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Ivette and I headed down to Mexico for a little R&R and fishing in Punta Mita at our family's place for a few days (Thurs - Tues, easy flight from BWI to Houston and Houston to Puerta Vallarta. Rented a car and drove about 45 minutes to our place in Punta Mita, making a stop at the local Cosco to stock on food). I had not visited the place because some other fishing trips had gotten in the way over the years, but this year I arranged everything so Ivette and I could go down together. It did not hurt that I had read that Punta Mita is known as the rooster fish capital of the world and that I have been wanting to catch rooster fish for a long time. It also did not hurt that the the set up was really nice and I could fish in the morning while Ivette hung out at the pool. The first day I persuaded Ivette to come out fishing so she gave it a try, hesitant that she would get sea sick, but willing to take some medication and give it a try. I booked an outfit I have known over the years from having received fishing reports and such called Master Baiters (yea that is their real name) based out of Puerto Vallarta. They are not so called fly fishing experts, but they are known for their ability how to catch the roosters and had a bigger boat then another guy I heard about, and given Ivette was coming I wanted a bigger rather then smaller boat, so I booked their 28ft panga and gave it a whirl.

The first day Ivette and I got up and walked down the beach to the "marina" in Punta Mita. We had to take a taxi panga out to the fishing boat because the inlet in Punta Mita is hairy and I also believe there is some understanding between the locals that another captain will not go into another's harbor, translation, it will cost 400 pesos to get a ride. It looked pretty rough and sure enough when we got down there the taxi guy told us we would not fish because it was going to be too rough. Wind this time of down there I was told by the locals is not normal, but they said they have been having some weird weather patterns lately. No problem, Ivette and took the five minute walk back to our place, sat by the pool for a few hours and then decided to take a drive, eat lunch and spend the afternoon in a cool surf town about 20 minutes away called Sayulita. The town really is a total surf town filled with Americans and Europeans, a totally cool vibe of expats, locals, young people and some older people who clearly arrived young and have never left. When you are there you can see why there is no need to leave, great good, great surfing break, spectacular fishing and everything with in walking distance. The surf break is pretty amazing in a cool cove where you can sit on the beach and have a good view of the surfing action. We hung out, are some good home made tacos, fresh fruit smoothies and churros.

The next day we woke up only to find a stiff breeze again, but not as strong as the previous day. We walked back down to the "marina", jumped on the panga taxi, jumped into the super panga and off we went to fish the rocks/reef area known as "El Morro" and "Islas Marietas". The seas were pretty rough, but Ivette looked strong and when I asked how she was she said she was fine, so we kept going to the fishing grounds. We got set up, I went to the front of the boat to cast the fly and Ivette was in the back fishing bait, ten minutes go by and I hear, "Brandon, I am not going to be able to do this for the next six hours". It was rough and I was actually surprised we made it that far, anyone who got sea sick would have been sick, it was big swells and close together, not to mention a panga on the drift is not a real stable platform. So, we headed back to the marina, dropped Ivette off to have a day at the pool and headed back out. We set up some baits and not five minutes later I had my first rooster fish on conventional light tackle gear (a torsa 20 type reel). It looked crazy big to me for what my expectation was, but I was told it was only average. I had only brought a 12wt fly rod and was almost dreading hooking one on the fly given the fight that I had on conventional gear. The deal on the fly there is you can blind cast in the area where they know there are fish in and around the reef and hook one or look for bait and cast to breaking fish just like you do for stripers. January is a little early for the pods of breaking roosters, but the bait does pop up and if you're lucky you can get a cast in and hook one. As luck had it, it happened for me, and sure enough the battle was on. Fifteen minutes later we landed the sucker. It was awesome and way bigger then I had expected. With no more bait pods in sight we went back to bait and I landed another. Then another. It slowed down for a bit which I was actually grateful for because these fish put up on heck of a fight. It was the end of the day and seas were calming down a bit so just to pass some time I cast a sinking line with the fly rod, sure enough 20-30 casts later the fly stopped, I thought I had the bottom, but sure enough it was another rooster. Even the captain and mate were surprised I think from the look on their face when I said I had one on. We landed that one and called it a day. Got back around 3:45pm, walked back to the place and hung out at the pool watching whales and breaking fish right in front.

