San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos), Mexico



Dec. 20, 2005, Paul Roos, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico:

I went out fishing from La Playita in our super panga with my partner, Rick Bennett from Calgary, his son, Alexander, 5 years old, and our Capitan, Miguel Banaga. The bait boats took a while but scored big sardinas at Palmilla point. Then we went toward Cabo San Lucas with a short stop to troll through porpoise off Cabeza Ballena for one 10 pound Dorado.

There was mucha Barrilete off the arch and one 10 pound tuna for the box. Miguel caught a big Cocinero and we tossed it in the bait tank for possible marlin bait. I had a window put in the aft tank so we can better monitor the bait condition and they get more light when running with the lid on.

After another 1 1/2 hours of mostly Barrilete up to 10 pounds, with a few "white bonita" (good sashimi) thrown in, we decided to put the Cocinero on a 60 pound outfit and troll it slowly. We hadn't gone five minutes, and were still in the middle of a panga fleet, when the clicker went off and I grabbed the rod. Miguel had set it down in gear, medium drag, with the clicker on. I would have had it in free spool with clicker as it was a heavy-duty clicker.

I picked up the rod and the weight on the drag was solid so I told Miguel to "Hit it." He did...and a big marlin came out of the water between all the pangas. Boats scattered to give us room and the fish jumped a half-dozen times.

I offered the rod to Rick and he eagerly accepted as he had not caught a billfish before. Twenty minutes, and a few more jumps, into the fight, Miguel thought the fish might be ready and put on the gloves. I took the wheel. We got close to the leader and the fish took off.

Forty-five minutes, and a lot of chasing and circling later, I was finally able to back down to the leader and Miguel grabbed the bill with one hand and sunk the gaff with the other. No release for him and, to be truthful, we all wanted this fish as it was no junior-grade marlin to release and grow. Miguel wanted the meat and we were tired of tuna and the idea of smoked marlin was appealing to us, too.

Most people think marlin, at least Striped Marlin, is stringy and tastes poorly. Last night, I seriously trimmed a couple of chunks, put butter and hot chili garlic sauce in a hot pan, and didn't overcook it. It was delicious! The rest is getting smoked and Miguel's family makes Machaca and barbecue, skin on one side, with the rest.

There is warmer water pushing up from the south and more dorado in the counts. One boat had nine yesterday and most boats had four or five. Instead of getting colder, the water is now getting warmer again. What gives here?

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