Picking a Charter Company, What You Don’t know Will Hurt You

Picking a Charter Company, What You Don’t know Will Hurt You

Written by Stan Gabruk

 

The following is a Re-Posted article I wrote a while back, but it still applies. With the cost of fuel going up at half a peso a day, or about thirty dollars a month per eight hour trip, things are getting dicy around fishing companies looking to cut corners and sell a product you think you´re getting, until you get on the boat. Review the important facts, some of you will see yourself being ripped off and how it happened. Still some will read this article and think they know how to handle things. Either way, if you are here in Mexico, Florida, Hawaii or Thailand, these priciples appy and are good reading. There is a second part to this article I will post in a few days which with my schedule means next week, or so.. Hahahaa… Anyway, check it out and sorry, no pictures of bad boats, they´d get upset and then maybe I would be dead, not just the rumors my competition puts out there….  

Since the year 2000, Master Baiter’s has been in the Sportfishing Charter business. Some call it Deep Sea Fishing, others call it Sportfishing, what ever you choose to call it, it’s expensive and there’s no way around that simple fact of life. I always have potential clients enter my shop on the boardwalk in Marina Vallarta and they naturally ask for prices. When I collect all the information I need from them to make a recommendation, they are seldom happy about the price and that in itself is a deal breaker. Especially for many vacationing Anglers with a “whim” to go fishing for “Moby Dick”. When I do finally figure out the correct or best option for the client, he’s usually grabbing his chest from the heart palpitations he’s experiencing. I can understand that reaction for sure. When you tell a potential client that a ten hour trip on a nice and nicely equipped boat is going to run on average $1,000.00 usd for up to five people (total, not each person), this is normal. After years of this I think it’s finally time to get down in writing why things are the way they are. When you stop and realize that for the same money, you can rent a Jet Ski and pay more for that per hour than you are for a multi-hundred thousand dollar boat! Just to put things in perspective. Lets go into a little more detail on this since it can be a deal breaker.

 

Start-up and Operating Expenses: First, let’s take a look at the expense of the boat itself. If you’re lucky and you buy a three year old Luhrs Express with fresh engines for example, you’d be lucky to get one of these for $180,000.00 usd (it’s a ball park number so don’t beat me up for this over present market conditions). Now the engines on a Charter Boat that’s going out 15 to 20 times a month (which is a lot) will last three years before you’ll need to start thinking about what the engines remaining life span is. Without getting into this too heavily, I use the accounting / business standard three year return on my investment (ROI) formula for this, as do some others in Marina Vallarta. The boat payment alone, without interest attached for 36 months (3 yrs) is a $6,000.00 usd per month payment alone. Most financing a boat like this will extend the terms so their payment is in the neighborhood of $2,000.00 usd per month for multiple years, with a substantial down payment.  Tack on Fuel, insurance, water, electricity, cleaning products, oil changes, Equipment, salaries, fishing licenses for a year, Line, Lures, Poles, maintenance, Reels, ADVERTISING, more equipment and you start to get a feel for what the upfront expenses are before you ever see a dime in profit. Don’t forget, you’re a startup company so people won’t know of or about you.  With all these expenses and some I didn’t mention, the actual running expenses / cost of the 32 ft. boat will ultimately run approx. $743.00 usd per 12 trip (1/3 to 1/2 being fuel alone, rest being fixed cost). If as an owner you charge $1,000.00 for that trip, the owner saw maybe $257.00 usd over operating expenses in profit. Hit this amount with taxes or Hacienda as they call it here in Mexico, and I’m sure you can see where this is going. I’d also like to emphasize that 15 trips a month is considered a heavy traffic month, so the numbers can go south in a heart beat if demand for your services dry up due to bad economies like in the USA now. Put this all together and you’ve got a dicey situation for the Deep Sea Fishing industry, especially if you’re new in the “neighborhood”. A risky business venture to be sure, yet we get those who want to retire and become Jimmy Buffet Living in Margarita Ville where life is a constant party. Well folks, it doesn’t work like that, it’s not glamorous or a big money maker.

Average time in business for start up charter companies is 2.5 yrs in business or less. That’s how long it usually takes people to figure out they’re not having fun or making any money and most likely both. Hell, they’re not even covering their expenses with low charter months and eventually the money will just dry up and there goes the fantasy. The competition doesn’t help when they sell their boats for less than operating cost, but hey, they got few dollars I their pocket today. They worry about tomorrow when they can’t avoid it any longer.

 

Charter Services in Florida, Hawaii, and Cabo all price their charters considerably higher which makes Puerto Vallarta the best value for your Sportfishing dollar as things stand now! With Marine Fuel in the $2.40 (conservative) a gallon range, it’s less than half what they’re paying for it in the Caribbean, Hawaii or Florida!

 

Recently in PV, Many existing charter companies with good reputations are updating their charter boats with newer boats, yet prices are staying stable because of a noticeable slow down in tourism. With all the financial balls people are juggling in North America the budget fisherman has been hit hard. But the growth in popularity of Puerto Vallarta and the sport is off setting the lower levels in tourism. People with money will always have the money they want to do what they want. Big Game Fishing has never been cheap and it never will be. For those with the necessary cash flow, The World has turned its eyes our way and things are changing accordingly…..

