Saturday, March 24, 2012

Puerto Vicente Guerrero

From an email to me by Les Gado of Alberta, Canada: Hey Ed
I really enjoyed our outing yesterday. Thanks for being personable, gregarious, and so darn informative. Again your attention to details  in my opinion makes you a guide that sets you apart and that others need to emulate. Since I am so new to saltwater fishing I can not begin to tell you how I appreciated our conversations about Zihua, life,fishing techniques, and tactics. It was heartwarming to see how you treated and were treated by the people in Vicente. You have a very special relationship there. I will not forget the excitement on the children's faces when we arrived.

The Time Machine: Puerto Vicente Guerrero
The Author’s favorite fishing location for roosterfish.
Imagine what it would be like to step back in time into some of the most pristine fishing areas in Mexico. Believe it or not, you can do that; and only an hour and a half South of Zihuatanejo. Even for the non-fisherman, Puerto Vicente Guerrero is like stepping back in time 50 years. It is certainly not on your guided tour program, but it should be a part of your itinerary. You can either rent a car, or take a bus, and spend a couple of days in one of the inexpensive and clean hotels in the area. Other than the modern outboard motors on the panga commercial fleet, it would almost be impossible to tell you weren't in a quaint Mexican fishing village in the 1950s.

Beside the night time commercial fishing fleet, there are also a couple of pangas devoted to diving for lobster, octopus, and oysters with a hookah hose and air compressor, providing fresh seafood for the small local restaurants and residents.
The oysters in this area are huge. I have had to cut them in 4 pieces in order to eat them. Plus, this is the only location on the coast with year round clean water, and the only place I will eat raw oysters with confidence.

Featuring pristine  beaches which have  never seen a crowd, a quiet little 20 acre fishing port, and contrasted against the back drop of the Sierra Madres; makes for a veritable paradise. For the fisherman, you will be fishing almost virgin waters.

The port has only three sport fishing boats, and one is currently without a motor. There are rarely more than three or four days a week when one or two boats are fishing the area. But even if they hit it hard, they still can’t cover all the available areas, either inshore or offshore. There are very few places in the world where the last person to fish the area you are fishing, was more than two weeks prior.
 With the incredible roosterfish action here, Puerto Vicente, Gro. is definitely one of the top hotspots in the world for roosters. It would certainly rate no worse than number 4, but  only because few people have fished it as compared to the other places. But, the people who have fished it would rate it a possible No. 1 spot in the world for roosterfish. An average day will raise from 10 to 15 roosters, and last July, using a surface popper, I raised 32 in a four hour period. Of those 32 roosters, I was only counting the one on the surface slashing at the popper. I was not counting the two or three we could see down   below the popper. And these roosters are huge. There are a few in the 7 to 25 pound range, but the majority of the fish run from 35 to 50 pounds, with even a few in the 70 or 80 pound class. Have you ever seen the hole left in the water after a 50 pound rooster has turned on your fly? It is awesome. This is the place to be if you are into fly fishing for roosters.

                                          This photo of Chris Lawson with a pargo shows the large diversity of fish 
                                             teased up at the author’s “sweet” spot below Puerto Vicente Guerrero.                                               
There is quite a story behind this next photo. Bob Beck was fly fishing with Jose-Pino on the tiller and Cheva casting the teaser popper. We were at Vicente Guerrero. For about 2 hours the inshore was alive with huge roosters and jacks…Unlike any of us had ever seen before.  We counted over 80 roosters and 30 jacks brought to the boat, with Bob having every problem that could happen: Stepping on the line, line wrapped around the reel, etc.
We had an 80 pound rooster chasing a 2 foot long needle fish on the surface in front of us, and 60 pound fish slashing bait behind us, We were surrounded! Bob finally hooked up to a big jack, which had beaten a huge rooster to the fly. Cheva swung the popper over to in front of my face and said “put on a hook”. The popper had barely hit the water and it was inhaled.  Jose-Pino no more than touched the tail of the jack to get it in the boat when Cheva handed me the rod, and I handed it to Bob. He is trying to get his photo taken in this picture, and had a big rooster on the spin rod in the other hand. All that Bob could say was “what a hoot!”
The blue water is just like the inshore fishery. It is almost virgin. What makes the blue water fishery here so unique is its geographical location and structure. At Puerto Vicente Guerrero., located approximately half way between Zihuatanejo and Acapulco, the Sierra Madre Mountains continue down to the water’s edge, and on out to sea. This creates the only structure between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo the fish can identify with. Wherever there is structure there will be bait hiding, and the game fish follow the bait. 
Photo by John Lorenz of Casa Bahia Tortuga
The dorado, marlin, and sailfish action starts at two miles from the port. Rarely do we travel more than 12 miles from port, and that would to be to fish the canyon formed by the 1,000 fathom line. The canyon has an incredible upwelling, as in goes from 6,000 feet of water up to 2,500 feet on each side. That is an almost 3,500 foot near vertical rise and the nutrient laden upwelling attracts all species of blue water game fish.
When you compare the blue water fishing around Puerto Vicente Gro. to Zihuatanejo, keep in mind there are very few sea mounts in Zihuatanejo, and to get to the 1,000 fathom line you must make a 30 mile boat ride. The blue water fishing is better than in Zihuatanejo, the action is closer to the port, and you have the added bonus of fishing essentially virgin water. 
A baby whale shark, of about 15 feet, only a mile off the beach, and close
enough to actually touch. He came up at my "sweet" spot, which
has a rock sea mount within 25 feet of the surface.
Why has Puerto Vicente Gro. been such a well kept secret? Mostly it is from the lack of having a sport fishing fleet. Only this last two years has there been any covered pangas dedicated to sport fishing, and even these really do not have a captain or deckhand knowledgeable with sport fishing and tourists. The local captains are excellent fishermen, but with a hand line or using a net for commercial purposes. Other than the boats affiliated with a popular fishing lodge, if you want to charter the local boats, it is best if you have your own quality gear, a working knowledge of Spanish, and very good experience at rigging your own baits.
Whenever I fish with Jose-Pino in Puerto Vicente Guerrero, it seems to cost me a small fortune. He has a bunch of grandkids, and they all meet the boat when we return to the dock. They then unload the gear from the boat and put it in my Suburban. Depending on size or age, each one gets one article each, with the value of the article  determined by the age of the kid. Each one gets anywhere from a 5 to 10 pesos tip.
 A few fishermen have been going to Puerto Vicente Gro. for years and getting some of the best fishing in the world. In fact, ESPN2 did a show there a while back and a couple of articles have been written about it in popular national fishing magazines. 

