Cool Water, Dirty Water, Spinners and Tuna

After writing articles for the last twenty-something years, I have to say the conditions we’re looking at now are far from ordinary. With relatively cool water temperatures, strange currents, strange wind patterns and even stranger fishing, nothing is predictable right now.

We should be moving into a summer fishing pattern where the water temperatures are at least 84 degrees or about 25 degrees Celsius. The clashing currents are calming down after more than a month of dirty water.

The red tide is finally gone, and we’re seeing some Summer Species moving into El Banco and Corbetena, but don’t get too excited, amigos. We’re in the early stages of the summer fishing season, and our El Niño conditions are changing back to the La Niñ situation, which explains a lot.

Right now, we’re in a wait-and-see mode, but one thing is predictable, we’re coming into what I believe will be an incredible fishing season in Puerto Vallarta!

For the last six weeks, most of Puerto Vallarta’s fishing grounds have been less than exciting regarding fishing action. We usually see two weeks when the northern currents clash with the lingering southern currents. This, of course, stirs up the silt on the bottom of the bay, which spreads out to the deep water fishing grounds. That is finally changing, and we’re seeing spotty areas of blue water from Corbetena to El Banco. I said ‘spotty’ because there are small spots of clean water with large areas of dirty water.

The good news is that the red tide has left the area, and we’re starting to see the early stages of summer species, such as smaller-sized Yellowfin Tuna, which are 30 to 50 lbs. running with the Spinners. The Spinners are a moving target between these two areas and worth looking for. One downside is that sometimes the Spinner Dolphin doesn’t run with the Yellowfin Tuna buddies; some of that is happening now.

Sailfish are also running in this same area, but the numbers are thin. We also saw our first Black Marlin at 600 lbs show up about seven miles north of Corbetena. The occasional Dorado is also in this area, averaging in the 15 to 20 lb range.

If you’re in Puerto Vallarta looking to go fishing, this would be the place to start if you have the patience, time, and, of course, the money. I’d take the shot at a ten-hour trip right now if you were in town and willing to take a chance. Feeling lucky?

There has been some decent early-season action, but not what we’d call good fishing, closer in, off the point of Punta Nayarit, aka Punta Mita. Here are some clean water spots full of bait, giving you the best chances of boating a Dorado or three at 20 lbs or less. Striped Marlin are still being caught in this area, especially since the water temperatures are still a chilly 81 degrees. But they prefer cooler water, and when there’s the level and amount of favorite baits in the area, why leave?

And, of course, there is the possibility of a Sailfish, although sparse. For some reason, closer to shore is where you want to start, at most four miles off the point, and work your way out.

Inside the bay, it’s much the same as the last six weeks. Jack Crevalles to 35 lbs, Sierra Mackerels are on tap. Great tasting, but on the smaller side, when you catch 20 or more on light tackle, it’s nonstop action. Perfect for the younglings and inexperienced types. Dorado are very young and small, at just under 10 lbs; don’t keep those. There is a lot of bait in the bay; bullet Skip Jack Tuna is a favorite, and more species will be drawn into the bay when the dirty water clears up.

Until then, the secret is to find clean water, and you’ll have arm-burning action. The two areas at opposite ends of the bay usually clean up first or don’t get dirty at all.

Why is a mystery, but the point near La Cruz is primarily clean water, and then if you get farther down to Cabo Corrientes, that area is, for the most part, always clean water-wise. Things will change for the better in a few weeks, and it might be better now.

One of the strange things about right now is that we’re in the middle of a change from El Niño to La Niña in the middle of what should be summer currents. The water is still only 81 degrees, and I’ve been telling you this for at least six weeks, not to mention the time I didn’t write any articles for the same reason, no action! We should have water temperatures over 84 degrees.

And as we all know, weather patterns follow water temperatures. This explains the delightful ‘summer’ climate we’ve been experiencing, but it leaves the question, “What comes next?” The bite is early, you should be where you want to go by about 07:00.

Now, the bait situation is interesting; Ballyhoos of 4 inches are all over the place. Baby Skip Jack Tuna, and baby Bonito are thick around the bay and result from the ‘spring fling.’ Throw in flying fish, Sardines, and Goggle eyes, and there is no shortage of bait in the water, amigos.

Usually, the El Niño conditions will happen as we move into summer and the currents become dominant. Same with la Niña, as we move into winter, those currents will also become dominant for a year. But right now, we’re seeing a conversion in the middle of spring leading into summer, which is very unusual and explains our strange weather.

Who knows what this will mean for fishing, but we could have a great season with Dorado already here and sailfish picking up in numbers.

And the first Black Marlin? Typically, they like the warmer water temperatures above 89 degrees, and they’re in heaven. Haven’t seen any Blue Marlin, but they’re out there, I’m sure. So stay tuned; things could get interesting.

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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