Inshore has been the ticket to the action, while offshore it’s been a hunting game. Lots of roosterfish, jacks, mackerel, and snapper have been biting along the beach and over the reefs, while offshore the game is patience. There are some marlin around but finding them is not always easy.
Otto Guevara (pictured above) and daughter show off a nice roosterfish during a family fishing trip in July to Crocodile Bay Resort.Otto was a presidential candidate in Costa Rica's 2010 elections.
This time of year we don’t have as many eyes on the water because most of our guests like to escape the cold and we are much busier then. There is plenty of football size yellowfin tuna, the mainstay of a marlin’s diet around and also the best eating size, so the number of marlin are steady increasing.
Some decent size amberjack have been fooled by those willing to put in the work that deep jigging requires and a few silk snapper have also come up from those depths.
The big news around here is the locals may have accidentally stumbled on a tarpon hatchery.
The scientific name of tarpon is Megalops Atlanticus. As the name implies they are an Atlantic species, not indigenous to Pacific waters. The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is world famous for its tarpon fishery.
The first time I encountered a tarpon in Pacific waters was in 1995, fishing in the Golfo Dulce. I was fishing up near Rio Esquinas when I saw one roll on the surface near the boat. Then another and then another. I thought I was going crazy. I asked some of the locals and they suggested I may have seen a school of milkfish. Milkfish look strikingly similar to a tarpon, in fact the Spanish term for milkfish is sabalo falso or false tarpon. They average around 40 inches and the fish I saw were much bigger.
About six years ago one of my captains brought a fish that weighed 37 lbs into the dock that caused quite a stir. He had never seen one before and said it jumped like crazy when the customer hooked it. I took one look at it and laughed. I thought to myself, a decade ago I wasn’t really crazy after all. My theory was that that tarpon had passed through the Panama Canal and somehow made their way up into the Pacific side of Costa Rica.
The Panama Canal almost didn’t get built. There was a big controversy as whether sea snakes from the Pacific would be able to pass through the canal and set up residence in Caribbean waters. A study finally showed they couldn’t make the passage through the canal because they do not enter freshwater and the canal was constructed. The same doesn’t hold true for varies types of fish. Snapper, snook, certain types of jacks and tarpon enter freshwater at will. Tarpon often travel from the Caribbean Sea all the way up the Rio San Juan and make camp in Lake Nicaragua.
Over the last few years my customers hook a few tarpon every year and have caught them over 125 lbs. My captains now know to release them if the angler is lucky enough to keep a hook in them long enough to get them boatside. It wasn’t until recently when locals starting catching small tarpon that I thought that there is no way these little guys are swimming all the way up here from the Canal Zone. They must be breeding in the Pacific as well.
I contacted Didiher Chacon, a marine biologist and President of Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (Widecast) in Costa Rica. Chacon did an extensive study on tarpon on the Caribbean side of the Costa Rica twenty years ago.
There are very few baby tarpon in the most popular fishing areas of the Caribbean side. The habitat is not available for juveniles. Down near the Panama border in the wetland estuaries he did find tarpon as small as two inches. He said the Pejeperro Lagoon is suitable habitat for juvenile tarpon. Tarpon larvae make their way from the ocean in to the mangrove estuary where they develop.
“The chance that someone carried those tarpon across the country and placed them in the lagoon is very slim.” He explained. “It is quite possible tarpon on breeding in the Pacific but it would take genetic sampling to be absolutely sure where they originated.” He went on to say the fish could be originally from the Costa Rica, Panama, or even the Venezuelan populations.
Wherever they’re from, it is exciting news.
Crocodile Bay's famous Maria Soto and friends went 7 of 9 on Yellowfin Tuna and lost a close one to the sharp teeth of a wahoo. So, the next time Maria is a little slow with your Sushi order the reason could be that she's still on the boat CATCHING IT! Never underestimate our staff. Here are some photos from Maria's trip!
Will Briegel, Thomas Fees, Daniel Soto and First Mate Anthony Lee Santos bringing in a nice haul of Yellowfin Tuna Tuesday July 26th, 2011.
