Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Sierra and summer solstice!
|The Pacific sierra mackerel, notorious for their aggressive savage strikes and lightening fast runs, are often compared to the larger wahoo. It is a Baja fish that elicits more excitement for the locals than practically any of the other inshore fish and anglers flock to the beach for the fun of the catch. A huge plus that makes them a sought after commodity is their tender white flesh which is ideal for the table as well as a key ingredient for homemade cerviche.
Although they are usually found at the East Cape year round, they receive far more attention in the winter when there is not as much competition from the more exotic species.
Recently, several East Cape emails popped up in my inbox. The subject line on one from Mark Rayor caught my eye: "Sierra Slam!"
He had just returned the night before from a quick trip to the states for a family visit and shopping trip to pick up a few gifts. Early the next morning he heard people talking in low voices on the still dark, usually silent beach in front of his home.
When he went out on the balcony overlooking the now barely visible beach, he could make out fishermen lined up on the shore shoulder-to-shoulder line fishing for sierra…a late December present bestowed by the abundance of sardina that were still found along the beach in spite of the north winds and falling temperatures. The scene reminded him of the last time he was in Alaska fishing the rivers for salmon.
Tackle is optional for fishing the beach…everything from hand lines to fly rods, with spinning tackle and conventional gear in the middle.
The Mexicans favor a simple homemade lure, made from a 3" piece of chrome radio antenna filled with lead. Of course visiting anglers are certain that the latest swim baits, topwater and spoons will improve their chances.
For the fly rodder? An 8-weight rod purchased for a steelhead trip, along with a good quality saltwater reel equipped with a large drag and capable of holding a minimum of 200 yards of 20-pound test Dacron backing. Add either an intermediate or seamless shooting head system line, and attach a 6-foot, 16-pound fluorocarbon leader.
Because of the sharp teeth, the sierra have anglers wanting to resort to wire leaders of one kind or another. Don't! The number of bites will diminish quickly when wire is part of the terminal tackle. Another reason not to use wire is usually when this kind of action occurs, though dominated by sierra, there are jacks, roosters, pargo, pompano and grouper all in the mix and they are not fans of wire either. Enough said.
A trick that will lessen the number of lures or flies lost is to use long-shanked hooks tied with a short fluorocarbon 30- to 40-pound leader on both. You will still lose some gear but I promise, you will have a lot more bites as well as a lot more fun. Another tip: this is usually an early morning and late afternoon bite. Don't waste your time by staying out all day.
Sierra mania is spreading across the southern tip as anglers flock to the beach from Las Arenas to the north all the way down to the tip and back up the Pacific side as far as Todos Santos.
Felipe Valdez, Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort manager, confirmed on his Facebook page that the beach fishing was indeed 'off the charts' and he, his nephew, his brother Esaul, and their friends, have had a blast on the beach catching a variety of fish.
So as 2012 begins don't forget to take your own light tackle to Baja to take advantage of the beach action that is so often overlooked by many; you too can be a participant in the "sierra mania" sweeping Baja Sur.
Thanks to all of you for your encouraging emails and comments. I appreciate every one of them more than you will ever know. Happy and prosperous New Year to each of you and your families in 2012. And of course TIGHT LINES.
SIERRA MANIA IS SPREADING across the southern tip as anglers flock to the beach from Las Arenas to the north all the way down to the tip and back up the Pacific side as far as Todos Santos.
BECAUSE OF THE SHARP TEETH, the sierra have anglers wanting to resort to wire leaders of one kind or another.
FELIPE VALDEZ, Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort manager, confirmed on his Facebook page that the beach fishing was indeed “off the charts.”