By Capt. Josh Temple

After a spectacular trip to the Rev's last week on the Gladiator, Oren and I were skeptical that the next two weeks in PV would offer anything even remotely akin to the kind of action and big fish madness that we experienced during our last trip out to the islands. It's always hard to come back from a great trip and have less than ideal water conditions, and bleak fishing reports waiting for you back at home. Everyone we talked to in PV painted a remarkably similar picture - cold, green water and not much in the way of fish. It sounded like our offshore and inshore options here in PV were severely limited.

The boss and his entourage showed up late last week and I immediately gave him the report on current conditions. Thankfully, he agreed that it would probably be a good idea to head south to Barra de Navidad for a few days of fishing. Thanks to Capt Anthony, and his up to the minute satellite intel, we knew that there was a warm, 80 degree body of water 30 - 40 miles south of Barra that at least promised the chance at meaningful fishing. After a few days of prep, we loaded up the Maximo, topped up her fuel tanks, and headed south.

Below : The first of the small sporty Marlin begin to play...

We departed at sunrise on Sunday and headed straight for the Sand Bank. The satellite charts showed greenish water but I wanted to have a look for myself. Sure enough, Anthony's intel doesn't lie - green water greeted our arrival so we made the decision to push on in a southerly heading until we found the blue water.

Below : A Marlin is leadered and about to be released...

It took a few hours of glassing in the binoculars before something on the horizon piqued my interest. The tell-tale signs of a bird pile in the distance caught my attention and i steered the Maximo towards what i hoped to be a worthwhile diversion on our journey south. Sure enough, yellowfin tunas on porpoise gave us enough action for the duration of the afternoon to call the travel day a success. Nothing spectacular, but medium sized tunas and some delicious spicy tuna and pineapple burgers was the result.

With over 40 miles of water between us and Barra, and the hour of the day quickly waning, we decided to pull in the lines, leave the tunas behind, and run the rest of the way into the Barra marina. The boys were pretty stoked to see some new ground and were duly impressed with the facilities at the hotel/marina. We checked in, washed the Maximo down, and headed out for an excellent dinner at one of the hotel's restaurants.

Below : Releasing another Marlin...

The next morning we left as the sun rose over the estuary and pointed due south for a small bank just outside of the 1,000 fathom curve, about 35 miles away. I'd checked with Anthony the previous night and had the latest satellite intel, so I picked a spot on the sat charts near the bank that promised 81 degree blue water, and away we went.

It took us about 5 minutes of trolling before we raised our first marlin that morning. A scrappy little striper that engulfed the Bomboy lure running on the short rigger in a bite that i would have expected out of a large blue, and not a 100 pound striper. Ed made short work of that fish and we continued trolling.

Below : Another Marlin is leadered and about to be released...

About an hour later the same Bomboy lure came crashing down again. Another savage bite from a little bit bigger striper. I had to wonder if it was the lure or the RIP Offshore teaser that it was running directly behind that should be credited with our success. Either way, we were hooked up once again!

This time Ed's son Colin jumped to the chair and battled his first marlin to the boat after a series of spectacular leaps and runs. These fish were fighting particularly hard for their size, especially on the 80W chair gear, must be frisky thanks to the warmer water!!!

Largo and Oren released Colin's fish after a quick picture and we were officially off to one heck of a start. The lures went back out and I started glassing in the binos once again from the tower.

Below : The Baby-Blue cry...

About half an hour later a shifting mirage caught my eye in the distance. It was too far away to accurately tell, but to me it looked like a massive bird school, and one heck of a big one at that.

I stared at the shifting mirage for a full fifteen minutes before i yelled down to the boys to pull in the lures because i wanted to make the run and go have a look. I'm not sure if they agreed with me as we had just released two nice marlin and it was barely 9am in the morning, but they pulled in the spread nonetheless and off we went.

Below : The crew started getting into several Mahi as well...

I put the Maximo up on a plane and started running in the direction of the mirage. It took a full ten minutes before the mirage changed shape and birds were readily identifiable in the binoculars. Finally, after twenty plus minutes of running and after covering a distance of nearly 12 miles we arrived at the melee, and let me tell you it was pure and unadulterated CARNAGE. Literally thousands of boobies filled the sky along with at least two dozen frigates. Spotted dolphin numbering in the thousands turned the ocean into a messy froth as they erupted on schools of flying fish and sardines. Holy chit, i thought, we are in the $$$$$$$$!!!!

Below : Another Marlin release for Team Pelagic...

