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Posted on Dec 15, 2010 in Top Shots
A Trip to Cow City

I think a fishing report is in order this week, since I'm just back from spending an awesome four full days nearly 300 miles southwest of Cabo, mostly around an amazing hunk of rock called Roca Partida that juts up in the middle of nowhere from the depths of the Pacific. In my woefully minimal Spanish, I believe that means "split rock," since the guano-covered monolith does have that appearance.

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I hopped aboard a fabulous 78-foot custom sportfisher in Cabo, the Gladiator ( with five other anglers from Alaska to Florida, for a run of 24 hours or so. Thank God it was downswell. (As you may intuit, that means we ran right into the headsea en route home, and of course Murphy made sure it was plenty rough for the trip back.)

Though visited occasionally by long-range boats on 18-day trips out of San Diego, Roca Partida doesn't get visited much, to say the least. We sure didn't see another fishing boat anywhere on the horizon while there.

This report will be brief since the full story will run in a future issue of Sport Fishing. But next week, watch for a photo gallery with some of the images offering an idea of the excitement.

And there's excitement aplenty to be had...more than anything this whole area. The entire Revillagigedo Archipelago - a vast expanse of ocean including Soccorro, San Benedicto and Clarion islands - is known to be super-cow city. That means yellowfin of 300 pounds or more. Such a catch was high on our hit list - in fact, we were looking to notch yellowfin of 200 to 300 and more pounds.

We did all right in that regard - and the photos will show that. But suffice it to say, for me, being up on the tower on a moderately calm day with bright sun illuminating the beasts in the chunk line was truly mind-boggling, particularly when what was beyond question a super cow well into the three-century range, began cruising by to inhale chunks, plus the odd wahoo or two moving through completely lit up, plus countless sharks (whalers, ocean whitetips and the like, some into the jumbo range) all creating quite the unforgettable show.

If there was any disappointment on the trip, it might be that we failed to get into acres of wahoo, which are so often around. Of course we caught quite a few, but I'd been hoping to have them all over the top, when throwing hookless poppers would make for countless unguided-missile launches every cast. That didn't happen, but we did enjoy some fast popper fishing for smaller tuna - from football size to 50 or 60 pounds (which on spinning gear offer great topwater sport and heart-thumping thrills).

We also enjoyed some variety, with lots of big black jacks and rainbow runners. (Not surprising they'd be big; for both species, long-standing world records came from these islands.) We caught a number of leather grouper, one the more strikingly-patterned eastern Pacific groupers - and I'm here to tell you, they do eat very well indeed!

So look for the photo gallery soon. (I did take plenty of shots and more often than not, spared the rod for the camera. It's tough to stop fishing when the bite's on, but that's part of my job which, of course, is the whole reason for my being on a trip like this.) And if you're hankering to take the behemoth-yellowfin challenge, it's worth checking out various operations that fish these waters. Getting out to them is not something done casually or inexpensively, but it's a trip few would ever forget.