Going to Puerto Penasco Weekend Before Christmas to Fish... Advice on Travel? Fly Fishing...

Ephemeral

Junior Member
#1
Greetings guys, I am from Durango, CO and am considering the drive to PP/RP to fly fish for the weekend. I've been expanding my fishing ever since the EPA released pollutants in my home river the Animas, which set the river back, and finally, in July, the river was pretty much killed off after the '416' fire and subsequent mudslides.

So, I find myself trying new places and have always wondered about Rocky Point. I know there is a travel advisory in effect, but believe the area to be no more dangerous than going back home to Chicago. There is danger every where, you just need to be smart about it.

That being said, if I am wrong, or if you can give me pointers on what not to do, or what to do, I would be appreciative. I went to Los Barriles (Baja) in 2015 with out incident and caught rooster fish, so I do know a bit, but from what I understand, beach fishing is different at RP.

Again, any advice you can offer in terms of whether it's worth it to get a guide off the beach to cruise us out in a boat, or what areas to stay away from, or where decent beach fishing is. My expectations are low. Just hoping to get some sun, and enjoy a different culture for a few days. Chasing Dorado would be icing on the cake.

Thank you gents, I appreciate it.

Be well,

Ed-Jack
 

Ephemeral

Junior Member
#3
Tico, thank you for the reply. Yes, it seems the trip to Rocky Point is with out restrictions. East side of Sonora is the sketchy part.

We just booked. Now I need to do research on fly fishing off shore unless I can find a reasonably priced guide to take me out for a few hours.

Looks like yellowtail should be around.

Ed-Jack
 

audsley

Well Known Member
Forum Supporter
#4
Fly rods and yellowtail? Hmmm... shows how little I know about saltwater flyfishing. I guess if you can handle a roosterfish on that rig you can probably do a yellowtail too, But a yellowtail of 20 lbs or more is a real handful..

Best bet is to pay someone to take you several miles out on a boat. Yellowtail fairly close to shore are plentiful 100 miles farther south around Puerto Lobos, a two-hour drive from Rocky Point., but I'd be surprised if there any near Rocky Point. Water is too shallow. I'm not aware of yellowtail being caught from shore anywhere although I suppose it's possible. We usually catch them trolling a mile or more from shore.

For dorado, you'd need to go even farther south to around San Carlos. That's a different trip taking a different route down Highway 15 about 6 hours from the border.. And dorado are more of a summer fish that far north. May to October is the best time for dorado around San Carlos.

Around Rocky Point you can catch triggerfish, small sand bass, leatherjacks and, if you're lucky, maybe some corvina or a small grouper. Low expectations will be important.

Other observations:

One weekend is too short after a drive down from Durango.
Safety shouldn't be a big concern, but don't drive in Mexico at night. Back to your place after dinner is okay, but don't go out on the highways.
Watch the weather reports. This region seems to be in for a series of winter storms this year. Sitting on the beach freezing isn't my idea of a good time.
Spring through fall is generally the best time to go to Rocky Point.
Be super-compliant with speed limits coming through the border town of Sonoyta. If stopped, ask to go to the police station to pay the fine. They might just let you go.
 

Ephemeral

Junior Member
#5
Audsley, thank you for the in-depth reply. I really appreciate it. I have very little experience salt water fishing, but have enjoyed much luck on the few times I've gone. Basically, we are mired in snow and cold here in Durango, and I have a few days off before the holiday; and I really like driving. I have very low expectations, but am an optimist. My buddy in Texas thinks I'm nuts, but also knows I am going for the wife and warm weather more than the fishing. We can take a drive down to Mexico and stay there for less money than a trip to Aspen when hotel accommodations are taken into consideration. This is more or less a scouting trip to see if we dig it. There looks to be a Jetty by the RV park that may be worth some time as well. Again, low expectations.

We have the trip planned around driving only during the day, and we expect to stay at the hotel the entire time until departure aside from walking the beach, which will be only during daylight hours. Major thanks for the heads up regarding Sonoyta. We will be at, or below the limit the entire way, no question, but the reminder is always welcome.



I really appreciate you taking the time to help out.

