So here we go again, transitional season, pull your hair out trying to figure out what we “have” here in Puerto Vallarta’s fishing grounds. As you should expect with dropping water temperatures in mid-January things can get confusing. Dorado are still in the area, but that’s not saying much. We are still seeing Blue Marlin, but nothing automatic. Sailfish have bugged out, but now Wahoo are starting to make an appearance. I told people all last week to forget about Dorado in the bay and then Wham! Dorado are in the bay. The only thing I can say for sure is Corbetena and El Banco are hardly showing a pulse!
It happens every year. We know it’s coming and it looks like were in a transition period about a month early. It’s a La Nina year and we never know what that’s going to bring us when we talk about fishing in Puerto Vallarta. Water temperatures have been holding steady, but the water conditions are changing. Bait is plentiful, but our famous summer species are starting to thin in numbers as winter species like Jack Crevalles, Amber jacks and Snappers begin to move into the area. For now the fishing is still good, but with the changes that are happening now it could change things. The good news is Striped Marlin are moving in as we’re seeing the beginning of another transition season.
This past week was full of rain and wind, but the fishing is still improving. As far as unexpected weather surprises go, we’re doing pretty well. Just the normal seasonal rains. You’d think rain would be bad for fishing but in reality it’s best in the rain! Fish get excited and come to the surface, which makes your chances of boating an “excited” fish much better. Naturally with rain, areas near the river mouths will be coffee colored, not a preferred condition at all. But in the areas away from the mud in the bay, things have improved as well. When it comes to the deep water fishing grounds, Dorado are both picking up in numbers and size! Sailfish are also picking up in numbers as you’d expect. Haven’t seen any Black Marlin this year, that’s not normal at all. But on the other hand, we’re happy to still having Yellowfin Tuna at Corbetena! At this time of the year the deep water locations is where your best fishing will be for the near term. Inside the bay, there is still great fishing, but you won’t find Marlin, Sailfish and Tuna for the most part.
Almost two weeks after Hurricane Nora we finally have fish moving back into the area. We’re still having the seasonal rains so the bay will mostly have river fed dirty water. We also have mature trash lines which is a fisherman’s friend. After the Hurricane we still have a massive amount of floating debris in the form of tree stumps, logs, furniture, you name it, it’s out there floating. Needless to say it’s a navigation hazard. But for Dorado, debris like this is heaven. The deep water fishing grounds have great, if not perfect fishing conditions as they “reload” with Sailfish, Dorado and more. We always have fishing challenges, the “payoff” is when you find the “solution”!
Sometimes in the world of fishing we have to ask ourselves “Where am I and how did I get here”? About a week or so ago we had a Hurricane “swipe” us and caused havoc for fishing, not to mention the city. We know fishing either gets great or horrible and the later was the case. But that was a week ago and frankly little has changed. With perfect water temperatures, blue water at the deep water locations of El Banco and Corbetena, things are still “iffy”. Yes there are fish, but with strange currents things are pretty mixed up. But there are finally signs of life and conditions are great with abundant bait and increased fish moving in.
When we enter this time of the year Hurricanes are a part of our daily life. Now we don’t get hit with Hurricanes, but they do pass the Bay of Banderas frequently. More frequently than you might think. We’ve see some interesting situations. Clashing Currents from two different Hurricanes hundreds of miles apart came together perfectly outside of the bay and we had some large swells with short intervals. It put the idea of fishing out of the picture. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have any fishing. It just means you couldn’t get out of the bay!
After more than twenty years in the business of fishing in Puerto Vallarta I’ve come to understand that what happened yesterday is not exactly what’s going to happen today or tomorrow. Such is the nature of world class Deep Sea Fishing. You see fish move, conditions change and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When the seasonal rains begin, there’s a whole new batch of factors that also come into play. Fishing is always a challenge, but this is nothing new, how you handle this challenge ends in catching fish or going in empty handed. The good news is we have fish. Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, Rooster fish, you name it. It’s best if you have an experienced captain but non-professionals will catch fish as well. That’s why I’m here, doing my best to send you in the right direction. Right now that’s going to be Corbetena where you’ll catch fish. Now which “fish” is the question?
Fishing in Puerto Vallarta is never a sure thing if targeting only one species, but if you are looking for action we always have that. I know my reports lately seem to be a little “cookie cutter”. But if you’ve been reading my articles here in the past, you know this is the time of the year when the fishing seasons change. I call it a “Transition Period”. In a “normal” year the tourism season is normally over. With Covid restrictions winding down, we’re seeing a “second High season” in June. Thankfully we have Stripers still running the area, Yellowfin Tuna are small but out there. Blue Marlin are sparse and Sailfish are hard to find. What does this all mean? It means the fish are out there, the question is: Are you willing to do what it takes to boat a Bucket List fantasy?
Things have gotten even a little strange for a transition period. It’s a yearly thing, cold water currents changing to warm water currents from the opposite direction can at times be “confusing”. Right now the mix-up is with the species and the water temperatures. Honestly it’s like they don’t know if they’re “coming or going” literally. The good news is normally when we see the “clashing currents” we get dirty water stirred up from the bottom of the bay. For now it’s mostly blue water, but there is that “clean green” that is cold, not blue, it’s somewhere in between. There has been some of that, but for the majority of the area the water is blue and waiting for you to arrive.
Written by Stan Gabruk Introduction: I wrote this article last year for a local publication last year and thought it’s good to revisit this article and remind folks that we’re coming into High Season for Fishing. Most people assume our high season is in the winter. Tourism likes the cooler weather, fishing favors the hot […]