Bill Flick is a Marine Biologist who retired from Cornell University after a lengthy career in the Adirondaks near Lake Placid, where he studied brook trout until his retirement in 1985. Since 1961, he has been a fly-fishing devotee. I talked with him from his Livingston, Montana home. He was in-between catching dorado and yellow-fin in Mexico and next month's excursion to British Columbia where he will go after steelhead.
Flick, Cabela's fly-fishing consultant, recently ventured south of the border for the first time and found the waters to his liking. "I've fished in a lot of places since 1961, but I didn't know there was a place where it was calm every day. In the (Florida) Keys, you have one good day and about 12 that are too windy. In the Bahamas, you get about 3 out of 4 that are too windy for fly-fishing. Mexico was beautiful every day," he said.
"My fishing buddy, Gary King, and I went down this past May. I had talked with a friend who was down there in February, and he said the fishing was good. I figured that if it was good in February it would be better in March and even better in May," he said. Flick booked a trip with Ed Beattie at Outdoor Adventures and headed to Mexico. We were going after dorado and we caught some, but I learned that July is really the prime month. It's just very hot then, but I'd endure about anything if the fishing is good. This region only gets about an inch of rain a year, so the skies are always blue and winds moderate," he added.
Flick's number one target was dorado, with the possibility of hooking up a marlin. When life delivers a fisherman lemons, a resourceful fisherman makes lemonade. While searching for dorado, they got into schools of lemon-colored tuna that gave them a new awareness of the meaning to an old adage - "It's not the dog that's in the fight, but the fight that's in the dog."
"We didn't expect to run into yellow fin tuna, but we got into them in good numbers. I've caught a lot of 100-pound tarpon, but none of them could compare to the fight that a 35-pound tuna puts up. I've caught a lot of fish, and I can put a lot of pressure on a fish without tearing up my equipment, but it took about 20 to 25 minutes to land these scrappers. They are incredibly strong for their size," he said.
When our guide located a school of feeding tuna, he would throw live sardines into the water, and we would cast to the feeding schools. We were mainly using Deceivers
and 9-weight rods.
The tuna were an excellent distraction, but it didn't take long for Flick to refocus on his intended objective. "We fished for tuna for two days and dorado for 3 days. Due to the time of year, dorado are spread out far and wide, and the Sea of Cortez is too big to blind cast," he said. To narrow down the water, they used a technique that required trolling.
In explanation of a fly-fisherman's quirks, Flick illustrated the techniques necessary to adapt to the season's dictates. "Fly-fishermen are not into trolling, but we'd hook-up on the trolling rig, and take turns fighting the dolphin on the trolling rig to lure others close." Dolphin usually travel in pairs, and when you hook up, their traveling mate will come to the boat with the hooked fish. That technique worked well a number of times, but a lot of the fish we hooked into were bull dolphin, and they often travel alone. We would hook a bull that was alone and have to fight him on the trolling rig, but there wouldn't be a companion to catch on our fly rods," he said.
Most anglers would be thrilled to catch a dolphin on any rig, but Flick is a fly-fisherman -period. "I'd never fished for dorado before, but it was a thrill watching them fight. Their colors are spectacular, and they jump and run like a tarpon. Their jumps were beautiful to watch, with the average size between 40 to 45 pounds. I'm looking forward to going back in July. The guides were excellent as well as the food and accommodations, and it was a great price for the action we enjoyed," he said.
"During July, I'm told, it gets very hot but they fish from daylight to about 10 AM, and then from late afternoon till dark. I can stand about anything for good fishing," he said.
For more information of fishing dorado, tuna, or the Sea of Cortez, contact Ed Beattie at Cabela's Outdoor Adventures, or click here
Frank Ross grew up on a lake in Florida, where fishing and hunting were second nature. He has pursued his passion from the jungles of South America to the northern reaches of the Arctic Circle and most points in between. With a background in newspapers, the wire services and magazines that began in 1970, Frank brings a unique perspective to his work with Cabela's. He is an award-winning photographer with a flair for getting to the bottom line of every story.
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