October always has the potential to be an explosive month for fly fishing on Baja’s East Cape. Septembers storm season has past, water temperatures are warm, but gradually cooling. It is a time of year when a mix of species frequent the area and anglers have the opportunity to to chase a variety of fish.
The big news this fall was the return of sardine schools to southern Baja. Sardines first started showing up in late spring around San Jose and by fall were scattered along the East Cape. This season water temperature and conditions were relatively stable compared to the last few years and definitely helped the fishing., let’s keep our fingers crossed it continues!
This October was outstanding. The yellow fin tuna, dorado, and roosterfish bite was wide open. The return of sardine schools seemed to re-ignite the fishing, echoing shadows of the past and made for some stellar fly fishing. We enjoyed Calm seas and little or no wind through the month..
Tuna; yellowfin from 10-30 lbs were schooled up in several spots that held strong throughout the month. At times, they seemed to be anywhere and everywhere, popping up on the surface up and down the coast. Fishing sink lines with sardine patterns increased the catch rate, but intermediate tip lines worked well and some fish were even landed on the surface with popper flies. Some spots held larger tuna, up to 200 lbs, which were taken by bait and commercial fisherman. Fly fisherman wisely left them to it. Most tuna schools we fished held perfect fly sized fish which were manageable on a 10/11wt fly rod, and made for some tasty sashimi dinners.
Dorado; Schools of dorado were encountered daily and anglers often were tired out before the dorado relented. The dorado ranged from 10-25 lbs, and usually came in sizable schools. The clear flat conditions made it fun to sight cast and target specific fish using sardine patterns and popper flies for some great top water action. At times, we took a break from fishing, sat and watched these beautiful fish, sometimes tossing them sardines, like pigeons at a park bench. Commercial fisherman rumored of large bull dorado offshore 20-30 miles, but the action inshore was too hot to leave.
Roosterfish; The month just got better and better fly fishing for roosterfish. It started with sporadic encounters; a small school here solitary fish there, but each new day brought more roosterfish ranging 15-60lbs. By mid October we were finding fish consitently up and down the coast. Roosterfish were drawn into shallower water and flats by sardine schools close to the lodge. Lady fish already starting their migration could be found further south with big roosters chasing them on the beaches.