Our experts answer your most burning questions.

September 21, 2007

Setting Sail
Q: My wife and I recently fished in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and caught dolphin and sailfish. I was surprised when the captain told us that we needed a fishing license and that there was a limit of two sailfish per day. Is there really a license fee? How about the limit on sailfish?
– Gary Baumgartner,
Mexico, Missouri

BETHGE: Mexican Law requires both a sportfishing license and a boat permit anytime you are in Mexican waters. In a charter-boat situation, the captain will likely have a boat permit, but you will need one if you take your own boat into Mexican waters. To sportfish, regulations dictate that everyone onboard must have a license whether they are fishing or not. License applications can be obtained by contacting: CONAPESCA, Oficina de Pesca, 2550 Fifth Ave., Suite 15, San Diego, CA 92103; (619) 233-4324; fax (619) 233-0344. By the way, when it comes to sailfish, most sportfishermen practice catch and release.

Get Loaded
Q: I’ve heard surfcasters talk about “loading” a plug, but I’m not sure what that means. Can you explain how this is done and what the advantages are?
– Ed Backus,
Fairfield, New Jersey


CERMELE: “Loading” refers to drilling a small hole in a hollow plastic plug, such as a Bomber, and filling it with water. This adds weight for casting distance. Anglers will typically seal the hole with a plug of wood cut from a dowel. Some sharpies vary the amount of water so a floating plug becomes bottom-heavy and will sit diagonally for better action when it’s twitched near the surface. You can also load the lure with bunker oil and use a smaller diameter plug to fill the hole so it leaks slowly, creating a scent trail. If you want to amp up the sound the plug produces, hold the water and drop in some BBs.

Fresh approach
Q: Mepps spinners are killer lures for bass and trout in inland lakes and streams, but are seldom used in salt water. Is there a salt water application for these types of spinners that works?
– Arthur Glowka,
Stamford, Connecticut

DIBENEDETTO: There have been countless fresh water lures that have made the leap to the salt. The plastic worm comes to mind first-it spawned an entire genre of salt water baits. I’ve never used a Mepps spinner in coastal waters, but I’m sure it would work. I’d choose a No. 3 Aglia and simply swap out the fresh water hook for a salt water version. Then I’d cast to redfish on the flats, seatrout under the lights and stripers around rocky points. I’d be shocked if it didn’t work.


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