Thursday, January 31, 2013

Z Fish Report (1/31/13)

Photo by Brian Hetland 
Kill a bill fish…NO Tip! (See below for the explaination)

In spite of the full moon period the offshore fishing is still doing well with lots of sailfish, quite a few dorado, and even some yellowfin tuna being caught. The 82 degree blue water is now hugging the 100 fathom line, and averaging about 5 miles off the beach.

Brian with one of his spin caught sailfish on the Llamarada
Brian Hetland was here from North Dakota for his annual trip, and fishing on the pangas Llamarada (offshore) and Dos Hermanos (inshore). He was mostly using spin gear for both the sailfish and the large jack crevalle. He sent some great photos to me, which I have posted on this report. His best day, aboard the Llamarado, was 5 sailfish.
Brian took this underwater photo wih his little Olympus camera

Brian also took this photo. I believe it is pieces of squid
 coming out

Rick on the Gitana
Santiago, on the super panga Gitana emailed me this: This week, Chris & Jody Bird from Minnesota fished one day with Adan aboard the Gitana II, tagging & releasing 4 sailfish. Also Victor Stoltz from Alaska fished two days on the Gitana II for 8 Sailfish and 2 dorado, (his nephew and friend Rick from Seattle also fished each day with Victor).

Bill Mc Lean and wife from Florida fished with me for two days on the Gitana, Tagging and Releasing 5 sailfish and taking a huge dorado. Victor Stoltz and his friend Rick fished with me today (Wednesday). We tagged & released 6 sailfish.

Ron Marblestone of Redwood City, CA fished a day with Cheva, releasing 3 sailfish. 

The super panga Huntress, with Captain Francisco,
"had 6 charters in the past 7 days, releasing 19 sailfish, mostly on spinning rods, and boating 4 large Dorado, all bulls. The blue water remains close but the fish have moved out to the 20 mile line. On Tuesday, we found the yellowfin tuna at 21 miles but every time we got close enough, we hooked a sail. Released 4 that day along with 2 Dorado, but no tuna bites". - Mike Bulkley
 The inshore action is still holding well with a few roosters, large jack crevalle, and lots of sierras. Santiago made the long run to Vicente Guerrero and got 3 nice roosters for Rick and Victor.

Brian with a nice jack crevalle
Ed Kunze (IGFA Representative)

For a better understanding of our seasons and species of fish here in Ixtapa /Zihuatanejo, please click on the link to my web site and scroll down on the left side bar for “Calendar”…

Remember: Kill a bill fish…NO Tip!

The last several afternoons I have been on the pier watching the boats come in, I noticed several boats with 1 or 2 dead sailfish. I believe there are two causes for this. 1) The first problem is the captains who practice catch and release are releasing their fish for the most part. But, they still use the archaic “J” hooks, which inherently will get stuck in the gills on too long of a free spool drop back, or a very aggressive fish. This can be eliminated by the use of the proven circle hooks. 2) The second factor is because most tourists are not experienced at fishing for billfish. They will not even want to spend a couple of hundred dollars and go fishing, unless the reports are where they have a great chance of catching one. Then they charter a boat from a coyote on the beach, or a travel agent in the hotel, who knows he will never see them again. In turn, the coyote then gets the cheapest boat he can find, in order to maximize his commission. The pangas generally charge about $150 to the coyote. They go fishing, and in order for the panga captain to have a decent day, he must kill a couple of fish and sell them for about $30 each, and then with a decent tip, he is back to getting what the better captains who do not use coyotes (and release their fish), charge for a day of fishing.

The only way to stop the use of “j” hooks or intentionally killing fish is to hit the captain in the pocket book. Kill a fish…No Tip!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's Time For Ice

Hide Your Auger & Cooler
just a couple of prospecting days left
.. So it begins! The West Yellowstone/Hebgen Lake Tournament, is a NAIFC qualifier. It is a three-day event - February 1st through 3rd, 2013. Two-thirds education and one-third competition with a maximum entry of 150 two-persons teams. This year the WY/Hebgen Lake Tournament will have an anticipated prize pool of at least $14,000.00 and could be as high as $21,000.00. Plus there are cash payouts from the Calcutta Saturday night.
.. The town pubs have all gotten their teams preped and lubricated. One of the main features for the neighbors is the "BATTLE OF THE BARS." Prestige and quaffing rights will last until next year's tournament.
.. Local merchants are sponsoring teams from the neighborhood. Please note: a local team beat all the national contenders in last year's tourney. It may happen again this year. Wives and girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends, lovers and companions, are all being scorned and neglected during the final days of prospecting and preparation for the big event.