 

One thing to look out for is the guy who says he can take a deposit on a specific boat, he may even have a slip of paper with a number on it, but it doesn’t mean a thing amigo. Last week I placed two different sets of people who gave a person a deposit for a day of fishing, just to find out when it came time to go, the boat was no where to be found. No contact, Nobody. I tried calling the boat that was “chartered” only to find the boat was already booked and confirmed for other people. Those unsuspecting folks were robbed and didn’t find out for three days after they dropped the deposit. Don’t be fooled, Use an established Charter company with an office from which they work from. If you don’t have that, and I don’t mean a mini mart, you’ve got a possible vacation disaster.  So beware of who you’re dealing with…..

 

 

About Captains and Crews: They say there is no substitute for experience and here in Puerto Vallarta (PV) truer words were never spoken. Many, if not most of the Captains here grew up on the docks learning from their Fathers and Grand Fathers. There are many third generation charter Captains that know this area better than the back of their hand. The problem is, this is Mexico and most Mexican Captains and crews don’t speak English (all of ours do). This can make communication difficult for the vacationing Angler. So the Captain with good, maybe not great English skills will be favored over the non-English speaking Captains. Now I can more than understand this since a person coming down from Canada or the States will find a comfort factor in being able to communicate with the Captain….. Imagine that. So when a boat owner chooses a Captain, he has to choose from a limited few that may or may not be the best choice available. Coming down to the Marina or reading articles online will help the decision making process but you never know what you’ve got until you’ve been out with one. Many people come to PV year after year going from one company to another looking for the correct combination of ability, quality, comfort factor, and price! Since people are creatures of habit, if they have fun, you’ve got a locked in return client! They’ll come back year after year, since they already like the boat and crew, why change??

 

Some Captains come in consistently with fish, while others will tell you they’re the best, yet choke when the chips are down. Now we all know fishing is fishing and on any given day you can come in skunked, it happens to the best of us. But as a charter company owner I’m looking for everything, Perfect English, Experience, reliability, a dash of personality and the ability to come in with a full fish box when others are coming back “empty handed”. For those off days when you come back with an empty fish box, we’ve all heard the horror stories, the very least you want is a Captain and Crew that you feel gave it their all. Changed lure color often, tried different things and had the tools necessary for several fishing methods! Not just trolling the six lures they may have.

 

So how would the general public coming down to Puerto Vallarta know which Captain is best for them? Well amigos, it’s almost impossible to tell if you’re not in the middle of the action. That’s where we come in, making sure we have the best Captains available on our boats so you don’t have to worry about such things. The boat you were on last year may have been great then, but things change rapidly in Marina Vallarta and the captain and crew, hell even the owner may have changed since the last time you went out fishing with them. Everything has changed about that boat, except the name that is. So choose a reputable Fishing Charter Company and you’ll most likely not be disappointed with your day on the water.

 

Now remember, this article is for the average guy hoping to learn a little something from an insiders view. Again the goal of this article is to share information with the average person so “he” can better understand why things are, the way they are!

 

 

Lets Talk Equipment / Tackle:  Sportfishing makes the expense of Golf look like nothing in comparison. When it comes to Big Game or Deep Sea Fishing here in Puerto Vallarta (PV), where it’s very possible to boat a world record fish, you just know it’s going to be expensive. If you compare a rig as I call it, or a fishing pole / reel set-up to that of a bag of golf clubs (about the same cost, balls and all), you could spend between $1,200.00 to $2,000.00 usd dollars in the blink of an eye. Take this number, multiply it by ten to fifteen times and you’ll have a basic idea of the minimum requirements for a professional charter boat when it comes to poles, reels, line and lures. If you’re looking for smaller fish inshore or larger fish at El Banco or Corbetena, you have to have the correct rig for the species targeted and for conditions that day. Mix in hooks, line, Flouro Carbon leader (expensive), gaffs, harnesses, swivels ($15 usd each), Kites, Down Riggers etc. , the list just goes on and on. Nothing is cheap, tack 30% on to the normal USA cost for these items just because you’re buying them in Mexico and you start to see what we’re talking about. You can try sneaking it in, but good luck, they love finding new fishing gear in suitcases as they’re checked in Customs.

 

Now the Charter Boat that doesn’t have the best equipment and tackle, well this will become obvious when you head out and snap the line ten times in one day on a boat who’s using stressed line….. We all lose fish, but not a bunch in a row from broken line. If this happens it’s old, chaffed, and ready for the trash bin. The Angler spending a thousand dollars for a trip to catch Moby Dick deserves much more than the opportunity to lose a fish on a half full spool of stressed line.

 

That’s another point, Getting spooled in this day and age is unacceptable and you should never go on a boat that doesn’t have Spectra Backed reels. Especially when you’re looking at Grander Marlin and Monster Yellowfin tuna from June to Mid January! Once you’ve boated or fought a larger billfish or Yellowfin Monster you’ll be glad you had new line. But even then, the life span of the line is between five and ten big fish, especially billfish. The fishing line these days are designed to perform, but not forever. It stretches and gets chaffed by bills, sun, salt and age. Fresh line on full reels is very easy to see and is an indicator for what you could expect on that charter boat. So the next time you’re out choosing a charter, ask to see the equipment if possible. The whole day will depend on the mere fact that the charter boat owner spends fifty dollars to reline a reel so these things won’t happen for the worse constantly. But remember, like I said earlier, breaking line is part of the game, but not ten times in one day! Everyone wants to save a buck or two, but make sure you get what you think you’re paying for, not what your wallet tells you. You’re better off waiting another year and doing it right with the opportunity to have the time of your life….

