Fishing in Mexico

Part Three

Mike and Dorado
Photos from Mike Croft
Thanks for use permission!

The Flies

by Mike Croft

Fly selection for East Cape is really pretty simple. Your flies should represent your tackle and how you plan to fish. For example, under certain conditions Dorado travel in schools. The smaller fish are found at the top of the school, in shallower water. If you want to target the larger fish then you will have more luck if you fish your flies deep. You can do this with a shooting head system or by using clouser Minnows or weighted flies. You can, of course, use both.


Another good beach fly and good for casting into schools of dorado. This is a must have fly. 2-inch to 5-inch in length.


There are two physical states that you will find the fish. The normal state, in which the fish are simply moving around, and a state in which they are "lit up". You will see this "lit up" referred to in a lot of articles about billfish. However, billfish are not the only fish you can light up. Dorado, and roosterfish will also light up for you. In this state the fish is excited and interested in a meal. At times, when the fish are lit up it almost seems that you could throw a toilet seat out there and they would hit it. They are not too discriminating during the lit up phase.

Two more generic flies tied in dorado colors.

Generic Dorado Flies

At times the dorado will prefer flies tied in there own colors. One here is a tube fly and the other is a streaker.

Local guides will try and light up a school of fish by chumming. This works especially well for Dorado. In the normal state the fish aren't actively feeding but will hit a target of opportunity. In this state it helps to have a more accurate representation of the local baitfish.

Croft's Baby Bull Dorado.

Large flies such as this can tease a billfish into striking. You will recognize this as a variation of Ned Grays Streaker.

Baby Bull Dorado
Other good color combinations on large flies are mackerel green-backed patterns, purple and white, pink and white, black and white, as well as the standard blue and white.

By far the most important baitfish for this area is the Sardinia. Imagine a short 4-inch heavy set herring and you have a Sardinia. Two things to remember about Sardinia. Every thing eats them so they are 90% of your fly selection. Second, if the Sardinia are around in large numbers your trip is guaranteed. The most common size Sardinia comes in right at 4 inches. This is perfect for bucktail flies. When schools of Sardinia are pushed to the surface by dorado or tuna, then sardine poppers can be your best choice. The poppers have the ability to call fish from a great distance, with the added feature of a surface strike.

Croft's Marabou Sardinia.

Shown here in the brown phase. Usually this is a blue and white fly. Tied completely out of marabou except for the lateral line. This fly is impossible to foul as it is set so far back on the shank of the hook. Nothing here to

interfere with the gape of the hook. Like all other marabou flies it swims with great action.

Croft's East Cape Sardinia.

This fly has caught everything from sailfish to tuna. It is a good fly for times when the fish are not lit up and they like something more natural.

East Cape Sardinia
...And yes those are fish lips on this fly.

Two generic blue and white Sardinia patterns.

These two flies will give you 90% of your action.

Blue/White Sardinia

Tied here tube style and traditionally with a stinger hook.

Of lesser importance in descending order are mackerel, mullet and flying fish. Mullet and flying fish can be duplicated with dark blue or black back over a white or cream body. The mackerel has characteristic black stripes down his body, so look for green dyed grizzly for patterned striped backs on these flies. Mackerel and flying fish are used mostly for sailfish, while mullet are a favorite food of the roosterfish.

Unless you just can't stand them, tube flies are a good choice. I don't use tube flies anywhere else in the world except here. But the ability of the fly to slide up and out of the fishes mouth is a great feature of these flies. When fishing is hot, some fish can chew up a whole lot of standard flies in a day.

Smaller 2 and 3-inch clousers, or weighted flies work well from the shore. Poppers cast from the shore will also pick up the occasional rooster fish. These patterns can simply be scaled down versions of Sardinia.


Good beach flies and for times when the sardines are about and being pushed to the surface. These can be indispensable. You want at least a half dozen.


That in a nut shell is the 25 cent tour of Baja flies. For those who are tying your own flies be aware that no material is sacred. They all work. Color and size are important. Most important of all is FLASH!!! Don't skimp on your mylar flashabou or crystal flash.

Also don't store your flies in dark plastic boxes. Expect temperatures close to 100 degrees. At temperatures over 140 degrees the mylar will start to curl. It doesn't take much imagination to figure what would happen to a black flybox left in the sun unattended for a few hours.

~Mike Croft

Mike and 400 Flies for Cape

Mike and 400 Flies for Cape

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