the marla IV, puerto vallarta - january 23-27, 2020


Senior Member
the marla IV, puerto vallarta - january 23-27, 2020

this was my third trip with the osuna brothers this winter season.  the first two were november and december, and then this third trip on the marla VI in january.  there was a possible trip in february that fell through and one in march that i think is still going to happen.  more on that later.  

so these guys really are that good.  when we first started with them 5 years ago, scotty and danny had the 36 foot blackfin with few modifications.  we knew we needed some vacuum packers and bags, and we also brought some gear.  the forward cabin had only the queen size bed and one of our guys slept there, the port cabin had two small bunks and two of our guys slept there, and the galley had a cushioned bench and i slept there.  we actually did fairly well that trip, but it was tough fishing because the bow rail was low and there was no rail around the rear deck at all.  their rods were custom seeker 2x4's made by one of their customers, dr. dennis, and they were great.  it's just that the reels were badly beat up avets and they were not getting the job done.  

during that very first trip 5 years ago, danny osuna was asking me about reels, particularly the okuma makaira reels.  do i recommend them?  of course!  so now, the marla IV is fully equipped with seeker rods, makaira 50's, 20's and 15's (you can find makairas everywhere in pv now), a $1k vacmaster chamber vac, aremodeled forward cabin with four bunks, there is a new higher bow rail and a new rail around the rear deck, both perfect height.  the marla IV is starting to show her age, but it's still an awesome fishing platform.  and even though it is a smaller boat, we wanted to fish this boat again because we only rotate through four guys, so your chance of fighting a fish are increased.  for this trip would be ben tsutaoka, david hall, myself and, representing western canada, todd johansson.

over the years, we started packing less and less.  now it's no rods, no reels, really no tackle at all.  they have great gear on board already.  you do need a couple of insulated cooler bags to bring fish back, about a hundred 8x12 inch vacuum seal bags for the fish, a couple of changes of clothes, and a shaving kit, plus your wallet, cell phone, glasses and passport.  remember those last four! but not having to tote alot of extra  stuff around makes this an easy trip to pack for.  

january 23rd, 2020

it's an easy flight.  the osuna make it even easier by picking you up at the airport.  the one thing you do need is a stop along the way at the local mega super market for a few extra provisions!!!!!


this is probably one of my most favorite sights, the marina at la cruz!


ben is already starting to unpack.


the next order of business is dinner at oso.  that's the restaurant right at the top of the dock.  after all these years, diego finally recognizes us.  the tequilas are always filled straight to the top!


another favorite view!


we had a slight delay with dinner.  ben, dave and i all flew in at the same time and arrived in the early afternoon.  todd was arriving from canada just a few hours later.  we decided to wait for him to start dinner, but not drinks.  that was a mistake.  it was chips, salsa and oysters rockefeller, and way too much beer and tequila.  no bueno.....


by the time todd finally got to the restaurant, we were pretty lit!  some other people joined us as well.  the back row from left to right is ben tsutaoka, my friends gary phillips and paul rowles who both live in puerto vallarta part time, and dave hall.  seated from left to right is todd johansson, me, "v" who is the girl that handles the local bookings, and her friend adam.  


i do remember making it back to the boat!!!!


january 24th, 2020

one of my superpowers is the ability to fall asleep instantly, and stay asleep for as long as needed.  i must have been exhausted, because i think i slept 10 straight hours while we ran overnight out to the islands.  


todd landed a dorado that we cut up and had for dinner.  it was great!

nothing else happened the rest of the day, then scotty hooked up on a flat fall.  todd was still first up and landed a nice 104 pound yellowfin. quick and easy!


then nothing for a couple of more hours until i hooked another fish on a flat fall.  this time it was on a mak 15 and a light custom rod, maybe a seeker 6470.  dave was next up, but he was in the head, so it was passed off to ben.  this fish taped out at 204 and hit the deck after a 25 minute fight.  


being able to filet, vacuum pack and freeze your catch within an hour after it hits the deck is HUGE!!!!!!


january 25th, 2020

day two of fishing and no tuna at all.  we had one tuna hit the balloon but it broke off.  we did manage to score a dorado.  that was dave's consolation prize for missing the big fish from the previous night.


otherwise it was a long, brutal day of nothing.  i think i spent most of the time sleeping!


january 26th, 2020

ok, last day.  let's make something happen!  well, the food was good.  for this trip, we had umberto cooking for us.  we were getting fed 5 meals a day!


dave finally hooked up on the balloon after we missed two earlier.  it taped out at 70 pounds.


i never did get to land one, but we were treated to a beautiful sunset and dinner!



january 27th, 2020

running back over night was one of the smoothest boat rides i can ever remember.  we pulled in at 7:30 and had breakfast at the la cruz inn on the plaza.  annette and cirillo run the place and it's really nice.  then we went over to see the new boat.  yeah, it's nice.


it's a 50 foot delta.  except for the original engines, the boat has undergone a complete refit.  


there are two huge bait tanks, one for cabellitos and the other for squid.


the insulated fish boxes are massive, and the ice maker feeds ice directly into the fish box.


lots of rod storage where you need it.


and nothing to get in your way when you need things clear.


easy access to the engines.


a beautiful galley.


a combined head and shower with an on board water maker and plenty of water storage.  


two bunk rooms.  i hopped onto the bunks and they're great!



two huge freezers.


a really nice electronics package.  


so, a special note about the rails.  this is something that i spoke to danny about 5 years ago, this being able to rail a fish and land it quickly.  it's something that they realized would be a tremendous advantage.  using the rail, you can land a big fish quickly.  we land these big fish in under 30 minutes, not 3 hours.  it's a huge advantage.  i would actually to so far as to say that i consider it to be the most ethical way to land these big fish.  well, here is your rail.  you can easily walk around the boat all you want.  the rail is the perfect height, no matter where you are.  we'll just call it the "NTNC."  talk about awesome.......


the flight home was easy, the fish were frozen when i got home, i still had my wallet, glasses, cell phone and passport, and my wife has still not served me with divorce papers.  life is good!