Rodless Jim Charter On the Marla IV


Wish I Was Fishing!
Sep 9, 2004
West LA
Hi Guys,

Just got home from a 3-day adventure on the Rodless Jim (Long Range Board) charter on the Marla IV out of PV.

Rodless Jim has been talking about how the fishing out of PV with the Osuna brothers and the big tuna they catch for a long time. Jim put together the Rodless charter and myself, Mike Silver and Max Macias signed on. Jim playing the charter master put the trip together and also had some very nice unexpected swag.

The trip started with Max and me by leaving out of LAX to PV and flying in on a Friday afternoon. We landed at the PV airport and Jim and Mike were waiting for us as we exited the airport. Jim promised us a sign with our names, but he missed that part. Mike lives in Boca in Florida and this was a trip Jim wanted to share with his longtime relative and close friend. Jim promised as delivered on a trip for Mike.

One of many of the personal touches that the Osuna brothers provided was that Roberto picked us at the airport. We didn't need to take a cab or Uber to the docks as we already had a free ride. Roberto picked us up and took us to the Marla IV and we meet captain Scott and his son the deckhand for the trip Scott Jr. Since we had time, Roberto and Max went to get us some of the best carne asada tacos for dinner. Max later told me, they also went to Roberto's house nearby the harbor and picked up some stuff and he meets some of Roberto's family. Max mentioned meeting Roberto's mother and also meeting his son. His 7-year old son was nice enough to give us some Marla hats. Max was telling us at the boat how he thought Roberto's son would be a great businessman one day as he was asking Max all sorts of questions about what he wanted in hats.

Once they returned with the tacos from a nearby restaurant, we took off to try to make some squid before hitting the Tres Marias. The boat was already loaded up with food and beverages (beer, soda, and water all included in the fare) and we were ready to head out to the fishing grounds. Scott stopped the boat outside the harbor and loaded up with a tank full of some of the best looking Caballito for bait from the bait panga. We also stopped someplace in the middle of the night and tried to catch squid, but with the moon out no luck on catching them by the crew. I wasn't up for making bait (a west coast term as Mike had never heard of the term) as I was exhausted. One of the great things about fishing with the Osuna was that bait making was not mandatory for the passengers. On the San Diego long-range boats, making bait is mandatory and everyone's participation is expected regardless of how tired you are.

Next morning we wake up at dusk at the islands and we are set up for fishing. The Marla fishing provides all top notch gear and terminal tackle. A nice change from LR fishing where I bring EVERYTHING. For this trip, I wanted to learn how the professionals do things and to watch and learn. The Marla provides top-notch Okuma Makaira reels and Super Seeker/Calstar rods. They use the best fluorocarbon leaders and the best-proven hooks. As I told my friends, the Osuna do this day in and day out and if things didn't work, they wouldn't be using it for long.

Now to the fishing, since this was my trip to learn. Scott, Roberto, and Junior put out the rigs. Cabbies on double trouble on two helium balloons. 5 rods with fly lined cabbies. One of the things that the Marla does is put the bait out and put the rod in the rod holder or trolling strap with the clicker on with just enough drag to prevent the line going out. Soon after the lines were out, we had our first bite. Jim as the charter master put in the fishing rotation before the trip. Mike, Max, me and then Rodless. The first fish takes the first bait and the drag is screaming while still grey light and Mike is up to bat.

Mike while being a very experienced Florida fisherman, this was his first taste of this type of west coast fishing. Mike first started trying to pump the tuna, but you can't do that with the quality of fish on the islands. Mike learns over time that the rail is your friend and learns to rail fish. The fish is a beast and about 180lbs and does huge circles just out of reach of the gaff on the bow. As the fight is going on, I look over nearby and see tuna crashing on bait, a sight to see like in the National Geographics. The Marla has a very nice rail setup and I have to say which is excellent for rail fishing. After a long fight, Mike brings the fish to gaff and we see our first famous Tres Maria's big tuna. The fish had nice long sicles and Mike was exhausted from fighting the fish. A great first big fish experience for Mike.

