After 8 previous trips to Bahia La Tortuga, I consider owners John and Angelica Lorenz to be good friends, first, and lodge proprietors second. I've been keeping in touch with John, between trips, for the past several years. I enjoy hearing about the fishing activities and it's rare for us to go more than a couple of months without some form of communication. Having said that, I get a pretty good perspective on the inshore and offshore fishing, throughout the year. All of my previous trips have fallen in the months between October and December, and I am currently booked to fish there again (my 10th trip) the first part of January, 2014. I had really never considered fishing there during the summer months. Not until John and I exchanged several phone calls and emails, in early June.
I had always preferred inshore fishing, to offshore, due to the fact that our inshore fishing was usually always fast and furious, and I love the action. It's a personal preference, and although I'd usually devote at least one day to offshore fishing, I was always eager to spend the bulk of my fishing time, inshore. That changed during my last trip, in December of 2012, when my fishing buddy and I brought 19 Sailfish to the boat, in 4 days of fishing. Blue water was just a few miles offshore, and therefore we were trolling for Sails shortly after leaving the marina, without the usual long hauls to the fishing waters. It would be an understatement to say that the Sailfish fishing was anything short of spectacular. I believe we had a total of 4 doubles during those 4 days of fishing, and brought every one to the boat, on our own relatively light gear. It was a blast, and I was now a convert (kind of) to offshore fishing, although it's hard to describe it as "offshore", considering how close we were to shore.
OK, now more about my latest trip. John and I had been keeping in touch, as we usually do, and he was telling me that fishing had been really hot (not just the temperature), and they were taking many Sails, and also getting into a lot of Yellowfin Tuna. They were having to go 15-20 miles offshore, but once they found the fish, they were really enjoying some great fishing. That got my fish blood pumping, and I told John that I'd like to come down for a few days and get in on the action. It was going to be a long time before my January trip, and I didn't want to wait that long before getting back down there. He said: "Come on down!", and so I booked a short, 4 day stay at the end of June. I have never gone down there, solo, and due to some other commitments here at home, I had to reduce the length of my usual stay.
Oh, I failed to mention that John has been diligently working on developing and honing the fine art of offshore fly fishing for Sails. Not only have some of his clients been successful in catching Sailfish, and a couple of other species, on a fly rod, but John himself has brought Sailfish to the boat on fly rod, and is "hooked" on this technique. He told me: "We're going to get you a Sailfish on a fly rod." My first thought was: "Yeah, right."
I'm not going to go into a long narrative about the next 3 days of fishing, because I've already rambled on too long, and haven’t even gotten to the details of this latest trip.
On our first morning on the water, we spent the first 2 hours inshore, hoping to pick up a couple of Bonito for bait "teasers." I caught one, but the action was very slow and so we headed offshore. When we got to the 100 fathom line, John's deck hand prepared the teaser baits and John got the fly rod rigged up and ready for action.
We began to troll two teaser baits, and I was "at the ready" with the fly rod. My optimism was less than high, and I had resolved to the fact that this was going to be an effort in futility.
We hadn't been trolling long, when my daydreaming was abruptly shattered by the unmistakable sound of a reel "going off", as a Sailfish grabbed one of the hookless, teaser baits.
John quickly grabbed one pole and his deckhand the other, and as they furiously began to bring the teasers toward the boat, I was quickly trailing the large, popper type fly back toward the incoming teaser baits. About the time the fly and teasers were about to pass, I saw a swirl as the popper disappeared. I was trying to keep composed, and respond correctly, which meant I was to quickly attempt to set the hook by pulling back sharply on the fly line, while slightly bringing the rod to one side. This all happened in a nanosecond, and I suddenly felt a painful burning sensation across my left index finger, as the powerful fish peeled line off of my reel at hyper speed, effectively leaving a friction burn across my finger before I could release the line.
I won't bore the reader with the details of the epic battle, but it was memorable. I'm not sure how long it took to bring the fish to the boat, but my ability to continue the fight much longer, was ebbing quickly. Thankfully, I had a very good hook set, and as long as I, or the equipment, didn't fail, that fish was caught.
If I were a betting man, which I just happen to be, I'd have bet anything that this wasn't going to happen. I'd actually hooked and boated my first fish on a fly rod, on my first attempt. It was the "perfect storm" of events that morning, and I was very happy to "give John big kudos", because he has definitely learned how to do this. He was an excellent teacher and coach, and I think I was a pretty good student.
I did some inshore fishing the following two days, and picked up a few smaller Dorado and a very nice Jack, but this Sailfish on a fly will always be the highlight of my fishing out of Bahia La Tortuga Fishing Lodge. Will I try it again sometime? Perhaps. If I don't, I'm content to know that I did it, and was successful. It was truly an exciting and rewarding experience. Thanks John.
So, I'll be back again in January, and look forward to whatever the fishing gods have in store for me. I know it will be a great trip, as have all my previous 8 trips to Bahia La Tortuga.
- Also Known As:
- Bahia La Tortuga Fishing Hotel Guerrero
- Bahia La Tortuga Fishing Lodge Mexico/Guerrero