Water Temps and Currents in Transition, Smaller Gamefish Abundant
Written by: Stan Gabruk owner of Master Baiter´s Sportfishing & Tackle
If I was pressed, I could just tell you to read last week´s fishing report. Water temps are a little different as they fluctuate, currents are changing, but essentially things are the same. Which of course means things are not bad, just not great. Larger species like Marlin and Sailfish are in and mostly out. For those of us living the lifestyle, this is no surprise. But for the guy looking for some great action on smaller fish, under 70 lbs, then you´re in for a great day. Looking for Yellowfin Tuna then you´ve got to put in the time and the distance for a ¨shot¨ at a trophy sized YF Tuna. For now it all comes down to how lucky you are.
The deep water locations of El Banco and Corbeteña are essentially for the guy hoping to get lucky and there are those who will pull a rabbit out of their hat. Still for the lucky, Striped Marlin to 225 lbs, Sailfish are iffy, Cubera Snappers to 50 lbs, Jack Crevalls to 40 lbs and the list goes on. This are also Football Tuna in the 40 to 50 lb range and are running with Spinner Dolphin, so keep your eyes peeled. For now, unless you´re dead set on taking a shot at larger fish, you´re fuel dollar could be better spent.
Once again the place to be is in the area between Punta Mita, Marietta islands, Corbeteña and El Banco. Sailfish and Marlin are in the area, if you can get them to take an interest in your bait. Wahoo and Dorado have taken a powder for now but will be back soon, hopefully. Around the Marietta Islands to El Morro we´re seeing Pompano to 30 lbs, Jack Crevalls to 35 lbs, Sierra Mackerals to 20 lbs, Red Snapper to 25 lbs. Grouper are around the structure for now in the 15 to 25 lb range and hungry. I don´t speak much about Grouper in this article, but for those willing to do some jigging, they´re there to be had. Skip jack Tuna to 20 lbs, Bonito to 35 lbs and surprisingly Milk Fish have turned up again, very rare for this area, they´re running 35 to 50 lbs. Bony fish, small mouth, strong fighters. Another surprise is the Rooster Fish, still hard to get them interested in a bait, are running 35 to 50 lbs and are sprinkled anywhere between Punta Mita to El Morro. For now an eight hour fishing trip will be about all you´ll need for a great day on the water!
Inside the bay, water temperatures have dropped a little, a storm pushed in some colder currents from the north and as a result the water is a little chilly. Sierra Mackerals are abundant and in the 20 lb range and is about as large as they get. But they´re tasty and well worth the time and effort, especially on light tackle! Bonito of the Arctic species in the 30 lb range. Jack Crevalls are everywhere and still in the 30 to 40 lb range, especially around Nuevo Vallarta. Skip jack Tuna, Football Tuna around Yelapa to 40 lbs, Snook around the river mouths, Snapper around the structure and rocks. Plenty of bait, plenty of fish and for the person looking to have constant action, you can´t go wrong for the moment.
The bite is moving a smidge later in the morning, just be at the place you want to be before 9:00 a.m. and you´ll be fine. But the late bite is late afternoon, so plan your trip accordingly. The flying fish as bait are moving out for now, but there are fields of Goggle eyes and Sardines so that works.
Normally when the seasons change, currents will mix up the sediment on the sea floor bottom and we´ve seen some of this. Inside the bay and to the point of Punta Mita the water is mostly a clean and clear green, not bad, but not blue. Some areas will have the murky coffee colored water from the sediment, but these areas are limited and not a concern for the moment. Outside the bay, it´s blue water and while water temperatures have dropped a bit, Sailfish are still comfortable in the area so we´ll be glad about that. Marlin will pick up soon, we´re waiting for the warm currents to bring in the summer species, we´re on hold for this now, but this will change in a matter of days then everything changes from species to water temperature to bait available. We should see the ¨locals¨ get their heads straight shortly so be patient, the fishing is good, soon it will be world class…..