.. Scerecy is the big key. The neighbors borrow trucks so that they will not be recognized. They are wearing different clothing and hats that haven't been seen in decades. Some have shaved. Others have grown beards. Wigs and bandanas are used in the clandestine efforts to disguise who is fishing where. High-powered binoculars are essential equipment right now.
.. On a less furtive note: It's a big event for the neighborhood kids. The KIDS ICE FISHING CAMP provides instruction and free fishing gear for all the kids that show up on Saturday.
Ice Camp consists of in-class and on-ice fishing tutorials delivered by experienced, DNR certified NAIFC Pro-Staff instructors. In addition to demonstrations of the latest techniques and sponsor provided equipment, the curriculum promotes safety, conservation and environmental stewardship. Sponsors provide equipment and prizes for the activity, and kids who sign up and participate receive complimentary ice rods and tackle (HT Enterprises supplied over 1,100 “free” rods to kids last year). Although Ice Camp is geared toward kids, all family members are encouraged to attend regardless of age. Introduction to the newest technology coupled with professional guidance gives both the parent and child a memorable ice fishing experience.
.. In the evening our village "KIDS 'N' SNOW" program includes 'smores 'n' more.' Ice Skating, Sledding on the sled hill, great music and gneral revelry.
.. Should you be in the neighborhood stop in over the weekend; there's bound to be something that you will find interesting and enjoyable.

>> February 1: Evening social hour and ice fishing seminar at the Holiday Inn, 5:00 PM,
>> February 2: Kids Ice camp at Kirkwood Resort & Marina Boathouse, 10:00 AM, all day fishing and prospecting and instructional seminars. KIDS 'N' SNOW weekend in the evening at the ice rink in town.
>> February 2: Saturday Night Mandatory Rules Meeting. Registration for the Tournament runs from 4:30-6:45 pm at the Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone, where the Social Hour begins at 5:00 pm, including a complimentary dinner for all registered team members with cash bar. The Rules Meeting, which is mandatory for at least one member of each team, starts at 7 pm. At the Rules Meeting, the exact starting time for the contest the following morning will be announced.
>> February 3: Morning, (starting time to be announced.) until 1:00 PM - THE TOURNAMENT!
>> February 3: 2:00 PM, weigh in starts, at High Country Tavern & Grill.
>> February 3: Evening, Revelry and Super Bowl Parties - all around the lake and in town.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Irish Bass Festival 2013

Irish Bass Festival 2013 

5th-7th July

We have updated the package deals for anglers coming to the festival this year. Visiting anglers will be able to avail of some excellent package deals including ferry, accommodation (Grand Hotel) & Entry fee see here

Irish anglers will be able to get excellent rates from the Grand Hotel in Tramore where the function and prize giving will take place. Please call the hotel for more details on 051 381414 and make sure to quote "Irish Bass Festival"

Entry fees can be purchased here  

For anybody who is thinking of attending this year who didn't make it last year make sure to check out the full report from the hugely successful 2012 festival here

Here is a pic of the winning fish from last year

Any Questions please don't hesitate to contact us.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wild Weekend

A Live Music Welcome
a little wet snow for the trails
.. The top 21 sled dog teams in the world visited West Yellowstone over the weekend.
.. They were welcomed by the Chamber of Commerce and Wild West Pizzera, including a night of live music.
.. The International Pedigree Stage Stop Race completed it's first cross-country stage yesterday. The race leader is world champion Buddy Streeper.
.. West Yellowstone resident Charlotte Mooney finished the stage in eighth place with an average speed of  12.1 mph for the 56 mile stage that ended in Ashton, Idaho.
.. Jenny Gregor from Bozeman finished in twentieth place with an average speed of 10.3 mph.
.. A volunteer force of our neighbors took over the duties of staging the teams, weighing the required equipment to be carried, directing traffic, setting course markers, notifying teams of starting position, and general go-fer duties.
.. Fisher folks in the crowd of well wishers reveled in the fresh wet snow that lubricated the nicely groomed trail. It is much needed for our snowpack and is a cause for some back-slapping and rib-digging hijinx.
.. The start of the race, after the evening's festivities, went off smoothly and all teams finished the stage in good shape.
.. This race is the largest stage race outside of Alaska, (over 350 miles.) Entries this year included teams from Sweden, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, Canada, Alaska, Oregon, and Michigan.
.. The neighborhood kids had a grand time checking out the license plates on the team rigs. Seldom seen plates from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and Alaska were the subject of much posing and picture taking.
.. The purse for the race is $170,000. Stage money includes over $800 for first place, over $700 for second, over $500 for third - - etc.
.. The major sponsor of the race is Pedigree Dog Food. The company also donates a year's supply of dog food to a local shelter at each stop along the race trail. We're looking forward to next year's event.
.. Now our attention is turned to the ice fishing tournement. Blue buns galore!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Z Fish Report (1/24/13)

For all photos, see below Special
Inshore Report

The cooling trend seems to be put on hold for a while longer as the 83 degree surface temperature average is all up and down the coast, and from the beach to way out beyond 80 miles. And, the blue water is nearly on the beach again, with only a small area of slightly discolored water down near Puerto Vicente Guerrero.

