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.
Friday, February 4th, 2011
Crocodile Bay Costa Rica Sport Fishing Report:
February 3rd, 2011
By Todd Staley, Fishing Director
Taken From http://www.crocodilebay.com
Some people have intensity to everything they do. I used to think former National Hockey League star Clayton Norris was one of those people. Anyone who holds the record for most penalty minutes in a pre-season game takes things seriously.
*Get an Extra Fishing Day when you purchase any full fishing package of three days or more! For new reservations boooked between now and March 1st, 2011.
He was a different man when he took his wife Jennean and daughters Megan and Abbey out for a day of fishing after Megan explained how much fun they had the first day when her and her dad caught several sails and saw whales, sea turtles and dolphins. Dad turned into coach that second day as they landed 8 out of the 12 sailfish they hooked and learned “fishin” isn’t just a guy’s sport.
Clayton Norris and Family at Crocodile Bay Resort
Brian and Karen Beuchel held top spot on the leader board three days in a row with double digit sails raised and over a half dozen landed each day as well as spending a productive day inshore taking roosters, snapper, jacks and African pompano.
Jess Clemens (pictured below)and Wendy Bob’s stay at Crocodile got off to a tough start when Jess arrived with a bout of the flu, followed by a couple days of so-so inshore fishing and a trip halfway to Gilligan’s Island. All that quickly became a faded memory when a big sail ate the fly he cast and he battled that and released a couple more. Thanks for the great photos.
Pictured – Jess Clemons With a Nice Sailfish
We have had way too many repeat customers in the last couple of weeks to mention them all without forgetting someone or having this sound like a 7th grade book report. Erik and Jeff Johnson aka “Dos Hermanos” (pictured below) made a nice haul with sailfish, roosterfish,dorado and other inshore species. Kay Dolittle’s sense of humor always kept me in good spirits even when I was running around like a wild man trying to keep things running smooth. Dave Stanley gives me tackle advise when he comes, and Jimmy Bell and the boys of upstate New York are always fun. We want to thank all of you who came back to see us, some many times over.
Team “Dos Hermanos”
Ok, on to fishing. The marlin thinned out a little since last report but the sails moved in to the area in big numbers. Some days they are a little finicky but most days boats are seeing double digit fish raised. A few dorado have appeared and if the schools of spinner or spotted dolphin are around then the yellowfin tuna are cruising below.
Inshore roosters are not running in schools but individual fish up to 50 lbs have been taken. Some amberjack have hit deep jiggers and enough snapper have been caught to make an inshore day worthwhile.
The Pier at Crocodile Bay Resort
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Reserve your dream costa rica fishing vacation today at www.crocodilebay.com/reserve.htm
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
If you are planning a Costa Rica fishing vacation with the kids this fall, here is some advice I give all the time. Small children need action and small fish. They do not have the patience or the skill to handle bigger fish. Action is the key to get them hooked on the sport. Take them to a place with lots of small hungry fish. To a small child a small fish pulls like a monster fish.
I have seen to many times Dad take a child here in Costa Rica and the child gets bored trolling and when a marlin or sailfish is hooked, it is too much fish for a child. The only experience the child is left with is watching dad catch a fish. Remember when you take a kid fishing, it is their day not yours, concentrate on them not on your own fishing. You will end up with a fishing partner for life that way, otherwise they will just head back to the video games.
For more information on Costa Rica fishing vacations for the family visit www.crocodilebay.com
Keep a wet line
Director of Fishing
Crocodile Bay Resort
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Sailfish Make a Comeback in March
Crocodile Bay Costa Rica
March 15, 2010
For more reports and Costa Rica Fishing information visit www.crocodilebay.com
My blood pressure has dropped 20 points, which means things are getting back to normal. The crazy weather patterns last month in the states came all the way south, but this month the skies are blue and both temperature and the fishing is hot.
