Puerto Vallarta Fishing Review
December 14 2015

December is, according the several fishing calendars I checked, an excellent month for sport fishing in Puerto Vallarta,
Mexico. As I was cruising with friends and wife to and from San Diego to Lima, with a stop in Puerto Vallarta in mid-
December, one of my friends – an avid fisherman as am I – decided that we’d charter a boat to see if our acumen
would be positively rewarded on the trip North at PV.  

Internet searching led me to PV Sportfishing, whose website offered a 31’ Bertram Sportfisherman, supposedly very
well equipped. Their site and others also depicted the challenge facing one wishing to do billfish hunting: Banderas
Bay, supposedly the second largest bay in the world, where it’s necessary to travel well over 20 miles from port to
reach the hunting grounds of the marlin, sailfish or Dorado. This entails chartering for no less than 8 hours, as it’s a
minimum of two hours out and two back at a good speed.

The map of Banderas Bay published online by PV Sportfishing and others depicts the bay and the prime big game
fishing spots: The Marietas Islands are 18 miles from the in-town marina; El Morrow is about 24 miles out, a bit north of
the Marietas; La Cobretana is 36 miles out, and El Banco, (favored, with La Cobretana by many of the charter
operators) is a whopping 50 miles from the PV dock. To make the decision more difficult, the charter rates are steep –
at least for Mexico: 4 hours for $450 and 6 hours for $600 – but that limits one to fishing inside the bay and unlikely to
raise any billfish or Dorado. Our choice was the 8 hour charter at $850, which would  allow us to fish the Marietas and
beyond.

Arranging the charter was a snap: PV Sportfishing uses PayPal (one may use a credit card with PayPal’s secure
system) to make a deposit, and I confirmed the date and time directly with the company by email, ordering drinks and
box lunches at the same time. Efficient, pleasant, and all conducted in English before the cruise departed San Diego.

We disembarked early, and the nearby pier was a $10.00 taxi ride away. So efficient was the process that we arrived at
the “waiting area” of the Los Peines pier a half hour early. Our boat, the My Marlin (which incidentally “holds the record
for the largest Marlin ever caught in a tournament in PV”), arrived with a pleasant and helpful English-speaking Captain
– Steve Torres -  and Mate – “Scubie.” After picking up our live bait (the boat had an excellent bait-holding tank, which
kept the fish active for the entire day) and our box lunches, we motored out of the marina and were in moments well
into the bay. The mate informed us that we had a 1 hour 45 minute ride to the billfish/Dorado area, so we settled back
but were a bit surprised that the mate began the rod-rigging process after only an hour or so. The outriggers were
deployed and 5 lines were streamed, two with lures and three with baitfish.

At about 10:00 AM, one of the lines snapped out of the left outrigger, and I had a good-sized Dorado on. Almost
immediately, another line sang out and we had a double-header going. Since I was in the right-hand fishing chair and
my friend occupied the left, my line was immediately crossed with his. To simplify things, we switched rods, and worked
our fish in. I boated mine first: about 25 pounds of jumping, flashing beautifully colored energy. My friend’s fish was a
somewhat larger Bull, likely about 30-35 pounds, giving him a longer-lasting battle and the usual real tussle when it
spied the boat. We were two-for-two, and the day was still young!

Beware the feeling of euphoria: and, of course, that’s why the sport is called ‘fishing,’ not ‘catching – we continued to
motor out well past the Marietas, to a distance of between 28 and 30 miles from PV – for over 4 hours before we had
another strike. My rod bent, but I could immediately sense that this was a smaller Dorado. It never jumped, but rather
sounded, and while fighting mightily for its life, was no match for the 80# test line and the Tiburon reel attached to the
Calstar graphite rod.

Unfortunately, that was the end of our ‘catching.’ While the day was gorgeous, the water a warm and deep blue, we
could not entice any billfish to show interest in our bait or lures, which our mate constantly changed in an efficient and
experienced but ultimately futile attempt to do so.

Our mate, Scubio, offered to make ceviche from one of our Mahi-Mahi catches, and we readily agreed as Holland
America would not let us bring the fish aboard for their chefs to prepare it for our dinner. The ceviche, when prepared,
was simply exquisite: made fresh, not too spicy and not overexposed to the lemon/lime juice, and chilled for just the
right amount of time. A real treat, and totally unexpected.

As we headed back, my friend expressed an interest in bottom fishing, and the captain agreed. We re-rigged the gear
and when reaching a point still about 8 miles from PV near the north shore of the bay, we spent about 45 minutes but
without success. Regretfully admitting defeat, we reeled in and headed for the dock.

Suddenly, after the mate had taken the outriggers in, returned the rods to the boat’s cabin and rigged the flags
signaling our Dorado catches, we slowed almost to a stop: the Captain had spotted Amberjacks being hounded by
flocks of Frigate birds and Pelicans: the few remaining live baitfish were hooked on hastily retrieved rods and tossed
into the water while we circled, chasing the ‘jacks and birds. Unhappily – our ‘fishing’ luck remaining unchanged – the
‘jacks ignored us, and since no birds dived into the water, we observed that their luck was no better. Regretfully, we
reeled in, surrendered the rods to the mate, and resumed our high speed run back to the pier.

While the fishing was not as productive as we would have wished, no blame in this case can be attached to the boat,
the crew, the equipment, nor to PV Sportfishing. The marketing was honest, all arrangements were efficient and easy,
the boat “as described,” including the equipment, and the crew superb. While the cost of the trip was the greatest of
our 3 days of fishing on our cruise, it was certainly not outlandish: Puerto Vallarta is a large metropolis, literally covered
almost all the way around the northern arm of Banderas Bay with luxury hotels and highrise condos and timeshares.
This makes it an extremely well known and frequently visited vacation destination, where one should expect high-end
prices. Yes, Mazatlan’s fishing costs are considerably lower, but Mazatlan is considered small potatoes as a vacation
destination next to PV. Cabo San Lucas’ fishing charter prices are greater than Mazatlan’s but lower than PV’s. I’m
uncertain as to why, but Cabo is a newer destination, and perhaps, in spite of its success, not as well known. Its fishing
is as good, and there are a wealth of fishing areas all around Cabo, so perhaps the competition keeps the charter boat
prices in check.

All in all, however, our experience left us satisfied, happy with a gorgeous day on the water, and feeling that PV
Sportfishing is a trustworthy and excellent company for anyone desiring a productive, reasonable and worry-free
sportfishing experience in Puerto Vallarta.
Puerto Vallarta fishing review by  PV Sportfishing.
 
Puerto Vallarta fishing
PV Sportfishing