No Story here, Just More fish porn for the people that can´t get enough Naked Fish….. addicts! These are larger file pictures so they´ll take some time to load up… I suggest walking away from the computer for a few minutes….. take care… Stan
Picking a Charter Company, What You Don’t know Will Hurt You
Written by Stan Gabruk
The following is a Re-Posted article I wrote a while back, but it still applies. With the cost of fuel going up at half a peso a day, or about thirty dollars a month per eight hour trip, things are getting dicy around fishing companies looking to cut corners and sell a product you think you´re getting, until you get on the boat. Review the important facts, some of you will see yourself being ripped off and how it happened. Still some will read this article and think they know how to handle things. Either way, if you are here in Mexico, Florida, Hawaii or Thailand, these priciples appy and are good reading. There is a second part to this article I will post in a few days which with my schedule means next week, or so.. Hahahaa… Anyway, check it out and sorry, no pictures of bad boats, they´d get upset and then maybe I would be dead, not just the rumors my competition puts out there….
Since the year 2000, Master Baiter’s has been in the Sportfishing Charter business. Some call it Deep Sea Fishing, others call it Sportfishing, what ever you choose to call it, it’s expensive and there’s no way around that simple fact of life. I always have potential clients enter my shop on the boardwalk in Marina Vallarta and they naturally ask for prices. When I collect all the information I need from them to make a recommendation, they are seldom happy about the price and that in itself is a deal breaker. Especially for many vacationing Anglers with a “whim” to go fishing for “Moby Dick”. When I do finally figure out the correct or best option for the client, he’s usually grabbing his chest from the heart palpitations he’s experiencing. I can understand that reaction for sure. When you tell a potential client that a ten hour trip on a nice and nicely equipped boat is going to run on average $1,000.00 usd for up to five people (total, not each person), this is normal. After years of this I think it’s finally time to get down in writing why things are the way they are. When you stop and realize that for the same money, you can rent a Jet Ski and pay more for that per hour than you are for a multi-hundred thousand dollar boat! Just to put things in perspective. Lets go into a little more detail on this since it can be a deal breaker.
Start-up and Operating Expenses: First, let’s take a look at the expense of the boat itself. If you’re lucky and you buy a three year old Luhrs Express with fresh engines for example, you’d be lucky to get one of these for $180,000.00 usd (it’s a ball park number so don’t beat me up for this over present market conditions). Now the engines on a Charter Boat that’s going out 15 to 20 times a month (which is a lot) will last three years before you’ll need to start thinking about what the engines remaining life span is. Without getting into this too heavily, I use the accounting / business standard three year return on my investment (ROI) formula for this, as do some others in Marina Vallarta. The boat payment alone, without interest attached for 36 months (3 yrs) is a $6,000.00 usd per month payment alone. Most financing a boat like this will extend the terms so their payment is in the neighborhood of $2,000.00 usd per month for multiple years, with a substantial down payment. Tack on Fuel, insurance, water, electricity, cleaning products, oil changes, Equipment, salaries, fishing licenses for a year, Line, Lures, Poles, maintenance, Reels, ADVERTISING, more equipment and you start to get a feel for what the upfront expenses are before you ever see a dime in profit. Don’t forget, you’re a startup company so people won’t know of or about you. With all these expenses and some I didn’t mention, the actual running expenses / cost of the 32 ft. boat will ultimately run approx. $743.00 usd per 12 trip (1/3 to 1/2 being fuel alone, rest being fixed cost). If as an owner you charge $1,000.00 for that trip, the owner saw maybe $257.00 usd over operating expenses in profit. Hit this amount with taxes or Hacienda as they call it here in Mexico, and I’m sure you can see where this is going. I’d also like to emphasize that 15 trips a month is considered a heavy traffic month, so the numbers can go south in a heart beat if demand for your services dry up due to bad economies like in the USA now. Put this all together and you’ve got a dicey situation for the Deep Sea Fishing industry, especially if you’re new in the “neighborhood”. A risky business venture to be sure, yet we get those who want to retire and become Jimmy Buffet Living in Margarita Ville where life is a constant party. Well folks, it doesn’t work like that, it’s not glamorous or a big money maker.
