Bait and Switch

by Mark August 08, 2012

A Roosterfish Closing in For the Kill


In mid-July, we headed to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a family reunion.  Upon hearing that, only one thing popped into the minds of my brother and I, and that one thing has a huge and unique dorsal fin and has been dubbed “the Elizabeth Hurley of game fish.”


If we didn’t want to be anti-social, we had maybe a single day to devote to catching a roosterfish on the fly.  After consulting with Grant Hartman at Baja Anglers, (who comes highly recommended by Jeff Currier), we decided to hire a charter to take us out.


Roosters from the beach would have to wait.  We didn’t want to waste a day in hopes of flailing 10wts at shadows.  We went with the surest thing due to our limited time.  It turned out to be an incredible day.


Every few years, we bite the bullet and spend some cash on something awesome.  Three years ago it was great seats to a UFC event in Philly.  This time, it was a guided trip in the Sea of Cortez, targeting anything and everything with the fly rod.  My brother, father and myself would have 8hrs to put our skills to use with the guides expertise.  It doubled as a Father’s Day gift for our old man.


Having absolutely zero experience with inshore fishing, we put all of our trust in the guides.  They used a technique called Bait and Switch to entice fish near enough for us to cast at with the fly rods.  If the guide and angler choreographed it just right, it was incredibly effective.


They tied mullet and small jacks up to 14″ in length to 60lb mono line and let them free swim behind the boat under a very slow forward tack.  The fish were kept near the surface, and keen eyes could detect predators that they raised.  When combs slashed the water, the guides began to reel the mullet in, teasing the roosters nearer the boat as the angler began to false cast.  The guide would yank the bait clear of the water immediately before your fly landed in its place.  If the switch was perfect, you’d get a hit almost every time.  If the fly appeared in the water aside the bait, it would confuse the roosters and put them down.


Throughout the 8hr day, we landed 4 roosters and 1 dorado on the fly using the bait and switch method.  Two roosters came on live bait sent behind the boat with a circle hook.  We missed a grande rooster because it took the teaser before the guide could reel it in, and snapped the 60lb mono.  That would have been an insane fight on a 10wt.


It was an unforgettable day.  We all caught roosters on the fly and laughed our assess off at a few things that happened along the way.  Our next few posts will show all in detail.

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