Crocodile Bay Resort
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Yellowfin Tuna Action in June Keeps Crocodile Bay Anglers Knee Deep in Sashimi!
Costa Rica June Fishing Report
By Todd Staley
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica - June 16th
Charlie’s been hanging out in Puerto Jimenez. Charlie the tuna that is. The tuna bite started about 3 weeks ago when a school moved in with fish that ran from 40 to 200 lbs. Tim and Aaron Love (Pictured Below)from Florida took a boat load almost every day out as well as Richard Schreiner who managed a few sailfish also.
Yesterday, Chris and Katt Amburgey had roosterfish and tuna on their “fishlist” and returned to the dock early after boating a couple roosters, 5 tuna, some mackerel and a big green tooth needlefish.
There's nothing more we like to see than one of these right before dinner time!....get Charlie to the kitchen rapido!
Hey that's not a Bass!!! Bass fisherman Chris Amburgey from Arkansas is enjoying his temporary switch to Deep Sea Fishing.....we have some interesting critters in that salt water eh Chris?
Happy Birthday! Katt catches the birthday RoosterFish she was after!
The sails have been playing hide and seek but tuna have been drawing the attention away from the sails. Inshore roosterfish are steady and some nice snapper have been hitting deep jig and cut bait. The blue water has been close to the beach and when that happens, wahoo start to surprise anglers fishing close to shore.
I fished in long pants for the first time in 20 years a couple weeks back when I participated in the “Manhattan Cup,” a striper and bluefish tournament out of New York City. Crocodile Bay was on of the sponsors for a fund raiser for The Fisherman's Conservation Association. Now I know why the colder it gets up north, the busier we get here. Mike Pizzi, one of our long returning guests organized a team and invited me to fish on his team. His father Ron had the secrect weapon for stripers. Tip your hook with Twizzlers, the licorice red candy. If I could find them down here I would try them on snapper.
I thought we did pretty well. Terry Maltese’s 23 lb striper was the largest on our boat and we caught more than a dozen nice fish including what I was told were some monster blues. We fished the release division and even though we didn’t place in the tournament we had a good show.
Todd Staley with MLB Great Wade Boggs
Running into several old Crocodile Bay friends in NYC was on of the best parts of the trip. Scott and Bill Paciello worked really hard to make the tournament a success and a memorial to the victims of 9/11. Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, former Boston and Yankee great as well as repeat customer of Crocodile Bay agreed with me that it was pretty chilly. I guess the last few years in Florida has thinned his blood.
The July & August marlin bite should be kicking off really soon and I’ll be happy to be chasing them…. In shorts!
Crocodile Bay Costa Rica Fishing Report
May 10 - 2011
By Todd Staley
We are in a lull between Easter break and summer vacation when families start pouring into Crocodile Bay. (A good time to take advantage of summer Costa Rica fishing specials). A patch of green water moved in with the currents slowing down the sailfish action, but some nice dorado and marlin were taken near the floating trunks the currents brought in.
Eloise “Weezy” Pizzi took her first short fishing trip with Mike and Ann Pizzi who are long time guests at Crocodile. Mike must be a guy who doesn’t mind being humbled. He will soon have another women in the family who catches more marlin than him!
Speaking of family fishing vacations - watch 10 year old B.T. Walker fight a monster sailfish during his vist with his father Brooks Walker!
It is amazing the eco-system that can be found under even a small tree trunk that has been floating long enough to grow barnacles. Ocean triggerfish and tripletail will be on the surface next to the log and bonitos, small tuna, and small sharks below. Almost always a marlin will be nearby. It really is just like the cartoon, with the little fish being chased by the bigger fish, being chased by the bigger fish, and on and on.
Drew Kelly brought down a group of industry people including George Large who is a lure designer for Yo-Zuri. He was testing a new lure expected to be available to the public later this year. The first time the lure got wet it wasn’t in the water 30 seconds and had a fish hooked up. He caught a variety of jacks and rooster a few other inshore species for a total fish count of over 30 for the day.