Average time in business for start up charter companies is 2.5 yrs in business or less. That’s how long it usually takes people to figure out they’re not having fun or making any money and most likely both. Hell, they’re not even covering their expenses with low charter months and eventually the money will just dry up and there goes the fantasy. The competition doesn’t help when they sell their boats for less than operating cost, but hey, they got few dollars I their pocket today. They worry about tomorrow when they can’t avoid it any longer.
Charter Services in Florida, Hawaii, and Cabo all price their charters considerably higher which makes Puerto Vallarta the best value for your Sportfishing dollar as things stand now! With Marine Fuel in the $2.40 (conservative) a gallon range, it’s less than half what they’re paying for it in the Caribbean, Hawaii or Florida!
Recently in PV, Many existing charter companies with good reputations are updating their charter boats with newer boats, yet prices are staying stable because of a noticeable slow down in tourism. With all the financial balls people are juggling in North America the budget fisherman has been hit hard. But the growth in popularity of Puerto Vallarta and the sport is off setting the lower levels in tourism. People with money will always have the money they want to do what they want. Big Game Fishing has never been cheap and it never will be. For those with the necessary cash flow, The World has turned its eyes our way and things are changing accordingly…..
One thing to look out for is the guy who says he can take a deposit on a specific boat, he may even have a slip of paper with a number on it, but it doesn’t mean a thing amigo. Last week I placed two different sets of people who gave a person a deposit for a day of fishing, just to find out when it came time to go, the boat was no where to be found. No contact, Nobody. I tried calling the boat that was “chartered” only to find the boat was already booked and confirmed for other people. Those unsuspecting folks were robbed and didn’t find out for three days after they dropped the deposit. Don’t be fooled, Use an established Charter company with an office from which they work from. If you don’t have that, and I don’t mean a mini mart, you’ve got a possible vacation disaster. So beware of who you’re dealing with…..
About Captains and Crews: They say there is no substitute for experience and here in Puerto Vallarta (PV) truer words were never spoken. Many, if not most of the Captains here grew up on the docks learning from their Fathers and Grand Fathers. There are many third generation charter Captains that know this area better than the back of their hand. The problem is, this is Mexico and most Mexican Captains and crews don’t speak English (all of ours do). This can make communication difficult for the vacationing Angler. So the Captain with good, maybe not great English skills will be favored over the non-English speaking Captains. Now I can more than understand this since a person coming down from Canada or the States will find a comfort factor in being able to communicate with the Captain….. Imagine that. So when a boat owner chooses a Captain, he has to choose from a limited few that may or may not be the best choice available. Coming down to the Marina or reading articles online will help the decision making process but you never know what you’ve got until you’ve been out with one. Many people come to PV year after year going from one company to another looking for the correct combination of ability, quality, comfort factor, and price! Since people are creatures of habit, if they have fun, you’ve got a locked in return client! They’ll come back year after year, since they already like the boat and crew, why change??
Some Captains come in consistently with fish, while others will tell you they’re the best, yet choke when the chips are down. Now we all know fishing is fishing and on any given day you can come in skunked, it happens to the best of us. But as a charter company owner I’m looking for everything, Perfect English, Experience, reliability, a dash of personality and the ability to come in with a full fish box when others are coming back “empty handed”. For those off days when you come back with an empty fish box, we’ve all heard the horror stories, the very least you want is a Captain and Crew that you feel gave it their all. Changed lure color often, tried different things and had the tools necessary for several fishing methods! Not just trolling the six lures they may have.
So how would the general public coming down to Puerto Vallarta know which Captain is best for them? Well amigos, it’s almost impossible to tell if you’re not in the middle of the action. That’s where we come in, making sure we have the best Captains available on our boats so you don’t have to worry about such things. The boat you were on last year may have been great then, but things change rapidly in Marina Vallarta and the captain and crew, hell even the owner may have changed since the last time you went out fishing with them. Everything has changed about that boat, except the name that is. So choose a reputable Fishing Charter Company and you’ll most likely not be disappointed with your day on the water.
Now remember, this article is for the average guy hoping to learn a little something from an insiders view. Again the goal of this article is to share information with the average person so “he” can better understand why things are, the way they are!
Lets Talk Equipment / Tackle: Sportfishing makes the expense of Golf look like nothing in comparison. When it comes to Big Game or Deep Sea Fishing here in Puerto Vallarta (PV), where it’s very possible to boat a world record fish, you just know it’s going to be expensive. If you compare a rig as I call it, or a fishing pole / reel set-up to that of a bag of golf clubs (about the same cost, balls and all), you could spend between $1,200.00 to $2,000.00 usd dollars in the blink of an eye. Take this number, multiply it by ten to fifteen times and you’ll have a basic idea of the minimum requirements for a professional charter boat when it comes to poles, reels, line and lures. If you’re looking for smaller fish inshore or larger fish at El Banco or Corbetena, you have to have the correct rig for the species targeted and for conditions that day. Mix in hooks, line, Flouro Carbon leader (expensive), gaffs, harnesses, swivels ($15 usd each), Kites, Down Riggers etc. , the list just goes on and on. Nothing is cheap, tack 30% on to the normal USA cost for these items just because you’re buying them in Mexico and you start to see what we’re talking about. You can try sneaking it in, but good luck, they love finding new fishing gear in suitcases as they’re checked in Customs.
Now the Charter Boat that doesn’t have the best equipment and tackle, well this will become obvious when you head out and snap the line ten times in one day on a boat who’s using stressed line….. We all lose fish, but not a bunch in a row from broken line. If this happens it’s old, chaffed, and ready for the trash bin. The Angler spending a thousand dollars for a trip to catch Moby Dick deserves much more than the opportunity to lose a fish on a half full spool of stressed line.
That’s another point, Getting spooled in this day and age is unacceptable and you should never go on a boat that doesn’t have Spectra Backed reels. Especially when you’re looking at Grander Marlin and Monster Yellowfin tuna from June to Mid January! Once you’ve boated or fought a larger billfish or Yellowfin Monster you’ll be glad you had new line. But even then, the life span of the line is between five and ten big fish, especially billfish. The fishing line these days are designed to perform, but not forever. It stretches and gets chaffed by bills, sun, salt and age. Fresh line on full reels is very easy to see and is an indicator for what you could expect on that charter boat. So the next time you’re out choosing a charter, ask to see the equipment if possible. The whole day will depend on the mere fact that the charter boat owner spends fifty dollars to reline a reel so these things won’t happen for the worse constantly. But remember, like I said earlier, breaking line is part of the game, but not ten times in one day! Everyone wants to save a buck or two, but make sure you get what you think you’re paying for, not what your wallet tells you. You’re better off waiting another year and doing it right with the opportunity to have the time of your life….
Let’s talk about the service end of the business: I’ve talked before on how people look for a charter company. First they may check out the internet at home, but many wait until they come down to Puerto Vallarta to get the “feel” of the area. First they talk with the guy who gets their luggage to the taxi at the airport when you first arrive. Then he’ll talk with the taxi driver, Next comes the concierge at the hotel, the waiter in the restaurant, people around the pool and finally he’ll find his way to Marina Vallarta and walk the gauntlet. There are companies in Marina Vallarta that are the flavor of the month. One guy or company which just sprung up this past summer went out of business selling Roasted Chicken and now books really cheap boats out of Los Penas Marina. They’ve got a nice, cheap office with pretty furniture and a nice logo to impress you. Then also got a guy who’s standing on the board walk (or walking the boardwalk) asking you if you need anything from a tour to a fishing charter. Now this guy can’t tell you what kind of baits are working right now, but he’s quick to talk of his twelve boats. Of course he can’t remember the names of but two, but he’s got twelve!
