IXTAPA-ZIHUATANEJO — Overall, Mexico’s water conditions took a dive this past week with an abundance of bait in some areas, off-colored water in others and a drop in water temperatures as transitional currents dictated the bite. Once these currents settle down, it should be “game on” everywhere. Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo was one of the areas that took a step back in time.
“We have a typical April situation right now,” said fly fishing guide Ed Kunze. “The cold water current has pushed down from the north, and the clean, blue water has pulled away from the beach. This means the fishing will be very poor for dorado and the fleet's bread-and-butter fish, the sailfish.
“We can expect these conditions to usually last until the second week of May and then the fishing gets fantastic for all species,” Kunze said. “The one bright note with the cold water current is the blue marlin and tuna come with the cooler water, however, you usually have to travel 35 to 45 miles out to get them.”
Kunze said there are very few tourists here fishing now. “Several very good boats did not have a single charter all week,” he said. “Mike Bulkley of the super panga Huntress reported no clients this past week and that the water is very cold.”
“Flip Himmerlich of Spokane, WA, fished three days with Santiago on the super panga Gitana and was skunked on sailfish the first day,” Kunze said. “The second day, they fished inshore for a few nice rainbow runners and a large sierra. And the third day, they went 62 miles and got an 80-pound and a 30-pound yellowfin tuna.”
“According to Capt. Temo Verboonen, the water rolled over and turned cool and the fish bite slowed up substantially throughout the area, both inshore and offshore,” said fleet representative Larry Edwards.
“While the skippers are still seeing billfish, it has been very difficult to get a bite from them and the fish counts have diminished over the past week for nearly all of the boats,” Edwards said.
“Even the inshore action has been very slow this past week, with only a few sierra and bonito to report, along with a few jack crevalle in the deeper water,” Edwards said. “Most have been taken on the deep-trolling artificials such as the Rapala types, in the magnum sizes, and in a variety of colors. Right now, the crews are trying a wide selection of lure ammunitions but nothing has performed better than the other this past week.”
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD — Dorado like this one, caught just a week earlier, have all left the area in search of warmer waters. Michelle Clementi from Ocean City, MD, had a good day with Capt. Francisco on the super panga Huntress, releasing a blue marlin estimated at 175 to 200 kilos and a sailfish before boating this nice bull dorado. Now, anglers will have to wait for things to warm back up. PHOTO COURTESY OF ED KUNZE
In other Mexico fishing action:
— CANCUN TO COZUMEL: The bite was good here but only time will tell what the season holds.
“The first blue marlin of the year was taken aboard the 35-foot Bertram sportfisher, the HAMMER, by the Mr. Presinger charter group, trolling a fresh ballyhoo from the outriggers,” said Larry Edwards, reporting for the Marina El Cid Fleet,.
“The peak season for the blue marlin during the past few years has been in the May to July time frame, and while this may be a jumpstart to the season, only a bit of time will tell.
“We have already been into the sailfish season, which tends to peak in May and June, so this is a welcomed addition to the catch report,” Edwards said. “The overall fishing this past week remained good and provided a 13-fish mixed bag catch that included the 1 blue marlin, 7 sailfish, 9 dorado, 12 blackfin tuna, 8 wahoo, 4 king mackerel, 2 Atlantic barracuda, 3 Spanish mackerel, 13 bonito, 2 amberjack, 3 triggerfish, 4 grouper and 1 snapper.”
— MAZATLAN: In Mazatlan, a temperature increase of one single degree made the difference between a decent day and zip.
“The offshore water temperatures increased by a degree this past week and it actually made a big difference in the billfish bite, bringing up the tally to almost a billfish per boat day fished,” said Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters, reporting for the Aries Sportfishing Fleet.
“The skippers were reporting seeing many billfish, and the secret was getting them to bite the baits,” Edwards said. “The lower Sea of Cortez is starting to shape up into its spring mode, when the water temperatures and overall sea conditions begin to improve every week and then, along comes the better fishing in the offshore waters.
“Soon we will have the schools of dorado back on location at the buoys, and with the dorado come the black and blue marlin,” Edwards said. “During the past week, the fleet reported in for 15 charters fished in the offshore waters that resulted in 10 stripers with 3 released, and 3 sailfish, along with 1 dorado and 1 mako shark.
“The inshore super pangas, reporting in for 10 charters, included 12 corvina weighing from 10 to 18 pounds, 29 jack crevalle (a.k.a. toro) 41 perch, 3 black snook, 8 big red snappers weighing from 15 to 20 pounds and 9 white snapper,” Edwards said. “All in all, it was pretty decent fishing for the entire fleet for this time of year and it bodes well for anglers.”
— PUERTO VALLARTA: This area was particularly hit hard, with an abundance of squid for fish to gorge themselves on, in addition to off-colored water.
“Blankets of 1-inch brown and black squid have invaded the fishing grounds of Puerto Vallarta,” said Stan Gabruk of Master Baiter´s Sportfishing and Tackle. “When this happens, it can be hard to get fish to turn their heads since this is their favorite food. You can get squid lures or hoochies for next to nothing in the states, but here in Mexico they’re stupid expensive and you won’t see many boats using them.
“The other condition worth noting is the clean, green water we’ve been plagued with for the last three weeks,” Gabruk said. “Fish will take baits in these conditions but fish will only come into these waters if there is plenty of bait.”
Gabruk said the ever more popular Tres Maria Islands had a few days where those going the distance came in lacking fish of any real size this past week. “A 60-pound yellowfin tuna is still better than nothing, but I would wait a few days before booking a trip here until there is news of some improvement,” he said.
“El Banco and Corbeteña have had dorado in the 40-pound range this past week,” Gabruk said. “Blue water is moving into these areas, and with a little luck, there will be greater numbers of sailfish soon. Amberjack, dogtooth pargo and rainbow runners are here but you´ll have to make the call if you want to spend your fuel dollars for these species.
“The Marietta Islands is still the place to be if you want fish,” Gabruk said. “Roosterfish and snapper, both up to 40 pounds, are here and still in fair numbers. Bonito, jack crevalle, amberjack and a host of others are all here. Clear, green waters are here, as well. With any improvement in conditions this area will explode.”
Gabruk said Punta Mita and Sayulita have had some favorable reports of dorado and roosterfish taking baits. “Going against the grain, the water around this area seems to be a little cleaner at times than inside the bay,” he said. “Striped marlin were 10 miles off the point and farther north; there is a shot at sailfish near San Pancho and points north. For sailfish, make plans for a 10-hour day.”
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