IXTAPA-ZIHUATANEJO — The blue water here has moved in and is now at about the 20-mile mark with a decent 82-degree temperature. Fortunately the fishing in the blue water still sucks, ever since the annual sailfish tournament started Friday.
“This is a kill tournament that has been running for over 32 years,” said fly fishing guide and IGFA representative Ed Kunze. “The tournament is a dinosaur in this day and age, with only one other (Lazero Cardenes) about 40 miles from here, they are the only two I know of in the world that kill every single billfish brought to the boat,” Kunze said. “Sadly, the Lazaro kill tournament feeds off the popularity of this Zihuatanejo tournament.”
“After 14 years of living here and promoting catch and release, along with Paul Phillip’s 100 percent tag and release tournaments, whose original tournament rules are still used by the IGFA today, the only concession we can get from the local Cooperativa towards a release tournament is a 30-kilo minimum (about 66 pounds) for weigh in.”
“And, what do the people who pay almost $1,000 for the tournament fees do; they kill the smaller fish, fillet them, and take them home,” Kunze said. “They aren’t going to win anything, so why not have some fresh fish in the fridge.”
“They are entitled to the fish because they paid the entry fee and the sportfishing license but when you have that many fish, especially small fish taken out of the system, you are hurting the future of the entire industry,” Kunze said. “I remember a few years back when over 800 to a 1,000 sailfish were killed during this three day tournament. Hopefully, the slow blue water fishing holds up.”
“And sadly, it is not the only example of our poorly managed fisheries,” Kunze said. “Two weeks ago Cheva, captain of the panga Dos Hermanos II and I went up to Manzanillo, towing a friend’s 36-foot boat trailer,” Kunze said. “Sadly, what Cheva and I discovered in Manzanillo was a sport fisherman’s worst nightmare. I personally saw 30 long lines rigged and ready to go. And, the local captains told us there were as many as 200 long lines in pangas fishing in the area. The sportfishing captains we talked to only get a “per hour rate,” which only amounts to a few hours of fishing around the bay for a few black skipjack and sierra since there’s nothing else left to catch.”
“When Cheva fished with Don and Mary Grantges on Wednesday, they had a very rude awakening to a long line’s effectiveness of being an indiscriminate killing machine,” Kunze said.
“Don and Mary, with a condo here in Ixtapa, are regulars who fish with Cheva on the panga Dos Hermanos II,” Kunze said. “It got real ugly, but with a very good ending. They came across a floating killing machine, of a long line which had been cut by a large oil tanker or another large ship and were able to release 5 sea turtles and a porpoise.”
“When Mary, who is a Mexican National, went to complain about the situation to the Port Captain, they told her it was out of their jurisdiction, plus they were leaving for lunch and could not help her.”
Many efforts, much time and money are being put forward to help to resolve these conflicts here in Mexico and help solve these complicated issues that pit the lowly local commercial fishermen against a few just trying to make a quick buck, the sportfishing and tourist industries and efforts to save the fisheries while helping the local economies. They don’t make the same headlines in the main media venues as the drug wars but here at Wetern Outdoor News, you can read all the reports on these issues. Here’s one written by WON Columnist Gary Graham regarding the dorado issue at: http://www.wonews.com/Blog.aspx?ID=1796&AuthorID=96087&t=Effort to keep Mexico. We are all fighting the good fight, just as anglers in the US are.
In other Mexico fishing action:
— CANCUN TO COZUMEL: The water temperatures have increased by a few degrees over the past few weeks and anglers are hoping to see an improved catch for the white marlin.
“Only a few were taken a few weeks back but the bite fizzled and has yet to regain momentum,” Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said. “We are patiently waiting but eager for the bite to take off this season. While the sailfish bite continues on course and the other many species that frequent this area continue to provide good action, the crews are anxiously awaiting the main arrival of the marlin.”
“Our latest fishing report for a total of 30 charters included 8 sailfish, 2 wahoo, 3 Atlantic barracuda, 51 bonito, 2 king mackerel, 16 dorado, 10 blackfin tuna, 1 shark, 3 Spanish mackerel, 9 triggerfish, 2 snapper and 9 grouper, for a 12 fish mixed bag catch,” he said.
— MAZATLAN: The Aries Sportfishing Fleet is still seeing many billfish on a daily basis but they were only biting on a so-so basis and it appeared that their inclination to bite hadn't quite progressed.
“Still, it wasn't bad fishing for the numbers of billfish being seen and baited, it remained a bit frustrating for the anglers and the crews,” Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters said. “At least everyone is on their toes throughout the day with anticipated action at every turn.”
“According to Ms. Kitcia Ceja, our Aries Fleet reporter, the fishing is good and improving and they expect an upward tick in the reports this coming week as the sea temperatures are increasing throughout the area,” Edwards said.
The overall fish reports for the offshore fishing reflected 7 stripers, 2 sailfish and 2 dorado for their efforts and the inshore super pangas, reporting in for 5 charters fished, reflected 1 corvina, 5 jack crevalle, 10 barracuda, 48 red snapper in the 5- to 10-pound class and 1 sailfish.
