On The Docks: Changing Market Conditions, Fishing Industry Improvising and Adapting



Carmela overnight, Dinner on the Gaff
Carmela overnight, Dinner on the GaffCarmela overnight, Amber Jack Filets Ready for the GrillCarmela overnight, Amber Jack Filets Ready for the GrillCarmela overnight, Tomatoes and Jalipenos…. YumCarmela overnight, A Captains Gallery / Kitchen

On The Docks: Changing Market Conditions, Fishing Industry Improvising and Adapting            Dec. 21, 2010


Here in Mexico we have a few devastating things happen to us all in the last couple of years starting with the Swine Flu (H1N1 Pandemic) and now we are dealing with the press spreading irresponsible journalism that makes the American public think they will die if they come into Mexico. Of course the drug wars are bad for Mexico, but the real facts are not getting to the public and the press has its own agenda now. Just like the Swine flu, Mexico is taking it on the chin for doing what America has asked Mexico to do. Go after the drug lords. But this article is not about that, this article is how the Captains and boat owners are adapting to the worst financial conditions they have ever seen.  Oh, by the way, you will not die, you are safer in Mexico than you are in Los Angles, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Chicago, etc. Look for the real facts, they´re out there (www.thetruthaboutmexico.com)

To begin with a few facts, Big Game fishing has never been cheap and these days it is getting more expensive to operate a boat by the day. Naturally boat insurance from American providers has doubled in the last year.  The price of fuel has gone up every month for the last two years and is now $10.40 mn or about $4.00 a gallon now which is almost double what it was last summer. Attendance is down to most of the Fishing Tourist Locations like Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan to name a few. With fewer people, they have to cover the expenses which in turn makes everything, everywhere more expensive. So you can imagine the challenges the local boat owners and business are facing. Now figure you can go through 250 gallons like nothing and you can do the math…. Not much profit here after maintenance expenses. Nobody who owns a boat is getting rich here amigos!

Right now those that are interested in going out fishing are dealing with a bad economy and are short on disposable income, those ¨Rebels¨ that choose to come to Mexico that is. Those that know firsthand they won´t die in Puerto Vallarta from the drug lords, etc.  But the clients are different, they want cheap boats and the old saying comes to mind, ¨You Get What You Pay For¨.  Newer boats cost money, but in the real world, older well maintained boats can be just as productive as newer and more expensive boats. The payments are the issue here. So the locals have been churning out ways to keep cost down for the visiting angler looking to have a day on the water and not mortgage their life to do so. You may ask how they are doing this, well one way is to take advantage of the very same market that is beating them up. What do I mean, well here it comes…..

New boats cost lots of money and they are not getting cheaper. But the boat market, the first thing that goes when hard times hit, has a glut of boats just sitting at docks all over the world. Reposed or sellers dumping them for whatever they can get has proven to work out for the guy looking to stay in business and still have a nice boat. Now many of my clients ask me things like what year the boat is, what the boat has, but they never seem to care much about the captain or the first mate. The beating heart of any boat or fishing trip. It´s the captain and the first mate that makes the experience and your day. A bad captain on a nice boat is a wasted day and wasted money. Remember, the fish don´t give a darn about the boat, they´re looking at the bait you are presenting and they will be in places you may never expect! Only an experienced Captain will know these things. With every person or quasi captain telling you he is superman, you have to look at things from all angles before you make a decision on how you will be spending the limited resource of your disposable income! And this is a moving target, the boat you are on this year will more than likely change captains, owners and even dock locations by the time you return to the area. So of course you are looking for companies with roots and are easy to find.

The smarter companies now are taking advantage of the down boat market and purchasing nice, older boats in fine working condition that have been well maintained. The mere fact that the boat payments are much, much lower means that  the  smarter companies can still offer  an affordable experience on a very nice boat that looks like a newer boat. The Carmela is an example of this and it comes with Captain Oscar. Capt. Oscar is one of the finest captains in all of Puerto Vallarta and he comes in with fish. I mean this guy can smell them. You take a guy like this, give him the equipment and tackle he needs then put him on a nice boat that isn’t costing him a fortune to  operate and you´ve got a recipe for success on all levels. I have attached a bunch of photos of Capt Oscar and his new boat the Camela (we don’t like the name, will change soon), a 38ft. Bertram (1994) with a wide beam and it has all the extras. Air conditioned bumper pads, huge cockpit and a price that is hard to beat in these days as prices increase daily on all things ¨Marine¨.  So for $1,200 usd you can have this boat for twelve hours and come back happy and with a full fish box. This price is cheaper than the cheapest 32ft Luhrs express that is a 2006 or newer by about $400.00 usd with lesser captains or owners pretending to be captains. Of course these are bottom line prices, but they are great prices for groups. Now if you want to do an overnight, Especially in the summer, the air conditioning is expensive to install, that is why most boats will not be air conditioned, even in summer. With a proven tournament winning captain, this is a deal for those who know the industry! I have included photos of the boat for your viewing pleasure with clients on an overnight trip. Now that is the deal, an overnight tips are especially nice when you can cook your catch of the day, that evening… it doesn´t get any fresher than that. Imagine waking up at the fishing grounds ready to drop your line in the water. Now that is a luxury where you don´t have the travel time to eat your patience!

I just was shown another boat, a 35ft. Tournament Luhrs this is beautiful, nice bumpers, fast, another tournament winning and consistent captain, Ten hour day heading out to Corbeteña or San Pancho will run you $1,000.00 usd and you´ll be amazed at the equipment, service and fun you´ll have… not to mention catch fish and that is always the bottom line. It´s only 750usd for 8 hrs and you can bring along as many as eight people. This is cheaper than going golfing and you´ll have fifty thousand dollars worth of equipment and tackle on hand. In fact a Jet ski on the beach would cost you more for the same time frame than these fishing boats that do what they claim they can do.

So remember, there are lots of options for those looking for larger boats and rock bottom prices… I will be posting some of these on my web page soon so stay tuned and enjoy the photos.. In the mean time remember, people are not dying in the streets here in Mexico amigos.. Take it from someone on the inside wondering what the press is talking about…

Feel free to contact me at Catchfish@MasterBaiters.com.mx or check out my web site for weekly (many times two reports) fishing reports. My blog is meant to keep my  25 interested readers informed about what the inside industry conditions are so you the fishing public don´t get blindsided by those that would feed you a line of Sh_T just to get your cash.

Until Next time, don´t forget to kiss your fish!

Written by: Stan Gabruk, owner Master Baiter´s Sportfishing & Tackle