Wednesday, August 08, 2012
| Baja fishing on the 'down low'
'Vertical jigging ' — run a Google search and thousands of pages pop up.
Years ago before the technique of vertical jigging even had a name, Yvonne and I would load our blended family of five kids in our Dodge van, hook up our 19-foot Bayliner bow rider and head down Mex 1 for Bay of Los Angeles.
Our favorite camping spot was easy to find. The picturesque little beach right on the shore of the Sea of Cortez was just a mile or two beyond the local dump.
As long as something would bite our kids loved to fish; no bites and we scrambled for something to keep them occupied. I stumbled on the magic of shiny torpedo sinkers with a treble hook attached which had a relatively high rate of return. Well, not exactly magic in the eyes of our kids, because the dang things only got bit once in awhile which wasn't often enough for them.
Someone gave me a product called "Spanish Fly Fish Lure" in an aerosol can as a prank birthday gift.
You can't make this stuff up. What did we ever do without the Internet www.dutchguard.com/sf-p-oe.html? Spanish Fly.® Just apply to lure for fast results. I grabbed it from my tackle box where I had carelessly tossed it and voila! Problem solved! Every drop after spraying shiny sinker after shiny sinker was a guaranteed bite.
One morning earlier this year over breakfast, while fishing with some fly fishing guides from South Africa at East Cape, we were discussing 'vertical jigging'. One asked if I had tried the technique using fly tackle. I explained that we used a similar technique when fishing for yellowfin in bluewater. Using 700 grain shooting heads (think 30' weighted line that sinks like a 6-ounce sinker) with a weighted fly. After chumming for awhile the yellowfin chase the sardina down deeper and the weighted line and fly allows us to hook the fish deeper down in the water column.
After breakfast the guide showed me some weighted flies tied on 6\0 Owner hooks from South Africa and suggested we take one of the skiffs outside the anchorage and look for a ledge holding fish. After metering around for about thirty minutes, we located a promising one about seventy feet below the surface.
He stripped the full fly line and shooting head (a total of 100 feet) from the reel and cast it out as far as he could, letting the fly line sink while shaking the remaining line out through the guides. When the line was fully extended he began long sweeping strips to retrieve the fly. During the next hour we had three follows and two bites landing one good-sized amberjack. We tried the technique in several anchorages during the trip with similar results.
Upon my return to California, I contacted Chad Hubbard, Bluewater Flies www.bluewaterflies.co.za/ and ordered a collection of the large flies in multiple colors.
Meanwhile on another recent trip, just before the annual ICAST trade show held in Orlando, Florida in July 2012 where vendors in the sportfishing tackle industry unveil all the new tackle they’re planning for 2013, I had the opportunity to spend some time with my friend Patrick Sébile, who is considered by many as the most innovative lure designer on the planet. I met him for the first time at Fred Hall many years ago when he had first introduced the soft Magic Swimmer one of the most productive swim baits I personally have ever used in Baja.
For the second year in a row, Sébile Innovative Creations would be introducing another vertical jig in their lineup. Last year was Vibrato and this year Fast Cast, both of which can be used on the surface as well as in a vertical configuration.
Julio Meza invited me to go to Bay of Los Angeles to fish for I.G.F.A. grouper records in early July and I had planned to use the large flies on the trip. Unfortunately, the trip has been postponed until later in the summer. I am still looking forward to our trip to Bay of Los Angeles experiment some more. I am convinced that vertical jigging on both conventional and fly equipment will become another viable Baja fishing technique.