We had several other industry friends as well as some new friends down that showed why we are such a fun place to visit. The following pictures will tell that story.
One group that always stands out is Boston Whaler and their generosity to the small town of Puerto Jimenez. This was their tenth trip to Crocodile Bay Resort. They always have a tournament and the daily winner always donates their prize money to a project in the community. They have put a new roof on the kindergarten, bought new desks for the first grade, camping equipment for the scouts as well as many other causes over the years.
This year they donated the money raised to Hoja de Osa School, a bilingual school in the form of a scholarship for a Costa Rican child whose family can’t afford this type of education. The small school of 33 students has ten children who because of the economic situation have lost their sponsors but the school decided to let them continue their education.
Crocodile Bay has upped the ante as far has helping the school. We already sponsor two children at the school and see the great result and have decided that our customers can make a donation without reaching in their own pocket. Any customer making a direct booking for a vacation at Crocodile Bay can ask to have 10% of the cost of their trip (excluding travel) donated towards sponsorship of a Costa Rican child at Hoja de Osa school. An added bonus is that the school has the ability to apply for matching funds from CRUSA.
CRUSA is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization in Costa Rica which has two key strategic directions: support for projects under its four areas of concern (environment, education, science and technology and strategic capacity), and management and promotion of long-range initiatives, partnerships and support networks.
CRUSA is headed by Ambassador Luis Diego Escalante and the organization has done wonderful things throughout Costa Rica. Please take a minute to look at their website at http://www.crusa.cr/index.php
a private foundation, Costa Rica, independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit, which has two key strategic directions: support for projects under its four areas of concern (environment, education, science and technology and strategic capacity), and management and promotion of long-range initiatives, partnerships and support networks.
With the aim of promoting sustainable development in Costa Rica, CRUSA donates funds from its endowment, but also uses its financial strength, credibility and administrative capacity to leverage resources from others and promote fund raising for projects and initiatives supported
Guests can choose from over 25 exciting ecotours while visiting
Crocodile Bay Resort!
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Crocodile Bay, Costa Rica - Fishing Report April 7, 2011 by Todd Staley, Fishing Director
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Crocodile Bay Resort just finished hosting the 30th Club Amateur de Pesca annual sailfish tournament with teams from South Africa, Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and the United States competing. In four days of fishing the group of 10 boats raised over 300 billfish and landed a total of 150 billfish including several blue marlins which is amazing because all anglers were required to fish 20 lb test line and had a maximum of 30 minutes to land a fish.
The closest I have ever felt to walking with royalty was walking the pier each day with 86 year old Nora Scholfield. Nora was fishing her 28th tournament and is one of the pioneers of sport fishing in Costa Rica. Nora hooked two marlin on day two of the tournament and nearly landed a 250 pounder in the required 30 minutes. The 500 pound fish she hooked later wasn’t about to give her the same chance.
Costa Rica's Golden Girl Nora Scholfield fights a big marlin Photo by Randall Alvarado
Watch video of 86 year old Nora Scholfield fighting
large pacific marlin below!
Video by Randall Alvarado
Unfortunately she just missed landing this one...here is her reaction
Photo by Randall Alvarado
Team Guatemala Takes First Place
Bruno Rodriguez- Individual Winner Puerto Rican Light Tackle Team
Team South Africa
Photo by Randall Alvarado
Guatemala ended up taking first place, with South Africa second and Puerto Rico third. Franz Hoffman of Guatemala tied Puerto Rico’s Bruno Rodriquez for the most fish, but Hoffman took home the trophy because he landed his last fish earlier in the day than Rodriquez.
The tournament atmosphere was a change for Crocodile Bay Captains who generally fish for fun although each wants to be on top of the scoreboard posted in the bar each evening. Freddy Navarro was top captain, followed by Edwin Cerdes and Chepe Conteras.
Fishing Director Todd Staley With Costa Rica's Vice President
Luis Liberman Ginsburg Photo by Randall Alvarado
Inshore fishing as of late has been good with roosterfish along the beach cooperating very well. Dorado made a show this week and several were taken during the tournament but not counting as points. Yesterday 88 year old Richard Schrader fulfilled a lifelong dream and took his first sailfish on a fly. What’s left I asked him as he got on the boat this morning. His reply was said matter of factly, “Do it again.”