Ed-Jack
 

Roberto

Well Known Member
#6
Ed-Jack
There is a group of folk who get together and fly fish here . I met them just a few weeks ago at Latitude restaurant. There was 8 or so in the party. One of them is the 'guide' and instructor who may live in Penasco full time. they fished the day I met them out at La Pinta estuary, they had several small pontoon type one person floaters they used to get out into the estuary. but some waded out from shore. They told me they had a very successful day. I think the leader of the group has a regular column in the Rocky Point Times local newspaper and offers fly fishing instruction and equipment. You can view RPTimes on line. I will try to get some more information soon and post it for you. You may be able to hire him for a day. American guy so language is not an issue.

Don't think you can get on that Jetty. Depending on wind and water conditions you can fish the beach out there past the high rise condos. NOt a lot of folk on the beach. Same for Las Conchas on the other side of town,, nice open 5 miles of beach with lots of big houses but few people. Don't be put off by the guard gate. few people and there is a reef along there that you can walk to at low tide, might be good there. The local panga fisher men regularly net for corvina out there when the tide is in. I occasionally see large schools of small fish. If the Pelicans are gather up and diving in an area there is a large school of small fishes they are feeding on and prolly larger fish feeding on them as well. Careful you do not catch a pelican though!!

La Pinta is a really beautiful place out of the way and not frequented by lots of folk but close to town. good place for a kayak or tube floater. You can view it on google maps easily. the road in off the Caborca highway is good, no 4WD needed. there are a lot of local fisherfolk who work out of there in Pangas.

The big issue I think will be the wind here. It's a far piece from you to here so stay as many days as you are able. You will not regret it. It is very safe. I have not been shot at for several weeks now !! Some great restaurants, weather is decent in December, lots of sun, locals are nice and the beaches are fine. The Old Port or Malecon is the tourist trap with all the usual little shops and a few decent restaurants. wife might enjoy that.

Yes, when you cross the border or if you go through Ajo az, crawl along. Both are speed traps for the unwary travelers. Also do not drive like the locals in town who tend to ignore stop signs.
 
#8
Roberto,
Splendid and Thank you!
Yeah, wind always seems to be an issue when on open water. I was in Texas few weeks ago going after redfish and it was non-stop wind at 20 or more kts. We do plan on bringing several rods from 6-10 wt's to accommodate the wind with intermediate and floating lines, so we should be covered as far as that goes. Worse case, we pack it up and just walk the beach and take photos.

As far as fishing goes, I figure I'll throw clousers and EP Minnows and hope to find some bait being busted. We can always throw clousers over rocks and go for some smaller fish. Tell me, do you often see bait balls and are they harassed?

I do realize the temps will be low and most game fish will migrate south, but I've also seen they are willing to chase bait so if the water warms up, or the wind is out of the south, bait may move in and drag the game fish with them. You never know... it's a crap shoot fishing even in the best conditions. May as well roll the dice.

Thank you kindly for the info regarding the other options. Shame the Jetty may be off limits, I figured that would get me access to deeper water, but if it's not in the cards, so be it. As mentioned, this is really a scouting trip and a break from the snow. If things are as good as you guys are making them sound, I'll be back in more cooperative conditions. Either way, sharing some space with some fine locals is always good for the soul.

Thank you Roberto, I will read the RP Times link you posted and I'll be flying around google earth tonight checking out your suggestions.

Ed-Jack
 

Gandydancer

Junior Member
Forum Supporter
#9
Ed-Jack
There is a group of folk who get together and fly fish here . I met them just a few weeks ago at Latitude restaurant. There was 8 or so in the party. One of them is the 'guide' and instructor who may live in Penasco full time. they fished the day I met them out at La Pinta estuary, they had several small pontoon type one person floaters they used to get out into the estuary. but some waded out from shore. They told me they had a very successful day. I think the leader of the group has a regular column in the Rocky Point Times local newspaper and offers fly fishing instruction and equipment. You can view RPTimes on line. I will try to get some more information soon and post it for you. You may be able to hire him for a day. American guy so language is not an issue.

Don't think you can get on that Jetty. Depending on wind and water conditions you can fish the beach out there past the high rise condos. NOt a lot of folk on the beach. Same for Las Conchas on the other side of town,, nice open 5 miles of beach with lots of big houses but few people. Don't be put off by the guard gate. few people and there is a reef along there that you can walk to at low tide, might be good there. The local panga fisher men regularly net for corvina out there when the tide is in. I occasionally see large schools of small fish. If the Pelicans are gather up and diving in an area there is a large school of small fishes they are feeding on and prolly larger fish feeding on them as well. Careful you do not catch a pelican though!!

La Pinta is a really beautiful place out of the way and not frequented by lots of folk but close to town. good place for a kayak or tube floater. You can view it on google maps easily. the road in off the Caborca highway is good, no 4WD needed. there are a lot of local fisherfolk who work out of there in Pangas.

The big issue I think will be the wind here. It's a far piece from you to here so stay as many days as you are able. You will not regret it. It is very safe. I have not been shot at for several weeks now !! Some great restaurants, weather is decent in December, lots of sun, locals are nice and the beaches are fine. The Old Port or Malecon is the tourist trap with all the usual little shops and a few decent restaurants. wife might enjoy that.

Yes, when you cross the border or if you go through Ajo az, crawl along. Both are speed traps for the unwary travelers. Also do not drive like the locals in town who tend to ignore stop signs.
Once crossing the border definitely crawl all the way through town. My last trip to Rocky Point a small police pick-up truck was just ahead of me, until he built up a good line behind him. He then ducked off the main street only to appear on a street right before the boot charity people. Too bad for him I have been RP forum for many years as the line was still following me. Once you leave the boot charity and see the high-way speed sign ahead do not speed up until after the sign. Sister-in law got caught because she was speeding up to the limit before the sign. He hides out there. Fine was $50 no lets make it $60 cash he said.
 

Roberto

Well Known Member
#11
Vince Deadmond. [email protected] , 480 982 7461. He lives in Apache Junction AZ. He likes to talk. He reported in the December RP Times that they caught, (this otta get your blood a pumpin) Bone Fish, barracuda, Flounder, Grouper, Parrot, Pompano, Orange Mouth Corvina, Pargo, Rooster, Needle, Cabrilla, & Trigger. this was a week or so ago. Had 30 members fishing in various locations.
 
#12
Gandydancer - Crazy that's how they roll down there. Generally when I've gone south of the border I've flown, so I've never really been tested while driving, aside from ATV's on the beach or through small towns such as Los Barilles and La Ribera. Crazy they want payment in cash on the spot. I've read a few reviews about the drive and many suggest you ask to pay the judge directly as opposed to paying the police, as Audsley states above. That's a good idea. I expect to go super slow in hopes to avoid that situation. Thanks for the heads up!

Roberto - Thank you sir! Yes, this is excellent news. I had heard pez gallo make it over to your neck of the woods but I didn't think folks targeted them. That's quite a variety there. I looked at his articles, but didn't see any that were recent when dropping down for his columns on the RP Times site, so thank you very much for the info. I'll drop him an email and see if he'll share the odds of that happening. Really, I'm just hoping I can see something busting bait off the beach. The water will no doubt be cold but you just never know if you don't try. It looks like there are some emerged vegetation along the beach that may hold some fish as well. Again, thank you for the hook up, I do appreciate it.
 
#13
I have been fly fishing down there for the last year or so and fishing in general for the past 12 years. I'm still learning the ropes but fly fishing from shore is a blast. I've had great success catching leatherjackets and needle fish with some corvina, flounder and mullet thrown in. You can catch fish any time of the day, but the incoming tide seems to be most productive. The leatherjackets like to hunt where the waves break when the tide is in past the flats to the steeper part of shore. Fish the bottom more for mullet and flounder.

If you have a boat or pontoon, you can fish the reefs offshore for rock bass, trigger and possibly grouper. Sinking line is a must for these fish. Use clousers or crab/shrimp imitations. My go to is a size 2 clouser. The fish aren't all that picky or line shy. You might also find some sierra and mackerel near the surface when you're offshore. Look for diving birds and baitballs.

