Fishing in Vallarta, Smaller Game Fish to be Found, Conditions Changing!
Normally at this time of the year I am looking forward to my annual New Year’s Eve late evening fishing trip to El Banco for the last of the Season Yellowfin Monsters and Black Marlin. But this year I will be enjoying the celebration with my friends all over Marina Vallarta! You see, just like Florida and California, La Nina has found Puerto Vallarta’s fishing grounds as well. Right now we are seeing February in January where fishing is for smaller game fish at the usual locations in and around the bay. So if you are expecting summer fishing in January, you can pretty much hang that thought up until Next July. Those looking for a fishing fix can still find the Monster Yellowfin Tuna at the Tres Maria Islands and the fanatics’ don´t care where they have to go or how much time or money it will cost. The fish we´re talking about is the equivalent of big game hunting, but on the water. The person who has the inclination can still get Striped Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna. But there is a secret or two to getting their interest, so stay tuned, here come the facts!
The water conditions have been changing rapidly right now and outside the bay, past the Marietta Islands, the water is dirty with some spots of red tide, just what you wanted to hear. The good news right now is about ten miles north of El Banco there is warmer, blue water. This is where you’ll find Striped Marlin and have a shot at larger Yellowfin Tuna. Now if you keep heading north you´ll run into the Tres Maria Islands, aka the prison islands, where the Yellowfin Tuna have been running in the 200lb range. Now eighty miles out for a guy from Southern California is considered close in, so those types are very happy to have the opportunity for this rare chance to hit something larger than a 80 lb Albacore Tuna, which is considered a catch there. The vacationing angler with a recreational interest is more than happy with a shorter day catching smaller game fish with nice action. So if you are of the mind-set to head out after these beauties, then this is where you´ll have to go.
One thing to remember as I think of it is the bay is just surrounded by these tiny Sardines about two inches long and they´re the fish fast food of the area for now. If you are running full sized google eyes or larger baits like Bonito or Skip Jack Tunas, you´re not doing yourself any favors. There is an old fishing saying, ¨Elephants eat peanuts too¨! Out near the point of Punta Mita the skiffs that fish bait in the late evening or early morning hours have been selling scoops of these Sardines and if you rig them up in a snag line sort of rig. Many have come up with a fancy name for this like a Sevicay (or something like that) rig where you run several small baits and jig it. It works, but it’s not exciting, but did I say it works? So keep this in mind.
Corbeteña and El Banco are still producing good sized Cubera Snappers for those who don´t mind doing a little bottom fishing for a great tasting and hard fighting fish. They can run in the 60lb range right now. But you may also find them in the 30 lb range, so it just depends on what you come across. One thing for sure fishing is anything but exact! Not much action other than this at Corbeteña and El Banco for that matter, but again everything can change if the water gets a little warmer or you find warm spots! These are pretty much the only reason you´d be heading out to Corbeteña or El Banco for now…
The Marietta Islands are the place to be if you want to catch fish, but be warned, everyone in Marina Vallarta is heading to this popular location. Rooster fish, Snappers ranging from large to small, Sierra Mackerals, African Pompano, Even some cold water Sea Bass are coming in from who knows where? These are definitely a cold water fish. So there are fish around the reefs like normal. But if you´re not using small baits and lures, you may come back empty handed. There are lots of boats out there, too many boats to be sure since this is the best fishing spot for the moment. This can chase the fish down and drive you nuts. My suggestion is to hit this spot early, then if the crowd comes, move out to El Morro or elsewhere. Discuss this with your captain and develop a plan as you leave the marina in the morning. As I was finishing this article one of my boats came in and while whale watching they ran into some Dorado smack in the middle area between El Faro at the southern point of the bay and the Marietta Islands. Again not exactly abundant, but it is nice to know they are out there! Stay tuned for more reports later, this could pick up if we have just a little luck! Again anything is possible in warmer water.
Those looking for a shorter day on a tighter budget can hit the south end of the bay close to shore and find Skip Jacks, Sierra Mackerals (they’re everywhere), Jack Crevalls, Roballo or Snook at the river mouths are large and strong and of course Snappers are around the bay as well. The point at Punta Mita is still producing Snappers. There have not been many reports from Sayulita (just north of the point) lately and this area may be worth a visit if you are in that direction. Rooster fish like to hang out there so anything is possible or probable … But I have had a boat come in yesterday from this area with three nice sized Dorado. That is the upside for the area, but they were more than an hour apart in their strikes and it will be more ¨miss¨ than ¨hit¨. If you are on your way to San Pancho targeting Sailfish you may have a Dorado surprise.
With the water temperatures ranging from 72 to 78 right now, the warmer areas will have fish, the chilly areas are not where you want to be, another reason to have decent electronics on your boat. Look for clear, blue water outside the bay and you´ll have fish. Remember to use smaller sardines or you may have an issue getting fish to pay attention to your presentation. The Bite has been happening later and later in the day. Anywhere from 12 to 3:00 is when things are happening… The Eclipse and extreme tides are just a few examples the ingredients in the present conditions that make it hard to predict when the bite is happening. So be flexible, and be patient. The fish are out there as long as you´re not looking for Moby Dick and you can have a great time. Those with kids will find the smaller game fish perfect for action and a shorter day. I even have center console Super Pangas with a head / bathroom of sorts so the girls will have some privacy. For now, we will be expecting these sorts of conditions to continue until the currents change direction.
So there you have it, the latest and greatest amigos. Thanks for reading my articles, it is appreciated. My philosophy is this, if you are going to come to Mexico and fork out that hard earned disposable income, it´s my job to make sure you know the truth straight up. Unlike others I am not out for your one time business. So I won’t tell you what you want to hear just to get your cash. That is why at Master Baiter´s we say ¨We Won´t Jerk You Around¨ and we mean it! Master Baiter´s in Marina Vallarta is the oldest Deep Sea Fishing Company in continuous operation since 2000. There are imposters in Vallarta claiming to be me, so be sure you get me, Stan Gabruk when sending emails or talking on the phone. Others will tell you they are my business, Or I´m dead or out of business when looking for us in Marina Vallarta, .. Enough of that…. Well that is about all there is for now….
On a side note, while in Puerto Vallarta make sure you visit The Village in Marina Vallarta, with Restaurant row and 150 shops and services its Puerto Vallartas other Malicon (board walk in English) and should be on your list of places to visit…
Until next time, don´t forget to kiss your fish!
The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property to Stan Gabruk. Always ask to speak with Stan to insure product quality and to insure you are working with the true Master Baiter´s ® and not an imposter