Fishermen love to plan. We prepare our tackle, make special rigs for situations we will encounter, and visualize structure we will be fishing. We know the baits we will fish in each situation and where we will place each cast. You might say planning is how we roll. So it should come as no surprise that we find particular joy when a plan comes together and goal achieved. Even better if it is exceeded, and THAT is exactly what happened January 24, 2015 off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
It was my fifth booking with Captain Pete Vines on the Dos Amigos. Capt. Pete books half and full day trips and also does custom trips, even overnight, for tuna and bill fish. Depending on your quary, an eight hour trip usually explores waters in and just outside Bahia de Banderas, the largest natural bay in Mexico and home to Humpback Whales, Manta Rays, Sea Turtles and Dolphins. Puerto Vallarta sport fishing features sailfish, marlin and Dorado, as well as a variety of tuna, Roosterfish and giant Cubera Snappers. A full day usually begins with a nice breakfast cooked to order by the woman at the Marina Los Peines food shack. They can also make your lunch sandwich to go- but you may not need it- more later. Bird activity will often mark hot feeding activity for hungry Bonita. For my first trip in 2012, Capt. Pete asked me what I wanted to do. “Put a Roosterfish on my wall”, I responded, and that is exactly what we did. This trip was no different. When Capt. Pete asked what I wanted to do, I told him I wanted to catch my first Dorado- the golden yellow. electric green, brilliant blue acrobat that makes such wonderful table fare, aka Mahi-Mahi.
Capt. Pete will meet you at the shack, enjoying a cup of coffee. There is a small peso tariff to enter the marina which is not included in the price of your trip. The fee is also collected by the ladies at the food shack. Like most of PV, they will gladly accept dollars if you have not converted to pesos.
It usually takes about an hour to motor to the “happy hunting grounds” around Las Islas de Marietas. I refer to them as “Bird Crap Rocks” for the obvious reason that they play host to sea bird rookeries of many species. You will see flight formations of pelicans throughout your trip.
I love the first hour cruise. The sun is rising over the mountains behind Puerto Vallarta. During this time, Alex, the first mate, and I develop our plan. We would prepare a smorgesboard of live bait rigs and hard baits to entice even the most tight-lipped Dorado. Alex was a master with the needle and thread. I was quite expert at handing him whatever he asked for and at offering advice on color. When we slowed down we “set the table”- Four lines- 2 on each side- were set on the outriggers. One “hoo-rig” and one Rapala magnum on each side. We set out a center line teaser rig of squid, and then four more rods with a combination of bait rigs and Mirror Lure crankbaits. for the bait rigs we choose a popper faced skirt to achieve that poppin’ spit action of surface bait. Table set.
Pete spotted the first Dorado even before I saw the rod tip whip sharply. It crushed one of the hoo-rigs and was gone before we could even remove the rod from the holder. I reeled in the bait for inspection- a big chunk torn off. Game on! We made a wide circle and began the run again. Suddenly a bright blue fin dove across the spread smashing one of the lures. I grabbed the rod and pumped. Fish on! I settled into fighting position and began to crank. I am not sure what exactly is going through a Dorado’s head at this moment but it must translate into jump widely with reckless abandon.
Smallmouth jump and dive. A Tarpon will leap and roll. A Dorado is like no other- like a missile ripping the surface in a high speed do-loop over and over. When the leaps finally stopped the tug-o-war began. Pump, take line, give a little, pump, take more, repeat. I can only compare it to reeling in a torpedo trying to go the other way, its forked tail delivering high speed power. Finally, Penn Power from both the Philadelphia company’s reel and the PA born fisherman overcame the strong willed fish. Check Dorado off the species bucket list.
We repeated that scene six more times. At one point I was reeling in one Dorado when another hit. I no sooner reeled in the one when I had to grab the rod to fight the other. Guess I should have spent more time with Hans and Frans working on the girly arms! Each of the seven Dorado was a fiesta of color- all different shades of yellow, gold, green and blue. Amazing beauty. I am not sure of the exact weight but each measured between 48 and 54 inches. Interspersed between the Dorado were assaults from schools of Bonita. The action was non-stop. We used the smaller Bonita, some rigged and some just cast live, for bait. The bigger ones often hit the teaser hook rigs two at a time. Imagine reeling in two 10-12 pounders on the same line pulling in opposite directions. I needed pumping up!
And just when you think, wow, what a fantastic fishing trip. it gets even better. During the trip, for extra energy, we had a mahi-mahi sticks snack-dipped in salsa made by Alex’s wife. Delicioso! Later, as a sort of “cherry on the fishing sundae”, we took some of the fresh Dorado and made a ceviche. A-MEXA-MAZING! 1 lb. dorado, 15 limes, cilantro- use the whole bunch chopped fine, 6 tomatos de-seeded, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 orange bell pepper all chopped/de-seeded, 1 large onion white, red or yellow- what ever you like, 1 large carrot grated, fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste, add a little cocktail sauce or soy sauce to taste, olive oil in the mix, and you can add a couple of special peppers chopped- such as pablanos or jalapenos- depending on how hot you like it ! Add some slices of avocado and serve on tostados. To wash it down Capt. Pete has a fully stocked cooler featuring bottled water, beer, wine coolers, soda- let him know what you like.
When you fish with Capt. Pete, always have your camera at the ready. We spotted whales and dolphin during the trip. There is no question that whenever I find myself living the passion in Puerto Vallarta I will find my way to the Dos Amigos. The next plan….. bill fish! Hasta Luego- Until next time……….. Live The Passion and LiveWellFishWell – Eric S. Evans
To book a trip with Capt Pete check out www.travelvallarta.com or call Capt. Pete toll free at 1 800 430 6048