Below this brief article is another article I posted years ago, but when the Bloody Decks Boys were running the Maximus here to the Tres Maria Islands. The Maximus focused on the Southern California Boys who were used to the long range trips who would just salivate over the idea of boating a 300 lb Yellowfin Tuna. These guys are flush with cash and easy prey, full of trust and ignorance about the deal they’re signing up for. These long range boats can come from Santa Monica to San Diego, depending on the departure area and there are many.
It Started with the Red Rooster out of So.Cal., they would sell these three week trips, charge seven thousand dollars per person just for the promise of a Yellowfin Cow (a Y.F.Tuna over 200 lbs) or have a real chance at a “Monster” (aka Y.F. Tuna over 300 lbs.). They would anchor off the high spots at El Banco, in those days El Banco was only 50 miles out of PV’s Marina Vallarta. It took an hour out there, but that’s relatively close and the Yellowfin Fishing was almost automatic. You’d get close to El Banco or Corbetena for that matter and the Yellowfin Tuna would be just flying. Not jumping, I mean flying ten, fifteen feet out of the water slashing through bait balls in a frenzy! I remember my brother telling me years ago that I had go get down here ASAP, he continued to tell me the Yellowfin Jumping looked like “flying Volkswagens”. If you’re a “Yellowfin Guy” you will feel this down to your bones. You wouldn’t be able to get that picture out of your head and frankly, I was on a boat here in PV a week after my brother John “seeded” my brain with Tuna. It was amazing and these were the days when Puerto Vallarta’s fishing grounds earned their reputation.
Starting around 2009 the interest moved from the local fishing grounds, again Corbetena and El Banco and focused on the Tres Maria islands. You see the production Tuna Seiners, production fishing factories with the ability to scoop tons of Yellowfin Tuna and whatever else was in the nets with great efficiency. After years of this out and out attack on the Yellowfin, they succeeded in fishing them out for the most part. We are finally seeing some of the traveling schools again, but this has been at least seven years now since the Seiners have done their damage. But for now, if you’re looking for the “Old Days” fishing experience, you have to head to this area to see “flying Volkswagens”.
Now the Tres Maria islands are located about 100 miles to the first island, which is Cleofas. The next island to the north is Magdalena which is about 45 miles north of Cleofas. Then there is Madre island, this where the prison was and is the most sensitive of all the islands eco-wise with one of a kind coral reefs and several fish and creatures only found in this area, that goes for the whole world. You can see why this is such a sensitive area. The final island is Juanito to complete the list of islands. Each island is about forty to fifty miles apart. It is very rocky in this are so the production Seiners can’t get into these areas very well.
“You know they say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. So Master Baiter’s started putting people out to this world famous area now, but not in the winter months. You see the boats in Southern California are trying to fill in their dead season, so some come down like the Constitution or the Apollo and stay the season. They push the winter season fishing of Yellowfin Tuna. And Yellowfin Tuna are at the Tres Maria Islands year round. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect all year round. For those in he know, those who know the area and hear the news, a trip to the Tres Maria islands is anything but “risk” free. You see, it’s not the prison that keeps the Navy chasing idiot captains away from the island. It’s the sensitive eco-nature that these “anglers” want to destroy. I should walk that back, it’s the boat owners and the captains looking to kill the ecosystem at the Tres Maria Islands.
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!
The reason I felt motivated to write this article on top of the one below is people are unaware of what’s actually happening. So there you go, I had a group of great guys looking for a 2.5 day fishing package. They told me how the Navy came and boarded the boat, I’m sure that alone in Mexican water would scare the day-lights out of the clientele and it should. They were forced to follow them to the Navy Dock at Madre island where the prison used to get supplies delivered and the police kept the “locals” in line. These great guys were amazed I knew what happened. I proceeded to tell this group this is turning into a coming occurrence. Remembering each person on the boat paid about two thousand dollars for this trip and there are about ten guys on the boat. Now this would make me mad, these guys weren’t happy and they were downright mad when they learned how they’d been duped and played. So financially it cost each of those ten people over eight hundred dollars! They weren’t offered a refund or even an apology, they just got screwed, period. I suggested they post heavily on Tripadvisor, google and any public forum they could find. Why, because this is something people need to know about and they need to get the word out. Now this isn’t sour grapes from their competition, it’s just looking out for your clients and making sure they have fun, not a fear filled three days.
