80 Pound Yellowfin Tuna and Breeding Season

Puerto Vallarta’s extended fishing season continues, as we are still boating 60- to 80-lb Yellowfin Tuna all over the El Banco area. That’s great news, but the simple fact is that Puerto Vallarta fishing goes through the seasons just like all the other fish locations worldwide. We’ve been fortunate this year with the El Niño conditions.

But it looks like the Dorado have finally gotten tired of the cold water and have moved on. Sailfish and Striped Marlin are still running around the neighborhood, but the odds of you boating one is less daily. Now, this may sound like ‘doom and gloom,’ but it happens very late during the fishing season. But you can’t get around spring, and when we come to this time of the year, the seasons are beginning to change both in the climate and the fishing

Now, what’s strange is, we never really came out of the summer fishing conditions with all the summer species hanging around, even with the dropping water temperatures. What can you look forward to? Well, in about 12 weeks, we’ll again be gliding back into the summer fishing conditions.

For years and years, I’ve been talking about Corbetena and the world class fishing at the ‘rock.’ But for the last month or so, the fishing in this area has been on the weak side. Yes there are always fish at Corbetena, but the reality of the last three months is the area has been unusually quiet. Why is anybody’s guess, but bait is the primary culprit. With
massive amounts of bait in the water and slightly warmer water, El Banco has been the place to be.

With Spinner Dolphin, we’ve had 60 to 80 lb Yellowfin Tuna running hard. What I’ve been calling ‘Mid-point,’ the area halfway between Corbetena and El Banco is more commonly known as ‘Buoys.’ You see, this used to be one of the hottest fishing locations here in Puerto Vallarta. From this area to El Banco has been the most active fishing grounds we have in Vallarta. Sometimes north of El Banco has even better action, but this all comes
down to how much fuel you want to burn. This is pretty much what’s happening, and not a whole lot else!

Yes, you’ve got a 30% shot at a Sailfish or Striped Marlin. So the lucky are still boating billfish, but with diminished demand for fishing, which is normal before Easter, there’s no telling how long the Spinner Tuna will be hanging around.

So the primary species outside of the bay is Yellowfin Tuna. This means a 12-hour trip is probably your best bang for your fishing dollar. There could be some Dorado out there, but that’s a low-margin species right now. Feeling lucky?

Those looking for an eight-hour trip still have a shot at Sailfish, but to be honest, not much of a shot. Striped Marlin are still running the area for some reason, but are also very thin in numbers.

There are plenty of Jack Crevalles, Bonito, and assorted fish. On occasion, you can find Rooster fish north of Sayulita. Now for those who like to bottom fish, there are Cubera Snapper and Amber Jacks to be had. Not much else to say about this whole area for now, stay tuned.

Inside the bay, we’re looking at our normal winter fishing conditions. Jack Crevalles, our bread and butter winter species, is everywhere and they’re between 25 and 50 lbs. Many people turn their noses up at Jack Crevalles, but they’re strong fighters, and they’re abundant. Bonito, part of the Tuna family, are pretty much everywhere in the
bay, but are more focused south of the Los Muertos Pier.

Normally, on a six-hour trip, we will drop bait there and troll to the rocks at Los Arcos. You’ll find action, and that’s what it’s all about now, isn’t it!

I would say for family day fishing, this is a long enough trip to keep the family interested and short enough to make sure it’s enjoyable for everyone.

But I’d also like to point out we can fish, snorkel, and then take your fish to Yelapa and have it cooked on the beach. So when we talk about what’s happening in the bay, there are some great options that can be ‘attached’ to a fishing excursion where you can essentially get a few tours for the price of one.

You can include Whale watching on that list if you’re lucky enough to be here from November to March 1. To be honest, the Whales don’t leave on exactly March 1, but the tours stop because the Whales start leaving. The Whales remaining in the bay either
had late babies or there were some other issues, and they’re hanging around a bit. Usually for the babies to gain some weight on the rich diet of krill.

What to expect in the coming weeks in the world of fishing in Puerto Vallarta is a slight downturn. As we get into late April, breeding season is in full swing. But I would like to add that the Yellowfin Tuna are full of eggs right now. So are the Bonito and Jack Crevalles. Some days they take baits, others not.

We’ve had a very strong and bright full moon the last few days and this will affect the bite as well. So, with plenty of moonlight, the fish see the bait and when they don’t take bait in the mid-morning, it’s probably because they fed all night! And of course there is so
much bait around the bay, it’s a fish smorgasbord, free for the taking.

Another thing I’d like to remind people of is the fact we have two ‘bites’ every day. The morning bite is the one most people use, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish in the afternoon as well. So don’t think you have to go out fishing in the morning, especially if you have younglings who can be hard to get rolling at 05:30!

Many times, the afternoon bite is better than the morning bite, so keep this in mind when looking to boat a fishing trip. Now, you need to let the captain know what time you want to
head out so he can arrange to purchase bait in the morning. Like the morning bite, the afternoon bite can vary, so it’s good to know you have an article like this to rely on.

After saying all that, the morning bite is still about 08:30, so be at your chosen fishing grounds about this time. The afternoon bite is at about 14:30 or 2:30 pm and may be better than the morning bite.

Again, the full moon can do this; fish will get hungry by the afternoon, and is a perfect game plan for the ‘lazy’ morning bite!

Water temperatures are still a bit warmer outside of the bay at 76 degrees, but in the bay, the water is 74 degrees. At El Banco, it’s even warmer than that. When it comes to bait, with all the natural bait, lures that mimic Dorado are doing okay. But live bait is king.

Until next week, don’t forget to kiss your fish!


  • Stan Gobruk

    Master Baiter's Sportfishing & Tackle has been the premier sportfishing company in Marina Vallarta since 2000. As a World Billfishing Series (WBS) 2-time Marlin World Champion (2000 and 2001), we uniquely understand our client's needs with accurate fishing facts, creating realistic expectations of your day on the water. That's why our logo is: At Master Baiter's, "We Won't Jerk You Around!" Phone: +52-322-209-1128


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