— PUERTO VALLARTA: With warmer water, the bait moved into the bay and fishing continued to improves daily.
“Early in May, the heat begins and the humidity takes off,” Stan Gabruk of Master Baiter’s Sportfishing and Tackle said. “Early May is the transitional time we see between spring and summer fishing. The cooler water becomes a thing of the past and with the raising humidity comes warmer water moving into the area; it’s one of the signals that summer is just around the corner when the baitfish invade the bay again.”
“First the bait come and then the fish,” Gabruk said. “One step at a time; as the bay fills with bait things are improving daily and it looks like, for the first time in three years that Puerto Vallarta fishing will be somewhat normal, based on past historical expectations.”
“Heading out to the Marietta Islands you’ll see bait balls and birds everywhere and as you reach the Marietta Islands you will find clean water and fish,” Gabruk said. “Roosterfish are still taking baits and running in the 35-pound range. The snappers are still running in the 20- to 35-pound range although the jack crevalle are finally thinning out. The skipjack have moved into the area and the dorado are here but they’re still spawners. Young dorado less than a year old and anywhere from 6 pounds up to about 15 are here but remember to leave the babies and especially the females full of eggs.”
“Just off El Morro there are nice-sized sailfish taking any well presented bait,” Gabruk said. “They’ll normally take live bait first, so keep that in mind. This area is well worth your time and fuel dollar now.”
Gabruk said Corbeteña has had several striped marlin boated just east of the Rock at about five miles. “This area has had its days and the last few ones have been especially fruitful,” he said. “Running anywhere from 175 to 250 pounds, they are not large by any expectation, but they are there. Dorado is running larger here, in the 30-pound and up range. Striped marlin, sailfish, cubera snapper and the possibility of a wahoo are also here. We should start seeing yellowfin tuna in the next few weeks moving in, but of course they are normally smaller so we call them footballs. For now there may be the stray yellowfin tuna, but we don’t have much in the way of expectations yet.”
“El Banco is still out there but most anglers fly past the high spots on the way out to the Tres Maria islands,” Gabruk said. “The high spots here have been hot and cold for the most part. You can find yellowfin tuna about 10 to 15 miles past the high spots for those who are interested. Reports of 60 to 120 pounders are being boated. Sailfish, striped marlin as well as cubera snapper and rainbow runners are the players for now. My suggestion is to wait for some more positive news regarding what is being boated here before heading out to this area favorite.”
“There has not been much news from the Tres Maria Islands, as tourism has come almost to a halt as it does in May,” Gabruk said.
“Punta Mita, normally a hot spot for dorado and sailfish, just barely had a pulse,” Gabruk said. “But things are improving with dorado off the point in the 30-pound range. Sailfish are little farther out, with striped marlin at about 10 miles off the point at a 310 heading and roosterfish are around the corner off the Anclote Reef near Sayulita.”
“Those in the Sayulita area will find a 4-hour trip with the beach pangas may be worth it,” he said. “For something that is close in, especially in this area, dorado on the dinner table sounds like a good plan.”
— SAN CARLOS (SONORA): The week started off with “hopes” that the bite would pick up in San Carlos as the waters were warming and anglers looked anxiously for signs of pelagic life. And while the area still waits for their return, by the end of the week, quick and easy limits of yellowtail were reported off San Pedro Island, and it may be one of the best yet!
Towards the end of the week, Bryan Replogle of Team Margarita Sport Fishing and SC Aquatic Adventures said a lot of boats were anxious for the pelagics or something, to come in. “Right now only a marlin or two have been caught,” he said. “But that could easily change any day as the northwest winds should ease up, it is getting hot and the water is in the mid to low 70s.”
“A lot of boats were coming back in, after burning a lot of gas for nothing and probably cursing as they watched us hooked up with multiple yellowtail just a half-mile out of the harbor. We probably caught and released 50 to 10 pounds jigging in four hours,” Replogle said. “I think that they were up by San Antonio Point. Our friends were at San Pedro Island and caught five to 18 pounds but reports have been off and on from out there. A good number of marlin have been seen on the reef at times. I'm sure that we'll find the dorado in the next day or two.”
Jon Hilderbrand from Will-Yums Adventures said the water suddenly turned from being in the 60s to the 70s and said the marlin were tailing in and starting to get a little active. “We were out on Monday fishing for yellowtail at San Pedro Island; one of several boats with that dreaded nada, not even a boil, no birds, nada, it was like someone pulled the plug and said bye-bye. Go figure, the week before 70 plus fish were caught in the same place.”
And then things changed. “I just talked to my friend at San Pedro,” Replogle said. “They had 8 yellowtail and the other boat had 20 by 10:30. And I just caught another dozen right outside the harbor, more for the smoker! Sounds like the best yellowtail fishing ever at the island, with fish from 15 to 25 pounds.”'
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