Allen Ryals and Steve Ulman have been coming here since before my hair turned gray. Allen is sort of a professor of fish and an inventor of many types of fishing gadgets. This year it was a teaser made from a bowling pin that he had to fine tune to keep out of the gutter but when he finished it was running straight and true. He and Ulman also customized a cedar plug that made the big tuna dizzy.
Pat Robbins brought his seven brothers down for their second reunion at Crocodile. The boys were raised in Butte Montana along with 4 sisters. By the time they finished high school all had been taught the welding trade by their father and all used those skills to attend college. Now the mix of brothers are either in the medical field or in metal casting doing business in the states and Costa Rica. They caught a list of nice fish including wahoo (which have been strangely prevalent lately) and brother Bert landed an 80 lb tarpon on light tackle after a two hour battle. Our small population of tarpon have made their way through the Panama Canal from the Atlantic side and slipped into Pacific waters without getting their passport stamped.
Bob Perimian’s group hit it just right. Although Bob couldn’t make the trip his crew raised an average of 10 fish per boat a day and caught some real nice snapper for dinner. Fishing has really picked up for sails. Between groups I had a day when 4 boats raised 62 sails and two of those boats spent part of the day inshore. A few marlin have made a presence and Doug Ford from Houston finished his trip with a nice blue marlin. Kirk Dill had his group down again from Bermuda and Tony Thompson made his annual trek from the Big Apple and found out he was neighbors with part of the Perimian group. There were so many repeat guests these last two weeks that I know I forgot someone so please forgive me if I make you feel like the bridesmaid.
Inshore has been extremely well for snapper and cuberas over 20 have been a regular thing as well as roosterfish. There has been the best snapper bite going on that I can remember and part might be the shrimp boats are no longer working in the gulf.
Capt. Garofano of Conn. shows off a 27lb rooster
Crocodile Bay Resort
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Costa Rica Fishing Report,
February 26, 2010
Wade Boggs Hooks up With a Nice Wahoo
Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs Poses With a Nice Wahoo on His Third Visit to Crocodile Bay Resort!
Baseball legend Wade Boggs with a nice wahoo
February has been one of those month’s that drive fishing directors crazy. One day the fishing is red hot and the next it’s not. On the good moon the fishing slowed and on the normally not so good moon it picked up.
Tuna have passed through occasionally, cruising with the porpoises. Lots of 60 to 100 pound fish were caught that some made it to sushi plates. Greg Thompson and David Horn teamed up to tackle one that went around 180 lbs. They opted for sails after that battle.
Greg Thompson and David Horn teamed up to tackle this 180 lb tuna
Sailfish is what is driving us crazy. One day we see as many as 15 per boat and the next only a half dozen. We have had more rain than any February I remember and more cloudy days and the bite always seems better on a sunny day.
The Annual Vergith Contracting Fishing Tournament was held earlier this month. Royce Cook finished first in points and Joe Vincent and Mark Bass tied for second only a half point behind Cook. The 10 anglers went 28 for 75 on sails and landed 17 dorado and 2 tuna. Eight of the ten anglers took their first sailfish during the tournament.
Dan Vergith congratulates tournament winner Royce Cook
Participants in the Vergith Contracting Annual Fishing tournament
Ludwing Diaz, general manager of the Hotel Balmoral in San Jose and a big supporter of fishing tourism and sustainable fishing practices was down with wife Katherine and 11 year old daughter Juliana. They spent a day fishing and snorkeling taking several nice African pompano and roosterfish.
The Diaz family Katherine, Ludwing, and Juliana
Ken Patterson had his group from Florida here again this year. Traveling with them for his third trip was baseball Hall of Fame member Wade Boggs. Fishing was tough for the group but Boggs managed to fool sails on a fly and take his first wahoo (pictured top of page.)
Inshore has also had it’s ups and downs but yesterday the roosters were crowing in full force. A couple of fish between 40 and 60 lbs were caught along with many in the 20 pound class.
Enough snapper hit the dock these days for the chef to prepare in several different fashions. One cubera snapper estimated at 50 lbs was released. The bigger fish are almost always female of breeding stock.
Just waiting for a little more sunshine and the bite to return to normal
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Costa Rica Fishing Report,
February 1, 2010
Fun for all Ages
It didn’t matter your age lately, you were having fun catching fish here. Five year old Matthew Norguero got his first snapper off our pier, eleven year old Eddy Robles took a nice African Pompano reef fishing and Pat Morgan celebrated her 79th birthday by catching her first, second , and third sailfish! Her husband Henry took two sails and a nice dorado.
Texans Mike and Catherine Shellman were so pleased with their results that they left a caricature in the bar. Mike took a sailfish on the fly and Catherine hauled in a super 50# roosterfish.
Scott “the kid” Barbeau and his wife Stephanie were down from Massachusetts. Scott is one of those guys who fishing runs through their veins. He chases tuna in the rough Atlantic and wanted to do the same in the calm Pacific. After I told him we haven’t seen a big tuna in a while he proceeded to bring me a 100 plus pounder back to the dock. No matter what he targeted he did well. I don’t know how many different varieties of fish he caught but I’m sure he is someplace ice fishing about now.
The dorado are starting to thin and the sailfish numbers are starting to pick up. All this is normal although it is happening a little late this year. A few marlin to 400 pounds are surprising anglers and the tuna are running when the porpoise come through. The sails have been hungry and ready charge a pitch bait or a fly.
Inshore has been unpredictable with the roosters biting like crazy one day and going into hiding the next. Several from 45 to 60 pounds have been the highlights. Bottom fishing has been good but should even get better between the moons.
Cpt Todd Staley- Crocodile Bay Lodge, Costa Rica
Jeff Vannoy fishing out of Crocodile Bay went looking for roosterfish near Matapalo Rock and although he didn’t get his roosterfish he certainly caught something to crow about. The crew and Jeff were surprised to see a 120 plus pound tarpon take to the air when Vannoy set the hook. After over an hour on 20lb spin tackle they lifted the fish for a quick photo and set it free.
Over the years tarpon have passed through the Panama Canal into Pacific waters. We hook three or four a year and land one now and then. “I thought I was losing my mind the first time I saw one roll in the Golfo Dulce back in 1995,” commented Todd Staley Fishing Director at Crocodile Bay. Having run Archie Fields Lodge in the early 90’s Staley has a soft spot for tarpon. “It’s great to see tarpon on this side now and then but I don’t think their ready to be featured in our brochure.”
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Lucía Romero Shows Off a Beautiful Dorado in January at Crocodile Bay
Crocodile Bay, Costa Rica
Fishing Update – January 2009
By Todd Staley
December was a great month for fishing at Crocodile Bay, Costa Rica. Since our first guests of the season, Tom and Anne Bobotas walked in on the first of December, chatter around the bar at happy hour has been fish, fish, fish.
The fishing season started out with lots of dorado and Tom was happy he out fished all the guys on the big boats, topping it off with a monster dorado (see below). The last two weeks of the month the sails made a sporadic appearance and some boats raised as many as nine but the big wave of sails are due to arrive any day.
My bratwurst connection from the midwest, John and CJ Mork fishing with first time friends Joe and Peggy Schierl tangled with a nice blue marlin as well as sails and dorado. John has taken a marlin each visit here. The marlin finally showed the third week of the month and there are stories of battles lost and battles won almost every afternoon. Inshore has picked up considerably lately with rooster up to 60 lbs making people crow.
Dennis Cook was down with his triplets, Mackenzie, Dawson, and Asher and had a ball inshore with roosters and jacks. Long time guests Andrew Ociepka and Al Charles also had big days on roosterfish. As we come off the big moon of New Years eve, the sail numbers should increase greatly in January and the snapper bite will turn on with the slower tides.
Crocodile Bay Resort
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica