Discover Surfcasting On Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Pictured above: Big crevalle jacks fight like the devil, especially in the last wave, where they refuse to give ground. Photo by JM Basile

I could just barely make out my lure as I retrieved it across the surface. On my second cast, I thought I saw a boil behind my plug just yards from the beach, but I wasn’t sure if it was just wishful thinking. Before my next cast, I glanced over where the other three fishermen were casting. Against the sand, I could make out the silhouette of a fisherman leaning back against a bent rod. The morning bite had begun. I began casting feverishly, “Speed up your retrieve!” shouted my friend Todd from down the beach.

dorsal “comb” of a roosterfish

The distinctive dorsal “comb” of a roosterfish slices through the surf as the fish heads back to deep water. -Photo by JM Basile

I ripped my lure across the surface, and as it skipped through the large swell, the feathered dorsal fin of a roosterfish (locally known as “Pez Gallo” surfaced behind the plug. The “comb” cut the surface in a sharp S-pattern before the fish swam wide right and then lunged violently at the plug, taking it down in an explosion of white water.

Use reels with strong drags for roosters and jacks.

Reels should have high retrieve ratios and strong drags in order to skip lures and subdue hard-fighting roosters and jacks. -Photo by JM Basile

Casting from a steep-sloping beach on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, with a sun rising at your back, feels just like casting for stripers in the Northeast, except of course for the palm trees behind you and the cobalt-blue surf full of exotic species in front of you.

Rods must be long and stout to subdue tropical gamefish in big surf.

Rods must be long and stout in order to cast heavy lures long distances and skip them across the surface, and to subdue tropical gamefish in big surf.

Roosterfish are the primary target species, but jacks, cubera snapper, houndfish, and sierra mackerel could take down a plug or metal as well.

Roosters run the beaches south of Puerta Vallarta in the late summer and early fall, while they can be found on Baja California’s beaches starting in the spring.

ATVs are used to cover the vast coastline of Pez Gallo

ATVs are used to cover the vast stretches of undeveloped coastline to find feeding fish. -Photo by JM Basile

Many of the fast-moving species in the Mexican surf respond best to lures being skipped across the surface. Pencil poppers, heavy bottle-neck poppers, and metal lures are the most popular.

  1. jquellman

    great memories! what a thrill.
    got my jc first cast on la playa of the planet of apes/csl using an hopkins metal jig. that fish had me sprinting up/down and in the surf.

    Reply
  2. Alex lowe

    Jimmy fee have you ever been there? Keep burning spots/areas on the water, blood money,you’ll burn every last spot for a buck

    Reply

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