 

 

Let’s talk about the service end of the business: I’ve talked before on how people look for a charter company. First they may check out the internet at home, but many wait until they come down to Puerto Vallarta to get the “feel” of the area. First they talk with the guy who gets their luggage to the taxi at the airport when you first arrive. Then he’ll talk with the taxi driver, Next comes the concierge at the hotel, the waiter in the restaurant, people around the pool and finally he’ll find his way to Marina Vallarta and walk the gauntlet. There are companies in Marina Vallarta that are the flavor of the month. One guy or company which just sprung up this past summer went out of business selling Roasted Chicken and now books really cheap boats out of Los Penas Marina. They’ve got a nice, cheap office with pretty furniture and a nice logo to impress you. Then also got a guy who’s standing on the board walk (or walking the boardwalk) asking you if you need anything from a tour to a fishing charter. Now this guy can’t tell you what kind of baits are working right now, but he’s quick to talk of his twelve boats. Of course he can’t remember the names of but two, but he’s got twelve!

 

Check out internet travel forum sites about the area or sites like Trip Adviser, World Wide Fishing Guide or Fodor’s travel guide, where slouch companies can’t afford the price of participation. Look for recommendations from travel agencies, articles, travel guides again like Fodor’s, the hotel concierge, but locals that live in the area are always the best. Word of mouth is still the best advertising. Vacationers and travelers in general are always more than willing to share their experiences, mostly bad. I’ve always found that flattering words may go unsaid, but a bad time will get plenty of volume when it’s time to speak of horrible experiences

 

Service is first and foremost, no matter how much you paid for your day on the water. Naturally lower cost providers should come with lowered expectations.  Having said that, I don’t care if you live in Mexico or on Mars, service is a basic fact of life in any business. Service doesn’t cost the operator or Owner a thin dime more than he’s already spending. It all comes down to getting the most from your people and making sure clients are not only having fun, but are being provided the service they don’t know they need. Do they meet you on time at an agreed to meeting place? Is the boat fueled up with bait and ice, ready to go? Are there any money issues that you’re unaware of until that moment of departure (This happens all the time)? Do you have your contact persons phone number if need be? Do you know your boats name / location? All important stuff that should not be a mystery! Was the crew courteous and pleasant? Do they interact with you? Do they listen to your request? Do they release when informed of this desire or not? Did they tell you they speak English, just to later discover they know ten words of English? This and the list could go on for ever.

 

All very important things to consider when choosing a charter company…..

 

I have another article I Have written. I will post that article after I get this up….

 

If you should have any questions, feel free to ask: www.MasterBaiters.com.mx or CatchFish@MasterBaiters.com.mx Facebook: MasterBaiter Stan  Tshits: www.MasterBaitersGear.com (big sellers and very funny).

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Summer Pushes Forward, Water Temps Up, Sailfish Hungry

Summer Pushes Forward, Water Temps Up, Sailfish Hungry

Written by: Stan Gabruk owner of Master Baiter´s Sportfishing & Tacklewww.Masterbaiters.com.mx 05 09 2014 Chelita Sailfish

If you were in Puerto Vallarta you´d think it was summer. Water Temperatures are back up around the 78 to 81 degree range. Bait is thick, Breeding Season is coming to an end as all the species are taking bait again. It´s still the clear green water conditions for the most part, but that´s OK since it really doesn´t hurt anything, blue is still preferable for visibility reasons. Dorado are moving back in, early actually for the season, but Dorado have been in the area all winter long, so why would this surprise any of us? Sounds great, right? Well for the ¨salty¨ captains this is the situation, they´re catching fish. Lesser Captains and crews are still coming in ¨wanting¨, again nothing new there. From this point on, it will only get hotter, both for the weather and for fishing. So get your loose change together, it´s time to think ¨World Class Fishing¨!

Shortly after the last report, things began to break loose. Rooster fish are sizeable at 60 lbs, but will now take Goggle eyes for bait, not only the abundant Sardines. You´ll have to hit the area around Anclote, the reef off Sayulita, north of Punta Mita. While there, find a Buoy and you´ll also find Dorado in the 25 to 35 lb range. Not exactly abundant, but there. North of Sayulita near San Pancho the Sailfish are still having a fiesta as they party around bait balls the size of McDonalds, parking lot and all. Plan a ten hour fishing day and you too can join in the fun.www.masterbaiters.com.mx 05 13 2014  Andy and Chris Gallen on Magnifico

Marietta Islands are also coming back to life with Rooster Fish as well. Also running in the 60 lb range, these quill backed demons will show you what Deep Sea Fishing is all about. Not the best tasting of species, as long as they´re a little under cooked, they´re not too bad. Dorado are here as well, but not in numbers you can rely on. This will change in the next few days so don´t get your panties in a bunch, be patient. Snappers in the 12 to 35 lb range are perfect as a blue plate special. Amber Jacks are thicker as they are running 40 lbs or so and they´re great tasting. Bonito, Jack Crevalls, Skip Jacks Tuna round out what´s happening in the area. It´s an eight hour day, it´s going to be very warm to hot (warm for acclimated types) and worth the time and money to boat a Sailfish here. Yes I said Sailfish, not thick like San Pancho, but picking up in numbers as we speak.

