My Mexico, A Resident’s View on life, safety and Living in Puerto Vallarta

My Mexico, A Resident’s View on life, safety and Living in Puerto Vallarta

Written by Stan Gabruk, owner Master Baiter´s Sportfishing and Tackle (

I have lived in Puerto Vallarta now for about ten years and change now. I am constantly asked if Mexico is a safe place to live. Now I have not lived in many places in Mexico, only Puerto Vallarta in Marina Vallarta mostly. It´s an isolated pocket where mostly Americans and Canadians own homes / condos.  There is also a large number of Mexican owners as well, with the vast majority of the Mansions in Marina Vallarta owned by Mexican Nationals as you should expect.  The popular misconception that All Mexicans are broke and have no money is a promoted misconception. Mexicans have money. One look around at the cars traveling down the road is an indication that Puerto Vallarta is Mexicos Palm Beach!

People here live their daily lives like people in North America, they go to work, pay their bills, raise their families and try to squeeze as much out of life as we all do.  Puerto Vallarta has grown dramatically in the last ten years. The flow of money was steady and strong.  North Americans have been steadily visiting Puerto Vallarta since the mid 60´s, but it was the Bubble Days when Free Money was there for the taking in the states that has created what we now know as PV.  Puerto Vallarta Grew and Grew and then got more expensive.  Life was good, everyone was making money, the bubble was growing and  the money machine was in full swing.

During this time there was never any talk in the American press of Drug Cartels, or how Mexico is more dangerous than Iraq as the American press quotes quite often. But the politics of the time started talking about how there was crime in Mexico. Now this is not the subject, crime in Mexico, it exist just like crime exist in Beverly Hills, you can never avoid crime.  When you take a place that has no mention and is pretty much forgotten by the press like Mexico, it can be a shock when you read some of the press Mexico has been getting in the past two years. Suddenly there is crime in Mexico and Drugs, OMG Run for the hills!

OK, so what´s the surprise here amigo, there are drugs everywhere and where people are dealing in drugs there are always drug related deaths, does this really surprise anyone. If you are one of those ¨Scar Face¨ type characters, then you may be one of those guys you are reading about. But hey, I live here, I don´t see those guys in PV! I know people that smoke pot, and they are not some bent nose criminals dealing in drugs all over city…

I live in a small residential area about eight blocks from Marina Vallarta called Colonia Aramara. I have a small hardware store, a fruit market, butcher, laundry and grocery store a stone’s throw from my little  house. The house I live in is a two bedroom, two bath Casita.  A small place with a very nice garden patio, modern appliances, air conditioned, very comfortable place for $5,500.00 pesos or $458.00 dollars per month. My Electric bill during the summer is $1,300.00 pesos or $108.00 dollars for two months with air conditioning going in the evenings since there is nobody home during the day time working hours. By all accounts, this is cheap, very cheap living. When I lived in the Marina I paid $8000.00 pesos ($660.00 usd) a month and paid $350.00 usd for electricity for a month of air conditioning.  The Marina is referred to by Nationals as Gringo Landia or Land in English. You can see my electric bill for one month in the Marina is essentially six months of air conditioning in my Residential Casita.

Casa Pine, My Casita in a Mexican Neighborhood

Casa Pine, My Casita in a Mexican Neighborhood

My Neighbors are normal working class people just like my parents were in our residential neighborhood of Venice California (which was considered dangerous when I was growing up). If you are looking for a connection, there is always somebody close to contact, just like any neighborhood in the states. There are no gangs looking for Gringos with Machetes as the press would have you believe. There are no mass murderers in the streets as is the Perceptions of Americans of Puerto Vallarta and all of Mexico. The occasional party can drive you crazy as Nationals love to find a reason to turn the music up and have a party! But if you are being kept awake, join them, you will be welcome even if you don´t speak Spanish, or Spanglish in my case! Your neighbors look out for your house when you are away, just like normal neighbors. When things go bad, the neighbors all pitch in or set up neighborhood groups to take care of common areas and parks. Normal daily stuff to me. Not that different than any Neighborhood in the western world.

But  when I come to work (my fishing shop), in PV, I open the daily Drudge Report, CBS News, Fox News, CNN and the rest just to discover I am in grave danger of  Drug Cartels looking to cut my head off or worse  since I am being told my little neighborhood is more dangerous than Iraq!! Iraq, WHAT ??  I grew up in California, Venice to be exact. When I was a kid just walking down the street in decent clothes was enough for someone to come after you. Nice shoes, your gold chain, you name it, if it you looked like you had money, you got attacked by all sorts of ¨minority types¨.   Yet I am told Los Angeles is safe. Safe for who? Drive By shootings was the reason I moved away from there in the first place and went to Seattle and worked for Boeing as an Engineer!

El Faro or The Light House in Englis, the focal point of Marina Vallarta

El Faro or The Light House in Englis, the focal point of Marina Vallarta

Two years ago the world, mostly the USA went on a rant about how horrible Mexico was because the H1N1 Flu Pandemic started in Cancun. The press made a big, big deal sending CNN´s medical reporters and doctors to document the deaths that were occurring in Mexico. But there was nothing to report because in all there were only 83 people in all of Mexico that ultimately died of the H 1N1 Flu Virus in all of Mexico. Most of them contracted it in the United States and brought it back with them.  There were travel warnings not to visit anywhere in Mexico or you could die. This went on, and on… and on.   It was so bad it like they were all ¨Chicken Little´ running around saying the sky was falling! A year later it came out in the press in small text in the back of the news papers that the Pandemic was actually started in Los Angeles and these student types had communicated the disease long before coming to Cancun who ultimately got the blame. So tourism and business travel to Mexico was halted like throwing a stick in the spokes of a bike! Of course this was all over the world. When it came out that this was all a farse, a hoax of biblical proportions, then came another reason to focus on Mexico. Drug Cartels!

Suddenly Juarez on the border becomes big news for the national news services in the United States. Juarez has always been a bad area, Mexico knows it, America knows it, no secret here. Long before the cartels were the lead news story in the press, Juarez was a place to stay away from. I figure it will always be a place to stay away from. But the news is really off base, Juarez has been less and less violent yearly for the past twenty five years. But with the internet and the biased news services Juarez is all of a sudden news worthy. Juarez has always been about Mexicans shooting Mexicans in No Mans Land, Again, nothing new here. My only question is if Juarez has improved to the point where crime and deaths are down in number, no matter what you hear or read, why is it now Dangerous for North Americans now to visit Mexico. Why wasn`t it dangerous twenty years ago, ten years ago, why now? Did the American press not care about Americans safety in Mexico then?  There are a lot of reasons for this, I will not go into them except to say the main goal here is to keep American Dollars in America. Tourism is a huge thing in Mexico since it is so close to the United States, it draws many, many Americans and Canadians. Again nothing new….

So here I am living in Mexico, Listening to the news services, reading the news in the papers and I start think I am living in a dangerous place!  After ten years of living in Puerto Vallarta and not seeing one incident, or involved in any sort of unusual incident, I was still concerned for my life. I mean after all the press can ´t be making this all up, right? I started telling my friends I was leaving and they all, every one of them pointed out that I was being manipulated by the press and I knew better. I knew I was safe, my family is safe and my friends are safe. If you are in the drug trade in Mexico or Detroit, it is all the same. Lazy, uneducated people with big guns and small minds thinking they can make quick and easy money fast.  It  works  that way until some other small  minded, uneducated  person with another bigger gun gets the same idea and then wants to take over this guys territory.  Then the cycle returns and gets more intense as more and more top drug cartel heads are captured and sent to the United States to be prosecuted.  Naturally this leaves a void, the void is filled with another group(s) of big guns / small minded criminal types, primarily Mexican Nationals, who are the ones dying, not tourist. That is unless they are coming to Mexico to be a drug dealer themselves, then that makes the news also! Out of most of the deaths you will hear about in the States and Canada, the vast majority are dealing in things they have no business being involved with! But the news forgets to put that in the story!

So I hear stuff about dead beheaded bodies being hung up in Cancun. When you look at the story, knowing Mexico, Cancun is like fifty miles away from where the incident happened in an area a law abiding citizen would not be.  Then you see pictures of Juarez where there were dead bodies across in the street as they talk about Acapulco, show Juarez and talk Acapulco, is this a lie??  Even the picture states it was from Juarez a year prior to the article in very fine print.  I get more nervous, remember I own a company here. It once again was pointed out to me that this was another bogus story meant to scare Americans out of Mexico and keep those tourism dollars in the states….

The bottom line here is I walk the streets here in PV late at night. I take the bus and watch and listen as some magician or musician or snake oil salesman performs his show on the buses. I eat at the local taco stands and find the food and the people wonderful. I hang out in Mexican National Cantinas and love the Banda Music and the Ladies! I associate with rich types and the guys who wash the cars and even have been known to buy a six pack and throw a few down with these happy and simple amigos.

I come into my shop in the Marina and get questions on the internet from people asking if it is safe in Mexico. How do you argue with the press? I tell everyone I know, Mexico is safe. It is every bit as safe if not safer than the United States. But we in the states are desensitized in the press. We hear stories of how some guy goes walking into an iHOP and kills eleven people. Or the day before how 47 people were killed  ( in new York n labor day. If this happened in Mexico it would be world news, in New  York it is forgotten the next day, of course except for the victims family…..

My Shop on the Boardwalk in Marina Vallarta

My Shop on the Boardwalk in Marina Vallarta

You walk into a Mexican Emergency Room on a Saturday night and you see some scarey stuff, car accident injuries, broken bones, heart attacks, normal stuff. Go into the emergency room of East Los Angeles or Chicago, you see bullet wounds on clearly criminal types, stab wounds, drive by shooting victims, basically war zone injuries…..

Tonight I will close the shop, got Fajita Banana Restaurant and have some great ribs and a few beers. I will then go to Dante Restaurant and have a conversation with the owners as my friends. I will then walk down the street to my lady friends house and spend a little time, then I will take the bus home and walk through my quiet neighborhood before I watch a movie in my air conditioned house and watch the American news as it scares me once more about living in Mexico.

For the record, Mexico for those visiting tourist areas is as safe as you could hope to be. If you are coming down and wanting to enter the drug business, I would suggest you stay as far away from that as possible… If you want to come to Mexico and open a business, I would support that as well because Mexico is the land of opportunity. Now there are some cultural and business challenges, but so what.  You can live cheaper, better and healthier in Puerto Vallarta than California. You can drink the water, the Medical care is all done by board certified, America Trained and educated doctors. Housing is one third the price of the states and the weather is mild when compared to places like Kentucky, florida or even Chicago.

If you have any reservations, then th ere are dozens of web sites that talk about the situation in Mexico and how the North Americans are being misled to believe they will die if they come to Mexico.   Feel free to contact me and ask me anything you want to know.

