The interesting thing about the sailfish pic is not just that it
was caught on a fly, but it was my first billfish on my first
bluewater flyfishing trip - on just the 2nd
day! I caught it on the first billfish fly I ever designed,
Don's Green Machine (see pic below).
I grew up in New Orleans and fished the Gulf quite a bit, but never billfished.
For the last 25 years I've lived in Wyoming, where trout fishing is king and
there are very few marlin and sailfish (mostly on office walls). This trip to
Loreto, Baja, Mexico was the first of a lot of things.
First things first . . . Wow, was it HOT! August 2nd in Meheeko is not where
Wyoming people belong! But the fishing was incredible. Dorado were
very abundant and easily caught on flies, but not king-sized, the biggest
weighing in at 40-50 pounds tops, averaging about 30.
The sail in the picture above was estimated at 125 pounds, and measured 8.5
feet long. He never jumped, not even once. He just pulled like a tuna, like being
hooked to a car, but my 14 wt rig was more than up to it. It's hard to
tell how far a fish runs into your backing when there's 700 yards of it, but
man, was he way out there! It took an hour and a half to get to see him
for the first time when he rolled about 40 feet away. It looked like a
sea-monster! I couldn't believe that I had him on a fly-rod and that
20 pound tippet had held him! It took another half-hour to land him, two hours in all
We took a couple of pictures and released him.
Just fifteen minutes later I hooked another sail that went about
a hundred pounds or more, this time on my new 12 wt combo. This one jumped dozens
of times, one of them causing the hook to slip out of his mouth and re-hooking
him in the belly about a foot behind the pectorals. Then he ran long and fast
and "fried" my new reel, forcing me to back off on the drag and palm the reel.
Later he took a quick run and my drag hung up, causing the rod tip to
drop against the boat bow and breaking my new rod at the top ferrule.
It was now about 2:00 in the afternoon, too hot to describe, and I had a
belly-hooked 100 pound sail on a fried reel and broken rod.
What more could a fisherman ask?
Two hours later I had him so whupped he was coming in belly-up and backwards,
yet still fighting! As soon as the guide grabbed his tail, all hell broke loose!
Amazingly, the "exhausted" sail came back to life and jerked the
guide around like a rag-doll, causing slack in the line which allowed the hook
to fly free. Now he had the tiger by the tail and decided to just let it
go. The sail swam off, sounding immediately.
That's two 2-hour sails in about 4 and a half hours - if you add the one hour
fight with a bull Dorado that morning, that's about five hours out of 6 hours
being hooked up with just 3 fish!
Not too bad for just day two.
The adrenaline rush after two 100 pound plus sails and a bull Dorado was
about like 10 cups of espresso coffee. I was ready to go some more,
shouting to the guide to go out for "marleen". My buddy Jim Dean had
already dubbed me "Santiago", after what he called an "epic" battle.
The guide added "Loco Pescadoro" to my aliases, emphatically waving
his finger "no" at me, saying "maņana - maņana!"
It was a good thing we went back in. I had drank all the water on
board and was still dehydrated and we wouldn't get back in till after
4:30. (Everyone normally goes in around 11:30 a.m. or so. By then
you're Dorado-whipped, the feed is off, and it's just too blamed hot
to stay out, anyway.) The other guys in our group were about ready
to send the local Marine Federalis after us, thinking us broken down
and dying somewhere out there from the heat.
Only Dan Blanton knew better, guessing that we had gotten into the
billfish. Boy - did we! ~ Don Ordes