The next day I decided to just hang out with Ivette at the pool, relax and have dinner in Punta Mita at a local joint. Around 4pm I got to thinking that I did not have a hook up going on 24 hours and needed one so I called Chewy, asked if he was free the next day, he was, and we lined up a 8am departure. I walked down the beach to the marina the next morning and looked around for the panga taxi man, but he was no where to be found. I thought I saw Chewy out front the inlet with his son in their 23 Mako waiting, but I was not sure so I walked out on the jetty to the end and looked through my camera lens; it was them. The taxi man was nowhere around so I figured I would just ask one of the local guys hanging out to give me a ride. I walked back down the jerry and got a whiff of reefer, I figured I was getting close to someone who could use some extra loot. I came upon two young guys hanging out and asked if one of them had a boat who could run me out for 200 pesos, sure enough I had a ride. We made our way out and again found a bit of a chop. We tried casting for about ten minutes but it was all but impossible because of how rough it was, so we decided to take a drive around and look for some schools of bait. We managed to find one school and I had one rooster on, a monster blow up, but something in my fly line system gave way and I lost my hole fly line. The fish hit so hard and I set the hook so hard any weak link was bound to give way. As I watched my fly line race away in the ocean I could only laugh. Chewy made some jokes about ******'s and their knot tying, we all laughed and we moved on looking, but never found anything. Chewy suggested that we troll some flies if I was willing, I said if that's our best shot let's give it a whirl. I dug into my fly bag and dug up some crease flies that Wild Bill and I bought through some guy Wild Bill met along the way. Chewy loved the thing and we tired two of them on. After about thirty minutes we landed a dolphinfish that put up a good fight. We then worked our way out along the string of rocks, stopping at each of the reefs around the rocks casting and holding on for dear life. Chewy said he thought the front had had an effect on the bite, but who knows. We trolled flies to each spot and caught dorado/dolphinfish through out the day. Turns out Chewy was the local hero of the day because none of the other panga captains could catch the dolphinfish and he was bragging on the radio how we were doing it on flies, abet not totally legit because we were trolling them, but nonetheless the others were trolling lures and drifting live bait and not getting them, so the fly was the magic. I did hook what we thought was a rooster on one of the reefs, but it broke off and I never got to take a look. Around 3pm we called it a day and headed back. All and all an enjoyable day given the conditions, and although I did not land another rooster fish I learned a ton of the best times to come for all the different species etc... It turns out that Chewy actually lived in Easton for a while and worked for some people we know, crazy small world. He also guided in Alaska for many years on the Situk where I am headed in May to fish for giant steelhead. He said he had enough of the cold winters on the east coast and rain and dampness of Alaska and returned home for plenty of sun and lots of fish in his home waters. I can not blame him, the place is pretty amazing.

Each afternoon there were breaking spanish mackerel, blue runners and other like fish breaking right out in front of our place. I never fished for them, but next time I am going to bring a inflatable kayak so I can row out in the afternoons. Also, right from the front porch you can watch breaching humpback whales. During Jan and Feb they arrive to breed and the bay is full of them. It's an amazing sight. I did not fish any other days, but rather chilled around the pool, hung out around Punta Mita and went back to Sayulita on the last day to hang out and have dinner at a place that makes the best homemade tacos we have every had. All told tocos, dinner, drinks and churros a whopping $12.50.

All and all a great trip. I may go back in March if I can find some time to catch the breaking roosters, striped marlin and some tuna on the fly. If I do not make it back this year, Ivette and I will definitely go back for two weeks in the middle of Feb next year. Note to self, bring a bigger fly reel and a two handed 14wt! I have two more days to catch up on everything and then head out to the Bahamas Saturday morning to go chase a few bonefish for a few days. I'll be sure to report.

I took the pictures below fishing and in and around the towns of Punta Mita and Sayulita. They are all not fishing related, but I tried to capture some of the local culture and lifestyle vibe. I hope you enjoy them.