For now, I am staying here in Mexico. I am safe, retired, and living a life most of my friends would love to have. My health is good, my mind is clear and I worry about what is happening in the United States when Americans cannot afford to retire and live on reduced retirements as the govt. tells the American Citizens they have to tighten the belt a little more each year. In Mexico, I live well and will continue to live well as you all watch the demonization of Mexico.

While I am in a tourist business, when tourism is down, that only means I own Puerto Vallarta and that is not a bad place to be amigos.

Next time you are in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta to be exact, come by and say hello! You´ll find me at Master Baiter´s Sportfishing and Tackle daily watching the seasons turn and enjoying what Mexico has to offer!

Remember you read this the next time you hear a news story pointing a finger at Mexico,  then ask yourself what the hidden agenda behind the story is!

Quickie Report! Trash Line Returns with Seasonal Rains, Dorado, Rooster Fish & More! Fish Pictures!

As we enter the Rainy season here in tropical Puerto Vallarta we are all looking forward to the Trash Line we get in the bay as a result of the seasonal rains washing all sorts of organic materials and matter down the mountain sides. This  in turn forms a line or a ribbon of stuff that looks like leaves, dirt, just crap in general that will stretch for as much as miles in any direction. This is a good thing for summer fishing in the bay amigos…

Dorado on the Trash Line

Dorado on the Trash Line

Now this cat and mouse game has been going on forever and the larger fish do wind up getting some smaller fish for lunch for sure. But this is how it all works in nature and who are we to judge. But we can use this information to make our fishing days on the water more productive!

Now introduce a three inch silver diamond trolled or cast just a foot or on the clean side of the trash line and you will have arm burning action on light tackle.

Rooster Fish on the Trash Line, Say AhhHHhHHhH

Rooster Fish on the Trash Line, Say AhhHHhHHhH

The Trash line is in the bay everyday once the rains start in ernest. These trash lines can go out for miles and miles and are not always centered in the bay. But for the most part this is where you will find this trash line in the bay. This means short days will be productive  for those on a short budget or just want to head out for smaller gamefish. Either way it works all around.

Dorado, Mahi Mahi or Dolphin, it all taste the same amigos!

Dorado, Mahi Mahi or Dolphin, it all taste the same amigos!

One more reminder, fishing in the rain is a good thing. When the rain drops hit the water surface, from a fish point of view it looks like bait falling back into the water after jumping from the water for a brief escape from harms way. But what goes up must come down. So the rain excites fish like Dorado and Yellowfin Tuna into a frenzy. So the next time you think you want to wait until the rain is gone, it may be a good idea to think that one over again….

I attached a few pictures of Trash Line types of fish you will come across when fishing on the trash line.

So now you know why the Trash Line is Your Friend…..

More Dorado....

More Dorado....

If you have been reading my blog, I am pretty tech challenged and rely on my readers to spread the word to your friends. So if you see value or entertainment  value to my blog or my fishing articles, then let a friend know.

My goal is to be the best and only reliable source of information when it comes to Fishing in Puerto Vallarta. You can be my “friend” if you want to visit  me at   Facebook under the name Masterbaiter Stan. I have over  2,500 friends and if you are into fishing and hunting, you can type in a quest ion and g e tan answer. It [s a great marke ting and networking tool I have built here so take advantage of it’s resources….




Another Hurricane Marching up Mexicos Coast, Now Worries, Nothing Special Here.

Below is the latest and greatest NOAH Path for Hurricane Beatriz. This tropical storm became a Hurricane at 2 p.m. this afternoon and is kicking up some clouds, but as yet no rain in the Puerto Vallarta Area….. Check it out….

Hurricane Beatriz 06 20 2011 route

Hurricane Beatriz 06 20 2011 route

Puerto Vallarta Fishing Just Got Strange, Plenty of Bait, Marlin in the Bay?

Puerto Vallarta Fishing Just Got Strange, Plenty of Bait, Marlin in the Bay?

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

It’s an amazing thing out there right now, nothing is as you would hope for and yet we are ass still positive about the upcoming season. The water temperatures are right, the water is either clear green or blue if you are out far enough. Bait is not an issue, plenty of bait for sure, which is always a good thing! The stage is set, now all we need are the players. That is not to say there are no fish, but if you are heading out to the deep water locations of Corbeteña and El Banco, your fuel dollars can be better spent right now.

Lets touch bases on the deep, blue water locations of El Banco and Corbeteña. What you have to look forward to is blue water about 28 miles out from Marina Vallarta. You will see lots of bait in the water, but you won’t find any fish. My suggestion on Corbeteña is to head out to the drop, about 15 miles or so west of the rock and see what may be there. There has been the occasional Dorado and Striped Marlin Hook-up, but not enough to get me to open my wallet for ever increasing fuel prices! The Same goes for El Banco, you may find something if you head out far enough, but GuerroAzteca headed out for a two day trip and found nothing but nothing to interested in the baits they were offering. So for the present, steer clear of these normally hot summer locations.

 Black Marlin at Cabo Corrientes?? You  Bet.... Closer in than you might think!

Black Marlin at Cabo Corrientes?? You Bet.... Closer in than you might think!

North, quite a ways north is Guyavitos and they have fish, probably. Sailfish and Striped Marlin have been hanging out about 20 miles or so off shore. Dorado are also in the area and the ones that have been boated are of good size in the 30 to 40ish pound range. You will spend the whole day looking for fish in this area, but if you are hungry for billfish, then this is probably you r best bet right now….

Punta Mita is a little slow right now, but some of these ¨wise guy¨ captains have been setting up buoys of coconut palm leaves in the Punta Mita Area closer in. So if you are not one of the privileged few to know the locations, run the sounder in the usual locations and you will know where to find them. Bait fish and diving birds that don’t move is a strong indication of what is going on there.

The Marietta Islands are less than spectacular right now, again with the clear green water which is loaded with bait in the form of Skip Jack Tuna and Bonito. Rooster Fish are still here in diminishing numbers, but the few that have been boated are in the 40 lb range. But be patient, they won’t be jumping in the boat amigo!  Still for the buck, I would consider this location if you´re flush with fuel cash… There have been a few Dorado here as well, small, but encouraging for sure. Stay tuned….

699  lb Black Marlin, June 6, 2006.... This is the pattern Early to Mid June Yearly

699 lb Black Marlin, June 6, 2006.... This is the pattern Early to Mid June Yearly

Strange enough, the place to be right now is in the bay if you are looking for some decent action. No kidding, Jack Crevalls, Skippies (Skip Jack Tuna) in the 20lb range,  Bonito about the same size. Snappers around the rocks and soon with the seasonal rains on the way, there will be Robalo going crazy near the river mouths as all that organic food like leaves, bugs, seeds, roll down the mountains directly into the fish food chain! Off Yelapa there has been so much bait and the water is perfect temperature that a Black Marlin, 150 lbs only, was boated about twelve miles off the beach. Strange stuff indeed, but I guess it just shows fish are where you find them!

Further south in the bay, Cabo Corrientes specifically is really a great place to head out to with some light tackle.  Skip Jack Tuna a little larger in the 40 lb range are there taking baits like nutz!  Magnifico boated a  Black Ma rlin  and then yesterday hit a 100 lb Plus Yellow Fin Tuna. So this area is firing right now. Head out to Chimo and drop anything you want, they will hit it lure wise. Lures are working better than live bait for this brief moment in time. Yellow, the Mexican flag (green, white & red), Rapallas, Blue, Daisy Chains, you name it, give it a try on light tackle. You´ll be glad you did. It would not surprise me much if you found Sailfish in the area and maybe some Marlin if you head out a little ways. Of course this all depends on how thick your wallet is!  A ten hour day will show some results. With some luck you may find Sailfish there as well….

As we enter June the Marlin normally, notice I say normally…. Come in. We get a week of big Billfish like Blue or Black Marlin mix in the deep water locations. Could be the first, second or even third week, but it has been a pattern now for the last few years and hopefully we can count on this to hold true. Cross your fingers, toes and whatever else you can cross on your body, stay away from crossing your eyes, we wouldn´t want to get anything stuck now would we??

Very few boats heading out in the mornings gives us a pretty thin thread to base a fishing report. But Magnifico has been heading out to the areas I just mentioned and as one of the finest boats in the Marina Vallarta, everyone will agree in the know, if they don´t catch fish, there are no fish to be had. Now they have been coming in with fish, but it has been work. No worries, it´s late May and things will start to pick up again hopefully in Mid June. It´s just a matter of time before we see larger Yellowfin Tuna turn up along with their running mates of Black and Blue Marlin.

With the Bonito and especially the Skip Jack Tuna out there, it is just a matter of time before we see desired results of big fish moving into the area. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later.

I know I write a lot about how you need to be careful with cab drivers. But I had this gentleman come in today, a regular reader, tell me a story of how he left 20 pesos with a cab driver who promised to bring him change in the morning. Ordinarilly this sort of situation would wind up with this trusting sole never seeing his change. You see if a cab driver does not have change, you don’t legally have to pay the guy and frankly I wouldn’t have given this guy the extra trust. But I just wanted to balance out the comments, there are good people who are trust worthy out there… I love Mexico!

El Faro Bar, At The Top of The Light Hose, Sunsets, Lightening, Romance is here!

El Faro Bar, At The Top of The Light Hose, Sunsets, Lightening, Romance is here!

Just a reminder, the Marina Vallarta is empty, yet it is still the ¨Other Malicon or Boardwalk¨ in Vallarta. With 15 restaurants and tons of shopping you can find that little something you just have to give _____ insert name… Don’t forget to visit El Faro Bar or the Light House Bar depending on if you speak Spanish or English. It is atop the light house on the boardwalk in the village in Marina Vallarta. With appetizers and a great drink menu they can order Italian food from my favorite restaurant in Marina Vallarta, Dante Ristorante. So tell Teresa in the El Faro Bar that Stan from Master Baiter’s said to come by and check out a sunset in the most romantic view and bar in Puerto Vallarta. You´ll be glad you did…

That’s about it for now, until next week, don´t forget to kiss your fish!

As the oldest fishing company in Puerto Vallarta and the only company with any World Recognized Fishing Championships like the WBS Billfishing Series Grand Champions (2000 and 2001) under our belt. Nobody, but nobody in Puerto Vallarta can come close to us in quality or price when it comes to world class fishing boats. We work for your business which explains why seventy percent of my business at Master Baiter´s is return business! You work hard for your precious vacation, money is hard enough to come by, you don´t need to worry about the companies you are dealing with! Remember, at Master Baiter´s Sportfishing and Tackle, We Won´t Jerk You Around! If you have any questions on any subject regarding fishing or Puerto Vallarta, feel free to ask!

For questions or suggestions you can reach me at:

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


Quickie Report: Very Brief to the Moment.. Spring fishing Up and Down

A friend of mine sent me an email asking what the action was like, he lives in the area so I did not go into much detail, but I realized after wrote him t his brief report, that it said it all with few words so until i finish my latest report, this is what is happening in a nut shell….

