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Marina Vallarta Las Palmas I Local 3

Welcome to my first fishing report of the New Year! And how better to start a new year with a new beginning at El Banco, so to speak. Yes folks El Banco, or The Bank is showing signs of life and it has a strong heart beat for the moment. Also, Sailfish and Striped Marlin are still running our world class fishing grounds when talking about fishing in Puerto Vallarta. It’s also Whale Season, this means there are just tons of Krill, or rather Whale food in the bay. So there are challenges, but nothing the local captains can’t figure out. What’s really news is the drastic drop in water temperatures due to El Nino. Now you’d think water temperatures would be going up, but that logic is flawed as we see the winter fishing season coming on strong and early. A month early so start thinking “winter species”.

For the last couple of years El Banco has been ignored by both fishing captains and pretty much myself as well. Years ago when the Seiners or production fishing ships raped El Banco illegally, they broke a net off on the high spots. These high spots are spikes from underwater mountains that reach up to 68 feet below the surface. These peaks were why El Banco was famous for massive bait circling these high spots Yellowfin Tuna couldn’t resist. After years of this net “blowing in the currents”. This naturally scared the bait fish away and thus the Yellowfin Tuna fishing became difficult at best. But all of a sudden, ten miles north of these peaks Yellowfin Tuna from 60 to 180 lbs are attacking the super abundant Skip Jack Tunas (bait)! You looking for Dorado, they’re running with the Tuna. The Dorado are in excess of 25 lbs and also abundant. Throw in Striped Marlin at 250 lbs along with Sailfish and you’ve got world class action at Puerto Vallarta’s Fishing grounds! Corbetena on the other hand has “some” Yellowfin Tuna starting at 40 lbs, there could be some larger with El Banco sporting larger Yellowfin Tuna, remember fish move. Sailfish, Dorado at 25 lbs and up. Striped Marlin as well and with water temperatures at 74 degrees, yes I said 74 degrees, Cubera Snappers may start taking trolled baits. For now I’d put my bets on El Banco for the next few days. But be warned, cold water is coming and if you’re targeting Yellowfin Tuna, you better get your butt in gear amigos!

Moving in to the area between El Morro and Punta Nayarit (aka Punta Mita), the action has picked up considerably and well worth an eight hour fishing trip. Things have been hot and cold. One day it’s incredible, the next is “iffy” at best. For now on the good days, there are Sailfish, Dorado off the point, Striped Marlin and a host of local species like Bonito and Jack Crevalles. One interesting thing this there have been some Wahoo running the area. Now Wahoo aren’t a schooling species, they swim alone, but are the best eating species out there. Now Wahoo don’t just happen, you have to target them when you know conditions are correct. Which they are now, but remember they require faster trolling speeds and you need wire leaders! Wahoo have teeth that can cut through even this wire leader, but they usually don’t. Wahoo don’t seem to be “line shy”. Another thing to remember is they hit different lures than Dorado, Tuna and Sailfish. When chartering a boat and heading out this way, make sure your captain understands you want to target Wahoo! But be warned, targeting Wahoo, with the faster trolling speeds required, you’ll be cutting Dorado and Sailfish off the list of available species you’ll catch. So you need to make a decision. Me, I’d target the Wahoo for half the day and Dorado the other half. One last thing, Striped Marlin are a touch farther out, but if the Skip Jack Tuna move in closer to the Marietta islands, it could turn into a fisherman’s paradise.

Inside the bay we still have the Krill to contend with. But even with the dropping water temperatures, for some reason we’re still seeing Dorado in the bay. Sailfish are still running around Los Arcos as well for the super lucky. Now with all that Whale food, the Krill are the primary food of the Dorado, Bonito, Skip Jack Tuna, you name it, they’re eating Krill. It’s a challenge, but for some reason these species will still take baits and lures. Amazing isn’t it? The south end of the bay is preferable, but if heading out for four hours, you’ll most likely head in the other direction as Nuevo Vallarta has turned into Jack City. Sailfish for some reason like the La Cruz Marina area as well. The simple fact is if you’re looking for a shorter day and plenty of action, the bay can provide that easily. I hate to say it, some days you’ll find the Krill will win out and your baits can be ignored. So be mentally prepared for any possibility. Having said that, you’ll catch fish in the bay, but you’ll need more than four hours as fish are moving around the bay like they own it or something!

The big news this week is the drastic drop in water temperatures from 78 to 74 in the last week and a half. It won’t be long before Dorado have moved south as well as Sailfish and Tuna. But for now it’s happening like it used to. The bite is pretty much over once you get past 11:00 in the bay. But in locations like El Banco and Corbetena the bite is happening all day. And when it comes to baits, I say throw the “kitchen sink” at them. Lures, live bait, dead bait, whatever they hit, use that! But be warned, many times they’ll just smash the bait. To Smash the bait means they’ll give it a kiss and turn their heads and leave. Fickle fish will drive you crazy, me, I’m already there!

Until next week, don’t forget to kiss your fish!

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