Fish Guatemala 

Parlama Sportfishing

The Tijereta Travels to Guatemala
This is the story of how a 25' Carver Diesel was picked up in Absecon, New Jersey and shipped to Guatemala to be Re-Fitted as a mini-Sportfisherman and Reflagged to Guatemala.
It Starts, February 6, 2010,

February 6, 2010, This is actually my first report on this page.  The boat a 25' Carver as noted above was loaded on a truck Friday morning and I have received confirmation that it has reached Miami.  It will now be loaded on a ship and transported to the port of Santo Tomas in Guatemala where the real adventure begins.  It will be up to Captain Dennis to handle all the Guatemalan customs and registration procedures.  When it is all Said and Done the boat will be flying a new Guatemalan Flag and will be christened "El Tirejeta del Mar" which is Spanish for " The Magnificent Frigate Bird"

 It will join the other boats of the Parlama (sea turtle) Fleet, 24' Cuddy Cabin outboard boats the "Tonina" (bottle nosed dolphin) and the "MantaRaya" (Manta Ray) to bring an economical alternative to gain access to the fantastic fishing that awaits on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala.  We still don't have a schedule,  but besides the paperwork we are going to do a small makeover and detailing to get it ready in Antigua where there are master carpenters and painters waiting to get at it.  With luck there is a possibility that we will be fishing for the "Semana Santa" which would give me a chance to send some lucky anglers down during the high season.

What is my intention is to make these pages the most complete Portal to Guatemala's Great Sportfishing and all the tourism wonders that are available there.  I plan to make this as un biased as possible and if I can get the blog pages up and running as they are supposed to I will be looking for any input I can get about all the categories that may be of interest.  You will note that I am including links to all the fishing pages I have found as well as a selection of options for Hotels and other types of places to stay and lots of other activities.  As I am including direct links to all available sites, the fact that you find them here is by no means saying that I am giving any kind of endorsement.  As I personally gain more knowledge I will be reporting my experiences with all my contacts. 

After all my first intention is to get you to decide to get out fishing on "El Tirejeta", but I know it is only one boat and many of you out there don't find price to be an object when picking your fishing trips.  I sure wish I had that problem!  In any case contact me so I can help you find the boat, and fishing package that really suits the way you want to fish.  Please keep an eye on these pages as I will do my best to keep them updated with the freshest reports and news from Guatemala possible.

February 19, 2010, Still waiting for the good word.  I did get an email from Capt. Dennis and basically what it said is that no news is no news.  Somehow there must have been a mix up in money transfers and the boat never got loaded in Miami Last week.  Hopefully the schedule puts it in port tomorrow.  The shipper forwarded the original papers and bills of laden so it appears that we are on tract.  I just clicked on the Spirit web site and checked on the fares for March and the prices have dropped substantially since when I last looked.  Round trip from AC to Guatemala is running about $325 total.  I don't know when we'll have the Tijereta on line, but Capt. Dennis has the Tonina and MantaRaya ready to fish and I'm sure openings are available.  At $375 a day for the charters I could have you down to Guatemala fishing sails and dorado for three days with a place to sleep for under $1,000 per person for a two man crew.  With three on the boat I probably can get you in the all inclusive with a night in Antigua for about the same price.  As soon as I book my dates I'll make sure I'm there to help you thru the the process and give you a hand onboard if you want.  

February 26, 2010,  It's Full Steam Ahead !! Finally after finding all the papers and paying all the taxes Capt. Dennis will have the Tijereta hauled up to Antigua today so we can finish the rigging and go fishing.  That is great news as I am sitting here in another blizzard and really can't wait to get down there.  I have my reservations and I will be traveling with my wife Judy and son Kevin next Wednesday.  We will be staying down until March 22 to allow enough time to get things set up right, hopefully catch a few fish and do a little relaxing and recuperation to get ready for the next New Jersey fishing season.  Of course the Store here in NJ will be open with my right hand Ray manning the counter and counting out the bloodworms. 

Now that I have firm dates when I will be in Guatemala if you want to meet me down there I'll do my best to see that you get the best trip possible.  In this day of electronic communication it is great that we can communicate so easily just click on this email link write me a line, and if I am where I can get at a computer I'll get back to you.  Unfortunately I am not equipted with all the latest portable technology so there may be some lag time.  If you are interested Ray will be able to give you a local phone number where I will be reached and you can call Capt. Dennis in Guatemala at 011-502-5704-4254 or 011-502-7832-7578 and he will help you as well.  Whatever keep checking back for the reports and pictures because I'm sure there will be some good ones.

March 8, 2010, A little wind out of my sails, but... progress is being made.  I've been in Guatemala about four days now and had to bring down some final paperwork to get the boat out of the Customs House.  Dennis and I thought it was going to happen last Friday, but of all things Friday was the Saint Day for Santo Tomas the Patron Saint of the port town and EVERYONE had a holiday.  Hopefully the boat will be released today and the plan is that Dennis is going to drive down to Puerto Santo Tomas this afternoon and bring it back tomorrow.  The ride down is about 5 1/2 hours and Dennis figures that the ride back will be about double that with a mostly uphill drive and traffic to deal with around Guatemala City to get back down to Antigua.  If that goes as planned I'll be heading down to Antigua to help with the rigging and I may still see the boat hit the water.
March 10, 2010, Finally a breakthrough ! I got a call from Dennis yesterday and all the paperwork has been approved! Now comes the real work.  His administrator has to makes some kind of final payment then I will go with Capt. Dennis on the ride to the Caribbean side of Guatemala to make the pickup. He still has to figure our exact plan and timetable because he is fishing today on one of his other boats, which will give me a report later, but what I see as the most difficult is figuring what would be the best time to negotiate the traffic here in Guatemala City.  This is truly a metropolitan city and since it was founded in the  1500's long before the Pilgrims even thought of heading to New England, which means the roadways are made for walking and horse carts and now the amount of cars per capita is approaching that of the United states.  There is a loop road which we will be using that goes from the Atlantic Road to the Pan American Highway which is where we have to go, but it still will be very crowded.  Before the boat left I repacked the trailer axels and the tires look good so I hope just to have an interesting uneventful HOT ride down the Atlantic Costal Plane.  I probably won't get back to this computer until after we get the boat together, but I'll leave updates on the other message boards.
March 21, 2010, The Trip is almost over, but the adventure begins ! Today it's pack the bags and have a "despidida" with the family to catch a plane tomorrow.  I know I haven't had a chance to update the reports for the last ten days, but everything is finally rolling along like it should even though we are almost a month off of what I hoped would be our schedule.  Last weekend was a quick family trip down to the Esquintla area where my brother in law's family has a small vacation rancho where we spend a night catching up on old times and catching a few cocktails, and sweating them out in the costal heat.  But it was back here to the city by noon Sunday to have Capt. Dennis pick me up along with his able employee, Carlos to head down to Puerto Barrios to spend the night before facing the bureaucracy of the Customs house of Puerto Santo Tomas on Monday morning.  I hope to get a chance to get a better description of the process, but even though a huge number of people had previously checked the papers and all taxes had been paid , Dennis and I had to don reflective vests and hard hats and present the paperwork to at least five more offices before we were finally allowed to leave the Customs Area of Puerto Santo Tomas.  After arriving at the Bank at 8:30 in the morning to start the process, we crossed the gate at almost noon exactly.

I have to admit I had my doubts about getting that 9,000 pound monster up the hill with Dennis' Ford Ranger Diesel truck , but it definitely was up for the task.  The only slight setback was that we blew the hose to the turbo and when sucking air we couldn't keep up the uphill rpms.  After a couple quick patches with tape that didn't hold up to the heat we stripped some hose clamps off the boat and wrapped the hole with an intertube and clamped it in place.  By the time we hit Antigua it was 10:00pm and Dennis had finally found the right combination of gears and rpms to make it ride well, Hopefully he won't need that knowledge much more after he drives it on a one way trip to the Pacific. 

In Antigua the boat spent the first night on the street then we snuck it thru his gateway to the yard where he has a garage and easy access to tools.  This was a tight fit and I will be much more descriptive when I get the pictures posted.  That morning was when I got to meet Captain Gerald Jordan, A very experienced and colorful Guatemalan/American who came over from the other side of the country on Rio Dulce, who will have the job of completing all our sea trials and being the Tijereta's first Guatemalan Captain until Capt. Dennis' next big project on the Caribbean becomes a reality.  Much more on that later.  I spent all day Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and till noon on Friday working with Dennis and Gerry and we made an amazing amount of progress.  I know not to be too optimistic, but there is a possibility that the boat could hit the water during Easter Week.  I will tell you that whenever it does it will be Right and it will be one hell of a fishing machine. 

I've got lots more to say and pictures to post, but the time had come to pack bags and say family goodbyes so that will come after I reach New Jersey , so for now Adios from Guatemala.

March 28, 2010, We're making progress and an email from Capt. Dennis.  I've been trying to catch up on the Absecon Marina work since I got back last Monday, but I've been thinking Guatemala almost every minute.  I finally got an email from Capt. Dennis and it sounds like we are going great and will have one heck of a fishing machine in a couple weeks.  Here are his words:

Dear Capt. David,

      I hope the bass fishermen have you hoping. We are here working on the Tijereta. We have two carpenters, three fiberglass guys and Gerry and me getting in the way. Things are looking good. I also have the tailor guy making the bimini   top and another guy on the coast is making the cooming boards for the fishermen. With luck we might launch in two weeks. We are getting more excited everyday. I think we've got a winner.  Dennis

I only wish I could be there for the launching, but the busy seasonal ready upon us and I've got bait to catch, boats to paint and nets to tend.  It looks like the Striper Fishing is a little ahead of last year, My HERRING catches have been decent so maybe we can expect a river run.  I've been having a lot of calls so if you are thinking about booking a spring Striper trip give me a call soon.  If all goes right I will probably start fishing about the third week of April.

