Its the south island east coast salmon fisher here.
I spoke to you and said I was keen to trailer my boat to Tutukaka , Northland, NZ.
Well after 24hrs of driving we made it to Toots. I was there for just under a month but only had 9 or so days on the water due to big seas and terrible weather. I followed exactly what you told me to in your chat session and in your videos. For the 9 days we had 2 hook ups and caught and released 2 striped marlin. For a rank beginner I was stoked. many thanks.
Please make sure Peter reads this. Took my witch doctor and the rest of the lures I purchased from you and ran them as recommended. I was very critical about their exact position. My wife and I along with my captain fished no more than 30 miles from La Paz, BCS. We fished very hard and steady and in 8 days had recorded these results which can be verified by photos. We raised 20+ stripe marlin. Coming into the spread in 1-4 at a time with several double hookups. We eventually were able to catch and release 17. More importantly in an area that has not been friendly over the past 5 years. In addition we raised about 12-15 blue marlin. We hooked and brought to the boat 8. Smallest estimated weight of 125 lbs and the largest was a measured weight of 441 lbs., which was tail wrapped and died prior to betting it in. All others were successfully releases with no injuries to them or us. Most were in about 250 lbs with two others being big at an estimated of over 350 and the other slightly larger at possibly 400. We ran all of the lures, colors and position as you recommended. We did include the Mexican Patrolero out of respect for my captain who was in the state of shock when after 3 days it did not get a hit. It was being run in the shotgun position and even I was surprised. My wife didn't care...she was reading her book and only responded when summoned to clear lines and the witchdoctor. We also won a small tournament that included 8 pangas and had a blast. Never have we done this good. I just wanted to let you know that the lures worked flawlessly and out performed everything else. I have no less than 100 lures on the boat and only used 7. I will be ordering the shredder today if for no other reason than I don't have one. This is not a fishing story and if you would like some photos of the lumo sprocket on the big blue send me your email address. People were actually following us around and I even have photos of that. Thanks so much. Take care. 3MJ
Whoever receives this please forward it to Peter.
I have been fishing the Sea of Cortez between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas for the past 15-20 years. I currently own a 58 Donzi sports fisher. I don’t claim to be an expert like yourself but have caught my share of marlin. I have good fishing equipment, wear good sun glasses and cheap clothing.
For the past 6 years I have taken my two youngest grandsons fishing to Mexico. Just grandpa and two grandsons…no one else allowed. It’s obviously a highlight I love, as do they. Now that they are 12 and 13 years old they are able to help with the fishing.
I have never written to anyone regarding their product either pro or con. I am sending you this letter in hopes it puts a smile on your face knowing that you contributed to a grandpa and two grandkids having a very successful annual fishing trip using your lures and suggestions.
My boat is loaded down with the standard fishing equipment i.e. rods, reels, fishing line, lures, teasers, dredges, and other must have necessary equipment. (My wife of 45 years just doesn’t understand…but has given up)
I’m not sure how, but one day while using the internet I came across a film of you explaining the “Witch Doctor”. (I am a huge fan of teasers). I also liked the way you made up your hooks. Simple, yet very practical. Not sure I fully understand the 60 degree offset of the hooks but I’ll figure it out. I of course ordered the Witch Doctor directly from you rather than a copycat version, along with a host of other much needed equipment. My wife had to help me as I have never placed an on line order in my life.
About a week or so later your stuff arrived and I packed it up and headed south to my boat with both grandsons. Hurricane Blanca was passing through and so the ports were closed and we kept busy with preparation until they opened on Tuesday.
