Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Costa Rica Fishing Report – February, 2015 by Todd Staley – Congratulations to an old friend Dr. Bruce Pratt who along with 23 friends and family passed his 88th birthday here at Crocodile Bay Resort. Bruce has been a fly fishing enthusiast for many years and set a goal to catch 150 sails on a fly. He is an “old school” type of fisherman and doesn’t chase the fish down with the boat just to get numbers.
I was lucky enough to accompany him when sailfish #149 came into the spread. The fish sat under the fly for what seemed like an eternity and he had to re-cast three times before the fish engulfed the fly. It was a huge sail, weighing an easy 120 lbs and took off like a greyhound after a stuffed rabbit.
It finally broke water 300 or so yards behind the boat and even at that distance it looked huge. For over an hour sweat poured from his brow, while he played the fish perfectly for the release. Number #150 eluded the Doc and he already made plans for his return trip.
Gray Taxidermy tagging research
We have become part of the Gray team and began tagging fish for their research program. Different than most types of tagging programs, this one is interactive and anyone can go online and see what and where fish are being tagged. We have already captured a roosterfish that crossed the gulf after it was tagged and a fish that we tagged was recaptured by a neighboring operation. Ask about tagging your own fish and naming it while you are here.
Fishing hasn’t been so bad as of late. There are lots of fish out there although some days they are finicky. We have seen plenty of double digit days in the spread and other days, free jumpers that don’t care to play. The marlin have hung around all season so far. We don’t see big numbers of fish but we are still catching them. Inshore has been steady.
A 65 lb roosterfish has been the top dog of late caught by Bret and Duane Swanson. Snapper and amberjacks have come from the reefs and a few nice big African pompano have made some nice ceviche.
Update 2/26- We released two blue marlin yesterday, one at 500lbs.
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
or Call 1.800.733.1115 for Immediate Assistance
Thursday, April 24th, 2014
First thing I should say is that fishing has been pretty good. There are enough sailfish around to make it interesting and double digit raises have been common. Some marlin has been around lately with several in the 200 to 350 pound range landed. Football tuna have made their presence. Hopefully the bigger boys are right behind them.
Boston Whaler brought their group down as well as Dave Goldberg making a return trip with 18 people. Whaler has been down now 13 years in a row. They saw some of the best fishing they have experienced and many first timers in the group took the ceremonial dunk off the dock for catching their first billfish. They also left a couple thousand dollars from their “just for fun” tournament for a project with the town school system.
Roosterfish have been cooperative but not of great size although Jordan Schachner and his cousin Matt finished their trip with a 60 pounder after catching two marlin the day before.
Mark Davis was down again filming another Bigwater Adventure show. These guys invest a lot of money and time producing these shows so I was really impressed when he decided not to take the easy road and jump on the sailfish bite and he suggested we experiment. We decided to target wahoo the first day. End of day one. One bite, zero wahoo.
Day two Mark wanted to try deep dropping so we fished in 350 to 450 of water. We got a variety of small grouper, tile fish, congria, and some unidentifiable creatures and when most would have given up Mark kept us working the area. Finally near the end of the day I heard him say, “That’s the bite I was waiting for.” When he set the hook, the rod doubled and we knew it was something big. A few minutes later we were lifting a 50 lb grouper on board. The best identification we have is it is a Gulf Grouper although the books say their range is not this far south.
Mark finished his trip with 4 marlin coming into the spread that wouldn’t eat, and hook ups on a couple of sailfish. He got some good topwater action by catching several yellowfin tuna on poppers. Even though he didn’t take the easy way, as always I’m sure his show will be “30 minutes of awesome.”
Crocodile Bay Resort,
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Crocodile Bay is now offering 84 luxury residences for full ownership. For more information about Southern Costa Rica Real Estate visit www.osaliving.com
Saturday, November 9th, 2013
Monster Marlin, Sailfish, Roosterfish, and Dorado provide our first guests of the season with “plenty of monsters”!
Sergey Chmykhov and Mikhail Fedyushkin Land a Monster at Crocodile Bay!
Happy Halloween! This week we kicked off our 15th season of sport fishing and adventure at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica, and the monster fish showed up to celebrate Halloween. Our first group from Russia scored big on opening day (Sunday) bringing in three pacific blue marlin (150lbs, 250lbs, and 400+lbs – Photos courtesy Sergey Chmykhov and Mikhail Fedyushkin), six yellowfin tuna (Sashimi treats), dorado, and roosterfish inshore. If that’s not enough to make you “howl”, we had Sean Harrell (from our home office in California) and his friend Elizabeth down and they delivered “terror” inshore releasing 6 roosterfish and a bagging a bright orange cubera snapper that lit up like a pumpkin when it hit.