Corbeteña and El Banco are still a little quiet, this will change in the coming weeks. Still lots of Jack Crevalls, Cubera Snappers in the 50lb range, Amber Jacks to 60 lbs and Orca Whales everywhere. Can´t figure that one out since these are cold water fish, must be the abundance of bait! For now, save your fuel dollar for better days in this area. Now if you just absolutely, positively have to have a Monster Yellowfin Tuna, then head to the Tres Maria Islands. Yellowfin Tuna are running over 250 lbs for the lucky angler. Average size for this past week has been 140 lbs. Just remember keep your distance, it´s still a fishery and the local authorities will chase you out of the restricted area or grab you, your boat and your equipment. You could also be stuck on that prison island like some have been for a good stretch of time. So be smart or you may find yourself in a high security prison even the hardened criminals can´t get away from! Plan on a 16 hr day minimum when making this trip, overnight trips make the most sense. www.masterbaiters.com.mx 05 12 2014 Skip Jack Tuna at MariettA iSLands 600 pxls

Inside the bay, believe it or not small Dorado in the 15 to 20 lb range (babies that need to be thrown back) are picking up in numbers. A great indication of things to come. I would not be surprised if Sailfish move into the Bay of Banderas chasing these delectable bait treats! Remember, Billfish love to eat Dorado, but when you troll a Dorado as bait, they die too quickly. But they will chase them so if you´re in the bay and find Dorado, keep a peeled eye, you may be glad you did.

We are still seeing some swirly currents, water temps are still a little streaky, but we´re a little early for fishing’s High Season to begin. The bite is moving earlier in the day and by the end of the week will be earlier than later, so plan accordingly. Bait is plentiful, maybe a little too plentiful. An experienced captain knows how to maneuver around these challenges, just make sure you´re paying for a superior captain or the few bucks you saved will result in disappointing day fishing. One piece of advice, fuel prices are going up at least thirty dollars a trip, per month with the fuel pricing strategy the Mexican Govt has. The smart money is booking boats before the prices jump considerably and they are moving upwards now. World Class Deep Sea or Sportfishing as it´s called is not for people looking to save money. Now I am not saying throw your money away, but stop and think about it, we all have the same expenses, legit companies that is, why are some boats or companies so much cheaper than others? One reason is Insurance, well paid crews, fuel usage on fast boats, electronics, fresh line, smooth drags, radios (no joke) and a service oriented company will always be ¨cheap¨ insurance for a fun, productive and safe day. Be smart, what you don´t know can hurt you and your family…..www.masterbaiters.com.mx 05 12 2014 Red Snappers Marietta Islands

Master Baiter´s is now producing a weekly news letter and posting up to the minute fishing conditions on my blog. Fire me an email if you care to get on my travel agent list so you have the up to the minute information that can make or break your day amigos.. YeHa! I´ll be standing by to hear from  you…..

Until next time don’t forget to kiss your fish and remember at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle “ We Won’t Jerk You Around”!

Master Baiter´s has changed locations in Marina Vallarta between docks A and B on the boardwalk. Email your Questions to me at: CatchFish@MasterBaiters.com.mx  Web page:  http://www.MasterBaiters.com.mx , Local Phone at: (044) 322 779 75 71 or if roaming: 011 52 1 322 779 75 71 cell phone direct Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Master-Baiters-Sportfishing-Tackle/88817121325The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.

Spring Fishing in March, Summer Species Hang!

Spring Fishing in March, Summer Species Hang!Written by: Stan Gabruk owner of Master Baiter´s Sportfishing & Tackle

Well the unusual conditions and the fishing is still great. I mean off season great with summer species we normally don´t see in the dead of winter. As the northern states and Canada seem to be under Freezer like conditions, we´re seeing warmer than normal weather as El Nino begins to raise its head with Pacific water temperatures well above the 70 degree range as water temperatures remain about 79 degrees. This is very comfortable for Marlin, Yellowfin, Dorado and of course Sailfish. Winter species are mixed in as well with Jack Crevalls, Snappers, Needle fish and of course Sierra Mackerals. It´s mixed up out there for sure. The upside, there are fish everywhere and they´re waiting for you to come out and play!08 14 2011 Shawn Pendelton, 8 hrs, Bella Del Mar 3

First off, the Yellowfin Tuna Fanatics are happy this week with Yellowfin Tuna from 75 to over 200 lbs at the Tres Maria Islands, more commonly known as the Prison Islands. Remember to keep your distance and not get pinched for being inside the 12 to 15 mile ¨buffer¨ zone. The down side, the bite has been in the evening and at about sunrise with the full moon doing it´s thing. Some days are better than others, but if you´re looking for Yellowfin Tuna, then this is where you have to be for a sizeable trophy fish. It´s at least a sixteen hour day, so it´s not for everyone.

