Dorado Fest 2013 @ Rancho de Costa

DoradoFest 2013 at Rancho de Costa

IMG_0344This past week saw some AMAZING Dorado action in  the Baja.  Reports were that LOTS, TONS, SWARMS of DoDos were readily available from the East Cape to Cabo San Lucas!  Good buddy Gary Wagner, owner of The Giggling Marlin Bar in Cabo, was headed down and invited me to join him in Bahia de Los Suenos (The Bay of Dreams) at his Rancho!  Gary developed the Bay some 8 year ago and has a fantastic place on the beach there.IMG_0353

Rancho de Costa, just south of La Paz, is a spectacular Bay that is protected on the North side by a HUGE point  & Cerralvo Island.  BTW I just learned that Isla Cerralvo was renamed Isla Jacques Cousteau a few years back but the locals will NOT adopt the name!!!

Anyway, Gary and I had several projects to look after and evaluate but managed to get out for a few hours each morning and evening to try our hands at some Dorado fishing!

Our first afternoon out we landed about 30 Dorado in a few hours, mostly on bait …the Humbolt Squid are plentiful this time of year and the Dorado really love to eat them.  After catching a half a dozen Dorado on bait I decided to switch things up a bit and threw the fly …BOOM   HOOOOOOK UUUUP!!!!  Dorado on the big bug!_MG_3991

Next I thought about trying a top water plug and had a SW Spook tied on in  the traditional White/ RedHead pattern!  The fish we had been catching on squid were in the 8-15lb range and although plentiful I was hoping for a big bite!  Our MO was to troll the squid by the buoys that locals put out to attract Dorado and as we did we would hook 2-6 Dorqado every pass!  I moved to the from of the boat and as we got with in 40 yards of the next buoy I launched the Spook , hitting 6′ away from the 2 foot square Styrofoam block!  Twitch, twitch, twitch …my Spook walks back towards me and  BOOM!  Huge Blow Up  …I set the hook & a 30lb Dorado makes for the sky coming down with a BIG thud!  YEAH!!!  Landing the fish I make a second cast and the Spook disappears in a HUGE swirl commencing another aerobatic display characteristic of this spectacular gamefish!  25lber!

_MG_3998At this point LARGER fish were coming to the boat and Gary hooks up with a 25lb+ fish!  NEW MO …Approach the buoy …launch a Spook or Popper and rip it back to the boat …BOOM!  FISH ON!!!  On several casts, when I had switched to ripping a popper at breakneck speed, fish were grey-hounding to the boat, sometimes 10-20 fish at a time!  Incredible!!!

_MG_4003These fish were some of the most colorful Dorado I have ever seen in 20+ years of fishing Baja & certainly the best Dorado action I have ever experienced anywhere on the Planet!!!


All in all in 4 partial days at Rancho de Costa we LANDED 154 Dorado, most released but we did send 50lbs of Fillets to the local orphanage that Gary supports!

Nice review of Rancho de Costa for your info!!!


ICAST 2013 New Products Showcase!!!


ICAST 2013 New Products Showcase opens to the public tomorrow morning but tonight is the Media Opening and Mary & I will be there for the 5-7pm event.  A special edition of #FishChat will be LIVE from Las Vegas Nevada’s Convention Center where we will look at several EXCITING exciting new angling gadgets that will be available at your local retailer soon!!! The plan is to ADD to this post with 3 or so pictures of entries into some 20 or so categories …we’ll see how many i can do! Anyhow we will discuss those new items on the Twitter during #FishChat from 6-7PM PDT. Here is a shot of the categories so you can get a sense of what is before us this evening!

ICAST new prod

ICAST 2013 New Products Showcase Categories

(ill post some pix here but it may be too many to do tonight!!!)



Freshwater Rod:


Saltwater Rod:



Freshwater Reel:


Saltwater Reel:



Soft Lure:


Hard Lure:






Terminal Tackle:


Tackle Management:


Kid’s Tackle:










Fishing Accessory:


Fly Fishing Accessory:




Boating Accessory:




ICAST 2013


ICAST 2013 begins this week and as usual the best & brightest in the fishing industry are bringing their BEST to show & sell!  Tomorrow night, Tuesday, a special Media Opening for the New Products Showcase opens and I have the privilege to see the newest stuff from 100’s of entries in some 20 or so categories! Come Wednesday night the Awards Ceremony will announce the best in each category and the Best of Show! bestofshow521

At the Media Opening I will be Tweeting on #FishChat and putting up 3 photos of some interesting entries in each category for YOUR opinion.

