Having just gotten back from Madeira, Portugal, a little
over a month ago, I was a little reluctant to join my brother
on this trip, which was originally scheduled to end on 9/29/99.
Louis had set up 3 days of fishing with our friend Bobby
Dobson, who owns Pacific Bluewater Sportsfishing.
Bobby and his wife, Lisa, live in Cabo year around with
their two boys, Tres and Jonathon. I met Bobby last May
when we fished with Lance Watkins on his 28' Blackfin, the
Aquaholic. Lance and Bobby have been friends for
years, and when we needed help in the cockpit, Bobby offered
to fill in. Louis fished with Bobby last July for two days,
but Lance Watkins had loaned Bobby two Sadu lures to try
out, but unfortunately, with rubber hooks, which didn't
work well with the two blues Bobby raised for him.
The plan was to fish with Bobby on 9/24, fish the Eagle
I, Ocean Lure Sportsfishing, on 9/25 - 9/26, then back
again with Bobby on the Checkmate for 9/27 - 9/28.
Unfortunately, there was some sort of misunderstanding on
what days we wanted to fish, so we lost our reservation
for the 28th. The fishing was so good, that Louis and I
didn't want to miss out on anything, so we changed our departure
date from 9/29 to 10/2, and fished 10/1 on the Checkmate.
Last night we talked Bobby into a late evening run for today,
where we were to leave at 3:00PM and fish the Gorda Banks
until after sunset, however, there weren't any flights out
of Cabo on Sunday, so we bagged it. I really want to try
the "late evening bite" sometime.
Bobby met us at the airport and drove us to the Mar de
Cortez hotel, where we always stay, changed clothes and
headed to the Checkmate to get our gear set up. Actually,
the only gear was my video equipment and laptop computer.
Bobby introduced us to David Morales, his captain. David
has been working for Bobby for a little over a year now,
and I must say that they get along very well. We talked
about the past few days of fishing: "lots of dorado,
a few blues, a few lingering stripers, but some good sized
yellowfin" Bobby tells us. "We will be fishing
the Cabrillo Seamount tomorrow morning, so show up at 6:00
AM sharp", he says. The deal my brother worked out
with Bobby includes, lunches, soft drinks and ice, so there
is nothing else for Louis and I to do except get something
to eat and hit the bag.
Louis and I show up on time to find Bobby and David sipping
some of Ruben's coffee and waiting to get underway. By 7:05
AM we are trolling for some skipjack along the beach in
Los Cabos Bay. We trolled about 1 mile before giving up.
At 8:28 AM, 20 miles from the marina, on a bearing of 105
degrees, we put out the lures. Bobby only fishes with 4
rods, one in each rigger, and two flat lines. I asked him
why he doesn't use 7 lines and his reply was "dang,
its an overkill, and takes too darn long to clear'em during
a bite". At 9:20 AM, just as we entered what is called
the Gorda Trough (22 43.3 109 27.7), the port rigger went
off. Louis won the toss so he was up. It would be the first
of several dorado. The 20-pound bull was no match for the
50-wide, and we were underway in just 10 minutes. Then
we were suddenly joined on our trip by a very tired little
bird. This is the same bird that rested with Lance and I
last December while fishing this same area. Anybody out
there knows of a bird watcher that can identify our little
Bobby runs his boat different than any other that I have
seen. Bobby runs the cockpit not the boat! He considers
David the captain. I never once saw Bobby at the helm and
he rarely sits up in the tower with David unless he is looking
for signs or eyeing the spread. While Louis was bringing
in the first bite, Bobby was working a dropped back bait,
trying for a double. You have to be real fast to beat him
to the rail with a pitch bait!
By 11:30 AM we are about 8.5 miles south of the Seamount,
when David spots some birds working the surface. He trolls
over to investigate. He spots a few dorado and Bobby quickly
pitches a bait while we pull in the lures. As I was bringing
in the starboard rigger, a dorado starts chasing it but
quickly turns away. Good thing for me, too. Reason is, Bobby
gets bit on the live bait and passes the rod to me. The
fish dropped the bait almost immediately but within a minute,
it is picked up again. It didn't take me anymore than 30
seconds to realize that this dorado was huge because when
it jumped, it looked like a small striper! We all saw the
jump, and were all excited at the size. With the TLD20,
it still only took about 30 minutes to get the monster to
the leader. Bobby quickly gets the gaff in and the fish
is aboard. We
continued trolling easterly until we were well off of my
"Fish'n Map" Chart. Bobby had said earlier that
a lot of marlin had been reportedly caught 6 to 8 miles
east of the Seamount. We saw a lot of turtles, but no other
activity in that area so David changed course to a northwesterly
heading that would bring us to the center of the Seamount
At 1:27 PM we reached the Seamount where we saw a lot more
turtles. David spots a couple of dorado swimming underneath
one of the larger turtles, and we make are way over and
quickly get bit on two pitched baits. Two more dorado for
We continue the troll towards the marina, but just as we
get to the outer edge of the Seamount, at 2:04 PM, we all
see a jumper about 200 yards to the north. David speeds
up to get close then we slow back to trolling speed. No
strikes on the lures so Bobby, being persistent, drops a
live bait back into the spread. "Dang! I got that striper",
Bobby cries as he hands off the rod to Louis. The
striper puts up an admirable fight for about 60 minutes
while Bobby leaders the fish 3 times. Bobby was using 100-pound
test leaders, so it took several attempts to get the fish's
bill. Finally, at 3:03 PM David comes down from the tower
to help tag it. A few more minutes to revive the fish and
it is released unharmed. We guessed the weight was nearly
We start to head back, but being out this far, 34 miles,
meant we wouldn't get in for another hour and a half, even
at 20 knots.
