SLOW OVERALL FISHING AT ROCA CORBETEÑA AND EL BANCO
Sept. 23-26, 2006, Merle Erickson, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:
I fished at Puerto Vallarta from Sept. 23rd to Sept. 26th and had very slow fishing overall, but with one good day on Sept. 26th.
Right now at Puerto Vallarta, there is about one big tuna caught for about every 10 to 12 boat-days. While I was there, fishing for 4 days, there were probably 10 to 15 boats fishing per day, and I am aware of 3 big tuna caught over that period. There were lots of skunks as well.
Puerto Vallarta locals all seem to agree it is the poorest fishing season they have seen. I had a couple of good shots, but only got one tuna to the boat.
I fished with friends Matt from Dallas and Chad from New York, both first timers to Puerto Vallarta. I booked with Josh Temple to fish the charter boat Torture Chamber.
On Sept. 23rd, when we arrived in the early morning, Catherine Temple indicated that the mechanic at the marina had not finished the job, and that the Torture Chamber was not ready. She was very apologetic and said another boat was in route to take us fishing.
I didn’t know the crew, so I thought I’d try to see if Danny Osuna was available to take us fishing. I called him on my cell, and he answered immediately. He said he had a charter that had not shown up. We get on the Marla II at about 8:15 a.m., and off to Corbeteña we go.
We pulled good baits all day while fishing at Corbeteña and got 2 Dorado, 40 pounds and 50 pounds, caught by Matt and Chad respectively. We had a marlin in the baits early in the day, and a big tuna boiled on our baits at about 6:00 p.m. right near the rock. The tuna went after three of our skippies, but didn’t really take any of them. Great show, but no hook up. That was it for the day.
One of Josh Temple’s boats got a 280 pound tuna within a few hundred yards of us, but that was the only tuna caught for about 10 to 12 boats fishing Corbeteña. Danny was great, and my buddies thought he and Alveno were terrific as did I.
For fishing on Sept. 24th, the Torture Chamber was fixed. Josh Temple had worked all night to get it ready. We fished Corbeteña again, primarily west of the rock a few miles and did not catch anything. We had a Dorado on, but the hook pulled and we jumped off a sailfish. We had good baits in the water for 12 hours, but it was just very very slow fishing. I don’t think there was a big tuna caught, and there may have only been one marlin taken, again for about 12 boats fishing.
On Sept. 25th and I was on the Torture Chamber again, fishing solo. We fished El Banco today and had a solid tuna bite around 2 p.m. The fish took off peeling line off the Avet 50 like nothing, but the hook pulled after about 45 seconds. That was pretty much it for the day, although we did pick up a small sailfish late in the day. We made it back to Punta Mita around 8 p.m. Again, I did not hear of any Puerto Vallarta boat getting a tuna today, and there were about 10 to 12 boats fishing Corbeteña and the Banco.
On Sept. 26th, I was again on Torture Chamber fishing alone. We went back to El Banco. We were the first boat there, and it was overcast with light winds. We got 6 skippies in the tubes in about 5 minutes. We didn’t troll for more than 5 minutes when the downrigger bait got slammed.
I free spool it and the tuna runs with the bait. The fish just keeps on running and Josh finally says “Okay.” I put the Avet in gear, take a few cranks and the line comes tight. Josh bumps the Cabo into gear and the fish takes off. I pull the rod from the holder and the line is melting off the reel like it is in free spool. The Avet is SCREAMING as the fish burns line off the reel. It was an unbelievable first run. This is the fish you come to Puerto Vallarta for. Suddenly the line goes slack, and I reel in several hundred yards of spectra to find that the spectra broke. Everyone scratches their head and can’t believe that the spectra broke.
Josh is furious. Back to fishing. We re-rig and get a couple of fresh baits and we are back in business. Five minutes into trolling, and the downrigger goes off again. We are hooked up. I get in the harness and work on the tuna for about an hour pushing the drag to full after about 30 minutes. Josh gets a look at the tuna at deep color and calls it 225 to 240 pounds. We get the fish to leader and the leader breaks. I got a good look at the fish and thought 225 was a conservative estimate. Big sickle fins on this one, and amazing color. Great fish.
The baits are redeployed. Within about 10 minutes, the left rigger gets nervous, and then bit. Josh tells me to Let him eat and I do so. We get the hook up. The small blue marlin goes airborne behind the boat in the morning sun, and we chase him down aggressively with the boat, releasing the 225 pound fish in about 10 minutes. Great start to the day.
By now other boats are arriving at El Banco and starting to hook up. Juan on Top Gun gets a big tuna, and Danny on the Marla II gets a nice black marlin, which they release. Later I hear it was about 600 pounds.
Today, the bite was on in the morning. I looked up and it was 11:30 a.m., and it seemed like we just got to El Banco. I’m soaked with sweat trying to stay hydrated. It was slow for a few hours and we gradually lost most of our bait to Wahoo or sailfish. We had two left in the tubes and Josh decided to try to make more bait at about 2:00 p.m.
While the mates and I jigged for skippies, Josh flylined one of the dead skippies we had left. It was scorching hot and the skippies would not hit our jigs.
Josh was feeding out a lot of line, and then started to bring the skippy back to the boat. He was slowly reeling it up when all of the sudden I turn around and the Avet 50s clicker is screeching and Josh grabs the rod in shock yelling “what the $#%&?” Josh yells, “It’s a tuna!” I get the rod and start to pull on the fish. Unfortunately the hook pulls after about 2 minutes. It was not to be.
We release a 100 pound sailfish on a bullet tuna bait. That is it for the day, and we head for the barn at about 6:45 p.m. with a 225 pound tuna broken off, a 225 pound blue, and a 100 pound sailfish. We lost two other tuna hookups. A great day.
Everyone agrees that the fishing in Puerto Vallarta is very slow this year. The only thing anyone can point to is the fact that the current is from the north instead of from the south.
I’m back down to Puerto Vallarta for 3 days of fishing in October with Danny Osuna, and two more days with Josh in November. Hopefully the fishing will improve by then. Thanks to both Danny and Josh for working hard for us.
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