Ron , Started seeing some  Roosters of nice size …. 44 inches…    Milk Fish which are strong fighters and in the area which is unusual… Cubera and red snappers, needle fish are moving into the area so the water is warming up… Sailfish off El Banco and they´re right on time….  Gil Netters have surrounded  some areas around the Marietta Islands. It´s funny to hear  commercial fisherman complain about sports fisherman and at times carry guns…vice versa…. but it´s still basically illegal for the both of them to be there fishing in the first place!…..   Dorado near Sayulita but long liners are screwing things up again…. Some Jack Crevalls still …. Fishing is up and down, some days you hit the jack pot , others are tough at best…. Best fishing is still in the 8 hr range, but 4 and 6 hrs has small fish. Bite happening sometimes around 8 right now, but the late day bite is between 12 and 3… Now go get me some pictures to publish amigo!!


Quickie Report: El Morro Springs to Life With Rooster Fish

Quickie Report: El Morro Springs to Life With Rooster Fish

March 2, 2011


FuN, fUn, FuN... Small Gamefish, Plenty of Action!

FuN, fUn, FuN… Small Gamefish, Plenty of Action!


There are certain conditions and times of the year when those with some experience will remember and then take the time to check out from time to time. When we see the colder water start to go up in temperature and at the same time we see the water getting dirty we know the currents are changing. Currents don´t change overnight and it takes time for the water to change in temperature as well. So once this starts happening we can have as much as a week of great fishing in an area where few will venture. So you can imagine how those in the know will keep this area a secret as long as possible as it explodes with action that is relatively close in. The Rooster fish out there are taking baits of all sizes so there is no need to worry about presenting the correct sized bait for the time being. If surface trolling running poppers will work well as will the three and six inch silver diamond jigs. These fish are for the most part not picky and will hit anything that is splashy or shinny.

Off Sayulita, around the corner and up from Punta Mita the Rooster fish have fallen off a little. But the Dorado are picking up in numbers (nothing major for the moment), the Sierra Mackerals have gotten huge for the species of 25 to 35 lbs! Snappers are here as well around the rocks, but the primary players will be Mackerals, Jack Crevalls (larger at 340 lbs), Snappers, Pompano and Rooster Fish which are increasing in numbers.

The bay is full of bait, the water temperatures are up and down as is normal but they are creeping up. So this is all good news. As we move into March we should see the Sailfish coming back soon. Buy the middle to end of April we should see the Dorado come back. Last year it was July before we saw any size to the Dorado, but that was a La Nina year so looking back it wasn´t that surprising.

Jack Crevalls are still in the bay and picking up in numbers and size by the day. The six hour trips are worth their salt now since it gives you enough time to reach the far end of the bay in both directions which insures you have plenty of action. My boats heading out in the bay the last few days have been hooking into at least twenty fish a day! So while the fish may be winter sized, there are decent numbers out there so people are catching fish and having light tackle fun!

Looking around the area Barra to the north and Manzanillo to the south both have lots of Dorado (or Dolphin or Mahi Mahi), Sailfish, and even Marlin. The water temperatures there are a touch warmer, but the fact that Barra Navidad and Manzanillo are both north and south of us is a good indicator that the currents are moving. The simple fact that Puerto Vallarta is a little on the chilly side in comparison is of no concern since we are moving  into late winter now and shortly the gap will fill in with warmer water as well…. Stay tuned!

Just a reminder, Summer is coming and spring break happens in late April this year. If you are thinking of doing a Yellowfin Tuna or Marlin fishing trip this year (summer begins for monsters in mid July), remember early bookings will save you money. With the negative and bogus news of how Mexico is dangerous the prices and numbers of people visiting this summer will be down. This means you will save some serious cash if you book early and it looks like it will be an early summer this year. So start salting your pennies, nickels and dimes away for that fishing trip this year.

Just a reminder, the press in the states is blowing the situation with the narcos or drug cartels out of proportion. 60% of whatever you hear is happening in the places where it has always happened, nothing new is happening here! If the press would show real numbers / statistics on the drug cartel situation here in Mexico you would realize that sensationalized headlines sell news as they promote Obamas agenda to keep the tourism dollar in the states! To put it this way, If I was thinking of the United States as if it was size of how Mexico is perceived, would you not go to Los Angeles because somebody got shot in Florida? Well it’s just that stupid. There are not bands of Mexicans looking to kill tourist, there are not drug dealers with guns in the streets. The only way you will find trouble in Mexico is if you go looking for it. If you go into the slums of Detroit, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Houston, New  York, Los Angeles and the list goes on, looking for drugs then you will have the same situation. Mexico is statistically safer than Brazil! Mexico is not dangerous and no matter what, there will always be crime in every corner of the world, you can´t get around that. But if you are smart, you can take advantage of the bogus perception the press has created about Mexico! As the sheep run away from the nonexistent wolf, you can zig when they zag and get some great deals, in a safe place for the whole family and have Mexico pretty much to yourself! Like the Swine H1N1 lies they spewed all over the place creating the perception you would die in Mexico from this disease, the press has a chip on it’s shoulder when it comes to Mexico. Mexico is safer than most of the larger cities in America and you wouldn´t avoid New York or Baltimore which are statistically speaking more dangerous than Mexico. So be informed, see through the smoke and take advantage of an opportunity!

Until then, take care and don´t forget to kiss your fish!


Rollercoaster Conditions, Rollercoaster Results, Yellowfin Possibilities

Rollercoaster Conditions, Rollercoaster Results, Yellowfin Possibilities

You´ve heard the old saying; ¨what goes up, must come down¨! When it comes to fishing, truer words were never spoken. With the rollercoaster conditions we´ve been seeing of  clean water, then dirty water, then warm currents, bait issues, strange tides, and no consistency it can make your head spin! While water temperatures have not changed much in the last week.

One thing we always want to know as fisherman is what it the bait fish situation. There are times when there is too much bait in the water. At those times it is impossible to get fish to pay attention to your bait, no matter how you are presenting it.. Other times there is not enough bait and the fish move on…  Right now we are a little heavy on bait, but other areas around the area are also heavy on bait. And when the ¨getting is good¨ why move on, it won´t be any ¨greener¨ down the road!

A Little Bit of Everything Out There

A Little Bit of Everything Out There

In the bay there is plenty of bait to attract fish, so that is not our problem right now. Our problem is getting them to come in our direction. Of course we will be waiting for them, but for now it´s best to focus on what is at hand and available.  So nobody should be expecting to catch Moby Dick inside 75 miles. If anyone tells you otherwise, walk away….

Like in recent weeks the big fish are still out 75 miles. Now that is really not that far, but when you´re looking at three hours of travel time one way, unless you are dedicated (fanatic) to boating a 200lb Yellowfin Tuna, then you will be settling for smaller game fish. But no worries, for those interested in some arm straining action! With Jack Crevalls in the 25lb range, African Pompano to 50lbs, Cubera Snappers if you’re lucky just off the reefs. Sierra Mackerals in the 10 to 30lb range with 15lbs being the average. There is a mix of smaller groupers, small Snappers and several others to choose from closer in. So if you hear the fishing is slow, this is what slow is when it comes to fishing in Puerto Vallarta!

Now I need to warn all of you out there about the Tres Maria Islands. I have been writing a lot about this location lately since there have been so many boats heading out to this protected area. One thing to remember when heading out this way, the limit is fifteen (15) miles. Any closer than that and you are risking being arrested and taken in. When you are on some of the popular bulletin boards on Puerto Vallarta you will see them all puffing their chest up about the Monster Yellowfin Tuna and then proceed to tell the world how cool they are as the guy in his living room is reading this crap. Now the Yellowfin Tuna are out there, but look at the Maximus. A newly operating long distance charter boat that can handle up to ten people was caught the other day with no insurance, no fishing licenses and a forged permit to fish the islands. Now this boat gets more than $1,500.00 per person for a three day trip. That is top dollar for anywhere, especially here in Mexico! The guys onboard all read their articles, they all believed this operation to be first class and they all found out that they got duped! The boat was too close to the PRISON ISLANDS withe phony documentation, then missing necessary documentation, the passengers were all mad as hell! One of the boats I warned you of previously, The Anna Maria was grabbed by the Navy and the captain Steven Torres was held for four days along with his boat. He was held for four days where they shaved his head and then they put him with the general population. This guy is promoting himself all over the place and he looks legit until you have an incident like this happen.  Take Care!

Now that you have that information under your belt, twenty to twenty five miles west of The Bank or El Banco, there are just herds of Yellowfin Tuna. It´s amazing how we have a current running by the islands that is really warm. This is an indication that the seasonal current changes are in flux. This also means an early summer, something most of us would welcome. If you are looking for Yellowfin Tuna and are willing to pay the price, you can have what you want and not get arrested in the process! Striped Marlin are nowhere to be found unless you are up north or south a hundred miles or so. But these fish move and they will find their way to pv SOON.

As has become normal, the Marietta Islands are still cooking with  Snappers in the 35lb range, the occasional Rooster Fish of 35 to 60lbs, Pompano to 50 lbs, Sierra Mackerals everywhere to 25 lbs., Jack Crevalls are plentiful, but in and out. For the most part this area has been one of the two 8 hr trip locations that are worth heading out to for the time being. There is a lot of small baby Mackerals in the water and it may be hard to turn a fishes head so bring your bag of tricks, you may need everything you own !

North of Punta Mita in the Sayulita area there have consistently been Rooster fish, but a whole lot more African Pompano and this area is probably the best bang for your fishing buck right now. A super panga can handle this destination nicely and save you a few bucks. Six inch rapallas with spoons about ten inches off the tail is working nicely. Now the color of the Rapalla is the question here. I suggest Yellow and black or black and purple if the water is dark in color. Snappers are also around the structured areas and may be a little on the small side, but they still taste great amigos!

As we approach March, we will see water temperatures creep up slowly, this is when we should start to see the Sailfish start to come back in to the area. Something to look forward to.  So if by chance you will be on a boat near the Gaviotas or San Pancho area, keep this in mind and bring the right equipment for the task!

That’s about it for now, until next week, don´t forget to kiss your fish!

Remember, if you have any questions or suggestions you can reach me at: or

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


Over Night Conditions Improve, Water Temps Back to Normal?

Feb. 10, 2011

It’s funny how things can be the same for weeks, then all at once fishing conditions change and all of a sudden there are fish moving into the area!  Get ready, you are about to hear some stuff you haven´t heard for a while.

First, Water temperatures are back in the normal range of 71 to 73 degrees, for some reason!? That’s right folks, the water temperatures have returned to what we would normally call cold, so things are not frigid as they were just four days ago!  This means the water in the area has hopefully seen its coldest days and lets keep our fingers crossed that this trend continues.