The boys put a spread of tuna and marlin lures out in a hurry. I ran us around the edge of the melee as everyone onboard held their breath in collective anticipation. As we came into the zone i counted down in my head, convinced that this wasn't going to take long. 10...9....8....7....6....

But after the third pass through the madness it was evident that despite all the chaos, nary a tuna was to be found. Hard to believe really, but the Furuno sounder doesn't lie, no meat at the party.

Below : The crew showcasing another Marlin...

Tarnished with disbelief, I told the boys to change out the tuna lures and pointed to Maximo back towards the area where we scored the stripers earlier that morning, hoping to find something along the way.

As i left the massive school of porpoise behind us i picked up the binos once again. I was glassing the area to the west of our position when something very close to the boat caught my eye in the viewfinder. It was a splash, or rather an EXPLOSION, of massive proportions. What the....

Below : A mega-Marlin money bait...

I put down the binos and concentrated on the area, now about half a mile away. Sure enough, again, a massive eruption and this time i saw the culprit - BIG MARLIN.

I steered towards the boil and soon saw the cause of the commotion. A small log of about 3' long had collected a massive school of around 500 dorado - from 5 - 30 pounds. A large blue marlin, in the neighborhood of 600 - 700 pounds, was pounding through the school of dorado and gobbling up as many as she could on each pass. DEARGOD....

Below : A quality Bull Dorado is landed...

I made a pass around the log with the lures and we immediately hooked two dorado - surprising that they were still in the chewing mood while some of their cousins were being gobbled up around them. We gaffed the larger of the two, around a 20 pounder, and put the smaller 5 pounder into the tuna tubes. I immediately told the boys to get the rest of the lures out of the water and we switched over to some small rapalas in hopes of catching two or three more smaller peanut dorado that we could use to bait up the marlin. It was tough to get past the 20 - 30 pounders but we eventually scored a handful of peanut dodo's and some skipjack for bait. In the 30 mins it took to catch our bait I watched in awe as the big blue came up two more times and literally demolished the school of dorado around the log. Dodo's would shower in obvious panic in every direction when the big marlin would make her charge, but every time she'd come away with something to munch on, it was a truly awesome thing to watch.

We quickly bridled up two live dorado close off the stern and sent two skipjack long in the riggers, talk about EXCITEMENT as we waited for what we knew would come next....

Sure enough, one of the skipjack came crashing down immediately....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...HOOKUP! But when a big dorado went flying astern i couldn't help but cringe. When you're live baiting a 600 - 700 pound blue those goddamn dorado can be an unwelcome nuisance at times!!!

This happened two more times before we finally succeeded in raising the blue, on our last live skipjack. She came up and ate the bait in a huge boil and the boys frantically cleared the two dorado baits hanging off the stern. One...two....three......LOCKUPTHATDRAG! I hammered the throttles and the big girl took off like a demon possessed.

Below : The crew gets into a mess of good eats... Mahi Style!

Ed jumped into the chair as i threw the boat into reverse. I was just about to scream my usual "FUUUUUUUUCKYEAH!!!" when the line suddenly went slack and a hush fell over the crowd. WHATTHEHELLHAPPENED?!?!?!?! An inadvertent drag push well beyond what was required was what happened, and our beast unceremoniously broke the line and swam off.

Ok, i lost it. I'll admit that. But when you find something like that, see the fish, change and adapt your tactics to catch it, succeed in convincing it to bite, and then a small, seemingly innocent mistake costs you the glory??? Well, suffice it to say i had to do some apologizing later. But what can you do, they can't blame me for being passionate right? HA!

We immediately put the live dorados back out and tried again to convince her to eat, hoping with all of my soul that she'd come back. But she never did. Never even saw her again. I trolled and TROLLED those live baits around that log while the boys continued to amuse themselves with more dorado, but despite my best efforts I couldn't re-create the magic. C'est la vie. She's still out there, getting bigger.

After a few hours of more dorado action and some more lure trolling we called it a day and headed for the marina. Colin got the "welcome to the marlin club!" official dunk in the marina and away to dinner we went. Despite my best efforts to convince everyone to stay just one more day, we headed back to PV the following morning. Thoughts of 81 degree blue water and the big marlin that swim within it continue to haunt me to this day.

Please come 150 miles further north o dear blue water Gods, and bring your pelagic friends with you!!! (If you don't then no worries, I'm off to Panama SOON!)

For more information on fishing with Captain Josh Temple, go to Primetimeadv.com or click below...