April 17, 2014
Chasing Marlin On The Fly
I recently went down to sunny Cabo San Lucas to fly fish for Marlin with my good friend Grant Hartman, who owns Baja Anglers. Baja Anglers are the best fly fishing & light tackle guide service in Cabo. If you want to experience some of the most exciting fly fishing in the world, give grant a call and get ready for some fun.
    Marlin fishing on the fly, no matter what your expectations, can sometimes be a long day trolling around the seemingly endless ocean trying to tease up a Marlin that on some days, never happens. Those days are still fun, being out on the water with friends and experiencing the scenic beauty, but at the end of the day, it's still a long boat ride.
    As it turned out, my days on the water during this trip were anything but a long boat ride. Just prior to my arrival in Cabo, there were a good number of Striped Marlin in the area, but Grant & Arturo (our Captain) wanted to go miles out on the pacific side and look for Marlin hanging off an offshore submerged mountain range. After a bumpy wet ride fighting the onshore swells all the way we finally arrived at the spot Grant had marked on his GPS and dropped the teasers in behind the boat. Grants decision to make the long trek to this spot in the ocean was the best call of the day. We didn't have the teasers in the water for more than a few minutes before we had our first Marlin behind the boat. This would be the first a dozen decent shots I would have at these big beautiful fish in just the first day. Not the mention the small groups of free swimming Marlin that were eating baitfish off the surface like a trout taking a dry fly off the surface of a lake. You would see birds all of a sudden diving to eat the baitfish being forced to the surface, then two foot long bills followed by a large Marlin heads would emerge as they ate the exhausted baitfish in what seemed like slow motion. If you were fast enough, you could race over and cast your fly into the malay hoping the excited predator would make a mistake. It's pretty exhilarating to hook a free swimming Marlin by casting and stripping without any teasing techniques.

    The following days on the water were just as action packed, as we found the fish there every day. Marlin will stay in a location like this for days feeding on the abundant baitfish that are attracted to this underwater structure. When the bait are gone or the current changes, the Marlin will move on to the next feeding station.
    The first day, the Marlin weren't that aggressive and would sometimes just come up and smack you fly with its bill and swim away or just turn off at the last second, but after that first day, they were eating the fly. Normally you have to tease them up and bait & switch them, but on our second day, we teased a big Marlin in on the left just like it's suppose to happen and I made my cast. Unfortunately, instead of casting to the right as required, my cast blew over too far left just as Arturo pulled the teaser from the water and the teaser caught my line. The Marlin didn't care about the tangle we had just created and ate my fly anyway. I did the best I could trying to set the hook as grant was yelling for someone to cut the teaser line realizing the disaster about to unfold if the Marlin went on a run with the lines tangled. Just as the Marlin started to take line, the fly fell out of his mouth and he swam off. I shouted that the fish was off and not to cut the teaser line, just pull my line in and untangle the teaser. As we sat there talking about that last fish, Grant was working on freeing the teaser from the middle of my fly line and my fly just sitting dead in the water ten feet behind the boat, all of a sudden I noticed a movement in the water out of the corner of my eye. I look down behind the boat and a 130 lbs Marlin comes up from the depths, smacks my fly with his bill and then eats it, Right Behind The Boat! Arturo shouts for me to set the hook, but Grant still has my line in his hand. As I was yelling at Grant to hurry up, he made two more flips with the teaser and it cleared my line. Grant dropped my fly line in the water behind the boat and it took me three long strips to come tight with the fish which amazingly still behind the boat with my in his mouth not feeling the hooks yet. I set up with three hard strikes and the gig was up, and this big fish didn't like it, as he bolted peeling hundreds of line off my reel in just seconds. After an hour of giving and taking line (not really sure who was giving or taking more), I felt that he was getting tired and I was making headway, line was coming easier and I thought I had him beat. That dream was shattered as this still fresh, hot and chrome bright Marlin shot from the water like a missile 100 yards from the boat and covered another 150 yards across the ocean, spending half the time in the air. I knew I was in trouble! 40 minutes later I had fly line on the reel and again felt as if I had a good chance to land this fish. I never should have let that thought cross my mind, because seconds later the fly pulled from his mouth and he was free. You would think that you would be disappointed in losing a fish like that, and to some extent I was, but after close to two hours of fighting one of the biggest fish in the ocean, your body screams " thank god it's over!". Unfortunately for your body, your mind soon takes over and says " Yeah Baby! Lets Do That Again!".

    I use these trips to hands on test new equipment, products and flies to provide the best products and knowledge for customers planning future trips to far away places. I continue to put the test to my trusted Tibor Gulfstream reel which has delivered dependable performance in the most challenging conditions with virtually no maintenance besides regular washing with fresh water. The Patagonia light weight Torrenshell Jacket gets an A+ for use as an early morning off shore jacket when pounding the onshore swells or for that early morning run to the flats where the weather is warm, but it can often be a wet ride. This jacket is super lightweight, packable, has a functional hood and pit zips for great air flow in tropical climates.
    Overall I had a great time on this trip with fantastic fishing, great weather and good times with friends. I'm already looking forward to the next trip to the warm waters of Mexico. Maybe giant Roosterfish off the east cape beaches this summer????

Peter Bowers

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