One of the funny things about currents, we have seen a slight warming current coming up from the south for the last couple of weeks. When about four days ago the water clouded up I wondered if this was an indication that maybe we had a shift of sorts in currents. With the warmer water, and it is everything at this time of the year, we could see Sailfish move back in to the area. Jack Crevalls that normally save the day when there are no fish to be had, have returned again. Sierra Mackerals are getting larger and the smaller Snappers have become more abundant. So it looks like things for the short term at least are improving.

As far as the dirty water conditions of the other day, the water is still a little dirty, but fishable for the most part. The red time is breaking up and getting spotty and we are seeing Dorado up near Guayavitos, a ten hour day, but there are also sailfish in the area as well… maybe even some Striped Marlin, now that would make my customers happy! I have had many waiting for the conditions to improve and it’s looking up!

There are Sailfish and Striped Marlin between El Banco and Corbeteña. Once word of this gets out you´ll see boats heading out this way, so we should have some information on this area soon.

Larger African Pompano have moved back into The Marietta Islands as are Snappers. No Rooster Fish sightings lately, but they have a tendency to disappear and reappear out of the blue. Stay tuned for more to follow in the coming days….

I had a boat head out to the Marietta Islands and the fishing was great. Something I have not been able to say in a while. In fact just a few days ago your chances of coming in with fish was 50 / 50 at best. Now with bait easier to make this could even improve things more….  My boat that went out for 6 hrs yesterday came in with more bait than fish! 

I write my report for Western Outdoor News tomorrow, stay tuned for the long version of that report….

Until then,… take care and don´t forget to kiss your fish!

Cookie Cutter Reports, Red Tide, Dirty water, Fishing Challenges


Rooster Fish, Surf Fishing with Phil on The Beach in Sayulita

Cookie Cutter Reports, Red Tide, Dirty water, Fishing Challenges

Feb. 9, 2011

I know, I know I have not been putting up information on this blog like I normally do, but writing the same damn report on a different day is a brain eater for sure. Now that I have some information to put forward the time has come to share this with my 30 loyal followers. If you live here in Puerto Vallarta you have the luxury to wait for the conditions to change. If you are reading this from outside of Puerto Vallarta, then you can use this info to help plan or prepare yourself mentally for what you are heading out to…

For the person who wants to head out on the water, on a beautiful day with calm conditions and is wrapped around the axel (expecting) about getting a monster trophy fish in four hours. I will tell you now, you are setting yourself up for disappointment which is seldom restrained verbally. Telling the captain he is lousy or his boat is bad or what-ever is not going to change things and it is if anything, going to make the situation even worse. It always seems like the guy who has been counting the minutes to head out fishing with great and unrealistic expectations (thank you bloodydecks) puts off energy or vide that seems to work against them in the end and nobody is happy. Or the guy who gets this grand picture in his head of what they will catch in four hours on that cheap, cheap boat from an agent hungry for his deposit is almost a guarantee for angry disappointment. If you are that type of a person, then maybe you should be on the golf course. When you hang all your hopes and expectations on one day of fishing, then this can happen. In many ways it’s like scheduling a skiing trip and the one day you are going to ski, it´s raining… what are you going to do?

Now if you are the kind of person who can enjoy a beautiful day on the water, enjoy the whales that may be around, the dolphin and turtles and hope to catch fish.  This is like a guarantee you will come in with something surprising. It´s a positive attitude with no great expectations because the owner or agent who talked with you as you signed up told you the facts, straight up. You know things won´t be perfect, fishing never is. What worked yesterday may not work today. The location where you killed them yesterday will not be the hot spot it was yesterday. Fishing in a word is ¨Fishing¨. There are going to be times when you will not catch fish, plain and simple but people choose to ignore the negative when they have been dreaming or fantasizing about this fishing trip for the better part of the year. They head out and the rest is predictable.

Needless to say I have had more business walk out my door this week, just to see them head out fishing with the guy who told them what they wanted to hear. With tourism being down, the number of boats and companies are going belly up all over the place is scarey. The guy throwing you a cheap, cheap price is more than likely on the brink of going out of business and this guy is hoping for a fat tip. This of course never follows with cheap people. This means the boat didn’t even make enough to cover his per trip expenses of maintenance and upkeep. To get you on that boat you may have only paid the cost of fuel. So this doesn´t help the guy trying to stay in business by throwing cheap prices at cheap skates.

Recently other fishing companies have  given in to the Time Share Promotors. These time share guys pay their rent in exchange for the rights to approach their would-be clients and pay for a portion of their fishing trip if they attend a presentation. The company gets its rent and utilities paid, you get put on a horrible boat since the promoter has to pay for it and of course you don´t find this out until after the presentation. They may even show you a boat you are led to believe you´ll be on. But when the d ay comes to head out, after the pain of the presentation, it´s a different boat and they may want more money because the agent or promoter drank your deposit the night before. The boat owner won’t head out unless he gets paid. That is when you see the side negotiations going as people are arguing prior to you heading out! In many cases the promoter will tell you the boat owner or captain wants more money. When in fact the boat owner just wants to get paid.  So to cover this guys drinking problem, they tell you that you need to pull out another $125.00 dollar or so or you won´t be heading out. What do you do, pay the money and go fishing since you´re all dressed up and ready. Or do you not go out and demand your spent deposit back? What happens to me a lot is these folks have talked to me, decided to fish with others of this caliber, then want me to help them at the last minute in the morning which is very difficult at 6:30 in the morning! I do what I can, but the boats are still the prices they were the day before. Many times I will give you a huge discount since I feel bad for your screwed up situation and I want the fishing industry to flourish in PV. Actually, this is one of the ways I get my return clients and word of mouth advertising, buy helping those that learned the hard way. Don´t let this be you!

Why do I always harp on this with my readers and clients, because what you don´t know, or how you are thinking will determine your state of mind when you return. Come in with fish, even small fish, then things will normally be ok, maybe not great for the expectation guy. No fish and Mr. Expectation completely engrosses himself in his negativity he can´t enjoy the bay, or any of the spectacular sea life in out there, nope, he is going to be pissed off and that is how things are going to be. He didn´t go fishing, he went catching and all he caught was a bad attitude and made the whole environment negative and no fun! Is that you?

If it is, then what ever you do, don´t get on a boat and go fishing, with me or anyone right now. You see the guy who booked a trip with me six weeks ago today is heading out to a bay just full of red tide. You know, plankton that for some reason dies off, leaves their dead carcasses on the surface of the water, makes breathing difficult for fish, so they move out. If that isn´t enough, the water with the swirling and changing currents have stirred up the muck on the ocean floor so the water is coffee colored. Now imagine Mr. Negative as he heads out into those conditions that just spring up unexpected. You think this guy is going to be happy heading out that day?

Yet I put people out on a super panga today, they went fishing yesterday caught small fish and enjoyed the day, same bad conditions. Now they are out with another captain today and they are looking forward to the time out and enjoying the beautiful scenery, wild life and most likely will come in with desirable fish, I hope so anyway. But they have no illusions and are heading out anyway….. These guys know what to expect and they´re going ¨fishing¨…

Every year we hit a six to eight week period where the fishing is not its usual self and we are in the beginning stages of that time frame. With the La Nina conditions we have been seeing cold water temperatures well below what normal is and we know certain fish will be leaving the area. Sailfish, which we normally see for most of the year have headed south to warmer water. Black Marlin, Blue Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna are all in the southern waters of Costa Rica and Panama until mid July. Dorado will be back in the area in early May if we´re lucky and get a warm current, otherwise it was July when they appeared last year.

Now if you want to focus on the positive, which is always a lot more fun, then we do have very large Yellowfin Tuna. Now the Tres Maria Islands are a ways out there, but in reality your day is only a couple of hours longer than heading out to El Banco. Right now we don´t have the Tuna Hunters here at this time of the year so the perception is the fishing is slow or bad. Yet the guys stepping up and heading out for a long 14 hr day will tell you the fishing is great! The flip side of this coin is there are days when you can still come in empty handed after all those hours and all those dollars flew away. I have had this happen to me more times than I can remember, but I also remember days when it went the other way where our arms were like spaghetti from nonstop action.  So I guess the bottom line right now is to be informed, open minded, flexible and positive….. Most importantly informed.

Changing subjects; A few weeks ago I wrote a brief thing about boats being  black listed because they did not have the necessary documentation or operating licenses, insurance, safety certificate and licensed captains. The port authority gave a few of these guys some wiggle room last week by talking directly with the captains and boat owners of the black listed boats to let them know directly of what  their clients will be forced to deal with. First, the navy is patrolling the area, I should say fishing grounds and checking boat names on the water. The boats like Anna Maria with Capt. Steve Torres are illegal and warned again last week about chartering a private boat. Guanatuna and Pecositas are two other boats that got this same warning. Yet if an agent books you on these uninsured, unlicensed, and unsafe boats, you are the only loser since the boat will be told to turn around and head into port where it will be confiscated by the Port Authority / Capt. Of the Port. You will lose your day on the water, most likely all your money unless you can get the cash back you paid prior to heading out. It is just an ugly scene and you as the client are the victim. The agent knew, the captain knew and the owner knew what they were doing.  Did anyone tell you this?? These boats try to head out under cover of darkness and they hope they won´t be spotted in the morning as the navy watches all boats that come in and head out. So if the boat is trying to get you to head out early, very early before six in the morning and you´re not heading to the Tres Maria Islands, this could be a clue.

Now you take a guy like me, I have a shop and I am easy to find. So the Port Authority tells me things directly and more importantly they know where to go if I book an illegal and unsafe boat. I am in one place day in and out. But what if you book through a web site with no office and the guy you are dealing with is on a cell phone, but he has cheap boats. Well ask this guy if he has an office, if not, they can´t be tracked down and found. You have nothing but a web site address to go back to and in the end you get left holding the bag and little else for your time, efforts and money. Well before you fork out the money via credit card or wire transfer, make sure these guys you are booking with has an office and will have someone there in the morning to meet you  and to load you on the boat. I find that a multitude of problems can be avoided if I am there in the  mornings. Today for instance, I had a boat motor die on the way to pick up clients. It was a stupid and simple problem that was easily fixed. But I was there, upgraded the clients to a bigger and nicer boat then they paid for, all was good and everyone was happy! Imagine if I had not been there, a disaster in the making for sure!

Ok people, at the risk of sounding negative, please protect yourself. Every time there is a problem or some guy charters a boat through a person they were suspicious of and things go wrong, this affects the whole fishing industry here in Puerto Vallarta. We all get a bad rap for these low life promoters and agents.  If you do a little research, check your sources, and think about your actions, there are reputable people you can work with out there. Look to sites that have actual fishing reports from real fishing publications like Western Outdoor news ( or World Wide Fishing Guide ( etc…These are good places to start your search for reputable companies. Unlike Bloody Decks, you have to be a real company to post on their sites and they control the content so you don’t have to worry about your younger kids seeing something you wish they hadn’t. For the record, the site BloodyDecks gets a lot of attention, but they post lies and it´s a free bulletin board that thinks it´s a fishing site. There is a limited group that post there and they all have an agenda to push their business at the expense of others. You will find Capt. Steve Torres there as well posting reports. Now remember, he is on an illegal boat (The Anna Maria) as he post his reports, this is one of the guys I just warned you about. There are others there as well. Just one example of who to steer clear of…..

