MAINLAND MEXICO FISHING TRIP WITH PEPE'S FLEET BY BAJA'S MIKE KANZLER
Oct. 14, 2006, Mike Kanzler, Mazatlan, Mexico:
I just back from my first-ever mainland Mexico visit, to Mazatlan with my girlfriend Maya for her birthday. Maya's father Don has been living in Mazatlan centro for the past five years, making it a family visit too.
After doing lots of water and beach related activities, we decided to take a cab north to the marina and check out charter fishing costs and what was being caught.
At Mazatlan, you stick your face in the street and a classic Mazatlan open air cab appears.
Once at the marina, I was greeted by Pepe, who runs and owns the family business "Pepe's Fleet." We chatted and I explained the line of work I'm in and the type of fishing trip I was interested in doing.
We booked a super panga for the next morning. This trip was a first time fishing adventure for Maya and her dad. It was a pretty good deal too, $250 for the normal charter fishing trip, with two six packs of mini beers, six pack of soda, bag lunches, rigged dead baits, transportation, ice, and all fishing gear. Great, now my charters are going to ask about that stuff.
At 6:15 am the next morning our ride was at the hotel lobby. At the dock we met our fishing guide for the day, Capt. Alfonso Jimenez. Once out of the marina we took a 210 degree heading until you could see land no more, 30-plus miles out before lines ever touched the water.
I wasn't thrilled to see all the commercial longline maker flags I saw the whole way out.
On the fishing grounds, Alfonso slowed the boat to 7 knots and I took over the helm while he rigged the dead baits, ballyhoo and mullet.
We set a four-bait spread and started the days fishing. Don wasn't sure if he gets seasick or not and in this case, he did.
Alfonso and I decided to troll back in the general direction of Mazatlan. Don and Maya stuck it out like real troopers for being that far offshore in a small boat.
Shortly after our course change, we were rewarded with a high speed streak behind the boat. The dorado hooked up and it's a nice bull. I grabbed the rod set the drag and passed it off the Don for the next 10 minutes until he had passed it back for me to finish up.
The dorado, close to 30 pounds, came boat side and was gaffed. Nice one.
The best part of the trip was having my girlfriend and her dad out to see a little of my world and they were impressed.
We took a nice smooth ride back to the Mazatlan marina, cleaned the fish and said good-bye to our hosts. We had great service from all of the Pepe's Fleet people.
The most disturbing thing I saw was marlin machaca on every menu throughout town, and yes, I tried it and it was a little salty but pretty good, but not good enough to justify killing them.
Air temperatures at Mazatlan were 85 to 90 degrees with mucho humidity, clear skies for the most part, and some early morning tropical cumulus clouds in the mountains to the east. Winds never topped 15 knots.
The water visibility was very different from Baja. A large amount of brown water was flowing out of esteros. Offshore on the fishing grounds, the water was blue and 80s with 100-plus feet of visibility. The color change took place about 15-plus miles offshore. We didn't start fishing till the 30 mile mark.
Fishing charter prices at Mazatlan are very fair and even a better deal than most of Baja. There are longer runs offshore for pelagic fish. Inshore fishing is netted pretty hard, but we did see jacks in the surf every morning from my hotel balcony chasing mullet. I'll need to bring some surf fishing gear next time.
(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 Mexfish.com's main Mazatlan page.