I love fish, always have and always will. Ever since I was a kid fish have mesmerized me. I am infinitely intrigued by the variations of fish shapes, sizes, colors, fin formations, feeding habits and so on and so forth. I think that is why I have always loved pictures and paintings of fish so much, because each fish is truly a work of natural art. Brook trout have red fins and crazy dots, striped bass have lines, albies have beautiful patterns on their backs, bluefin tuna have vertical teardrop patterns, steelhead transform from bright chrome to a myriad of color variations, bonefish look really cool from the top down, brown trout sometimes have red dots and sometimes not, atlantic salmon jump, marlin literally light up, tarpon are silver, snook have one lateral line, redfish are red, bluefish are blue and roosterfish have hair. Ok, well its not really hair it’s a “comb” but it looks like hair. And, ready for this? When a roosterfish gets all fired up and excited the comb sticks straight up out of the water! So, I am not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to fish biology, why fish do this or that and all that sort of stuff. In-fact, when it comes to fish, I don’t know that much has changed since I was a kid with a bobber and worm. The only thing I know is that I love fish and fish mesmerize me. So, several years ago I saw a picture of a roosterfish that my friend Kory had caught on the fly. Immediately, when I saw that fish with its beautiful patterns and ‘hair’ sticking up, I was mesmerized and dreamed of the day when I might get a chance to fly fish for roosterfish. Well, some years passed and to make a long story short, I became good friends with Jeff DeBrown. Jeff has lived full time in Mexico for 9 years or so, loves saltwater fly fishing, speaks fluent Spanish and owns The Reel Baja. So, when Jeff invited me down to try my luck at Roosterfish I knew that this was a once and a lifetime opportunity. I asked Jeff if Joey could join me and Jeff said, “Ya sure, Justin and Kate (aka K8) will be down here at that time too and it will be fun.” Well, “fun” was an understatement. It was nothing short of incredible. Justin and Kate had driven down to Mexico from Oregon in an old diesel pick up truck! Jeff fished the 5 of us in every way possible. We fished for roosterfish from the beach and from pangas and Jeff guided Joey and myself to our first roosterfish on the fly. I don’t know what made the trip better, the fish or the people? The roosterfish is an amazing species of fish and fishing for them is very similar to other rewarding species of fish. There were often long durations of time with no action and no sign of roosterfish, followed by heart pumping windows of opportunity. Fly fishing for roostefish is all about getting “shots.” Some days we would get 5 shots and other days we would get 20 shots at fish. And, when you get your shot it is important to make it count. It happens fast. The roostefish appears out of nowhere. Its comb is sticking out of the water and it is keyed in on a sardina, mullet or lady fish that is running for its life. It is a very visual experience and its important to get your fly to the fish quickly. Limited false casting, being able to cast into the wind, maintaining your composure and fly line management are just a few of the important keys to success. Then, there is the fly! The fly has to be good. It was very common to have a roosterfish raise his comb and get fired up on the fly and then refuse the fly at the very last minute. I will never forget one afternoon where Jeff and I were fishing together. Jeff spotted a solo “grande” roosterfish cruising the beach. He helped position me ahead of where the fish was traveling and then it was up to me. I saw the fish coming. I made a good cast ahead of the fish. The fish saw the fly, turned on the fly and raised its comb. This was a big fish! I kept stripping the fly at the same speed. The fish was all fired up now and its comb was fully out of the water. My fly and the fish were getting closer to the beach. I swear I could see the fish’s eyeballs about 3 inches behind my fly. I crouched down, way down so the fish wouldn’t see me. He’s going to eat it, eat it! eat it! … I had no more room to strip the fly as it was almost on the beach! The fish followed it within a few feet of me and then turned away. That’s the game, and that is what makes it so much fun! In regards to the people, they were all equally as cool as the fish. I felt very comfortable in a foreign country with Jeff. He knew all the locals, all of the places to eat (which is critical) and I did not have to stumble around trying to get by with the few words of Spanish I know. And, after 9 years of living there full time, he truly understands how to fish for roosterfish, big jack crevalle, mahi, marlin, tuna and many other species. The local Mexican people that I met were top notch. And, it was great to have Justin and Kate there with us to fish and hang out with. I will never forget riding down the endless dirt roads in the back of their diesel truck that Joey referred to as “The Starship Enterprise.” So, thank you Jeff, Joey, Justin, Kate and everyone else I met down in Mexico for helping make my roosterfish reality better than my roosterfish dream!