Safety in Mexico seems to be a big question I get all the time. Let me tell you, Puerto Vallarta and all of Mexico as a whole is safe. The news reports about the border towns are nothing new and anybody that knows Mexico knows not to linger in Juarez! To be in Juarez is like visiting the slums of Detroit looking for crack. Do you think nothing is going to happen? The press forgets to print how the drug cartels are fighting for the top spots that have been vacated through arrest and deaths. The drug war is a direct result of the top guys being brought to justice. As long as the drug market and demand continues to grow, Mexico will have a cartel issue. No matter who is taken down, there are ten to take his place and they all have illegal weapons via the USA! So you have no worries and if you talk with a person who is familiar with Mexico and Puerto Vallarta in particular, they will tell you that Mexico is safe.  The news stories you read are misleading and designed to keep the tourist dollars in the states. It´s just that easy. If I was to make a case like this against the United States, it would make what is written about Mexico look like they were talking about Disneyland! Be smart, be safe and be informed……

That is all for now… take care and don´t forget to kiss your fish!

PV Fishing Conditions: Winter Fishing Takes Hold


140 lb Yellowfin Tuna off Fish Hog with Capt. Victor & Fleco in blue.

PV Fishing Conditions: Winter Fishing Takes Hold

February 7, 2011

Here in Puerto Vallarta you may hear fishing is slow. Now that is a term that can mean several things, it can mean fish are not biting, it can mean the fish are smaller or it can mean that there are not very many boats heading out. It can mean also mean that there are fish in the Bay, but they won´t be 100 lbs like so many of the return fish snobs will say. Me, I downplay the winter fishing conditions because if you truly want huge fish, they are here.

Now if you mean things are slow due to few charters heading out, you´d be right. Not many boats are heading out these days with the bad economy and negative reports about Mexico, yes we would call it slow. If slow means the fish are less than 100lbs, then yes it´s slow.  But if you say slow means the fishing is bad, well then we have something to discuss. Yes the fishing is slower in the amount of fish coming in, but that doesn´t mean there are no fish to be had. If you are like most people in Puerto Vallarta at this time of the year then a fish less than 100 lbs would still be fun, then you are the guy I want to talk with!

So this slow season, we are still seeing Yellowfin Tuna in the 100 lb and up range to just under 250 lbs. But this is slow since we have to head out to the Tres Maria Islands. The photo attached is what you can expect, but be warned this is a longer day and will run you 14 hrs on average with smoother seas. This is only two hours longer in duration that heading out to El Banco, yet it seems to be enough to stop those with the money yet short on time. Striped Marlin is also in the area as well, so you have large fish if you want them. Check out the picture with Capt. Victor of Fish Hog, and his brother Fleco as first mate. These guys are young, but strong! They catch fish!

The Marietta Islands, a top producing spot for the last few months is seeing the number of Rooster fish diminish to the point fewer and fewer are being boated lately. The African Pompano have stepped up in their place lately and they have been nice sized in the 20 to 50lb range. Great tasting and a fierce fighter, they are fun to catch and great tasting! Snappers, Sierra Mackerals and Snappers with the occasional very small grouper in the area. Jack Crevalls have been kinda absent in the area for some reason, but this will chance I am sure soon. All and all this is still a great place to head out to …..

The area between Corbeteña and El Morro (neighbor to the Marietta Islands) has seen Sailfish sightings, but none boated lately. We are seeing some dirty water conditions in all areas and this is another indication of strong, swirling currents making fishing a challenge these days. If the fish can see the bait, they may take the bait. But then again nobody has boated one yet so there you go…

Corbeteña and El Banco have been less than exciting lately with dirty water conditions as well. This doesn´t last long and in a few days this will most likely clear up. The fishing here has been on or off with Yellowfin and Striped Marlin in the area or nothing is seems. But once you hit the high spots at El Banco make a setting to dead north and you´ll come across fish for sure. You may just discover you are close to the Marietta Islands before you know it. Be ready for dirty water there as well.

Inside the bay is less than spectacular, but there have been some smaller snappers around structure / rocks. Sierra Mackerals are still all over the place, but on the smaller side as well. Grouper have been boated, small and tasty for sure. Jack Crevalls have been a little sparse lately which is why if you are considering fishing in the bay, you need to give yourself six hours to find fish or a spot that is producing. This is fishing and there is no way around it come this time of the year.

So don´t get excited, just get out there. There are whales, Manta Rays, Dolphin everywhere and the worst thing that would happen to you is you catch fish and see some natural wonders in the bay.  If you are going to be stressed out if you don’t come in with fish, then maybe it would be a better week for golf. But if a day filled with promise and beauty still sounds good, you know where to find me amigos! I´ll be on the water with you!

That right now is the latest and greatest, until next time, don´t forget to kiss your fish!

Remember, if you have any questions or suggestions you can reach me at: or

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



On The Docks: Black Listed Boats Agents are selling!

On the Docks: Black Listed Boats Agents are Selling in Puerto Vallarta.

One of the recent changes in Marina Vallarta is that we finally seem to have a honest Captain of the Port or Port Authority as many call them….

You probably remember me writing articles about how many, many fine charter fishing companies have gone under the last few  years due to Pirate boats operating under a different set of rules than most legitimate fishing companies.  By this I mean there have been many, many boats over the years that have not had the proper operational papers, safety Equipment like life preservers, radios or insurance! Now I am not kidding on this! What has happened in the past is this, the port authourity comes along and tells everyone they need to walk the straight and narrow. In reality he is telling all the boat owners and Captains that there is a new boss in the Marina and now they need to come make / pay their mordidas or bribes to operate to him! So nothing changes and the boats that don´t pay taxes, or for licenses or for insurance or even safety equipment have been able to charge hundreds of dollars a boat cheapter. Naturally this puts the Legitamate companies out of business, but in Mexico this is not a concern. The only concern is how much money they can put in their pocket at your expense. You can only imagine how you are taking your safety and the safety of your family for granted and in mexico you can´t sue! But of course people assume Mexico is like the United States or Canada on these sorts of things. So Many, those who don´t know what they are doing to themselves, go for the lesser price. What follows then,  of course there are always strange issues on the dock, like the boat now cost more money and since you are there, people normally pay for this and in the end understand they got exactly what they paid for….. a Mexican boat ride with no cares if you catch fish. Plenty of those guys still around. But things are changing now making it harder and harder for them to operate and better for you the unsuspecting public.

Now the Latest Port Authority has been scouring the docks looking for boats that operate illigally. They have also gone after guys like me who do book boats that we don´t own as well. Now if an agent books a boat that is not insured, licensed, etc the agent takes the heat! But of course that is based on the assumption the agent can be found.  If you book one of these boats on the internet, from possibly six different websites this one guy owns with six differnt names…. They can´t even chase those guys down….

Just the other day, the port authority has done something I have never seen before, they put out a list of boat names that are ¨Illegal ¨ and are being stopped as they leave the Marina. Now nobody, including the Navy wants to stop people from having fun, but when the boat returns and the clients leave. The authorities will be coming down on the boat and the agent / owner selling the boat with fines and p0ssible loss of business license (different than an operating license)  for fishing charters or anything related to water sports!

If while you are searching the web and you come across boats  listed,  you are on illegal boats that are not safety rated or licensed  out of Marina Vallarta: Sirena or Anna Maria are both very popular boats that have Capt. Steve Torez at the Helm and he is running the company. Now this Capt  has a following, but is a crook and feels no qualms to take your money and lie to you. I have informed the company of his actions, but because he wins a few small level tournaments people flock to him. He did work for Master Baiter´s for years and screwed us so many ways it was unbelieveable, but he was my brothers friend and my brother had the company then so there you are.

Other Boats for the moment to look out for are: Guanatuna, Chelita, Pecositas II (High Maintenance previously), Sirena and Anna Maria. GuanaTuna is a fine boat  and they got caught in between owners changing licenses, but for the others, they deserve to be on the list!

It is only human nature to look for the best price and we all know that… The one thing most people don´t understand in Mexico is that all the boats are not maintained the same or priced the same. Older, non-maintained boats can cost you the same price as a beautifully maintained boat(s).  These floating Pirate Agents will tell you anything you want to hear. But for the most part they won´t know the captains name, what is biting, when the bite is happening, what baits are working, water temps, nothing except they are selling it cheap and trying to get you into a time share presentation.

But  take heart, if  you are working with an agent with an office you can go back to and find the owner or agent, then this is a measure of security and confidence. If the guy you got your fishing boat from was walking around and just happened to start talking with you, on any subject, blow the guy off, He´s a pirate and he looks like a decent guy. Speaks great english and will even find something in common with you to make you feel comfortable with him…… If this person is sitting in some booth and has a bunch of tour posters, make sure you are asking the right questions as I just mentioned. Go talk with a few different guys and get a feel for the whole industry….. Your gut is a good guide… Fast talkers with little information, and no shop, they’re pirates and your chances of having problems goes way up….

The main reason I am  writing this today is because  I  helped two different fishing groups who had issues of boats not showing up and the other having a different boat show up all together,  and the  boat wanted another 120 dollars over what the boat should have cost. So there you are, my articles have a purpose and that is to save you from these situations.  People who are vacationers feel sorry for the poor  Mexican  as they´re being  jerked around. This hurts the industry  and is a real thorn in my side…. so now you know my motivation.

To be safe, ask the captain for proof of his insurance and operational license before you pay the balance or leave the dock. One small step like this can prevent what could be a serious problem ….

Enough about that… Just remember to take your safety seriously and you´ll be ok….

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


Safety in Mexico: Bias News, Half Truths, Fear Mongoring Fuel Parnoia of All Things South of The Border!


 Your Safety in Mexico: Bias News, Half Truths, Fear Mongoring Fuel Parnoia of All Things South of The Border!

Not the Whole Story

The U.S. media and federal government have stirred up a toxic cauldron media blitz that has been force-feeding U.S. citizenry only partial truths and irresponsible generalizations about the violence plaguing Mexico. If to be believed, the entire country of Mexico, some 109 million people, would be cowering in their homes fearful of venturing too far out lest they be caught up in random drug violence or kidnappings.

Mexico is the 14th largest independent nation in the world with crime per capita (based on 2006 statistics) of 12 per 1,000 people, ranking 39 in a survey of 60 countries. If one took the time to do a bit of research instead of believing the selective, if not deceptive reporting and scare tactics that have become the norm in U.S. mainstream media, and of which few of us ever question, we might be surprised to learn that based on statistics of non-violent crimes and violent crimes such as homicide, the U.S., at times, ranks neck in neck based on demographics and location, and in some categories, surpasses Mexico.

