Maria Celenia Hernandez shows off a nice cubera snapper
I once had a client tell me that I am the “duck” of Crocodile Bay Resort. What people notice is me cruising leisurely across the surface. What they don’t see is all the paddling below surface to make it all happen. Well up until two days before the quake in Japan I was cruising. Boats were posting double digit days of sailfish on the board every day. Marlin were also popping up with more frequency than what is normal for March. Boats as far away as Los Suenos were coming south to enjoy the bounty. So I was cruising.
I have been running fishing operations in Costa Rica over 20 years and have been at Crocodile Bay since construction began in 1999. It took me years to learn not to worry about things I have no control of and to do the best at the things I do. Several years back I stopped passing the radio 50 times a day to see how the boats were doing. I have no control of the bite so I just go to the dock at the end of the day and meet the guests and read the trip reports.
Two days before the devastating quake in Japan, I went to the pier expecting another day like the previous, which was 12 to 18 fish in the teasers per boat. Boat after boat arrived at the pier and nothing, zip, nada. The fish were gone. I always thought that the words in Robert Redford’s line in the move “Havana” based on the studies of Edward Lorenz over fifty years ago were quite prolific. “A butterfly can flutter its wings over a flower in China and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean”.
My redneck heritage makes me a lot less astute than Edward Lorenz but I have made some of my own observations in my two decades here. When I ran Archie Fields Rio Colorado Lodge twenty years ago we had a small zoo before having animals in pens was considered not politically correct. My favorite was a 400 pound tapir named Baby Doll that was as tame as could be and use to visit guests in the bar every night. Anyway, all the animals would start acting really freaky before an earthquake, long before the ground began to shake. My theory is fish can do the same.
Mike Pizzi shows off a 66lb amberjack at Crocodile Bay
The tsunami that that traveled half way around the globe had severe effects in the United States, Mexico, and here in Costa Rica. There was a big fish kill in California. In Mexico mackerel and sardines huddled together next to the beach that from the air looked like an oil slick. The wave that hit Costa Rica cut a famous landmark you see from the air on the flight to the Crocodile Bay in half. The “whale tail” was a peninsula just up the coast named after its shape. And the billfish disappeared for a solid week.
Longtime customer and friend George Gianacopolos who comes down every year with the same group of anglers from the northeast hit the streak of bad fishing. His sense of humor finally put a smile on my face as day by day he could see the stress building in me. As I took the daily log from the captain at the end of the day, I read George’s comment, “Someone should put Todd on suicide watch”.
Then just as it turned off, it turned back on. Dicky Williams is another guest who visits quite often with his family and friends. After a couple days of dismal fishing, I noticed smiles on the guest’s faces as the boats returned at the end of the day. The day before nothing, then the next day, the Williams were on the top with 20 sails in the teasers, landing 8. The other boats had similar results.
Keith and Matthew were enjoying a father-son vacation and also started their trip in an empty ocean. They finished in a much more typical fashion with double digit sails and Matthew took a 350 pound blue marlin memory home with him.
Things have pretty much returned to normal. The bite slowed just a tad on the full moon, although last month the sails bit on the full moon like they were competing in the annual Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. Inshore the roosters and snapper are back to normal and so is my blood pressure.
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica