2008/09 Guatemala Fishing Season Summary

Albino Sailfish in Guatemala

Fishing in Guatemala Season Summary 2008/9

Our fishing year is almost like a fiscal year, with quarters that each has a distinct personality and challenges associated with them.

Out first quarter which is from July until September is a time when we assess the wear and tear on our infrastructure, and build our capital budgets for the following season

Second quarter from October until December is the work up to the full season in both a physical sense of working out any kinks in our boats, equipment or crews and in ourselves getting readjusted to 4am wakeup calls
every day followed by long hours for everyone.

January through March is when things really go crazy – the fish are
usually stacked in and close to shore – so the fishing day is long and
hard on angler and equipment alike.

April until the end of June is when we tend to see most repeat clients who
enjoy a little more laid back approach to their fishing, and while there is
still a good buzz about the place, with plenty of fishing action – it is
not as frenetic as the prior quarter.

This past season followed this rough profile, but what is ordinarily a
fairly predictable pace was thrown awry by changes outside of our control.

The first significant factor was the slump in equity and credit markets
that either caused a lot of folks to postpone planned trips or to defer
committing to them until they could realistically determine the effects on
their wallet and discretionary income. It is only for the very afflicted
that going to the [] Sailfish Capital of the
World is not discretionary, it is mandatory !

This lack of visibility caused us to defer some of our planned spending
until later or closer to the main season – when we knew we would have to
execute things in parallel to ensure smooth operations, but at least we
were confident then of the numbers of anglers that would be coming to chase
billfish. Guaranteed to be a bit of a panic, but we have done it before !

Sure enough, by November, the fishing was really starting to show some
promise – we were catching consistent numbers of good size Blue marlin,
and the Sailfish seemed to be concentrating around warm water and pods of
baitfish – making for strong and consistent action, although the passage
of the odd cold front did push the fish out on a few occasions. The panic
came though as word spread and more anglers were asking to come down on
short notice to take advantage of the great early season we had been
reporting – and our boats still needed some routine maintenance that had
to be sandwiched between groups and into what were supposed to be laydays.

But when the fishing is hot, we have to go out fishing – it’s just the
way it is………………

…………and the fishing stayed hot all the way through until mid

These pesky cold fronts – unusual to see so many of them in the calm and
warm waters of Guatemala so late in the year – continued to rush through
unpredictably, making the fishing unpredictable in their wake. We continued
to hope for our more usual stable weather patterns as we moved into our
“3^rd quarter” and the New Year.

By the second week of January, our hopes and expectations for a record
season were bubbling just below the surface (literally !). The weather had
become more stable, and we were seeing early season fishing and numbers of
sailfish that we had not seen in years !

There was a week mid January when we were fishing every day and bringing
back to the dock exhausted anglers – having raised 40+ fish most days,
and some days way in excess of that !

Those are the kinds of numbers that we do see reasonably regularly – but
typically later in the season, from end of January until
mid-March…………….could that possibly mean things could get even
better ??

By the time February rolled around, we were really feeling pretty good –
not only had the fishing stayed great, it seemed like the mood back in the
North had improved so that guys were feeling better about getting that
discretionary income out and committing to trips – we had noticed a
strong increase in bookings since Christmas – and this really accelerated
now as news of the great bite spread far and wide. This coupled with the
relatively poor reports out of Costa Rica saw a lot of new anglers coming
to Guatemala for the first time chasing our reputation for quantity and
quality of fishing. You may have read in our
blog reports over the last few months of the need for orchestrated
regulations to preserve the sportfishing industry in Costa Rica – and
happily some of the progress that they have
made………finally…………..with some hope of implementation in the
next year or so. This can only help all of us over time.

As we move towards March, we reported that it may be Saint Patrick’s Day
– but we are pleased to report that the water in Guatemala is not green!

We had been reporting how a stream of weather fronts had pushed green
water close into shore, which in turn had been causing us some difficulties
in finding consistent concentrations of bait and the predators that feed on
them. But as we moved out of February the weather had been kind to us, and
we started seeing consistent warm days and calm seas that allowed the blue
water to push in and drive that nasty colder green water to one side.If you
take a look at the geography of the region, it is easy to see how the
currents coming down from Mexico collide with the coastline and reflect
back to form huge eddies that attract and hold large quantities of bait.
These fast moving currents coinciding with the
moon phase mean that water conditions – in particular the location of
blue water – can change dramatically in as little as 48 hrs… even
when the fishing has been tough going, as it was towards the end of
February, there is always hope that tomorrow could be an angling bonanza !

March provided us with plenty of clear skies, warm days and lots of fish
– without too much of a trek from the dock. Most days we were finding
clean blue water at about 30 miles from home, and we could fish a line that
ran pretty much straight for 15 miles – with billfish wallowing each side
of it targeting prey. The sailfish numbers had been strong all through
March – but so had the marlin bite. We had been seeing marlin
consistently throughout the season from November until now – and they
seemed to be becoming more numerous (or perhaps just more aggressive for
smaller baits) as we progressed towards April – which many regard as the
classical Blue Marlin season.

As we made the turn into our “4^th quarter” the late season anglers
came to enjoy a great and varied fishing adventure. Although the fishing
moved out to as much as 50 miles from shore for most of the month, we were
blessed with some marvelous dorado fishing. They showed up in huge numbers
– frequently “escorted” by hungry []
Blue and Black Marlin, who regarded them as such a tasty morsel that the
“peanuts” would be a tantalizing appetizer – with the more mature
fish being the main course……..and they and we found plenty of both.

We saw some of the largest bull and cow dolphin we have ever seen (and
caught) in Guatemala during this past April – I think the best fish we
brought to the dock was well in excess of 40lbs…….which is a big dorado
–especially when it hasn’t learned etiquette and insists on flapping
around the big cockpit of the Bertram when guys are still fishing !

So all in all a season that started out with great promise – an early
bite in January that gave us hope for a record season with many days in
excess of 50 billfish raised. Unfortunately Mother Nature intervened, and
showed us some unusual weather by the end of January that scattered the
baitifish and pushed the warm blue water back and forth making it hard for
things to coalesce.

April was marked by some fantastic marlin fishing – no granders reported
this year, but many in the 600lb class. This coupled with some outstanding
dolphin catches made the early and late parts of the season the most
productive this year.

We know that things are still tough, but we do hope you will be able to
come down and get away from it all next season – it’s amazing what
catching big fish on light tackle can do to your perspective !

There is certainly more confidence around this year than the same period
12 months ago – we are booking strongly into the “peak” periods and
favorite moons already, so if you have specific dates in mind, please get
in touch with us as soon as you can.

We haven’t set prices for next year yet, as we have to de deal with
uncertainty too – in our case it is the price of fuel. We observe that
oil has increased in price EVERY DAY FOR THE LAST 60 DAYS so who knows
where it will be by the time next season comes around.

To help your planning though – we are at least going to hold this years
pricing for any trips booked and deposit received by the end of August
2009. This means you know what the full cost of the trip will be – and
there are guaranteed no fuel surcharges as long as the deposit is received
by the end of August.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Guatemala, the Sailfish Capital
of the World (undisputed !!)






For more information or questions contact us
1-336 655 0541

Office: 00(502) 7934-62-20
Cell: 5966-4528 or 4065-1179

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