Yesterday one of our groups from Ireland went 3 for 6 on sailfish (another offshore boat produced the same numbers)landing one sailfish and one dorado on the fly. The only “trick” so far has been the weather. Historically the end of October can be “wet” as we transition from our rainy season into the dry and sunny Costa Rican summer season. The sun is shining and has been all week!We have yet to see what new monsters will be caught and released this afternoon! Have a fun and SAFE halloween. We hope to see you soon at Crocodile Bay Resort catching some “monsters” of your own.
If you’re in the Fort Lauderdale area, please come by the 54th Annual Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show and visit our booth. We are located in fishing village 6 between Hatteras and Viking Yachts!
Click to reserve your trip to Crocodile Bay Here
Photos from Crocodile Bay’s 15th Season Opener
Sean Harrell from our California office enjoying some inshore fishing!
See you soon in Costa Rica
Crocodile Bay Resort
Puerto Jimenez, Osa PeninsulaCosta Rica
Friday, September 6th, 2013
First I would like to thank Will Briegel for filling in for me while I concentrated on some other things. I made three trips to the states in the last few weeks. The annual ICAST tackle show is a great chance to see what is new in the fishing game as well as catch up with some old friends. I followed that with a family reunion and to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. What started as a family of seven kids has grown to where there were over 140 in attendance. Later I went to the Florida Outdoor Writer’s Conference where I saw a lot of old friends and promoted some of the advances in marine conservation we have made here in Costa Rica. It was an honor to be there when fishing great Flip Pallot received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
I know Will had the Gorham family in the last report but they sent me a story from their trip and I would like to share it with you. Also Scott Young who I got to know by e-mail but missed here at the lodge sent me photos of his trip. Daryl, Matt, and Andrew Gorup from the Peterbilt family made another visit here. So many people have become such good friends over the years that I am really blessed to be starting my 14th season here in November.
The Gorham Family Invades Crocodile Bay for the Thrid Time!
Read about their family fishing and more adventures here!
Fishing went flat for 4 days when I returned last week as green water slowed things up. We sent the fleet a little further and found some cleaner water and Brain Thurston and Gary Arnold from Fishing Tackles Retailer magazine went 5 for 5 on sails. Fishing has improved daily.
Costa Rica Marine Conservation
We have had some great advances lately which will undoubtedly improve fishing in Costa Rica. No more shrimp boats. The Costa Rican courts have sided with conservationists and declared trawling for shrimp an unsustainable form of fishing and have ruled that shrimpers can continue to work until their current license expires and then they will be forced to stop. It is not an overnight fix but a substantial one and the last boat will be out of the water in four years.
Charlie, the animated tuna that has promoted the consumption of tuna in the United States for decades will even be happier if Costa Rican fishermen get their way. The Pacific Fisherman’s Union a commercial lobby and FECOP, the recognized sport fishing lobby in Costa Rica on September 2, asked the Costa Rican government for a 6 year moratorium on tuna purse seine fishing.
After years of throwing stones at each other the commercial fleet and the sport fishing fleet have come together to promote a Blue Agenda to insure more responsible fishing methods in the country.
Costa Rica does not have a purse seine fleet and all licenses to fish this method are being given to foreign vessels. Armed with a study done by FECOP that concludes that Costa Rican fishermen are being robbed of the resource as well as possible financial gain, the groups have asked for this time frame to study the situation and develop sustainable fishing methods for the benefit of local fisherman.
Right now nearly 90% of all tuna caught in Costa Rica are landed in other countries and Costa Rica sees only a $37 dollar per ton benefit by letting foreign flagged seiners take the resource. This coupled with other irregularities and illegal activities such as the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD’s) are not only depleting the tuna resource, but increase the capture of juvenile by-catch with is thrown dead back into the ocean.
FECOP has found that by uniting the commercial and sport fishing sector, rather than constantly fight each other they can better influence the government to make changes to promote a Blue Agenda similar to Costa Rica’s Green Agenda which is world famous. The Costa Rican commercial sector has agreed to seek more sustainable fishing practices to target tuna that also reduces by-catch of species targeted by sport fishermen like marlin and sailfish.