Check out internet travel forum sites about the area or sites like Trip Adviser, World Wide Fishing Guide or Fodor’s travel guide, where slouch companies can’t afford the price of participation. Look for recommendations from travel agencies, articles, travel guides again like Fodor’s, the hotel concierge, but locals that live in the area are always the best. Word of mouth is still the best advertising. Vacationers and travelers in general are always more than willing to share their experiences, mostly bad. I’ve always found that flattering words may go unsaid, but a bad time will get plenty of volume when it’s time to speak of horrible experiences
Service is first and foremost, no matter how much you paid for your day on the water. Naturally lower cost providers should come with lowered expectations. Having said that, I don’t care if you live in Mexico or on Mars, service is a basic fact of life in any business. Service doesn’t cost the operator or Owner a thin dime more than he’s already spending. It all comes down to getting the most from your people and making sure clients are not only having fun, but are being provided the service they don’t know they need. Do they meet you on time at an agreed to meeting place? Is the boat fueled up with bait and ice, ready to go? Are there any money issues that you’re unaware of until that moment of departure (This happens all the time)? Do you have your contact persons phone number if need be? Do you know your boats name / location? All important stuff that should not be a mystery! Was the crew courteous and pleasant? Do they interact with you? Do they listen to your request? Do they release when informed of this desire or not? Did they tell you they speak English, just to later discover they know ten words of English? This and the list could go on for ever.
All very important things to consider when choosing a charter company…..
I have another article I Have written. I will post that article after I get this up….
If you should have any questions, feel free to ask: www.MasterBaiters.com.mx or CatchFish@MasterBaiters.com.mx Facebook: MasterBaiter Stan Tshits: www.MasterBaitersGear.com (big sellers and very funny).
Black / Blue Marlin at El Banco, San Pancho Dorado & Sailfish
Written by: Stan Gabruk of Master Baiter´s Sportfishing & Tackle
Well here we are once again, the end of High Season for tourism and the beginning of High Season for Fishing. As the seasonal visitors head back north it´s the biggest signal the seasons are changing. Soon the fishing fanatics looking for Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, Tuna, etc. will descend on PV. We are already seeing signs of Black and Blue Marlin at El Banco. Water temperatures are inching up slightly, bait is more abundant (if that´s possible), the water is clear green and breeding season is all but finished, finally! Yes we´re on track for a wonderful fishing season and it all starts NOW!
Read the rest of the article on my web page at:
We are now reserving the blog page for Daily conditions, interesting special articles, and of course our famous ¨Fish Porn,Safe for Your 12 yr Old¨ …… Stay tuned, but I´ll always link the report, so you´re covered….
Summer Pushes Forward, Water Temps Up, Sailfish Hungry
If you were in Puerto Vallarta you´d think it was summer. Water Temperatures are back up around the 78 to 81 degree range. Bait is thick, Breeding Season is coming to an end as all the species are taking bait again. It´s still the clear green water conditions for the most part, but that´s OK since it really doesn´t hurt anything, blue is still preferable for visibility reasons. Dorado are moving back in, early actually for the season, but Dorado have been in the area all winter long, so why would this surprise any of us? Sounds great, right? Well for the ¨salty¨ captains this is the situation, they´re catching fish. Lesser Captains and crews are still coming in ¨wanting¨, again nothing new there. From this point on, it will only get hotter, both for the weather and for fishing. So get your loose change together, it´s time to think ¨World Class Fishing¨!
Shortly after the last report, things began to break loose. Rooster fish are sizeable at 60 lbs, but will now take Goggle eyes for bait, not only the abundant Sardines. You´ll have to hit the area around Anclote, the reef off Sayulita, north of Punta Mita. While there, find a Buoy and you´ll also find Dorado in the 25 to 35 lb range. Not exactly abundant, but there. North of Sayulita near San Pancho the Sailfish are still having a fiesta as they party around bait balls the size of McDonalds, parking lot and all. Plan a ten hour fishing day and you too can join in the fun.
