Red Tide, Water Temperatures Drop, Yellowfin Tuna off Corbetena

It’s been a real rollercoaster kind of year. If you recall, we moved directly from a La Niña year to an El Niño year.

When you go from one extreme to another, something will happen.

The entire summer in Puerto Vallarta, even in an El Niño, or warm water environment, the water never got as warm as it should have. We never got over the 88-degree mark in the middle of September. At that time, I noted, “I hope this doesn’t mean an early chill.”

By that, right about the week before New Year’s Eve, we always get the “chill currents.” When this happens, water temperatures drop like a rock, and the next thing you know, we’re looking down the throat of our coming winter fishing season. With the recent cold snaps north of the border and in Canada, these weather patterns push their “influence” to Mexico.

This week, we’ve seen the expected results of weather shocks like this in the form of cooler weather and cooler water temperatures in Puerto Vallarta. This could be temporary, but it’s an early indicator of what could be coming.

We’ve seen some changes for now, but nothing drastic as yet. If you’re in Puerto Vallarta looking for world-class fishing, amigos, you better get in the game before it’s over. We’ve had an outstanding season, but all good things eventually come to an end.

Last week, with the cold snap up north, we saw a drastic drop in water temperatures as strong currents from the north were pushed into our area. This was the incident that brought the water temperatures down from 86 degrees to 81 degrees in ten days! If you’re a Dorado, this is a shock to the system, and you won’t be putting up with this cold water for long.

Plenty of bait is in the area, and the Krill are coming on strong as expected. So Dorado have a reason to hang around, but will they? For now, we’re lucky to have Dorado still in the area, so those looking to target this Golden Fish, better make haste, or you’ll be waiting another season to have this bucket list experience.

This week, Corbetena has seen some changes as well. Water temperatures are 79 degrees, with Dorado over 20 lbs. still running in the area. Sailfish have picked up in numbers and like cooler water anyway, so this is not surprising.

Marlin have been mostly unseen this past week, but some Blue Marlin are running the area, just not much around the rock. Probably the best fishing news this week is the return of the Spinner Dolphin who have Football Yellowfin Tuna from 30 to 60 lb. running with them.

El Banco, this week to the north, has seen some Yellowfin Tuna action with the Spinners running the neighborhood. Blue Marlin are more abundant here, but how abundant is the question?

With plentiful bait in the form of baby Skip Jack Tuna, they are perfectly sized – about the same as a Goggle Eye for comparison. Flying Fish, Rainbow Runners, and the Krill are moving into the area as usual for the end of November.

The fishing is still active and fairly good for now.

The latest news is all about Red Tide! Yes, it’s moving in and again, it’s not unusual at all. But the challenge is to find clean water.

The entire area from Corbetena to El Banco has spotty Red Tide. Many spots can be a few miles wide, so it’s not too bad. But along with the colder currents and lower water temperatures, the clean green water has arrived again. If you remember, the clean green water is always colder than blue water. And we’ve seen some excellent fishing in this clean green water, so it’s not a death situation for fishing.

The secret right now is to find warmer water to catch fish. The entire area around El Morro to Punta Mita is mostly clean green water, but there are spots of red tide here as well. If you’re looking for clean water, you must be at least ten miles off the point. Now, things can change quickly, and I think they will.

The deep-water fishing trips are still producing, but this area isn’t your best bang for your fishing dollar. With some luck by Sayulita on the shore, there could be some Roosterfish action for the adventurous. Overall, this area was challenging for the local captains; let’s hope it improves by next week.

Inside the bay, it is the same story as last week, but most of the fishing action now is in the bay’s south end.

Fertile fishing grounds are anywhere from Los Arcos to Yelapa. Dorado is still catchable in the 20-pound range. And I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but Sailfish are target-able now!

Football Tuna around Yelapa are running freely at about 30 lbs. Sailfish may also be around the La Cruz Marina as well.

The big story this week is the dropping water temperatures and Red Tide. The red tide will be gone soon enough. The question is if the water temperatures will come back up. That remains to be seen, but the bite is still early inside the bay and a bit later outside.

I suggest being at your favorite fishing grounds no later than 08:00 until further notice!

Bait: this week, most of the fish coming in were boated on lures! Dorado mimic colors, and Petroleros of brown, purple and pink were the secret. Meanwhile, live bait was being ignored for some reason. I say, give it a week and let’s see what happens.

Red tide will be moving out; the clean green could be around for a bit. With any luck, the blue water will be back shortly.

Next challenge, Krill, the Whale food we all have to deal with.


  • 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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