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Costa Rica Sailfish Tournament Results
Individual Winners by Days;
Day 1: Gustavo Merck- Guatemalan National Sport Fishing Association
Day 2: Bruno Rodriguez- Puerto Rican Light Tackle Team
Day 3: Carlos Paez Soto- Los Samberos Fishing Team Costa Rica
Day 4: Johan Van Jansen- Team Protea South Africa
Four Day Overall Individual Standings;
Champion- Franz Hoffman- - Guatemalan National Sport Fishing Association
Second Place- Bruno Rodriguez- Puerto Rican Light Tackle Team
Third Place- Johan Van Jansen- Team Protea South Africa
Four Day Overall Team Totals;
First Place- Guatemalan National Sport Fishing Association
Second Place- Team Protea South Africa
Third Place- Puerto Rican Light Tackle Team
March Full Moon Madness at Crocodile Bay Resort
Crocodile Bay Resort
Costa Rica Fishing Report
March 19, 2011
by Todd Staley
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
Crocodile Bay Costa Rica Sport Fishing Report:
February 25th, 2011
By Todd Staley, Fishing Director
Chicken Dinner and Full Moon Madness
We will start this time with a Spanish lesson: Gallo….. is Rooster as in Pez Gallo (roosterfish) or Gallo pinto (painted rooster) or the nick-name for the famous breakfast tradition mix of rice and beans with a little green pepper, onion and cilantro which someone decided is the same color as a farm rooster.
Pollito….. is baby rooster or baby chicken.
Dave Sexton’s group from Ft. Lauderdale came down and mainly fished for billfish. One day they decided to have a roosterfish competition. “Their battle cry was, “Chicken dinner Baby!” Don’t get this wrong, we release all roosterfish and don’t eat them, but as you can see from the photos below, some got Gallos and some got Pollitos.
The bite on the full moon this month was outrageous. I only had five boats fishing offshore that day because most anglers opted to fish inshore on the day of the moon. Those five boats raised 89 sails. The days right after the moon the bite continued, then the fish got lazy, bit again, and got lazy again, and then bit again. It got so crazy for a while that some of the big boats out of Los Suenos were traveling all the way down here to fish these waters.
My shrink is an attractive Latin version of Charlie’s shrink on the TV show Two and a Half Men (Fishing Director Todd Staley, middle left). I often hear in sarcastic Spanish of course things like, “image that, go figure, or I’ve never heard that one before. ” After my last session she finally sighed, “ You have spent your whole life trying to figure out women, and they figure you out, and now you’re still trying to figure out the greatest woman of all, Mother Nature.”
All and all Costa Rica fishing has been good to great lately depending on the mood of Mother Nature. There are a lot of sails around and the marlin have slowed a bit but we did manage a 500 lb blue recently. Inshore the roosters have been about the same. Some days anglers are taking a dozen or so and other days they don’t cooperate. Snappers, African pompano, jacks and sierra mackerel have been plentiful.
You can tell by the photos recent customers left with us that everyone is having a good time.
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Crocodile Bay Costa Rica Sport Fishing Report:
February 3rd, 2011
By Todd Staley, Fishing Director
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.
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.
Crocodile Bay Costa Rica Fishing Report:
Dec 15 to Jan 12, 2011
By Todd Staley, Fishing Director
Pictured above: Max Cembalest and Father show off a nice sail!
I have always liked Christmas week here at Crocodile Bay because the place fills up with families. I get a real charge out of seeing or hearing about a youngster's first really big catch. I wasn't disappointed at all.
Mike and Rachel Cembalest from New York brought their boys, Max, Will, and Peter over the holiday. Max had recently had back surgery and was thrilled when the doctor finally gave him the ok to go deep sea fishing just in time for the trip. They didn't have a good day offshore but caught a boatload of inshore species. They decided to give offshore another try but all the boats were already booked.
