Jumping Bean

Those who haven't fished Mexican style might wonder if the traditional panga is a seaworthy boat, much less a good fishing platform. With a tiller-steered outboard, an LOA of 24' to 26', a beam of just 7', and a bare-bones open cockpit, the panga looks simple and unconventional. But don't be fooled - it's a lean, mean, fish-fighting machine.

Most of the time, fish are fought from the bow of a panga with standup gear. The panga's skipper doesn't back down on fish but instead chases them in to help an angler gain line. And with so few obstacles onboard, casting from just about anywhere is a breeze. Trolling with either live bait or lures is standard panga procedure for catching such gamefish as tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, marlin, and sailfish, and pangas usually have bait tanks that can accommodate 15 or so live mackerel.

Pangas do, however, have a few shortcomings. Their range is usually limited, and without a flying bridge or tuna tower, it's difficult to spot birds or breaking fish from afar. Despite these limitations, this simple skiff, piloted by an experienced guide, is all you need for an awesome day of angling in Mexico. And at a cost of $150 to $200 per day, you'll be able to enjoy it without spending too many pesos. So if you're heading south any time soon, don't dismiss a day aboard a panga.