I’ve been fortunate this year to sneak in some high-quality fishing while on other trips. I was able to fish the Nile River in Uganda, and the Caribbean in Honduras. And recently I was on a couples’ trip to Cabo san Lucas, Mexico, with my wife and some friends while our boys were on a mission trip with their church youth group.
Cabo was founded as a fishing village, and since Worldwide Trophy Adventures works with an excellent fishing operation that has some of the most inexpensive rates I’ve ever seen for saltwater fishing, I had to book a day and go check it out.
My friend Steve Marshall and I got up early one morning and drove across the Baja Peninsula to the secluded fishing resort that sits literally on the Sea of Cortez. We had breakfast while the staff got all the boats ready on the beach and dock that were only a few yards from the dining room. The weather was hot, the sea was calm, and I must say I was jealous of the other folks that were there for multiple days of fishing.
The tuna bite had been consistent, and quite a few striped marlin had been caught in the week before our arrival. Steve and I just wanted to catch some fish, and hopefully a few that are good to eat so we could bring them home. Tuna is my favorite food on earth, so I hoped to boat a yellowfin or two.
We started out going for tuna after a 30-minute boat ride. Our captain, Roy, said they had caught a few the day before, and he was confident. There were numerous boats clustered in one area, and we used a combination of cut squid strips and live bait.
Steve was the first to hook up, and the mahi-mahi immediately threw the hook, but as Steve retrieved his bait, the fish hit again and the game was on. The small dorado must have jumped eight times before Steve got him in, and though it was a beautiful fish that put on a show, Roy released it after declaring it a “bambino.”
We saw several other boats catching tuna weighing 5-20 pounds. Some had doubles on, and one boat got a triple. We just couldn’t seem to find the fish.
An hour or so later, I hooked up on a live bait, and after a fun fight that I assumed was a smallish tuna, I boated a nice fat amberjack. We put it in the box because they are very good to eat, so at least we had dinner covered. I find it funny that when I was a kid, amberjack were considered a trash fish and no one kept them. Now, they are on almost every menu in Florida restaurants.
Steve pulled in a really nice triggerfish, which is one of my absolute favorites to eat, especially in fish tacos, and assuming it was going in the box, I was horrified when Roy pitched it back over the side. I asked and he said they just don’t eat them there.
I finally had a major hit on another live bait, and within seconds I knew I had hooked a tuna. I was using a fairly limber Shimano rod and smaller reel, so I let the fish run, and played it conservatively. I didn’t want to horse it in and end up losing it.
We had watched one boat fight a tuna for 45 minutes, and I was afraid I might be in the same predicament, but after about 10 minutes of strong runs and then me fighting back, I got the yellowfin to the boat, and Roy gaffed it.
By tuna standards (they can weigh hundreds of pounds) this wasn’t a big one, but it still was descent sized, about 30 pounds, and it was larger than most of the fish that had been being brought in as of late.
By late morning, it was obvious the tuna bite was over, so I asked Roy if we could go try to catch a roosterfish or anything else at that point. The roosters are in really close to shore right now, and some guys are catching them off the beach. We did a bit of trolling 100 to 200 yards off shore, and after a while, Steve got a strong hit and hooked up.
The fish had some shoulders, and I thought it might be one of the big roosters sometimes found in this area, but after about 10 minutes and a good bit of sweat, Steve landed a really big jack cravelle. It wasn’t going in the cooler, but it was a heck of a fun fight.
Just after that, we watched another boat haul in a gorgeous 50-pound roosterfish, but we had run out of luck and time, and headed in during midafternoon.
We didn’t burn up the fishing, but we were there at a mediocre time of year, we caught some really nice fish, saw a new operation, fished for the first time on the Sea of Cortez, and had a great time. Oh, and we did get enough fish for 10 meals that we now have in the freezer in Kentucky. Not too bad for a slow day!
Editor’s note: Tim Herald is an owner and hunt consultant at Worldwide Trophy Adventures (WTA). To book this or any other high-quality hunt anywhere in the world, contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org. WTA’s services are free; WTA is paid directly by the outfitter, and your hunt cost is the same whether you book directly with an outfitter or through WTA.
Images by Tim Herald