Cozumel Fishing, Page 2

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Interview with Carlos Vega Page 2
Cozumel Fishing: Pargo
Cozumel Fishing: blue marlin

CMC: Those prices sound like a good deal to us when compared to state-side op.s--especially since the equipment and capitans down here are just as good. But supposing someone wished to book a Cozumel fishing charter. What time of the year is going to give them the most bang for their buck?

Carlos: March through August is prime fishing season and it can be a pretty spectacular time for catching sailfish especially. September through February, you troll for fish such as wahoo, tuna, bonita, kingfish, king mackerel, amberjack, grouper, mullet and snapper. You might see some mahi mahi and maybe even a stray sailfish or marlin but not as likely as in high season.


Cozumel Fishing Photo

In the shoulder season you can also bottom fish at places like Punta Norte, Punta Piedra, Calica, Punta Maroma or the Puerto Morelos buoy for grouper, red hind, yellowtail snapper, trigger fish and grunt.

I'd also like to add that if you're fishing in the shoulder seasons -- September through February -- it's even more important you have a good captain. Because it takes more skill and experience to put you on the fish at these times of year.

Some charter businesses here will tell you there's great fishing -- even sail fishing -- all year long.  Not true.

Pictured LEFT, a 10 lb Spanish mackerel, (Sierra Pintadilla) Caught trolling off Playa del Carmen

The fact is, for the great fishing, that's very seasonal. Operations that take people out in, say, December, lot of times bring them back disappointed. And that gives the whole charter business down here a bad name.

That's why the good captains really frown on this practice--of painting a picture that isn't realistic. The capi's want the work, sure. But not if it gives the business a bad reputation and makes for unhappy clients!.

CMC: Now tell us about the fishing grounds. Where do the boats go?

CARLOS:: Where the captains go is dependent on their personal grapevine and word of mouth from day to day with their colleagues. A capitan may not share exactly where he caught those 4 wahoos yesterday, but he'll tell his competitors the area where the fish were biting.
Pictured Above, Punta Celerain , a favored fishing spot near Punta Sur, sometimes used when the winds are wrong for crossing the channel
And, of course, everybody's always watching the catches that come back and finds out where they came from so they can try their luck in the same area the next day.

Also if there's a strong S.E. wind they sometimes won't go across to the mainland unless the clients have taken some dramamine at least 1 hour before going out. Because it can get pretty rugged out there in those conditions.

If the winds are good to make the crossing, they'll often fish off Playa del Carmen and just south at Punta Piedra, Calica, Punta Venado, Pamul or Puerto Aventuras. Or, depending on the reports of the day before from the other capis, they might fish north of Playa at Punta Maroma or Puerto Morelos. (Puerrto Morelos in particular has a great buoy that attracts a lot of mahi mahi and wahoo.)
Pictured above, aerial view of Punta Venado, a popular fishing spot south of Playa del Carmen.
With a stiff southeaster, they may choose a spot near Chankannab or Punta Celerain ) and go around to Punta Chiqueros . Or they might start at the northern end of the island at Puerto de Abrigo in the northern hotel zone and head north to Punta Norte and all the way to Punta Molas where wahoo fishing is a lot of times real good..

So where the capi's fish is partly determined by the weather and their judgement of how the clients can handle rough seas. They want their people to have a good experience and, as I said, taking dramamine with breakfast before you go out is a good way to ensure that.

But also keep in mind that you don't want completely calm water. We use flash frozen fresh ballyhoo and mullet for bait and in flat water that's not going to interest the fish. Gotta have some chop.

Pictured ABOVE, an aerial view of Punta Molas at the north tip of the island, another popular fishing spot.
cozumel fishing: sailfish

CMC: Here's another question we see asked a lot: What happens to the fish that are caught on a charter?

CARLOS::Typically the catch is split between the client and the capitan/crew which generally leaves you with more fish than you can eat -- on a good day, anyway. As to what to do with your half of the catch, you can take the fish to one of several local restaurants and they will prepare it for your group in any fashion you wish and with a variety of sauces. Well-known, centrally located restaurants that will do this for you include Las Palmeras, La Mission and La Choza to name just a few.

If you're here on a cruise, this is your only choice, unfortunately. Because the cruiseships will not allow fish aboard. But if you're flying out, you can take your fish home with you frozen ahead of time and inside zip lock bags. Your mate will be happy to help you with that if you need assistance.

Read about the history of the deep sea fishing charter biz on Cozumel

Cozumel Fishing Representative