Mazatlan, Mexico



May 15, 2005, Gary Black, Mazatlan, Mexico Fishing Report:

I traveled to Mazatlan and fished with the El Cid Marina Aries Fleet on May 4, 2005. I fished on the Aries IV with Capt. David Cabanillas and his son, Christian. My fishing partners were Chad Lincoln from Washington and Robert Bechstein of Phoenix.

We fished the waters from 20 miles to 25 miles off of the El Cid Marina. There was no live bait on the boat, but Capt. David and his son had a tub of iced mullet that had been rigged in harnesses. We trolled two mullet long on the outriggers. A large teaser was straight back in the middle of the spread and then two smaller marlin lures in zucchini and petrolero colored patterns.

On the way out from Mazatlan I saw some very small, 1 pound, dorado feeding on some small bait fish within 12 miles of the marina. There were also other signs of life in the form of manta rays, a few turtles and a jumping mako.

When we arrived at the fishing grounds, one of the other Aries Fleet fishing boats reported two marlin on, but shortly thereafter they we heard they came unbuttoned.

Our first marlin struck a mullet and was brought to the boat in about 40 minutes by Chad who had never caught a striped marlin before. Unfortunately the fish got tail wrapped during the fight and came up dead. Nothing was wasted as the fish was filleted and everyone took a piece.

I grabbed the second marlin that fell for the petrolero colored lure running about 30 feet off of the transom. This fish fought strong for a half hour before the release.

We had several other hookups on a combination of marlin and sailfish during the day with none of them staying around long enough to join us at the boat. Lot of opportunities and I believe if we had had some live bait more fish could have been hooked solidly, but I’m not complaining.

We took a run further outside of the Mazatlan sportfishing fleet to a school of porpoise Christian had spotted. When we arrived, Christian switched out the smaller marlin lures in favor of some tuna sized feathers in Blue/White and Zucchini. After David positioned the boat in front of the school, we hooked tuna on both of the trolled lures. Mine got off and Chad brought the other to gaff. I did a fast retrieve after losing the first bite and the blue/white was hammered again. This fish made it to the boat and was gaffed by Christian. Moments later Robert hooked a third yellowfin and boated it after a good fight. The three yellowfin Tuna we caught were all “schoolies” in the 20-pound range.

Before we quit fishing for the day, we hung another marlin on a mullet and Robert brought it to the boat in about 45 minutes. This fished was released. The marlin fell into the 115# to 165# range.

All in all it was a beautiful day on the water and had we kept the other half-dozen marlin and sailfish on the line it would have been an epic day instead of just a great one. Capt. David and his son were great to fish with and their experience showed when leadering fish. Capt. David Cabanillas worked in Cabo San Lucas for five years prior to coming back to Mazatlan. I’m guessing this was where he honed his marlin skills.

We took the yellowfin to the Inn at Mazatlan, where we were staying, and the chef there prepared our fish in three great ways: seared, grilled with garlic, and breaded and fried. Our group of 14 barely made a dent in the pile of fish so we had a patio party with fish tacos the next day.

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