Until next time, don´t forget to ¨Kiss Your Fish¨. . .
Above is your fishing report, the same one I put in the magazines and on my web site. This week I thought I´d put some additional information for the guy looking to avoid the pitfalls that exist whenever a person looks to purchase. You can use these ¨questions¨ or rules anywhere in the world. It´s meant to be helpful and hopefully it´s taken that way. so give the following a read and if you have questions I am always here to answer anything about fishing or Puerto Vallarta…..
Puerto Vallarta, Inside Fishing: Ok, for some time now I have been warning people about what they get, what they don´t get and when they find out about what they´re not getting as they expect world class service on the cheapest boat they can find. Naturally this sounds a little strange, expecting a top knotch product at bargain basement prices. Before we move on, I make sure you understand this is not a ¨Sour Grapes¨ situation here. It´s all about information and how to know and get what you expect from your next fishing trip in Puerto Vallarta or anywhere for that matter.
First, at Master Baiter´s we have been in business for fifteen years, we´re gringos or Caucasion owners, I should say owner, me. We built out business on the concept that fishing is not cheap, it never has been and never will be. But that doesn´t give us license to gouge or over charge clients. In the world of business this seldom works. What does work is a fair price on a super product, combined with service and a professional / welcoming / and friendly atmosphere. Service is of course No.1, just ask Nordstroms. From day one we´ve offered fast boats, well maintained boats, superior equipment and tackle with superior quality captains. Captains that come in with fish when others come in with empty fish boxes. It´s what the business is based on. Clients have come to expect fun trips and to hear the truth. We´ll tell you not to go fishing if the fishing is bad. We have many long term clients because of our ¨Honesty first¨ policy. What does this mean exactly, well first you have to understand the product you´re purchasing. And this brings us to the point of this sub-section, what should you expect for your fishing dollar??
There are guys selling super cheap boats in Marina Vallarta, mostly ex-timeshare ¨promoters¨ as they call themselves. Others call them Pirates trying to hustle you into a timeshare presentation for the most part. they will sell tours, and other stuff as well, use your imagination.. . They will also sell more expensive, better quality boats with good quality captains, but they mostly go for the low end market.
The problem is, as a consmer how do you know what you´re getting for your money? If the only question you ask is ¨How Much¨? Then you just set yourself up for a lousy day and you won´t know what you did to yourself until you´re heading out and you seem to be the last guy to the fishing grounds. You never asked if the boat was fast. You never asked if fishing licenses were included. You didn´t ask about bait and if it was included or if you had to pay for your bait. If you talked with a guy who just told you he was a great captain and how he catchs fish doyou believe him? Would you expect him to tell you he is cheap because he has been ¨acting¨ as a captain for six weeks now. What about the equipment on the boat, fresh line, smooth drags, plenty of color or lures? Did you ask how fast you´d be heading out to the fishing grounds in the duration and location you´re heading to? Does the boat have a radio, or is the guy telling you he does just fine with a hand held cell phone? I´d ask about safety equipment, but a radio is safety equipment. Can they show you papers to prove there is insurance on the boat, remember there are no liability laws in Mexico. Even if you could take legal action, what are you going to do??
This is what you need to know, need to ask and be sure you´re getting what you´re paying for. Now having said this, a cheap boat can at times be just what the doctor ordered, other times you´ll be throwing your money away. The bottom line here is, know what you´re purchasing, a cheap under equiped boat is fine as long as you know.
TripAdvisor, if you can´t find them on TripAdvisor, don´t go fishing with them. TripAdvisor is FREE and clients are the ones who post on the site. If they don´t have a presence on TripAdvisor, they aren´t a real business and then it´s a ¨buyer beware¨ situation. Now TripAdvisor is easily bastardized by friends, family, or people who have a whole string of people that will put positive comments up like a machine guy. to cut through this crap, look for people posting pictures and comments they´ve fished with this company for many tmes or many years. So even the positive comments on TripAdvisor are suspect, but it´s a baseline to start from.