Random Acts Versus Non-Random Acts of Violence

  • Drug cartels in Mexico are rampant and the escalating drug violence has wreaked havoc primarily on U.S./Mexican border towns.
  • U.S. citizens are not primary targets in places such as Mexico City or other tourist destinations as many would believe. Kidnappings in Mexico City are largely of wealthy Mexicans who are held for ransom.
  • While U.S. citizens have been kidnapped in the past several years, they are not being singled out as media would have us believe.
  • Much of the violent crime in Mexico is Non-Random, i.e. targets are usually those involved in illegal drug trafficking or police and other government officials attempting to regulate crime in towns along the U.S./Mexican border.

If you look at the recent State Department warnings, including warnings specifically aimed at college students traveling to the Gulf Coast of Mexico, you will note that many of the warnings listed are not about drug violence or kidnappings, but the strong ocean undertow, potentially dangerous aquatic life, advantageous “petty” crime often perpetrated on inebriated tourists or those not exercising common sense as one needs to whenever traveling abroad – or for that matter – to any U.S. city where crime is more prevalent.

  • Most cities and towns in Mexico are safe and are not dangerous places to live or visit.
  • The drug violence is primarily isolated to the U.S./Mexican border.
  • Most guns used in the illegal drug trade and in acts of violence throughout Mexico have been coming into the country from the United States.
  • Anyone traveling to a foreign country should always exercise caution and do their homework before leaving.
  • You can be a victim of crime no matter where you are: abroad, in any U.S. city, in your hometown.

When one compares statistics and types of crimes worldwide, Random Acts of Violence are perhaps the most threatening and leave us feeling the most vulnerable. In the U.S., random violence is something to which we have either become accustomed or numb – whether mass murders on a college campus, an elementary school playground, neighborhood mall, or children being snatched from their beds and sexually abused and worse.

According to recent statistics, the homicide rate in Mexico is approximately 13 for every 100,000 individuals. FBI numbers list the murder rate for Baltimore as 43.3 to 100,000, Washington D.C. 29.1 to 100,000, and Detroit as 47.3 for every 100,000 citizens. Naturally, the handful of Mexican border towns, which are the areas experiencing the brunt of the wanton violence born of the illegal drug trade, have homicide rates that are not reflective of the country as a whole, but mirror the inflated numbers seen in the most violent U.S. cities and metropolitan areas.

We are told and indoctrinated to be “afraid of other” – to be fearful of the perceived unknown – Mexico, when in fact, we are far more likely to experience or witness a criminal act or be a victim of such in our own country.

Living or Vacationing in Mexico: The Ripple Effect

Mexico is a country with a staggering poverty rate that is only worsening due to the impact of a flailing U.S. economy coupled with irresponsible media fear mongering. In a country where much of the economy is sustained by the tourist trade, Mexicans are hurting as are expat business owners.

According to Wesley Gleason of Agave Real Estate, which was recently voted as the top real estate agency in the tourist town of San Miguel de Allende, business has been floundering. Naturally, this is a reflection of the housing and stock market decline in the U.S., coupled with the perception that Mexico is no longer “safe,” and fewer and fewer U.S. citizens are purchasing homes in the area. The real estate market here has been hard hit, some transactions in progress have bottomed out due to potential home buyers worrying about the continued decline of the economy, safety issues, or banks pulling out of loan negotiations or bypassing on loans all together. Katharine Hibberts of Premier House Rentals of San Miguel has seen the same decline. People, once only concerned about the economy are now twice as worried due to the U.S. media blitz about the “rife drug violence.” Unfortunately, they are not paying attention to where this violence is indeed widespread, and where it is not – and regardless if you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from the thick of it, Mexico is now perceived as a lawless and dangerous land.

I’ve talked with many business owners in San Miguel, proprietors of small restaurants to tiny tiendas and shops selling goods from local producers to those from Oaxaca and other areas. They are all seeing the downturn, the lack of tourists, and the lack of revenue filtering in. Many of these business owners rely heavily on tourist dollars to make ends meet, provide food and shelter for their families.

In a city that prides itself on tourism and of which is kept afloat by these dollars, San Miguel is feeling the backlash. That said other tourist destinations throughout Mexico have been even harder hit – some coastal cities and towns once overrun by U.S. and Canadian snowbirds or college students on spring break – were and are nearly empty during the height of the tourist season.

It seems unfair, if not criminal, to “punish” an entire society or unjustly “label” a country based on generalizations and fear-mongering triggered by isolated incidents of violence primarily due to the illegal drug trade which is playing out along the U.S., Mexico border towns. Certainly not all, but most of the violent crime due to the escalating drug violence in Mexico is Non-Random – and this is something that U.S. citizens must understand and research.

As we were reminded when young, “don’t believe everything you’re told.” As concerned, insightful, intelligent human beings, it is up to us to further research and investigate anything that we are “told” or “warned” about – whether a doctor’s diagnosis, the foods we eat, the prescription drugs we take, or where we choose to live and travel.

The last couple of years, I have been living half of my life in Mexico; a choice born both of pleasure and economic hardship. Thankfully, with my computer in tow, I can work from most anywhere, and the cost of living is far less than in my hometown in Maine. In Mexico, I don’t drive a car and for six months of the year, I am “gasoline” free. I do not need to heat my rental apartment and what I pay in rent is nearly comparable to what I would pay to heat my home with oil during the winter and spring months in Maine. Food in my Mexican city runs approximately half of what I’d pay back home, a doctor or dentists’ visit, a fraction of the cost of what one would owe in the States.

I can walk to my local grocery store or produce market and come home with bags laden with mangoes and broccoli, papayas and fresh strawberries, whole grain breads, homemade yogurts and cheeses, nuts and dark Mexican chocolate and have spent pennies on the dollar when in comparison to shopping in Maine. The other day a huge, emerald green head of broccoli just trucked in from the campo cost me 30 cents, a bag of 13 eggs with yolks the color of sunflowers, cost 65 cents.

I can walk. I can walk most anywhere, day or night, unafraid. I feel even safer living here than I did when living in San Francisco, CA. I walk to shops, galleries, restaurants, live music in the jardin. I walk from one end of Centro to the other, often solo, at times with friends. If late at night and I feel it is questionable to walk alone, I’ll grab a taxi. I use the same rationale as I would when in any U.S. city or town, during any of my travels abroad.

I feel safe here.

No place is perfect. I am not delusional nor do I bury my head in the sand. Violence can happen anywhere. The strength and power is in being informed. Do your homework. Do not fall victim or prey to misinformation or half-truths, or news that is meant to propagate fear or paranoia.

Living fully and freely is often based on getting the facts – not relying on others to tell you how or where to travel or live – but taking responsibility for your own life by educating yourself, and only then, can you make a decision that is best for you, based on all the facts.

I love Mexico. I love the people, the culture, and the beauty of the land and the plethora of gifts it has to offer. I love the sense of family and community. The warmth and colors that pale the sun are simply icing on the cake.

I try to live my life with a healthy balance of common sense, education and information whether when living in San Francisco, Maine, or Mexico, traveling anywhere within the U.S., or the world. And hopefully, with that balance in tow I am able to live the life I choose – and live it well.

Note: This article originally appeared here, and is reprinted with permission.

A post by “Jan Baumgartner” |

A native Californian, Jan Baumgartner is a writer and book editor dividing her time between surviving in Maine and living in Mexico. To see more posts by this author, click here.

Mexico: A Reality Check, What is really happening here!


This insightful article was written by Charles Simpson and is reprinted here with his permission. He can be reached

First: A reality check on Mexico

Mexico is in a unique position to reap many of the benefits of the decline of the US economy. In order to not violate NAFTA and other agreements the U.S.A. cannot use direct protectionism, so it is content to allow the media to play this protectionist role.   The U.S. media – over the last year – has portrayed Mexico as being on the brink of economic collapse and civil war. The Mexican people are either beheaded, kidnapped, poor, corrupt, or narco-traffickers.  The American news media was particularly aggressive in the weeks leading up to spring break. The main reason for this is money. During that two-week period, over 120,000 young American citizens poured into Mexico and left behind hundreds of millions of dollars.

Let’s look at the reality of the massive drug and corruption problem, kidnappings, murders and money. The U.S.  Secretary of State Clinton was clear in her honest assessment of the problem. “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent the weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians,” Clinton said. The other large illegal business that is smuggled into the U.S.A. that no one likes to talk about is Human Traffic for prostitution. This “business” is globally now competing with drugs in terms of profits.

It is critical to understand, however that the horrific violence in Mexico is over 95% confined to the three transshipping cities for these two businesses, Tijuana, Nogales, and Juarez. The Mexican government is so serious about fighting this, that they have committed over 30,000 soldiers to these borders towns. There was a thoughtful article written by a professor at the University of Juarez. He was reminded of the Prohibition years in the U.S.A. and compared Juarez to Chicago when Al Capone was conducting his reign of terror capped off with The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. During these years, just like Juarez today, 99% of the citizens went about their daily lives and attended classes, went to the movies, restaurants, and parks.

Is there corruption in Mexico? YES !!! Is there an equal amount of corruption related to this business in the U.S.A.? YES !!!. When you have a pair of illegal businesses that generate over $300,000,000,000 in sales you will find massive corruption. Make no mistake about the Mexican Drug Cartel; these “businessmen” are 100 times more sophisticated than the bumbling bootleggers during Prohibition. They form profitable alliances all over the U.S.A. They do cost benefit analysis of their business much better than the US automobile industry. They have found over the years that the cost of bribing U.S. and Mexican Border Guards and the transportation costs of moving marijuana from Sinaloa to California have cut significantly into profits. That is why over the past 5-7 years they have been growing marijuana in State and Federal Parks and BLM land all across America. From a business standpoint, this is a tremendous cost savings on several levels. Let’s look at California as an example as one of the largest consumers. When you have $14.2 billion of Marijuana grown and consumed in one state, there is savings on transportation, less loss of product due to confiscation and an overall reduction cost of bribery with law enforcement and parks service people. Another great savings is the benefit to their employees. The penalties in Mexico for growing range from 5-15 years. The penalties in California, on average are 18 months, and out in 8 months. The same economic principles are now being applied to the methamphetamine factories.

FOX News continues to scare people with its focus on kidnapping. There are kidnappings in Mexico.  The concentration of kidnappings has been in Mexico City, among the very rich and the three aforementioned border Cities.  With the exception of Mexico City, the number one city for kidnappings among NAFTA countries is Phoenix, Arizona with over 359 in 2008. The Phoenix Police estimate that twice that number of kidnappings goes unreported, because like Mexico 99% of these crimes were directly related to drug and human traffic. Phoenix, unfortunately, is geographically profitable transshipping location. Mexicans, just like 99% of U.S. Citizens during prohibition, go about their daily lives all over the country. They get up, go to school or work and live their lives untouched by the border town violence.