Marietta Islands are also coming back to life with Rooster Fish as well. Also running in the 60 lb range, these quill backed demons will show you what Deep Sea Fishing is all about. Not the best tasting of species, as long as they´re a little under cooked, they´re not too bad. Dorado are here as well, but not in numbers you can rely on. This will change in the next few days so don´t get your panties in a bunch, be patient. Snappers in the 12 to 35 lb range are perfect as a blue plate special. Amber Jacks are thicker as they are running 40 lbs or so and they´re great tasting. Bonito, Jack Crevalls, Skip Jacks Tuna round out what´s happening in the area. It´s an eight hour day, it´s going to be very warm to hot (warm for acclimated types) and worth the time and money to boat a Sailfish here. Yes I said Sailfish, not thick like San Pancho, but picking up in numbers as we speak.
Corbeteña and El Banco are still a little quiet, this will change in the coming weeks. Still lots of Jack Crevalls, Cubera Snappers in the 50lb range, Amber Jacks to 60 lbs and Orca Whales everywhere. Can´t figure that one out since these are cold water fish, must be the abundance of bait! For now, save your fuel dollar for better days in this area. Now if you just absolutely, positively have to have a Monster Yellowfin Tuna, then head to the Tres Maria Islands. Yellowfin Tuna are running over 250 lbs for the lucky angler. Average size for this past week has been 140 lbs. Just remember keep your distance, it´s still a fishery and the local authorities will chase you out of the restricted area or grab you, your boat and your equipment. You could also be stuck on that prison island like some have been for a good stretch of time. So be smart or you may find yourself in a high security prison even the hardened criminals can´t get away from! Plan on a 16 hr day minimum when making this trip, overnight trips make the most sense.
Inside the bay, believe it or not small Dorado in the 15 to 20 lb range (babies that need to be thrown back) are picking up in numbers. A great indication of things to come. I would not be surprised if Sailfish move into the Bay of Banderas chasing these delectable bait treats! Remember, Billfish love to eat Dorado, but when you troll a Dorado as bait, they die too quickly. But they will chase them so if you´re in the bay and find Dorado, keep a peeled eye, you may be glad you did.
We are still seeing some swirly currents, water temps are still a little streaky, but we´re a little early for fishing’s High Season to begin. The bite is moving earlier in the day and by the end of the week will be earlier than later, so plan accordingly. Bait is plentiful, maybe a little too plentiful. An experienced captain knows how to maneuver around these challenges, just make sure you´re paying for a superior captain or the few bucks you saved will result in disappointing day fishing. One piece of advice, fuel prices are going up at least thirty dollars a trip, per month with the fuel pricing strategy the Mexican Govt has. The smart money is booking boats before the prices jump considerably and they are moving upwards now. World Class Deep Sea or Sportfishing as it´s called is not for people looking to save money. Now I am not saying throw your money away, but stop and think about it, we all have the same expenses, legit companies that is, why are some boats or companies so much cheaper than others? One reason is Insurance, well paid crews, fuel usage on fast boats, electronics, fresh line, smooth drags, radios (no joke) and a service oriented company will always be ¨cheap¨ insurance for a fun, productive and safe day. Be smart, what you don´t know can hurt you and your family…..
Master Baiter´s is now producing a weekly news letter and posting up to the minute fishing conditions on my blog. Fire me an email if you care to get on my travel agent list so you have the up to the minute information that can make or break your day amigos.. YeHa! I´ll be standing by to hear from you…..
Until next time don’t forget to kiss your fish and remember at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle “ We Won’t Jerk You Around”!
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: http://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/88817121325The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.