Overall fishing was slow so we headed south. On June 11, while fishing near the south end of Island Cerralvo, with the Witch Doctor and other lures of yours, along with two proven teasers and the infamous Mexican Petrolero lure that is probably number one in our collection. My Captain and I witnessed two stripe Marlin come into the pattern and come between the witch Doctor and the rear of the boat. They circled the Witch Doctor as if trying to figure it out! Reminded me of curious porpoise. It was obvious to anyone and everyone that they were checking out the Witch Doctor!!! One of the marlin eventually hit on your famous green lumo sprokett. My Mexican Captain was in complete shock and his feelings were hurt as the marlin had bypassed his Mexican Petrolero. On June 12 this exact same thing happened once again! The marlin did not appear to be attacking the Witch Doctor but only curious…..again they passed up the infamous Mexican Petrolero for the green lumo sprokett. ( side note…not the same two marlin). Obviously the witch doctor drew them into the pattern. Fortunately for them we are a catch and release gang.
In all my years, I have never seen marlin so curious about anything. Thank you.
Since I have purchased the Witch Doctor and other stuff from you I have noticed similar products being sold elsewhere. Before passing away my Dad told me the best form of flattery is to be copied. However, It does become upsetting at times to see others make a profit from something you have developed and sincerely believe in. Some people will buy the copied version and maybe it is good. I don’t know and I don’t care…I’ll pay the extra to support the right people.
Just thought I would let you know.
Pakula lure wow and wow again. Love using these skirt. The take the reel spinning. The fight wow
Hey mate I'm Michael Lassen from the SCGFC and I joined half way through the season and I have a pakula addiction. There the only skirts I run in my spread. The quality and results are incredible. My total for this season finished on total from when i joined last season: blacks: 21 sails: 6 Dolly's: 12 spainards: 11 yellow fin : 8 wahoo; 4 and 90% of that was on your skirts. The boys are teaching me a bit of live baiting these days and I'm really keen to keep improving my fishing. But just letting you know how great your skirts are and really impressed with your product. I got first billfish for the club this season and I'm going to enter my first tournament in October. If around you should come up.
Adam Voss - Fiji
Bula to the Pakula team. I think you have done a great job with the new web site. I have just made another on line order and it is a much improved experience. Again well done and keep up the great tackle and service.
Kevin Harrison - Texas
I'm new to fishing the Gulf of Mexico, been a bay fisherman. A friend of mine asked a friend of his, who has won tournaments all over the world, what kind of lures I should use. He said the only lure I need is the Lumo Sprocket head. Sure enough the first time I went out, I muddled around trying to figure out what I was doing and they worked great. Thanks again, Kevin
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Follow the Signs
by Peter Pakula
It is upsetting the way things get categorised, such as the how game and sports fishing are separated from all the other forms of angling. Blue water fishing is certainly very exciting, and no other form of angling can shoot as much adrenaline through your brain and there are of course differences in the size, and in some instances the type of tackle used but the rest is all incredibly similar, regardless of weather your targeting Rainbow Trout, estuary Bream, or monster Marlin on the Continental Shelf.
There should be no surprise that an angler proficient at Trout on Fly is a good at trolling lures for Marlin, as many aspects of using artificials are the same. For example the more you realise the importance and the better you are at "matching the hatch" in both instances, the luckier you get.
It is also no surprise that a top estuary angler who uses live bait makes a good bait fisherman for Yellowfin Tuna and Marlin, as he understands the important aspects of presentation. The list goes on infinitum as to the similarities between different forms, indeed all forms of fishing including Blue Water angling Sports and Game Fishing.
One of the most important aspects of all successful fishing is the understanding of where to fish. Indeed it is as simple as "Fish where the fish are, at least where they will probably be." Rivers, lakes, bays and oceans are not uniform puddles of water. They are full of movement and differences in current, eddies, changing depth, wind, oxygen levels, tides and very importantly, temperature breaks. Fish react to all these things and are not at all randomly spread throughout the ocean. They are quite easily found if you understand the basics of reading the signs.