These same protectionist news sources have misled the public as to the real danger from the swine flu in Mexico and temporary devastated the tourism business. As of May 27 2009 there have been 87 deaths in Mexico from the swine flu. During those same five months there have been 36 murdered school children in Chicago.   By their logic, if 87 deaths from the swine flu in Mexico warrants canceling flights and cruise ships to Mexico, then close all roads and highways in the USA because of record 43,359 automobile related deaths in the USA in 2008.

What is just getting underway is what many are calling the “Largest southern migration to Mexico of people and real estate assets since the Civil War” A significant percentage of the Baby Boomers have been doing the research and are making the life changing decision to move out of the U.S.A. The number one retirement destination in the world is Mexico. There are already over 2,000,000 US and Canadian property owners in Mexico. The most conservative number of American and Canadian Baby Boomers who are on their way to owning property in Mexico for full or part time living in the next 15 years is over 6,000,000. Do the math on 6,000,000 people buying a $300,000 house or condo and you will understand why the U.S. Government is trying to tax this massive shift of money to Mexico through H.R. 3056. The U.S. government calls this “The Tax Collection Responsibility Act of 2007”. Those who will have to pay it are calling this the EXIT TAX.

Mexico: A better economic choice than China

Another large exodus from the U.S.A is high paying skilled jobs.  The job shift in automobile sector, both car and parts manufacturing, is already known by most investors. In the last few months as John Deere and Caterpillar have been laying off thousands of workers in the U.S.A., and hiring equal numbers in Mexico. The most recent industry that is making the shift is the aerospace manufacturers. In the city of Zacatecas there is currently a $210 million aerospace facility being built. With the 11 U.S. companies moving there, it is estimated to provide over 200,000 new high paying jobs in the coming years.  One of the main factors for the shift in job south to Mexico instead of China is realistic analysis of total production, labor and delivery costs. While the labor costs in China are 40% less on average, the overall transportation costs and inherent risks of a long distance supply chain, and quality control issues, gives Mexico a distinct financial advantage.

Mexico’s real economic future

Mexico has avoided completely the subprime problem that has devastated the U.S. banking industry. The Mexican banks are healthy and profitable. Mexico has a growing and very healthy middle and upper middle class. The very recent introduction of residential financing has Mexico in a unique position of having over 90% of current homeowners owning their house outright. U.S. banks are competing for the Mexican, Canadian and American cross border loan business. It is and will continue to be a very safe and very profitable business. These same banks that were loaning in a reckless manner have learned their lesson and are loaning here the old fashioned way. They require a minimum of a 680 credit score, 30% down payment, and verifiable income that can support the loan. In most areas of Mexico where Baby Boomers are moving to, with the exception of Puerto Penasco (which did not have a national and international base of buyers), there is no real estate bubble. The higher end markets ($2-20 million) in many of these destinations are going through a modest correction. The Baby Boomers market here is between $200,000 and $600,000. With the continuing demand inside the Bay of Banderas, that price point, in the coming years, will disappear. This is the reason the Mexican government is spending billions of dollars on more infrastructure north along the coast all the way up to Mazatlan.

The other major area where America has become overpriced is in the field of health care.  This massive shift of revenues is estimated to add 5-7% to Mexico’s GDP.  The name for this “business” is Medical Tourism. The two biggest competitors for Mexico were Thailand and India. Thailand and India’s biggest drawback is geography. Also recent events, Thailand’s inability to keep a government in place and the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai, have helped Mexico capture close to half of this growth industry. In Mexico today there are over 56 world class hospitals being built to keep up with this business.

Mexico is currently sitting on a cash surplus and an almost balanced budget. Most Americans have never heard of Carlos Slim until he loaned the New York Times $250 million. After that it became clear to many investors around the world what Mexicans already knew: that Mexico had been able to avoid the worst of the U.S. economic devastation. Mexico’s resilience is to be admired. When the U.S. Federal Reserve granted a $30 billion loan to each of the following countries Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and Brazil, Mexico reinvested the money in Treasury bonds in an account in New York City.

According to oil traders, Mexico’s Pemex wisely as the price of oil shot to $147 a barrel put in place an investment strategy that hinged on oil trading in the range of $38-$60 a barrel. Since the beginning of 2009 Mexico has been collecting revenues on hedged positions that give them $90-$110 per barrel today. Mexico’s recent and under reported oil discovery in the Palaeo Channels of Chicontepec has placed it third in the world for oil reserves, right behind Canada and Saudi Arabia.

The following is a quote from Rosalind Wilson, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on March 19, 2009. “The strength of the Mexican economic system makes the country a favorite destination for Canadian investment”.


The answer is simple and old fashioned: SUPPLY AND DEMAND.

The area of Puerto Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit inside the Bay of Banderas is an investor’s dream. This area has the comprehensive infrastructure in place, world class hospitals and dental care, natural investment protection from the Sierra Madre Mountains, endless future water supply, low to nonexistent crime, international airport, and limited supply inside the Bay, first class private bilingual schools and higher than average appreciation potential. Like many areas in Mexico there is large demand for full and part time retirement living and a lot of construction underway to meet this demand. Pre construction of course is where the best bargains are available.

I would offer a word of caution for investors in Mexico.  Do not be seduced by the endless natural beauty that is everywhere, both inland in colonial towns and along thousands of miles of beach. Apply conservative medium and long term investment strategies without emotion. The demand for full and part time living by American and Canadian Baby Boomers is evident throughout the country. The top two choice locations are ocean front, and ocean view. The third overall choice, which is less expensive, is inland in one of the many beautiful colonial towns or small cities.

Mexico, with the world’s 13th largest GDP, is no longer a “Third World Country”, but rather a fast growing, economically secure state, as the most recent five-year history of its financial markets when compared to the U.S.A.’s financial markets  suggests.

DOW JONES AVERAGES         MAY 2004   10,200         MAY 2009   8,200          20% LOSS IN 5 YEARS

MEXICAN BOLSA                    MAY 2004   10,000        MAY 2009   23,000       130% GAIN IN 5 YEARS


We’re Fishing in a barrel, Marlin, Dorado, YF Tuna, Sailfish, PV On Fire!



Yellowfin Tuna on the Deck Sixty pound Blue Plate Specials

Yellowfin Tuna on the Deck Sixty pound Blue Plate Specials

We’re Fishing in a barrel, Marlin, Dorado, YF Tuna, Sailfish, PV On Fire!




Puerto Vallartas reputation for Sportfishing is legendary. With a bay that was formed by a volcano a million years ago it makes a heaven for baitfish and species of all kinds. It´s a perfect breeding ground for Whales, Bottle Nose Dolphin and Manta Rays. And at this time of the year the fishing is white hot! November marks one of the two months that the High Tourism season meshes with High Season for Fishing where vacationers and professionals alike are sharing the same fishing grounds. Now of course they’re mostly looking for Yellowfin Tuna at this time of the year and they´re coming in with full cockpits! Black Marlin have moved back into the area and Sailfish are huge, some in the 120 lb range and 13 feet long! November is always an exciting month in Puerto Vallarta and this year looks to be exciting as well!

Those looking for trophy sized game fish like Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna are still finding their luck at El Banco or The Bank. With YF Tuna running mostly in the 80 lb range have set up house, we’re just happy they’re out there.  Black Marlin are running in the 400 to 800lb range like last week and are still closer in to the point of Punta Mita than the high spots.  Unless you’re targeting Yellowfin, then El Banco may not be where you want to be. UPDATE: Those red Tuna Crabs have floated in with the currents along with small Squids and Jellyfish the size of baseballs. All favorites of Yellowfin Tuna. Now this makes boating these beauties difficult at best. But seasoned captains and first mates can improvise and adapt. Make sure your crew is aware of these conditions, they most likely are and head out prepared. Yellowfin now are running in the 120 to 160lb range if you can get their attention. Water temperatures are still in the 82 degree mark, perfect temps to keep them on the surface! Marlin have not been taking live bait, but plastic is working well, but they are still closer in to shore.

Corbeteña for the last week has been on the ¨Iffy¨ side.  But that has changed and there are larger Marlin and Sailfish just north of the Rock towards El Banco. Magnifico, our 31 ft Bertram Classic came in from Corbeteña with record challenging Sailfish as well. Cubera Snappers in the 60 lb range have been going after trolled baits as well. Yellowfin Tuna have also been boated here but have been on the small side of the average in the 60 lb range mostly this week.

The point off Punta Mita (5 to 15 miles) as I mentioned earlier is still a Machine for Black and Blue Marlin, Dorado and Sailfish. Plenty of bait in the water which is smaller in size has drawn in the Billfish towards shore. This will put you in a great area where anything is possible and may be the secret for the coming week. Keep an eye on this area amigos…

The Marietta Islands and El Morro have been getting more active by the day. An eight hour trip has a mixed bag of possible fish. Policonfondido, our 25 ft single engine panga (cheapest boat in the marina) came back in one day alone with two huge Sailfish, Four larger Dorado, 1 needle fish an African pompano and two smaller Rooster fish in the 30 lb range. Unless you´re targeting Marlin or YF Tuna, this may be the place to be if you´re looking at a limited fuel budget and still want some serious action! UPDATE: Larger Dorado up to 35 lbs have moved in to the area between El Morro and the Marietta Islands off the reefs. We’re also seeing Rooster fish in the 25 lb range and some larger Snappers in the 30 to 35 lb range. Surface baits are driving them nuts so bring your poppers and surface jigs along. Many times this is working better than live bait. Sailfish, very large sailfish in the 100 lb plus rang e are still out there taking baits. So the area is h eating up and for an 8 hr day is one of your better options at the moment.

Bait this week is pretty much the same condition as last week. Plenty of bait closer in to shore, not that much once you´re past the islands. Make sure you have bait before you head out to the fishing grounds! If you come across diving birds, get more bait! Get as much bait as you can hold because once you find the fish, this is their gold and your edge on the other boats. If you can´t make bait, Black and purple lures are a good option. Green and orange will also make these fickle fish do a double take. If you have bait, it is like fishing in a barrel out there RIGHT NOW!

While in town don’t forget to visit the Village in Marina Vallarta with Restaurant row and 150 shops from everything from hair salons to Peruvian Cuisine, you´ll have fun, get your food fix and who knows, and maybe rediscover how cool the village really is. If it´s been a while since you’ve been on the ¨Other Malicon¨ then it’s time to check It out. In fact there is a new ¨Diner¨ type of restaurant where Sea Fare used to be that open a few days ago that I´ll be trying tonight!

Until next week, don´t forget to kiss your fish!


Remember, if you have any questions or suggestions you can reach me at: or

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

Tournament Season Level Fishing Happening Now in Puerto Vallarta!



