Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico



June 12, 2005, Ed Kunze, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico Blue and Black Marlin Fishing Survey Report:

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Blue and Black Marlin in May

By Ed Kunze

This last few weeks at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo have seen some of the best blue marlin fishing to be found in any part of the world.

Even though it is now June, this blitz is continuing, but not quite as strong as the incredible pace of the last month.

The Ixtapa Zihuatanejo sportfishing fleet totaled more than 160 blue or black marlin landed this last May! All of this was from a fleet of only 10 to 12 boats a day, fishing with relatively light tackle for our bread and butter fish of the area, the aerobatic sailfish.

This averages out to five blue or black marlin per day, for each of the 31 days of May. It does not include the numerous strikes and lost fish. When you are actually fishing for sailfish with 30 to 50-pound gear, and blue marlin with an average weight of 250 pounds attack your trolled bait, the odds are definitely in favor of the marlin.

As an interesting comparison, in a survey of all the boats getting a marlin, the pangas and the cruisers were almost in a virtual tie. Some boats, such as one private yacht with Capt. Leo at the helm, targeted the marlin for the entire month. They caught 24 marlin, and lost another 35 opportunities. Others, like the panga Gringo Loco, with Capt. Luis, caught 11 blues in 18 days on the water, plus several large yellowfin tuna. Two of his largest tuna were over 250 pounds.

I spent quite a bit of time on the phone yesterday, and also on the pier this morning. I talked to almost every captain to develop the following survey. We really are having a world class month for blue marlin here.

The sad thing is the amount of marlin brought in by the commercial pangueros. I also questioned every captain of their opinion of how many marlin were caught by the commercial fleet. Not one captain ever told me less than five or six a day! Most captains estimated more. I personally witnessed over 15 commercial marlin on one day.

The commercial guys are also using a rod and reel, or trolling a large live bait with a hand line. But the fact remains, no matter who caught the marlin, there are a lot of them here.

SURVEY RESULTS: Blue and Black Marlin Caught at Ixtapa Zihuatanejo during May 2005, surveyed by Ed Kunze.

PANGAS: Dos Hermanos I, Capt. Adolpho, 3; Dos Hermanos II, Capt. Cheva, 3; Gitana I, Capt. Santiago, 5; Gringo Loco, Capt. Luis, 11; Gran Jefe, Capt. Indio, 4; Whiskey III, Capt. Arturo, 2; Esturion III, Capt. Juan, 3; Misc. with only 1, various, 10; TOTAL: 46.

CRUISERS: Vamonos I, Capt. Ruben, 8; Vamonos II, Capt. Rene, 2; Vamonos III, Capt. Isidro, 4; Intruza, Capt. Chiquis, 4; Yellowfin II, Capt. Ruben, 1; Suerte Rube, Capt. Fito, 3; Esturion II, Capt. Alfredo, 7; Marlin Azul, Capt. Javier, 2; Whiskey II, Capt. Pepino, 10; Don Gordo, Capt. Poli, 4; TOTAL: 45.

PRIVATE YACHTS: Marina Ixtapa, various captains, 30; TOTAL: 30.



In addition to these landing totals, approximately an equivalent number of blue and black marlin were hooked but lost.

I have included the commercial pangueros figure of catching only 40 marlin this last month. Nothing could be more wrong than that statement! In reality, they averaged a minimum of 5 to 6 marlin a day, for a total of at least 160 blue or black marlin. Their total is the same as all the fleet and sport boats combined. It is sad, but true. The hotels and restaurants create the demand, and the commercial pangueros create the supply.

It is legal for them to catch one marlin a day, just as any sport caught bill fish, but to sell the marlin for gain is illegal. Lax controls and lack of enforcement people here also create the situation.

(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Ixtapa Zihuatanejo may be found at Mexfish.com's main Ixtapa Zihuatanejo page.