Sailfish Return to San Pancho, Dorado and Rooster Fish Pick Up Written by: Stan Gabruk owner of Master Baiter´s Sportfishing & Tackle Every spring, beginning in the second week of April we run into breeding season. To say love is in the air in Banderas Bay was an understatement. Everything stops as the mind and body of several species focus on procreating. That´s April, now that we´re in May we´re seeing things change as water temperatures inch upwards. Bait is increasingly more abundant with mostly smaller Sardines and Google Eyes. Yes folks, it´s still winter transition fishing but the end is in sight as summer species move back in. For now the water is still ¨clear green¨ in color, which works fine for fishing, doesn´t affect the bite much. Water temperatures are now in the 75 to 78 degree range, but the currents are still swirling, so electronics on the boat is a welcome tool which will direct you to where to drop your baits. If you´re lucky enough to find yourself in the San Pancho (San Francisco) area north of Punta Mita you´ll find nice sized Dorado in the 35 to 60 lb range. Sailfish are also hanging out in the area as is normal for this early part of the fishing season. In this area you´ll want to use Google Eyes or whatever they´re hitting locally at the time you reach the fishing grounds. The down side is this will be a ten hour day due to the distance for these fishing grounds. If you´re looking for sizeable gamefish, for now you´ll need to put the time in, but it´s not that much time amigos! Corbeteña, a location I have not discussed for weeks and weeks is seeing an invasion of Snappers in the 35 lb range. Fields of red water is impressive. With all the Sardines in the area, the smaller Snappers are just chowing down as they come to the surface and take surface baits. With a little luck you´ll find Sailfish here at the rock, but don´t bet the farm on it. For the moment not much of a reason to head to Corbeteña for. It´s a tossup between the Marietta Islands and the point of Punta Mita. Rooster fish are once again chasing the ever increasing amount of Sardines. These are the smaller Sardines, not the longer ones, so use smaller spinner type jigs if trolling lures. Snappers are also in the Marietta Islands, but on the smaller side between 15 and 25 lbs, perfect for the Blue Plate Special. With a bit of luck we´ll see Dorado move back in to the Marietta Islands, if water temps hold up that is. Add the regular players of Jack Crevalls in the 30 lb range, Bonito, Skip Jack Tuna and Sierra Mackerals and then you´ll have a feel for the conditions. Inside the bay, it´s the same as it has been now for weeks. Plenty of Sierra Mackerals ranging from 5 lbs to 25 lbs, they´re great tasting but not excuse enough to hit four hours in the bay. Jack Crevalls, Bonito, Skip Jack and smaller Snapper around the structure areas will round it all out. For younger Anglers it´s perfect. For older types looking to have some short day fun with light tackle, you´ll be happy. With clear and clean water in the bay, the currents have not churned up the sea floor sediments causing dirty water. So we´re counting the blessings we have in the fishing world in spring. With the moon in a favorable phase, getting to the fishing grounds at the break of dawn will most likely be too early. Be where you want to be by 8:30 a.m. and you´ll be on time! Traditionally fishing season begins in May, but May is the lowest part of low tourism season which means you´ll find some deals on the hotels. The humidity is getting a little more intense by the day, but this is normal. The seasonal expats are beginning to head back north. The Marina is noticeably empty as we move into tourisms low season, but it´s the beginning of High Season for Fishing amigos. So get your equipment tuned up, get the line changed on your reels and back it all up with Spectra for the Marlin Days. For now we´re not exactly on fire when we talk fishing, but we will be soon. So get ready, stash those pennies and contact me about our new lay-away fishing plan. We’ll take deposits, build up an account where we can take the sting out of fishing and make the vacation dollars, especially with families, go farther and at the same time insure your day on the water. Contact me for more details as we develop the program. Basically for the cost of a Starbucks cup of coffee, you can get an eight hour fishing trip on a super panga for the equivalent amount. Funny how a few dollars can add up to hundreds in no time. Something to think about.
