Puerto Vallarta, Mexico



Sept. 20, 2006, Tony Bykerk, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:

On August 7, 2006, I took my 28 foot Albemarle, Magic, from Loreto to Puerto Vallarta by way of La Paz and Mazatlan, a trip of over 500 miles.

I had fished at Puerto Vallarta earlier with Danny and Scott Osuna of Marla's Sportfishing and had such good fishing it inspired me to take my own boat over.

After a slightly rough crossing, we arrived in Puerto Vallarta. People fishing on the boat were Sheila Rood, Will Block, and myself.

On August 11, we traveled 49 miles northwest to Puerto Vallarta's El Banco offshore fishing spot, a 63 foot deep sea mount covered with 5 pound black skipjack.

Two fishing methods are used to catch skipjack bait. One is to troll hoochies with a planer over the bait schools. The other method is to stop and vertical jig with small megabaits over the bait schools.

After catching enough bait for both outriggers and the down rigger you catch two more for the tuna tubes where they are kept alive until needed.

The standard fishing method then is to slow troll these bridled baits at 2.5 to 3 knots near the high spot and bait schools.

Utilizing this method on day one, Will Block caught a 328 pound yellowfin tuna after a 2 and a half hour fight using a 80Wide Shimano Tiagra, an Okuma 130 pound Pursuit rod, 130 pound Izorline spectra, with a 100 pound 200 yard Ande top shot.

Will's previous best was a 10 pound tuna. What a step up! I explained to him that very good fishermen spend a lifetime trying to catch a 300 pounder.

On Puerto Vallarta fishing day two, we purchased 25 Caballitos, or Goggle-eyes from the carnaderos in Marina Vallarta.

Once again on El Banco, on day two we fished helium balloons with two caballitos under the balloon on a double trouble rig with two short fluorocarbon leaders off one swivel.

We also flylined one other caballito on two party balloons. The flylined bait got bit and Sheila Rood, a Tripui resident in Loreto, fought and landed a 240 pound tuna after a 2 hour battle in an OTR standup harness. Notably, she landed this brute with a single speed Shimano Tyrnos and 80 pound Ande top shot over 100 pound spectra with an Okuma rod and 7691 Mustad 7/0 hook.

Both big tuna were measured from fork of the tail to the tip of lower jaw and estimated using the online chart available from Juan Pablo's client Dr. Thomas Lin. There wasn't any scale available.

On fishing day 2 we also landed a 50 pound Pargo or Cubera Snapper on a Skipjack chunk drifted over the high spot. These hard fighting fish are in good supply both at El Banco and the Corbeteña Rock area and are fished with 100 pound string and they still rock you. You can't hammer the drag on these beasts or they'll pull you over the side!

The weather is so good in August that frequently you can't fly a kite. However about every third day you have enough wind to fish caballitos under the kite.

On Puerto Vallarta fishing day three, we decided to troll plastic for blue marlin around deep bait schools a few miles off the high spot. The local guys don't fish much plastic but tend to catch big black marlin near the high spots on live skippies which the blacks prefer. We trolled senior wide range Moldcraft soft heads which fish well in most conditions and speeds. We had 5 bites and leadered and released 2 blue marlin, one at approximately 650 pounds the other about 300 pounds.

On fishing day four we fished "butterfly jigs" vertically and caught two 50 pound amberjacks, two 40 pound Pargo, several rainbow runners, and one sailfish on the butterfly no less!

We went on to catch 4 more blue marlin from 300 pounds to 400 pounds and enjoyed great fishing in what most locals consider to be a lackluster year.

The several cool things about fishing Puerto Vallarta include being able to fish all the different methods that all produce there. Also, all the American and Mexican captains are so very friendly and helpful. The hard working and helpful local captains, working 12 hour days fishing, were Juan Pablo, Top Gun; Manny, Pacifico; and the Osuna brothers, Marla II and Marla III.

The two main fishing spots at Puerto Vallarta are the Corbeteña and El Banco. The better fishing was on the Bank when we were there but both spots produce and have huge bait schools on them.

In spite of the publicity accorded Puerto Vallarta in the last two years, both spots are not overfished and a crowd on the Bank would be 6 boats. Not so cool, it rains every day in town and it's oh so humid. It's a world class fishery. I call it Jurassic Park. One bummer was the danger of running in the dark with all the debris in the water from the everyday rain.

Dates we fished were Aug. 11-13-15-17, 2006. The water temperature was 89 degrees and blue. Sea conditions were flat calm.

(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.