Special Article: The Tres Maria Islands, Mexico, World Record
Yellowfin Tuna, World Class Fishing
Written by: Stan Gabruk, owner of master Baiter’s Sportfishing and Tackle
These days there has been a lot of talk about the Tres Maria Islands. When you ask a Yellowfin Tuna Fanatic, they don’t know much more than the “rumors” they’ve heard and the Pictures they’ve seen. And yes, they’re impressive. For the Pacific side of Mexico, Yellowfin Tuna are revered as the top game fish Sportsmen are looking for. With the secret out, there has been a lot of attention turning in the direction of Puerto Vallarta. I’ve stolen some information and inserted my own slant to develop what seems to be the only real independent description of the Tres Maria Islands. He I have stolen a little history and there’s a little “Wikki” in there too. To my knowledge this is the best description of the area and the fishing conditions available.
140 miles north of Marina Vallarta or 230 miles southeast of Baja California lies what is arguably the best fishing grounds in all of Mexico. A Paradise for Yellowfin Tuna fanatics where Cows of 200 to 250 lbs are common occurrence year round with summer months being the peak fishing season. Monsters of over 300 lbs are in the 60% probability range in September through January. Yellowfin Tuna up to 425 lbs would put you in World Record Territory, think about that one amigos.
An enigmatic place and unknown to many, the archipelago of the Islas Marías, located in the Mexican Pacific 69 miles away from the Nayarit Coast, is a place worth describing due to its peculiarity.
Made up by the Islas María Madre, María Magdalena, María Cleofas, and San Juanito, this archipelago has had several owners and administrators. Its discovery dates back to 1526, when Fernando Cortés de San Buenaventura, Hernán Cortés’s nephew, caught sight of the Island for the first time during an expedition along the Nayarit Coasts. The history between the colonial age and the beginnings of the 19th century is not very clear. In the 19th century, General José López Uraga was granted property of the islands in return of the services rendered to the nation. Later, in 1879, the Islands were sold to Manuel Carpena, a resident from San Blas, Jalisco, for $ 3,579 dollars. During his possession, cattle were raised on their plains, the salt mines were exploited, and the forest resources were used profitably, as well. For the Wikki description go to the bottom of the page please….
For the last couple of years there has been a lot of talk in magazines, web sites and word of mouth discussions in the Marina Vallarta Bars. The Tres Maria Islands have always been there. Nothing new about this, but just about 2006 the long range boys started coming down from San Diego and would sit on the high spots of El Banco, raking in 250 lb Yellowfin Tuna at will. So the long distance guys were already coming down to Puerto Vallarta for the Cows. But then these California types got together and started sending charters to the Maria’s, from La Cruz Marina, the word was out. Next thing you know we have several companies coming to invade the Marias in the winter season.
The next thing you know group charters started heading out from Nuevo Vallarta, Marina Vallarta and La Cruz Marinas. The beautiful thing about the Tres Maria Islands is you can depend on a yearlong season of Yellowfin Tuna with Cows at the ready. The local captains were raised on the docks of Marina Vallarta, Los Penas Marina for generations! These guys, unsung heroes if you will, know the bay and the entire Costal waters up to Cabo. They live with Hurricanes on a yearly basis, then fish these areas with Sports fisherman on a daily basis. You just keep one eye on the weather reports and the other on your GPS.
When the weather and the waters get hot is when the fishing explodes. If you’re looking for the best of the best then it all starts to turn into a frenzy around the Marias San Juanito Island. With consistent blue water fishing conditions are always outstanding. If you’ve never seen a 250 lb Yellowfin Tuna, slashing through bait balls hurl itself out of the water by the hundreds, like flying Volkswagen’s, the spectacle of nature before your very eyes, impressive to say the least.
Alright now that I’ve got your attention, you may be sitting there wondering how you could get a chance at a world class fishing expedition like this? Well there are several options. Day trips from La Cruz or Marina Vallarta are a long day, figure an 18 hr day with travel time. This will run you on a well-equipped boat just under two thousand dollars for the charter. Not too many companies doing this, but the ones in business are catching Tuna and doing well financially. There are the long range options that run you $1,600 usd (one thousand six hundred dollars per person) on a cattle car of twelve to fifteen people. Personally I’m not that guy, stuck in a floating dorm with a bunch of strangers. Personalities, tight fighting space, not much personal attention if needed while fishing. Diminished service for a price. Up until now these one day trips or cattle cars were pretty much your only choices.
What if you’re somewhere in-between, you want to go hit it hard with the personal support of a dedicated first mate? You don’t much care for the idea of the trip back once there and you’d like a little luxury if spending that much time of the boat. Well we have an option for you.
Meet El Pescador, a 55 ft Delta, Luxury interior, Experienced and world class captain and first mates. Trips are 2.5 days leaving from Puerto Vallarta once a week on Thursdays or Fridays at client’s preference at 5 p.m. El Pescador sleeps four comfortably and has crew quarters as well.
2 fisherman is $5995- 4 fisherman $7995.
- The boat is scheduled for a 2 1/2 day trip every Thursday or Friday departing 5pm.
- The boat starts fishing at daybreak.
- El Pescador travels anywhere from 70 miles at the first island Cleofas to 160 miles past the island Juanito, or where ever the blue water is.
- The Big tuna are there all year.
- Bring your own equipment / tackle
Naturally all food, drinks, licenses, fuel, Captain and Crew are all included in the price of this world class fishing excursion. Clients’ personal preferences are fine to bring along, no drugs of any kind on the boat at any time.
This is a world class fishing charter which has been featured on ESPN as the Premier Yellowfin Tuna Charter boat in the area. Nobody else offers this flexible and affordable product as yet.
If interested in boating that bucket list fish you’ve always dreamed about then now is the time. When you measure the cost against a “one day” trip, this is an affordable option, those looking for a world class experience targeting Monster Yellowfin Tuna will be glad they went with Master Baiter’s!!
If interested in reserving a charter contact us at: Catchfish@MasterBaiters.com.mx
All we need is a $15% non-refundable deposit to get things started.
Or call my international Number: 011 52 322 209 1128 Marina Shop or Stans Cell Phone 24 / 7 at: 011 52 1 322 779 75 71
Local numbers, Marina Shop: (322) 209 1128 or
El Centro Boardwalk Store: (322) 222-6086
This is how Wiki Leaks describes the Tres Mari Islands: “Wikki:
The Islas Marías (“Mary Islands”) are an archipelago of four islands that belong to Mexico. They are located in the Pacific Ocean, some 100 km (62 mi) off the coast of the state of Nayarit and about 230 miles (370 km) southeast of the tip of Baja California. They are part of the municipality (municipio) of San Blas, Nayarit. As of 2011, the islands are still being used as a penal colony, containing the Islas Marías Federal Prison.
Isla María Madre is the largest of the islands, with a surface area of 145.282 km². It houses the Islas Marías Federal Prison which was established there in 1905. The next two largest islands are Isla María Magdalena (70.440 km²) and, further south, Isla María Cleofas (19.818 km²). They were named after three women called Mary in the Biblical New Testament: respectively, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and are referred to as the Tres Marias. A smaller island, Isla San Juanito, with an area of 9.105 km² lies off the north coast of Isla María Madre.
The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.