Now you may not need the best boat in Marina Vallarta, there are many times when your car keys with a hook would catch fish, especially during the summer in the bay. These days cheap boats with marginal captains will come in with fish so they can puff their chest out as the best captain in Marina Vallarta. But that´s not the norm by any means.
So, what do you get with more expensive boats you don´t get with cheap boats. Well the first thing that comes to mind is INSURANCE. As Mexico is a country with no liability laws, this means you can´t take legal action, but that´s not exactly correct. You can take legal action on boats where you get hurt or injured. It´s cumbersome and you´ll need a Mexican Attorney and we all know they´re not trust worthy. Again, the same laws about how attornies deal with clients, the protection laws I`m speaking of, well they don´t exist in Mexico. So you have rights, but you´ll be sorry if you prosecute, it´s going to take at least three years before your case is even looked at. So in reality, it´s just better to know this up front. No insurance, don´t go with them. The laws states you have to have insurance, but as a white guy, gringo so to speak, I hold myself to the letter of the law, I don´t need problems either, but of course this send the price of the fishing trip up of course. I have had people say ¨Nothing is going to happen¨ just to find the boat caught on fire and the captain had to call his Mother in Law to call the navy to come and find them in the bay. Remember, no radio, no may day! If the boat is on fire, that is easy to find. If the boat is sinking, that´s another thing….. How are your swimming skills and forget about that new camera you brought along to take pictures and video, it´s going to Davy Jones collection. By the way, there is no Coasto Guard in Mexico. When you learn the Port Authority is as crooked as a country road and you can pay him a few thousand pesos a month, a hundred bucks, you don´t need to worry about licenses, insurance, radios, safety equipment, nothing, you´re home free and open for business. Cheap boats don´`t compete on a level playing field and you can´t ¨cry¨ to the authorities, that is unless you pay them to cry, nothing is free with these types. I should say they won´t give licenses out to even legit boats and Captains either, so the deck is stacked against the reputable operator. It´s sad, but its the world we live in amigo.
So here´s a breakdown of what more expensive boats come with. Fist is the Captain. Anyone can get a captains license, what you´re paying for is an experienced Captain. Now the boaster may be a good captsin, but how do you know. Look for peopple that have many years of experience, they know where to go, what to do, which lure to use, hot to rig a bait, etc. The first mate will know this also, but if you need more than two hands, your captain will be a ¨mate¨ as well! You can steer the boat… hahahaa… Nothing will replace experience. I know the guys, the promoters know the money they´ll make on a cheap boat that sell to unimformed types looking to have fun. Talk is cheap and the promoter is hard to find when you have legit complaints and no sounding board or opportunity for things to be set right. Remember you are in a forign country with people trying to fleece you with a sub-standard product, that´s cheap.
Bait, licenses, top notch professional equipment with smooth drags on the reels. Fresh line is also important, sun affects the line and it will break if exposed to too much, years worth of sunlight. If you´re hooking up just to have the line break, this is what happens when line isn´t fresh. Stressed line happens when several large fish like Marlin or Tuna have been boated. So even fresh looking line can break. Please don´t get comfused with Bill whap breakage or obsticle breakage, they´re different things. When it comes to lures, the wrong color or wrong type or rigging can make all the difference. I had a guy come in the shop the other day and tell me a sad story, told me the boat name, and I knew what was coming. This great captain who sold a bill of goods got skunked. My captain next to him a few hundred yards away caught fifty fish that day, most released. The photos of the Jacks being held is this guy the next day when he went fishing with us on our boat! Lack of equipment cost this guy a day on the water with nothing to show for it when EVERYONE, even bad captains were catching fish. Something to think about…..
