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To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.

—Bill Bryson

What do you look for in a fishing trip? The formula for success varies widely from angler to angler, but there are some common denominators. First, there’s the fish. The tug is definitely the drug, but the ends need to justify the means to some degree. Nobody flies to Patagonia to fish for perch. Regarding travel, how many connections, deafening prop-plane rides, and hours on spine-numbing country “roads” are you willing to endure? For lodging, thatched huts, luxury villas, and pitched tents are all acceptable shelters if the fishing is up to snuff. Does the day close with inconceivably delicious Malbec and cordero al palo or a soggy PB&J? Or is freshly harvested seafood on the menu? Friendly staff? Double occupancy? The list goes on. Though there is no “perfect trip,” if you do your homework and you know what you’re looking for, you can get pretty darn close.

Looking for your next big adventure? If your personal formula for success includes large fish; rustic, yet comfortable lodging; great Mexican food; and all for an incredible price, then we have a new place for you to consider. The Bahia La Tortuga Fishing Lodge sits quietly on the beachfront of the small fishing village of Puerto Vincente Guerrero, Mexico. Here, the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains dip into the Pacific Ocean to form what some claim is one of the best billfishing destinations in the world. The Mexican Riviera is home to sailfish, marlin, roosterfish, tuna, and a host of other fish, all accessible with both flies and conventional tackle. I recently spoke with owner John Lorenz about the lodge and what anglers can expect to encounter at Bahia La Tortuga.

The southern Pacific coast of Mexico has been slated as a premier billfish destination, and you’re right in the thick of it. What techniques do you use to catch them, and what can anglers expect from the experience?

We are blessed to have this area of the Big Coast to ourselves. We haven’t experienced the heavy fishing pressure that areas to the north and south have for years. When you fish with us, you’re normally the only boat in sight. When you find fish, you don’t have to worry about other boats seeing you hooked up and cashing in on your success. With little pressure, our fish are easier to target. This allows us to listen to each angler’s needs and focus on landing fish with the methods they prefer. We can slow troll 30- to 50-pound outfits for Billfish, bait and switch with spinning rods, or tease up fish with hookless teasers for our fly fisherman.

I understand there are several species other than billfish that will be of interest to flyrodders. What other species are available in the region, and in what seasons?

Fishermen here have plenty to keep them busy year-round. October thru April is prime time for Pacific sailfish. This time of year, most clients target sailfish that are usually no more than a fifteen-minute boat ride away. We normally see 5–10 sailfish a day this time of year, and it’s an excellent time to tease them up to flies. We also have many other species to keep you in your backing. Here, the mahi-mahi, or dorado as the locals call them, are beautiful and also some of the best-tasting fish. They are very prolific this time of year. Coming to our hookless teasers, they are eager to charge a fly and are an accomplishment any way you land them.

May through September, we still have billfish but we see the return of the king of the beach, the roosterfish. He prowls the beach with his combs flared in search of baitfish. Once you’ve caught one, you’ll understand all the fuss. They are magnificent and have power like you’ve never seen. Most battles last 30 minutes or more, even on 50-pound braid. Roosterfish here can go up to 80 pounds but most fish are 25 to 50 pounds and it’s not uncommon to land five to eight fish a day. We also have many other species to round out your holiday. Little tunny, Sierra mackerel, ladyfish and houndfish are just a few other species available.

Can you talk a bit about your location, and what’s the best way to get there?

We are located on the Costa Grande or the “Big Coast.” The lodge is about one hour south of Zihuatanejo. Most major airlines fly here, and the airport code is ZIH. Once you arrive, a representative will transport guests to the lodge.

We’ve heard a bit about great Mexican food at Bahia La Tortuga. What else can guests expect while staying at your lodge?

Bahia La Tortuga Fishing Lodge is a simple lodge. To me, it feels like camping when I was a kid. Long days in the sun followed by starlit nights around a fire on the beach that allows you to relive each day. It’s a great place to spend time with family and friends.

This is a really special place. It’s like stepping back in time. It rekindles our passion, our spirit. It takes you back to your first memories of fishing. Back to that first fish when it was new and every minute was consumed about how to be better and catch more fish. There’s a magic about this village, the mountains, and its people. When you arrive, you dread leaving. When you do leave, you dream of returning.

Packages:

4 Nights, 5 Days ($1,195 USD pp)

Includes:
3 days of guided fishing
Round trip airport transfers
All meals and drinks (excluding alcohol)

5 Nights, 6 Days ($1,395 USD pp)

Includes:
4 days of guided fishing
Round trip airport transfers
All meals and drinks (excluding alcohol)

6 Nights, 7 Days ($1,595 USD pp)

Includes:
5 days of guided fishing
Round trip airport transfers
All meals and drinks (excluding alcohol)

7 Nights, 8 Days ($1,795 USD pp)

Includes:
6 days of guided fishing
Round trip airport transfers
All meals and drinks (excluding alcohol)

For more on Bahia La Tortuga, go to https://www.escapeixtapa.com/, call (956) 455-6931, or email them at escape@escapeixtapa.com.

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