Puerto Vallarta, Mexico



Aug. 3, 2006, Mark Rein, Big Kahuna, Cow yellowfin tuna caught on new boat's third Puerto Vallarta outing:

Last Saturday, July 29th, was our third fishing adventure since bringing my new 2006 Riviera 47G2 sportfisher named Big Kahuna to Puerto Vallarta. Captain Tony Ocaranza was again along to provide some local expertise. Also along were my friend Kevin Kelley from Newport Beach and his son, KJ.

The fishing water at Puerto Vallarta was very calm and the sky was clear. The weather had cooled down a bit because of the afternoon rains. The water temperature was 85 degrees.

We headed for the Corbeteña Rock because we heard El Banco had been spotty. On arrival at Corbeteña, we were able to make bait and fill the tubes with skipjack tunas and one football size yellowfin tuna.

A number of other Puerto Vallarta fishing boats were already working the area.

After a while we noticed some larger yellowfin tunas crashing the surface about a half mile away and Chelita and we raced over there. We worked the area for several hours for nada while most other boats moved on, but we hung in there, as there was still lots of bait in the area.

About 1:30 p.m., we stopped to throw caballitos near a bait boil and left the skippies we had been trolling in the water. Just as Tony was returning from the bow to get another cabbie, the port rigger loads up right next to him and lets go with a pop as the clip releases.

Tony grabs the pole and I put the boat in gear to help him come tight. Game on.

Tony and Kevin, being the gentlemen that they are, invited me to fight the fish, which they thought might be a big one, and the first for Big Kahuna. Needless to say I was down the ladder fast. I started the fight with my little leather fighting belt on and quickly requested the harness. This sucker could pull and I needed to be able to use my weight against it.

During the first hour of the fight, I got to the mono top shot once. During the second hour I got to it four more times before we pushed the drags down and started the end game.

The leader came up and Tony was out on the swim step waiting with the gaff. By this time we knew we had a cow on but nothing can prepare you for the first time you get a glimpse of a fish this big as it comes up from deep color into full view. What a thrill!

The thing looked huge in the water as Tony wrangled it towards him and sunk the gaff in its stomach and rolled it over. Kevin attacked next with a well-placed second gaff and began the tug to get this monster up on the step and then through the transom door.

I was in awe as the fish came through the door. A new boat and a year of planning and preparation later, I was unbelievably fortunate to land my first vacona, Spanish for "big cow," almost one month to the day after arriving in Puerto Vallarta.

Tony estimated the fish at 280 to 290 pounds. It taped out at 278. The word was that no other boats caught a big one today, so we were the main attraction at the marina.

The whole time I was talking to myself saying don't screw up, keep the line tight, keep pressure on. I did not want to have to tell the story of "well, we had a big one on but it got away."

At one point the fish charged the boat and even winding as fast as I could and Tony moving the boat forward did not keep the line tight. I saw the disappointment in Tony's eyes as the line went slack. He asked is it gone? I hung my head and then the line came tight again!

We later discovered that the fish completely swallowed the skippy and the 12/0 circle hook was down deep too. I spent ten years fishing out of San Diego and never fulfilled my goal of catching a 100-pound tuna. There had been those days when I was right in the middle of a bigeye tuna bite but never got lucky. Today I finally got lucky.

(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.