Hunting for Spring Roosters in Baja’s Sea of Cortez
A great way to break out of the winter blues is to head to southern Baja to chase roosters. A rooster is one of the most exciting fish a fly fisherman can stalk. They crash bait on the surface with gusto, and at the same time can be as picky as New Zealand South Island brown trout. And they pull once hooked.
There are several methods for chasing roosters in Baja. The beach fishing gets press than fishing from the pangas. But if you have traveled up to 1,500 miles to catch roosters, like we do every year, maximizing your shots at them seems like a logical option. Fishing the pangas, which are equipped with lots of live sardines for live chum, will definitely improve your chances.
Your captain will know the best spots and start by throwing a handful of live sardines overboard. After a few minutes of this, if there are roosters in the area you will know. Then it is your turn — make long quick casts and keep casting until Mr. Gallo makes a mistake and eats your fly.
Gearing up for your rooster is pretty simple, but there are a few tips that will make your trip even more successful. You don’t want to go to the brawl and show up with your fists — you need to bring a bat.
Roosters like their flies fast, so you need to embrace the two-handed strip, which is very popular with surf fisherman along the northeast coast. The two-handed strip lets you keep the fly zoning through the water with no hesitations. Another by product of the two-handed strip is that you cannot raise your rod tip to set the hook — trout sets will only leave you disappointed
There are plenty of favorite rooster flies, but two of the most effective are Charlie’s Airhead and a fly developed by Gary Bulla, the Papagallo inTan. 2/0 are the most popular size. Shake off the winter and go rock a rooster!