For more information go to www.fecop.org and click on English
Last November the Marlin bite was very good! Come find out
See you in Costa Rica!
Crocodile Bay Resort
Join Todd Staley and the rest Crocodile Bay’s seasoned Captains for the fishing adventure of a lifetime, Click Here to Reserve!
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
Marlin Thunder Offshore and Roosterfish Light it Up Inshore at Crocodile Bay Resort!
Costa Rica Fishing Report, August 2013
By Will Briegel filling in for Todd Staley
Catching at least one blue marlin has been commonplace for those venturing offshore during their three day fishing packages, and if you’re not lucky enough to find that school of bonito that the marlin are chasing – there have been plenty of sailfish hanging around with folks releasing at least one or two each, there were a couple 4/4 -5/4 days which are great for July. Lets hope they stick around in August. Here’s some pics of this month’s marlin and sailfish releases aka”Blue Thunder” with some nice blue marlin being released.
Inshore, the “White Lightning” has been striking in the form of ravaging roosterfish running ramped, with no signs of this year’s Rooster Rally letting up (Click here to sign-up for our Roosterfish Competetion in August). In the past we have had guests come from as far away as New Zealand and Russia just to tangle with these tough scrappers that would probably score a 9 out of 10 if there was an America’s Top Fish modeling reality show. With their sleek striped body and cool 7 point comb, roosters offer inshore anglers the whole package. Roosterfish use their flat body against the current causing them to shoot out of the water with a sliver “flash” and at times dance like a sailfish. They can also stun you with their strength even at smaller sizes (15 to 25 lbs range) Although in the past couple of weeks most anglers have been getting them in the 35 to 50 lb range (see photos..some of these roosters look bigger than the kids catching them!)
Update 7/31/13 – One boat inshore today raised 10 Roosters from 25 -45lbs! Congratulations Ron and Susan! We’ll see you at the SPA
What happens after a 7 Roosterfish Day? Hit the Spa!
I’m convinced the reason visionary and Crocodile Bay founder Robin Williams (not the comedian/actor) created a state-of-the-art luxury spa at the resort was for those anglers who target roosterfish, tuna or marlin. These fishermen/women bring big smiles and tall “Fish Tales” to the bar after the catch, but in the morning it’s all about the lumbar which is screaming for relief from one of our talented spa therapists – and trust me, an hour massage designed specially for anglers will have you rejuvenated and ready to get back out there to do some more battling.
For the significant other in your life, for instance, your wife, our spa offers over 20 amazing treatments with the majority of ingredients extracted from Costa Rica’s largest coastal rainforest, you’re gonna love it.
RETURN OF THE HUMPBACKS!
As predicted months ago by Fishing Director Todd Staley, the humpbacks are in our protected gulf teaching their calves how to hunt dive and communicate – a sort of kindergarten for humpbacks if you will. As we move into August, there were reports of seven; yes (7) pairs of humpbacks in our backyard (yesterday, July 29th) the Golfo Ducle which is defined as a “Tropical Fjord” system as it reaches depths of over 300 meters (900ft )and is surrounded by towering Jurassic Park-like rainforest mountains.
Humpback Photo from the Lemmings:
To see one of these blue and white giants covered in barnacles and breaching with a huge belly flop or side splash is a memory that you will take home and cherish forever (we cannot promise you will experience this, but if it’s going to happen, this is the time of year to witness it). To hear their magnificent songs vibrate through the hull of the boat is beyond words and all I can say is, don’t miss your chance to witness one of Mother Nature’s largest biological ocean vessels in person this August and September at Crocodile Bay Resort (don’t forget your camera…if you have an SLR with a zoom lens, even better!)
Some more Whale and Dolphin Watching at Crocodile Bay:
All the family’s who came down for our Sensational Summer of Tales and Whales got their share of both, and there were a couple of family’s in particular that stand out as really coming up big on the seeing side and the catching side as well. We are still running the Sunsational Summer of Kids Free (Kids Stay, Eat, Fish and **Watch Wales Free in August and September !) Space is Limited! Sign up HERE TODAY if You’re Interested!!
Family Fishing Tales
The Kneucker Family (Collin, Dillon and father Mike) family wanted marlin, but admitted “anything would be fine” as we are in what some refer to Costa Rica’s “non-peak” season, some anglers hold their expectations at bay, especially when it comes to billfish of any kind. Not this year. But they got their Pacific blue marlin (pictured above) as well as several sailfish (below) and rooosterfish.
