Today, we’re diving deep into Baja Fly Fishing with James Shaughnessy, founder of Beulah Fly Rods. Get ready to discover where to find the elusive roosterfish, how to approach them, and why a steelhead mindset is essential for success. Whether you’re a seasoned fly fisher or just starting, this episode is packed with tips and tricks on the best fly rods for different seasons and the ideal rod weight for this year’s roosterfish adventure. So, grab your gear and join us for an engaging and informative chat with one of the industry’s best.

Show Notes with James Shaughnessy on Baja Fly Fishing. Hit play below! 👇🏻

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Episode Chapters with James Shaughnessy on Baja Fly Fishing

1:57 – James recounts his early fishing experiences, starting as a child in Puerto Rico, where he fished off beaches and developed a deep love for the ocean. His passion continued in Florida, where he fished for inshore species like sea trout and snook.

6:04 – He shares his journey into the fishing rod industry, detailing his extensive background and specialization in fly fishing. Having worked in fly shops and as a guide, he gained significant exposure to fly rods.

James highlights that the switch rods were a pioneering product, as they were among the first commercial series available, setting his company apart. This innovation was well-received, leading to the development of fly lines specifically designed for switch rods, which were scarce at the time.

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11:18 – James describes Baja as one of the best fishing spots in the world, likening it to a 900-mile pier. He highlights the accessibility of the beaches, the variety of species, and the ease of catching large sport fish like marlin and roosterfish close to shore due to the deep waters of the Sea of Cortez. He also emphasizes the friendly locals and the overall safety and beauty of the area.

14:19 – He elaborates on the challenges of catching roosterfish, particularly from the beach. He explains that even with live bait, roosterfish are notoriously difficult to catch due to their sharp instincts and tendency to reject bait. Catching them from the beach requires perfect timing, luck, and skill, making it a highly rewarding endeavor for dedicated fishermen.

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16:15 – We dig into their operations in Baja which run during prime fishing months, offering trips usually consisting of five to six days of fishing. The busiest months are from May to July, and they resume after hurricane season in October, extending to Pacific side trips in November and December.

22:23 – He discusses the unique dorsal fin of roosterfish and its role in their hunting strategy. James explains that the fin is used to corral bait, such as sardines, by creating a vortex that traps the prey, making it easier for the roosterfish or its companions to catch it. This behavior is particularly evident during their feeding frenzy, which presents a prime opportunity for anglers to target them.
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23:17 – James elaborates on the gear and techniques for targeting fishing roosterfish. From a boat, anglers typically use flies that mimic the baitfish in size and color. When fishing from the beach, larger flies are used to stand out among the baitfish schools, as roosterfish quickly dart in and out during their attacks.

29:36 – For targeting roosterfish, James recommends the Beulah G2 10wt rod, which is versatile enough for various conditions and effective for casting and fighting fish. He mentions that a 12wt rod might be used for larger fish but generally sticks to 10 or 11wt rods. For flies, James reiterates the effectiveness of a standard six-inch fly mullet pattern for roosterfish.

39:16 – James explains that the trips run from Saturday to Saturday, with guests flying in, picked up by a van, and transported a couple of hours up the coast. There are also opportunities for evening trips to fish for species like cubera snapper.
“The biggest of all snapper species feast on fish, shrimp, and crabs and are easily able to tackle even tougher fare because of large strong teeth. PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID FLEETHAM, ALAMY” (Photo via:
41:40 – James shares a story about a group of enthusiastic fishermen from Ukraine and Russia, one of whom aimed to catch as many different species as possible, ultimately catching 16 species in a week. The various species include African pompano, Golden trevally, Dorado, Milkfish, Billfish, Wahoo, Sailfish, and Marlin.
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45:31 – He explains that roosterfish are present throughout the year, but their activity varies with the seasons. He notes that they are particularly aggressive starting in July, and beach fishing can be excellent despite the heat. He mentions that while roosterfish are around all year, the larger ones tend to migrate out by the end of October.

James also outlines his fishing schedule, stating he fishes for Marlin in Mag Bay in November and December, then returns to Oregon for steelhead fishing in the winter. He spends August striper fishing in Maine while visiting family, indicating his year-round dedication to fishing.


48:23 – James elaborates on the extensive range of rods offered by Beulah. Their lineup includes rods for freshwater and saltwater fishing, ranging from lightweight single-hand rods for trout to heavier two-hand overhead and spey rods. He highlights the versatility of their products, including travel-friendly six-piece rods.

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49:49 – For steelhead fishing, James’ go-to rod is a 12-foot 8 and 6wt rod. For winter steelhead, he prefers the 12-foot 8wt rod. These rods are designed to handle different conditions and fish sizes, with James highlighting their effectiveness in various fishing scenarios, such as tight coastal streams and larger steelhead in Washington.

56:33 – We start with our random segment. James reminisces about listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, and Frank Zappa, highlighting his diverse taste in music.

57:25 – I ask James for advice he would have given to his younger self when he first started fly fishing. He emphasizes the importance of being careful while wading, as beginners often wade too deep and lack proper grip on their boot soles, which can lead to accidents.

You can find James on Instagram @FlyFishMex and @BeulahFlyRods.

Facebook at Fly_Fish_Mex and Beulah Fly Rods.

Visit their websites at and

baja fly fishing

baja fly fishing

Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 463 – Rogue River Fly Fishing wtih Jon Hazlett – Steelhead, Spey Tips, Griswolds

Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below

baja fly fishing

Conclusion with James Shaughnessy on Baja Fly Fishing

Our chat with James Shaughnessy has provided invaluable insights into the world of Baja fly fishing. From locating the elusive roosterfish to adopting a steelhead mindset for success, James has shared plenty of tips and tricks to enhance your fishing experience. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, the advice on selecting the best fly rods and ideal rod weights will surely prepare you for your next adventure. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you feel inspired and informed for your next trip!