An Introduction to
Costa Rica Fishing Crocodile Bay Resort-
by Todd Staley, from Costa Rica Outdoors magazine
tide had just turned and was slowly pushing toward the open
ocean. The peak of the reef reaches up 83 feet below the
surface. The volcanic terrain sits in the middle of the Golfo
Dulce (Sweet Gulf), in Costa
Rica's southern Pacific region, and the underwater structure
is 120 feet below.
Bright orange cubera snapper hover just below the slick surface
like a field strewn with huge Halloween pumpkins. An angler
tosses a lively blue runner over the side and the nervous
bait races back to the boat.
a huge fireball, a cubera explodes on the surface and throws
water in every direction. Line screams off the reel. Even
the blister raised on the thumb, as extra pressure is applied
to the drag, is not enough. The snapper's power is too much
and it escapes into a rocky cavern below. The fisherman is
left with the lasting memory of having a runaway freight train
on the end of his line.
like this are among the reasons businessman Robin Williams (not
the actor) chose Puerto Jimenez Costa Rica, located on the
Golfo Dulce, to build his dream project, Crocodile Bay Resort.
Not only is billfishing (Sailfish and Marlin)sensational, in Costa Rica's cobalt
offshore waters, but the 30-mile long, 15 mile wide Golfo
Dulce also offers some of the best inshore fishing action
in Costa Rica. More than 40 IGFA world records have been established
in the area.
Bay's 40+ vessel fleet includes 33-foot and 35-foot Strike Yachts. The rest of the fleet is composed
of 27' Boston Whaler Outrage and flats boats. Several major rivers wind through the mangroves and
dump rich nutrients into the gulf.
The Crocodile Bay Resort project began with the
purchase of a 44-acre farm adjacent to the airport in Puerto
Jimenez, including 600 feet of frontage on the Gulf. Construction
of the 6 quadroplexes and main resort began in June of 1999. Crocodile Bay Resort (as Crocodile Bay Lodge) opened it's doors in
September of that year, and the 750 foot private pier was
completed in April of 2000. A new 5000 square foot luxury
SPA was completed in January of 2006.
Other facilities include a
conference and meeting center that seats up to 80 people, a crocodile lagoon, pool with raised
jacuzzi, game and television room, restaurant and bar with
outdoor grill and buffet, and countless walking and hiking
The 34 rooms are spacious
with queen sized beds and private jacuzzis (available in deluxe
rooms) and air conditioning. Williams had a vision of the
project more than a decade ago. He began assembling his team
by bringing Hardy Corea aboard as company president and manager
of the resort. I joined the team as director of Fishing and
am in charge of the fleet. Corea and I both trained under
the wing of the late Archie Fields, founder of the Rio Colorado
tarpon and snook resort on the Caribbean coast and pioneer
of early Costa Rica tourism. In all, Crocodile Bay Lodge created
more than 80 new jobs in Puerto Jimenez.
Fantastic Costa Rica
It is the dance of the sailfish and the lightning speed of
the marlin that that attract most anglers to the Osa Peninsula.
It is not uncommon to raise more than 20 billfish in a days
fishing. Most dorado coming to the dock have been over 30
lbs with Tuna always plentiful. You can likely catch a billfish
any day of the year,with January through April the top months
for marlin and sailfish along this region of the southern
coast. there is also a good showing of marlin in August and
November, while months during and just after the rains produce
more dorado, as the debris washed out of the rivers forms
the inshore trash lines they feed under. Football-size tuna
are almost always present and sometimes those that top out
at 300 pounds.
trolling in the bluewater are often treated to pleasant surprises.
Humpback and pilot whales blow geysers high in the air. Sea
turtles sun on the surface. Manta rays free-jump and belly-flop
with a loud slap on the water. The most awesome sight, though,
is the sighed sight of a pod of killer whales migrating s
along the coast.
Costa Rica fishing is consistent all year. Roosterfish and cubera snapper
are the main attraction, but the waters along the beaches
and the Golfo Dulce add to the menu. Snook roam the beaches
as well as the rivers. A dozen other types of snapper,grouper,amberjack,bluefin
trevally, sharks and barracuda cruise the reefs.
schools of bonito bust bait in the gulf, great game for a
fly rodder. What makes the fishing unique in this area is
the Golfo Dulce itself. On the mainland side of the gulf,
the mountains seem to melt into the emerald water. The volcanic
structure continues underwater creating habitat and feeding
grounds for the finned residents.
The Rio Esquinas enters the northwest corner of the gulf in
a massive estuary system of creeks and mangroves. The dropoff
at the revermouth quickly falls to more than 200 feet in depth,
creating an ambush point for roosterfish, jack crevalle, snook
and snapper. A local fisherman took a 63 pound black snook
on a handline several years back that would have crushed the
current world record for conventional tackle.
Coto at Zancudo is also famous for its snook. Large schools
of herring congregate on the flats in front of the river and
with it schools of sierra mackerel, jacks and other game fish.
The Zancudo beach has an inshore corbina population and gets
rocky again as it turns the corner to Pavones, where roosterfish
and surfers share the famous left break.
puerto Jimenez side of the gulf is made up mostly of mangrove
volcanic reefs lay in the shallows offshore. One is nearly
a mile long. Small cubera snappers in the 5 to 10 pound range
jump all over a topwater plug worked over the rocks. Roosterfish
to fifty pounds patrol these same mirrored waters, though
they prefer a frisky live bait.
Rock at the mouth of the gulf acts as a reference point for
the blue water angler. "So many degrees" and "so
many miles" off the rock is the common terminology used
when talking about locating fish. The rock also has been described
as and "underwater Jurassic Park." It produces snapper
so big you could never turn them on conventional tackle. Large
schools of amberjack, massive goliath grouper, and sharks
call it home. On rare occasions, anglers trying for roosterfish
are surprised when a mako shark takes to the air after swallowing
fishing tourism business in southern Costa Rica has gone through
a change in the past decade, attracting more couples and families
in addition to groups of hardcore fishermen. Crocodile Bay
brought in Beau Williams to coordinate activities for anglers
taking a da off the water and for non fishing guests. Corcovado
National Park, spanning the largest in Costa Rica's world
famous National Park system, and contains the hightest number
of endangered species in all of Central America The area contains
an estimated four percent of the planet's bio diversity.
macaws, toucans and other exotic birds abound. Three species
of monkeys, sloth, crocodiles and may other animals call the
park home. Occasional sightings of the rare jaguar and other
members of the cat family have been reported inside the park.
include relaxing jaunts, ocean and mangrove kayaking, mountain
biking, bird watching, jungle and rainforest hikes, a relaxing
walk through our butterfly farms, snorkeling, waterfall rappelling,
botanical garden hikes and more. The world class fishing Costa
Rica has to offer combined with a vision that began 13 years
ago, has made Robin Williams and many a traveling angler's
fishing dreams come true.
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