Written by: Stan Gabruk owner of Master Baiter´s Sportfishing & Tackle
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For now we’re seeing excellent conditions, blue water, great water temperatures, plenty of bait and fairly good weather and sea conditions. We’ve seen several Hurricanes and Tropical storms this year closer to the shoreline which takes its toll. As we come to the end of low season we’ll soon see more tourist interested in fishing as is normal come the beginning of October. For now your best fishing is outside the bay. But the fish are spread out, spread paper thin. There are all the favorite players to be had species wise, but nothing is easy or automatic. It’s quite possible you’ll come back in empty handed.
Those that take the challenge of the possibility of not catching fish understand it’s not an exact science. This week the deep water locations of Corbetena and El Banco have changed a little, not that you’d notice! Corbetena is back to seeing Yellowfin Tuna anywhere from 40 to 75 lbs and they’re taking bait! Sailfish are a little thing as are Marlin in the 500 lb range, both blue and black. Dorado are in the 20 to 40 lb range, but they’ve been taking green runners, keep that in your back pocket when heading out. El Banco, forget about it. If heading out to more distant fishing grounds it would be worth a pit stop and see what’s happening. With so few fishing boats heading out this way these days let me know if you catch anything! Finally it’s worth a trip to Corbetena amigos! Buenos Suerte or Good Luck and be patient.
Why? Well there is a long list of “Why’s”, feel free to create your own excuse. But the fact remains it difficult at times to understand the fishing conditions in these world famous fishing grounds. Today I am going to blame the “spring back” from El Nino, yes El Nino. Things don’t just spring back to normal after a super strong El Nino. Fish have a tendency to stay where it’s comfortable which seems to be San Diego right now. It takes two whole seasons to get back into a normal flow of sea currents, which by the way is next year.
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The most visited area these days are in the area of Punta Mita / El Morro / Marietta Islands. Sailfish are sprinkled though out the area and can be found anywhere from four miles off shore to twenty miles, but you’ll be in the “ball park” which is the best I can do. Dorado from 15 to 30 lbs are roaming the area. Find a log or floating debris and you’ll most likely find Dorado. Skippies are sprinkled through the area as well. Some Rooster fish were reported at Punta Mita running 40 lbs, but only a few reports so stay tuned. The water is blue once you pass the point but remember there is a lot of crap in the water so don’t push your captain to leave too early or go too fast. It can be tricky with dark skies and hidden water obstacles, it can ruin your day and the boat as well.
Inside the bay it’s been challenging at best. Four to six hour trips are hard to recommend with the brown, dirty water. With all the rain we normally have it washes the mud and debris into the bay in the form of brown and dirty river water. Now it’s fresh water and it can be shallow, but you don’t know this until you’re in it. If a fish can see your bait, then you have a shot, if not then it’s best to avoid this overwhelming obstacle. Find clean water and you’ll catch fish. In dirty water, if you do hit anything it’s luck since fish don’t see baits well. Right place, right time, and a little luck is the way things are going now in the bay. Having said that we still have the cold water species of jack Crevalls at 30 lbs around the river mouths, they like the fresh water. Sailfish and Small Dorado are around the Los Arcos area, had some boated this week when the fish see the bait. 20 lb Football Tunas have been around Yelapa, close to the mountain and for some reason the water can be cleaner or even clean in this area. It’s a gamble for sure. Bonito is a constant at 30 lbs with varied other fish to choose from, again if they see your baits. For now I’d look closer at eight hour trips and if budget constrained do a shared charter with us. Or we have some fairly priced boats if you’re a single and not looking to “share”.
With the cloudy skies and rain fish are confused, no sun as a reference. It seems the bite is happening around 8 a.m. which is not a bad time. But when considering the amount of debris in the bay, you may be able to talk your captain into leaving a bit earlier, but you’ll go super slow so figure that into your duration as the clock starts as you leave Marina Vallarta. With the afternoon bite is around 2 p.m. it may be better to leave a little later and head out faster, it’s a judgment call amigos, flip a coin on that one. When it comes to water temperatures they’ve been a steady and constant 88 degrees for the last three weeks or so now. Perfect for Marlin and Sailfish, Dorado and Tuna can easily tolerate this especially if there is plenty of bait in the area. Speaking of bait we’ve seen 5 inch flying fish around the point of Punta Mita and farther out. Green runners are thick and of course we always have Goggle Eyes and Mullets. So bait issues, unless you factor in that one issue may be too much bait, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
We’re experiencing the old trick the time share promoters use saying Master Baiter’s is “Dead” or out of business. It still amazes me that people come in the shop and tell me “they said you were dead” or “They said there’s a guy there but it’s not Stan, he died” or “Hacienda, the Mexican tax man, Arrested Stan and they’re out of business”! Funny, I don’t feel dead or out of business! This is nothing new, my Mexican Competition at its best, trying to make sure you don’t talk to me for any reason trying steal my business. As a reminder we are located at the South End of Marina Vallarta, between Docks A and B on the boardwalk or on the Malecon behind the black and white striped light house, next to Sr.Frogs, so don’t be confused or lied to. Master Baiter’s is alive and well. Tours, Fishing, T-shirts, hats, Polo shirts, ladies shirts and our world famous Koozies and more. So come in, Say hello and let’s go fishing!