It is well known that visual signs such as splashing feeding fish and bait, diving birds and such things as flotsam are all well known signs to show you where to fish. By understanding how to interpret the signs of the oceans in respect of finding fish you will automatically end up where all these well known visual signs occur. To do this it is best to imagine the ocean currents as a system of rivers endlessly flowing around the surface of the earth, interacting with coastlines, drop-offs, islands, canyons etc. These are the rivers of life through which the ocean inhabitants migrate and in which they feed.
Hereabouts is a diagram of a coastline with river entrance, island, reefs and contours. It’s a basic diagram, it could just as well be a diagram of a creek entrance to a river or lake. The island could just as easily be a boulder in the middle of a river. Regardless, as all water systems work in similar manners. If you know where to find trout in rivers and lakes and scale it up you will understand the oceanic systems and how to find sports and game fish.
All non human and non domesticated adult predators, from geckos to Polar Bears, Tigers, Makos, Lions, Marlin, Snakes, Spiders, Frogs and Tuna must all feed efficiently to survive, they must use less energy to feed than they use to catch it. If they don’t they die, simple as that. No sick pay, no social security, no long weekends, no friends or family to support them by offering a needy meal in hard times. Even pack animals such as Wolves and Killer Whales will not support an injured pack member for long, in fact they will more likely turn on it and eat it.
Oceanic predators have learned to use the systems to enable them to reliably find food and feed using relatively little energy so they not only survive but also gain rather large mass and grow very quickly relative to land predators.
Most anglers imagine Bait Species as any type vacuum-sealed bag that is available from a Tackle Shop freezer. The reality is that all living creatures in water systems are bait, from mosquito larvae in a lake, even Marlin in the oceans are a bait species to Makos which may become food for other Makos and other species of sharks. It’s pretty nasty out there, certainly the bigger you get the safer you are, but never totally safe. The basic rule to work on as an angler is that most predators are capable of swallowing other creatures at least 20% of their own weight. A 100lb Marlin would be quite happy about catching and enthusiastic about swallowing a 20lb Tuna. The largest lures commonly available are really quite small compared to much of the food actually swallowed by these creatures. The problem with food in these large sizes is that it is usually not worth the predators' energy to try very hard to catch. There's a much easier and effective way for large animals to feed.
The way this works is simple to understand. If you go to a Pet Shop and buy a little aquarium fish, you would be told to leave the fish in the bag you took it home in and float it in your aquarium for some period of time. This is to allow the temperature in the bag to adjust to that of your aquarium. If you tipped the fish straight into the aquarium it would drop stone cold dead from temperature shock. This simple example is the secret key that unlocks much of the world of oceanic predatory feeding habits. Many of the larger species of predators are designed to enable them to cross major temperature changes with immunity. For example species such as Yellowfin Tuna are warm blooded, Billfish species have brain, eye and muscle heaters.
Predators are able to feed easily by forcing schools of fish against a temperature change, almost the same thing as forcing them up against a brick wall. The smaller the baitfish the less able it is to put up with temperature changes. Though it is often believed that the predators are found out on the warmer side of a temperature change, this is not necessarily the case, as predators can use both sides of a temperature change as a barrier to bait.
The way predators feed on these smaller bait fish, can make it difficult for anglers to catch them. They quite often ball bait tightly against these temperature walls and then feed on them by charging through them with their mouths open gulping many individuals with each pass. In these cases it’s very difficult to make your offering stand out as being worth the effort to catch and eat when it’s so easy for them to charge through the bait schools with their mouths wide open.
Temperature changes occur in many places throughout the ocean system, all of these areas are hunting grounds for predators and therefore, logically, should be the main hunting areas for sports and game fishermen.
Using the diagram as a reference we'll have a look at how the different waters and how their currents interact to form these temperature changes. Let me point out that none of the following has any scientific basis as I have a limited education on this subject or any other. These notes are based on observation and experience and of course a little "Pakula Logic", so you may have lots to argue about.
