What to Expect on a Fishing Charter

Most charters leave at 7:00 am for most of the year.  July through December is considered the big game season and we always recommend that a 10 or 12 hour charter is advantageous, the run to the blue water and potential trophy fish is considerable, and an 8 hour day will limit the charter to bay fishing and smaller game.  The speed of the boat is a factor as well, the faster boats are more costly but in fact, because of our sea conditions, even the boats that are able to cruise at up to 22 knots will not usually travel faster than 16 on the run out.  The older wooden boats in the fleet may cruise at 10 to 12 knots but they still catch their share of fish, the travel time is longer but a serious angler may not appreciate the extended sight seeing excursion and would prefer to get to the hot spot earlier.  La Corbeteña is a 39 mile run and this can take anywhere between 1 ½ and 4 hours depending upon the boat. 


The actual fishing will begin while still within the bay.  Dead bait is set on the outriggers along with a combination of lures and possibly a teaser.  At any time during this period, if schools of Skip Jack or small Yellowfin tuna are spotted, a mate will attempt to hook several by casting from the bow.  The larger bait fish may actually hit on the dead bait or lures as well.  These 5 to 10 pound prizes are inserted into tuna tubes (usually only found on the upper end boats), vertical containers with circulating water to keep the fish active.   The trolling speed is fairly fast, this is another comment that we have heard from unsatisfied visitors, the fact that they doubted that any fish could catch up with these things.  We normally do a fast troll with dead bait until we actually spot a fish.  When we know that a Sailfish or Marlin is in the area, a live bait is attached directly to a hook and the captain proceeds to do a slow troll with live bait in the area where the fish was spotted. 


Deep sea fishing is a very visual sport, considerably different than what is available in northern waters.  A surprise strike is unusual for the most part, but not unheard of on a fast troll out.  One can watch the trophy fish chase the bait, possibly checking out several before it finally hits.  This is the most exciting aspect of deep-sea fishing.  The experience of the mate who has the job of setting the hook in the bill of the fish is important.  Because we encourage the release of billfish, the old rule…..'let him swallow the hook' is no longer the method.  A billfish that is gut hooked will not likely survive so it is vital that the hook be set somewhere in the bill.  Then the rod is passed onto the fisherman and the fight is on.   If the fish is big, the captain may help out by backing down on it, putting the engines in reverse and closing the gap. 


So, what should you expect from the crew on an ideal deep-sea fishing charter?  Usually the captain or at least one of the mates will speak English, maybe not perfectly but this is Mexico and part of the fun.  Food and beverages are rarely included in the price of the trip, be sure to find out beforehand.  The mates should look after you much the same as if they were waiters in an up scale restaurant.  (Maybe better for what you will spend for your charter)  They should be informative and point out sea creatures, turtles, dolphins or whatever should pass by as well as telling you how they are rigging the fishing gear.  The bait and lures should be checked often to maintain that they are working properly, even late in the day. 


A fishing charter can be exciting on any sized boat; many of our best have been on small runabouts or super pangas like the SOL or the ESPERANZA.  Our sea conditions for most of the year allow the 26 footers to fish side by side with the yachts and often out fish the whole fleet.  The number of lines that are set out during a troll may vary from boat to boat.  The smaller ones have outriggers but because of the beam of the stern, will put out 4 lines, possibly 5 with a teaser in the centre and closer to the boat.  The mid-sized boats, the 32 to 40 footers can use up to 7 lines with a combination of dead bait, lures and teasers. Live bait is almost always reserved until a fish is spotted.


A full day charter usually ends at 2:00 pm to allow for the travel time to the Marina but if a fish is spotted on the way back, no captain is going to pass up the opportunity to hook one more.  If you are fortunate enough to land a Dorado or Yellowfin tuna, it is possible that you may take some fillets home with you on your flight.  You can have the fish frozen at one of several locations and then just before your departure, you can store it in a plastic cooler and check it on your plane as baggage.  Many restaurants are happy to cook your fish as well, we often recommend the El Dorado on Los Muertos beach.  They prepare your fish in several delectable ways and add all of the trimmings for about $8.00 US per person. 


On most charters, ice, live bait, fishing licenses, Penn Gold International gear and the captain and crew are included in the price.  The gratuity is extra and you can tip much the same as you would in a restaurant, 10 to 20 percent.  This is important, the captain and crew are not highly paid and rely a great deal on their tips. 


We never guarantee that you will catch fish.  All experienced fishermen know that conditions change from day to day and a guarantee is just not possible but any day spent on the ocean, with or without fish is always rewarding.  You will find that a good captain and crew will go to great lengths to provide you with a trophy fish and cannot be faulted if the fish do not cooperate. 


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