The boat: The 78-foot Gladiator is a custom aluminum-hull sport fisher based in Cabo ( It’s a gorgeous boat that’s comfortable and designed just specifically to take small groups long distances for many days.
Paperwork time – A stop at Socorro Island, like Roca Partida, one of the landforms in Mexico’s Revillagigedo Archipelago, allows Mexican government authorities the chance to ascertain the validity of the boat’s permits allowing it inside the “biosphere” (which encircles each island with a six-mile radius) to fish. Photo by: Rachel Olander
On to Isla San Benedicto – a volcanic island who steep sides show a fascinating pattern of erosion through the lava field. Photo by: Rachel Olander
With fish showing on bottom, Andy Mezirow of Seward, Alaska, dropped a metal jig and was immediately rewarded with this lovely leather grouper.
In the waning daylight, still off San Benedicto, a trio of leather grouper garner smiles from George Large with Yo-Zuri lures (left), Doug Olander and angler Ben Cowley. Photo by: Rachel Olander
Making bait in the wee hours in a determined effort to fill the Gladiator’s four bait wells.
Everything loves to eat caballitos.
The rock! With Roca Partida looming in the background, Large pushes the drag to strike as a wahoo burns line.
The catch! One of several ‘hoos that couldn’t pass up a Yo-Zuri Hydro Magnum deep diver on the troll.
That’s not a fish; it’s a small pickup truck! At least that’s the size of it – this super-cow easily well over 300 pounds, cruised in and out of our chunk line.
That’s not a bluefin tuna; it’s a pain in the ass! Especially because an army of sharks (mostly big whalers and oceanic whitetips) tended to dominate a chunk line, gobbling free and hook baits. Finally Ray More, of Fin-Nor, hooked the monster but the hook pulled. Photo by: Rachel Olander
Hook-up! Early in a long and brutal stand-up battle, Rachel Olander fights for leverage against a fish twice her size and tests out one of the Fin-Nor Santiago reels that Ray had brought along.
End game! Rachel can finally smile with her prize on the gaff (in fact gaffs – three of ’em).
It takes 10 hands to handle a whopper – and a supercow (yellowfin of 300 pounds or more) qualifies.
Next day, Andy gets a surprise when this lunker of a rainbow runner sucked in his live bait.
Black jacks (Caranx lugubris) were omnipresent; the tough fish frequently took trolled lures.
Running the size of small giant trevally, black jacks in these waters get particularly large. In fact, the long-standing world record comes from Isla Partida.
Birds – primarily frigates and (as here) boobies – were ever present and sometimes made it tough to get a bait or even a popper to the fish!
Even cranking back poppers at top speed wasn’t always fast enough to keep lures out of the feet of attacking boobies. Fortunately, this one was barely hooked and easily released. Photo by: Rachel Olander
Kites away – some days the wind blew too fiercely to fly a kite; otherwise, it was usually up.
Sometimes flying fishing ended up on the kite line – hapless baits that had “flown” aboard the night before.
Ray enjoys his moment of triumph as another triple-gaffer is secured and a tuna roughly 250 pounds marks one of his better fish. Photo by: Capt. Josh Temple
Big poppers, like this Surface Cruiser, made for big excitement when yellowfin and the odd wahoo were crashing them.
And crash them they did – look closely and you’ll see this tuna’s eye and open mouth. Photo by: Rachel Olander
Rachel hangs on after hooking up one of the Yo-Zuri Sashimi Sliders that seemed to be the tunas’ lure of choice much of the time.
Soaking a bait off the bow, Andy was in for a surprise when the trip’s first striped marlin took off with the bait and then went skyward, right in front of Roca Partida.
Even after a long battle, this big yellowfin endures near the boat. Photo by: Capt. Josh Temple
It hurts so good! Sore from a long fight with this beast, George’s expression indicates his desire that the photographer work quickly. Photo by: Capt. Josh Temple
Easing the pain of tired anglers, plates of crab rolls wrapped with the freshest of fresh ahi sashimi await in the salon.
The Sport Fishing rabbit, signing off. Click here for more from Sport Fishing magazine. Photo by: Rachel Olander

The Pacific side of Mexico is home to some of the best saltwater fishing in the world. Check the latest action from our friends at Sport Fishing Magazine (these guys know how to have a good time).