OFFSHORE TUNA AND MIXED SPECIES FISHING IN THE MARINA
Dec. 19, 2006, Mark Rein, boat Big Kahuna, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico:
Puerto Vallarta fishing report for Sunday, Nov. 16th:
Thursday night, Dec. 14th:
A school of small bait began circling in the underwater lights of the Big Kahuna and soon thereafter the toros, or jack crevalle, and robalos, or snook, starting slashing through them.
We discovered that we could catch the bait fish with a small bait tank net when we turned off the underwater lights and the little fish would jump out of the water in fear. We entertained ourselves on the swim step for a couple hours catching the toros, snook, corvina, and catfish. I still can't believe there is such good fishing right in the Puerto Vallartga marina.
Saturday, Dec. 16th:
Puerto Vallarta fishing conditions were small swell and very little wind so it was smooth. The fishing water became flat as the day progressed. The air temperature was about 80 degrees and felt pretty nice. The water was blue green, clean, clear and at 80 to 82 degrees.
The Big Kahuna left the dock at 5:15 a.m. with Captain Tony Ocaranza, Chip King, who runs a big new Sea Ray that recently arrived near me in the Puerto Vallarta marina and his friend Eric from Minnesota, who had never caught a fish bigger than whatever you can catch in the lakes near his home. Chip had yet to catch any of the big yellowfin tuna that the Puerto Vallarta fishing area is famous for.
The Big Kahuna headed straight to El Banco and arrived about 8 a.m. There were already about ten Puerto Vallarta sportfishing boats out there including a real nice, big Viking sportfisher that I think was called Mojito that I had not seen before. There already were radio reports that the tuna were up and biting.
Bait was up but it was a slow process getting them to bite. I think it took us almost an hour to fill the four tuna tubes and get baits in the water.
We trolled around the high spot for about an hour and then worked our way east to where we saw bait up on top and heard the Osunas had found some tunas.
On our way over there I went in to grab a bagel and the minute I started to put on some cream cheese I heard Chip yell and looked up to see a tuna exploding on one of the baits.
I ran out to the cockpit, fed the fish some more, finally locked the Penn 30VSW reel down, and we had our first fish on. A few seconds later the Penn 50 VSW reel on the other corner of the boat starts to tear line out and Chip and I have a double going. We figured out real fast that Chip had the bigger fish as it was peeling line off of the 50 faster than I was losing line on the 30. We had one harness so Chip put it on. We took turns doing the over and under dance with the lines as the hot fish swam back and forth. Tony had his hands full trying to best position the Big Kahuna to keep us both at the best possible angle.
Tony told his amigos on the radio that we had a double working and a bunch of boats were circling us in short order. With the advantage of the 50 reel, Chip's fish came in first. It was a nice yellowfin tuna that taped out at 141 pounds, 64 inches x 42 inches.
My 30 reel only had 60 pound line, so with 20 pounds of drag it took me another 20 minutes to get my fish in. It taped in at 92 pounds, 57 inches x 36 inches, and was a fun fight on the smaller reel.
We cleaned up the blood and resumed the slow process of making bait. Once we finally had three, we put two out and started slow trolling again. The tuna were still east of the high spots and we were starting to see them busting through bait boils, some totally out of the water. At slow trolling speeds it would take a while to get to the jumping fish but we finally got another one to go. The guys called me down from driving to fight this one. I could quickly tell it was smaller than the previous one, plus I had it on a 50 reel. Within a short time we had our third tuna on deck, this one in the 60-pound class, which barely raised an eyebrow after the previous two and did not even rate a photo. However, after that fish, there was barely any room left in the fish box.
We trolled around some more until mid-afternoon and decided to use our tired and dead baits to raise one of the pargo we saw stacked on the high spot on the fish finder. Within 5 minutes we were hooked up and Eric got to pull on his first big fish. The excitement was short lived as the fish was smart and wrapped the line in the rocks. We tried moving the boat to different angles to see if it would come loose but it would not budge. The line finally broke under the pressure.
We then scored a couple more skipjacks for bait and headed back to the high spot. It was not long before we had another pargo on. This time Eric was determined to turn the fish before he could find the rocks. This fish found its way to the swim step and once the gaff was in, Eric was like a little kid on Christmas morning. While it was no monster, it was huge compared to what he was used to pulling out of the lakes back home in Minnesota.
With that, we called it a day. Tony and Chip filleted the fish on the way in and totally filled up the cockpit freezer to the max. This was a very fun day and the reason we brought the boat to Puerto Vallarta.
Later that night I was cleaning up the cuts on the filets and throwing the scraps in the water near the underwater lights. It was not long before a school of jack crevalle was swarming on the chunks. Passersby were mesmerized by all the fish. Later I noticed a school of snook was lurking just outside the glow of the lights. I did not even bother throwing in a line as I felt it would not even be a challenge. People were asking if any crocs had stopped by for an easy meal. Not yet.
(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.