The best bang for your fishing buck is once again the Marietta Island and the point of Punta Mita. Sailfish, 45 lb Dorado, 50 lb Rooster fish, 20 lb Snappers, Jack Crevalls, Bonito, Skip Jack Tuna and the list just goes on and on. Clean blue water, plenty of bait (including bullet bonito) and perfectly smooth seas makes this location a no brainer.03 22 2011 PoliconFodido,Aber Jack, Marietta Islands 3

Corbeteña and El Banco, ditto from last week. Warm water, Cubera Snappers to 60 lbs, Sailfish, Blue and Black Marlin in the 250 to 500 lb range, but iffy at best for Marlin. About three a day are hooking up, so it´s not automatic like summer time, but still for winter fishing you can´t complain about the opportunity for a bucket list fish in winter! Some days are off the hook, others are ¨nothing on the hook¨ days.

Inside the bay it´s as good as it gets in March with plenty of Jack Crevalls to guarantee an exciting day with plenty of action. Small Snappers perfect for dinner around ten pounds have been sprinkled around the bay. Needle fish are springing back to life with Bonito and Skip jack Tunas balancing it all out. Average fish weights in the bay are from 10 to 35 lbs, not bad for younger anglers to handle.

Sunny and temperate days make this time of the year perfect for catching winter species. Since we´re seeing summer species when we shouldn´t, that makes a fishing trip right now an opportunity you may never see again if you don´t live here in PV. The chance to boat a sailfish in March with Dorado in the area or better yet, a 200 lb Yellowfin Tuna or maybe even a Marlin!? I mean give me a break and stop the procrastination amigo. Stop thinking, get the little womans master card before she limits the thing out and get out on the water. Life is what you do, not what you watch others do. If you call me and tell me you´re a couch potato, I´ll give you a special, but you have to bring me a bagel dog from Costco or the deal if off! 08 15 2011 Bella Del Mar, 8 hrs, Sails, Toro, Bonito 7 RedPix

The bite has been very early and kinda late in the afternoon. As you read this the moon phase will change again so check to see if the bite has moved later in the day. For now I would make a point to get out on the water earlier than later. So no sleeping in and not too many Tequilas in the evening and you´ll be out there with a smile stretching from PV to your home town. Don´t forget to take pictures and remember we´re here if you need any questions answered or fishing predictions! When you call just tell me what your wife needs to hear and we´ll be good!

Until next time don’t forget to kiss your fish and remember at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle “ We Won’t Jerk You Around”!

Master Baiter´s has changed locations in Marina Vallarta between docks A and B on the boardwalk. Email your Questions to me at: CatchFish@MasterBaiters.com.mx  Web page:  http://www.MasterBaiters.com.mx , Local Phone at: (044) 322 779 75 71 or if roaming: 011 52 1 322 779 75 71 cell phone direct Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Master-Baiters-Sportfishing-Tackle/88817121325The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.

El Nino References:  http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/MJO/enso.shtml

http://www.businessinsider.com/noaas-fall-summer-outlook-2014-el-nino-2014-3 

 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-25/el-nino-seen-approaching-as-models-highlight-warmer-pacific.html

http://www.kvoa.com/news/el-nino-watch-issued-for-summer-2014/ or http://time.com/6526/el-nino-event-likely-in-2014-researchers-say/ 

Summer Fishing in Mid Winter, El Nino Arrives

Summer Fishing in Mid Winter, El Nino Arrives

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

Well folks, We´re seeing things that just don´t make sense species wise as we are still experiencing unusually warm water temperatures. Sailfish, Dorado, Marlin, Sizeable Yellowfin tuna, Cubera Snappers, Rooster fish and the list goes on as if it was late summer fishing. Such are the results of an El Nino year. The news services are announcing how El Nino is alive and well meaning water temperatures are going to remain warm. Which of course affects weather patterns around the world including those folks in Chicago, Atlanta and New York. Yes folks the fishing is going to be anything but normal from this point out until about the same time next year. So sit back and keep an eye on the reports, nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to fishing here in Puerto Vallarta´s world famous fishing grounds during El Nino. http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/  http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/earth_climate/el_nino_and_la_nina/

Ok, first things first, the water is warm, very warm. Come Mid February we should be seeing low seventies (degrees) not upper seventies bordering on eighty degrees. Because of these warm and very comfortable water temperatures we have summer species like Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado and yes, Large Yellowfin Tuna in the 80 to 120 lb range. Now we don´t want you to think this is an automatic fishing in a barrel sort of thing. It can be hot or cold and it´s nothing like in the summer, for the summer species that is. Now Jack Crevalls, Snappers, Bonito and many others are still on the menu as normal winter fish species. So the action couldn´t be better for ¨winter¨ fishing. With these summer species out there, well that is just icing on the cup cake. 02 15 2014 Capt Tory, Cubera Snapper at Marietta Islands, 60 lbs wText

The golden Triangle, that´s what I call it, is alive and producing nicely. The area between the Marietta Islands to Corbeteña, then out to El Banco is a fertile area that is greatly ignored. The old timers know that dropping baits on the way to Corbeteña (outside the Marietta Islands) and trolling to the rock many times will have better results fishing than the primary destination. For now starting at El Banco, 10 to 15 miles off the high spots north you´ll find Yellowfin Tuna in the 80 to 120 lb range. This is an opportunity that won´t last long and it may already be too late if you´re reading this. If that´s not enough reason to head to El Banco the 50 lb Dorado may sway you. Sailfish are in the mix and Jigging for Cubera Snappers and Amber Jacks will produce a nice dinner time conversation as you chow down on the days catch. Striped Marlin, Blue Marlin and even Black Marlin are in this same area. So you can understand why basically this weeks report is focused on this area.