Next thing you know another reel is peeling drag and we have another tuna on. Max is up and he is a veteran of LR fishing style and he's fighting the fish. Then we get another bite almost immediately and yours truly is up and my friend and I are both fighting our perspective fishes. Both fishes are good 80lbers and give us quick refresher on fishing big tuna.

Corrections below.

We wait for a few minutes and the balloon starts to go down and FISH ON! Rodless is up and he gets to do battle with his big tuna. Jim fights his fish and does a great job of using the rail to bring up his fish. His fish ended up going about 170ish and is also a nice grade.

Max reminded me that Mike was still on his first fish. :D He was having a fish of a lifetime experience and getting a good work out.

Another fish take a cabbie and since Mike was still on and Max turn is up again. Another nice one hits the deck for Max and by this time Mike had finally finished his fish.

Let me get the food out of the way. Let's say, we were always full and food wise, the food was great! Roberto did a great job as the chef. Very authentic Mexican food. For breakfast, we had chopped fresh fruit with yogurt and granola. Then for brunch, we had eggs and sausage and hash browns or eggs and chorizo or bacon. Lunch we had things like fresh blue trevally ceviche (which Mike caught). For dinner, Roberto got the BBQ grill out and we had carne asada steaks and sausage on the grill. Tuna belly ceviche was awesome. We also had seared ahi with rice and bacon cheeseburger with fries. Chifajitasjitas with rice, We were stuffed at all times and something for everyone's taste.

The bite shuts off after those fishes and we sit it out and drink the free beer, soda, and water and just enjoy the beautiful site. The weather was perfect, a bit humid for me being from LA. But, very manageable and the islands were just beautiful.

That evening after the sun goes down, Scott moves the boat out to catch squid. He puts on the sea anchor (drift socks) and we the passenger goes to sleep after the carne asada steak dinner.

Second day.

I wake up the next morning and the crew and Mike had caught squid. These squids were about 12" long and perfect for fly lining. So, back to the same area as the day before at dusk and we do the whole thing again. Two balloons with double trouble. The Marla does a thing where they have one squid and one cabbie on the double trouble. A smorgasbord of bait on the line. We fly line the squid and cabbie and put into the rod holder and strap and wait. It was nice to be able to sit and talk and wait for the bite instead of holding the rod and reel all day.

A fish takes one of the squids almost immediately and I am on a nice 170ish fish. Nice fish and nice pull on the line and fight. With the top-notch gear provided by Marla, I was able to use the rail and bring the fish in. The fish made some nice long runs, but it had no chance.

After my fish, we have a triple hook up. First, the bow rod and then the middle and the one at the stern drag and clickers are going off. Max goes to the bow and bumps up the drag lever and the line parts after a long run. We hand over the two rods to Jim and Mike and those two start to fight the fish. Something is funny as Jim starts to wind, Mike's fish lightens up. What we found out when we decked the boat, the one tuna had eaten both baits. Tag teamed fish is brought aboard and the next bait goes off. Jim being the charter master, said that Max was up as he counted the tag-teamed fish as one fish each.

Max fights his fish and it's pulling hard and while Max is fighting his fish, another fly lined squid goes off. My turn and I am at the bow pulpit fighting the tuna. I found out I like fighting the fish up there and don't have to worry about rubbing against the boat. I finish off 160ish fish and when I go with my fish on the gaff to the stern, Max is still at the stern fighting his larger model. Max's fish does these long runs and he is having fun. His fish taped over 200 and Max gets his cow.

Another fish takes a bait and Jim turn is up again. Jim after fighting his fish in the beautiful islands and boats a nice 170lber model.

Then the bite totally dies out and Scott decides that we will go try for some roosterfish by the beach. Roberto and Scott Jr. put out the bird with these small squids and we troll by the beach to catch skipjacks. The skipjacks when we catch them at Hurricane Banks are like huge, but these skipjacks off the beach are about 2 to 3 lbs. We would troll and catch them and put them into the tuna tubes. After catching about 6 of them Roberto bridles the bait and we slow troll them along the beach. The beach was the beautiful deep blue and we enjoy cruising and looking at the island with the sand and hills and clear blue water. We had strikes on the bait, but nothing sticks.

The crew also gave us spinning rods with poppers and stick bait and Mike cast one out and catches a blue trevally we had for lunch that day.

