Puerto Vallarta has come a long way from the small fishing village that it once was. The horseshoe shaped Banderas Bay (Bahia de Banderas) is the third largest bay in Mexico with over 50 miles of beautiful shoreline. The Pacific Coast waters in this region are abundant with sea life making it a prime fishing spot.
While fishing is a known activity in the area, fly fishing is increasing in popularity. Some North Americans may be familiar with freshwater fly fishing, but saltwater fly fishing is a completely different experience since the species are different. You won’t find trout here in these waters. Inside Banderas Bay, you’ll find snook, jacks, mahi mahi, roosterfish, red snapper and sailfish.
Carlos Sanchez is a local resident who became an avid fly fisherman after learning the techniques when he visited Scotland. He came back to Puerto Vallarta and devoted himself to perfecting his craft and to learning all he could about fly fishing. There wasn’t anyone else offering it in the area and he thought he could offer something new. He started Snook Mafia five years ago. It is not a mafia at all but got its name because of the knowledge he gained about fly fishing that he wanted to keep secret, that to him felt like the mafia. And one of his main hobbies is going to the river to catch snook. He says: “I don’t like fishing, I like catching.”
Fly fishing is more difficult than bait fishing since it requires a lot of skill and technical knowledge rather than just sitting back and waiting for the fish to bite. Fly fishing takes a lot of practice and more time to learn, but once you make that step, it is a worthwhile pursuit.
Fly fishing uses a light-weight lure called a ‘fly’ to catch fish. The size of fly used depends on the type of fish you are trying to catch. The bigger the fish, the bigger the fly. There are a combination of many elements used in fly fishing to entice the fish to strike. First you have to visually locate the fish by detecting movement in the water. Then you have to make a good cast. The casting technique used is significantly different from other forms of casting. The next step is to make the movement of the fly convincing to the fish with a technique called ‘stripping’. You have to put life into your flies to tempt the fish to bite. The pattern is important too. Each pattern imitates a different species. The fly has to mimic natural baitfish motions in order to get the bite. The next important technique is reeling the fish in, the hooks used tend to be smaller, so if you don’t keep the tension, it might give the fish the opportunity to get away. And the last step is connecting with the fish. This challenge is putting all of these elements together.
Many people find fly fishing a thrilling experience because you have to be continually engaged with it in the same way as hunting. It is about the interaction with the fish, the way you move your flies and the feeling you get once you have gotten a bite is pure adrenaline. It is a great way to connect with nature, create lasting memories, and challenge yourself.
If you are a fishing enthusiast and you are looking for the best local fly fishing experience, Snook Mafia offers private inshore and river fishing trips. The fishing season in the river begins in November and lasts until January. Snook Mafia is passionate about protecting the environment and conserving species, so on your tour you will be asked to follow a strict catch and release policy. Maximum two fishermen per boat.
If you would like to learn more about fly fishing and have one of the most incredible fishing experiences of your life, contact Captain Carlos, 322 160 2332.