Perfect Fish Story, as told in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
It’s 6:30 am, dark, kinda cold as our party of six, hops in the car to head down to the Marina. Here we are, on our way to my first adventure in Deep Sea Fishing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Actually, only one of us has ever been. The rest of us are “newbies” so to speak.
We arrive at the dock to board one of the boats in the Blue Sky Fleet. Hoodies up, groggy, in need of hot coffee, we scan the Marina and find a local woman selling burros Great hand-warmers until they are eaten. But I still need that coffee.
Our captain and crew meets us at the gate, and we’re outfitted for “bear” as the expression goes – fish in this case – meaning we have cold beer, tequila and sandwiches for later. A stop to get the licenses and we are on our way. We all nap a bit as we head out to sea, as the boat rocks us slowly into the motion of the ocean.
Our group consists of me, my son, my niece and her husband, my nephew and my husband. We’re the mid-30’s to 60’s crowd. We pass the famous Arch and the boat speeds up once we pass the 2 mile protected, no fishing area.
The brisk, fresh air and rising sun jolts us fully awake and we start taking notice of our surroundings. The Captain is heading out to the Pacific side. Open ocean ahead as the sky streaks vibrant blues and reds against the horizon. We hear the chatter on the radios as Captains exchange information of the day, all seeking that one big fish or the fish ball that harbors schools of fish, meaning there’s tuna and other fishes below.
About an hour or so out, the crew start setting the trolling lines. We have 6 running at one time. Our family is a little more animated now, getting into the process of deep sea fishing. We chat with the crew, they embellish on the “fish ball” explanation, tell us to look for birds or dolphins. My niece hurls some “chum” over the side, needing to get her sea legs on. We laugh. She goes below and says “wake me up with the fish come”. We will certainly do that, we promise.
The boat ventures farther out. It has turned into an amazing, sunny, warm morning. We lose the hoodies and enjoy the sunshine. We keep trolling, sometimes at low speed, sometimes at a good clip. The crew changes up the lures, keeping steady watch on the water.
It’s been about 2 ½ hours now. No bites. We crack open another beer, dig into “lunch” and BS about who is going to catch the biggest fish and what kind it will be. I’m hoping for Dorado.
The crew is fun, knowledgeable. I make them suffer through my Spanlish. They say, “we know English” as if to coach me back into an English-only conversation.
We are having a great time. Relaxing, in search of fish, enjoying the company of ourselves and others.
Suddenly, the radio squawks. There is all kinds of chatter between our Captain and others, as the boat turns broadly to the East and we head out, deeper to sea.
15 minutes later the crew and Captain are hollering, “ Look, look, dolphins”! My niece charges up from below. The dolphins are now swimming side by side with our boat. We see other boats in the distance, heading the same way.
Suddenly I see the most amazing thing I have ever seen before in my life, dolphins jumping straight up and out of the water, to heights unthinkable.
The crew yells out, “Fish Ball” as they change up the lures for Tuna. The ball is a school of tuna being herded by the dolphins as the dolphins swim through the ball, mouths intent on snagging a tuna on the way up.
We see two, three, five dolphins at a time being airborne in a delicate ballet, holding their tuna prize for all to see.
One line goes off ! The pole is handed to Christopher, my son. He takes the chair as everyone chants, “Reel” “Pull” and the line strains. He digs in and it takes about 5 minutes for him to land a “football” tuna, approximately 18-20 pounds. A second line hits and then a third. One nephew takes the chair as my other nephew straps on the harness so to stand up and bring in the next one. Then a fourth hits ! We have 3 active lines at one time! Hubby takes the 3rd line, also standing with a harness on.
Those of us, without lines, cheer on the others, “Pull” “Reel” and one by one the “footballs” are tossed into the boat.
The crew gets ready for the next bites. My niece, now fully awake, feeling better and very excited takes the chair as a tuna hits a line. She fights hard for 10 minutes and in comes the 5th flops onto the floor.
Another line hits and the guys take turns standing, reeling, pulling and now we have a 6th and a 7th! The 8th tuna bites and I take the chair. Being short, I can’t get the leverage I need while sitting on the chair, but I reel and pull and reel and pull with all my strength. It seems like an hour but it was only minutes before mine pops over the edge.
The dolphins are jumping and swimming, the tuna are biting, we still have three lines still going at one time and the crazy fun never stops. The crew is yelling directions to us, encouragement to us, slightly dazed I can hear the Captain radioing the other boats. Four other boats have now joined us. We are in tuna fishing Heaven.
And then, it ends as quickly as it began. First Mate tells us we have reached our maximum limit. There we are with thirteen, football-size tuna.
Exhausted, happy, congratulating each other. Memorializing ourselves via cell phone photos. Smiling crew members standing next to each of us with a bloody tuna in hand for the perfect photo op. The dolphins chattering good-bye as the boat turns to make our way back. We toast each other with a cold beer.
Second mate asks if we’d like sashimi. He makes it on the spot and we savor our delicious raw catch. We are high speed toward the Marina. The Captain radios in that we have fish to be cleaned.
The Marina looks closer than it is and in about an hour we reach the docks. Our fish flags are up, boasting to other boats and those on the Marina as to our successful catch. The ever famous sea lion, Poncho, makes his appearance and begs for our remaining live bait. We oblige.
We leave three fish with the boat. A thank you meal to the Captain and his crew and tip them well for a great day.
Someone magically shows up with a wheel barrow and loads up the tuna. We’re told it will take about an hour or so for processing.
We find our favorite watering hole on the Marina. Relate our day to the bartender, who has probably heard all the fish stories she cares to hear in her lifetime. We buy shots, we drink shots, we buy a round for the house, feeling generous as the Sea has been generous and has shared its bounty with us.
Fish in hand, we total approximately 35 pounds of cleaned, processed tuna. Time to wander home with great fish stories to tell to all who will listen
A day very well spent with the Captain and Crew of the Blue Sky fleet.
Vick Mote – Blue Sky Cabo Writer