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 (www.won.com) or World Wide Fishing Guide (www.worldwidefishing.com) 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!