Fishing the Sea of Cortez
For our February meeting of the Santa Barbara Flyfishers, we welcome Gary Bulla with a program on the exciting fishing to be found in Southern Baja. Join us at 7PM on Tuesday, January 7th at the Goleta Valley Library at 500 North Fairview Avenue in Goleta.
Gary's presentation will take anglers through the fishing season on the Sea of Cortez in Southern Baja. At five million years old this inland sea is the youngest in the world; yet biologically it is the richest body of water on our planet. The diversity of fish in Baja waters means anglers can revisit Baja at various times of the year and have very different quarry. There is surface sight fishing and deeper water fishing at all times of the year. Panga fishing from outboard skiffs modified for flyfishing can produce rod bending, spool burning takes that test your endurance and your knot tying.
Casting to rooster fish or dorado on the surface is a sport sure to provide a large dose of adrenalin.
There is no other fishing that is comparable to flyfishing for roosters. It is sight fishing taken to the extreme. Because of the incredible surface action that causes sheer panic and adrenalin spikes and their completely unpredictable movements and moods, it is considered by many to be the most dynamic flyfishing on the planet. But, what makes this part of Baja's Sea of Cortez so special?
The Punta Arenas/Cerralvo Island area is unique. All world records for Roosterfish were recorded here. The bait populations here are abundant and support a huge population of both pelagic and reef dwellers. Coral reefs flourish adjacent to incredibly deep trenches, combined with the seasonal winds enhanced by the channel, they create the constant upwellings of plankton and other nutrients that provide the foundation for an astounding diversity of species.
Not only do over 900 species of fish thrive here, but sea turtles, sea lions, whales, orcas, huge schools of manta rays and dolphins are residents during many months of the year. Jacques Cousteau spent so much time exploring the richness of the area that the Mexican Government officially changed the name of Cerralvo Island to Jacques Cousteau Island. He called it “The world’s aquarium”.
For fly fishers, the large bays, points, and the island means that there is usually shelter from open sea winds and swells when present. Pangas, or small open boats, can be utilized effectively. They are stealthier and more maneuverable than large sport fishing boats. Two anglers can fish at once and cast in most any direction when necessary. Roosterfish cruise the inshore within a few hundred feet of the beach for food as small as the flat iron herring, or “sardina”, and as large as ladyfish. Yellowfin tuna and dorado can be caught close to shore also. You don’t have to run miles to offshore banks to find them.
Gary will share his discoveries with the club, including tackle and techniques for the dazzling variety of fish south of the border.