala in the water, a huge snook appears and ALMOST engulfs my lure but he saw my high profile and spooked. I kept casting around me...a dozen or so more casts and I saw a huge wake coming toward my bait from about 50 feet away....a snook at least four feet long crashed into it and took off, rapidly emptying my reel, as luck would have it, he came unbuttoned after 50 yards or so.”

By the time you hear about snook they are usually is your chance. Since I couldn't get there myself I emailed this to a friend who was fishing at La Bocana.

He was there the following day trying to catch one on the fly.
His next email confirmed Mike's report. "In Mulege, no snook yet on fly, but Mike and Roz are doing well on spinning gear." For the rest of the month Mike’s emails kept coming. All had a similar theme, "catching the smaller variety”,” the big robalo have been thumping me daily, amigo. They're here!”....”hooked three monsters this morning and was busted off twice and came unbuttoned I EVER gonna land of these toads?”

Farther south, Lance Peterson, well known East Cape fly-fishing guide, emailed, “I need to know the IGFA record for roosterfish. I may have caught a new world record on four pound.” By the end of the month, he had one rooster and one broomtail grouper, both potential world records! The paperwork is on its way to headquarters for review.

Mid-month, Lance and Brad Ellis took a quickie fishing trip to Magdalena Bay. "Our Magdalena trip was great. We really killed it on both days. Numerous species plus we brought fourteen snook to hand in two days and was broke off by a really good one.

The fishing was pretty impressive. Most were smaller fish but still cool as hell, I had never caught a snook on fly so I was stoked."

February Frenzy continued: Stacy Corbin fishing the beach with Grant Hartman, Baja Anglers in Cabo San Lucas, reported the results of his beach trip on the Pacific side. "I went up north with Grant Hartman on a snook hunting adventure to one of his secret snook spots. The place holds snook and snapper that exceed 50 pounds. Grant is convinced that it holds a world record, which is probably why I was blindfolded on the way in (grin). We went down arroyos, through Cardón Cactus forests, and loose beach sand and I was sure we would get stuck several times. But Grant is a long time beach bum and knew what his rig would do in certain situations. It was sandblast-your-legs windy, and believe it or not, really cold in the morning with the north winds blowing, but I did get my elusive first snook on the fly. I can now check snook on the fly off the bucket list!"

Late in the month, Steve Cushing, along with a couple of buddies from the Northwest, also reported on the February Frenzy at East Cape.
"We caught small dorado, two five to six-pound roosters, bonito, skip jacks, and one nice sierra. We also found a mako slowly swimming on the surface. We couldn't get him to take a fly.... but a dead mackerel worked. We also caught a few ladyfish from the beach, saw tons of whales breaching everywhere, along with huge schools of dolphin. We had calm seas and great weather. Fun trip and we'll be back in late June.”

Finally up north off of Colonet there was a serious whack on some quality yellows.
This rounded off the February frenzy in Baja that went unnoticed by many but was thoroughly enjoyed by some.