Nice boats are not necessary, but nice boats are well maintained. Fish don´t look for a nice boat, but nice boats cost more to maintain with polishing, cleaning, painting, fresh canvas, etc. Yep, it cost money for nice boats, just like a car, the boat will get you there and that´s the important thing after the Captain. Smokey boats will make you sick from fumes, but the captain may be great, you´ll discover this in a short while after you reach the fishing grounds…..
For me, I want to be on a fast boat, as fast as possible to the fishing grounds so I can have as much time with my line in th e water as possible. After all this is what you´re paying for, fishing, not cruising. These days cheap boats are dropping lines at the Marina entrance, trolling about ten to twelve miles an hour, which of course is too fast to trool. But they make yiou think they´re fishing, so you don´t get pissed when every other more expensive boats fly past you in the morning. What this cheap boat just did to you is steal your fishing day where the fish are. So you´re fishing time is less on cheaper boats, not always that much less either. Fishing, not a boat ride is what you´re paying for, the boat is a bus to get you these. now the level of luxury depends on you of course. So how do you know this if you don´t know this? You learn the hard way or you learn frm those who learned the hard way. So always ask the locals with nothing to gain as to who to fish with or better yet, scour the internet for guys in the Know and in the forefront….
Read fishing reports, I am the only real comprehensive fishing report from PV, most just blow smoke up their own back sides to get business and show pretty pictures they most likely stole off the net. Otherwise when some promoter tells you Moby Dick is int he bay just waiting for you, you may just believe them. You can weed many out on the fishing conditions, what they´re hitting bait wise, what time the bite is, what color lures or what riggs are working. You´ll just comfound the guy if he´s just trying to get you into a presentation or on a cheap ass boat. They all read my magazine articles in High Season, so they can sound knowledgeable, but summer is different and that´s when the fishing is at it´s best here in PV. So again, be informed, there are also forums you can check out in PV, so I am not the only source of information if you feel the need to collect more data, that would be a wise move.
Never give hald down on the trip, that is unless you are confident with the people you are dealing with or have done business with them before. Master Baiter´s takes a hundred dollars to make sure you get out of bed, we collect the balance in the morning before you load the boat. Doing this insures you don´t get scamed with a different boat showing up in the morning, nothing liike the picture you were shown from ten years ago. You cold get stung, so minimize your risk. Many times the promoters take that money, drink it up and then tell the captain he´ll get paid later, whoch never happens of course. In that situation, you may find you´ll be standing on the dock with a different boat coming that will take less money, I´ve seen this happen. It´s a horrible way to start a ¨fun¨ day …..
With fuel prices in Mexico going up monthly, it´s not like the states, we´re paying over five dollars a gallon for marine grade diesel with a surcharge to use access a dock, no kidding. Insurance doubled in 2009, so did dock fees and electricity… don´t forge tthe water. Captains want money also to feed the family, and keep a roof over their heads. So there is alway upward pressure just like any fishing location in the world.
I could write a book, but if you´re looking to go fishing, want a fun day on the water, don´t want to pay too much but don´t want to get scamed, then do your homework amigo. The information is out there, Greed can be your enemy, but who wants to pay too much. One thing for sure, no matter who you´re dealing with, they will not put you on a boat and lose money, not in Mexico for sure. If you want a short day, catch jacks, Bonito, maybe some Dorado, then a beach panga can be great, but again they´re probably not insured. Cheap boats can be what the doctor ordered if the conditions are right, but be sure it´s safe at the very least…
Again, notice i didn´t use boat names or captain names or even promoters names. I am not here to point fingers or trash peolpes names. The whole point of this section is to be sure you know what you´re getting, know the correct questions and to inform on a basic level the things a novice would never think to ask.
Master Baiter´s has changed locations in Marina Vallarta between docks A and B on the boardwalk. Email your Questions to me at: CatchFish@MasterBaiters.com.mx Web page: www.MasterBaiters.com.mx , Local Phone at: (044) 322 779 75 71 or if roaming: 011 52 1 322 779 75 71 cell phone direct Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Master-Baiters-Sportfishing-Tackle/88817121325 The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.