2009/10 Guatemala Fishing Season Summary

The Fish and the Weather Gods

Thank You to all of our valued clients and friends - both old and new - who came to Guatemala this year to participate in some SPECTACULAR fishing !

Maybe the Greek philosopher Empepedocles had it right - the four elements of antiquity (Fire, Earth, Air and Water) dominate not just philosophy, but actual events. Our fishing season in Guatemala this year just about had it all - from earthquakes to volcanoes to wind and rain - so perhaps that only comes to reinforce our "oneness" with the natural order of things and synchronisation with nature. Early in January we had the first of shakes which followed on the heels of the devastating quake in Haiti. Our event happened to be offshore (although only just !) - and did seem to disrupt the fishing for almost two weeks until things settled down again. January through April are regarded as the dry season in Guatemala - where typically nine days out of ten are warm and sunny with light breezes in the afternoon and calm seas as far offshore as fifty miles. This year however we had periods in each month when we were visited by cold fronts that caused us to incur some wind and rain that made the trip offshore less comfortable and the fish harder to find - although we never came back to the dock without raising billfish. Later towards the end of the season in April, Guatemala experienced a series of volcanic eruptions from two of the active regions - in the highlands to the Northwest and another close to the city. The country is well known for its geothermal activity; one of the active volcanoes Pacaya is a popular destination to observe lava flows and plasma spewing from the exposed top crater ......but this year it went much further and had a spectacular blowout not seen since 1998.

Now, in May/June, at the end of the season, we are confronted with the final elements of air and water - as the first named tropical storm of the season "Agatha" decided to present itself offshore Guatemala and head straight Northeast for the Marina Pez Vela. The winds were relatively minor and we were sufficiently prepared that no damage ensued - but the rain dumped on the highlands and slopes of the volcanoes surrounding the old capital of Antigua and the new capital Guatemala City, causing quite substantial flooding for a couple of weeks. So perhaps if we had the benefit of Greek Philosophers on hand, we would be able to predict what will happen this coming season - but for now, we have to rely instead on the track record and experiences of past seasons. we certainly had our share of Earth, Fire and Water though !

The season generally starts in earnest in October and starts to build up from there in terms of consistency of action and numbers of billfish being raise. This year it started a little slow - with the bait not really concentrating until the end of the month and the predatory fish staying further out in deep water about 50 miles from the dock - but as the month moved on, so the fishing improved. 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 have moved closer in and were easily found harassing  pods of baitfish – making for strong and consistent action.
In early December the Collard group arrived from the snow of Rhode Island a little apprehensive as they were to start fishing immediately after the full moon......but sometimes you have to do what you can do! Many anglers (and Captains) hold the opinion that during the full moon phase, the predatory fish are able to pursue their quarry during the night and hence are less aggressive for an easy meal during the day. Certainly their trip did start out a little slow – and the fish that rose to the teasers were lazy and picky. You could feel the billfish hitting the bait with their bill as to play with it rather than to consume it. Timing was everything.
It took considerable skill and feel to determine when the sailfish had tired of playing and were ready to eat ……..and so to set the hook. On the positive side, this play provided plenty of practice for the group (they raised 27 sailfish their final day) without necessarily enduring the fight on every occasion.
Unusually for Guatemala Fishing , we had two cold fronts come through in quick succession in January  that built upon each other to produce some pretty significant seas and blasts of cold air. This often has the effect of scattering the concentrations of bait and making the fishing more challenging – but not this time. The billfish stayed focused relatively close to shore on some very rapid temperature breaks and continued to feed despite the inclement weather and waves “up top”. The boats suffered a little in this period as we still had to push out through the weather in seas that were cresting to 6ft early in the morning, but nothing that a few stainless screws and clamps couldn’t take care of.
All through the week and a half of weather that we experienced, the fishing stayed hot – with 20-30 fish raised the norm throughout.






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