Kneuker Family Members Collin and Dillon With a Sailfish
Aiden Scroggins wanted a trip to the world famous Crocodile Bay Resort for his birthday to target rossterfish, and he got his wish! He made it down to see us and caught to 40-50lbs roosterfish and a nice sailfish! Way to go, and Happy Birthday from Crocodile Bay Resort!
Aiden Scroggins is right on target with the rooster he wanted. Happy Birthday!
These guys conquered the schools of Tuna completely and also did well with the sails. Take a look at some of these big tuna and even bigger smiles!
Spouse on the House II – Back by popular demand we are running our Spouse on the House II package all September long! We have added a twist this time with a FREE Whale Watching Tour as well as a Complimentary $1,595 Spa vacation for your wife or significant other when you book a three (3) day or longer fishing package – Click here for details. Single anglers and groups are entitled to 25% off your September Vacation if you book by Labor Day!
Crocodile Bay Videos – Courtesy of the Gunnell Family!
Bringing in a 400 plus lbs Marlin as a family is an amazing experience. We would like to thank the Gunnell family for this great video that highlights the thrill of catching and releasing a Pacific Blue Marlin.
Around the Osa
We’ve heard reports from Capt. Donald McGuinness that a 750lb black marlin was caught near Carate when it took an anglers silky snapper he had on the line as bait! This may be a good sign that the big blacks are moving in. It’s up to nature how long the blues will stay around but a Black and Blue August may be a strong possibility.
The Blues are not showing any sign of letting-up and the sailfish are not as thick as January through May – but are being had on a regular basis. Rooster fishing and fishing for other inshore species is historically very good this time of the year. We’re not sure how long the blue marlin will stick around but it could be worth coming down and taking a shot since the blacks appear to be steadily moving in as well.
Todd Staley Returns from his trip from the States to visit family August 15th with his Crocodile Bay Fishing Report! (and this time we mean it!)
Fishing is just the beginning!
Don’t forget, that amazing Costa Rica fishing is not the only thing on Crocodile Bay’s extensive activity list! We offer over 25 eco, adventure, and cultural private tours with local, bi-lingual Costa Ricans who will personally guide you through the areas they love and have grown up in.
Tight lines and crocodile smiles to everyone. Hope to see you all down soon doing some catching in Costa Rica!
Filling in for Todd Staley,
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Kneuker Family lands 300lb Blue Marlin, Sailfish and Dorado! Nice (22 photos)
Great Day on the water for the Kneucker Family! Great job Colin, Dillon, and Mike! — Costa Rica Fishing
at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica (Photo B
Pacific Blue Marlin 250-300lbs – Costa Rica Fishing at Crocodile Bay Resort
Costa Rica Fishing inshore for roosterfish!
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Roosters Rampage and Sailfish “Fly High” in July!
Costa Rica Fishing Report- July 16th, 2013
by Will Briegel
The last few weeks of fishing have put the “sizzle” in our summer season for families, couples, and avid anglers who visited us looking to do some amazing fishing, relax in our Spa or enjoy the intense bio-diversity our area has to offer.
Mother Nature decided to pull the bait and switch “ON US” for once and delivered anglers flurries of high-flying sailfish instead of the black marlin that usually start to trickle in this time of the year. As a matter of fact the blue marlin have been sticking around with the sailfish and several anglers released Blues to 300lbs as well. Mrs. Nature also decided that everyone deserved a shot at lots of yellowfin tuna, roosterfish, snapper and pompano.
At least two of our guests hit grand slams and one of them was only 15. As forecasted by Todd Staley, the humpback whales have also moved into the gulf and are giving anglers and other guests great photo opportunities and the memories of a lifetime.
Yvonne and Ferrell Jones (growers and producers of famous “Blue Diamond” Smoked Almonds) decided to bring their grand children Cody and Clayton Cornell down for the fishing adventure of a lifetime. The fish may have thought they were “off the hook” and able to school these youngsters, but 15-year-old Cody Cornell decided he wanted to catch every last one of them, and almost did. Cody caught several Roosters to 60lbs, a monster cubera snapper in the 50lbs range, several large sailfish (90 to 130), and countless tuna to hit the Grand Slam landing himself a spot on our coveted Wall of Fame (See Cody’s pic aobove of the big cubera Snapper that landed Cody on our Wall of Fame!)