April 24, 2010, It's been almost a month since the last report, but Dennis if not looking for perfection is putting out the effort for a great fishing machine.  I got an email about a week ago that said they were making the trip down to the Marina last week, however until yesterday I hadn't heard confirmation.  It seems that Dennis' information about the trip was lost in cyberspace so he updated me yesterday.  I guess that is best said in his words,

 "Well the big news was that it went down on the 15th. We left at 4:30 am to beat the traffic here in Antigua and Ciudad Vieja. That all came off like clock work. The truck with the turbo fixed pulled like it was hauling a little red wagon. We delivered the boat , talked with the guys and were back in Antigua by 8:30. Wed. night the 21st. Otto the glass man called to say he finished the gel coat on the deck and wanted two days for it to properly dry. With that we will probably start the motor and check the systems on land tomorrow and start sea trials Sunday or Monday. I'm ready. Den"

He sent one picture from the marina where our Pocket Sportfisherman will join the big battle wagons on the Pacific Ocean and I know Capt. Gerry and Capt. Dennis will dig into their experience and knowledge to keep right up with them, maybe not in speed but I know they will post great numbers, but even more important great fun which is what it really is all about.

August 1, 2010, As with any new venture we have hit our share of snags.   Some general used boat problems, and a lot of tough weather from Mother Nature.  Two Tropical Storms pounded Guatemala,  Hurricane Agatha was the big one and really beat up on the roads and Bridges.  Then they had one come in and dump more rain from the other coast.  Then to add to that Volcano Pacaya dumped ash over most of the country.  The good news is the boat has been fishing, so far just inshore since we've had some difficulty with the boat overheating at high speed.  

August 30, 2010, Break out the Champagne!  After a rebuild of the intercooler Dennis made another sea trial and everything checked out.  Here are his words:

"Today 29/8/10 we launched Tijereta into small craft warnings. We were one of two boats out. We got her up on a plane at 3300 we were doing 18 to 19 knots and 170 degrees temp. It tops out at 20+/- knots but the over heating is gone. We beat around in the slop and caught four bonitas and decided to pack it in after about three hours. I believe we are in business. Den"

Now it is the time to get to the serious business of catching fish.  Actually we didn't rush the Intercooler project too much since the rainy season weather has actually been a little worse than normal and Guatemala is still cleaning up from the earlier Hurricanes and Tropical Storms that have raised havoc with the countries roads and infrastructure.  Dennis has continued to assist Guatemala in many ways for the fourty plus years since he arrived with the Peace Corp.  I will repeat his call for help here since once the weather clears it is hard to remember that the suffering continues.  This e-mail came 6/2/2010 but the need is still there.

Dear Friends of Guatemala,

      We are really scratching bottom here trying to get some resources to repair bridges. We have built many bridges with PAVA over the years but the hurricane Agatha was so intense that it took away many bridges that withstood all the previous storms of the past few years. 
       In a word Guatemala is impassable. We don't have reliable access of the main highways to the boarders. The access from village to village is impossible probably 90% of the highlands. All of these isolated people have lost access to basic services, and to markets. We are doing an emergency food supply ( two weeks worth ) to the villages that we are presently working with. That alone is setting us back on our budget. We very urgently want to attack the access problems especially the fallen bridges we built years ago. In the mean time it's mud, mud everywhere. If any of you have any ideas of where we can get help or donations please write back , or send donations to:   Dennis Wheeler -PAVA ,P.O. Box 661447, Miami Springs Fl.33266

Back to the fishing, It is going to get good soon and we will be ready.   Dennis is ready to get you out fishing TODAY and I am in the process of putting together complete vacation packages that will show you all the wonders that Guatemala has to offer as well as the fantastic fishing.  Keep an eye out for continued reports and e-mail or give me a call any time to discuss your adventure.

September 11, 2010, Thursday the 9th was the first Charter for La Tijereta, and unfortunately we ran into a couple of small issues that were overcome, but it was a slow and difficult day evidently there was lots of bait and structure in the water but only one school
Dorado and a Large Sierra came aboard.  Ziggy the local mechanical genius was waiting to correct a steering problem to be ready for yesterdays trip #2.  This time things went much better and I will attach Dennis' report since he says it quite well.

Capt. David,

     Today was the second client on the Tijereta. It was a bright sunny day , something we have almost forgotten in Guatemala. The Tijereta launched on time with Capt. Gerry and mate Sergio. The group was a three pack. The seas were calm and the rip line was at 18 miles. The trip lasted about 7 hours and they caught 9 good size dorado. The boat worked like it is supposed to work. The client said that he only wants the Tijereta from now on. So how's that for good news. Den

So we are definitely ready to go and if and when the weather and the bite comes together we can make it happen.  Unfortunately Dennis didn't send me any pictures yet.  Hopefully some were shot on this trip and I'll get them posted.

Finally we have a Boat! It was quite a rough start, but the Tijereta is in Guatemala Catching Sailfish and anything else that swims in those prolific waters.  Call, Email, or whatever it takes and get ahold of Capt. Dennis or Myself and we'll get you on the water and catching fish.