Rachel Cembalest poses with a stripped marlin
The Cembalest Family Squeezes together in for a great Sailfish
Shot - Mom must be taking the photo!
Fellow New Yorker and Croc customer for nearly a decade Mike Pizzi and his wife Ann offered to give up their boat so the Cembalest's could take the boys out again. The boys returned to the dock with 4 sailfish and a striped marlin release on their scorecard. "They caught your marlin" I poked at Pizzi who has had great catches over the years here, but at times I think he uses black cats for teasers.
Anne Pizzi Steals another Marlin from Husband Mike
Well they say good deeds pays dividends. In this case it was really true. The next day Ann caught two marlin, one at 350 pounds and another at 250 pounds and was back at the dock two hours early to visit our spa and work some of the stiffness out of her muscles.
There really are too many families that were here to not forget someone, but the Mundt, Bahl, Shore/Plavic, Garrison, Mase, and Proefke are just to name a few. Phil Bush and Terry Fisher led a group from Cummins Motors.
Nearly someone from each family took a marlin and a few sails. Hugh and Rowan Plavic brought in a couple of nice wahoo on Christmas that made some folks stay away from the turkey and stuffing. Remember the names, Anthony and J.J. Mase. The two youngsters had a hay day inshore fishing and in about a decade I predict they will both be pitching in the major leagues.
Lots of marlin have been around, not biting everyday but they are here. Don Bradley hooked two in one day on a fly rod and landed one on conventional tackle yesterday. The dorado hasn't made a good as of yet but usually bite well up into February so there is still hope. A few more sails will be working into the area as we approach peak season.
Inshore Aristides Romero has been catching big sierra mackerel just around the corner from the lodge and smaller size snapper. Mike Bailey from Toronto did manage a 35 lb cubera snapper on a popper.
Anthony and JJ on the dock with some nice amberjack!
Happy Holidays! Crocodile Bay Costa Rica
Fishing Report December 14th, 2010
by Todd Staley
My day starts at 4:00 am. This morning I saw something that I have not seen in a long time, a sky full of stars. If you live near a big city you can’t image what’s up there, but in a small town or out on the ocean it is unbelievable the beauty of a moonless clear night. It is also a signal that Costa Rican summer has finally arrived.
It looks like someone also told the fish. Offshore the ocean has really come to life. We have seen double digit days on sailfish, the porpoises ran through this week signaling yellowfin tuna were below, and the missing link, dorado began to show. Marlin has also been almost a daily occurrence.
Jimmy Nelson, of Extreme Fishing Adventures was down with his film crew, Ben Bateman and Sam Spornhauer. The came across a school of spinner dolphin and managed a couple of 20 lb yellowfin tuna when Jimmy decided to see if they would eat a popper. On the first case a big yellowfin came completely out of the water and crashed down on top of the lure that he through with 20 lb spinning gear. It was certainly an “Extreme” site to see as well as was the battled that follow. For every minute you have a big fish on the line the odds of losing it go up. Nelson took his time on the light gear and 4 hours and 12 minutes later he had a 160 lb tuna onboard and was ready for a trip to the spa. Father and son team Dan and Don Ballard also got a 100 lb fish out of the same school.
There have been too many marlin taken lately to list without forgetting someone. Greg Boyer’s, Dave Garlow’s, and Steve Wilcox’s groups were some that got in the action. Most of the fish were in the 150 to 400 lb range. Steve Wilcox’s trip was especially rewarding because it was like a repeat of his childhood when his father took him to Mexico where he caught his first marlin. Steve’s son Aaron took his first billfish here and also took a 55 lb monster dorado as well as contributed many of the photo’s in this report.
Marlin have been making daily appearances at Crocodile Bay
Aaron Wilcox poses with a beautiful bull dorado- easy to see how this fish got its name!
Ian Davis from Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures was down and got into the tuna action with a fly rod. He also left our webmaster Will Briegel with a library full of great photos.
The Yellow Dog Fly Fishing crue dueled some of the gulfs most sought after species as well as a variety of other inshore and offshore beasts.
