Rollercoaster Fishing in Puerto Vallarta

Every year around this time, we see the beginning of the spring rollercoaster when it comes to fishing in Puerto Vallarta. This year, we’re seeing fluctuating water temperatures and clashing currents. Oddly enough, the El Niño conditions just complicate things with summer species in the middle of winter.

Now, we’re not complaining, and we know what to expect, but the simple fact is that winter fishing never really turned into winter fishing this year! After four weeks, El Banco, all but dead previously, suddenly came back to life. Yellowfin Tuna at 60 to 80 pounds are running with Spinner Dolphin, and with the massive amounts of bait in the area, these conditions are likely to continue.

With water temperatures at their lowest for the season, to have Yellowfin Tuna in the numbers we’re seeing them in is a gift from the fish gods. But few things about fishing are perfect, and the downside is that on some days, you can’t turn a Tuna’s head to take advantage of what you’re offering. Welcome to the Rollercoaster!

As we expected, tourism has slowed down a little during the Easter holiday, so very few boats this past week have gone out. Those lucky enough to be here fishing in Puerto Vallarta have targeted Yellowfin Tuna in the 60 to 80 lb. range. This has continued for many weeks now, with no end in sight. So this is great news, but you’ll need to plan on a twelve-hour trip to get into this action. Ten hours will get you close, and you’ll catch fish, but if you’re going to be in this area, give it the extra two hours, it can make all the difference.

Striped Marlin are thinning in numbers, finally, but you still have a shot. Dorado are super rare now, but again, they’re in the mix for the lucky. For now, this is the best option for fuel dollars. The big draw here is the massive amount of varied bait types. If heading this way, take a heading of 285 to 310 from the point of Punta Nayarit and let me how your day went.

The area from Punta Nayarit to the south of El Morro has been weak in terms of surface fishing or trolling. For those who don’t mind bottom fishing, you have Pompano to 35 lbs, Snapper to 30 lbs, and possibly Grouper.

Again, there are massive amounts of varied bait in the water, but for some reason, the surface fishing consists of Jack Crevalles and Bonito, and that’s about it. You have a shot at Striped Marlin if you’re about seven miles off the point. They’re thin in numbers; if you find them, many ignore your bait or presentation. Having said that, we had some luck this week, and you will, too. For now, it’s probably not your best bang for your fishing dollar, but if you’re in the area, give it a shot.

Inside the bay is the same story; it’s a ‘cookie cutter’ report. You’ve got your basic Jack Crevalles from 25 to 50 lbs of arm-burning action. Their numbers are in the stratosphere now and can’t be avoided. For family fishing, this is great action in a shorter duration, which makes the bay affordable for the budget-challenged.

For some reason, Bonito, part of the Tuna family, are thinning in numbers. Having said that, they’re still around the Los Arcos area and sprinkled around the bay. Snook, or Robalo in Spanish, is a white meat fish that is in season. You usually catch them closer to shore, and if you’re lucky enough to hook into one, you’ll be eating well that evening.

Needlefish have been rare, but they are picking up a bit in numbers. They look weird, like long baby Marlin, and they’re great tasting and fun to catch. If we get a drop in water temps, we’ll start seeing Sea Bass, Grouper, and Snapper near the river mouths. But this year, the water has been a little warm for these cold water species; stay tuned.

Once again, the bite is still around 08:30 in the morning. But remember, we have two bites every day, and the late or afternoon bite is often better than the morning bite. This has been the case for the last week. The downside is that a good breeze can turn into wind, creating choppy, rough water. Sea-sick types would not appreciate these conditions, but it’s something to consider when making a reservation.

The whales are all but gone now, but their favorite food, Krill, is still out in the bay to the point it may look like red tide. So, the local species feed on this ‘leftover’ Whale food. This will continue for a while.

Water temperatures are back to 73 degrees, giving us hope for possible Sea Bass moving in. Cross your fingers. Live bait has been working well for now, but lures that mimic Dorado also work well, so feel free to change up your bait. As we head into the breeding season, things can get a little crazy, but the good news is we always have great fishing, which we call ‘action fishing.’

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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