#FishChat PicJoin me on #FishChat 6-7 PM PDT for New Products Showcase LIVE from Las Vegas!


…ocho Toros!!! (“eight Jacks” for us gringos)

IMG_8956…some mornings you are given lemons and you can decide to MAKE lemonade or not!  Such was this morning but thank God I pushed thru the negatives for a great result!!!!My iPhone went off at 5:30 and as I turned to roll out of bed I was so sore from yesterday’s 3 hour Yak trip my legs protested!  Pressing the “snooze” I thought just a few more minutes… this is why my backup alarm goes off at 5:45 AM! Still sore I made a pot of Cabo Coffee & got in the truck for the 10 minute commute to the beach near the old lighthouse in San Lucas! Arriving “late”at a bout 6:10 I nearly had a head on with Wesley Brough (the Cabo Surfcaster) on his way out of the corner. A short convo told me that it was near impossible to fish with a stiff wind & HUGE waves breaking way out! Let’s do the math: 1) Im sore & tired, 2) Late, 3) Un-fishable conditions, 4) oh & I only had about 45 minutes to fish as I was meeting a buddy about starting to produce the HammerHead for me here in Baja. ( the HammerHead is a new net design that was stuck in my noggin for a few years and finally is coming to fruition).

So what the heck …only a short time to fish anyway i’ll risk it!  As the light was just barely enough to see the Sierras  started jumping in their grey-hounding fashion but as Wes had said they were unreachable …out in the 175-200 yard range!  DANGITALREADY!  I kept casting and even start running out on the sand as the waves retreated to try and get a cast far enough out into some “clean” water. Next thing I know BOOM …hooked up and taking drag!  A nice Jack Crevalle, not big but the fun size comes to hand.  Next cast two cranks of the Stella 10k & BLOWUP …another Jack! Next cast BOOOOOM another.  For the next 30 minutes every cast had a hit, a fish on or a fish landed!  No monsters but constant action from a very spunky fish with great attitude! I land 8 Toros (Jacks)!!! 7:05 I’m out of there!

Lemonade indeed!!!

Enjoy the short video …good thing I had my LifeProof case as I dropped the iPhone5 right in the waves and sand for a second!

…the Rodney Dangerfield of Baja!!!

There may be MANY different species of fish that one might put into this category but one comes to mind quickly here in Baja.  As I look over the past 11 weeks of fishing here many times this particular fish seemed to “save the day” for me but also for friend Wesley Brough that guides fulltime down here in Los Cabos.

When you think of Baja one naturally thinks of Roosterfish, I like to call them the signature fish of the Baja, or of course here in Cabo San Lucas, the Striped Marlin.  These are highly sought after fish but not as reliable as you might think, Roosters in particular, although the Stripies are quite available year round.DaveEastCape Toro

I am speaking of the Jack Crevalle, Caranx Hippos!  Although not great table fare, in fact quite poor, they are almost unmatched when it comes to a fight.  Pound for pound Jacks generally put up a greater battle than the Rooosterfish but as the summer comes into full swing the Roosters are SO much bigger (30-100lbs) and more highly prized that the Jacks quickly take a back seat!

WesGrandeToro Unlike the Roosterfish tho the Jacks are a quick bite, less skittish and eat just about anything you will throw at them.  Ya gotta love a fish that so readily eats many lures and flies presented in a diverse number of circumstances!

IMG_8634So I am dubbing the jack Crevalle the “Rodney Dangerfield” of Baja sports fish, they just don’t get the respect they really deserve!  Mark my words that at some point they will save the day and prevent getting skunked with great fanfare if not style!

…last day to Vote for People’s Choice Telly Award 4/19/13

We would really appreciate a THUMBS UP vote for Episode One of Season 2 for Fish the Baja at this link:

Round2 Telly

This Episode, shot and edited by JJ Slater of Slater Productions, is one of my favorites and was a fun day of catching Snook in Baja with Stephan Jansen.  We have already one 2 Silver Telly’s for Season 2 from the Industry and have this one & 3 People’s Choice Telly possibilities!!! Thank for your support!!!