Ivette waiting for our ride at the Punta Mita "Marina"


First Rooster Fish


Biggest needlefish I ever caught on the fly


The elephant, one of the rock structures on one of the large rocks you fish around


Hooked up!


Landing the rooster 1


Landing the rooster 2


The rooster


Another Rooster
Rooster Fish


Dorado/Dolphinfish on the fly


Another Dorado


Oh yea!

Chewy


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico

Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico



Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico



Scenes from Sayulita, Mexico


Scenes from Punta Mita, Mexico


Our place. Punta Mita, Mexico


Scenes from Punta Mita, Mexico


Scenes from Punta Mita, Mexico


Scenes from Punta Mita, Mexico


Punta Mita "Marina"


Punta Mita "Marina"


Scenes from Punta Mita, Mexico


Sunrise over Puerto Vallarta from our place. Punta Mita, Mexico

 

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Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your trip with us and putting it all together for the board.
 

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Awesome trip! Your pics made me think of that Kenny Chesney song- "The life" :D

Those fishing pictures are pretty "knarley"- I think thats the word:yes:

Thanks for sharing the pics!
 

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Brandon-

Those roosters look strong. See you found something that liked the Ron Dong Crease Fly. Looks like a great trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys, it was a good time for sure. Wish I was there this morning, Ivette and I went to the gym early and only wished we were in that warm weather:cool2:

Bill,

I need to put in another order for those Ron Dongs, they are like candy down there.
The roosters fight like jacks, well they are from the jack family as I understand it. They were nothing like I expected, I thought they would be a good fight, but not a rough and tough fight. For the size roosters they have down there no question a two handed 14wt will be in order. The 12wt G Loomis Nauticus I have worked, but not recommended for catching a lot of them:))
 

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Please move this to the I'm cooler than all of you and I'm gonna rub it in board!

Nice pics. If you keep using the fish-eye lense you're view of the world may become distorted.

And I just gotta say it - you have the sh*tties sh*t-eatin grin I ever did see! Congrats on a cool trip Brandon.
 

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Glad you had a great time .......... now how about fixing this #%$&%*% mess you made by switching to some obviously unproven software ............ I'm in Boston and I can't get to bmail messages ......... my home computer bunches messages to the side, and only use a few smiley icons because they are bunched up and the faq, calendar etc buttons are overlapping .............. you ask us for patience while you are trying to fix it and by fixing it you seem to mean tropical fishing ..........

Seems a bunch of people have the problems ......... for weeks now ......... We've been patient so could you please either fix this mess or go back the old and proven format .......
 

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Yes, Rick, I'm sure the gliches curtailed your incredibly busy fishing schedule. See the pictures? That's what fishing looks like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
rhahn472

Thanks for the feedback. The software we updated is not unproven, it had been beta tested by about 100 sites for many months and I resisted as long as I could, but while there are a few formatting issues that can be fixed rather easily by updating to IE8 (which you should update anyway because IE8 fixes some security issues that are left open in IE6 and IE7). Firefox, Chrome and Safari all are working fine now. The side that you do not see is that this software plugged some security holes that needed to be closed. I already had another site I run hacked because I did not update that software and I was not going to jeopardize the Tidal Fish community in any way. So while you may be inconvenienced at the moment on a formatting issue, your data is safer then it was and that to me is more important. We have a part time CTO who has been working on the formatting issue because it was beyond what I could do, when I fixed IE 6, 7 and 8 messed up and the combos kept happening. Our CTO was having the same issue so we have asked the guys who wrote the software to fix it for us and have been waiting for them to send us the fix. We can not make them go any faster then they are, but like I said, updating to IE8 will fix your formatting issue instantly.

Sorry my fishing made you mad, but this is a fishing site and I already have been paying people to fix it, so its not like I am not trying to fix the issue.
 

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Brandon,

Did you catch those roosterfish on the Ron Dong Crease flies also? What other flies did you use down there?

Thanks and congrats on a cool vacation. Love the pics especially the surfing

Jim
 
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