You see if you hit this same area from Mid-July to the end of December, you don’t have to be on the island to catch Yellowfin Tuna! I mean seriously, in the right time of the year, the six mile distance is where they’ll leave you alone. At that distance from the islands you’ll boat three hundred pound Y.F. tuna on a daily basis. You’ll also have a shot at thousand pound Marlin, Ninety pound Rooster fish, Huge Dorado and the list goes on. Why? Because this is one of the world most active fisheries! Anytime from Mid-July on, every time you line hits the water, it could end up with a world record Tuna on the other end! Seems pretty simple, right? But remember this is all about these boats and their low season.
You see they promote the “fact” that they’re coming down when there aren’t any Hurricanes! I guess it’s a marketing plan of sorts, even if it’s misleading if not out and out lies. You see the Hurricane Season for this part of the work starts about mid-July as well. Warm water and Hurricanes go together. But the simple fact is, we have several days of warning when something like this happens. The second thing to remember is the energy from a hurricane in the form of swells only goes in the direction of the storm. So they’re playing on your fear and ignorance of the situation and conditions here. So lets say you are fishing at the Tres Maria Islands and you have a Hurricane headed your way. Worst case scenario, you head back to Puerto Vallarta, about 150 miles from Marina Vallarta. But Mazatlan is only about 80 miles from the islands and that’s under three hours away from the “Isla Marias”. That’s not a real issue in reality. Then you have to think of how often we have Hurricanes in the area that would actually affect the trip? Zero, I have never seen a fishing trip to the “Marias” cancelled for any reason. Including rough seas or Hurricanes, nada, nothing. Now this could be wrong, but it can’t be far off.
So where does this leave the good hearted Angler looking for world class and possible world record Tuna Fishing? First these interested anglers need the vital details that are scarcely available, so I feel responsible to share the facts and get the truth out there. The simple fact is, if you decide to target world class Yellowfin Tuna, you can! Fishing is seasonal, we all know that, especially these companies and captains abusing their clientele.
So, what’s the bottom line here? First, stop believing the liars and do some research. Read articles like this, but there aren’t any in reality. And there you are amigo, stuck in limbo. For now all I can do is try and get the word out. If you google the Tres Maria islands, you’ll come across my articles, it seems nobody cares about the ecosystem at arguably the most sensitive ecosystem in the world and it’s being abused by the greedy, selling to innocents as they get taken to navy headquarters and lose the fishing days they paid dearly for.
Sadly, those who got screwed out of a day, over no fault of their own has options. You don’t even need to be in Mexico to file a claim. There is a consumer protection agency called Profeco. It is their job to make sure you get what you paid for. Now if you’re fishing with people doing business in Mexico, then you have rights even if you’re in Mexico. You can find them on the internet. Link: https://www.vallartadaily.com/file-complaint-profeco-mexicos-consumer-protection-agency/
Here is another link but it’s in Spanish: https://delegacionprofeco.com.mx/jalisco/puerto-vallarta/
If you used an American company, you have the local consumer protection agencies that will step up and get you the lost day equivalent in money back. So you have options and if you have any questions you can always contact me and get some quick answers and maybe even some help.
Back to the bottom line, do ten minutes of research on the Tres Maria islands and learn something about how wonderful and amazing this area is regarding a rare and beautiful ecosystem that can’t speak for itself! But come down and target these beautiful Tuna in the right season. Use the right people, there is no monopoly on fishing and the locals in Puerto Vallarta can handle any fishing need you may have or desire. You have options and they’re more affordable. Want to know how to have a safe and world class fishing experience, we can help.
Remember, fishing the Tres Maria Islands is safe and legal if you follow the rules, fish in the correct season and work with reputable companies like Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle.
For some background on the subject, here are a few sites to review and maybe you can learn a bit more about this beautiful ecosystem they call the Tres Maria islands:
To continue, the article below was something I wrote years ago and is still relavent if you care to continue reading. With some help these island now that have been turned into a tourist attraction will continue to be pristine and incredible.