On the way in, Bobby starts to clean the big dorado. I
told Louis to get his scale, which only goes to 50-pounds.
We start to lift the fish, but it quickly pegs the meter,
being much larger than 50-pounds. We decide to weigh the
parts. Each time Bobby fills up a plastic bag with fillets,
we weigh the bag and write down the reading. We did this
3 times and came up with 36-pounds of fillets. Finally we
weigh the carcass. It tipped the scales at 40-pounds even.
So not counting the skin and lost fluids, the parts added
up to 76-pounds. Now that's a respectable fish! It's surely
the biggest I've caught and according to Bobby, the 2nd
largest caught on his boat. In fact, when we first laid
the fish in the cockpit, Bobby pushed its head up against
the port bulkhead, then looked at where the tail was positioned.
That's when he told me that his mother caught one about
a foot longer, just last year. For this reason, I mistakenly
didn't think about a potential world record or even an IGFA
Fishing Contest contender. The all-tackle world record is
87-pounds, set in 1976 in Costa Rica. However, the 30-pound
class record is 79-pounds 5-ounces! It seems that we may
have eaten a world record for dinner. Dang, that gets to
me! I contacted the IGFA to find out how the fish would
have been considered had we entered it. The fact that Bobby
baited and handed off the rod would surely be grounds for
disqualification, yet the originally hooked fish dropped
the bait and this sequence of events was caught on the video.
Whether the same or a different fish finally came to gaff
will never be known. The IGFA would have considered this
a new fish and thus qualifying for consideration, however
the weighing rules specifies that the fish may not be weighed
at sea only. No wonder it tasted so good!
We made one final stop at Bobby's honey hole and caught
this nice roosterfish, albeit, a small one. This is the
first one I've seen up close. We released it unharmed.
Today our friend Arnie Schmidt from Seattle joins us. He
had to go to a wedding in San Diego the past weekend, so
he figured if he is that close to Cabo, and the Vallon's
are there, then why not join in? Arnie likes to fish for
Tuna, so he came down at a perfect time.
We departed from the marina at 6:55 AM on a course of 140
degrees for 2.6 miles before starting to troll at 7:15 AM.
The weather had turned for the worse, as we had nearly 20-knot
winds with some rollers approaching 10 feet, with the average
running 6 to 8 feet. We trolled for two hours, about 12
miles, before David spotted birds working a dolphin pod.
As we closed in on the dolphin, David spotted huge yellowfin
sliding down the face of the giant waves along with the
dolphin. We changed the lures to cedar plugs and feathers,
but no takers. Soon a Solmar boat arrived on the scene.
David expertly maneuvered the Checkmate in front
of the pod and yellowfin and slowed down while Bobby dropped
back a live bait. Instant hookup. Arnie won the coin toss,
so he is up. Before
Arnie could get his fish to the gaff, Bobby hooked a second
yellowfin. Louis insisted that it was his turn, so he takes
the fish. Both tunas, 30-pound and 40-pound, are gaffed
and we are on our way. By now, there are 12, repeat, twelve
boats on the pod! The yellowfin sounded, but we continued
to follow the pod along with the other fleet boats.
Following the pod, we traveled about 3 miles further south
before Bobby spotted some really big yellowfin. He drops
back another bait, but this time on the 80-wide with no
leader. It is 11:09 AM when Bobby gets bit. He hands me
the rod and says in a clear loud voice: "No leader
John, the hook is tied directly to the line. Don't break
this fish off!" No problem, I'm thinking, looking at
the drag setting. How can you break off a fish with only
18-pounds of drag I wondered? In standup gear, I battle
the fish for about 30 minutes and just simply got tired
of standing up and doing this "get line, lose line"
thing. For a while, I thought we had hooked a dolphin. The
fish never sounded - just stayed on the surface. Several
times the fish charged the boat, and I had to reel like
hell to keep the line from going slack. Good thing the reel
was a two-speed! This is getting old I thought. I could
get the fish within 50 yards of the boat, and then the fish
would jet off, taking off another 100 yards. I swear we
wore that section of line out! "Put some more drag
on Bobby, we're not making any progress" I barked.
