A popular and generally reliable fishing spot is along the Paseo del Pescador, the concrete sidewalk that meanders from Playa Madera to Playa Municipal. To find the exact location, stroll along the walk in the evening and watch for a knot of local anglers throwing hand-lines. Do not bother to bring your fly rod on this stroll. There is little room for the back cast of a fly-fisher among this happy crowd whirling weighted mono filament overhead.
Oddly, and thankfully, the walkway here is often vacant just before dawn, and if you do encounter encounter other fishers, you can opt for one of the rocky prominences so long as the surf is not high. Jack crevalle and black snook (often called robalo) hunt the rock-strewn, weedy bottom all night and search the top water at first light. To find the fish, skate the fly across the surface—jacks cannot resist attacking frantic bait fish skittering the top water. The angler is not in the best position to hook a fish using this method, but the wild explosions of water around the fly will quickly reveal the presence of jacks. Cast to the same area again, quickly stuff the rod handle and reel up under your armpit and with both hands, haul the fly-line into the stripping basket as fast as possible. As the horizon brightens, I allow the fly to sink a few feet before employing this speedy retrieve. When the morning sun strikes the water full on, the bait fish generally dart for deeper water and the predators lose interest in the area.
Near this sidewalk location, silt laden Canala Boquita flows into the bay. The silt, constantly churned by wave action, attracts the spawning black snook. He is an outsize denizen of murky water and weedy bottoms, and always on the prowl for unwary bait fish tucked into the gloom. To catch the black snook, retrieve the fly several feet beneath the surface employing a random, crippled rhythm. The attack of a black snook, a fish that can weigh twenty pounds or more, is akin to hooking a Mack truck pulling away from a stop sign; a slow powerful start and very soon, freeway speeds.
The lofty rocks at the north end of Playa la Ropa offer an opportunity to capture rocketing needle fish, fierce little jacks, ambushing cabrilla, and an occasional lunker pargo. Wave action strips a multitude of diminutive sea life from the underwater portions of these towering basalt pelican perches, and these morsels disperse among the rocks for the pleasure of bait fish. Here again, the presence of bait fish attracts larger predators. This too is an early morning fishery; miss first light, miss the best fishing.
To attract cabrilla, employ a slow, methodical retrieve close to the rocky bottom. The cabrilla will watch from his hideaway, and if all seems well, will launch from his lair. The hit is jolting, then the cabrilla whirls and dives swiftly back toward his rocky hole. The attack of a cabrilla is quite different from the slam of a jack or the lunge of a snook—more of a heavy, prolonged grab and head shake. The trick is to immediately recognize this and promptly lift the rod tip while checking the line. The angler must stop the cabrilla immediately, and then this excellent table fish will quit early. However, if the angler gives line, the cabrilla will take the fly through a rocky labyrinthine to his hideaway. The angler may imagine the line impossibly snagged, and sometimes this is so, but keep serious pressure, and after some moments, this stubborn fish often follows the line back out into open water where he can be brought onto the beach without much difficulty.