Third and final day.

Just as the night before, Scott moves the boat out to the squid grounds and puts out the sea anchor. For me, it' is time fo have some tequila shots with Max and Mike and Jim with their cocktail and have a drink and go to sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom and see the entire crew and Mike making bait. I go back to sleep. Did I tell you how it's nice to not have to make bait?

Next time I wake up, we are back at the fishing ground and as the day before. Balloons and double trouble and fly lined squid and cabbies. We didn't have to wait long and I forgot what order, but Mike got another fish. By this time, Mike was becoming an expert on rail fishing and was having fun and not getting worked. Max and I get twin 150s and Jim got a nice fish also.

Again like the last two days, after the morning the bite shuts down. We sit it out and then late afternoon, Scott moves the boat to another area way up the island. No luck on the tuna, but Mike got a roosterfish on a bait soaked on the bottom with a sinker and Jim gets a reef fish too.

And waiting it out, it's time to go home.

Back to the docks and going home.

Jim had told Danny Osuna that Mike, Max and I would like to take some fish home. The Marla IV had a vacuum pack machine and the first fishes we caught on the first day were fillets and put into vacuum bags and put into the freezer for us to take home. Again, this was all free and included in the price. Even their mother was nice enough to go to Sam's Club and pick up bag coolers for us to take fish home. You just cannot beat the service of the Marla operation.

Danny meets us at the docks and took us to breakfast while Roberto and Jr. got the bags of fish ready to travel. We had a nice breakfast paid by Rodless and back to the boat, pick up the 50lbs of fish and onto the airport. Danny dropped us off and we were ready to go home.

Final thoughts.

Rodless did a fantastic job of as a first-time charter master. Jim coordinated all the business with Marla and brought us custom shirts with our names on the back. Channel lock cutters custom cord wrapped by Jim himself. And Jim also picked up the booze before the trip. Thanks again, Jim.

Marla sports fishing is a top notch operation. I've fished LR for a few decades and also have done trips at the east cape and at other locations. Marla provides the utmost personal service. Pick up at the airport, drop off at the airport. Vacuum pack your fish and feed you until you can't eat anymore. Free drinks to include beer. Free use of all fishing gear. I mean, there is nothing you need to bring for the trip other than your personal clothing and toiletries. They also speak perfect English as they spent sometime in their childhood in the US. Infact, Danny and Scott are US citizens.

I want to thanks Scott, Roberto and Scott Jr. for providing us with a great experience that we will always remember. Danny for dropping us off at the airport.

If you want the opportunity to pull on huge fish and not spend two weeks plus, this is the way to go and myself and my friends cannot wait to come back next year.

Min - AKA Harddrive

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Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
Great start!
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I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 20, 2008
Bodega Bay
Karl Kobler
2008 World Cat 320 EC twin Mercury v8 300 Verado “Freedom”
What an EPIC trip!!! You're right, the Osuna's are first class all way around...can't wait to go fish with them again!


Feb 11, 2007
The "718"
A big Steel One
Great trip!

Nice to have no worries but to get to the boat on time!


Well-Known "Member"
Oct 1, 2010
Congrats to all for a great trip, I hope we can duplicate the success on our trip next week with the Osunas. This will be my second trip with them in three months, your report got me all pumped up, thank you.
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Well-Known "Member"
Dec 1, 2005
Las Vegas, NV
Barry Gambarana
17' Boston Whaler


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 3, 2008
Mexico, DF, Mexico
Strictly a Rider
So it's not my thread because it's not my story to tell. I'll just give the background, and my commentary.

Michael is my brother's brother-in-law (his sister is married to my brother). We met at the wedding some 20 years ago, and we have always gotten along...maybe because he is (and always has been) a fanatical angler. And, like I used to be, he was an East Coast/Florida angler, fishing for Dorado, Wahoo, Sailfish, Kingfish, and other tasty critters. He catches yellowfin the Bahamas where a 70lb tuna is a really big one.

You can take it for granted that I keep showing him photos of big West Coast Yellowfin. I've been trying to get him on a 16-day forever, but he has young daughters, and he just won't spend that kind of vacation time away from his family. I admire that, actually...

