Posted in fishing report, travel on January 30th, 2012 by Scott

It’s so good to be back on the rock.  I made the short hop from MIA to CUN this afternoon, and made sure I was at the dock at sundown to greet the fleet. I managed to catch the Qualifier pulling in late after a day of decent fishing and 14 releases. Pretty good action the last few days by most of the fleet has me anxious to get out on the bank in the morning. I’ll try and keep the Isla Mujeres fishing reports fresh…




Day 1 – Maiden voyage for the newest Paul Mann boat “Alina” today. The wind was blowing and the sails were biting. Ran about 20 miles to the fleet and set out. Lots of birds in the area, but not the conditions to catch the fish on top. Ended up trolling around until 4:30 with 13 releases for the day. Plenty of other fish seen in the spread and biting. Great day for a shake down cruise.




Day 2 – Today I rode along with Capt. Fin aboard the Qualifier. Breezy conditions this morning. We start fishing about 20 miles out. Did I mention it was rough? Decent action in the morning, gradually slowing down all day. Ended up with 10 released sails.




Day 3 – Back on the Alina today.  Fishing was slow for us today…just one of those days when you wish you could take a mulligan.


Day 4 – Back on the Qualifier today. Still windy and complete cloud cover all day. We ran up to the North this morning to try and find some action. There was some birds and bait on top early, then it scattered and was hard to find. Most of our bites today were on the troll. Ended up catching 18. It wasn’t much better for the rest of the fleet.

It helps the numbers add up quickly when you can catch them four at a time.



Day 5 – Riding aboard the Billy Holten boat Haphazard for today’s action with Capt. Will.  Mate Joey’s dad and some friends are the anglers.  Still blowing and heavy clouds with rain.  Salt spray galore.  We did see some action on top and lots of birds.  Managed to tag most of the fish we released.




Day 6 – Aboard the Keen M with Capt. Arch.  One of the smaller boats in the fleet, but with a single angler it makes for the perfect platform for me to ride along and get some shots.  The winds seems to have let up some at dawn and it continues to drop off all day long.  Heavy sky early with our first hour of fishing spent in the rain.  Once that passed it still looked threatening but somehow cleared out and made for a pretty day.  Not many multiple hookups today, as expected with only one angler, but the action was steady all day.

Almost all our fish were caught under the birds and not trolling between bunches.  What a show.  I could spend hours watching these animals feeding on Sardines.  An amazing display of flight.  We ran well to the North and had plenty of room to work.  The bite today was pretty good for the whole fleet.  We ended up releasing in the low 20’s.

A few fish even cooperated and put on a good show near the boat.



Day 7 – Another day with Capt Arch on the Keen M.  The wind has changed direction and the ugly weather is rumored to be clearing.  Lightest wind I’ve seen in 8 days.  Morning clouds that break up mid morning and give way to some welcomed sunshine.  We run up North and find scattered bait and birds on top.  Plenty to go round so each boat has their own spot to work.


Today was one of those days when very few of the fish we hooked would jump for the camera.  Ended up shooting lots of birds today.  Captured some nice shots of these animals interacting.




Day 8 – One more trip aboard the Qualifier to wrap up this photoshoot.  It’s all coming together as the wind backs off and the sun comes out.  A perfect day to join Ellen Peel of The Billfish Foundation for her first time fishing the Isla Bank.  Fishing and shooting conditions were great, but the clear highlight of the day was seeing and hearing the emotion of Ellen as she reacted to the incredible sights that this fishery offers. We ran up North and found the birds and bait.  Solid non stop action all morning with Sailfish.


A surprising number of Wahoo bites today.  On several occasions a pack of them would clean out the spread.  Sadly, one did managed to get lip hooked.
Ellen even found time to do some work.  Here she presents a  vertical wall trophy to local mate Sinapo Sinay for TBF’s Sailfish Top Tagging Mate 2011.

And what could be cooler than having a dock party dinner with Sir Richard Branson. Here he took a moment to pose with Anthony’s daughters and friends.

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Posted in fishing report, published, travel on March 27th, 2011 by Scott

 (© Scott Kerrigan/AquaPaparazzi.com)

The April/May issue of Marlin Mag has hit the street. This issue features an Atlantic Sailfish flipping around in the wash behind the charter boat Pelican in the waters off Isla Mujeres. This cover photo is cropped pretty heavy to isolate just the fish and it’s flared dorsal fin. What you don’t see is mate Josh on the wire and Capt. Arch at the wheel on that breezy February day. The fish were on top that morning and Arch put his anglers in some great action until the bait disappeared and we switched back to trolling.

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Posted in fishing report, travel on May 25th, 2010 by Scott

I’m in Isla Mujeres this week and happen to be overlapping one of the annual fishing tournaments held here on the island. This event is the Gran Torneo de Pesca and is unlike any other tournament I have ever seen. For staters, the prizes for first thru tenth place are on display in a parking lot. And as far as tournament trophy’s go, they are very useful. First place is an SUV, second is a pickup truck, third is a compact car, fourth is Ponga skiff, and fifth thru tenth are various levels of mopeds and scooters. Lets just say that most of the participants aboard the 114 boats entered are a wee bit motivated to do well in this one. The target species (in order of highest points to lowest) are Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Wahoo, Dorado, Tuna, Kingfish, Barracuda, and other. One fish from each category can be weighed each day for each team. This other category lets you pick one more fish to bring in each day, such as a Bonita, AJ, snapper, grouper, etc. They have a minimum length for the billfish and a 10lb minimum for the meat fish. Note the missing Sailfish category. The Sailfish is obviously the most common and revered fish here and forces teams to use all their skills to place in this event.

Day 1 of 2 – It’s blowing today. They say it’s been blowing for the last two weeks now. This sure is unusual weather for late May. I catch a ride with Tammy and Dave aboard the 59′ Spencer boat Double Trouble. They decide to go long odds and run 30 miles South to the edge down below Punta Morales. A 33 knot cruise and a Carolina ride make this seem easy even with 20+ knots of wind. Little or no crowd down there but the fishing was slow. They did manage to catch a small undersized White, an undersized Wahoo, a keeper Dorado, and an undersized Kingfish. Then the current changed and the weed moved in and things shut down. The evening weigh in is a sight to see with a line for your moment at the scale snaking well down the dock. One Blue and many whites were brought in today along with plenty of grande meat fish.

Day 2 – The same or even more wind today. Again riding aboard the Double Trouble. Today Dave runs out front of Isla with the bulk of the fleet and we start in deep water. Out here the current runs strong and I mean to tell you it was rough on the deep side of the edge. Several keeper Dorado and a fat 18lb Bonita go in the box early. A White teases in half way then peels off without eating. Then a long lull before another White appears on the bridge teaser and eats a flat line. While pulling drag this keeper size White pops up behind a long rigger and goes ahead and eats that before pulling off both rods seconds later. Terrible luck.

Day 3 – Riding with Anthony aboard the Keen M today. Wind conditions have improved slightly from yesterday as it appears the weather is going to do what the forecasters say it will do – improve. Only a few boats out today. We pick away all day and end up with 20 billfish bites total (3 white Marlin and 17 sailfish) and a Blue Marlin sighting. Also plenty of Dorados, from peanut to 30lbs. Spent about 30 minutes live baiting a Bonita on some wire as it’s not too late to see a Mako up on the bank. We saw one Whale Shark on the ride in.

Day 4 – The weather is getting nicer everyday. We went deep early and had three white marlin bites along with some nice Dorados. Ended up running inshore for the late afternoon sail bite. Ended up with 21 billfish bites today. We saw several large turtles while trolling. Good solid fishing for late May.

Day 5 – Calm and sunny today with a nice gaffer Dorado right out of the gate. Then a deepwater Sailfish shows up and finds a hook. Not long after a welcomed White Marlin makes a showing. Lots of jumps and photos. A few more sails in the afternoon complete the day.

Day 6 – Flat calm today. Deep early with not much action. A few sail bites and a gaffer Dorado. No signs of the White Marlin. We spend about an hour bouncing a bait on the bottom in 1100 feet of water looking for a daytime Swordfish. No bites. Only a cookie cutter shark on the bait when we wound up (above). A move to the inshore zone in the afternoon was quiet also. A few sail bites to be had. Our final push was to try to catch dinner and the Mangrove Snapper and Gag Grouper were very excited to see our baits. The action was fast and furious for the short time we spent at it. Even caught two snapper on one live bait – a double hooked Cigar Minnow (below).

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Posted in fishing report on March 15th, 2010 by Scott

The reports are coming in from Mexico and the Qualifier has reached a milestone. The newest 56′ Paul Mann custom boat went to Isla Mujeres for it’s maiden voyage and boy did they do it in style. This boat was tuned in right out of the box and never stopped raising fish. They just finished up their winter push and stopped fishing with 1000 Sail fish released over 49 days. Not bad for a first trip. Just wait until they get everything dialed in. Congrats Fin, Chris, and Sinapo for an incredible season opener. Now keep that roll going for some of those tournaments back home.

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Posted in movie on March 14th, 2010 by Scott

This 30″ clip shows a dwindling ball of Sardines getting eaten by a pack of hungry Atlantic Sailfish. An incredible displays of animal feeding behavior to watch from the sidelines. It goes on and on and on … until that final Sardine is gone. Yum!

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Posted in fishing report on February 20th, 2010 by Scott

Another wonderful visit with old friends and new ones is coming to an end as I pack my bags and head for the ferry dock. The fishing backed off a little yesterday as the wind came around to the East and it sprinkled rain during the day. Some bait balls were found in the early part of the day, then it was mostly trolling bites for the fleet. Everyone still ended up in double digits. I wish I’d seen the sun a little more this week but I’m leaving with some great sailfish shots and no complaints. I should have these captures posted on AquaPaparazzi.com next week.
Chris Cousteau swimming with a GIANT Manta Ray. We found an area where we saw a dozen of these swimming on the surface along with schools of smaller rays. And each one of the big rays had it’s own school of Sardines in tow.
Carnival on Isla and dancing in the streets.
Andrea relaxing on the dock in-between Carnival performances.

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Posted in fishing report on February 18th, 2010 by Scott

The wind is blowing and it’s cold in the Yucatan. Locals tell me that this is the longest cold spell they can remember. The good news is that the annual push of Atlantic Sailfish is going on strong. With the brisk North wind come the sails. And this week they are here in force. And the report is that they have been here and biting very well for several weeks now. It appears to be one of the quieter winter fishing seasons in a while with regard to the transient sportfishing boats. Sad for those who aren’t here, good for those who did make it. I arrived just behind a strong winter front and barely brought enough clothes to pull it off. A brief stay but boy am I seeing some fish. If I count the sails in the spread, tailing, and feeding under the birds, I’m seeing hundreds of sails each day. The conditions are right for fishing the birds, and this also makes for some world class trolling in between bunches. I’ve fished several days aboard the newest Paul Mann boat Qualifier, and also aboard the Keen M. Both boats have put me in the meat each day.I’ve only been trying to get this shot for a few years now … a bait ball of Sardines on the move with dozens of Sailfish and Frigate birds picking away.

Frigate birds battling Sailfish for a fresh Sardine meal.

What they lack in size, the Atlantic Sail makes up for in attitude.

Every so often, one special fish comes along and displays the most magnificent rich colors of blues, green, and gold.

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Posted in fishing report on February 8th, 2010 by Scott

This just in from the front line. Anthony Mendillo from Isla Mujeres called me this morning to tell me about Tuesday’s action aboard his charter boat “Keen M”. Every once in a while the moon and the stars align and last Tuesday was one of those days. So many things have to fall in place for it to happen: weather conditions, the ideal skilled angler, and the perfect mix of bait and birds. It doesn’t hurt that Anthony is one of the best Sailfish charter captains and the most observant student of their behavior. A nice early start put Anthony in the birds and bait at first light and his angler Nassim Joaquin went to work. Nassim is very familiar with the routine since he lives locally and charters the Keen M whenever conditions look ideal for fly fishing. When the day ended, they managed to get the release of 12 fish, and lost countless other every which way possible. The local record (and Atlantic record?) was 10 releases on fly. That was set a few years ago by another team of ace fisherman, angler Joe Zimmer and Captain Butch Cox aboard the Prime Time. Way to go Anthony!

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Posted in travel on January 3rd, 2010 by Scott

After a wonderful week of holiday fun with our families in FLL, Maria and I thought we would take break on our way home. This year we picked the familiar comforts of Isla Mujeres Mexico to spend a few days before heading back to the fast pace of LA. We are so fortunate to have friends like Anthony and Kin Mendillo who between the two of them have everything land and sea covered. Anthony’s charter fishing operation is world class and Kin’s boutique hotel is a quiet paradise. Hard to resist that combination of talent from these friends of 20 years. I didn’t get out on the water this visit, although Anthony was booked every day by anglers who are realizing that late December is not to early to catch the Sailfish up on the bank. The day after we arrived he was conventional fishing and found the sails on the birds and bait close to the island. He ended up releasing 15 for 20 something bites. Incredible billfish action considering his Lilly M was only one of a couple of boats out. The next few days his charter was throwing the fly and was catching a couple a day for double digit bites. All this in the breezy conditions that come with the winters cold fronts.

Did I mention I have a thing for pork. I tend to seek it out everywhere I travel. I could live on the stuff. And one of the earliest pork dishes that I can remember craving and pining for is a signature dish of the Yucatan called Cochinita Pibil. A slow roasted and seasoned pulled pork taco is a Sunday breakfast ritual.

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