Young Clayton is missing his two front teeth, but that didn’t seem to stop the sailfish from biting!
Mrs. Yvonne Jones proved that she can take on large costa rican billfish any day with this large sailfish. It seems people of all ages young, and elderly had great luck with inshore and offshore species this week.
Cody, Clayton and Grandma grin at Cody’s larger than life Roosterfish
Their final night at the resort they enjoyed…what else?? Fresh Sashimi!!!
Here’s a homespun video shot by young Clayton of his brother releasing a sail!
Tony Giorgi came to Crocodile Bay to target a single species: Roosterfish,considered by many to be the toughest fighting fish pound for pound – and one of the most glamorous with its shimmering black stripes and 7 point comb-over. Roosterfish can be caught year-round at Crocodile Bay Resort and when the roosters are on a “run” anglers can get into hours of non-stop fighting action.
Tony released seven (7) Roosters one day and on other days did battle with sailfish and several plates of previously swimming sushi that he was kind enough to share with members of the Crocodile Staff, myself included!
Tony Giorgi owns a hunting and Bass fishing guide service called BassNBoars in northern California and is rumored to be among the top Bass guides in the area – if you’re ever out that way, pay him a visit www.bassnboars.com
Father and Son tandem Alan and Robert Brightman who took a chance looking for Sailfish in July landed sailfish daily with young Robert pictured here with a monster Sailfish. The next day the dynamic duo went 4 for 4 on sails and left with the tell tale “Crocodile Smile” on each of their faces! Robert has fished all over the world and was very pleased with the amount of sailfish we put him on! Hope to see back next year!
Another youngster, Allan Brightman releases his first sailfish!
If you haven’t tried African Pompano, you’re missing a real treat! One of our favorite inshore species to catch and eat!
Mr. Jenkins owner of a Marriott Residence Inn Hotel In Daytona brought his son Kieth down for the Crocodile Bay “Tails and Whales” Package and have been getting plenty of both! On inshore days they caught nice pompano, roosters, and jacks and actually saw this young humpback close to shore..watch out – Breach, don’t beach! Offshore it was tuna galore following spinner dolphin closely, they also raised and released several sails.
This time of year we also welcome guests who like to mix the fishing with adventure eco-tours and or a luxury spa experience! National Geographic has been quoted as saying our area the Osa Peninsula is “the the most biologically intense place on Earth”. Our award winning eco-director Dennis Atencio loves to prove this fact to any guest who doesn’t’t believe it with one of our full day rainforest tours. Check out his monthly eco-report here that shows the amazing diversity of wildlife and scenery to be found in our very own back yard! Monkeys, birds, sloths, and other amazing species!
Hello! A Humpback whale waves to our guests as they look for tuna!
The Humpback whales inside our gulf have been spotted daily (a calf pictured below gets very close to shore). The whales have started to move in for their annual migration and their numbers and your chances to see them only increase as me move into August, September and October. This weekend we also saw more black and blue marlin moving into the area as well as some floating logs with birds on top that usually turn into nice pick-up joints for Dorado! Tuna continue to run with the porpoises which have kept plates full and chopsticks chopping. Some of our guests including Dave Jenkins from Florida had sashimi right on the boat…how fresh is that (drool).
August Rooster Rally at Crocodile Bay Resort! Don’t miss your shot at a complimentary Replica Roosterfish Display from Gray Taxidermy (replica mount) – a trophy and gift from Crocodile Bay – for the angler who catches the MOST roosterfish in August – his or her largest Roosterfish(or roosterfish of choice) will be immortalized by Gray’s Taxidermy and shipped to his or her home!(shipping charges not included)
People have been having so much fun catching Roosters within the past couple of weeks we decided to make the entire month of August a Rooster Rally. All you have to do to qualify and enter is sign-up HERE, show-up and catch LOTS of Roosterfish. August is also a great month to target Marlin and several inshore species like pompano, snapper, amberjack, and Spanish mackerel. In September we’re also offering 25% off peek season rates to curb your flight costs to our beautiful country.
The Legendary Todd Staley will return from his birthday and visit to the ICAST Fishing Show in Las Vegas next week for the August Costa Rica Fishing Report.
Until then, tight lines and crocodile smiles to everyone. Hope to see you all down soon doing some catching in Costa Rica!
Filling in for Todd Staley,
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Monday, July 1st, 2013
Happy Birthday USA! “Wishing you and your family the very best this Fourth of July! What’s on your birthday “Fish List”?
by Todd Staley Fishing Director Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica www.crocodilebay.com
Offshore has been a hunting game of late. The big rush of marlin is late arriving in true Latino fashion. The big school of tuna that we enjoyed most of the month has moved north up towards Drake Bay but the next wave should be right behind it. Floating debris has been the ticket lately and when one is found that has been in the water long enough to create an eco-system below it, anything can happen.
Jeff Gunnells had his family down earlier this month and they walked away with the biggest fish landed in June, a 500 lb blue marlin. They also added a huge dorado and and nice rooster inside. Stacy Lynch made his third visit here on a break from his duties in Afghanistan and took several sails and a monster dorado.
The Donavon family found someone to take care of their exotic animals long enough to seek down for a little vacation. They tore up the inshore waters catching nice roosters, and brought back enough snapper for all the guests to enjoy.
John Doerr, the head of Pure Fishing returned again with his wife Leslie. Last year at this time Penn Reels, (one of the many companies John is in charge of) introduced their ne “Spinfisher V” series during a big tuna run. The reels proved more than tough enough for a freight train tuna. Later Mark Davis, who’s television series “Big Water Adventures” was down an caught a 350 marlin on the Spinfisher 10500.
The last few days, folks got a real rainforest experience as the skies opened up and dropped buckets of water on us. Blake Johnson managed a 47 lb rooster in the rain and the Robert Waln family took 5 nice roosters at Matapalo. The sun has been shining ever since with some rain in the late afternoons.
I enjoy this time of year when we are not so busy to really get to know the guests and families are down together. I have to be a little patient and work a little harder for the fish, but there are plenty of rewards out there.
Todd Staley writes the costa rica fishing column for the English newspaper “The Tico Times” and is also the fishing director at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica.
Don’t miss Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica in this June’s Sport Fishing Magazine!
Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
T e x t a n d p h o t o s B y D o u g O l a n d e r
While there might be better ways to hook the really huge yellowfin — as in 300-plus pounds — that patrol the eastern Pacific, I don’t think there could be any more-exciting way to hook any tuna than casting poppers into leaping, blitzing schools and cranking ’em back at high speed. The combination of the visuals (big yellowfin crashing your lure) and the physical (arm-wrenching strikes) definitely makes these “yee-haw!” moments. That’s why, after a morning of little activity as we trolled, watched and waited 10 to 15 miles offshore of the lowerOsa Peninsula off southern Costa Rica, we all jumped when the call came over the VHF. “Get those lines in!” Manfred, themate aboard the Crocodile Bay Resort’s Strikefisher 33, said.“They’ve got dolphin pods about two miles north!”He didn’t have to tell us twice.
We knew of the well-established association between pods of dolphin (as in porpoise, of course, and not dorado/mahi) and yellowfin. Find big numbers of dolphin, and you might find feeding tuna. While that “might” loomed large, and there are no guarantees when fishing the Pacific, it always pays if dolphin are spotted to see if they are traveling with an escort of yellowfin. Our skipper pushed the throttles ahead hard, while Manfred tied circle
hooks to the end of a couple of outfits. Hunter Cole and I opted to go with large poppers. Cole, senior marketing manager for Pure Fishing, handed me a Penn Spinfisher V with 50-pound braided line and a Sebile Splasher. He
armed himself with the same, and we headed up to the bow. There was no mistaking the dolphins— the sleek, dark mammals as much out of the water as in it, leaping high into the air — as well as the birds wheeling in the area. At first, I saw no sign of tuna and grew disheartened, until we drew near enough to see the silver bullets exploding from the surface sporadically among the dolphin. Wanting to avoid the frustration of throwing short, I forced myself to wait, heart pounding, as the boat eased closer. Cole heaved a Splasher into the fray and just after, my own Splasher was on the heels of his. I glimpsed a commotion behind Cole’s lure, and suddenly his rod arced and bounced as he yelled, “I’m on!” Shortly after, a detonation under my lure knocked it high out of the water. With shaking hands, I cranked the popper the rest of the way to the boat — and then grabbed my camera to record Cole’s battle.
In the company of several other resort boats, we spent at least the next couple of hours running and gunning, trying to stay on the dolphin and tuna, until the yellowfin left or perhaps went deep. Most anglers had hooked tuna
in that time, and some had brought several fish to the boat. Best of all is that running and gunning for tuna means nonstop activity: If you’re not actually hooked up, you’re casting into fish or standing on the bow, ready as the skipper gets you into position. There’s never a dull moment. At least that’s true when the yellowfin are feeding. If the tuna bite among the moving dolphin turns off, it might be only a matter of time until the fish start whacking bait again. “I had an angler out who really wanted a tuna on his popper. We stayed with a load of dolphin for four hours before the tuna went on a feed,” says Todd Staley, the resort’s fishing director. “Just
before sunset, he ended up boating the 180-pound yellowfin that slam-dunked his popper.”
Fast Cast w ith a J i g
Southern Costa Rica offers — as we saw — good hunting grounds for tunaon top. In fact, the eastern Pacific fromMexico south into at least Ecuador can mean prime run‑and‑gun tuna activity when the timing is right. For Crocodile Bay boats, that tends to be a crapshoot. “You can catch tuna any day of the year, just not very predictably,” Staley says. “We may find yellowfin out there for weeks at a time but then not see any for just as long.”
While he says there really is no tuna season, run-and-gun fans might have their best shot at finding tuna feeding late spring and late fall, with the fish more numerous then, but also smaller, as school fish dominate. An effective alternative to poppers, metal speed jigs also have the advantage of tremendous long-distance castability, and when breezing fish are moving very fast or happen to be particularly spooky, only out-of-the-ballpark casts will make it to ground zero. I was reminded of this the next day while fishing with Patrick Sebile. The yellowfin were on top but not feedin with quite as much abandon as they had been the day before. Sebile opted to forgo the Splasher and instead tied on one of his Fast Cast metal jigs. He cranked it hard and fast so it skipped along the top, looking indeed like a baitfish trying frantically to escape. His jig was slammed repeatedly, and I became an instant believer in small metal jigs for schooling tuna at the surface.
Sails and Roosters
While fishing offshore of the Osa Peninsula can be a good bet for yellowfin, billfish are always a big bluewater draw. During our June visit, sails were few and far between — not such a surprise, since that’s usually a slow time for sails — but seasonally (January into May), sailfish can be swarming. Anglers after marlin have their best shots at blacks and stripes in July, August and September, and blues November through mid-January. Plus, of course, this peninsula has earned a reputation for producing roosterfish. We tried our hand and weren’t disappointed. The beaches along the open southwestern Osa
coast proved slow, but closer to the resort, around the southern tip of the peninsula, the default live bait — blue runners — found some willing takers. Roosters have a tough time passing up slow-trolled runners near shorelines, though they’re not shy about snatching up other live-bait offerings, such as a moonfish that the mate quickly bridled up and put over the side.
We spent some time jigging, but other than a Pacific red snapper, a bright-red scorpionfish and a small fortune jack, we couldn’t find a lot to show for our efforts. But I have seen photos of excellent jig catches. As outstanding as the waters of southern Costa Rica can be for many species, I’ll take tuna on top any day for sheer adrenalin-pumping action.
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
Yellowfin Tuna Bend Rods and Spool Reels at Crocodile Bay!
by Todd Staley, Fishing Director
The spa girls have been working overtime to work on sore muscles from pulling on tuna. Finding schools of tuna have been almost a daily occurrence for the last ten days. Steve Smiley had his family down on a return trip and they cleaned up on the tuna. The schools of tuna have been averaging 30 to 100 pounds with some monsters traveling with it. Dick Carmical also had the family down and they pulled on one estimated at over 250 pounds for 2 ½ hours when the leader final wore through.
Rain or Shine, the Tuna Continue to test the strength of anglers daily!
Shannon Smiley showed her family how to catch roosters by being the top angler when they fished inshore, but when they went back after the tuna the next day, I noticed her score sheet was blank. I teased that she didn’t want to embarrass the boys again and she explained tuna were complete on her bucket list and she had a great time just watching the boys fight tuna. I’m with you Shannon.
There are enough roosters around to keep it interesting but not in great numbers, Snapper have been dinner size and no giants have come this week although Bob Mandic fought a big one for a while before it broke him off.
There are a few sailfish still around and anglers have been spending so much time pulling on tuna that no-one has been hunting marlin. Reports from other fisherman are the next wave of fish is moving in as lots of marlin were seen working waters far offshore.
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica