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Hitting the Water in Cabo San Lucas

I met my family in Cabo for a wedding and while we were there, my sister, brother-in-law, father, and girlfriend all wanted to go fishing offshore. The short ride to the marina was quiet. We were excited in anticipation of the incredible experience that was about to begin, but also tired from gluttonous indulgence as is all too common with an all-inclusive. Mary, the coordinator for Blue Sky Cabo, met us at the gate, let us on the dock, and took us to the boat. Keith, the owner of the boat, gave us a warm welcome, showed us around, went over safety information, introduced us to Captain David and his first mate, then left.

They served us coffee along with sliced pineapple and sweet bread while the final checks were being completed. As Keith left the boat he turned around with a warm childish grin and delivered his parting words: “feel free to play music on the speakers… just not country and western. Good luck!”

The Ride Out

We pulled out of the slip five minutes early and made a quick stop for ice before heading for the open ocean. As we approached the mouth of the cove, a panga pulled up next to us and skillfully handed off bait all while on the move. As we passed the famous arch, the captain opened the throttle and pointed the boat out to the Pacific.

Morning Sunrise In Cabo

The first mate setup all of the gear then came into the cabin and made a plate of breakfast burritos. I can tell you these simple burritos looked modest and unassuming but damn they hit the spot. The swells were six to eight feet but the hospitality kept four of the five stomachs aboard settled all day.

Lines Out

After a ten minute ride the boat throttled down less than a quarter mile offshore from a steep beach with a shore break. Mario quickly set out the lines with diving baits on the short lines and variations of the classic resin squid on the other three. Trolling along the beach in Cabo is deceiving. Despite being a fairly short distance from shore, we were fishing in 500 feet of water. The strategy for the day was to troll the beach for dorado and wahoo, then swap out the divers for some ballyhoo and spend the rest of our day chasing marlin.

Bent Rod

On any offshore fishing trip regardless of duration, the place I post up is the fishing deck. I was talking to Mario about where they go to target the various pelagic species when one of the short lines started spooling out drag. Mario grabbed the rod and handed it to me. The rod was heavy and occasionally shook violently as the fish attempted to create distance. Eventually, the fish lost some of its vigor and I was able to get crank after crank and inch the fish toward the boat.

Once the leader was visible I did my best to steer the fish to the side of the boat. I could now see the platinum-blue dorado with a neon yellow tail. I told everyone to get their cameras ready in an attempt to capture the vibrant colors of the fish which seem wash out instantly. Mario swiftly removed the dorado from the water and held it up for pictures before retiring it to a cooler. The day was young with the sun barely cresting the horizon and I had already caught a fish. Life was good.

Dorado Fishing In Cabo San Lucas

Big Seas & Wide Eyes

While the first fish came quick, the fishing was slow. We made several more passes along the beach then swapped out the lures and took to open water. Despite the change in location and bait the second bite came nearly five hours later. In the meantime, however, our fishing trip included glimpses of much more than just fish.

During the hours spent cruising the sea looking for a bite we crossed paths with some incredible animals. The first and biggest animal we encountered was a pod of whales gliding and diving gracefully in the water. The water being shot from their blow hole looked like smoke stack on the horizon. A little later, Shawna spotted something that i must’ve missed and when I asked what it was she said “I know what I saw but I don’t want to sound crazy.” Perfectly on cue a manta ray came soaring out of the water 100 yards in front of the boat and doing flips as it fell back into the ocean. We all stood there grining and giggling at the seemingly absurd event we all witnessed.

After several more rounds of whales we had dolphins come by who seemed as curious of us as we were of them. The action slowed just in time for us to settle briefly before spotting a striped marlin sunning himself on the surface. This was a large striped marlin sitting still with both his dorsal and part of his tail exposed above the water. Our boat passed only 50 yards away from the fish and Captain David immediately maneuvered to circle the fish while Mario worked quickly to get two more lines in the water with live bait. As we made our circle the marlin took note and took off like rocket and slowly faded deeper into the water. Captain David made several more circles forming a clover. With no takers, the additional lines were brought in and we continued on our way.

Home Stretch

With the last couple of hour starting to tick away, suddenly the familiar scream of a reel put an end to our waiting. My sister got in the chair and got to fighting. A young striped marlin came bursting out of the water in typical marlin fashion. The fish skittered and jumped right, then left, before making a run straight at the boat. My sister did well to keep up with the blistering pace of the fish. Eventually, the fish was wound in and Mario grabbed the leader. The fish took off again fighting above and below the water.

Striped Marlin Fighting Behind The Boat

There was a small discussion about whether the marlin would be harvested about the time Mario grabbed the leader again. In a brief moment of indecision the marlin made the most of his opportunity and made a run out of the grasp of Mario then defiantly spit the hook. We counted it as a catch and celebrated the experience. We trolled for another 30 minutes and it was time to reel up and head back.

Sea Lion Catching Fish in Cabo

As we pulled into the mouth of the marina and slowed to an idle. As if by magic a sea lion jumped onto the back deck and gladly traded his presence for our unused bait. It was the cherry on top of our trip which started as a fishing trip, but quickly became an interactive experience with the wildlife of the Pacific. If measured the trip by the fish we caught, the trip was slow but successful. If measured by the excited squeals and astonished smiles, the trip was a barn burner.