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A Shake of the Head

by John Dutton
Fly Fishing Catalog 2006

Fly fishing, I grant you, takes skill to cast, a practiced eye to find fish and a subtle presentation to convince the fish to take a collection of feathers, and perhaps some fast reflexes to hook the fish when the opportunity rises. But an action sport? No. Whenever I’d read fishing writers’ reports of heart-stopping action I always just shook my head.

Yet here I am, on the bow of a panga on Baja’s East Cape, swiveling my head like someone in need of an exorcism, and sweating, not because of the heat, but in anticipation of the jacks’ next strike. Michael, in the rear of the boat, is equally ramped up. When the pangero tosses out a handful of live bait, we wait, fly rods in hand. The jacks come in low in packs of three or four, and then explode on the bait at the surface in a blast of white water.

About the Author
John Dutton is an editor at Patagonia, and divides his time between reading Scuba Bunnies to his daughter and fishing, surfing and paddling the Santa Barbara Channel.