Feel free to ¨Like¨ these articles or better yet, follow us as we continue to post the only Real Time Fishing Reports in Puerto Vallarta, About Puerto Vallarta by a Real Business owner in Puerto Vallarta and forget about those guys at Bloody Decks copying my articles and reposting segments as if they wrote it. Master Baiter´s for the last fourteen years has been your best source for Fishing Conditions, Reports and general conditions for the visiting and resident anglers in PV. Just another reason why our Motto is ¨We Won´t Jerk You Around¨…..
Until next time don’t forget to kiss your fish and remember at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle “ We Won’t Jerk You Around”! 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: http://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/88817121325The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.
Puerto Vallarta Fishing Industry Challenges, How this affects the Consumer and the Future fishing in PV
I love Marina Vallarta, if you´ve never been there (here) the place is full of life and of course this is where the World Class Sportfishing Companies and crews are. As I walk around the Marina you can´t help but notice the ever vanishing Sportfishing boats from the slips. After more than thirty years Marina Vallarta has changed ownership and has naturally raised prices (slip cost) for boat owners, including the fishing boats already suffering from seven straight ¨depression¨ years. As a result fishing boats that were on the edge have left the industry or gone out of business. Boats that are still operational are searching for affordable options in La Cruz and Nuevo Vallarta Marinas, good luck. Some are biting the bullet, staying and paying. Raising slip cost are just one factor driving the cost of all water sports up, not just fishing boats. One major factor which can´t be ignored are fuel prices which are going up an average of half a peso a day, or about the equivalent of thirty cents a gallon a month until further notice! Another Stab to the gut for Sportfishing Companies. Of course this is a recipe for disaster for everyone involved. I could come up with a laundry list of what drives the prices of Sportfishing up. The bottom line is World Class Sportfishing is not cheap or for the financially challenged. Guys like me find ways to do what we can to make a hobby pay off, but in the end we all succumb to market conditions. To expand on this just a little, the cost of fuel is causing some funny things based on bad perceptions potential by potential clients. For example, there are many people advertising four hour fishing trips for $180 usd. I sell the same duration for more than double that price. You may ask ¨Why¨? Well first of all we are not selling the same product. The unsuspecting, first time client will look only at price because he doesn´t know any better. If you assume that all the boats in Puerto Vallarta are required to have safety equipment, life preservers, radios, licenses, insurance, certified Captains and a business license you´d be normal. Included in that assumption is the thought process that if all the fishing boats and companies have to adhere to these laws or they can´t operate a business (legally), you´d be correct. The one flaw in these inexperienced and naive clients is that this is Mexico and corruption runs wild. My direct competition will tell you that they are cheaper than others, but in fact they are offering a low quality, slow, bad equipment, no insurance, no license product that is less than adequate if measuring others with the same scale! Basically what happens is this, they travel out slowly, saving fuel the main expense in fishing trips. This means at twelve knots, it will take you two hours to get to the Marietta Islands which are 26 miles out from Puerto Vallarta. Master Baiters heads out at twice that speed so this means you get at least two more hours of fishing and not two hours extra of travel time. If you measure the cost of fishing and not traveling, this means we are offering a different product with justified higher cost. These low priced, illegal boats will lead you to believe you are getting a superior product, until you see the boat and head out slowly while reputable companies boats fly past you. Now that would make me mad, but that hundred dollars you saved will look expensive in a short time leaving the marina! If insurance is important, I won´t put a person on a boat that is not insured for legal reasons. I would be responsible if you get injured legally in Mexico. That is because I am findable. The guy you booked this other slow boat with, he´s gone with the wind. I could write a book about this, but when you´re looking for a boat, Radios are important. Many boats that are illegal use cell phones for communication. Now I don´t know about you, but a boat that is in distress, sinking or has mechanical problems using a cell phone looking for help is criminal at best. What is the so called captain going to do, call his friends and have them come find you in some corner of the bay? What would he do if he was