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!
This year, the fishing has been strange. Especially Puerto Vallarta’s world famous fishing grounds. Last week we had many of our favorite summer species, Dorado, Yellowfin Tuna and Sailfish to mention a few. They all came in fast and hungry. The bait remained, but the different species have either moved on or have thinned out in number by spreading out across all of PV’s fishing grounds. Bass are still around, kinda strange with warm water temperatures in the bay. It’s a “La Nina” year, which means the normal conditions are anything but. We’ve seen summer species in the area now for months, when normally they wouldn’t be. Dorado are a perfect example. We’ve been dealing with this for about a year now, but things will be changing. The only question is how and when?
Here we go again, I hope you’re not bald because it’s hair pulling time again. With swirling currents and mixed water temperatures, combined with massive amounts of bait, you should expect “chaos”. By this I mean some days the Billfish are taking baits, others not. Dorado finally have been taking baits again, as they come out of their breeding season. Clean blue water, Red Tide, Dirty water, clean green water, it’s all out there to drive you crazy. The other side of the coin is we have fish amigos. Sailfish, Striped Marlin, Dorado, all of which are frankly out of season. It’s easy to complain about what’s happening, or you can be happy we have species we normally wouldn’t sin a La Nina year. You may not want to head out to Corbetena quite yet, but the freaky thing is El Banco is stuffed with Sailfish and Striped marlin. Right now it all comes down to the “mood” that fish is in. Billfish are looking at baits, and at times will take them. Same with Striped Marlin, it all comes down to the bite and the mood of these fickle fish. One thing for sure, with massive amounts of two inch squid moving in, the local Captains are happy to face this out of season species challenges. Yeha!
Focusing on Fishing in Puerto Vallarta, I like to look at what’s happening in the surrounding areas of Barra Navidad and Manzanillo, both to the north and south respectively. I had been getting report that the Dorado fishing and Striped Marlin were lined up waiting for your bait. And here we are in Puerto Vallarta struggling to get a strike, things have changed. The Whales are moving out and that could be part of it, but the real news is Sailfish are back and they’re taking baits. Striped Marlin are also in the beginning stages of taking baits as well. Dorado are full of eggs and the Jack Crevalles that were full of eggs are now taking baits as well. So there have been some nice changes for the positive. And the locations of Barra and Manzanillo, as I understand it, their water has turned cold like it should be. As 0ur water currents are swirling. This means we still have warmer water in the area, which of course helps keep warm water species in the area.
We’re finally seeing some changes for the positive when it comes to fishing in Puerto Vallarta. Water temperatures are holding. Striped Marlin and Sailfish are still off Punta Mita and most of the deep water fishing grounds are “on vacation” until further notice. But it’s March, the time of the year we normally start to see Sailfish return to the area. You may say “Sailfish, they’ve been here since before December”. And you’d be correct, but they shouldn’t have been frankly. I understand why visitors to Puerto Vallarta (PV) hoping to catch a billfish or Yellowfin Tuna. The only problem with that is, they’re on the wrong side of the calendar. Strangely Enough we can still provide a “Shot” at a Sailfish or Striped Marlin, which in itself is a strange thing. As fisherman/women we always deal the cards dealt. Right now Corbetena or El Banco are on vacation until further notice.
Welcome to another week of winter fishing in Puerto Vallarta. Yes, I said winter fishing, but that’s not quite right. In fact, it’s another week of La Nina fishing. Now you all know we get El Nino and the opposite of this is La Nina. That means what we would normally expect, isn’t happening. Water temps are what’s throwing the fishing community into a loop. Normally at this time of the year we’d be looking at less than 70 degree water temperatures. Right now we’re looking at 74 degrees, unchanged now for three weeks, unusual at best. This does is throw the entire “fishing calendar” off. We should be seeing Red Snappers, Bass, Grouper and several other winter species. There is normally a six to ten week window we get for this great fishing in the bay. This year it isn’t happening. Now it may still happen, but for now it’s not. So the Question remains, what is happening?
Right now your best bang for your fishing dollar is six hours in the bay. Bonito averaging 20 lbs, Jack Crevalles to 50 lbs, Sierra Mackerals are the equivalent of Ocean Trout, plentiful but no larger than 10 lbs. We’re still seeing the occasional Dorado, but with thirty boats heading out, maybe 2 Dorado boated. Which means they’re out there, but it probably won’t be you catching it! A couple of tricks you might want to try is using a downrigger, which seems to be working. The other is use light leader. Many of these guys, local Captains use heavy fluorocarbon leader of 80 to 125 lbs. When fishing for smaller gamefish, it’s like connecting a minnow to T.V. Cable! Drop your leader to 40 or 50 lbs and you’ll have better results. Keep these secrets to yourself.
It’s a “life is a box of Chocolates” sort of situation now when it comes to fishing in Puerto Vallarta. It can be hot and then cold, then hot again. We need to remember that fish move and you need to be prepared to chase the birds. If you’re stuck on a boat that won’t use fuel, then you picked the wrong company to fish with. The fact of the matter is you will catch fish, right here, right now! Dorado are averaging over 20 lbs, Sailfish are picking daily in numbers, Marlin, Tuna, maybe even Rooster Fish. With plenty of varied bait there isn’t any problems making bait. Water Temperatures are a bit lower than we like at this time of the year, but still in the “normal” range. Blue water and smooth seas. What more could you want?
After what I thought might be a temporary thing, Dorado numbers have exploded. In fact fishing in Puerto Vallarta is all about Dorado right now. It’s now October, the fishing from now until hopefully New Year’s will be the best of the year. The local climate is calming down and it feels like an early winter. But for now a bay trip to Corbetena is well worth the time and money. With mostly dirty water, once you’re past the Marietta islands things change. If you’re in the south end of the bay, things are different and now even larger Dorado are in the bay. So sit back and let the Dorado Show begin.
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.