Marlin Fishing Gets Hot Off Cabo San Lucas

When temps rise in Cabo San Lucas, marlin fishing heats up.

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Striped Marlin Mania

As the weather turns hot in Cabo San Lucas, so too does fishing for striped marlin, as I found out during my visit to attend the 5th annual Cabo Marine Show and fish with Capt. Christian Lopez aboard the Don Luis, a 48-foot Bertram, which is part of the Solmar Sportfishing Fleet based in Cabo San Lucas Marina. Averaging about 120 pounds, striped marlin stage a spectacular fight. This fish was hooked near the famous Gordo Bank. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Marlin Central: Cabo San Lucas Marina

I visited the Cabo San Lucas Marina to attend the 5th annual Cabo Marine Show and get in a couple of days of fishing. The marina is world class. Photo courtesy Los Cabos Tourism.Courtesy Los Cabos Tourism
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Tailing Marlin

Striped marlin often "tail" while swimming down-swell, which allows anglers to sight-cast live bait to these great gamefish. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Sight-Casting to Marlin

Don Luis mate Cesar Lopez gets ready to cast a live bigeye scad (aka caballito) to a tailing marlin. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Light 'Em Up

Striped marlin illuminte with neon-like vertical stripes along their flanks -- a characteristic that gives this billfish its name. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Close-Quarters Marlin Fight

Don Luis Capt. Christian Lopez battles a striped marlin close to the boat. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Ready for a Fight

Striped marlin often uncork their most spectacular jumps at the begining of the battle. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Greyhounding Run

Marlin often "greyhound" as they streak away -- leaping repetitively as they peel line off the reel. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Getting Vertical

A striped marlin leaps nearly vertical next to the boat. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Rigging the Game

Crew members Cesar Lopez (left) and Suaol de la Pena prepare rigged ballyhoo for trolling for marlin off Cabo San Lucas. These baits are trolled amid the teasers and dropped to fish that attack the lure spread. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Marlin End Game

A striped marlin is fought to the boat. Virtually all marlin fishing is catch and release for boats fishing out of Cabo San Lucas today. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Leadering the Fish

Don Luis mate Cesar Lopez leaders a striped marlin in preparation for the release. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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The Wrong Tail

A boat out of Cabo San Lucas spots a tail, but this is not a marlin -- it's a hammerhead shark. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Prize Fighter

This marlin continues to battle near the boat. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Lift Off!

A striped marlin goes airborne off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Great Game Fish

Though acrobatic, striped marlin can also dog it in the depths. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Bright and Beautiful

This marlin is still brightly colored as the crew of the Don Luis brings it boat side for release. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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At the Rail

Don Luis mate Cesar Lopez fights a striped marlin while Suaol del la Pena stands by to wire the fish. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Marlin Nears the Surface

A striped marlin nears the Don Luis after a half-hour battle. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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One Last Jump

A striped marlin uncorks a final series of jumps near the boat. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Fighting Striper

Marlin tend to lose their bright colors at the end of the fight, but are still impressive. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Fresh and Bright

This striped marlin is still fresh and bright, even as the fight nears an end. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Ready for Release

Don Luis first mate Suaol de la Pena (right) prepares to release a striped marlin, while Capt. Christian Lopez assists. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Skipper and His Mentor

Capt. Christian Lopez (right) and his long-time friend and mentor Capt. Pepe de la Pena beam after a great day of marlin fishing aboard the Don Luis off Cabo San Lucas. The 48-foot Bertram is part of Cabo's Solmar Sportfishing Fleet. Photo by Jim HendricksJim Hendricks
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Flags of Glory

The sportfishing fleet in Cabo San Lucas Marina regularly returns flying marlin and tag-and-release flags. Thanks to an enlightened view of sustainable fisheries among captains and boat owners, flags have all but replaced dead marlin on the docks, as I learned during my visit to fish and attend the 5th annual Cabo Marine Show. Photo by Jim Hendricks