sinking, call his mother in law? Radios are also important so you can communicate with others in the area as to where they may have found fish? No maintenance on cheap boats, that´s why they´re disappearing, they´re breaking down and they´re not getting the necessary maintenance, so they sit in some slip or worse… So make sure you know the product, not just the price. What you don´t know can hurt you. Keep this in mind. Ok, so we know where the market conditions are heading, you´d be a fool not to see that we (guys like me) need to come up with ways for people to go fishing and still not suck up all their ¨fun money¨. Lets face it, one fishing trip on a private, professionally equipped boat with a professionally salaried top quality Captain and crew, which is fully insured and licensed is going to eat a chunk of the family $$ earmarked for tours and souvenirs. Insured and Licensed boats are key here. Mainly because we´re ¨findable¨ we are held to a higher level of accountability and frankly we want to be. Right now Marina Vallarta has changed hands after ten years of being in receivership. The new owners have come in and like a new broom is sweeping clean the dead wood slip occupants (lease holders) with expired leases. The new owners are using a monopoly mentality where you are the consumer of a limited product that is now controlled by a new regime. You might say, what does this mean to me, as a boat owner, business owner, I have to have slips for my boats or I´m not in business. After the new owners more than tripled slip rents, boats are leaving like rats from a sinking ship. On top of all that, the powers that be pissed off some of these Billionaire Mexican National types who have now thrown their considerable influence and army of attorneys into the mix. I would not want to be the on the receiving end of those law suits, no sir! Now I am not the only one challenged with how to stay in business where the prime attractions are the boats. But boats are vacating Marina Vallarta as fast as they can move to less expensive Marinas. People come to the Marina to see the boats and have dinner, walk, enjoy the night life, etc. Not look at an open wound where boats used to be. It is driving property values south like a duck in winter! I could go on about this for sure. The boat that can afford or barely afford the slip they are renting are going to be your only ¨obvious¨ options and of course expenses drive cost up. So expect fishing charters prices to go up. Add the increasing fuel cost daily and frankly holding cost down and trying to keep some level of profitability is turning out to be almost impossible. Cheap boats are always there to find. New local laws that enforce owners and brokers alike to prove insurance, Marticula (operating license), and boat registration with the local Port Authority to book fishing trips is going to decrease availability of fishing boats. Here at Master Baiter´s, we don´t see this as a huge issue since so much of our business is word of mouth and return business. The boats and brokers looking for ¨walk by¨ traffic to pounce on, on the boardwalk in Marina Vallarta are looking at hard times ahead. So now we´re looking at fewer choices and higher prices as operational cost skyrocket. But the biggest issue the consumer will be looking at is how familiar faces in Marina Vallarta you used to rent from have disappeared. For many this will mean not being able to enjoy one of the greatest attractions Puerto Vallarta has to offer, which of course is the Bay of Banderas. If you have not been on the water here in PV while on vacation, you missed spectacular experiences like seeing a Giant Manta Rays (14 ft. tip to tip) launching themselves from the oceans in a display for the ladies. Whales doing the same thing. Dolphin by the thousands, Fish, Bait balls, Snorkeling, exploring, it´s just a magical experience. So where do we go from here. Well, I know I have to do something. One thing I´ve been thinking about, is a ¨lay-away¨ fishing plan. Send money in, I´ll put it in an account for you, when you show up you´ll literally have money in the bank to cover your fishing trip, less pain than dropping a chunk of $$ on my counter! Another option is fishing parties for smaller boats on shorter durations. $100 usd per person for an eight hour trip would be affordable for most, you´d be one of four people, the difference being you´ll be targeting Sailfish amigo, not Bonito. Accepting PayPal is something we should have done ages ago, we´re working now… I am also am trying to come up with a way to match clients up to share boats as well. Not sure how this is going to work, but stay tuned for whatever ideas I can come up with. As far as creativity goes, there seems to be no original thought or thoughts on most subjects. My mixed up mind thinks that this will make fishing more affordable even as conditions start to work against the average working guy looking to enjoy Deep Sea Fishing at an affordable price. One thing for sure, if I don´t do something like this, nobody in Marina Vallarta or the area will…. Such is the goal, wish me luck.