January 2013
Fishing the Deschutes near Lava Island Falls
January 25, 2013

      The other day was so sunny and nice that I had to get out and fish somewhere. I only had the afternoon, so I grabbed my box of streamer flies and a 6wt rod with a streamer line on it and headed out to the Deschutes River just upstream from town to see if I could find a few fish. I hiked up and started fishing below some riffle to run areas concentrating on working my fly through the slower water as close to the bottom as possible. I twitched and stripped a 3 inch lead-eyed Tan Hare Sculpin at different speeds trying to find the right movement that would attract a fish. My first fish came while I was just swinging the fly through a slow pool like swinging a fly for steelhead. My fly came to a stop with a bump and I had a nice 12-inch Rainbow bending my rod. A short time later, again on just a swing, I found a 14-inch Brown Trout that thought my fly looked like an easy meal and fought him to hand for a quick release. I hit a dry spell for a while and changed my luck by moving to another pool where I caught another Rainbow and later hooked something big that broke me off right after the take. I’m sure it was that big Brown I was looking for. That was all the action I had, but it was all I needed to scratch that fishing itch on such a nice day.


The Patient Angler

Peter Bowers

Marlin On The Fly In Mexico
January 14, 2013

Just got back from a trip down to sunny Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It actually wasn’t as sunny and warm as usual with the tail of the cold front that swept across the west coast passing over the Baja peninsula. It was still a lot warmer than at home, but a jacket was needed during the chilly early morning hours of fishing out on the boat. I went down to chase Marlin on the fly and test out some new gear with Grant Hartman and his experienced crew of Baja Anglers.

Timing was good for the trip with a favorable moon phase, good water conditions and light winds, but the cold front made marlin fishing on the fly a little tougher as it tends to keep Marlin down and not as accessible to the fly.

When fly-fishing for Marlin, we normally troll a spread of hookless teasers on top of the water behind the boat that imitates a small school of fish with the hopes of bringing a Marlin up from the depths thinking he’s found something to eat. Once the Marlin shows himself and tries to eat one of the teasers, we pull it away from him and reel the teaser in quickly trying to lure the fish closer to the boat. They normally don’t like loosing their free lunch, so they chase it down rocketing toward the boat half out of the water like a torpedo trying to catch their meal that got away. When the teaser and the following Marlin are brought to within 20 yards of the boat, the teaser is pulled from the water at the same time a cast is made with the fly. If all things work as planned, the Marlin stops when his lunch (the teaser) is pulled from the water and then attacks the fly when it hits the water thinking it was the lunch he just lost. Then all hell breaks loose when you set the hook and all you can do is hang on and hope he doesn’t take all your line or break you off since Marlin leaders are normally made with 20-pound line. Then it’s just you and one of the biggest fish in the ocean in the ultimate game of tug of war.

As it turned out, we only saw and got shots at three Marlin during the trip. The first was a Marlin we spotted cruising on top, but had no interest in anything we had to offer as far as teasers were concerned and casually swam off. The second Marlin we encountered came in on the teasers and Captain Alex did a great job teasing him in for a shot. I made the cast and the marlin shot across to my fly and wacked it with his bill, but didn’t eat it and swam away. Alex immediately grabbed a pitch bait teaser and cast it out to try and bring the Marlin back to the boat. The Marlin jumped on the pitch bait and chased it back in for another bait & switch cast, but again turning away from the fly at the last second. Alex skillfully brought that fish back to the boat seven times for cast attempts, but results were the same, he just wasn’t lit-up enough to commit to the fly and we were once again searching millions of gallons of water for another fish.

Later in the day, “Third time’s the charm” was all I could think of as another Marlin crushed the farthest teaser back and wouldn’t let go of it. Captain Alex grabbed the teaser rod and fought to rip the hookless teaser bait from the Marlins mouth. Once Alex tore the bait free and quickly reeled it back to the boat, the Marlin exploded from the water racing with half it’s body out of the water trying to reclaim it’s prize. This Striped Marlin was hot and lit-up and the fish you’re looking for when casting a fly. Alex pulled the teaser just as I made the needed cast, placing the fly just to the right of the incoming Marlin. I made one strip popping the fly on the surface and this big beautiful fish turned and shot over and hammered my fly. I set-up on him making sure I had a good solid hook-up and with line screaming from my reel the Marlin started the first of three long runs. He leapt and bound across the ocean surface like a jet ski until he was just small splashes on the horizon taking a most of my 800 yards of backing with him. After 45 minutes of fighting him back to the boat, I finally could see my fly line again and right when you start thinking you’ve got him beat, a heavy head shake indicated the start of another blistering run taking another 300 yards of my line back out into the blue. After fighting him back in, he made one last short halfhearted run and I knew he was tired I had him beat. After an hour and a half on the rod, I was glad when Alex finally got hold of his bill and we boated the Marlin for a quick picture and release.

With my arms feeling like rubber bands after achieving my goal of catching a Marlin on the fly during this trip, we decided to fish the inshore and had a blast casting to Roosterfish, Jack Crevalle, Green Jacks, Yellow Tail and Sierra right along the beach.

I hadn’t been down to Cabo for about a year and as I was taking my seat on the plane for the flight home, I wondered why. With great people, great food and great fishing, it’s hard to not have a great time!


The Patient Angler

Peter Bowers