I think no matter how old you get, you probably groan just a little when your dad winds up to tell one of his stories you’ve heard countless hundreds of times. Or when you can just feel a classic “dad joke” coming on. Especially as we get older and grow in our own wisdom and experience, sometimes we need to be reminded of something simple: Dad still knows best. I re-learned this in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico.
We were on a family trip to Cabo San Lucas when my dad approached me, beaming with pride and excitement. He’d booked a charter for us about an hour or so north of where we were. I felt a little confused. Cabo has some amazing fishing in its own right (which is another adventure, here), and I couldn’t for the life of me understand why we’d venture so far away.
Despite my skepticism, my father assured me this was a good move for us. He loves to fish, and he’s learning more and more every day (even if he’s not the best yet — sorry dad! But he is getting better). Like me, he likes to do some research when fishing a new area, and he’s also just as stubborn, hard-headed, and persistent. Where do you think I get it from? He assured me over and over again.
So I took his advice.
We headed up there, an hour drive through some dusty, relatively barren landscape with some odd foliage and gnarled, dried up trees dotting the countryside between patches of dense forest. We arrived and pulled up to this little marina, just my dad and brother and me, and immediately jumped into a six pack with two guides. In no time, we were a couple miles out to see.
And holy shit. Dad was right. We hooked the first fish in no time.
It was a special moment, being out there with my Pops, and since he had paid for it all and done all the research that led us out here, I told him to take it. It ended up being a gorgeous sailfish, weighing in at 100 lbs! We took some great pictures with this beautiful fish, and it was actually my first time being a boat with someone and that kind of fish. I couldn’t be more proud to stand there with my dad.
If you’ve never seen sailfish in action, you should check it out (there are plenty of videos on YouTube, like this one here from World Fishing Network). It’s majestic and humbling. They burst through the deep blue ocean water, coming up like a dark shadow spat out of a cannon. One moment there’s just the horizon and a nearly-invisible line taut in the water — the next, this massive beast is midair, needle nose thrusting defiantly. The long fin running down its back (that gives it the name ‘sail’) is a rich blue, kind of mixed between the sky and the ocean, which seems fitting. In midair, they toss and turn their heads roughly, trying to spit out the lure, and you can feel every ounce of fight and power in them. It’s incredible.
Not long after the first sailfish, we also hooked a marlin, about 150 lbs, and I reeled him in after a ridiculously hard fight. I was surprised, because marlin aren’t always tough fighters (take it or leave it as a commentary on the Florida baseball team).
All in all it was a hell of a trip. We had a few cervezas out on the water, a lot of fish, and a lot more laughs. We cruised a couple miles off the coast, hauling up some spectacular mahi mahi and some tuna as well, on top of the sailfish and marlin that started us off. I had to laugh at myself for the skepticism and doubt that had lingered in me over the course of our hour journey up to San Jose del Cabo. It was one of those times I was more than happy to eat my words.
My favorite thing about the spot was the old school Mexican vibe we got, and I don’t think it fully hit me until we’d made it back to land and were almost back to Cabo San Lucas. The stark contrast was clear, the difference between the overdeveloped ideal of a man made paradise, and the undeveloped raw beauty of the land as God created. Which is not to say one is better — both are teeming with incredible aquatic life and both offer something unique depending on what you’re looking for.
San Jose del Cabo is unique, to be sure, and I’m grateful to my father for discovering it for us. Beyond the fishing were some great restaurants and a really authentic little town, but also a reminder of my roots and my family, which is ultimately part of what keeps me going.
It’s not just about making memories out there; it’s making memories I know are shared. And of course, passing them along for others to make their own. Happy fishing.