While not as fantastic as the last couple of week’s dark of the moon phase for sailfish and dorado, offshore fishing is still holding up with some respective numbers coming in for a few boats. However, the fleet average is about 2 to 3 sailfish and at least one dorado per boat / day.

Plus, a few boats are finding the yellowfin tuna. They are scattered, but they are out there. On the same day Santiago went 26 miles in the Gitana and got 7 smaller tuna from 15 to 20 pounds, Martin went 40 miles in the panga Spuma with his client Bruce Lippman for a 100 pound yellowfin, a 60, and two at 20 pounds. (And, I got a nice 5 pound loin chunk off the 60 pound fish).

Santiago, on the super panga Gitana emailed me this: Robert Leonard from Ireland fished with Adan on the panga Giatana II and for 6 Sailfish, plus one dorado. Victor from Alaska & Rick from Seattle fished inshore with me, and released 3 Roosterfish and a few Bonitos, Dick and Jimmy from Troncones fished with me, tagging & and releasing 4 sailfish.

Cheva, on the panga Dos Hermanos II fished with Mary Grantges of Ixtapa and caught 4 sailfish on the spin rod. A few days earlier, with her husband Don, they caught 3 sailfish and three huge dorado of 45,40, and 35 pounds.

The inshore action is still holding well with a few roosters, large jack crevalle, and lots of sierras.

Ed Kunze (IGFA Representative)

A belated special inshore report: MISSERI Jean Pierre and his wife are from France. They fish every December with Adolfo on the panga Dos Hermanos, and have been doing so for 12 years. They use spin rods and are excellent fishermen. He does not speak English, and I do not speak French, so we both use Spanish as a mutual language medium. In his email to me this week he sent the following:

“We had an interesting trip this year. In 14 days of fishing we caught 640 fish, averaging between 5 and 10 kilos (10-20 pounds). The roosterfish were not as big as we have caught in years past*, but we also got 200 sierras, 150 barrilettes, and 20 pargo. This year we did not fish for sailfish or dorado, staying entirely with the inshore and using our spin gear and surface poppers. Every day, after we got back to the port, we were exhausted".

*Note: In “years past” they have accounted for several roosters between 70 and 80 pounds, including a 100 pound fish. On the panga Dos Hermanos he has recorded 312 roosterfish, with 35 roosters equal to, or more than 30 kilos (66 pounds).


For a better understanding of our seasons and species of fish here in Ixtapa /Zihuatanejo, please click on the link to my web site and scroll down on the left side bar for “Calendar”…  

Monday, January 21, 2013


Ice Hole Outlook
here comes the money
.. Those neighbors that just go fishing, (as opposed to"fly fishing" or "worm fishing" or "spin fishing" or "spear fishing" or "deep sea fishing"  or  .  .  .  ) are currently ICE FISHING,  (granted some are fishing with a fly.)
.. Takes have been good. Fish have been large, giant, enormous, and too big to mention. Some have even been trout.
.. The current successful flies, lures, buzzers, nymphs, and pimples, are becoming guarded and well protected secrets. We've gathered the best secret information for those of you that would like to be in the money, for the soon to happen Hebgen Lake ice fishing tournament, (see the videos below.)
.. On the other foot, conventional and unimaginative fishers, with nads of steel are still wading the frigid waters Between The Lakes.
.. Catching has been better than good. Elbows are fewer than expected - there's even unused parking spaces on the highway.
.. Standard offerings are working their wonders. Double nymph rigs, nymph and ugly rigs, gobs of worms, and the occasional dry dropper rigs are just plain unfailing in their success right now.
.. Many of the non-establishment fly fishers in the neighborhood are foregoing the current catching frenzy for their volunteer work with the upcoming sled dog race this coming weekend.
.. Establishment fishers aren't bothering. Establishment fishers are busy hanging out in warm feather merchant shops and talking about fishing - bless their hearts - must be cold out.
. .
. .
. .

