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September 09, 2011

Mexico's Revillas Treasure

Unlimited angling action for tuna and more in Mexico's limited-access islands

Untapped Billfish
That more than tuna prowl the Revillas is hardly surprising, as Mezirow proved by hooking a striped marlin barely a stone’s throw off Roca. Another time, Temple recalls anglers jigging for grouper near Roca Partida, when “up from the depths swam a black marlin of grander size, checking us out. We threw everything we had at it, but a fish that size isn’t too interested in iron or even small live baits.”

While the billfish fishery remains largely untapped — “There are concentrations of billfish out here begging to be tapped into” — Temple says they’ve caught sails, stripes, blue and black marlin in these waters.

He’s also curious about unrealized opportunities for popping around shorelines and jigging the drop-offs, though at least the latter has been an occasional activity — as it was on my foray into these islands.

During a limited bit of dropping metal jigs, we failed to get a lot of variety, but did get into some outstanding action for one of the eastern Pacific’s more colorful groupers, the leather grouper, which seem to be particularly abundant and put up a fair fight. Also, I’m here to report that leather grouper are outstanding eating. (There have apparently been no ciguatera issues in these waters.)

The occasional jigging efforts on the Gladiator have also produced such species as broomtail grouper, bluefin trevally and rainbow runner. Surprisingly, not many true snappers have been caught in these waters so far, though Temple says he expects that list to grow as they spend more time exploring deepwater drop-offs around the islands in coming years.

The most super of the super cows hooked on this trip came unbuttoned shortly after More hooked it, as noted earlier. Whether that was 300 pounds or 380, we’ll never know. But we did bring aboard one we didn’t weigh, the sheer bulk of which assured us of its super-cow status, after Rachel duked it out in an all-out stand-up battle at the rail for an hour. It wasn’t the biggest taken aboard the Gladiator, but for most yellowfin enthusiasts, it still ­qualifies as that fish of a lifetime.

Trip Facts
For more information or to book a trip (full-boat charter or open charters), visit or call 250-266-1987.

Marina Fiesta Resort and Spa ( provided our group with accommodations in Cabo. The rooms were generous, and the resort’s location — at the harbor — is ideal.

The Long-Range Option
Hundreds of hard-core fishermen each year come to these waters to fish aboard long-range boats based in San Diego. Although they are not allowed to fish inside the sixmile biosphere surrounding each island, these live-aboard fishing machines return with big catches of cows, and often super cows. Most anglers travel aboard from San Diego, though some boats offer the option to fly down to Cabo and embark there. These trips begin in October and run through May. One boat, the Royal Star (, has been fishing inside the biosphere in recent years by special permit, which allows a select group of anglers to assist in research, tagging and releasing yellowfin. Many of the boats also fish Hurricane Bank, beyond the archipelago, often for some of the world’s hottest wahoo action. For information or to book a trip, go to, and

See more great photos from Roca Partida here!