TUNA ON DECK--Erik Landesfeind, Capt. Scott Osuna, Rachel Baker, and Capt. Manny Ocaranza with a day's catch of Puerto Vallarta yellowfin tuna of 140, 180, and 220 pounds, caught on the Marla III. Photo courtesy Erik Landesfeind.
OFFSHORE FISHING TRIPS ON THE CHARTER BOATS YOLARAY AND MARLA III
Sept. 7, 2005, Erik Landesfeind, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Fishing Report:
My fiancee Rachel Baker and I just returned from 2 days of fishing in Puerto Vallarta.
Our original plan was to fish both days on the Yolaray, but due to engine problems, we spent the first day fishing on the Marla 3 and the second on the Yolaray.
Manny Ocaranza, the captain of the Yolaray, not only set us up with another boat when the Yolaray broke down, he went with us on the trip to make sure that everything went smoothly. After hearing a lot of horror stories about chartering sportfishing boats in Puerto Vallarta, I am very happy to have had the opportunity to fish with someone as professional and honest as Manny.
The first fishing day we started at El Banco in 83 degree green water. While fishing at the bank, we had 10 bites on slow trolled skipjacks. Sadly, out of the 10 bites, only 2 fish stuck. To make matters worse, we lost them both! The first fish straightened out the heavy duty snap swivel that connected the leader to the mainline and the second broke us off after almost spooling an 50W Tiagra.
After the fishing action died down at the bank, we made the run to Corbetena Rocks where the boat "El Pescador" had just landed a fish in the 340 pound range. Shortly after arriving at Corbetena, we watched a spot of 100-300 pound plus tuna going ballistic on a school of bait. We raced up on the school, threw two caballitos and hooked two fish. I got my fish to the boat in about 20 minutes only to have the rod break with the fish at color. While the crew hand-lined my fish the rest of the way, Rachel landed her tuna, approximately 140 pounds. Soon after that we got my fish in the boat, approximately 180 pounds.
As the crew was dragging my fish over the rail, the clicker started screaming on a rod that had been soaking a caballito during the stop. Since it was Rachel's turn, she got the rod and went to work on the fish. As we watched line melt off of the spool, it became apparent that we had hooked this fish on the wrong gear. For those of you planning to go fishing at Puerto Vallarta any time in the near future, whatever you do, do not allow a deckhand, captain or anyone else on the boat to cast a bait on light tackle! This fish was hooked on a 6 1/2-foot 60-pound class rod with a single speed International 30 that was in desperate need of new drags. Disaster!
Anyway, Rachel valiantly fought the fish for over an hour and a half. During that time, the Marla 2 came by and dropped off a rod belt and harness; our boat's harness was forgotten at the dock.
At this point, I took over on the fish and fought it for another half hour. I got the fish to the boat, several times but the captain who will remain nameless (Manny Ocaranza) missed with the gaff and the fish ran out 150 plus feet of line.
At this point, almost 6 p.m., I handed the rod off to Manny as I really didn't want to get pulled over the side. The Marla 3 has shin high rails and I was really exhausted. Manny fought the fish for another 20 minutes before were finally able to sink the gaffs in and drag the 220-pound fish into the boat.
I believe that the only reason we were able to land the fish after such a long fight on straight 80 pound line and no leader was because of the 4/0 Owner Mutu Circle Hook that was lodged right in the corner of the mouth preventing any chaffing from the fish's teeth.
The fishing second day of our Puerto Vallarta trip we fished on the Yolaray, but experienced slow fishing. The crew worked very hard to find fish and we trolled everything imaginable, skipjack, caballitos, marlin lures, marauders, ballyhoo, and squid, but couldn't get a bite.
The Yolaray is a beautiful boat that is very comfortable and rigged with all the best equipment.
The Marla 3, run by Scott Osuna, is also a very nice boat, but I would suggest that anyone fishing on it may want to bring their own gear, especially a harness and rod belt.
Something that no one really mentions in these reports is the heat. It was unbelievably hot down there on the days we fished! The air temperature had to be in the high 80's to low 90's with very high humidity. So if you are planning a fishing trip to Puerto Vallarta, wear light colored clothing, bring a wide brimmed hat and lots and lots of water.
If anyone is interested in fishing these tuna, you can contact Manny on the Yolaray at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can check out the Yolaray website at www.yolaray.com. To contact the Osuna brothers for a charter with Marla's Sportfishing, email@example.com.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from Puerto Vallarta and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for Puerto Vallarta may be found at Mexfish.com's main Puerto Vallarta page.