What is your bad weather policy?
The Port Captain’s office in La Paz is a conservative organization. They decide whether the weather is dangerous or not. About six times a year all the La Paz marinas are closed due to uncomfortable wind and wave conditions. We are not permitted to depart the marina under these circumstances. If this happens we will reschedule your trip, or if that is not possible, we will return your money.
Do I need a fishing license?
Yes. And, even if there are guests on board that will not be fishing, each person on board is required to have a fishing license, whether they intend to fish or not.
What kind of bait do you provide?
Once you have departed the dock, and before heading out to the fishing grounds, we head to the bait boats. Live bait is netted daily and sold to fishing boats. The cost for live bait is included in your charter fee. There is a salt water circulating bait tank on each of our fishing boats. If you are on a late departure, there is a possibility that the live bait will be sold out. Occasionally, the kind of live bait we might prefer for the kind of fishing you intend to do, is simply not available. Most game fish are caught on feathers and lures in any event. Typically, live bait is used to “chum” the waters to excite game fish into voracious feeding conduct.
How far is it to the fishing areas?
The distance we travel to the fishing grounds is based on various criterion. For example, what kind of fish are you after, where do we think we can find them, are you on a half-day charter or a full-day charter, what are the current fishing conditions, what are the sea conditions, and so forth. In some cases, we can get lures in the water within twenty minutes of departure, other times it may be two hours. Our maximum fishing range is 30 to 40 miles. We rely on local fishing reports and crew experience.
What are the normal fishing procedures for this area?
Virtually all of our fishing is via trolling lures, feathers, or live bait. We do not anchor and cast. This is simply not nearly as effective as trolling. Trolling means the boat is moving forward as it pulls lines behind it. The lines are set with lures, live bait, feathers, or teasers that attract fish towards the boat. We may have as many as six lines in the water at a time. Some lines may be close to the stern. These are typically the teasers, a technique that is known to attract game fish. When they are attracted towards the boat they will frequently bite on the lures being pulled behind the boat at different space intervals. If you are an experienced bait caster and want to engage in this activity, we will motor down to idle and let you try your hand at this kind of fishing.
What happens if the fish aren’t biting?
Some days the fish are everywhere hitting all different kinds of lures, feathers, and bait. Another day…nothing seems to work. Your deckhand will likely have been fishing these waters for years. Local fishers tend to repeat what works, but what works is not always the same thing. So, there is always a bit of experimenting going on. Remember, your captain and deckhand want you to succeed. Quality tips depend on it. But, this is why it’s called fishing, not catching. Please be assured, we will do all we can to help you land anything that is legal.
The catching process
When a fish hits a lure, the line peels out and depending on how high the drag is set on the reel, it literally screams at you. Your deckhand will immediately grab the pole paying out line and set the hook then hand the pole to you. At the same time, the captain will throttle back to idle as the fight begins. You may prefer to stand and fight, moving around the boat as needed, or immediately sit down in the fighting chair and be strapped in. This is both an issue of fisher preference and the apparent size of the fish on your line. If you are a novice, your deckhand will help you through the entire process. It can be difficult to determine size and fish type when the line is paying out, but once the drag is increased, the fish size will begin to reveal itself. Do not hesitate to ask for help. Unless you are in search of a catch record, getting help is the wise course of action.
Why does the Captain spend so much time on the tuna tower?
The captain and deckhand want you to catch fish. They are monitoring radios, searching the fish finder, checking water temperature, tracking GPS coordinates, and most importantly scanning the water for fish feeding indicators. These include things like circling and diving birds, dolphins, breaching bait, or game fish. The tower allows the captain to get up higher so as to spot signs of fishing from a distance.
Do you use leaders?
The simple answer is YES. Fluorocarbon leaders are designed for offshore fishing. They tend to produce more strikes than steel leaders as the latter are easier to spot by game fish. Tackle is expensive. Some type of leader is always used.
I caught a fish. Now what?
Catch and release. This is our recommendation for ANY fish you do not intend to eat. This is especially true for Marlin, Sailfish, and Roosterfish. Roosterfish are not good eating anyway, and for most of us, neither are marlin and sailfish. They are fun to catch, no doubt, but they are not sustainable at current fishing rates, so catch, photograph, and release, please. Of course, if you really want to keep the fish, you can. It’s your charter and your fish, so it is your choice. We can only recommend. However, please do not keep fish for the crew. Chances are they have more than they need already and it is illegal for them to sell your catch. Is it done? Yes, of course it is, this is Mexico, after all. You will likely want to keep tuna, dorado, wahoo, grouper, snapper, and so forth, these are all great eating fish, but again, if you do not plan to eat them, best to take your photos and let them go. We can get the fish up close, and even bring your catch on board for a photo then safely release it.
You can release a fish and have a replica made from your photo, or you can bring a fish to the docks and have a real skin mount made. La Paz has some great taxidermy shops. We will make the call, if that’s what you want. Mounting a fish is an expensive process, and the bigger the fish the more expensive, so ask us before killing a large game fish please.
What is your tipping policy?
Captain and crew split tips evenly. Your crew wants you to catch fish. Their tips depend on it. Believe me, they understand this principal clearly. Tips are an important part of crew pay. They want you to succeed. Normal tipping recommendations apply.
There are no guarantees in fishing. That’s why it is called FISHING, not CATCHING.
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