Nick Payne and Phil Denison, 8 hrs, 2 Sails, 4 Dorado, 1 Pompano, 1 RoosterThe Catch, or part of it anyway…

Tournament Season Level Fishing Happening Now in Puerto Vallarta!


Once you enter the middle of October anywhere within 400 miles of Puerto Vallarta, north or south, you’ll find the best conditions for fishing for the entire year. Cabo had two tournaments the last week including the Bisbee’s Black and blue. A week earlier, there was the Los Cabos Tournament sponsored by Marlin Magazine. Soon we’ll have the Pez Vela Tournament coming up here in mid November ( for details) which is always a big local hit and this year marks the 55th year this tournament has been running. The point being these locations schedule tournaments when fishing is at its best! With Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish, Marlin and Dorado all firing right now you can only imagine how good conditions are right now for the angler looking for a trophy. But the fishing grounds are still deserted, a lingering effect of the bad economy up north, but for those heading out, the best fishing grounds in the world can be yours almost alone!

With that as a lead at El Banco or The Bank, we are still seeing Yellowfin Tuna in the 60 to 200 lb range, but mostly in the 70 to 100 lb range with the occasional taking live bait. Now that we´ve moved out of the Full Moon cycle the Yellowfin Bite is coming on stronger and should continue to increase for the next few days anyway. The Bite for now for tuna is early morning and later in the afternoon, blog readers are always up to date on the bite times.  Black, Blue Marlin are in the area but those looking for Marlin are better off keeping in closer to shore for the simple reason the bait is there!, there are very few baits that marlin like better! Anywhere from 8 to 15 miles off the point of Punta Mita you will find Marlin in the 250 to 500 lbs. With the Bullet Skip Jack Tuna running all over the place this is one of the hot spots to be amigos!  This same area has been producing Dorado as well in the 20 to 45 lb range, mostly in the 30’s… Still, if you are looking for Yellowfin, hit the high spots!

Corbeteña this week has been working mainly Sailfish. Yellowfin Tuna have been boated but they’re running smaller here than at El Banco.  Still on the slow side, Yellowfin Tuna Hunters would be better off hitting El Banco. There are still Marlin in the area, but in diminished numbers. Magnifico came in with a Blue Marlin on the 400 lb side, but they were being Magnifico! Water has been blue, the murky conditions of last week have improved, but the seasons are changing so don´t be surprised if this changes without warning. Remember bait outside the bay is still an issue so make sure you make bait when you can. Even a dazed bait that has been in a tuna tube for too long is better than no bait at all. Cubera Snappers are taking trolled baits here as well and many ignore the Cuberas. Running in the 65 lb range, these taste great and fight well!

El Morro and the Marietta Islands are in automatic these Days. Snappers to 35 lbs, some smaller Rooster fish in the 30 to 40 lb range are at the Reefs between El Morro and the Marietta Islands. But these reefs are protected so be careful. Needle fish, Pompano, Jack Crevalls and more are hanging out off the reefs. For a shorter day, the fishing has been fantastic. With some luck you´ll run into Sailfish and midsized Dorado to 30 lbs as well. Well worth your time and fuel money.

At the Punta Mita area, down to the Sayulita area the Dorado are still the resident species. Find a buoy or log and you can hit the jack pot amigos! Dorado to 45 lbs have been boated this week, Sailfish are also hanging out so be prepared. Again Marlin are about ten miles off the point, mix in a dash of luck and anything is possible there right now!

The bay is rocking right now. With the seasonal rains ending early this year the water in the bay for the most part is clean! Up near the La Cruz marina there have been Sailfish in the 90 lb range taking baits a short distance off the beach. Near Los Arcos Red Snappers are in the 30 lb range. Skip Jack Tuna are also there in the 25 to 40 lb range and they´re big fighters! Most people are surprised how strong even a smaller fish like this can fight. Again, live bait is king, but casting a silver diamond jig close to rocks off the shoreline will put your arms to the test!

Something to keep an eye on if heading out, the water temperatures are in the 85 degree range and this may get the Yellowfin to head down, have planers and down riggers along with your kites at the ready.  Could make you day amigo. Look for the temperature breaks on your fish finders and sounders!

Marina Tip: We have this new restaurant in the village called Rio’s D Sudamerica that serves Peruvian food that will knock your socks off! Mostly a ceviche, the dishes are light, tasty and healthy. The owners have turned into friends of mine since I eat there almost every night! You may find me there! YeHa!

One final word, Whales have been spotted in the bay, so keep an eye out and remember to be careful around these magnificent animals…..   

Until next week, don´t forget to kiss your fish! 

Remember, if you have any questions or suggestions you can reach me at: or

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

Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Sailfish, Marlin, Puerto Vallarta Fishing Kicks into High Gear



Magnifico Victory Lap flyin Flags, 1Sail, 1 Blue Marlin, 2 Dorado

Magnifico Victory Lap flyin Flags, 1Sail, 1 Blue Marlin, 2 DoradoSailfish, Blue Marlin, Magnifico does it again with Rob McGregor

Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Sailfish, Marlin, Puerto Vallarta Fishing Kicks into High Gear



Everyone who walks in my shop door wants to catch fish and don´t want to be stuck on another slow boat to China. Well at this time of the year the fishing is about as good as it is going to get for the season. But that doesn´t mean you´ll always come in with fish! There are days when you can head out and the fishing is incredible and still not find a fish to take your bait. I guess that is why we still call it fishing, the risk of not catching a fish makes catching just that much sweeter! Now all my boats this week came in with fish, but on some days you take what you can get and the frustration of not getting the exact fish you targeted is just part of the game. More the exception than the rule, but always a possibility.

This week we have seen the scarce bait conditions continue. But this only makes the fish hungrier as they take what they can get. This is when live and fresh bait is worth it´s weight in gold. The good news is the bay is teaming with bait like Bonito, Skip Jacks, and Mackerals. This means you can offer live bait to your target species and have a better than average chance of boating that finned fantasy. So my suggestion is if you see bait boils on the way out, get what you can and stuff them in those expensive tuna tubes you paid for! But if for some reason you can´t make bait this week, it´s not the end of the world. Lures of Black and Yellow, Pink Tiger prints, Purple are all working as well. Just not as well as live bait!

Corbeteña this week, the water cleared up a little and the Sailfish and Dorado have returned to the area just a little north of the Rock. Dorado in the 35 lb range have been plentiful, Sailfish are increasing in numbers now as we enter the time of year they vacation in our world class fishing grounds. Black Marlin in the 400 to 800 lb range are still in the area as are Blue Marlin. Water Temperatures are fluctuating with the change in the currents, but this is not much of a concern for the moment as the fish don´t mind.

El Banco as I have said a thousand times is the place to be again this week. With the water still blue Yellowfin are still in the area around the high spots. For those of you who don´t know, El Banco is an underwater mountain where there are two spikes like peaks that jutt up are at 65 and 58 feet below the surface of the water. I like to refer to this area as a Marlin McDonalds as species set up house for the fishing season. With all the bait that this area attracts the fishing is always good in the summer to Early January. So if you have a few extra bucks, there is still time for you to join in the action. Continuing on, the area is still on fire.  Yellowfin Tuna in the 80 to 160 lb range have been a little ¨On again / Off Again¨ situation, but at least surface trolling is working. Remember to keep an eye on the water temperatures and have a down rigger at the ready.  My boats this week are also running kites, with scarce bait this can make a lost day and found opportunity. Black Marlin to 800 lbs, Blue Marlin in the same range, Dorado in the 30 – 45lb range, Rainbow runners, Sailfish, Cubera Snappers, Amber Jacks and a host of others are all there waiting for you to show up. The water here this week was a little murky like Corbeteña, but has cleared up and is a nice shade of Blue Water!

At the Marietta Islands this week we have seen the action mostly around the area where the reefs are. Sailfish are finally moving into the area and with abundant bait the area has drawn Sails in like a magnet. Rooster fish in the 35 lb range have been taking baits, but there are not that many Roosters right now running in the area. Bonito, Snappers and Big Eyes have all been running 30 to 45 lbs, with the Bonito being larger than you would expect…   Live bait is still king, but lures are working well also. Just remember to stay off the reefs; this can cost you more than money amigos!

Punta Mita is warming up again as Sails and Dorado move back just off the point to 8 miles out. There were a few days there where for some reason the fish deserted this normally hot location. No telling why, but they´re coming back so no worries. North of the point near Sayulita you can still boat Roosters as well, but not like a few weeks ago.

As I mentioned earlier, inside the bay there is plenty of baitfish. This in turn has drawn in some Sailfish as well. When this happens anywhere from Yelapa north to Buceras can produce these in demand Billfish. Yelapa just a few days past had boats coming in with 35 lb Bonito, which are large and will tear your arms off. With Roballo still at the river mouths and snapper around the rocks and shores, the bay is still worth your attention. Especially for those looking to catch fish and are short on budget!

Now remember, if you are reading this article and planning a trip, things can change in a heartbeat. By the time you plan your trip and get here three weeks later, everything can change. So keep up with my articles and blogs and feel free to fire me an email at any time with questions of the local conditions and bite….

Speaking of the bite, the clock seems to be set right now for 9 to 12 and from 2 on in the afternoon. So use your fuel dollars wisely. As we get closer to the full moon, if you’re targeting Tuna you’ll have to hit the fishing ground, not leave for the fishing grounds about sun up… the bit happens earlier at the full moon, later at the new moon… keep this in mind amigos!

Remember, we have our Tournament coming up in November and it promises to be the wonderful event we´ve all come to expect. Prize money this year is still high with free cars and boats being offered to the lucky winners out there! If you are looking for a boat, Master Baiter´s doesn´t double its boat prices and we always have new line and fresh drags on our reels. We also have great prices on our boats, just slightly over our normal daily rate to account for the long, long days and the extra fuel usage. Magnifico is available with other boats if interested. So call me before someone else gets the deal. Magnifico won the Pez Vela Tournament in 2007 with Master Baiter´s, maybe you can too….. For more information go to: and get the details!

If you find yourself in Puerto Vallarta make sure you visit The Village at Marina Vallarta. The Village in Marina Vallarta is scheduling all sorts of events in the weeks and months ahead. This coming week we have Oktoberfest where the restaurants will be serving sample dishes and twelve peso beers (that would be a dollar a beer!). So come to the Village at Marina Vallarta Oct. 21 to the 23rd and have some great food and fun times!


With 150 shops and Restaurant row it´s the number one attraction for Puerto Vallarta. Check out the daily catch on the docks or the jewelry stores or window shop for a new condo… What’s that, You´ve never heard of the Village? Then it’s time you came on down and checked it all out.  If there is something you need, it can be found in the Village! Check out their Facebook page (The Village at Marina Vallarta) and hit the ¨Like¨ Button to keep up with all the exciting changes as they happen!

Until next week, don´t forget to kiss your fish!

Remember, if you have any questions or suggestions you can reach me at: or