As the Holidays approach, the sails are a bit early this
No, this is not a typo. I’m not
talking about bargains at your favorite store. I’m talking
about the sailfish bite that usually seems to come in
December, just in time for Christmas. But this year, they’ve
made their way back already.
Sunday, I went out
fishing on the Marlin Magic with a few friends that own a
marina up in Maryland. It was a beautiful day and we went
out a little late with the idea to just drag a few lines and
enjoy the stellar weather that we have been having (low
humidity, daytime highs in the mid 80’s F). About 45 minutes
out, something suddenly takes the right long line. Tacho, the
second mate, who was standing right next to the rod, reaches
out and works to set the hook. The fish jumps and we realize
we have a nice sailfish on. Seconds later, a second sailfish
takes the shotgun on the bridge. Captain Pol takes it and
quickly, we have two fish on. Mary, one of our friends from
Maryland, is already in the chair working the first fish…or
rather…it is working her as it is taking line out as she
watches and waits for her turn to start bringing it in.
Brian, Mary’s son, is working the second fish with a fighting
belt from the gunnel. The rest of us start clearing lines
when…wham…a third sail takes a hook. The hook is set, a third
fight begins but breaks off shortly when the line is allowed
to get slack momentarily as we work to keep all three lines
A short time later, we release two nice
sailfish. Not bad, 2 for 3 sails within just over an hour…in
November! But wait, there’s more. Before the morning was over
we also had a kingfish for dinner.
The next day, I
went out with a friend who has just brought a beautiful 32
foot Blackfin down from Florida. He has been working on this
boat in the states for close to three years and was anxious to
finally get to fish this labor of love in the beautiful
waters off the coast of the Riviera Maya. Our 31’ Tiera the
Reel Loco was being serviced that day so I borrowed that crew
to run the boat for us. After I took care of our guests and
got the charters out in the morning we started about 10:30
a.m. Richard, the owner of the boat, was like a kid with a
new toy…beaming ear to ear as we leave the marina. Lines go
into the water just after we clear the jetty, and we start
trolling to the south. The thought was, since this was the
first time this boat was fished since getting to Mexico, we
would just test our rigging, check the outriggers set up, and
maybe get a few snappers for lunch. However, just 15 minutes
after tossing lines…fish on! Another sail! We clear lines and
10 minutes later, a spritely sailfish is released. We later
release a wahoo and a few barracudas and back home in time
for me to attend to our afternoon charters.
see you soon and if not, we wish all of you and your families
a happy and healthy Holiday Season from our family here at
Until the next time,
keep your lines tight!
We are!! Captain Rick’s
Well it’s officially the fall season here in the Riviera Maya
Weather and seas are typically good barring any tropical storm activity and fishing is adventurous. (I’ll explain that in a minute). It’s also the time for the annual visit from my Primos (cousins) from the states, including Loco Primo and Gerber. This means I’ll be spending the next 10 days fishing sunup to sundown with one of the most diverse groups of anglers you can imagine. Some will want to troll for billfish, all will want to look for wahoo or mahi-mahi, and some will want to bottom fish for grouper. All will want to do it on the same boat. My job…keep it moving so everyone gets what they want.
But, this is the time of the year that this works. That’s where we come back to the “…fishing is adventurous …” this time of the year comment. As the bill fish migration season moves on, we get a curious mix of sailfish which just show up from time to time like a college kid with laundry, mahi-mahi which almost always seem to show up when the wind blows from the south east (last Sunday, one of the boats got 8 of them), wahoo if you go a little way out, and some excellent species of bottom fish, especially big snapper. The adventure part, you may start out the day thinking that you are going to focus on one species, and indeed do so, only to have conditions change and suddenly you have to change everything out and head for another species which has suddenly arrived. Such is fishing.
Also keep in mind, this is a great time to come to Mexico if you are looking for bargains. Just go to your favorite travel site and see for yourself. There are thousands of cheap rooms available, great bargains to be had, and NO CROWDS!!! Also, if you are still being misinformed as to the safety of the area, let me disabuse you of this. People are not suffering in the streets from H1N1 virus, in fact I still don’t know a single person who has had it and there have been no issues with violence from organized crime anywhere near here. My wife or I walk the dog at night without any fear. So if you are fortunate enough to be able to take a bit of time off and head out of town, take a close look at this area.
Until the next time, keep your lines tight!
We are!! Captain Rick’s
"Little Angler, Big Fish"
The end of May is here, and with that comes our prime fishing season. May, June, and July are excellent months for white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, barracuda, and tuna. If you’ve never been here you are missing one of the great fishing destinations in the world. We fish less than a half mile from shore where the water depth plunges from 80’ to 1800’ within a few hundred yards. This wall forces nutrient rich water from deep down to the surface providing the perfect environment for big game fish.
We found this abundance of fish quite evident at during the Tightlines Cup 2009 (a tournament Captain Rick’s coordinates
for anglers from Holland) which was held last week.
There were 12 teams on twelve boats and the bite was hot!
During the week the anglers caught 14 blue marlin, 76 sailfish, 46 white marlin, 274 dorado, 25 tuna, and 31 wahoo.
