Cool Water, Tuna Linger, Dorado Thinning; Winter Fishing Strong

The end of the summer fishing season is upon us. But there is still time for those late to the game. Surprisingly, Dorado remains in the bay. Sailfish are still taking bait, Striped Marlin are moving in, and the winter fishing season is coming on strong. Soon, fishing in Puerto Vallarta will be all about winter species. But not yet!

The clock is ticking if you’re looking to boat a Yellowfin Tuna. Thinking about a Blue Marlin? It may already be too late. But those looking for Dorado still have a chance. Sailfish will ‘hang’ for a while as long as we have plenty of bait.

For those here in Puerto Vallarta looking to go fishing, we’re still targeting summer species, but the clock is ticking. Tick tock, tick tock.

Corbetena is alive and well. Blue water, Striped Marlin are moving in, plenty of bait in the form of Skip Jack Tuna! The Dorado are still thick and a bit of pain if targeting Yellowfin Tuna in the 40 to 100 lb range. Mostly in the 40 to 60 lb range, and if you find Spinner Dolphin, you’ve hit the jackpot.

If you’ve been following, you know we have a couple of buoys from the commercial fisherman. The one to the north is being heavily fished, and it may be ‘over-fished.’ But the one to the south is being mostly ignored, and that’s the secret. Keep this to yourself, but the Dorado around this buoy are thick, hitting the abundant Skip Jack Tuna (Skippies).

The rest of this ‘secret’ is the Yellowfin Tuna mentioned earlier, a little north of the buoys. Now, running into this many Dorado wouldn’t normally be disappointing. But the simple fact is if you’re targeting Yellowfin Tuna and you’re not a bit off this buoy, the Dorado will attack your bait before a Yellowfin Tuna can get to it! That’s some problem to have, wouldn’t you say?

For some reason, we’ve had a really weak Blue and Black Marlin season this year, but now that water temperatures are in decline, Striped Marlin, who like cooler water temps, are moving in. As the days pass, these Striped Marlin will pick up in numbers as they come down from the Cabo San Lucas’s fishing grounds.

Sailfish numbers are beginning to wane, but you’ve still got a shot for now! These conditions should stay the same for the next few weeks, so you better get your butt in gear, tick tock, tick tock….

Finally, from the protected Marieta Islands to the point off Punta Mita, aka Punta Nayarit, Sailfish and Dorado are running the area. They are not as thick as Corbetena, but they’re closer in, just a few miles off the beach.

Jack Crevalles are also at 25 to 35 lbs, and Bonito is at 15 lbs. If you’re looking for action, you’ll find it. There have been some Striped Marlin sightings, but none have been boated in this area. And that’s about it for now!

With all the Sardines and varied bait in this area, you’d expect Roosters to be at the ready, but you’d be wrong. There could be some Rooster fish off the Cabo Corrientes area, a favorite hangout for these strong fighters. I don’t have any information, but my cracked and flawed crystal ball is telling me it may be worth a chance. Feeling lucky?

Fishing in the bay is amazing right now. You probably wouldn’t expect the cooling water to support Sailfish and Dorado in the 20 lb range. Still, the area around Los Arcos and Punta Negra (Garza Blanca area) has had its share of these golden fish. Throw in Jack Crevalles, Sierra Mackerels, Bonito at 15 lbs, Skip Jack Tuna, and a real shot at boating a Sailfish, and you’ve got excellent holiday season action for the family.

Nothing is better than watching your ‘younglings’ bring in size-appropriate fish. But be warned, you may need to hold on to the belt of your young ones as insurance! I’m smiling as I write this; it reminds me of my father when I was a ‘youngling’ myself.

If you’re north of Nuevo Vallarta, Sailfish are up to La Cruz Marina. Still, it’s ‘actionlandia’ with Jack Crevalles on tap. They’re fun to catch, but they’re not exactly good eating. If you find a chef who knows his stuff, he can make them taste good. I’d suggest you target the Dorado and Bonito, then take them to Victor’s Café Tecuba in Marina Vallarta, where they’ll cook it five different ways!

We have blue water, massive bait in the form of flying fish, green runners, Ballyhoos, Sardines, and more. For some reason, Ballyhoos are ignored by the local bait guys, but you won’t find a better bait to use in the bay. If you need any, contact me.

The water is blue everywhere except where you find ‘red water.’ Not red tide, but red water from the blankets of red Krill. The water temperatures are between 79 and 78 degrees. Normally, it’s not good, but the fish seem fine with it. This could change quickly.

We’ve been putting people out at 06:30 this week, and the bite is from about 07:30, but it’s continuing for most of the day. So when you get out isn’t that important. The clock is ticking amigos, Tick Tock, Tick Tock…

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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