Everyone agreed, as I was cutting into their fishing time.
"The fish isn't hooked good, you'll pop him off"
he replied. "The fish is gut hooked and it swims like
it is, so either you put some on or I will", I demanded.
Finally, Bobby agrees and gives me another 20-pounds. Instantly,
I get the fish turned around and it's over for the fish.
We get the gaff in at 12:19 PM and 2 minutes later the fish
is on the deck.
Now it's shark time again. In less than 10 minutes, we
had 4 to 5 brown sharks around the boat, most likely due
the blood from the tuna getting into the water. Having lost
the pod of dolphin during the long battle, Bobby drops another
bait back to the waiting sharks and hooks into a good one.
We let Arnie work this one. Bobby grabs another rod and
drops it back. I got some good video of the shark attacking
the bait, and also of Bobby dumping about $50 worth of terminal
tackle, including 2 wind-on leaders to these fish. Arnie's
shark finally breaks off right at boat side for the last
fish of the day.
That evening, we had a great tuna dinner with Bobby, his
wife Lisa, their 4-year-old son Tres, their friend Windie,
David, the captain, and my brother. Bobby took the fresh
tuna to Cabo Wabo, not usually known as a restaurant - more
as a disco. The tuna was served both as sashimi, as an appetizer,
and grilled with garlic and peppercorns. It was fantastic.
The next day we sent Arnie home with almost 70-pounds of
fillets for his wife to can for us, but not before we held
out a few more fillets for the Cabo Wabo one more time.
9/28/99 This afternoon, we played in a weekly, local's
only, golf tournament at the Palmilla Golf course. Bobby
and his father invited Louis and I along. I don't play golf,
so I just drove around in a cart capturing everyone's worst
swings with my video. After the tournament, Bob Smith, owner
of Minerva's Tackle and also in the tournament, invited
us to the new shrimp bucket for dinner. The food is good,
but very expensive. I asked Rick, Bobby's father, if he
wanted to go fishing with us on next Thursday, a sort-of
Dobson's versus the Vallon's. He agreed. Here is the report,
which I'm writing at Franciscos Espresso Bar in the Plaza
Bonita - Thanks again Dixie!
Yesterday, we made a tactical error. Bobby had heard that
a private yacht had reported releasing 7 blues about 35
miles out on a course of 160 degrees. So we decided to try
our luck. After a brief stop at the fuel dock, we were underway
at 6:45 AM. I have never seen water this dirty in all the
years I've fished here. The water inside the marina was
actually clearer. After running about an hour, Rick puts
his bare foot over the side to check the water temperature
- "78 degrees" he announces! At 7:42 AM we are
32 miles out and we find some birds working with lots of
flying fish and clear water. No bites under the birds. At
10:15 AM we spot a school of dolphin and troll alongside
them also without luck. Finally, at 11:39 AM we spot birds
diving on flying fish and Bobby quickly drops back a live
bait. Instant hookup. on a nice 35-pound female dorado.
Bobby remarks, "dang, man! 41 miles and only a dorado!
I wonder if that guy at the fuel dock was just trying to
sell us diesel?b" We continue to the troll, heading
east. Our next bite came at 1:05 PM. Our position was 22°
18.7' 109° 32.4'. It was Rick's turn and he quickly
reels in another female dorado around 30-pounds. That was
it for the rest of the day. We brought in the lures at 3:00
PM, still 40 miles from Cabo. We got to the slip at 5:15
PM. Just a note: On our return, to avoid traveling directly
into the swells, we headed due north, which took us to the
outer Gorda Banks. The water turned dirty again after only
traveling about 5 miles, not clearing up until we reached
about 8 miles south of the Gorda Banks. BTW, we put on 115
NM on the odometer!
We certainly had a great time fishing with Bobby. In addition
to his proven fishing skills, he's really a comic. I remember
when I had brought out the wireless remote microphone for
the video. I asked Bobby to wear it so that the camera could
pick up his comments while working with the angler. Well,
I just happened to be monitoring the sound with a set of
headphones when Bobby was handling a freshly caught dorado.
As Bobby was "stunning" the dorado, each time
he hit it, he would make a sound like "eeeh".
Hearing this on the headphones, I quickly yelled "Bobby,
take the microphone off, I can't have the sound of that
poor fish's cries in my video!" I was completely fooled
into thinking dorado cry when you hit them! We all had a
good laugh about that. He says it drives his customers nuts
- apparently he does this all the time. He can be reached
through his web site: http://www.dobsonfishing.com