Referral Article Below
The Truth Behind the Headlines, Bloody Decks and Tres Maria Islands Monster Yellowfin Tuna(s) in the News
Written by Stan Gabruk
There has been a lot of talk recently about Puerto Vallarta and the Monster Yellowfin Tuna that have been boated off the Tres Maria Islands. In the Big Game Fishing industry you hear about a heavily promoted Bloody Decks ¨Boat¨ called the Maximus. You hear how this ¨Cattle Car¨ boat loads up with ten people or so, they head out to the Tres Maria islands and then they come back in with their fill of Yellowfin Tuna well over 150 lbs to as much as a recent Monster at about 430 lbs. Now we all get excited when we hear this, we weigh the cost against the ¨Opportunity¨ at a Bucket List Gamefish if there ever was one.
Now this all sounds good and exciting, but in reality this is bad news stuff. Yes, this is a bad thing that is being promoted by big winded blow hards who are telling the world how cool they are and how you too should be fishing with them and YOU TOO can boat these Monsters. All sounds exciting and it will get you to the core if you´re a fanatic fisherman looking for Yellowfin Tuna in February. Well that is until you realize they are fishing in A GAME RESERVE!
Since I have no love for the site Bloody Decks, it is well known I have been banned from the site because they don`t like Master Baiter´s, but this is not a sour grapes article. This is an article meant to inform the general public on how BLOODY DECKS the site is posting these forum articles (they post these stories yet have plausible deniability since it isn´t them posting, so they take no responsibility for what is on their site, nice cop out so they don´t get sued by unhappy READERS DRINKING THE Bloody JUICE). What you are not hearing is the down side, the illegal side, and the clients who are taking a risk they don´t know they`re taking. So lets discuss what you are not hearing,… from a ¨local¨ that has been a in PV longer than anyone from the Bloody Decks gang.
To fill you in on some background, the Tres Maria islands have been there for millions of years. They have always been there and I fished the area several times myself outside the 15 mile limit. So this is nothing new, the Yellowfin will be there long after we´re gone. So it surprises me that anyone would make such a big deal about this location (Mexican Game Reserve). This is not news unless you are trying to look like some kind of ground breaker discovering the new territory like those who claim to have found ¨El Banco¨ as an example. I guess if you don´t know any better, you may believe this crap.
The Tres Maria Islands are sprinkled anywhere from 80 to 120 miles out from Puerto Vallarta as the Sea Gull flies. These islands are also known as the Prison Islands because there is an active prison on one of the islands similar to the one in the Movie Papillion with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman many years ago. The worst of the worst criminals from Mexico are placed here for a reason, you can´t walk away from there for sure. Because of these hardened criminals, many are high profile Cartel types, so there is a 12 to 15 mile ¨limit¨ or Boundary around the islands for obvious reasons. Again, nothing new about this. The Mexican Navy has made it quite clear that any boat inside these boundaries is subject to confiscation. Now this is pretty clear and straight forward, no gray areas here. A few months back there were even some criminals (trying to escape) from the island floating out to sea on homemade floating devices. Who knows they may have been waiting for a boat to pick them up, or they were hoping to ride a current to safety. The last guys who lost a motor on a boat here floated to Japan before they were found! So if you think about it, this 12 mile boundary is no joke.
Now on Bloody Decks there is a lot of talk how these certain boats are getting permits to fish these islands. Maximus not too long ago presented a ¨permit¨ to fish the Islands to Navy just to discover it was bogus and carried no weight with the Navy (common knowledge). It was a bogus permit that whoever paid a bunch of money for. So for the record, any person who is not heavily connected to the government will NEVER get a permit to fish the islands. I don´t care what they say, who they think they got this permit from or what the twisted situation is on how they ¨got¨ their permit, it is not legal and they are not only risking their boat, but your fishing trip and maybe worse, much, much worse.
