The Dorado is a very popular fish in the Sea of Cortez. In other waters it is known as the Dolphin fish or Mahi Mahi. Dorado is an aggressive feeder, taking flies and poppers readily when in the mood to eat. They are strong fighters on fly tackle, usually displaying numerous jumps followed by strong runs. Typical school sized fish run 8 to 12 pounds and may number into the hundreds of fish. The Bulls (mature males) run large in the East Cape, often weighing over 70 lbs. Fish over 50 lbs have been caught by fly fishermen.
- Rods: A nine weight is the minimum recommended sized rod and is adequate for smaller school size Dorado when casting small flies on calm days. The ten through twelve-weight rods are better suited to fishing off shore considering the strong possibility of larger fish mixed in with feeding schools.
- Reels: A good quality salt-water reel that holds 300 yards of 30 lb backing is recommended. Large arbor reels have a decided advantage in the rate of retrieve of line as well as maintaining consistent drag pressure. As a note for all species, we normally set the drag between four and six pounds of pull, then palm the rim during the fight to vary the pressure on the fish.
- Fly Lines: A full-length intermediate line is a good all purpose line for Dorado, being easy to cast and easy to handle. Shooting heads or full length integrated sink tip lines in class IV to class VI sink rates are an ideal all species off shore species selection. These lines offer maximum capacity for backing, with minimal belly forming in the line while playing fish. The high density sinking lines are a must for most tuna fishing situations, knowing that both species are often available at the same time and place.
Nothing quite represents the East Cape better than chasing roosterfish with a fly rod. With out a doubt the roosterfish is one of the greatest prizes in fly fishing. The juveniles are relatively easy to catch, but become very fickle as they mature. They are often compared to the permit as a tough adversary to fool.
- Rods: Appropriate rod size will vary by size of fish in quest. We fish nine and ten weights on the beach for the smaller to medium sized fish.When the grandes are present we step up to the ten and twelve weights, especially when throwing the larger flies that capture the interest of the bigger fish.
- Lines: We find that a clear intermediate line is the best all around line for roosters and will cover all applications including fishing with poppers.Floating lines are adequate in most cases, but will give up some distance and control in cross wind situations.
- Leaders: We modify our basic Dorado leader system to include a longer butt section (four feet) of 30 or 40 lb. Soft mono. We like the loop to loop system here as well as it affords the quickest change of fly and leader combinations.We build four to six foot class tippets in 6 kg, 8 kg and 10 kg, with out a bite tippet. A standard salt water tapered leader also works fine for the roosters.
For sheer pulling power the tuna is probably tougher than any other fish commonly caught on a fly rod in the Sea of Cortez. The fight starts with an amazingly fast first run that goes well into the backing. Following the first run tuna tend to go deep and circle under the boat.
- Rods: We recommend 12 weight and larger rods if you are targeting tuna.
- Lines: Our favorite lines are fast sinking shooting heads or full length integrated sink tips in the 400 grain to 800 grain range. Intermediate sink lines come into play when chasing fast moving schools of tuna that are feeding on the surface with porpoise.
- Leaders: The leaders should be kept short on the sinking lines. We build an 18 inch butt section of 30lb. soft mono and loop it to 24 inches of either 8kg or 10 kg class tippet. Tuna tend to be leader shy; therefore we seldom add a bite tippet. At times we extend the tippet length to four feet or more if the tuna appear to be leader shy.
- Flies: The same flies that work for Dorado are effective on the Tuna with perhaps an edge given to smaller flies that have flash and motion when fished on the dead drop. The Clouser magic and Clousers tied with marabou are favorites of ours.
- Tactics: Tactics for tuna take two main forms: Chumming fish up from deep structure; and finding fish feeding under porpoise.
For many fly fishers the Billfish is the ultimate challenge on a fly rod, an endeavor that is a true team effort of Captain, Guide and Angler. Despite the apparent complexities of fishing Billfish on fly, it is not necessarily an elitist sport and with an experienced, competent crew and Guide can be enjoyed by expert and novice alike. For sheer spectacle and adrenaline rush, few fish compare to the different species of Billfish in the dance of the tease, the take and the fight that follows.
- Rods: The fly gear used is highly specialized. The rods are designed with fish fighting in mind. This is the realm of the 14 weight through 18 weight rods. Our choice for years has been the Temple Fork Blue water series and our most relied upon rod is the medium duty rod, a 14/15 weight that has tremendous lifting power while retaining reasonable cast ability. When Blue Marlin are about we turn to the Blue Water Heavy Duty rod with 17/18 weight lift capability. The Blue Water Light Duty rod, a 12/13 weight, has its roll when Sailfish predominate, the striped marlin are running under eighty pounds, or when we are casting longer distances to feeding boils or laid up fish. The Blue Water Light Duty is a good compromise rod when either Dorado or Marlin may appear behind a trolled teaser.
- Reels: Salt water reels with smooth drags, large arbors, built on strong frames with the capability of holding 400 plus yards of backing are a must. Of the many excellent brands available we have chosen the Galvan Tournament Torque reels to match the TFO Rods for our clients to use.
- Lines: Tropical sink tip lines in 600 to 800 grains, built on strong center cores are the norm for Billfish. We use the new Sonar Titan line by Scientific Angler as well as the Rio Leviathan. We cut our lines down to longer than 80 feet to add backing capacity and to cut down on drag in the water as the fish explodes away from the boat.