CR A ZY DAYS OFF MAG­DALENA BAY

The Baja hot spot pro­duces mind-blow­ing ac­tion

Marlin - - BEFORE THE STRIKE - as told to Sam White —Laura Jessen,

The south­west­ern coast of Mex­ico’s Baja Penin­sula has long been a hot spot for striped mar­lin, with the ac­tion cen­tered off the sparsely pop­u­lated re­gion of Mag­dalena Bay. Lo­cated on the Pa­cific coast, Mag Bay can pro­duce in­cred­i­ble fish­ing for striped mar­lin. Chris and Laura Jessen found out just how good it can be dur­ing two sep­a­rate trips there in mid-Novem­ber 2017, fish­ing aboard their Hat­teras GT63, Fish Tank. Here is Laura’s re­port from that ex­pe­di­tion.

We re­lo­cated Fish Tank from our home port in Los Sueños, Costa Rica, to Cabo San Lu­cas, Mex­ico, for the tour­na­ment sea­son in 2017 and de­cided to make two trips up the Pa­cific coast to Mag Bay with Capt. Ben Horn­ing and mates To­pher Wight­man and Erick Martinez. Both trips were be­yond epic; in fact, it was be­yond any­thing we could have imag­ined.

The first three-day trip, from Novem­ber 11-13, Chris fished with Kitt Toomey, Pe­ter Miller and Dar­ren Hel­wig and re­leased a to­tal of 272 striped mar­lin, three blue mar­lin and three sail­fish. The se­cond ven­ture up the coast was from Novem­ber 16-19. Six an­glers — Chris, me, Thomas Gar­many, Jenn Gre­aney, Blaire Bi­ase and Hunter Carter — fished for three and a half days and re­leased 334 striped mar­lin, two blue mar­lin and four sail­fish for a grand to­tal of 606 striped mar­lin, five blues and seven sails in six and a half days of fish­ing. Our best day was an in­cred­i­ble 125 striped mar­lin and two blue mar­lin. Jenn, Blaire and Hunter all learned to hook their own fish on that trip.

We were warned about how rough it could be there, but we had great weather, with the se­cond trip be­ing flat calm the en­tire time. The sight of 30 to 40 striped mar­lin cut­ting through bait­balls on the sur­face un­der frigate birds was just in­sane. We trolled dead baits only, and caught dou­bles, triples, quads — up to nine at one time. It was once-in-a-life­time fish­ing, and I hope to make it back there to ex­pe­ri­ence it again.

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