The Rocky Road To Making International Charter Fishing Available In The Galapagos Islands
Today the Galapagos Islands have become the go to place for novice and hard core anglers alike who want to target large striped marlin in incredible numbers. It also is home to yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, wahoo, giant blue marlin and terrific bottom fishing. However, getting to where we are today was not easy and full of bureaucratic obstacles. The “eco-terrorist” groups as we kindly like to refer to them were hell-bent on not allowing sport-fishing to develop in the the Galapagos.
Born from greed and ignorance some of so called protectors of the sea and interest groups that profit from tv dramas, donations and the merchandize they sell now had an enemy they wanted to demonize in the Galapagos Islands. Using eye catching logos with pandas, rainbows, mountain, mermaids and unicorns these groups argued that they were protecting the Galapagos.
The Galapagos National Park director at the time was no friend of anglers and corruption played a huge part in trying to keep sport-fishing out of the Galapagos. We have purposely omitted names of people and organizations as we are no longer looking for a fight. Anglers, hunters and conservationist know better than to be fooled by tree-huggers and extreme groups with an agenda.
The powers that be at the time were accomplices of much illegal commercial fishing, human trafficking, drug smuggling and other illicit activities happening in the waters off the archipelago. Sport-fishing boats were not fishing near tourist areas or close to shore. Our boats were fishing offshore and therefore posed a problem for traffickers and illegal fishing vessels as we could report them and often did.
Case and point when our team was doing research on Hancock Bank and spotted a tuna purse seiner inside park waters. The seiner was in blatant violation of Galapagos law and was reported accordingly. The Armada was quick to question and threaten our staff and did nothing to investigate or go after the illegal vessel. This was just one of several incidents along the way we had to overcome while trying open the Galapagos Islands to sport-fishing.
Local anglers from mainland Ecuador found out in 1989 that the Galapagos Islands had some of the most productive striped marlin fishing the world had ever seen. It took another 11 years before the first charter boat ever was able start operating from Santa Cruz Island. After spending the better part of 1998 and 1999 researching where to fish, finding new areas and training crews we were ready to showcase the fishery in 2000.
In the beginning writers, free loaders, tv personalities and several more who wanted to be the “first” to say they fished in the Galapagos boarded our first boat the Striper which arrived in August 2000 and fished its way through the “offseason”. Ecuagringo was the first company to make the incredible striped marlin fishery available to international anglers. By 2001 we were booking over 100 anglers a year and by 2003 over 200 anglers were fishing each year out of Santa Cruz Island with our company.
In 2006 we decided to move operations full time to San Cristobal Island. More options to fishing grounds and finally daily flights from the city of Guayaquil made for San Cristobal Island the best choice. In 2007 after much pressure from the local fishing sector needing jobs, Ecuagringo obtained through an artisanal fisherman the first ever permit to license a boat for regulated charter fishing. Fishing with anglers and tourist had finally become a regulated activity.
By 2008 San Cristobal Island was the destination to go if you wanted multiple, sometimes hundreds of shots at large striped marlin on the same fishing trip. About 300 to 400 anglers per year were fishing with Ecuagringo by then.
The Galapagos Today
After over 20 years of continued fishing. Close to 17,000 marlin releases and lots of anglers served, Ecuagringo continues to be the leader and go to outfitter for the Galapagos Islands. Between fishing for striped marlin, chasing grander marlin, top water tuna fishing, bottom and wahoo fishing we still find the time to produce some of the best adventures and tours.
If you are looking for the best alternative to cruising the Galapagos Island then we are your outfitters. Besides fishing we offer diving, snorkeling, island hopping, kayaking, biking, hiking, camping, horseback riding, beach relaxing and much more. The Galapagos continue to be one of the safest destinations to bring friends and family. Virtually no crime and a low population make the Galapagos a worry free place to be.
San Cristobal Island is one of the top destinations in the world to target striped marlin with lures, pitch baits, fly and light tackle. Jigging and bottom fishing the endless structure around the islands is quite rewarding. If you like top water tuna fishing there is that too. We offer all types of packages for whatever you want to fish. If you preference is targeting giant blue marlin then we offer Isabela Island.