Take El Banco or the Bank. I always say “they’re bigger at The Bank”. Located 50 miles north of PV it’s essentially a few sharp peaks, similar to a Stalagmites coming up from an underwater mountain range. The peaks of these Stalagmites are about 60 ft under the surface of the ocean. You need electronics to find this location so you know where you are. Once there hovering over or trolling the area will produce at times world record competing Yellowfin Tuna, Black and Blue Marlin among several other gamefish. We’ve seen some huge Dorado boated from this location as well. El Banco is primarily a summer fishing ground. Seldom do you hear much about El Banco outside of the warm water days unless it’s an El Nino year. Those coming to Puerto Vallarta in the winter months looking to target Marlin, YF tuna etc. will be disappointed to hear that they’re all “vacationing” in Costa Rica!
World Class Fishing the Tres Maria Islands for Monster Yellowfin Tuna, Some important Facts You Won’t Hear Anywhere Else!
Before I move on, you legally can’t fish within twelve miles of Madre Island. Now in the winter time this doesn’t work for the Southern California boats because they’re trying to make their year, avoid the slow season of winter in California. But here’s the deal nobody is telling these California anglers, it’s not easy catching Yellowfin Tuna when the navy is busy chasing the boat you rented out. You see, these boats are fishing well within six miles of the island and frankly if you want to catch Yellowfin Tuna in February, you have to be on the reefs, the most sensitive part of the ecosystem. What the Navy does, they come and board your boat, have a nice, sometimes heated conversation with the Mexican navy protecting this area. The results these days are the Navy grabs the boat, the crew and everyone onboard and force them to go to the Island. There they’ll be held for the day if you’re lucky. The navy knows the Anglers on the boat are innocent and know nothing about them patrolling the area. But the captain, the crew and the owners are not telling you about this. You aren’t hitting these islands at the optimal time of the year!
When we come to this time of the year, everything is in a state of flux. With changing currents, then one day there is blue water, the next is the clean green water comes back. This is not unusual, in fact it’s more or less normal. It’s just very early in the summer fishing season to have more stable conditions as we continue the seasonal transition, nothing complicated. But we are seeing subtle and constant improvements by the day. The strong currents of a few weeks back that brought with it the larger Black and Blue Marlin have relaxed. For now we have most of the favorite species people are looking for. Sailfish, Dorado, Tuna, Marlin and more are already here. Sounds great, I know, but the whole thing needs some time to jell. Right now with all those famous species, massive amounts of warm water bait has come with them. Now this is a double edged sword, too much bait means it’s hard to get these fish to check out your “presentation”. Not enough bait, and they all leave. The good news is these species are filling in the entire area in all the different fishing grounds right now there are serious possibilities. With so few boats heading out in this slow part of the year for tourism, what I’m seeing could be just the tip of the iceberg. People are catching fish, but first you have to be on the water for the “action to begin”.
Fishing is never stable or predictable, there is no way around that amigo. But there are yearly patterns and those patterns can be predictable within reason. For now we’re moving into the predictable seasonal changes. Once we move into spring, we see the days get longer, the water get warmer and many species move into breeding season. As this is all happening there are the changing currents, changing species and increasing water temperatures. Puerto Vallarta’s world famous fishing grounds are entering this phase now. We try and keep a finger on the “pulse” with the daily changes and this works well for us. What happened yesterday, can be an indication for tomorrow expectations, but not always, you see fish move. For now we’re dealing with the fact many species are breeding and ignoring baits, while other species are moving out. For now with the conditions changing daily and the fickle nature of breeding species it’s important to remember “fish are where you find them”. That means start where you they were yesterday, then develop a plan. Finding fish isn’t a problem, getting them to take bait is another thing.
If you’ve been paying any attention at all, you already know this is a “La Nina” year. It keep the water temperatures at a solid 84 degrees, which is perfect for all our world class species. We’ve been seeing solid fishing around our world class fishing locations. Unlike normal years, the “fish” or all the Sailfish and Marlin have a wide range of travel. What that means is they’ve been moving around and they’re spread out. You can’t just focus on one location and expect all the varied species waiting for you to arrive. Or can we? With massive amounts of bait already in the bay, more is moving in. I’m calling it “Hit & Run” fishing. With massive amounts of the Krill or seasonal “Whale” food, Krill stuffed Mahi are not interested many times in your bait. Marlin and Sailfish are chasing baits and playing fish tag. Smash the bait and then they turn away. The only “favorite” species we have that aren’t eating Krill is Yellowfin Tuna. The fishing is great, but you have to keep at it. Lazy Captains and crews are coming up empty handed. Those putting the effort of changing bait, changing trolling speeds and have the fuel to find the fish are coming up winners.
For months now I’ve been putting out accurate information regarding fishing conditions here in Puerto Vallarta with as positive a spin as possible. Finally this week, no spin, things have changed drastically and now there is every reason to be heading out of the bay. First, water temperatures are up, Bait is plentiful, New Summer species are moving into the area. And even El Banco, aka The Bank is showing signs of a pulse! I’ve been patiently waiting for mid-June to show up as this is normally when things start to turn around. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re moving in the right direction and it’s only going to improve as we get deeper into High Season for Fishing in Puerto Vallarta’s fishing grounds!
Sometimes it feels like I’m almost making excuses for the “fishing conditions”. Clients come into my shop midwinter looking for summer species. Being at the wrong end of the calendar it’s disappointing for some. Things have changed, water is warming up, Red Tide has all but disappeared, No dirty water to speak of and we have a trash line. With the La Nina keeping water temperatures down I was wondering when the numbers and species would ever pickup. But we’re back in the Summer High Season for Fishing in Puerto Vallarta. Conditions are improving by the day, the “locals” are stuffing themselves with varied “karnada” or baits. Now if we could just figure a way to keep the air temperatures and humidity down, everything would be perfect!
Another week and more small changes. But that’s normally the case, we wouldn’t want extreme swings in fishing conditions and this week the “small” changes are adding up to great fishing action. When you talk about fishing in Puerto Vallarta, people want to know about the major summer species, which of course for the last six months haven’t been here in the area. Now that we’re at the end of May, the transition period with the dirty water and questionable species is coming to an end, finally. Does that mean the water conditions are perfect, of course not! But it does mean there is plenty to be excited and optimistic about. For now, my “glass” is half full, so don’t expect doom and gloom, things are improving amigos!
Every year as we come out of the winter fishing season into spring we see the annual changing of the seasonal currents. This past year has been weird, there is no other word for it. As we are hopefully exiting a “La Nina” year, we’re seeing the beginning of a regular fishing season, if you don’t mind my positive perspective. You see this is what we expect, this is “normal”. Last year we went straight from summer fishing, to spring fishing all through the “winter” fishing season. Now with the clashing currents and dirty water that produces, this is a positive thing. When this happens, it’s at the lowest part of the spring tourism season or basically PV is a bit of a ghost town after Easter. That means that while it’s not the most positive thing, it’s an indicator that we’re moving into a “normal” season and to me, that’s positive. Now I’m not saying the fishing is any better or worse than it was last week. But we roll with the punches and prepare for the positive!
We have fish, but they’re cruising with erratic currents and stuffed full of fresh bait. Varied water temperatures, varied water conditions and species normally not in the area for this time of the year. Being a person who’s supposed to be “more or less” an expert on the subject in the area. I have to tell you, this is driving me crazy. It’s hard to predict what’s happening on a daily basis. All I can really do is tell you what happened. Everything else right now is a “roll of the dice” Some days you’re coming up all winners. Other days, you’ll be wondering “What Happened”? And I’d be right there with you!