By staying in one of the local hotels, or the popular fishing lodge there,you eliminate the 3 hour (each way) run from Zihuatanejo. Instead, you are fishing in less than 15 minutes from the dock.
My leaning post on the bow makes life a lot easier for both
fly fishers and spin fishers
Times are changing however, and how long Puerto Vicente Gro. will remain an unknown hotspot remains to be seen. But for now, if you want to step back in time, be sure you make the trip down there. You will not just be amazed by the incredible fishing, but the experience of being in a quaint old time fishing village will be a memorable event which may never be seen again in a few more years.
 Look at the concentration Jose – Pino and Adolfo Jr. have for the next fish. Jose is already on the tiller moving the boat towards the breaking fish and diving birds. I am trying to snap a quick photo before the boat turns and everything is in the shade, and the client only understands the present photo.
“A game fish is too valuable to catch only once” – Lee Wulff made this famous quote in 1939.

Keith Paul is a believer in Puerto Vicente Guerrero
Here is a post Keith Paul put on Trip Advisor:

Ed Kunze picked me up at Las Brisas at 6am yesterday (5/29/13). We were under a full moon phase, but the high surf of this last week had subsided. Ed was optimistic.
We set off for PVG and picked up Cheva, captain of the panga Dos Hemanos, on the way.(Not bad, having one of the worlds top sport fishing roosterfish and tag and release Captains as your mate for the day... eh what!)
It is about a 90 minute trip to drive down (Vicente is a very long boat ride should you leave by panga from Zihuatanejo Bay) and while you don't have much to sight see at O Dark Thirty, it is interesting seeing the early morning activities in the smaller towns that you pass though on the way.
We hit PVG right about 7:30am and as Ed pulled the Suburban to the parking spot at the end of the pier, here came The Tribe.
The Tribe is a collection of kids in the 5 to 10 year old range. These kids proceeded to swam the truck. Grabbing hold of the cooler, rods and reels, day packs, lunches, and every sundry thing in the truck that was destined for the panga. This they consider Their Job and lord help you if you were to interfere with Their Job!! Great kids! Their "pay" from Ed goes for two things. Sweets, and school lunch money! Enterprising youngsters are a fresh breath to see!
We met up with our motorman Abel, since his father Jose recently passed away, who has three pangas in the puerto. All named for his Mom Angela (uno, dos, y trace)
No English for Abel, but he certainly speaks Fishing!!
Once the gear was loaded several of The Tribe got out their hand line rigs and proceeded to jig the edges of the piers. Up and down they went with their bait, eventually catching a few goggle eyes and a very small jack crevalle for the water filled bucket. Live bait? Yup, now we got it! Ed also paid them a bonus for each live bait.
We headed out to the North end to just shy of Calvario point to an area that Ed and Cheva call the White House (yes, there is a White House there) and started throwing Ranger lures. It wasn't long before Cheva had a hit, and I brought in a very nice 8+ pound Sierra Mackerel.
Fishing our way back towards the puerto from there we had a couple of rises on roosters but no hookups. It was not long before it was apparent that we were being "spooked out" by a pair of False Killer Whales that had set up shop in the area. They are there for the same fish you are. I think it an unfair advantage, but there seemed to be no talking them out of it. Wherever we ran to, there they were pacing us. The Buggers!
So, with that in mind, we ran back towards the puerto (fifteen minute run) and around the point to "Another Beach" area and started in again.
After covering about 100 meters of beach Cheva had a follower. Pop, Pop, Pop, the Rooster, Cocks Comb dorsal fin breaking the surface, chased the Ranger, finally catching his prize, mine was on!
For about 25 minutes we played "I get you to the boat, and you scream out another 60 meters of line" . These have to be one of the toughest fish, pound for pound, that I have ever caught. This particular Rooster was in the 35 pound class, and on 20 pound braided line, took me around the boat several times. Landed, photoed, released, and it was on down the beach to the next taker.
Next up was a nice Green Jack. Then we hit a school of Barralete (bonito) where I was able to pick a few out of the school using a 1.5 ounce blue sardine colored Mega Bait.
On down the beach further and we picked up a Little Guy Rooster of around 15 pounds.
Several Needle fish were interspersed betwixt and between "mention-able" fish.
At 12:30pm I had had enough, and was winding down. (I ain't 45 anymore) We headed back into the puerto where The Tribe was awaiting us for unloading, and taking care of any fish that we had brought in.
Weather was a bit overcast, but surf was down, so it made for a nice day on the water without getting cooked by the sun.
The ride back to Zihuatanejo was more scenic now that it was daylight. Mango groves abound (I was drooling) and Ed can be quite the tour guide when he wants to be! Pointing out the brick works, coconut staging areas, schools (as I found out it ain't easy for kids to get an education in rural Mexico!), coconut candy vendors, and salt farms.
All in all I had a wonderful day, and after all, what more can you ask for??