…just a couple days to vote for People’s Choice Telly Award!

We had a late entry for a People’s Choice Telly Award and they are VOTED on by YOU!!!  Click this link and give us a THUMBS UP por favor!          Gracias amigos!!!


…Jacks or Better in East Cape Baja!


Every once in a while you have an angling experience that you know will have lifelong recollection and significance! Fishing nearly every day in Baja for the past 3 months I have had a few but none as memorable as this past Saturday fishing with good brother Wesley Brough in East Cape. Wes had been up a couple days earlier on a fun trip with his wife Leslie and she landed her first Rooster and Wes landed 7 other Roosters up to 40lbs. That said you can imagine we were STOKED to catch a pile of Gallos with two expert anglers roaming the sand of the Cape (LOL)! Well we left Cabo San Lucas at 4:45AM to beat the weekend rush and catch a few early fish before the beach loaded up with the normal group of folks. Much to our surprise, although uncrowded, we never saw many fish until about 11!  The yield to this time was just one Jack Crevalle of about 15lbs or so that I landed on a 11′ Carolina Cast Pro rod, SHIMANO Stella 10000 reel spooled with PowerPro Blue 30# braid, 60# fluorocarbon leader and the famed Jansen Cabo Killer lure! My Onos shades really helped me spot fish today!!!DaveEastCape ToroAt this point we met up with Grant Hartman and his wife Gisel who had set up camp at Lighthouse Point for  little R & R and teasing a few fish to the fly.  After getting “mugged” by a local guide ( the guy pulled up with 2 clients, folding chairs,cooler just 100′ away and started casting- this beach is 7 miles long!) we decided to move on and look for fish. Grant told us to “go get some lunch in town and come back in the PM …the bite will be better!”. Wes & I complied then returned about 2PM to resume our hunt for Roosters!  I should point out that Grant gave us some very great info on spotting fish that REALLY helped Wes and I locate REEL targets!

One thing we started to notice was that our BIG topwater lures were not just being ignored but shunned …even ran from!!!  You would make a perfect cast to lead a group of fish, we are talking 10-20 large Jacks (20lb Class), and they would not only NOT CHASE they would blow up like a fireworks! Wes immediately changed over to a SEBILE Magic Swimmer 165 in Golden Shiner color and teased a group of fish into a follow and stuck this really nice Jack that Boga-ed out at 22lbs!  The lighter splash and ability to twitch and “work” the Magic Swimmer, giving it line to let it work from side to side brought the strike! Wes is lookin’ FLY in his new Hemingway “Cojimar” shades eh???WesGrandeToro The MONSTER Jack was landed on a 13′ Century rod with Diawa SALTIST 6000H reel, Power Pro 30# Blue, 80# Mono leader and SEBILE Magic Swimmer as you can see in his mouth! As the day wore on the fish got even MORE spooky, moving faster down the beach and TOTALLY ignoring lure presentations, even running away though we lead them by up to 50 yards on the casts.  Wes did finally get a wad of Gallitos ( small Roosters) to follow and he stuck this very beautiful one, I ran to the truck to grab my fly rod but the fish had left in the 30 seconds I was gone! IMG_8608As the afternoon set in MORE and MORE fish were moving down the beach and although we made valiant efforts to be stealthy, quiet, long leads and such we were getting rejected on a more frequent basis. About this time we noticed a fly rodder hooked up to something big!  After landing this fish he moved down the beach with his guide on their ATV and dang it if he wasn’t hooked up again!  Hmmmmmmmm!
I wonder if its the fly, the teasing or what? But I had noticed that the guide did NOT tease the last fish!  And that was it! The fish had been SO beat up with hardware and people teasing them to the fly that they were not having any of it! OK then I’ll grab my TFO 10wt and started casting at these freaked out fish and see what happens! Next group of fish that came by was some 15-20lb class Jack Crevalle and even tho I was short by about 6-8′ I was rewarded with 10 fish peeling off to eat the fly!  I stick a willing fish and try and separate him from the crowd with a 30# mono leader! As he starts coming my way two other Jacks converge on the fly sticking out of his face and break me off!!!  Dang it …but hey I was HOOKED UP right?  A quick run back to the truck, scramble for a particular fly lost between the seats and I tie it on as I’m running down the beach full speed to get up to these fish!  Tied on I strip out 40′ of line and use my TFO rod to keep it in the water as I run parallel to the beach using the water to pre-load the rod.  Jumping ahead of the school which are 60′ off the beach I do a HUGE backcast and double haul my best effort with this big wind resistant fly! It lands in the middle of the bunch and I start stripping like a madman!  BOOM!!! Hooked up and off to the races on a nice fish  …my most visual eat of the day! My Galvan T-10 reel screams as the Jack wants to stay with his buddies and I play the fish soft until the school leaves him behind!  WOW what an experience to sight fish these big guys, run them down, get the cast off and hook up!  One of my best angling experiences ever! SUPER FUN!!!!!