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After many years writing fishing articles and the likes I have to tell you that nobody knows why fish do what they do. We can “predict” what they’ll do from what we’ve seen in the past years, but that is nothing more than a guess. We can tell you what happened yesterday, but in reality that doesn’t mean it will be the same tomorrow since fish move and so does the bait. Sometimes what seems so simple is anything but simple. For years I’ve taken what I’ve seen, experienced and have done my best to predict and report the best I can. Having said that it’s difficult these days to figure out what is happening, let alone what will happen. We’ve seen outstanding seasonal conditions. Blue water, no issues there unless in the bay. Bait is super abundant and varied! Water temperatures are in the normal range and very comfortable for warm water species. So you have to ask what’s the deal with El Banco? No fish? Or really is it that nobody is heading out this way as the clientele is looking for shorter and cheaper fishing charters? Who knows, could be part or all of it. For now it’s difficult to get you any word on El Banco as nobody, but nobody is heading out this far unless they’re on the “way” or returning from an overnight trip for example. They’re passing the area, might as well give it a try. But even then we’ve seen little action at The Bank so it’s hard to discuss what the deal is there. Well we know what the deal is, fuel expenses are the deal frankly. It determines how fast the boat you chartered is and where they’ll go. Again all depending on fuel usage. So El Banco being 50 miles one way with a slim shot at fish is what the deal is with El Banco for now. I could be wrong, just ask my ex-wife.To continue, Boats that use fuel and go fast are more expensive, can’t get around physics and the minimum wage. Factor in “real full time” captains like feeding their families on a regular basis charge more. Good Captains cost, cheap captains don’t, I’m sure you can figure that one out. Slow and un-maintained boats with faulty equipment will be cheaper, but not cheap. With us seeing lower end clientele these days in PV product quality for many companies (internet mostly with no location) has dropped. When you’re the slowest boat heading out it becomes obvious why they’re “cheap”. Another trick of the low end companies and it’s common is to drop baits at the buoys leaving the marina, you’re getting the short end of the fishing stick amigos. They troll too fast, they’re not fishing, they’re in route believe it or not at half speed. They’re just making you think you’re fishing. Your travel time to the fishing grounds is double what the more expensive boats are which means you miss on hours of fishing in slow boats! At that point how cheap are they? Slow boats equal less fishing time with your line in the water, simple physics. You’ll also find the captain (working for day “pay”) of a cheap boat will not leave the “area” or stretch your “duration mileage” even if there are fish just a little farther out. We could do the same, but the quality and service is what our clients are looking for. We’re held to a higher standard and all things in fishing are not created equal. Remember this is Mexico. What you think you’re paying for is not what you get and if you don’t ask the correct questions, other than price that is, then what you don’t know just “gaffed” you in the back side. For people that have never gone fishing or are inexperienced this all seems quite acceptable. For those that know better, well you know better. If you want a slow boat, bad captain, tell me, they’re easy to find and you have to agree to not put a bad comment on Tripadvisor. But either way talk to us by phone or come in and discuss what’s happening and ask all the questions you want. You’ll see the difference and understand what the real deal is before heading out. Not some Timeshare promoter(s) telling you Moby Dick is in the bay, dirty water and all…. There are other contributing factors as well, but they’re too numerous to go into. Now fishing companies like Master Baiter’s live and die by our reputation. If you’re not catching fish, then the specific company was too expensive no matter what the cost was. If you catch fish, the cost of the charter is never remembered. If you’re looking for guarantees in the fishing world, good luck. We used to guarantee you’d catch fish, but even then it was hit and miss at times and those days were different.
Until next week, Don´t forget to kiss Your Fish!
Remember to visit our new location on the Malicon or boardwalk on Morelos right at El Faro or the light house. Also look at our web page, we have some new boats, removed older boats and have some different options. We are showing some less expensive boats for the budget hunters. Then we have the nice boats that are priced accordingly. Then we have a few new yachts for fishing or cruising. We’ll be adding Sailboats shortly for the Sailors out there. We also have some different products in the Boardwalk store I don’t have in the marina store as yet. So go in say hello to Ben or Carmen and check out my newest location!
Master Baiter´s is located in Marina Vallarta between docks A and B on the boardwalk
Web page: www.MasterBaiters.com.mx , Local Phone at: (044) 322 779 75 71 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.