Time to enjoy some of that tuna at the Crocodile Bay Bar! Thanks Anglers!
Inshore has yet to turn on really strong although Caroline Zargony took a couple of nice roosters to 45 lbs. Amberjacks and smaller tuna have kept deep Jiggers busy lately as well as big sier
Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica
Hope your Thanksgiving is full of turkey and football and thoughts of fishing in a warmer climate. George and Neil Henshaw traveled all the way from England to spend a week with us.
They got a taste of just about everything we have to offer in the
offshore and inshore waters near the resort. Marlin, sailfish, tuna,
dorado, roosterfish and an array of other inshore species. The
following pictures from the cobalt ocean and the emerald coastline is
an example of what is in store this season.
Costa Rica Fishing Report- November 16, 2010
I am usually pretty good at predictions when it comes to fishing Cand
that is why I don't have much trouble going out on a limb once in a
while. When I said the season was going to start out red hot or you
could slap me in the face I was pretty sure I would go un-bruised.
Well fortunately the only thing to slap me was Hurricane Tomas. Maybe Ishould study meteorology when it comes to predictions. There were more storms churning across the Caribbean this year than have been seen in a long time. Here we don't get the powerful winds but if the storm is big enough the outer bands will dump water on us enough to think about building an ark.
That is exactly what happened at the beginning of the season. Tons of
water fell. Silt slushed out of the rivers and the fish went into hiding.
We did have some good days amongst all the bad weather. Many dorado up to 40 lbs came in for a several days, a few sails made some drag washers sing and the spinner dolphin came through and a boat load of 20 to 40 lb yellow fin tuna were caught. Inshore the roosters pleased guests in the patches of clean water, but the snapper decided to stay in their bunkers.
As I write this the sun is shining brightly, the professional weather
predictors are saying the normal weather patterns have returned and I am busy study up on atmospheric changes.
Costa Rica Fishing Report - October 2010
by Todd Staley
We are opening our doors November 1st for the 2010-2011 season. The locals have already been catching good numbers of dorado so it looks like things are getting off to a normal start. Here’s what to expect in a normal season at Crocodile Bay Resort, CostaRica.
INSHORE… The fishing inside the Golfo Dulce is fairly constant year round and varies more day to day rather than seasonal. The shrimp boats quit working the gulf over a year ago and the gill netters have been gone several month so fishing will be much improved over previous years. Last season we saw the best snapper fishing we have seen in a dozen years and it is only going to get better.
Roosterfish, snapper, grouper, African pompano, bluefin trevally are just a few of the varieties that call the gulf and near shore waters home.
November, December, The cobalt waters in the Eastern Tropical Pacific will be ate up with dorado (dolphin fish) in the 20 to 40 lb range with an occasional fish going as much as 60 lbs. Since dorado are one of the favorite snacks of marlin, November and December is a prime time to get your “lady in the blue dress.”
There will be plenty of small yellow fin tuna and bonita around, (popcorn for marlin) and if the porpoises are running through, the larger tuna will be cruising under the acrobatic mammals. There will sails around and there number will increase rapidly in late December or early January depending on when the Papagayo winds start blowing across Lake Nicaragua and into the Pacific.
January marks the arrival of the large number of sails that made CostaRica famous in the sport fishing world and the dorado will hang around till the end of the month. Marlin will still be chasing dorado and stretching the string on fishing reels. Towards the end of the month the sailfish run will be in full swing and multiple hook-ups become a common thing.
February and March is right in the heart of the sailfish bonanza and days of over a dozen fish per boat are a common occurrence. Marlin will thin out but a few stragglers be roaming around until they have another peak in April. Wahoo are not real prevalent here but there is a chance for a few offshore as well as around Matapalo Rock if the blue water moves in close to shore.
April is more of the same for sails. Our best sailfish day in the history of the Resort came in April a few years back during the Red Bone Tournament for Cystic Fibrosis. Every boat in the tournament raised over 60 sails each that day. Please don’t expect those numbers, it was a crazy day, but anything can happen in the big blue pond.
By late May the afternoon rains will begin to fall and the winds to the north will subside and the sails will have a much bigger playground. But as the sails thin out the marlin make another appearance and while most of the year is blue marlin, June and July brings some black and striped marlin as well.
Crocodile Bay Resort Costa Rica Fishing Report- September 2010
by Todd Staley
November & December CostaRicaFishing Forecast!
We are just two months out from opening our doors for the 2010-2011 costaricafishing season at Crocodile Bay Resort.
It seems like a long time off but will sneak up on us before we know it. Our crews are staying busy preparing boats, working on the pier and giving the resort some TLC before we open our doors to anglers worldwide.
November / December Fishing Forecast
My prediction and you can smack me if I’m wrong is that the first two months of the fishing season are going to go off like fireworks for a couple of reasons. First of all, the bad child, "El Nino" has headed for the hills. This occasional climate cycle causes the ocean to warm to bath water and prohibits the other natural cycles that moves the billfish into pockets each year, one of them being right in our backyard.
The water temps are right and as we open in November the big schools of dorado (dolphin fish pictured below) will be here already. These fish average 20 to 40 lbs and behind them looking to munch a few will be blue marlin.
November, December are historically two of our best marlin months. The large numbers of sailfish won’t arrive till late December but with the water temperatures down, I expect more than the usual number of sails to arrive to town early.
They have had some very good days fishing sails recently so there is a population that has already moved into the area. December also brings football size tuna, another type of munchies for marlin. If a blue marlin is on your bucket list, November and December is on the best times to visit southern CostaRica.
The Golfo Dulce Becomes the Largest Marine Area of Responsible Fishing in Central America
Crocodile Bay Resort sits on one of the few tropical fjords in the world. The entire gulf as of June 12th, became the largest MARF in all of Central America. How did that happen? Well no good divorce lawyer would want you to know but what every family counselor in world would advocate, you get everyone involved sitting at the same table talking things out. Dad, mom, the kids, the dog and cat with the goldfish sitting on the table talking about their wants, needs, and frustrations. That is exactly what happened.
Satellite Image of Costa Rica's Golfo Dulce
The small scale commercial fishing Federation (FENOPEA) sat down with the National Tourist Fishing Federation (FECOPT), the local tourist fishing association (APTC) , INCOPESCA, the Costa Rican governing agency of all fishing laws, and the shrimping industry. Everyone discussed their groups personal well being as well as the future of the Golfo Dulce.
The process took over a year to complete and the inshore fishery inside the gulf has already seen spectacular results. The first to go, were the shrimp boats. They signed an agreement to quit trawling inside the gulf and left last September. It is a know fact that for every pound of shrimp they catch, they also catch 10 lbs of bycatch (small fish and other crustaceans) that are discarded.
Some of them would find a reef on the way out of the gulf and dump there bycatch overboard and when the snapper came up to feed, they would drag their net and take a mother load of snapper with them, though totally illegal.
Last season we saw an immediate change and had the best snapper fishing we had seen in 11 years of operation. It was to the point where you always got a couple smaller dinner size snapper to eat and the big females could be released.
Next was the gill netters. All but a handful agreed to stop using nets inside the gulf. After much debate and with the assistance provided by those willing to give up the practice, it was decided that no licenses to fish with nets will be renewed and the last license expires in 2012. With less than 10 working now, down 90% from before, the incidental mortality rate in the gulf will is drastically lower.
The Golfo Dulce has been divided in half. In the northern half, small commercial fisherman will only be allowed to fish with hand lines. The other half of the Gulf, short bottom lines will be permitted but must all be used by hand, no equipment to haul lines is allowed.
Groups like Mar Viva have gotten involved to train these fishermen in processing and marketing. Much like organic gardening their product now has a higher value, marketed as sustainable caught. With the success of such a program, the commercial guys will not be tempted to return to old fishing methods.
The local sport fishing people agreed to do their part by replacing all treble hooks on lures to single hooks when fishing inside the gulf. There was resistance from a small group of anglers inside the country that rarely fish the gulf and they produced documents from The Billfish Foundation, and the World Wildlife Foundation stating treble hooks were sustainable.
