this will be my fourth trip to puerto vallarta to fish with the osuna brothers and marlas sportfishing. i wasn't sure i'd be able to make it this year, but everything worked out. i've got this routine down pretty well - pack light, bring the soft sided insulated coolers for fish, vacuum seal bags, a shaving kit 4 days worth of beach clothes. i also bring my own rods and reels, but the gear on the boat is perfect, so it's not really needed. december 1st, 2017 - alaska airlines has been the best way to go. sfo to puerto vallarta is $400 round trip. if you can travel with a friend and you have the alaska airlines credit card, you can get a $20 companion fare and even a break on checked luggage. good bye san francisco! passing over my home port, half moon bay. you can see the big breakers at mavericks! my home in saratoga is actually down there somewhere! with onboard movies, the flight actually goes pretty quickly. hello, puerto vallarta! getting through customs this time was horrific. the line was over an hour and a half long. as usual, we met at the oxxo. it's the local "7/11" convenience store. scotty osuna met us there and loaded up his truck. the ride north to the marina riviera nayarit is 45 minutes. one stop for drinks and we are at the harbor. the gear gets stowed and it's time for dinner at osso. meet mark thomann and mike pate. dave hoffmann rounds out our quartet. it's cervesas and shots of don julio all around! seared tuna and all the other traditional dishes are on the menu. after multiple shots of don julio, we finally stagger back to the boat. note to self, never get into a drinking contest with dave. boy, it's nice to be back! scotty osuna will be out skipper once again. night falls quickly during the winter, even in mexico. we are looking at running all night. december 2nd, 2017 - welcome to tres marias. roberto osuna is our chef and deckhand. scotty osuna, jr., is 16 years old and will be boat flunky for this trip. basically good kid, but he will screw up big time later in the trip, as you will see. we're starting at the southern most island. lots of 30 to 100 pound fish. we will land 9 before the day is out. dave is first up and will catch several more before this day is done. mike landed two or three as well. one of the nicest additions to the boat for this year is a heavy duty vacuum sealer. it's a big improvement over the other units. the fish are cut up, bagged and sealed. then they go into a brine slush. they harden up quick! and from the brine slush, they go into the freezer. roberto doesn't have alot of room to work, but he comes up with some pretty tasty meals. december 3rd, 2017 - we are fishing the middle island today. we had plenty of 30 to 100 pound fish yesterday. today we are going after larger prey. i was first up. at first it felt like a dink, but it woke up when it got close to the boat. the new rail makes it easy for a short guy like me! it taped out at 215 pounds and the fight lasted 15 minutes. mike landed several fish yesterday. he missed a big one earlier in the morning, but landed this 80 pounder. mark was last. he's tall, i mean the poor guy is like a giraffe. this new rail helps shorter guys like me but is nearly useless for him because he is so tall. this monster taped out at 270 pounds! for anyone interested, mark had a united composite invictus that was custom wrapped by jon vadney and a makaira 50 with a 130 pound pink fluoro topshot. the drag was set to 45 pound at strike. roberto made us a great afternoon snack. this is the part where our three day fishing trip turned into a one and a half day fishing trip and a one and a half day boat ride. our bait rolled halfway through the second day. the only thing we can figure was that scotty jr. was scrubbing an electric skillet in the bait tank an hour before. we made bait that night and got some bait from a pangero the next morning, but never got a bite after the skillet incident. it may have cost mike and dave a shot at a cow. at least we still had plenty of tequila. december 4th, 2017 - flat seas, barely enough wind for a drift, and not a single bite all day. roberto made seared tuna for dinner and it was great! december 5th, 2017 - good morning, puerto vallarta! the ride to the airport was easy. the ice chest and the two insulated bags each contained 50 pounds of vacuumed packed filet. add a reel bag and a rod tube and that was my check in. the per person total cost for a trip like this for four man trip breaks down to $2175 for the boat ride per person, $325 each for a 15% tip, air fare and incidentals. my flight was $400. also add vacuum seal bags, meals and alcohol and ir brought the total up to $3000. it's a great value and a huge time saver compared to targeting similar fish out of san diego. definitely a bucket list item!