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Frugal Repast
(Apologies To Pablo)

.. Many of the visitor-centered eateries in our village are closed in the winter. Probably a good thing. Most of the commercial food in town comes in on the same truck.
.. Our locally owned and family run restaurants operate on a small margin. They need the neighborhood business, and will cook your burger to order. Local beef is featured. The patties are freshly made. Rare fare and delicious too.
.. Should you find yourself up this way we suggest you avail yourself of the local hamburgers.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


The Recent Past
how about this year ??

Winter Entertainment

It Helps Pass The Time
watching the snow plows

.. At 36 below zero it's hard to convince ourselves to get down to the river and molest some fish. So we join the neighbors in several deep-deep-cold activities. One of the most popular is watching the snow plows.
.. The excitement is underwhelming. They come by in a whoosh. The fine powder billows up and settles along the edge of the road. Fantastic fun. We can do it for hours - mostly because our feet are frozen to the ground. Try it, you'll like it!

Z Fish Report (1/17/13)

Megen with a huge sailfish while fishing with Adolfo
The blue water has about an 82 degree surface temperature average, but for both the inshore and offshore, there is some cooler 79° degree water more or less splotched in small areas all up and down the coast. It could be the cooling trend has started, which will bring in the marlin and yellowfin tuna. The blue water is now only about 3 miles off the beach, with off colored water slowing things down south at Puerto Vicente Guerrero.

The offshore fishing is outstanding, with the boats averaging almost 4 sailfish a day each. And, there is also a very good chance of hooking a large dorado. Some of these dorado we have been catching this week have been 45 to 60 pounds.
Knute's fish were not as big as his fiance's (Megan)
The other day I got an earful from my wife, with her thoughts about fly fishing for salt water species. I assume this is what a lot of conventional gear fishermen also think about the sport…. While driving back from fly fishing for sailfish and dorado down at Puerto Vicente Guerrero with Knute Olsen and his fiancĂ© Megan of Montana, my wife called on the phone to see how we did. Rebeca was born and raised on this coast. We have been married 10 years now. When we first met, she did not have a clue about sport fishing. She assumed you only fish to get something for the family to eat.

Her favorite fish was sailfish, which created some challenges to our marriage, as I always release sailfish. Fortunately Rebeca now prefers dorado. On the phone she asked me “how did you do today”

I replied; “we hooked one sailfish, but lost 4 huge dorado because each one charged into the spread, made a slash at the hookless teaser baits and took off”

It was kind of silent at the other end for a few moments, and then Rebeca’s reply was, “you lost 4 huge and delicious dorado and you were fishing with no hooks in the bait?!! That is the most stupid thing I have ever heard of.”
Kevin Smith, British Columbia,  aboard the Huntress
with Francisco
With most of the action taking place between the 6-12 mile marks, here are some notable (conventional gear) catches for this week:

Michelle Clermenti from Ocean City, Md. 
proudly displays her six release flags
for sailfish aboard the Huntress
The Denmark group of 10 people is chartering 5 pangas. As of today (Thursday), they have fished a total of 9 boat days inshore for 7 roosters and 11 jack crevalle, and lots of sierras. Offshore they have fished 15 boat days for 52 sailfish and 28 dorado. Plus, they had one day of fly fishing with Adan on the panga Gitana II, raising 10 fish and accounting for a caught sailfish for Robin Birch and another for 15 year old Kalle Birch.
Megan with a black skipjack on the 8wt while inshore
 fishing with Adolfo
The inshore action was also very decent this week. I guess the roosterfish do not realize they are not supposed to be here at this time of the year, but 80° water will keep them around.

Santiago, on the super panga Gitana, made the long run to Puerto Vicente Guerrero with his Danish clients, getting 4 roosters, several large jack crevalle, and lots of sierras.

Ed Kunze (IGFA Representative)

For a better understanding of our seasons and species of fish here in Ixtapa /Zihuatanejo, please click on the link to my web site and scroll down on the left side bar for “Calendar”…

Here is something that has come up recently, pertaining to our local efforts of catch and release of the sailfish, and our efforts to get the government to enforce the existing laws pertaining to the long lines…..I think we have proven that with strong written support, backed up with photos and facts, things can change.

I can’t help but remember the year’s past when our fishing was incredible. We were getting double digit sailfish fairly regularly. There were days we would release the sailfish, get the boat in gear, and start putting out the rods with new baits, and could not go one hundred yards before we were hooked up again.

Paul Phillips, working on a shoestring budget, started his Fintastic Tag and Release Tournament back then, for the purpose of the awards going to the captains, and teaching them about Tag and Release. Many of the IGFA accepted rules he wrote for his tournaments, are still used by the IGFA tournaments today.

