Gone Fishing in Cabo

For this day trip, your resort puts you to work — but you’ll have fun

BY BILL FINK — Spring 2018

he day begins at sunrise with a ride to the colorful Cabo San Lucas harbor at the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. There, we climb aboard a 42-foot private resort yacht, where the crew greets us with mimosas and snacks. The captain has stopped at the bait shop to grab fishing licenses and some sardines along with rainbow-colored rubber lures.

We’re all pumped to take part in a new program at the One&Only Palmilla resort called the “Catch, Cook, Cocktail” package. It’s designed especially for guests interested in not only consuming, but in helping to create a uniquely Cabo food and drink experience.

Out at sea, the boat passes the iconic rock arch from the harbor and sails through some nearby fishing spots, many occupied by both sport fishers and local commercial vessels, all angling for a chance at a big one, maybe like the trophy 900-pound marlin caught in the area the week before, or the more common tuna, dorado, and snapper.

About 15 minutes from shore, our captain pulls out five heavy-duty rods and reels and attaches them in slots at the rear and top of the boat. He shows us how to fix the lures on the hooks, and we cast them to sea, hoping for the best. With the lines simply trolling about 50 feet behind the boat, it’s just a waiting game to see if any fish take a lure. As the boat casually circles for about 45 minutes, we keep half an eye on the lines as we sip margaritas and dine on a fish lunch the crew has packed for us. I ask the captain for fishing tips, and he shrugs, “a lot of luck involved … just pray.”

Chef Dahrouch’s sea bass tacos. PHOTO BY BILL FINK.

Alas, my angling prayers aren’t answered, and we reel in the lines after about an hour. Had we gotten any bites, the staff would have helped us land our catches and then done the dirty work of cleaning them for the kitchen. But it’s not all bad news: As a consolation prize, the captain steers the boat closer to shore and anchors for a half-hour snorkeling stop. Diving into the water, we see schools of brightly colored smaller fish that somehow sense we’re no longer on the hunt and swim around us like close friends.

Back on land, we’re off to the hotel kitchen, where executive chef Larbi Dahrouch has preordered fresh Pacific sea bass, just in case we came back empty-handed. We work with the Moroccan-born, Paris-trained chef to dice the fish. We mix the smaller chunks in a spicy ceviche with pimento peppers, corn, and cucumber. The bigger pieces we marinade, toss on a sizzling grill, and combine with a fresh garnish in a soft tortilla. For good measure, we concoct some guacamole and salsa, which we scoop up with tortilla chips and some delicious plantain chips. The combination is tasty and light enough to enjoy on this hot Mexican afternoon.

After lazing at the hotel beach, we gather again for the evening at the stylish Agua by Larbi bar with resident mixologist Philippe Zaigue, who shares his recipes and supervises a competition for our group to mix spicy margaritas and palomas with fresh juices and spices. We toast to our fishing efforts and our culinary success, and then retire to our lavish suites for dreams of hooking a trophy marlin next time.

Details: The “Catch, Cook, Cocktail” program, a three-night package, includes the all-day fishing and cooking excursion and accommodations in an Ocean View Suite. From $5,805 for two people. 866-829-2977; oneandonlyresorts.com

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