Cabo San Lucas
Sportfishing Hall of
New World Record Holder and All Around Great Guy
Jim Dillon (right) holding his Record Dorado Catch
By Michael Koehn
Sometimes it isn’t about the fishing, but this year on the morning of July 31 at about 8:15 off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, the fishing all of a sudden got very serious. Jim Dillon was fishing off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, trolling a large Allure Petrolero lure for billfish when his reel started screaming. Dillon knew he was on to a good fish, since he was fishing 80-pound gear with a heavy drag and the Penn 50SW was just singing. He was thinking sailfish or marlin until the fish went aerial about fifty yards off the back of the boat and he saw that he had hooked a very large Dorado (also known as Dolphinfish or Mahi Mahi).
One of the most beautiful fish in the ocean and a slashing, aerobatic fighter, it eventually took the entire crew more than thirty minutes to boat Dillon’s Dorado. At the docks the fish weighed in at 85 pounds, measured 68″ long and was 22″ across the tail, huge by any standard, but it wasn’t until Jim got back to the Mar de Cortez hotel that he was told that it was a possible world record fish.
In typical good guy fashion, Jim expressed his excitement and quickly gave most of the credit to his supporting crew. “I’m excited about the catch,but even more excited and happy for my captain and crew,” Dillon said of Capt.
Salvador Nuñez Ocampo, owner of Salvador’s Sportfishing Charters, and first mate Jesus Zavala Soto. “As strange as it sounds, it’s not a matter of catching fish,” he said. “For me it’s about the ambiance of it all.”
Jim Dillon is one of the lucky ones who is able to spend a lot of time fishing in the Cabo San Lucas area. He started fishing there back in the early seventies, when Cabo still retained a lot of its sleepy fishing village atmosphere. After many fishing trips, Jim became disenchanted with the
inconsistency in the panga services available, and decided to buy his own boat. After he bought it, though, he found out that he didn’t actually own it. But that also happened to be a stroke of fate, because the boat Jim bought was and is still owned by Salvador Nuñez Ocampo. The two have been partners ever since.
After several years of fishing the panga, and looking to improve the amenities available to his clients, Jim and Salvador began the search for a suitable sportfisher that they could outfit with first class gear. They found an old boat sitting in a lot in the Cabo area that had definitely seen better days and purchased it from the owner in San Francisco.
As Jim traveled back and forth between Cabo and California, Salvador worked on the ultimate makeover for that 29 foot Californian, working 12 hours a day for five months, virtually reconstructing every feature of the boat until it was like new. They christened it “El Budster”, after Buddy, Lesley’s and Jim’s Collie-mix dog, and it continues to be a successful and popular sportfisher operating out of the marina at Cabo for the last three and a half years. http://www.elbudster.com//
When it’s not about the fishing, even more mportantly, Jim Dillon is interested in helping other people improve their lives. Like many American sportsmen who visit Cabo to fish or recreate, Dillon always took clothing and other items to help the less fortunate there. But he has able to up the ante by virtue of a successful telecommunications business which, when he sold it,delivered like the lottery.
Jim now concentrates on spreading the wealth around through his Dillon Foundation, founded in 1993. Through this organization, Jim opened a food bank and has provided medical supplies and other aid to the Los Cabos community, and books, computers and other education materials to the local schools. Dillon’s girlfriend, Lesley Sargent, also coordinates a Dillon Foundation program called Canine Interaction. Leslie takes dogs, such as Buddy, to convalescent homes and hospitals to cheer up people who are in need of a little friendly company.
On January 4 of this year (2002), Jim Dillon officially received notification from the International Game Fish Association that his Dorado had qualified as a new world record. The 85-pound (38.25 kg) fish qualifies as the new IGFA record in the 80-pound line category.
With all the he has done for the area, and continues to do, having James Edward Dillon’s name in the IGFA record book is truly a sweet form of payback.
Read Jim Dillon’s personal account of the catch – “A Lot of Bull“