Pursuits: Big-Fish Story

  • Photo by DJ Strunz
    Sebastian Melani, one of the world’s top blue-water hunters, swims to the surface with a wahoo speared off the coast of Mexico Photo by DJ Strunz
  • Photo by Diego Santiago
    Mexico’s clear waters are swimming with mahi and tuna Photo by Diego Santiago
  • Photo by Diego Santiago
    This tuna weighed in at 230 pounds Photo by Diego Santiago
  • Back on land, the St. Regis Punta Mita offers blue-water hunters unusually luxurious accommodations. Amenities include the Jack Nicklaus–designed Pacífico golf courseand Mexican cuisine at Las Marietas
  • Las Marietas restaurant
  • Melani poses with snappers; a mahi swims off the shores of Mexico
  • Photo by Diego Santiago
    230-pound tuna is speared behind the gills Photo by Diego Santiago
  • Photo by Pedro Paz
    95-pound amberjack is caught during a Punta Mita Expeditions dive Photo by Pedro Paz
  • Photo by Sebastian Melani
    a relatively modest mahi will still make for a big dinner Photo by Sebastian Melani
  • The modern trophy fish is actually a custom-painted fiberglass mold, such as these examples by Gray Taxidermy in Pompano Beach, Fla.
  • Photo by DJ Strunz
  • Photo by Diego Santiago
  • Photo by Diego Santiago
  • Photo by Diego Santiago
  • Photo by Pedro Paz
  • Photo by Sebastian Melani
<< Back to Collection, April 2015

On Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, blue-water hunters go eye-to-eye with giants of the deep.

When the wake-up call rang at 6 am, my eyes were wide open and my nerves on edge. In an hour, I would meet a catamaran that would take me 16 miles out to sea, where I would dive into open ocean and try to spear a gigantic fish. 

The sport—called blue-water hunting—is practiced around the world, but I was giving it a go in the clear sparkling sea off of Mexico’s lush Riviera Nayarit. Here, tuna, wahoo, and marlin can tip the scales at nearly 1,000 pounds. If you go hunting and are lucky, you will see one. If you are luckier, you will land one with a spear. During my visit here last year, a group of Brazilian guys (“office bellies,” my guide called them) shot a 686-pound blue marlin. The general manager of the St. Regis Punta Mita, where the Brazilians and I were staying, showed me a picture of the fish on his iPhone. It was as tall, and nearly as wide, as the Brazilian who caught it.

On that trip, I hunted in shallower waters just swimming distance from shore. My “speargun” was loaded with thick rubber bands and the reef was swimming with easy targets. I floated over it with a snorkel mask on and easily popped off fish the size of two of my outstretched hands. I came home with dinner that the St. Regis’s chefs prepared as a personal feast of sashimi, ceviche, fish tacos, and fillet.

But today was blue-water hunting. I could come home with dinner for 400.

(Continues on next page...)

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