When you think about fishing in Puerto Vallarta, you think of Huge Yellowfin Tuna, Monstrous Black Marlin, Dorado, Sailfish and the list goes on. But what about the “not so famous species” in the bay?
Many people come into my shop looking for a fishing trip, we’ve been doing it now for 21 yrs. The first question normally is “How much is a fishing trip”? You can only answer this questions with a question. First we ask if you want to catch fish (?) Or if you have a specific target species fantasy? Many times it’s a budget issue. If you target a species like Yellowfin Tuna, world famous for their fight. You’ll be going to the deep water areas like Corbetena and El Banco, which are world famous. These areas will produce any fish fantasy you may have if you’re in the correct season. You won’t be catching Marlin in April, but the request are always there.
The downside to the deep water fishing grounds is the cost, the time and the exposure. Hot days in the 90 Degree ranges, 35 Celsius is normal with a humidity factor of 80% on the low end of average. You’ll be spending ten hours on a boat or longer to get to this playground for sportsmen. Yes the reward is there, but what if you don’t feel like melting like a pad of butter in the sun? Few boats have A/C because of the pure maintenance factor of always being broken and the costly repairs. You pay a premium for air conditioned boats. So the expense for many is cost prohibitive. Not to mention you’re in this climate expending energy, even if you’re sitting around, the climate will take it out of you. For many that alone is a trip killer.
But there’s hope for people who still want to go fishing, catch some fish, have some fun and keep a few pesos in your pocket, why not? People tend to forget there are several ways to fish. You can go Surf fishing, I’ve seen kids with coke bottle “hand lines” catching Snook. Hands down a boat is best, ja ja.
Another option ignored by most tourist except for the Mexican Nationals is the bottom fishing. We have sandy bottoms, rocky shorelines and underwater structure of all kinds. We have river mouths, deep holes, secret spots and maybe some trolling from spot to spot.
Now bottom fishing exist more or less everywhere, so I don’t want to alienate the deep water guys. On longer durations the bottom fishing can be great as well. Corbetena with Amber Jacks and Cubera Snappers for example can be a great day of fishing, same for El Morro. But we’re talking about a bay type bottom fishing scenario. For the family fun, action filled bottom fishing in the bay is a great option.
First off there are “holes” full of fish all around the bay. Some great locations or secret spots are in front of Los Muertos Pier or the great area off the Sheraton are two great places to start. We will start to troll as we leave Marina Vallarta then head to our spots. No bites, we move on. We have so many spots around the bay, we can do this all year long. February is a great month for this with Grouper and Sea Bass at the rivers mouths and fishing holes! Of course this depends on the time of the year and the species available.
Now we’re talking smaller fish, Snappers, groupers, Bonito and various reef type fishing. But the point is you’ll be “catching fish”. It’s not so much about size, it’s about having fun and having constant action. The good news is there are endless locations and conditions and species available to you in the bay.
When you stop at a “spot” you give it ten or fifteen minutes, if nothing happens and there are no strikes, you troll to the next locations and repeat. When you start hitting, stay there! It’s not complicated at all amigos and you never know what will happen.
Now I understand this is not what many expect from my articles, but in reality I like catching fish. Big fish, little fish, it doesn’t matter. When you can get Sierra Mackerels by the dozen and they taste great, the fish snob will turn his nose up at it. Jigging for cod type fish with white meat can be fun but the fish won’t be fifty pounds, for me this is fun. If you have a family with “younglings” and larger fish would not be preferred, then this is a great option. Or on days when the troll fishing is “iffy” at best, bottom fishing is a great alternative! Not to mention this sort of options is much more affordable and won’t kill the “vacation budget”.
The moral of this story is, don’t be mentally stuck in trolling for “big fish” or nothing. Don’t be of the mindset that smaller fish are not exciting or fun because they are, especially on light tackle! Don’t be afraid to try something new and make sure you’re talking with a person who actually understand fishing in the bay. Your “Promoter” is most likely ignorant to the present conditions and won’t be able to talk of this style of fishing so don’t’ waste your time. And as always if you have any questions feel free to contact us in our Marina Vallarta Store.