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Warmer Water Moves into PV Fishing Grounds, Striped Marlin / Yellowfin Tuna Move Closer In!
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January 18, 2011

200lb Yellow Fin Tuna caught by panga Captain Darin

Just a few days ago I was telling my faithful readers, all 30 of them that if they were heading out to El Banco they were basically throwing their money away. But like all things fishing, nothing stays the same for long.

We are seeing some weird currents move into the area and we are also seeing some water stream down from the north from the Sea of Cortez. This warmer water has coaxed the Striped Marlin that were hanging out in Mazatlan down south where we have amazingly abundant bait in the area.

Now not only are there Striped Marlin, we have some cow sized Yellowfin Tuna in the 150-225 lb range five miles northeast of El Banco. There is blue water outside of Corbeteņa so this means we have Blue Marlin in the area, and Striped Marlin about twelve miles southwest of Corbeteņa.

If you are brave, rumor has it the Sand Bank about 75 miles or so south of Cabo Corrientes, the southernmost point of the Banderas Bay has some monster Yellowfin as well. So if youīre not afraid of a little travel time, the fishing is improving!

Everyone who comes to Puerto Vallarta has naturally heard how these waters are considered the best fishing grounds in the world. I have said this a thousand times and it is still true, we always have fish, even in bad and cold conditions, PV always has fish.

Winter fishing is naturally smaller game fish for sure. But that doesnīt mean we donīt have Sailfish, Marlin and Tuna in the ĻoffĻ season or winter as we call it. Tourism is high, but the fisherman looking for trophy sized game fish are not here for the most part. And very few are willing to spend the time it takes to boat these beauties, but at least theyīre out there which is a real plus for guys like me looking for the day I can tell my customers things are improving!

As I have already mentioned the fishing has improved at The Bank, or El Banco in Spanish. Water temperatures have climbed a little due to the warm streams of water appearing from the Sea of Cortez and elsewhere. Weird swirling currents from the south are inching their way north with is something I have not seen in the dead of winter before. But La Niņa will cause weird currents and this is apparently one of those strange things happening now.

So El Banco offers you die-hards some real options. Cubera Snappers for the bottom fisherman or guys who Jig to 65lbs, Amber Jacks to about the same size, a few Dorado are in the area but nothing you can depend on. But the Striped Marlin are in the 250 lb range and the Yellowfin are huge for anytime, but especially for now in the dead of winter!

So if youīve been waiting for a good time to head out to the catch Moby Dick all I can say is this; Moby is not out there, but his cousin is! It's worth the fuel dollar and your worst case scenario is hit the Marietta Islands on the way back!

Corbeteņa, or the Rock, has been dead, dead, dead... that was until the other day. Again the warmer currents from the north are filtering their way down and the water is blue, blue, blue! We've been plagued by dirty water from weird up welling currents, but just a few miles to the south of the rock is a temporary fishing paradise. From this area south to the Sand Bank has the potential to hook into Sailfish (yes, I said Sailfish), Striped, Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna and he ever present Cubera Snapper.

Normally by mid January these species have headed south to Costa Rica and Panama for the warmth of an equator ocean. Now I donīt know why theyīre in this area again, I am not asking the big guy in the sky what the deal is, but I will be happy knowing they are there and that for now is good enough to get my interest. If you are anywhere between El Banco and the Sand Bank right now anything is liable to happen, so donīt be surprised by the pictures you may see!

The Marietta Islands are still up and down. You donīt really know what will happen in the bay, but the Marietta Islands are still producing well. But not like a machine like the last few months. That is not to say the fishing is bad, but it did drop a notch or two.

Rooster fish are still there in the 30 to 55lb range this week. Sierra Mackerels, Jack Crevalls to 40 lbs or larger, Cubera and normal snappers, African Pompano, or "Cookies," like many call them. White meat fish that taste outstanding. Small groupers, even the chance at some Yellowtail, not Yellowfin Tuna, which must have moved in from Cabo because we donīt see this fish in this area. More strangeness... Most of the day trips these days for eight hours are heading out this way for the moment and for good reason.

Just like San Pancho, Sayulita and the area have been ignored by the local Marineros or Mariners in English. But the reports I have been getting are of abundant Rooster Fish of the shore and not out far at all. So if you want some arm burning action on lighter tackle, then hit this spot on an 8 hr day for the time of your life. Dorado and Snapper may also be in the area, but then again...

Inside Banderas Bay, things are hot and cold. Some days are hot, others are beyond cold to frigid. You can find one day the fish are everywhere and you had a great day with Sierra Mackerels, Snappers, Jack Crevalls, small Grouper, Bonito, Skip Jack Tuna and more...

Then you may just find you come in empty handed. Even with the captains call around to check out other areas in the bay can find others out there with clients with the same condition. Experience and equipment count these days and if you are not equipment flexible for bottom fishing or jigging then you may just find you didnīt have the best chance to catch fish when others may be.

Remember, all boats are not created equal, even though they may all be in the same price range, so do your homework before walking around Marina Vallarta or town.

Something that has surprise me is the lack of trips to the San Pancho area and points a bit farther north. With this warm thread of water out there, San Pancho is normally a hot spot for Sailfish at this time of the year.

If things continue to go well with warmer water in the area, it may be worth your time and thought when planning your next trip. The conditions are ripe for uncrowded fishing on San Pancho and may be the next best kept secret. Something to think about.

That is the latest and greatest for now. I would like to say thanks for reading my articles and my Puerto Vallarta Fishing blog, I never really know who is out there... but I have had some positive responses, so if you would like to get on my mailing list, fire me an email to catchfish(at) and I will set you up on the direct mailing list.

Until next time, donīt forget to kiss your fish!

Stan Gabruk is the owner of Master Baiters Sportfishing and Tackle in Marina Vallarta. He came to Puerto Vallarta for a brief, three-week vacation and never left. You can find Stan at his Master Baiters Sportfishing shop in Marina Vallarta, located on the boardwalk down from the lighthouse, El Faro. For more information about fishing in Puerto Vallarta, visit or email Stan at Catchfish(at)