Archive for June, 2011

Makairas On El Matador In Puerto Vallarta!

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Some of our first reports of solid action on Makaira reels came from PV.  And one year later, testimony to Makaira performance continues to pour in.

Makaira MK-15II with angler and yellowfin tuna on El Matador

Makaira MK-15II knocks down a quality yellowfin on El Madador

Captain Manny Orcaranza owns and operates El Matador Sportfishing.  As a Captain, Manny’s star is on a fast rise as one of the top “young guns” in the business.  El Matador Sportfishing focuses on the big fish opportunities offered by locations El Banco and Corbetania.  With solid availability of large yellowfin tuna, along with blue and black marlin, El Matador’s fishing grounds also make exceptional proving grounds for equipment of all kinds, and for the last six months Captain Manny has been putting Makaira MK-15IIs, MK-20II’s and more recently MK-30II SE’s (gunmetal gray, open top 30 wides) through their paces, knocking back quantities of tuna from 50- to over 200-pounds along with plenty of billfish.

Catching up with Captain Manny, here’s the quick rundown of his applications for each size Makaira he uses.  Makaira Mk-15II’s are the everyday reels of the fishery.  Very few lures are ever trolled on El Matador.  The preferred method is drifting live bait (goggle eyes) amongst the porpoise schools.  For yellowfin from 50- to 200-pounds the MK-15II is the preferred model for its’ combination of fantastic drag, light weight and necessary line capacity.

Makaira Caught Yellowfin on El Matador

A big part of the draw in Puerto Vallarta is the accessibility of this grade of fish within a 12-hour trip.

The MK-20II comes into play when the tuna are obviously on the larger end of the scale, 150- to 200+-pounds, and as the everyday reel for baiting blue and black marlin.  In Captain Manny’s own words, “I’ve never had a reel that is as smooth.  Such a smooth reel… the drag… fighting fish. Two hour fights on tuna and it remains smooth.”

The MK-30II SE’s are relatively new additions to El Matadors arsenal.  “I’ll use them for trolling live skipjack for 200- to 300-pound tuna and marlin.”  The 30-wides are also the reel of choice for kite presentations.

“I personally think they are the greatest reels I’ve used,” finished Captain Manny.

The fishery in Puerto Vallarta continues to be one of the most convenient and accessible land-based opportunities for yellowfin of exceptional size.  Interested?  Look up Captain Manny Orcaranza and El Matador Sportfishing’s custom, air conditioned 35’ Cabo at: www.elmatadorsportfishing.com

Team Rezkill Wins Islamorada Dolphin Tournament!

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Conditions were downright ugly for the Islamorada Dolphin Tournament, which took place on June 4th and 5th, but not unfishable. Capt. Luis M Perez, Ryan Smith, Audie Lim Sang, Mike Walker and Ray Ragolta pulled off the dock Saturday morning with a full load of goggle eyes.

Team Rezkill 36' Contender

Team Rezkill's fishing platform is a 36' Contender with triple Yamaha 300's.

The plan for the tournament, run-and-gun using feeding birds to locate the dolphin that were pushing up bait from below. “Run” might be an overstatement, as 10-12 foot seas made the going slow and the visibility challenging. The rig of choice: size 65 Cedros baitfeeder spinning reels loaded with Sunline 40-pound mono. 60-pound leaders, looped via Bimini Twist and finished with 8/0 Gamakatsu offset hooks.  Live goggle eyes were cast to schools, baitfeeder released to allow the bait to swim freely, then wait for the take.  Allowing plenty of time to eat the bait, with a turn of the reel handle the baitfeeding function is ceased and the drag system engaged.  A straightforward approach, and in calmer conditions, a ton of fun.

Dolphin at gaff

Big seas made for few photos and interesting conditions for locating solid fish.

Thirty miles Southeast of Islamorada, the birds became plentiful, as did the fish. The problem…small fish. Loads of 5- to 8-pound models. A dime a dozen. The kind of fish that make for a fun day, but not a tournament win. In the Islamorada Dolphin Tournament, teams are allowed to weigh just 2 fish a day, with the top three fish creating the final team weight (if a team weighs 4, the smallest is dropped). Quantity in this case is of little value, it’s quality and locating good fish on each day that wins.

Taking a beating at every turn only to find ongoing numbers of small fish, Team Rezkill changed the plan mid-morning. Instead of looking for the next school in hopes of scoring a quick big fish, they chose to sit on a large school in hopes of working a larger fish from below the more aggressive bailers. The tactic produced a standout 9-pound fish in fairly short order. Sticking with the approach then yielded the first really solid fish, an 18-pound cow, but no more from the school.  Rezkill is forced to go back on the hunt.

Whale Shark

A visit from a whale shark is taken as a good omen and always a welcomed sight.

Now getting late, the next batch of birds has just two fish beneath it. One beautiful bull that takes 2 baits but spits them both, and a 20-pound cow that finishes Rezkill’s day one total weight of roughly 38-pounds.

Day two is no nicer than day one, although Rezkill’s 38-pounds has them in second place behind a weight of 42-pounds.  In the running, motivation is as high as the seas.

Fishing is tough.  Again lots of small fish, but no quality.  The day becomes a long grind and finally after 3pm, the bow is pointed for the marina.  Still working for fish on the way in, a very thin weed line shows off the starboard side. With no fish on board and a never-give-up attitude, two baits are set to slow troll the edge of the weeds on Cedros CLD-20 lever drag reels, custom rods and the same line/leader setups.

Team Rezkill and Tournament Big Fish

Team Rezkill with the both the tournament's big fish and the one that put them into first place.

Not 30 minutes into the trolling effort a 17-pound cow awakens a clicker.  Now with one worthy fish on the boat, the visions of a second place finish are growing stronger.  Short on time, new baits are slid out the back and it takes less than 10 minutes for a 27-pound bull, the big fish of the tournament, to inhale the bait.  Bottom of the ninth, two outs and Rezkill jacks one out of the yard.

In baseball the game would be complete, but in sport fishing you have to make the dock. With less than an hour and a half to make weigh-in and still over 20 miles out, Rezkill had to press the 36′ Contender and triple Yamaha 300’s through the still relentless 10- to 12-footers.  Victory often comes with a bit of a price.

The last minute 27-pounder sealed up first place honors paying $6,000 and the tournament’s big fish honors, worth another $1,000.  Bragging rights until 2012, however, are “priceless”.

Congratulations to Team Rezkill from all of us at Okuma!