…Roosters and more in East Cape!!!


Spent the day with new friend Jim K at his lot on the  East Cape and boy was it fun!  Jim and I got to the beach late, about 2pm, and started walking to the point just South of his beach front property.  The water was SO different than the Pacific fishing we had been fishing the past few weeks, waves a HUGE 4″ tall and deep spots out were 6′ …and CRYSTAL clear.  The elevated beach allowed us to see fish from a few hundred yards away and the hunt began in earnest.  The first Gallo I saw was a large one for April, perhaps 30lbs and about 140 yards off the beach, moving left to right, meaning he came up from behind us.  I launched a cast with the 2.25oz Cabo Killer in Chrome and got the fish’s attention, he made a course correction, followed for some 20-30′ and then turned to resume his travels!  Never got too hot on the lure even with my “expert” working of the bait!!! jajajaja  About 10 minutes later another Rooster appeared about 20#’s and I was getting excited thinking we may have stepped into a late in the day alignment of the Planets. Cast …rip …twitch, follow, follow, follow, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth and REJECTED!!! About 15-20 minutes later, Jim and I have been casting and looking all around, a bunch of little Roosters, 10 or 20 come crashing after the lure.  Jim casts and they are right behind his lure trying to eat it!  I yell SLOW DOWN, SLOW DOWN but in the excitement I think he was reeling FASTER and finally ran out of water! I heave another long bomb after a fish i can just barely see for distance and clear him by 20 yards and start my  retrieve.  I usually start by ripping the Cabo Killer (or Ballyhoo) super fast to make some noise then moderate it depending on conditions.  This fish turns to intercept the lure and does the classic side to side slashing action of a Rooster or Jack Crevalle!  I lower my Carolina Cast Pro rod and to keep the lure lower on the surface and start twitching erratically to illicit a strike and am reward summarily! The drag on my Stella 10000 screams bloody murder as this, what I presume is a Rooster, heads for mainland Mexico at high speed!  This was a spectacular follow and eat as we were on an elevated beach with crystal clear water of 30″ depth.  In about 10 minutes the fish is on the way in a it become apparent that it is a Jack Crevalle of about 10lbs …fighting one makes you realize why they call them El Toro (the Bull) here in Mexico.  What a great walk down the beach in East Cape! …Headed back tomorrow!!!

SLOW METAL …get a look at those chompers!!!

The Sierra are great gamefish that are plentiful here in Baja in the “Winter” time (its in the 70’s & 80’s) but they LIKE the cooler water!  They are a fun fish on lighter tackle and eat just about anything.  The preferred method is to rip some kind of shiny metal thing! For years the locals made lures out of old chrome golf club shafts filled with lead. I have been VERY successful lately on what I have dubbed “SLOW METAL”! At times even when there is surface activity the fish are reluctant tyo eat a fast moving piece of hardware.  People say “they just weren’t biting today” but the truth is they were eating all kinds of bait as you could see from the splashes all over the surface!  Using a floating twitch type bait is good idea but the need to cast far is KEY here in Baja. My solution is SLOW METAL, a 2-3oz metal jig (Jansen Misil or the like) that i can cast 125-150 YARDS or more and then slow reel and jig back!  Be ready to loose a few jigs as the Sierra tend to eat deep on SLOW METAL but a short 4-6″ crimped wire will help out and doesn’t seem to bother them too badly!  The other day I landed 4 NICE Sierras in short order the other 10 anglers on the beach combined didn’t have that many ripping metal in the traditional fashion! Kinda felt bad for a second …well maybe just a little bad! So give SLOW METAL a try and let me know your results!!! Watch out for those teeth …they are like razor blades and can lop off a finger if your not careful!!!


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