I use a 6 wt and 7 wt setups. The fish around rocky point aren't all that big, except the occasional 15-20 lb grouper. But I've only caught grouper that size trolling deep dive lures on normal tackle. If you decide to venture south to Puerto Lobos, you might want something bigger. I was down there on Monday and saw plenty of skipjack on the surface. I couldn't get any to bite, but they put up quite a fight and if you were lucky enough to find some boiling yellowtail you would surely need something stout to bring them in.
 
#14
Estevan - That's great news! Yeah, I plan on having 6-10 as far as rods go as well as sinking/intermediate and floating lines. I figure clousers, shrimp and bait fish patterns will be good to have on hand. It looks like I'll have the high tide Saturday/Sunday (22nd-23rd) afternoon, so that's when I'll be out. Again, low expectations, but if I can score something from the beach, that'd be great!!

If we decide to shoot south to Puerto Lobos, what is the condition of the road? Trying to decide if we take the jeep or Subaru...

Thanks Estevan!
 
#15
The road is pretty good. There are some potholes from the recent rains between Penasco and the Mayan Palace and then a rough area with quite a few potholes between the Mayan and a security checkpoint about 30 miles outside of Penasco. Beyond that the road is in good shape. Just take it slow in the area with potholes and you should be fine.

One thing I did fail to mention - I fly fished from shore this past weekend at Playa Miramar near the Mayan Palace and had no luck at all. I barely saw any sign of catchable fish. This, I'm sure, had to do with the MILLIONS of bait fish congregated within about 100 feet of shore. It looked like an oil slick between 25 to 100 feet wide as far as I could see in both directions. I have seen bait balls in the past, but nothing like this. We threw a casting net and caught hundreds of fish about 2-3 inches long. And most of the fish were able to slip through the net as they were too small to catch. Needless to say, the fish I normally catch from shore probably weren't hungry.
 
#16
Estevan - So there weren't any predators working over the bait? Usually when it's oily the fish are getting busted pretty good by fish or birds. Hey man, I really appreciate the up to date info, I really do. Good to know there is bait so close in. How long did you fish it? I'm wondering if something came whipping in before you got there and caused the slick?

I've had that happen on trout streams, during stonefly and caddis hatches, where the hatches are so good before you get there, none of the fish are hungry anymore. Proves you actually can have too much of a good thing.

Thanks again for the intel Estevan. This helps out a lot.
 
#17
I fished for about 4-5 hours total. Birds were everywhere and I would try to fish near groups of diving birds in hopes there were fish pushing the bait towards the surface, but that didn't work. Occasionally I would see the bait scatter or a 5-6 ft diameter opening moving in the bait, which I figured were predators. Still no luck. I even went out in the kayak to fish back side of the "slick" hoping there were bigger fish cruising, nothing. I really think there was just too much competition for my little clouser. I may be off on this, but there was a bit of rain and wind last week that may have pushed the bait fish close to shore because the last day I was there (yesterday) the "slick" seemed to be thinning out and the birds weren't as focused on the shoreline.

My father in law launched his boat from shore a week earlier and went out about a half a mile and did really well. Lots of activity and some people down the beach even caught some small yellowtail, which I haven't seen around the east beaches.
 
#18
Estevan - Nope, it sounds like you covered all your bases. There probably were some larger fish around, but as you say, too much competition. I've found sometimes when fish key in on something, that's all they want. I don't have a great deal of experience with saltwater, but I've seen trout actually move a mayfly out of the way and take a caddisfly, and vice versa. It's crazy, you have to perfectly match the hatch. Not just size, shape, color but also behavior.

Yeah, I was hoping for some Yellowtail. It's a long shot from shore, but you never know. Great info, thank you!!
 

Roberto

Well Known Member
#19
Huge number of small fishes trapped in a pool during the receding tide this morning out in section 5 in Las Conchas. Birds were working it hard. too shallow for larger fish.
 
#20
Roberto - Thank you! I think I read you guys have crazy tides there, so those guys were just caught at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Really good to know there's bait that close in. I imagine there are larger fish in the troughs lying in wait. This is great news.
 
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