Dorado


If there’s one species that’s perfectly matched to the technique of fly fishing its Corypheana hippurus or the Dorado. Long runs and acrobatic jumps coupled with stunning beauty make this fish the most sought after species for those who come to Loreto during the summer months.

In Trey Combs’ book Bluewater Fly Fishing the first chapter is on Dorado and the setting is Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico. What an excellent compliment this is for our own fishing waters! Loreto is probably the place on earth where an IGFA record for Dorado, in both the men’s and women’s divisions, is still entirely possible. Dorado in the fifty pound class and above are not uncommon here.

In June, we celebrate the arrival of the Dorado, the “golden fish”. Dorado are attracted to our area by large populations of bait fish and squid, and stay in the area because of the high amount of floating seaweed (sargasso) that is characteristic in summer. The Dorado swim our waters in thick schools from June to early August, then their numbers begin to taper off as the Sea Surface Temperatures rise above their liking in August and September. During these two hottest months, the lone bulls swim the waters. The numbers of Dorado caught decrease but size of individual fish increases. This is when records are landed, and personal bests are caught.

 

photo courtesy of Doug Goldsmith

Corypheana hippurus: World-wide in distribution and found in all waters that reach 68 (F)., they grow 40 pounds within their first 12 months of life, however they pay for this high metabolic rate with a greatly shortened life span. Few Dorado reach three years with the oldest known specimen being only four years old. More than 90% of Dorado are caught at less than 12 months of age. Dorado reach sexual maturity by the time they are 22 inches in fork length and 3 to 5 months of age.   From the 2007 World Record Game Fishes, published by the International Game Fish Association. www.igfa.org

 

For the fly angler, Loreto in the season of Dorado is like a dream come true. You head out during a tequila sunrise on a glassy calm sea in search for fish. Your captain locates or brings them up to the surface with deep sinking chum, and keeps them there for you with live sardinas. Once the fish key in on the treats that are being tossed out at them, they will swarm below the boat, right at your feet.

Literally the entire day can be spent casting, landing, releasing and repeating this cycle. You may find one fly will work for the entire day, but the next day they may be picky and you will change flies several times. On a typical day in mid-Dorado season, fly anglers will catch and release over 20 Dorado in a day!

There’s one thing that has changed about Loreto since the writing of Trey’s book, is the attitude that the Pangueros (captains) have about fly fishermen. It was not long ago when more than 99% of the Pangeros either despised or just tolerated fly fishermen, with our barbless hooks, and catch and release mentality. Well, that attitude has changed and an increasing number of Pangueros actually prefer to captain for long rodders!