Guest Speaker: Gary Bulla
Last Update: 03/16/2016
Fly Fishing the Edge
Gary Bulla’s presentation will take anglers through the fishing season in Baja Mexico. The diversity of fish in Baja waters means anglers can revisit Baja at other times of the year and have very different quarry. Panga fishing from large outboard skiffs close to deepwater can produce rod bending, spool burning skipjack and yellowfin tuna that test your knot tying.
It can also mean sight casting to rooster fish or dorado on the surface, a sport sure to provide a large dose of adrenalin when a fish takes a fly. Evenings are spent at a comfortable hotel tying flies, sampling tequila, tying leaders and comparing stories of big fish caught and wildlife like whales, dolphins, and turtles seen.
But fishing the edge in Baja can also mean paddling kayaks or wading in a river estuary among the mangroves casting lighter tackle for broomtail grouper, corvina, mangrove snapper, jack crevalle, spotted bay bass and African pompano. On this trip, nights are spent on a remote island with fine food and drink supplied at the base camp by experienced staff. No extra charge for swimming, snorkeling or relaxing on the sand and watching the stars.
Gary will share his discoveries with the club, including tackle and techniques for the dazzling variety of fish south of the border.
Before he discovered Baja, Gary Bulla grew up on the beaches and waters of the Southern California coast. He found salt-water fly fishing combined his long-time love for the ocean and his passion for fly fishing with the convenience of having big fish right at his back door. He quickly realized that there was not a great deal of information out there about catching salt-water species on the fly and began to use his knowledge of tides and tidal life to not only chase down surf perch, but also corbina, halibut, and sea bass. It seemed that there was a fishery right along the shores of Southern California that would provide a great recreation, with some awesome challenges for the flyfishers of the area who were having to commit to a long weekend in the Eastern Sierras or elsewhere to cast a line.
California corbina were the biggest and most interesting challenge. They were visible in the surf line-and a difficult challenge to the flyfisher. Perfect! Over the next few years, he spent his early mornings and late evenings patrolling the beaches, trying to develop presentations and flies that could bring to hand the corbina on a more consistent basis. He began guiding others and holding seminars on surf fishing. Through his website and a small community of hard core surf fishers the information on fly fishing the surf exploded, and so did the number of flyfishers walking the beaches. He also began cruising the kelp beds in his kayak, and developing flies that would attract the many varieties of fish found on the So. Calif.Coast.
In 1989, he began accompanying his wife Theresa, a teacher, on trips with her middle school children to camp at Baja’s Magdalena Island to experience the gray whales and their young. He brought a fly rod and he was astounded at the incredible variety of fish that were available in the waters of Baja. Thus began a second quest and more years of experimentation that have led to his being one of the most active fly fishing guides for Baja waters and one of the more knowledgeable salt-water fly-fishers from Point Conception to the Sea of Cortez. He has landed over 160 species of fish in the salt on the fly. And he holds IGFA World Record for flyrod (16 pound tippet) on California Yellowtail. He spends three months a year hosting fly fishing trips blue water panga trips at Punta Arena/Cerralvo Island (in the Sea of Cortez) and other saltwater destinations. He also guides kayak fly fishing trips to Magdalena Island, Espiritu Santo Island and San Jose Island. Back at home he presents programs, teaches surf fishing clinics, writes articles and guides in the surf in southern California waters. His photos have appeared in The Drake, Fly Rod and Reel, Patagonia Catalog, Flyfishing in Saltwaters, BBC Wild World and his feature article Flyfishing the Santa Barbara Surf just appeared in Southwest Flyfishing magazine..
Idyllwilde Flies named him a "Signature Tyer" and launched their saltwater line of flies using his proven patterns. The "Gremmie" surf fly is a classic and was featured in California Flyfisher magazine. Another fly that has become a standard big game fly in Baja and beyond is his “Tuna Tux”. It was featured in Tony Lolli's book "Go-to Flies".