Ok, so you now know the Tres Maria Islands is a prison complex / Game Reserve with a 12 to15 mile boundary, so you now know that whoever is telling you they have a permit to fish this area is a liar or idiot (possibly both). But what else is there, what is it t hey are not telling you as they push their charters to Monster City? Well one thing they aren`t telling you is many of these guys have been warned, then warned again, then warned even again and taken in where they have been finger printed, picture posted on their wall and names taken. Once you´ve been taken in you get finger printed, and put in with the general population, sometimes for only a while if lucky. Bad enough, but wait, there´s more! Along with your charter expense and bogus permit you too can be grabbed by the Mexican Navy and find yourself STUCK on the prison island for who knows how long. Yep, that´s right folks, once you have basically been grabbed, you will be taken to the naval complex on the island and you will not be going anywhere for a while amigos. You see the navy changes the crew on the islands from time to time as you would expect. I hear that the crews change every three months. Now that could be a little off, but the point is you will be stuck on that prison island until there is a crew change. There are no special arrangements made for tourist who have been suckered into this type of fishing trip with the inherent risk you have not been told about. Nobody will be allowed to come get you and when the crew change does happen you are not heading back to the Puerto Vallarta Area, you´re heading to Barra where the Navy will then let you go home or where ever you need to go.
So what am I telling you here in a nut shell, the people charging interested clients in Winter time, who are seeking Monster Yellowfin Tuna are taking you to illegal places where you / they have a strong possibility of having your boat confiscated and stuck on that ¨island¨ for who knows how long. So concern for their own safety and general well being is being blinded by greed while your safety and well being has been put at risk. The Client(s) will be stuck on this prison island with THE CRIMINALS as you have to fend for yourself. Sounds like a dream vacation to me?? I was in the airport here in Puerto Vallarta and told a guy who had been on the Maximus about this, he sent a text message to a friend still going out on the boat in a package of three days and he was upset to say the least.
You might tell yourself the guy you are talking with is a good guy, he tells you what you want to hear and you ultimately trust the company you´re fishing with, sponsored by bloody decks (Ali has some connection to Maximas and is connected to Bloody Decks as well) since they heavily push a few select boats under their umbrella. When money is your only agenda, greed is a close ally. It´s easy to say nothing is going to happen, but you know it already has.
No matter what you have read, it is common knowledge the Yellowfin Tuna written about in their bulletin board have all been boated well within the twelve to fifteen mile limit as they tell you otherwise! Now there are more people every day heading out to this area. The Mexicans are funny, they will ignore this until they get a burr under their saddle, then they go for it and enforce the law with the numbers of fisherman increasing!? The Navy is different and they are not on the take, several of these Captains have learned this first hand. I could post names of people who have been abusing their clients. But the location enough is all the warning you need to start asking questions after reading this article.
Ok, you now know what you are risking personally if you´re a private boat and you head to the Tres Maria Islands. If you are booking a cattle boat named Maximus beware. If some company tells you it is ok and they have a permit to fish the Tres Maria Islands, they don´t. So if they show you a permit, they well may have been scammed to the price of five thousand dollars for this permit, but you now know better. Don´t let their ignorance cost you….
Let me leave you with this example: As I mentioned earlier, this ¨Ali¨ guy has a vested interest in this cattle boat (there is only one doing this so no name is necessary). This heavily promoted Cattle Boat a few weeks back was boarded by the Mexican Navy with a boat full of clients (a real eye opener if there ever was one). Upon the inspection the Mexican Navy discovered the boat was not insured (legally required in Mexico), did not have a valid ¨permit¨ as they told those interested in small details like this. They also did not have enough fishing licenses for everyone onboard. And on top of that they were/are fishing in protected waters as they say differently.
This article is not going to make me any more popular with Bloody Decks types who are pouring the bloody juice of dreams for client consumption. My goal is to inform you the general fishing public of what not to do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
For the record, if people were having fun in a safe and reasonable way I would promote this company myself and make a commission. To even consider going into a game reserve and then promote it on their bulletin boards is criminal in my opinion. Fishing companies have a fiduciary responsibility to provide full disclosure to clients who are paying for a safe and fun adventure that is risk free and will not affect their well being or their vacation in any way other than being a positive experience. Be informed, Be Safe, what you don´t know will hurt you!
So keep your ears on, these guys will not stop going into this reserve as they blow their horns as loud as possible. One thing for sure, it´s just a matter of time now before these boats are confiscated and the clients are put through an unexpected extended vacation in hell. Stay tuned, there is bound to be more to come in the near future
Now you know the real story behind the headlines……