Now if you can´t afford the time, or you plain don´t feel like an hour plus travel time to Corbeteña or El Banco, then the Marietta Islands are just what the doctor ordered. An eight hour day will produce 50 lb Rooster Fish, Snappers to 50 lbs, Bonito, Skip Jack Tuna, Jack Crevalls all in the 35 to 45 lb range. Needle fish, grouper, large African Pompano ( great tasting) and Amber Jack! In fact Capt Tory of Guanatuna caught a 80 lb Amber Jack Jigging the bottom near the islands and ten minutes late got a Snapper in the 50 lb range as pictured. So if you have 8 hrs, we´ve got action for you amigo, YeHa!Marlin Hooked

The Punta Mita Point is still alive with Sailfish, Striped Marlin (250 lbs) about ten miles off the point, Sailfish and of course Rooster Fish off the Anclote reef. Great action, but for my dollar the Marietta Islands are a better option. Inside the bay, it´s wonderful! Jack Crevalls everywhere, Bonito, Skip Jack Tuna and the list goes on. 12 14 2012 Magnifico 125 lb Yellowfin Tuna Adjusted

We´re coming out of the full moon so the bite will be happening a little later in the morning, figure about a 8:00 a.m. / mid afternoon bite. So plan accordingly and sleep in a touch. Bait is abundant everywhere, but you should be warned, the boats are averaging about two fish a day and sometimes none. Being a hot / cold situation you don´t know which day you´ll have until you get out there. With small squids baits abundant trolled baits could be ignored. But as a whole the fishing is great and you will catch fish, no worries there. With Blue Water, Blue runners as lures are your best tool if not fishing with live Google Eyes or Chorras (generic name for Bonito or Skip Jack Tuna).  

Until next time don’t forget to kiss your fish and remember at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle “ We Won’t Jerk You Around”!

Master Baiter´s has changed locations in Marina Vallarta and are now near Victors Café Te Cuba. Look for me at the least traveled end of Marina Vallarta and I will be there in my new place. Email your Questions to me

Warm Water Keeps Dorado, Sails and Rooster fish in PV

Warm Water Keeps Dorado, Sails and Rooster fish in PV

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

As we read the news and watch television reports of how the entire USA and Canada are basically under a blanket of snow or ice, things couldn´t be better in Puerto Vallarta. Warm Weather, delightful tropical breezes in the afternoon and for the fishing enthusiast we have a nice cherry on that cake and it´s called Rooster Fish amigos! Yes we are looking at three weeks straight of very large Rooster fish in the 60 lb range hanging off the Anclote Reef near Sayulita. For now the winter species has a touch of summer in air with Marlin and Sailfish still hanging out in the deep water areas north of Punta Mita. Warm weather, beautiful scenery and world class fishing, what the heck else could you ask for?12 24 2013 Mark Dombowsky, Magnifico, PUnta Mita

To be straight up with my loyal readers, all 54 of you, February is not the best month of the year to be fishing here in Puerto Vallarta, Banderas Bay to be exact. Not that the fishing is lacking, but because most people are looking for Monster fish like Marlin, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo to name a few. Now we still have Dorado, Rooster fish and Sailfish if you are in the right location, which is not in the bay amigo. Yes we´re moving into winter fishing which means Jack Crevalls coming out of our ears, billions of Sierra Mackerals that are great tasting, but not large. Snappers are picking up in numbers and size, just depends on where you head out to. Water conditions are the big factor here, cold water fish are here because at seventy something degrees, these fish are cold. As long as you keep this in mind, you´ll have the time of your life on the water with all the action you could ask for. So it all comes down to your expectations mixed with a strong shot of reality. The bottom line is there is a lot of fun to be had in the bay and it won´t cost you an arm and a leg.

For those lucky enough to head out to the deep water locations of Corbeteña and El Banco, well you´re seeing Blue Marlin in the 400 lb range sprinkled throughout the area. Water temps are warm enough at 77 degrees for them to tolerate. With abundant bait what self respecting fish would leave a favorite and abundant meal, a fish McDonalds if you will? Cubera Snappers taking trolled live bait to 70 lbs as well at Corbeteña. Find the spinner Dolphin and you´ll find Football Tuna in the 35 to 50 lb range. Not much else to say about these summer spots for the next few months, but for those looking for Marlin, this is where you want to be.

The point off Punta Mita is still, after three weeks running now the place to be. Rooster fish in the 60 lb and up range are still chasing Sardinas all over the place. A large bull Dorado was boated also in the 45 lb range, but this was not common place then or now. Still, the Dorado are in the 40 lb range and a little less abundant daily, so keep this in mind and get out there asap. Sailfish are taking live and trolled lures with Green and black combinations (petrelaros). Now this is not abundant fishing, which means your captain and crew will be changing baits on a regular basis (15 to 20 minutes). But you´ll find fish out there if you´re patient and positive minded!01 28 2014 Chris Federekson, Bella Del Mar 02 - Copy

El Morro and the Marietta Islands are seeing some strong Pompano action. A great tasting fish, you´ll be able to boat your fill in a few short hours. Snappers are in and out in the 30 lb range. Sierra Mackerals, Jack Crevalls, Amber Jacks, Bonito, Skip Jack Tuna, and even a shot at a Rooster fish in the 30 lb range. So it´s not exactly bad fishing out there!

Inside the bay it´s like fishing in a barrel. If you don´t catch at least one Jack Crevall never use that captain or boat again! Yelapa is seeing some football tuna in the 35 lb range and seems to be setting up house again. Bonito, Sierra Mackerals (good tasting) and a host of other possibilities like Snook or Robalo at the river mouths are always a possibility. Water flows are down and this may affect the number and size of the snook, but if near a river mouth give it a try.

Those heading to the Tres Maria Islands, or the prison islands will find sizeable Yellowfin Tuna. But remember to keep your distance from the islands of 12 miles. Otherwise you may find the Federalies chasing you down. Also when you see those Monster Yellowfin Tuna posted on the various bloody decks post, if you´re inside the limit area or boundaries and you´re catching fish, then you too are a POACHER! No way around it, just because there are some popular boats and web sites boasting the size and amount of Yellowfin they´re catching, they´re POACHING and they know it. You don´t, that´s why I´m here…. So keep your distance, keep your boat and keep out of jail! It all just amazes me how ¨sportfishing companies¨ will kill future fishing populations for today´s illegal rewards. Where can this all lead but to disaster?01 28 2014 Chris Federekson, Bella Del Mar 01 - Copy

Until next time don’t forget to kiss your fish and remember at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle “ We Won’t Jerk You Around”!

Master Baiter´s has changed locations in Marina Vallarta and are now near Victors Café Te Cuba. Look for me at the least traveled end of Marina Vallarta and I will be there in my new place. Email your Questions to me at: CatchFish@MasterBaiters.com.mx  Web page:  http://www.MasterBaiters.com.mx , Local Phone at: (044) 322 779 75 71 or if roaming: 011 52 1 322 779 75 71 (this is my cell phone directly until the shop phone is workingFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Master-Baiters-Sportfishing-Tackle/88817121325The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.

Winter Species Begin to Take Over, Water Temsps Favorable, Rooster Fish Return

Winter Species Begin to Take Over, Water Temsps Favorable, Rooster Fish Return

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

This week we´ve seen the beginning of the yearly seasonal change from summer fishing and summer species to winter fishing. The species that will be dominating for the next several months are Jack Crevalls averaging 35 lbs, Sierra Mackerals on 20 lb average, Skip Jack Tuna, Bonito and for the ¨lucky¨  Sailfish will hang year round off the point of Punta Mita. Those looking for Dorado, Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna will soon be out of luck. Frankly it may already be too late in the season for Marlin and Yellowfin tuna of any size.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Water Temperatures have dropped slightly to the 79 degree range. We should be seeing Striped Marlin moving in as they enjoy cooler water temperatures than Black and Blue Marlin. We always know winter fishing is coming as we get about two to three weeks of Striped Marlin as they begin to migrate south to more temperate waters.

The unexpected winter rain storms have faded, the water is blue and fairly warm. Skip Jack tuna have been abundant in the bay along with Sierra Mackerals, Jack Crevalls, Bonito, and a host of other possibilities like grouper, Roballo and of course Needle fish. A four hour trip in the bay is inexpensive, fun and the family won´t go brain dead from the boat ride. 02 10 2012 Snappers on Andele 600Pxls

The Marietta Islands are still luke warm. But we have had 60 lb Rooster fish move back in. Not exactly abundant, you´ll have to do a little work, but they´re out there and with a smidge of luck, you´ll be pleasantly surprised at the strength and power these fish have.

Corbeteña has chilled out a bit, with illegal long liners in the area with their miles long ¨long lines¨ are ruining the Dorado fishing in the area. Still, Dorado are in the 35 to 50 lb range, a change from the 60 pounders of last week. The Wahoo that was around the rock has moved on for now. Sailfish are still in the area, but moving mostly north near Punta Mita. Not much to say about Corbeteña and less to say about El Banco. For now, I suggest eight hour trips to the Marietta Islands. There are plenty of Cubera Snappers over 60 lbs, they´re great tasting and abundant.

Again, if you can find some safe, long line free waters at the point of Punta Mita, Dorado to 35 lbs and Sailfish are still hanging around the area. Not unusual to boat Sailfish all year long off the point, the numbers for the last few days have dwindled. Again, we get this strange change when the seasons change. 10 04 2013 Shannon Trahan, Magnifico, 001a

The Marietta Islands are where you´ll find the Rooster fish and if that was all we had to offer it would be enough. Bonito, Snappers, Jack Crevalls, Needle Fish and more are there waiting for you to show up. So take the family out for a short day and have the time of your life. The whales are here in the bay now along with Manta Rays and the possibility of seeing Whale Shares as well.

Just a brief note, Marina Vallarta is in a state of turmoil as all the boats in Marina Vallarta have been informed that the leases are no longer in effect, five years after they expired. Like any change, nobody is very happy about seeing their dock fees increase to real world pricing. For now my suggestion is and has been to leave Marina Vallarta and let the legal suits settle. Marina Vallarta will be rebuilt. It will be beautiful when all the upgrades have been done, but until then it´s going to be a sticky situation in Marina Vallarta at best.

Until next time don’t forget to kiss your fish and remember at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle “ We Won’t Jerk You Around”!

Master Baiter´s has changed locations in Marina Vallarta and are now near Victors Café Te Cuba. Look for me at the least traveled end of Marina Vallarta and I will be there in my new place. Email your Questions to me at: CatchFish@MasterBaiters.com.mx  Web page:  http://www.MasterBaiters.com.mx , Local Phone at: (044) 322 779 75 71 or if roaming: 011 52 1 322 779 75 71 (this is my cell phone directly until the shop phone is workingFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Master-Baiters-Sportfishing-Tackle/88817121325The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.

 

Rooster Fish Return, Winter Species Following Winter Currents!

Rooster Fish Return, Winter Species Following Winter Currents!

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

Winter is moving in and with the return of the Whales in our beautiful Bay of Banderas, we all know the winter currents are beginning to come in. We´re seeing some dirty water swirled throughout the area. In the clean areas the fishing is great, but the raked up sea floor muck is another thing. But we expect this when the seasons change. The good news is the fishing is still great and Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado and even Rooster fish can be targeted with high expectations! Remember, the dirty water at this time of the year is muck swirling from sediment on the ocean floor. In rainy season it´s just dirty water from the mountains. But this muck is deep, thick and unpleasant to fish so don´t think it´s just a few feet or inches thick as it can be during summer rains. Jpeg

We´re seeing some dirty water appear around the deep water locations, but it´s streaky. Kinda like a swirled ice cream, you´ve got both dirty water and blue water at Corbeteña. So obviously the rock is not the place to be, but 12 miles north of the rock you´ve got Blue Marlin anywhere from 320 to 550 lbs hanging out. Magnifico had a Blue Marlin Strike and it broke a 300 lb leader, it was a bucket list sized fish for sure! Big Bull Dorado is super sized at 50 to 65 lbs! Sailfish, of course with Wahoo in the area as well. Bait is plentiful and water temperatures in the blue water is a perfect 80 degrees. Now the dirty water streaks are like 77 degrees. Yellowfin tuna are MIA, but if you do find them they´ll be 80 lbs or so. Won´t have Yellowfin Tuna here for much longer unless you want a sixteen hour day to the Tres Maria Islands. El Banco is just dirty water with little reason to head out this way unless you want 30 lb Skip Jacks.

If you´re around the Marietta Islands Rooster fish have moved back in following the Sardines of course. Not huge, but fun sized at 35 lbs. Light tackle and Rooster fish are a match made in heaven. Dorado are small at 25 lbs, Bonito and Jack Crevalls are abundant, Sierra Mackerals are everywhere. Sailfish are there, but harder to find every day. If you want to give something different a try, Wahoo in the 40 to 60 lb range have been running around El Morro just a few miles off the island to the north east, if targeting this species you´ll find wire leaders are a must unless you get lucky and hook one in the corner of its mouth. Jpeg

Off the point of Punta Mita, 15 miles or so to the west you have the best chance of boating Sailfish and Bull Dorado 40 lbs and larger. It just depends on what is in the area. Producing like a Machine this year, this area has abundant bait, mostly clear and blue water with Black and Blue Marlin showing up unexpectedly.

The bay is alive and turning into the winter machine we love as it produces great short day fishing trips with plenty of bait, fish and stories waiting to be told. Jack Crevalls in the 35 lb range are our bread and butter come winter. Rooster fish can be found around the shallows of Nuevo Vallarta for the surf fisherman. Cast some Iron or Poppers then be ready. Sierra Mackerals are great tasting and fairly large at 30 lbs. Doesn´t sound like much, but the sheer numbers and boils of Jack Crevalls are impressive.

Soon the Marlin, Dorado and Tuna will be a memory until next spring. For now you can still have that bucket list fish or your dreams, if you act quickly. For those looking for short days, you´ll have the time of your life. If you have children why not go fishing, enjoy the presence of the Whales and then maybe do some snorkeling at the Marietta Island all on the same day trip? Call me, we´ll fix you up. To come to PV and not get on the water is like going to Colorado and not skiing. You´ll have the time of your life. Jpeg

Until next time don’t forget to kiss your fish and remember at Master Baiter’s Sportfishing & Tackle “ We Won’t Jerk You Around”!

Master Baiter´s has changed locations in Marina Vallarta and are now near Victors Café Te Cuba. Look for me at the least traveled end of Marina Vallarta and I will be there in my new place. Email your Questions to me at: CatchFish@MasterBaiters.com.mx  Web page:  http://www.MasterBaiters.com.mx , Local Phone at: (044) 322 779 75 71 or if roaming: 011 52 1 322 779 75 71 (this is my cell phone directly until the shop phone is workingFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Master-Baiters-Sportfishing-Tackle/88817121325The trade name Master Baiter’s ® Sportfishing and Tackle is protected under trade mark law and is the sole property of Stan Gabruk.