Not a bad week at all. Although the fishing is great now, you no doubt have heard the horrific accounts on the news about the swine flu and how Mexico should be avoided at all costs. In reality we never saw one case on the Yucatan Peninsula and in the whole of Mexico less than a hundred people out of a population of 130
million were stricken with this bug. I was thinking about this last week and came to the conclusion that I have a better chance of winning the Power Ball lottery than getting swine flu. And with that you have also probably heard that the entire country is under siege from armed drug cartels shooting at anyone who moves. Again this is no where near the case. Sure, I guess there may be a few border areas where there are people being shot in this drug war, and certainly a tourist should not go there, but lets be reasonable, there are places in Los Angeles, New York and other metropolitan
areas that I wouldn’t go to for fear of being robbed or shot. It’s a
matter of common sense. The tourists areas are as safe as they ever
If you are thinking about vacationing in Mexico I say ‘come on down’. There are many good deals to be had on hotels and the
fishing is as good as it gets.
I recently read an article I found especially accurate in way Mexico really is. I have personally experienced many of the examples that Linda
Ellerbee talks about in her article:
Mexico, One Journalist’s View By Linda Ellerbee
Sometimes I’ve been called a maverick because I don’t always agree with my colleagues, but then, only dead fish swim with the stream all the time. The stream here is Mexico .
You would have to be living on another planet to avoid hearing how dangerous Mexico has become, and, yes, it’s true drug wars have escalated violence in Mexico , causing collateral damage, a phrase I hate. Collateral damage is a cheap way of saying that innocent people, some of them tourists, have been robbed, hurt or killed.
But that’s not the whole story. Neither is this. This is my story.
I’m a journalist who lives in New York City, but has spent considerable time in Mexico , specifically Puerto Vallarta, for the last four years. I’m in Vallarta now. And despite what I’m getting from the U.S. media, the 24-hour news networks in particular, I feel as safe here as I do at home in New York, possibly safer.
I walk the streets of my neighborhood alone day or night. And I don’t live in a gated community, or any other All-Gringo neighborhood. I live in Mexico . Among Mexicans. I go where I want (which does not happen to include bars where prostitution and drugs are the basic products), and take no more precautions than I would at home in New York; which is to say I don’t wave money around, I don’t act the Ugly American, I do keep my eyes open, I’m aware of my surroundings, and I try not to behave like a fool.
I’ve not always been successful at that last one. One evening a friend left the house I was renting in Vallarta at that time, and, unbeknownst to me, did not slam the automatically-locking door on her way out. Sure enough, less than an hour later a stranger did come into my house. A burglar? Robber? Kidnapper? Killer? Drug lord?
No, it was a local police officer, the "beat cop" for our neighborhood, who, on seeing my unlatched door, entered to make sure everything (including me) was okay. He insisted on walking with me around the house, opening closets, looking behind doors and, yes, even under beds, to be certain no one else had wandered in, and that nothing was missing. He was polite, smart and kind, but before he left, he lectured me on having not checked to see that my friend had locked the door behind her. In other words, he told me to use my common sense.
Do bad things happen here? Of course they do. Bad things happen everywhere, but the murder rate here is much lower than, say, New Orleans, and if there are bars on many of the ground floor windows of houses here, well, the same is true where I live, in Greenwich Village, which is considered a swell neighborhood — house prices start at about $4 million (including the bars on the ground floor windows.)
There are good reasons thousands of people from the United States are moving to Mexico every month, and it’s not just the lower cost of living, a hefty tax break and less snow to shovel. Mexico is a beautiful country, a special place.
The climate varies, but is plentifully mild, the culture is ancient and revered, the young are loved unconditionally, the old are respected, and I have yet to hear anyone mention Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Madonna’s attempt to adopt a second African child, even though, with such a late start, she cannot possibly begin to keep up with Angelina Jolie.
And then there are the people. Generalization is risky, but— in general — Mexicans are warm, friendly, generous and welcoming. If you smile at them, they smile back. If you greet a passing stranger on the street, they greet you back. If you try to speak even a little Spanish, they tend to treat you as though you were fluent. Or at least not an idiot.
I have had taxi drivers track me down after leaving my wallet or cell phone in their cab. I have had someone run out of a store to catch me because I have overpaid by twenty cents. I have been introduced to and come to love a people who celebrate a day dedicated to the dead as a recognition of the cycles of birth and death and birth — and the 15th birthday of a girl, an important rite in becoming a woman — with the same joy.
Too much of the noise you’re hearing about how dangerous it is to come to Mexico is just that — noise. But the media love noise, and too many journalists currently making it don’t live here. Some have never even been here. They just like to be photographed at night, standing near a spotlighted border crossing, pointing across the line to some imaginary country from hell. It looks good on TV.
Another thing. The U.S. media tend to lump all of Mexico into one big bad bowl. Talking about drug violence in Mexico without naming a state or city where this is taking place is rather like looking at the horror of Katrina and saying, "Damn. Did you know the U.S. is under water?" or reporting on the shootings at Columbine or the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City by saying that kids all over the U.S. are shooting their classmates and all the grownups are blowing up buildings. The recent rise in violence in Mexico has mostly occurred in a few states, and especially along the border. It is real, but it does not describe an entire country.
It would be nice if we could put what’s going on in Mexico in perspective, geographically and emotionally. It would be nice if we could remember that, as has been noted more than once, these drug wars wouldn’t be going on if people in the United States didn’t want the drugs, or if other people in the United States weren’t selling Mexican drug lords the guns.
Most of all, it would be nice if more people in the United States actually came to this part of America (Mexico is also America, you will recall) to see for themselves what a fine place Mexico really is, and how good a vacation (or a life) here can be.
So come on down and get to know your southern neighbors. I think you’ll like it here. Especially the people.