About 12 years ago, Capt. John Lorenz made a trip down to a remote portion of Mexico's Pacific Coast to visit some of his wife's family. While there, he inquired about the local fishing, but figured he would need to make the 50-mile trek to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo on broken roads to find a boat. "No," his wife told him, "there's a little fishing village in Puerto Vicente." So Lorenz pulled into the small, rustic town and hired a local panga fisherman to take him out.
"I got on the boat, looked around and didn't see any rods and reels," Lorenz says. "I asked him how we were going to catch the fish, and he gave me a hand line. We went a mile or so offshore, and about 10 minutes into fishing, I caught a sailfish. The experience really rekindled this old-world spirit of Mexico in me, and I ended up buying a lot in town."
This sleepy fishing village remains relatively untouched by time or tourism. Tucked in the middle of the 150-mile stretch of coast known as the Costa Grande, which begins south of Acapulco and ends after Ixtapa-
Zihuatanejo near the industrial port of Lázaro Cárdenas, Puerto Vicente is a fisherman's paradise.
Lorenz built an adobe home at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains and then decided to go the distance and start a fishing operation. In October, 2001, he and his wife Angelica opened Bahia La Tortuga, catering to anglers who prefer laid-back living and action-packed fishing days over the busy tourist destinations that many of Mexico's best fishing spots have become.
Located 50 nautical miles south of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and 90 nautical miles north of Acapulco, the productive waters begin just 1 mile off the lodge, but are too far away for the large charter fleets in the neighboring cities to fish on a regular basis.
"Both Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Acapulco have received years of heavy pressure from recreational and commercial fishing. This is not the case in Puerto Vicente," Lorenz says. "While flocks of tourists head offshore from Acapulco or Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, customers at Bahia La Tortuga will be the only ones out on the water in our area."
The lodge also offers close proximity to some of the area's best structure. The Sierra Madre Mountains that run along Costa Grande extend into the sea, and the bottom drops off immediately, providing an ideal habitat for all migratory fish. Sailfish begin showing up in strong numbers in October, and peak action lasts until March. Black marlin averaging 250 to 500 pounds add to the mix in the spring. The yellowfin move in come May and last till August, and some of these topple the 200-pound mark. Inshore, roosterfish patrol the beaches year-round and readily tear up poppers, flies and live bait. The biggest draw here, however, is the sailfish.
The deeper water moves in very close to shore, and Lorenz starts trolling just 1 mile from the beach. From there, he never travels too far, usually staying within 10 miles of land. "The Sierra Madre Mountains funnel down right in front of the lodge, and all this structure extends offshore. We have two seamounts here - one at 6 miles and one at 8," he says. "The water here rises from 2,500 feet to about 180; we get over those mounds and just tear 'em up."