I received a picture of a fish yesterday that looked like it was pushing 400 lbs. After a little digging, I found it was Captain Eduardo Aripez that had landed it on his 22 foot Panga “Nicole”. Captain Aripez is well known in the area for raising big fish and actually landed a 168 lbs Yellowfin in this Los Cabos Billfish and then a 225 lbs Yellowfin in the Bisbees Offshore this year aboard “Estrella del Norte”. This is a custom vessel, cold molded with a fiberglass liner, a 34’ Carolina style Flyer owned by Donald Whittier. In 2012 they won the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot aboard this vessel with a 372 lbs Yellowfin.
So when Aripez told me he set out late, at about 3 pm to look for a Big Yellowfin and that it had hit within minutes of setting out his live skipjack, I wasn’t surprised. These guys know the Outer Gordo Banks like the back of their hand… He was fishing this day with friends Franciso Beltran and Inocencio Pina, who worked the monster tuna for hours. Aripez was the one that finally got it to the boat on a Shimano Tiagra 50, with 80# line and 130# leader. The fish had died on him just about 50 meters from the boat and he brought it up slowly, but surely. It took them a total of 3 and a half hours to land the fish, and made it back to the dock by night.
“How did you manage to get that thing into the boat?” I asked.
“It was hard!” Aripez laughed, “I actually told the guys make sure the bilge pump is on! When we started pulling it onboard the boat almost tipped over and took on a lot of water, but we managed”.
The fish was so big that it was difficult to weigh on the La Playita scale, but came out to be 365 lbs!
The weather conditions out there for this battle? “It was perfect, calm seas, calm skies, 83F Water temperature… and it was the first bite of the day”, Aripez said.
Was this his biggest tuna ever caught, I asked, “I have had quite a few big ones, the biggest was a 396 pounder a few years ago. And actually, three days ago I also had one on in the same area, about the same size. Also fought it for about 3 hours, but lost it before we could get it to the gaff.”
Not to be defeated, he came back again and landed his fish, once again.