By Vince Deadmond
And other winter fly fishing thoughts. Wind is the bane of fly casters everywhere. Wind can turn your normally perfect cast into a stout THUMP on the back of your head, that knocks your cap off. So, yes many fly casters are gone with the wind, when the cold wind is blowing I am really uncomfortable. Cold wind of minus 50 degrees will get folks from Duluth, Minnesota thinking that our Puerto Peñasco 60 degree days and a 20 miles per hour breezes are . . . balmy. They would be dressed in an aloha shirt, swim trunks, and flip flops. I went fly fishing in December and wore long johns, polar fleece, a windbreaker rain jacket, gloves, and my hoodie was pulled up over my ears. The fishing was surprisingly good for winter. It was clear, sunny, the fish were biting, lots of bait fish about, and the birds were diving on them, but that cold north wind shortened the time I was willing to spend on the water.
I was fly fishing with Grant Baugh for several days in December, and we had several 20-30 fish days, and one day where we got skunked. The fish we caught at La Piñta, the second estuary were all healthy feisty 17-22 inch Orange Mouth Corvina. This fish is fun to catch and is great table fare, Grant wanted to keep a few fish for a fish fry with friends. That’s always a good way to make new friends in the trailer park, invite folks over for a fish fry. Our best day of fishing was clear, sunny, and with little wind. When the wind died down the Sea of Cortez cleared up and our visibility with polarized sunglasses improved. We could see bait fish, and many times see the flash of the fish before the actual take of the fly.
Grant and I have fished often enough to comfortably give each other a hard time. Grant ties really ugly flies that look like the materials were salvaged out of synch from a pack rat’s nest. I on the other hand I try to tie flies that are aesthetically pleasing. Grant says I am anal about fly tying. We both have some patterns that work well, and quite a few fly patterns that belong in The Museum of Flies That Don’t Catch Fish. The bite was really on one day and I don’t think it would have really mattered what fly we were serving. We just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I was using a fly pattern that looked like a Humbolt Squid and it was good for the three days that I fished it. You may want to tie some up for your next fly fishing adventure.
Another idea that may improve your catching was borrowed from fly fishing Pyramid Lake near Reno, Nevada. At that lake many of the fly fishermen use a step ladder to get up a bit higher. This gets you out of the cold waves, your visibility is better, and it allows you to cast further. I used a three-step ladder with a nice platform top at La Piñta and was able to reach fish that I am normally 10-15 feet short on my cast. With the improved visibility I was able to direct my fly to more active fish. The elevation allows you to make longer back casts over the beach behind you. Best wishes, I hope the wind that you encounter in 2020 is favorable, and that you get the opportunity to get out and fish.
Vince Deadmond The Retired Fly Fishing Hardware Guy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 480 818 1796.