Thursday, January 17, 2013

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.