Another Day in Paradise magazine

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Serving the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo community since 1999

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FISHING - Meet the Captains

"He was fishing with his uncles exposed to the elements in an open panga before most kid's mothers would allow them to cross a street unattended."

Ed Kunze

Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo is gaining recognition as one of the top year round sailfish producing areas in the world. So much, it now attracts some of the best fishermen on the globe to the several tournaments that are held here each year. There are several captains in the Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo area that have set themselves apart. "Meet the Captains" is a new monthly series highlighting a few of Zihuatanejo's many quality captains and their methods. In preparation for the November Fintastic's Tag & Release Billfish Tournament, our first edition is showcasing four of the area's great tournament Captains. Keep checking back during the season for the complete series.

Captain Angel (Mecate) Cortés is the owner of the sportfishing cruiser named the "Aqua Azul" (Blue water) which is moored and embarks from the Puerto Mio gas dock in Zihuatanejo Bay. The "Aqua Azul" is 36 feet long, powered by twin Perkin diesels and comfortably fishes 4 or 5 people at a very reasonable $300.00 for a 7 hour day. Mecate is 45 years old and has fished and lived in Zihuatanejo all his life. He knows these waters better than most people know their own neighborhoods. Generally, he fishes the areas from 6 to 15 miles straight out of Zihuatanejo Bay and it is a rare occasion when his clients do not get the opportunity to witness firsthand the beauty and aerial display of a sailfish at the end of their line. For locating his quarry, his method of choice is to simulate a school of fleeing bait fish. Sailfish are aggressive predators and even if not hungry, Mecate can trigger a "reaction" strike by properly presenting a bait that looks like it is being pursued. A good Captain is only as good as his deckhands because of the alertness and skills required. Mecate has chosen and trained his deckhands with care, teaching them all the tricks he has accumulated over the years. Captain Mecate can be reached at 556-6772.

Captain Jamie Morales Cortez owns 3 Bertram cruisers, ranging from 31 feet to 33 feet and priced from $350.00 to $400.00 for a 7 hour day. It does not matter if you are on the Vamonos I, Vamonos II, or La Kirrurris, these diesel powered vessels will give 5 to 7 people a great day on the water. Captain Jamie was born and raised in Zihutanejo. He was fishing with his uncles exposed to the elements in an open panga before most kid's mothers would allow them to cross a street unattended. Captain Jamie has been doing this for a long time and his clients have hooked an average of 250 sailfish each year....year in and year out. Each year there are a few international billfish tournaments here and in Lazero Cardenas. These tournaments are gaining recognition and generally never have less than 100 boats competing. To give you an idea of how successful Captain Jaime is, he has accomplished the incredible feat of actually winning seven of the tournaments outright for an average of one win per year. It seems like when he is on the water, everyone else is fishing for second place. Captain Jamie can be reached at 554-8158.

Captain Luis R. Maciel Castro is the owner of two pangas that he uses for two different types of fishing. The "Mahi-Mahi" is for inshore but his favorite is to take the "Gringo Loco" offshore and go after the giant yellowfin tuna. Luis has chosen to live, work and raise his family here in his birth place and his clients are fortunate because they have the ability to rent his pangas and fish with a world class fisherman for only a $190.00 a day. In this last 5 years he has put his guests onto countless tuna and has boated more than one hundred tuna over 200 pounds! We are not talking about a 100 foot Long Range sportfisher with 18 to 24 people, hundreds of scoops of live bait capacity and a 2,000 mile range. The "Gringo Loco" is a 26 foot panga that fishes up to 4 clients, has a live well that holds two dozen goggle eyes, a wood cabaña top and twin 55 hp engines. His accomplishment of putting his clients on to that many large tuna is incredible no matter where you fish in the world. His largest to date was caught just this year and weighed 346 pounds. Luis is 49 years old, speaks English well and is the past President of the local Sportfishing Co-Op. He grew up on the ocean and started learning his trade by fishing with hand lines from an open panga. He then worked a few years on the large commercial boats and moved up to private yachts. Several private yacht owners have understood his abilities and have flown him to Hawaii, Cabo San Lucas, and Australia to fish the major billfish tournaments with them. He has personally won 4 of the local billfish tournaments here and in Lazaro Cardenas. Luis lives on Las Gatas Beach with no phone services but can be reached by cellular at 044 755 82087.

Captain José (Chiquis) Alberto Hernandez is the owner/operator of the 36 foot diesel powered sportfishing boat named the "Intruza". With an extremely wide beam and spacious cabin, the "Intruza" ensures a very comfortable ride for as many as 6 passengers under any conditions. At a very reasonable $350.00 for a 7 hour day, she is moored and departs from the Puerto Mio gas dock in Zihuatanejo Bay. Captain Hernandez is definitely one of the better fishing captains along the Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo coastline. It is a very rare occasion when he has not put his clients onto the targeted species. Like most of the good captains, Chiquis is on the water year round, with clients several days a week. If you had to pinpoint a specialty for Chiquis, or at least what he loves to fish, he would tell you the sailfish are his bread and butter but the blue marlin are what are always on his mind. He flat out produces marlin when other people do not think they are even in the area. He likes to fish the blue water current and if it takes a 20 mile run to get to it, he will be there. Captain Chiquis can be reached at 554-8436.

October 2000

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