It was also in this time the well financed Tournament Anglers Association (TAA) had their annual tournaments here in January. They contributed to the economy by their charters (almost 60 boat days per tournament), meals, hotel, taxis, etc, and also promoted catch and release only. Plus, their pioneering work of using circle hooks in a tournament situation is highly commendable.

Then, they pulled out. This is what is posted on their web page “This week several of our members are heading for sunny Zihuatanejo in search of big game fish. We have fished this area for years and finally had to leave due to terrible fishing. The signs are positive that the fish are back, so we’ve opted to go check it out. Our report will be forthcoming”.

Basically what happened is the world economy went south, with the States being hard hit. Then came the Swine Flu the press decimated Mexico with, which was proven Los Angles had a greater incidence rate than anywhere in Mexico (but, the press ignored that). And finally the Drug Wars, with the sensationalism press again having another field day. Some of our best sport fishing captains couldn’t make a living and went over to the dark side; commercial fishing with long lines. And it spread like wildfire, all up and down the coast of Mexico. The long lines almost decimated the sail fishing industry.

Paul Phillips and I have been meeting with the captains and the Sport Fishing Assoc. here since 1998, trying to get the catch and release mind set, and with the last few years just trying to save the fishery.

TAA , after they pulled out of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, started holding their winter tournament in Cabo San Lucas. A couple of months ago, I read on their web site where the tournament for this year was “cancelled due to lack of interest”.

Also, currently on their web site, this message from their President:
“As we are all aware, TAA has faced some challenges regarding a Fall-Winter tournament. We are exploring all options, including another venue in Mexico, possible Central American locations, as well as southern Florida fisheries. We'd like to invite everyone who has an idea to weigh in on this subject....and as always, a major consideration is the cost. We are striving to keep our tournaments as reasonably priced as possible, but everything is more expensive, including boats, hotels, and airfare”.

Where in the world can you get great fishing and very cheap boats with skilled captains, at a cost far below other world destinations? This is one of the reasons which attracted them here in the first place, but you need to put back for what you gain, to maintain status quo. It is hard to tell, but if they had helped contribute, maybe things wouldn’t have gone on so long as they have. They just turned their backs, looked for a better venue to “catch fish” and figured Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo was somebody else’s problem…Is that conservation?

If TAA does come back, they are more than welcome, but hopefully this time they will get the message. It takes a lot of work, letters to be passed on to politicians, meetings with the tourism board, the Sport Fishing Association, etc. to sustain an industry. Any conscientious sportsman should help contribute his time or voice if they want to continue to maintain a fishery and reap its benefits. If your presence is made known, the politicians and powers that be understand the importance of tourism, and will take steps to ensure good fishing remains. This time I hope they will stay and help fight the good fight.

Monday, January 14, 2013

MUSH ! (as it were.)

ONLY AT -36° F
Village Goes To Dogs
top pups in nation run for fun
.. Sunday morning dawned cold and clear after a night where the temperature sagged into record territory. None of the neighbors, (save one,) went fishing. He's probably still on Hebgen Lake with his drawers frozen to the ice.
.. Most of the neighbors were in town and ready to observe, (or help with,) the West Yellowstone Fun Run.
.. This is a 30 mile sprint for sled dogs and mushers. It's one of the last tune-up races in the training schedule for the International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race, (IPSSSDR.) the largest sled dog race in the lower 48 states.
.. The start of the race was posponed an hour until 11:00 AM so that it could begin at a balmy -6° F. It went off without a hitch, (oops,) and was completed in a couple of hours with all the teams doing better than a 13mph, average.
.. The sprint dogs are specialized athletes. They are not the distance dogs, (marathon or load carriers,) that are featured in movies and T.V. ads. They are toned to a rock hard muscle tone. They have deep chests. They seldom have long hair. They are gregarious, happy, vocal, playful, and eager to run.
.. These dogs train year round. During the non-snow season the teams occasionally drag a 4-wheeler around the trails in the woods. As soon as snow hits the ground, training with a sled, a musher, and some weight begins in all seriousness.
.. It takes special people and special dogs to produce a top international race event. The West Yellowstone Fun Run is one of the events that qualify.
.. The IPSSSDR is another premium event and will visit our village on January 27, 2013. The West Yellowstone segment of the IPSSSDR race covers 56 miiles and is the longest leg of the race. The total race length is over 350 miles. The purse for the race is slated to top $170,000.00.
.. Should you be in the neighborhood drop in and take a break from ice in your guides. OR - stay a couple of days and visit with the racers or take a ride in a dog sled.