Cabo Sport Fishing is Like a Box of Chocolates

As Forrest Gump would say, you never know what you’re
going to get.

Not too many things get me more excited than the prospect
of hooking and landing big fish. The mere thought of setting
the hook on a 300 pound marlin, hearing the scream of the
drag as the fish pulls off line and watching the acrobatic
leaps that follow really gets my heart pumping. Fortunately
for me, a two and a half hour flight and a 30-minute drive is
all it takes to find myself in the “billfish capital of the world”.
What more can a sport fisherman ask for?

Well, for starters, variety. Just like biting into a randomly
selected piece of chocolate, when you set out the trolling
lures here in Los Cabos in search of the next big one, you
just don’t know what it will be. Different seasons bring
different possibilities as does different sides of the Baja
peninsula. The diversity of game fish here never ceases to
amaze me and even a slow day on the water offers the
opportunity to see some of the oceans greatest creatures.
Whales, porpoise, sea turtles and steel bite pro bat rays that often school
by the hundreds and perform what almost appears to be a
choreographed routine of synchronized jumps. On a spring
trip to Cabo in late march of this year, my partner Dolores
Peralta and I had another opportunity to experience the
diversity of life in these nutrient rich waters.

Jacqueline “Jacquie” Lee, owner of Guerita II, set us up for
two days of fishing with Captain Efren Beron Zamora and
crewman Jesus Alfredo Espinoza. Efren has a lifetime of
experience as an angler, guide and captain and has a love
of the ocean that rubs off on crew and passenger alike. The
Guerita II is a tournament rigged 34-foot Crystaliner
equipped with everything the avid angler could need or ask
for _ Shimano Tiagra 50 wide LRS & Penn International
reels, Shimano Black Steel IGFA rods and an outstanding
selection of lures, this wide-beamed fishing machine
boasts top-of-the-line electronics to help get you on the bite
fast.

We arrived at the docks at 6:30 in the morning, a little late for
Captain Efren’s liking as he planned on running out about
30-40 miles in search of warm, blue water where he hoped
to put us on striped marlin and tuna. While waiting on our
arrival Efren had already loaded up on live bait from the
pangeros that supply the fleets and with no delay, we were
on our way. Winds this time of the year can be unpredictable
and on this day, the winds helped build a fairly large swell.
We motored our way out to sea on a bumpy but dry ride to
the fishing grounds. Once he found the water conditions that
best provided the chance for large billfish, he switched
driving positions to the tall tuna tower while Alfredo began to
set out our spread of lures. Purple and orange Zukers set
out at the fifth wake behind the boat, trolling feathers in pink
and white and Mexican flag patterns on the third wake and a
dark colored Marauder set close to the boat.

A few hours passed as we crisscrossed areas where
colder water met warmer, Efren’s eyes trained on the
surface scanning for signs that fish were near – circling and
diving birds, the tail of a marlin cruising for its next meal, a
pod of porpoise balling bait. None of the usual signs
appeared until Efren’s eagle eyes spotted a feeder, a
marlin
actively working the ocean surface. A quick turn of the boat
and a punch of the throttle controls placed us in the perfect
position to present our spread of lures to the fish. The
marlin took notice and struck one of the lures back at the
fifth wake. The jigstrike started our adrenalin flowing and we
scrambled to the deck to ready for a battle. The marlin let
loose the lure just as Alfredo cast a live bait back to entice a
bite. After a few tense moments, the marlin took the bait, the
reel left in free spool in order to give it time to fully take the
bait. Flipping the reel into locked position followed by three
to four strong and sharp lifts of the rod tip set the hook on a
good sized striped marlin.

Dolores took her position in one of the two fighting chairs
mounted on the stern and within seconds the marlin was
giving us a show. Several vertical leaps and violent shakes
of its broad head and the fight began. The key to landing
marlin is the hook set. Everything depends on whether or
not the hook was in the right position when the hook set is
made. Many times, the marlin takes the bait only partially
and the hook never pierces the mouth fully when the set is
made. Unfortunately, this was one of those times. Shortly
after the first series of jumps was made, a second series
began and on this series the hook was thrown and the fish
was lost. Spooked by the encounter, the marlin sounded
and was soon nowhere to be found.

We continued on in search of another marlin, my turn in the
chair coming next. A short while later, a starboard reel
started to scream. Nothing was visible on the surface so the
likelihood of it being a marlin was slim. From the strong pull
and speed of the fish, we thought it would be a tuna and
sure enough it was. The fight lasted only 5-10 minutes and
soon we had a twenty-pound yellowfin on deck.

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