Thursday, October 25, 2012

Z Fish Report (10/25/12)

This report, during a very slow time of the year for tourism, has become very long, with many interesting and even some controversial topics. I decided to start it out with a table of contents. Ed Kunze (IGFA Representative)

1) Conditions

2) Offshore fishing

3) Inshore fishing

4) The potential disaster to the future of fishing in Zihuatanejo

5) The Billfish Conservation Act becomes law

6) Long line fishing update

7) Calendar and moon phase

Russ Weaver with a 60# class rooster
1) Conditions: The blue water is still just a few hundred yards off the beach, with an average surface temperature of about 84°. The daytime temperatures are averaging about 88° with about 75% humidity and partially clouded skies. The inshore water clarity is spotty and changes overnight. However, the rain season sure appears to be over, and the dirty water flows from the rivers should soon be gone.

Last week Stan Hootman of Pasedena, Texas fished with
Adolfo catching 6 speices and 100 fish in 5 days of fishing. 

2) Offshore fishing: There have been very few fishermen here, so I have no firsthand knowledge. But, Santiago of the super panga Gitana told me the average is still going about 3 to 4 sailfish per boat per day, with a few dorado mixed in. Combined with the fantastic inshore fishing, this is the best October in my 15 years of living here.

3) Inshore fishing: The inshore fishing is still excellent, even though you may have to make a long run to find the roosters.
Ron with one of his 3 fly caught roosters
Starting with this last Sunday, fly fisherman Ron Adler went all the way down south to Puerto Vicente Guerrero with Adolfo on the panga Dos Hermanos. They really found the roosters, and teased 20 back to the boat to within casting distance for the fly rod. It is a learning curve. Ron had the usual “many things go wrong”, but with so many fish teased to the boat he was able to get over the hump, hooking three. His largest was in the 30 pound class, with Ron telling me they are too much work for a guy of his age (70 years old). Maybe it was a good thing he didn’t hook one of the much larger fished teased to the boat.
Russ, with a Vicente Gro. rooster
The next day, Monday, Russ Weaver of Corvallis, Oregon went down to the same areas with Adolfo. They were using spin gear with surface poppers and live bait. The water clarity had turned over on the beach and the large concentrations of roosters were not there, which proves again “every day on the water is an entirely new day”.

They did manage 3 roosters, a nice large jack crevalle, and a couple of sierras. They were targeting roosters, so the sierra action is probably excellent when using light tackle and Rapalas.
Photo by Russ Weaver of the "A" team. Cheva at the wheel,
Adolfo with the bald spot, and Adolfo Jr.
They are heading to points South
For the second day of fishing, on Wednesday, Adolfo suggested to Russ they go up north and try the Ranch. I got a call from Russ at 10:00 AM on Adolfo’s phone. He had caught a very nice 60 pound class rooster, and fish were everywhere. Adolfo told me the water was clean and there was a lot of bait and game fish. But, the surf was high, and the Ranch is a world renowned surfing destination. Several times they went almost vertical going over the large sets coming in. It was “Extreme Fishing”. For those of you who have fished with Cheva, you will understand the conditions when he lost his footing, went airborne, and hit hard on the deck of the bow of the panga with his shoulder. And, you will find it amazing he actually lost the Stella spin reel and the very expensive 10 foot rod over the side at the same time. Did Adolfo cry over a lost outfit?…No, he and Adolfo Jr. teased Cheva without mercy, because like all of us, they had never seen Cheva fall.

Here is what Russ told me when he and our wives dined on the large sierra he got Wednesday. We ate at Lety’s, with the food and service being outstanding, as usual.

We put 10 roosters in the boat (released) including 1 more than 60 pounds and another of similar size, but no photo. We lost 3 to 5 on short releases close to the boat. There were approximately 20 more to the boat, with no hookups. We also got 1 big sierra and 2 big jacks. (The sierra we ate)

Russ told me it was his best day on the water after fishing here for 10 years. He said they are going back up to the Ranch again today (Thursday). I just reminded him to keep his expectations unbiased, as it is a “new day on the water”.

4) The potential disaster to the future of fishing in Zihuatanejo: Mike Bulkly of the super panga Huntress and panga Huntress II (with Captain Francisco) emailed me this:

My fishing friends,
I would like to make you aware of a situation here in Zihuatanejo and solicit your help if possible. The previous mayor, Alejandro Bravo sold the Zihuatanejo pier and the rights to the use of the Bay to Fonatur for reportedly millions of US dollars. (Fonatur is the government agency for tourism in Mexico who developed Ixtapa, Cancun, and others) And, Fonatur has begun a campaign to evict the fishing community, both commercial and sport fishing from the bay by imposing fees and taxes that are so high that the local fishermen cannot afford to pay. Fonatur wants to build the cruise ship pier and needs to get the locals out of the way to accomplish this.

The local fishing and fishing tourism community, through the various cooperatives, are fighting this effort via meetings with Mexican Federal officials and trying to generate public awareness through local radio programs. This, of course, costs money which is in very short supply here. If you like Zihuatanejo the way it is, please consider supporting the effort.
Francisco

I have been looking into this and it appears a treasurer has been assigned the duties to collect funds, a Notary is to make it all legal and keep it honest, and the fight will be in earnest. I will have more information in next week’s report.

Some of the items being protested by the local fishermen are a monthly fee to have a mooring in the Bay, a fee charged for each client to embark on the boat from the pier, a fee for use to even walk out on the pier, the relocation of the night fishermen fishing fleet, and many other items.


5) Billfish Conservation Act becomes law: From the IGFA web site: http://igfa.org/

On October 5, 2012, President Obama signed the Billfish Conservation Act into law, effectively banning the importation of all billfish into the continental United States. The signing marks the culmination of a united undertaking by a diverse coalition of angling and conservation organizations working in cooperation with a bipartisan group of congressional champions. Although there are no commercial fisheries targeting billfish in the US, the US has been the largest importer of billfish in the world, importing about 30,000 billfish annually.

“This is a tremendous success for these highly migratory species,” National Coalition for Marine Conservation (NCMC) President Ken Hinman said. “Marlin, sailfish, and spearfish do not know country boundaries and travel through three of the planet’s oceans. Giving them greater protection in the United States sets the stage for better protection worldwide.”

With the largest buyer out of the market, the NCMC and International Game Fish Association (IGFA), who championed the bill, will now turn their attention to the international challenges facing these imperiled species. And with populations of three species of marlin having declined by more than 50%, their efforts come not a moment too soon.

“Recreational anglers and ocean conservationists have been the primary supporters behind the Billfish Conservation Act,” IGFA President Rob Kramer commented, “and I am confident that with this strong step by the United States, we will be able to raise support for more robust measures elsewhere.”

The support of the Billfish Conservation Act by groups like the American Sportfishing Association, the Center for Coastal Conservation, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Keep America Fishing, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, OCEARCH and numerous partners in the environmental community played an integral part in the bill’s success.

“We have sound science that indicates that billfish are not doing well on a global level,” IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser added. “Better international protection for these fish benefits open ocean ecosystems and recreational anglers around the world.”

6) Long line fishing update: The long line situation has been reduced dramatically. Very few sport fishing boats have even seen a long line these last few weeks. However there are a couple of pangas still claiming they will continue fishing illegally, with threats of serious retaliation if they are stopped. It is my understanding the government is putting together a solid case against the renegades, and by the 1st of November, it will be a mute subject.

7) Calendar and moon phase: For a better understanding of our seasons and species of fish here in Ixtapa /Zihuatanejo, please click on this link: http://calendarforfishing.blogspot.mx/