So we were both in Tampa this past January for our niece's Bat Mitzvah, and he'd had enough. "Jim isn't there a way we can catch big tuna without spending three weeks away?" "Well," I replied, "there's always Puerto Vallarta..." Then I explained about the fishing there. That was Saturday night. Sunday morning I see him sitting with his family, and he immediately says "If you are willing to set up a Puerto Vallarta trip, I'm in."

Then I was totally stuck. I've been ribbing him for so long, now I couldn't back out. Besides, it's true that harddrive and I have been talking about doing one of these trips for a long time. For one reason or another, we never pulled the trigger, but it was always a possibility lurking there.

So how did harddrive and maxmacias end up on the trip? Well, I told a few different people about the trip, and that there were two, maybe three spots open. A lot of people expressed interest, but never followed through. It's hard to commit to a trip like that with no real knowledge of the place or the fishery. The difference for me is that I have fished there before with friends, and I have fished there with Danny Osuna. I didn't know about the Marla IV as a vessel, but I knew all about the quality of the captains. I had no worries.

That's how it came on me to be charter master, and make the arrangements. I am not the only one of the four who speaks Spanish (Max is fluent), but I am the only one who livers in Mexico, and the only one who knows Marla. So I took the initiative.

I'm glad I did.

I had an awesome trip. I especially loved that everybody I invited had a fantastic time and got big fish (especially Michael). We had great weather, great fishing, and great company. One anecdote: Mike and I hooked the same fish, and landed it with two identical circle hooks next to each other in the corner of the fish's mouth. Michael will tell you that he did all of the heavy lifting. Suffice it to say that I have a different perspective. Either way, that fish was toast.

The rest of the story really isn't mine to tell. Maybe I can get Mike to sign up here at Bloody Decks and post his thoughts.

What I do need to mention is the Marla Sportfishing operation. They are every bit as good and dedicated as harddrive has already said. The quality of service is beyond anything you might expect (yes, they do speak English). We had three crew for four anglers, awesome food, all the beer and soft drinks we could drink. Water too.

The gear is Long Range quality. Super Seeker rods (6463XXXX standard heavy gear) and Makaira reels, very well maintained and loaded with spectra. They use short fluoro top shots (about 15') of high quality fluorocarbon.

ASIDE: FG Knots and San Diego Jams. Never a failure. Hooks were various, including Owner, Mustad, and Hayabusa

The guys made bait (squid and skippies), and literally worked their collective asses off to get us fish. We lost none that were properly hooked, and they took enormous pride in that fact.

Harddrive mentioned the rides to and from the airport, but it was more than that. I had already done the advance shopping that morning, but Roberto picked us up ready and willing to run pre-trip errands. They had the beer and soft drinks we wanted, enough bottled water to float the boat. I already had the Tequila and Rum. So on the way to the boat, we asked about where we could go for tacos on the day we returned. Roberto asked us if we liked tacos, and said there was a good place to go right there in the village. So in point of fact, we delayed our departure from the docks so we could get tacos to go...

Hey, not every trip is going to be like ours...some are better! No matter what, though, Marla Sportfishing is always on the ball. They never get lazy, they never mail it in. I have fished literally all over the world. I have never seen a charter operation like this one. They are the real deal.

Min, Max, and Michael: thanks for coming!
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I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 20, 2008
Bodega Bay
Karl Kobler
2008 World Cat 320 EC twin Mercury v8 300 Verado “Freedom”
Jim, you are so on point about the Marla's. I did a 3.5 day trip with them which had insanely tough conditions, but they worked their asses off 24/7 to get us on fish!
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The Bushman

The Bushman
Mar 5, 2005
El Cajon
Ken Bush
everyone elses
Great write up Min...and awesome job on the videos. Looks like everyone had a fantastic time. Great job Jim on being CM.
In already looking forward to fishing with the Osunas in Jan. Can't wait!
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I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 11, 2005
san Diego
Nice Report Min!!
Glad I didn't have to wait for chapter 2,3,4 and 5 in 2019 by Jim. Lol!!

Jim can't wait to see you again in SD. If you do this trip again, let me know. I will have something special for you and the boys!!
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