Many fly fishers look forward to the winter months for Steelhead fishing. While I like pursuing big strong fish with a fly rod, I really don’t like chilly weather, snow suits, grey skies, and yellow snow. Visiting Puerto Peñasco, Mexico during the winter is my version of living the dream. The sparkling sea, warm sandy beaches, and palm trees have made Jimmy Buffett a successful songwriter and singer. Sitting in my pontoon boat, in the Sea of Cortez on a warm sunny day, catching Trigger, Orange Mouth Corvina, Pompano, Flounder, Cabrilla, and Grouper has confirmed that I have made a good choice for a winter vacation.
Many first time visitors to Rocky Point come down with a group. My first trip was with the Desert Fly Caster fly club over twenty years ago. In November, the club was back for their 52 anniversary of fishing Rocky Point, and I was one of the club hosts. It was good to see so many people having fun and enjoying what Rocky Point has to offer. Our group of 40 was a significantly larger than we had attracted in the last few years.
Most of the Desert Fly Casters, myself included, could be considered crusty old curmudgeon fly fishers, but we are always trying to recruit younger guys and gals to pass along our passion for fly fishing to keep the sport vital. Many of the gals are excellent fly fishers and take instruction better than the guys. For several years we had a lady president of the club (Cinda Howard) who worked at the Orvis Store in Scottsdale and now is a full time fishing guide. My daughter Suzi, grew up fishing Rocky Point beaches, getting good casting instruction, and routinely out fishes everyone else in her fishing group. If you think you would enjoy fly fishing check out the Desert Fly Casters at www.desertflycasters.com in the Phoenix area, or in Tucson Old Pueblo Trout Unlimited www.optu.org both clubs are a great way to get into fly fishing.
I want to share a Rocky Point secret with you, Flounder fishing is at its best during the winter months. My most successful Flounder trips have been to the first and second estuaries. Flounder seem to like these beaches on the incoming tide. Once you find a beach with Flounder you usually can find them on the same beach, trip after trip. Sometimes I have located Flounder by simply walking the beach and observing. Flounder will lay on the bottom and aggressively attack minnows passing over their head. When you see this, it is a good time to make a cast with your 6 weight fly rod and your Clouser Minnow fly. Many times the Flounder will be right off your rod tip, so be ready. You do not need to make a long cast, I usually strip strike and move my rod tip to the side rather than lift. This technique will hook and land more fish. When you land your first Flounder you will notice many sharp teeth and a hard bony mouth. It is important to use a really sharp hook to get a good solid hook up.
Another good fishing trip is to launch your pontoon boat at Mirador Beach on an incoming tide. Since I keep a trailer at the Playa de Oro RV Park this is a favorite launch site for me. The incoming tide will carry you into town. I use fast sinking fly lines for this trip and usually bounce Clouser Minnows off the bottom. I usually catch a good number of fish on my way to the Vina Del Mar Hotel, my usual turn around spot. Many times we stop for breakfast or lunch while we wait for the tide to change. When the tide changes it will take you back to your launch site. The tide will push you along without you needing to work very hard to get where you want to go. Winter fly fishing in Mexico sounds much more attractive than winter ice fishing anywhere else. Hope you brought your fly fishing stuff and that we will get a chance to meet on the Sea of Cortez.
Vince Deadmond “The Fly Fishing Hardware Guy” can be reached at Best Hardware 237 N Apache Trail Apache Junction, AZ, firstname.lastname@example.org and at (480) 982-7461.