The inshore systems of rivers and their deltas or estuaries are the breeding and feeding grounds for many species of fish. Their entrances to the sea are incredibly busy bottlenecks of species coming and going with the tides, seasons and moon phases. Many species remain at these waiting for certain conditions such as rain or a change in barometric pressure before running into the rivers from the sea or to the sea from the river. Predators such as Sharks, and Billfish know these shoals of fish will be present under these specific conditions and will come in to these shallow and often murky waters for a relatively easy feed. The waters of the run out tides are often very different in temperature from the coastal waters. Any small fish that are forced to cross over from the tidal to the coastal waters are somewhat stunned and easy prey.
As we venture past the coast through the inshore tidal waters to what I've called offshore water the changes are worth noting. The water colour changes from green to a pale blue and the nature of the baitfish change as well. In the tidal waters the bait species are often quite stubby and quite plain in colour, generally with olive, brown or grey backs and silvery white bellies. As we move out into the offshore water the baitfish have brighter backs that are more bluish and green also becoming more streamlined plus they often have spots on their sides. As we move through to oceanic waters the colour of the water becomes much bluer to almost being dark cobalt violet. The markings of the baitfish have more stripes mixed in with darker larger spots. Their colours turn to very dark backs of blue, green and purple and their shapes become very streamlined. Interestingly and rather obviously using lures and baits that match these colours and profiles increases results. In fact even matching their relative speeds also increases results for example trolling inshore waters at 6 knots and around the continental shelf at 8.5 to 9 knots makes sense.
The currents that run through this system interact with each other and every obstacle in their way such as coastlines, islands, reefs, and drop-offs, canyons and ocean floor contours. The results are up-wellings, eddies and current lines all of which have temperature breaks. The faster the current the greater the temperature difference over a short distance should occur. The shorter the distance and the greater the temperature change the more solid the wall becomes to bait fish and the more likely hunting predators will be along them. Indeed on the other hand when there is little or no current there is little change in temperature over distance and the fishing is generally poor.
By looking at the diagram you can now start to recognise several areas that will have temperature changes and thus worth fishing. Lets finally do some basic research by looking at the chart in detail.
Where the inshore tidal waters meet the offshore water is worth looking at. These currents generally move at different speeds and often in opposite directions. By looking south of the estuary there is an area that funnels the inshore and offshore water between the mainland and the continental shelf. The current here would be raging and if the weather is not perfect, quite likely to be very rough.
The reef looks perfect for finding sports and game fish. At the northern end there would be up-welling from the canyon and eddies around the top of the Island. The island itself would be a refuge for baitfish around which predators would be lurking. The eastern side of the island would be worth trying as it very close to the shelf. Fish it by trolling, zigzagging between the island and the shelf from north to south, assuming that the current is coming from the north.
Trolling down current will generally result in more fish being raised and will also result in a better hook-up rate, as billfish naturally feed on bait coming down current. By zigzagging down current you will cover more temperature and depth ranges plus you will stay in a given area much longer than you would by steaming with the current. Once you have completed the run, return to the top of the troll by going straight into the current to get you back into position as quickly as possible. Of course if you find action or get a strike you should stay in that area. If you're fishing for bream, you don't pull up the anchor and go to a different spot every time you get a bite or a hook up. It's the same when trolling lures, if you get a bite you've found the fish! Stay there! All predatory fish are pack animals, if you've found one you've more than likely found more.
It would certainly be worth concentrating on the eddies and up-welling formed by the canyons, however they may not be easy to find as they be quite some distance down current before they reach the surface and in some instances they may even be up current.
The island looks like it should be worth fishing but under the prevailing conditions it has neither meeting of currents around it nor any major contours. It is unlikely that the area would be worth concentrating on. If the oceanic current moved closer to it then possibly it would be worth a look.
There's lots more to being a successful sports and game fisherman than temperature breaks, but understanding them and their importance is an important piece in putting the great and exciting jigsaw puzzle of Blue Water Fishing all together. There are signs everywhere, all you have to do is learn how to read and understand them.