I read the TBF study, and have searched all over the internet for the WWF study but have yet to find it.
My personal argument and backed by many who use the gulf is we are not dealing with fish that can be held in your hand while the free hand can use a pair of pliers to remove the multiple hooks from a fish. We are dealing with big fish, roosterfish 10 to 60 lbs and the extra time that fish is out of the water while multiple hooks are removed is life threatening to them. This will also save me about a half dozen trips to the hospital each year as my crews while trying to release a big fish caught on treble hooks often end up hooking themselves.
The prohibition did not get written into law but Crocodile Bay and most other fishing operations will be making the switch on a voluntary bases. The Siwash series hook, has proven to have an excellent hook up record when used as a replacement for treble hooks.
The sum of all this is: The inshore fishery, roosterfish, snapper, grouper, trevally, and many more species has always been fair year round. It is about to get great!
We Can Help Your Group Raise Funds for your Organization
In celebration of the recent success in the Golfo Dulce and the amount of volunteer man hours taken to accomplish this we at Crocodile Bay would like to help you raise funds for your favorite organization.
Whether it be a fishing, hunting, conservation or a group that helps people like the like the Scouts, Little League, and more. All are eligible.
If your group is making a difference in this world for nature or the people that live in it, we want to do our part to help you accomplish your goals. Crocodile Bay will donate 10% of any fishing or eco tour package booked direct with us (excluding travel expenses) during the 2010-2011 season to your favorite organization.
Your group must pre-register to participate and a specially designed mail out will be prepared for you to send to your organization. For details, have the leaders of your group contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org “fundraising” in the subject box
Keep a wet line!
Editors note: Our Fishing Director Todd Staley has twenty years of promoting Fishing tourism, conservation, and sustainable use of marine resources in CostaRica. He was recently appointed President of FECOPT, The Federation that represents sport fishermen for the entire country of CostaRica
For the Record....It's CostaRica!
Costa Rica Fishing Report
May 25, 2010
by Todd Staley
For the Record, It’s CostaRica
Karen Morgan ended her fishing day early. She walked up to me with a horrified look on her face and said she would have no part of any more fishing on her vacation. “What happened?” I asked.
“We were nearly attacked by a giant tiger shark!” she exclaimed. “It was twice as long as the boat and just as wide, and it came within a foot of us. Our captain said shark.”
A tiger shark is a creature that swims in nearly all oceans of the earth including CostaRica and has a reputation similar to Attila the Hun, but they do not grow to the dimensions Miss Morgan described. I asked her to tell me what it looked like. “It had a giant head, and brown with spots all over it. It could have swallowed the boat.” she said still trembling.
“We’re going to need a bigger boat.” I teased, stealing the line of Chief Brody, from the famous movie “JAWS.” Then I explained what she had the privilege to witness was the largest and most gentle fish that lives in the ocean, a whale shark. I also explained that tiger sharks do inhabit these waters but she had a much better chance of winning the lottery than bumping into one. I also explained that one of that proportion would certainly be a world record and CostaRica is famous for world records.
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record book keeps records on fish caught throughout the world. CostaRica has 126 world records. This includes 63 line class records, 34 fly fishing records, 8 junior angler records and 21 all tackle records meaning it is the largest fish ever caught on any sport fishing gear.
Some records have stood the test of time. Manuel Salazar’s 87 lb dolphin fish has been a record for 32 years. Both coasts have the world’s largest snook. The Common snook record taken in Parismina at 53 lbs 12 oz (24.32 kilos) has been in the book since 1978. The Pacific side also has the world’s largest black snook at 57 lbs 12 oz (26.19 kilos) taken near Quepos. Four marlin and three sailfish line class records came from here and also nine billfish fly rod records. Costa Rican snapper found it’s way into the record book thirteen times including all tackle records for Pacific cubera 78 lbs 12 oz (35.72kilos) and Colorado snapper at 24 lbs 1 oz (10.92 kilos).
There are a few fish you’ve probably never heard of that have made their way into the record book from Costa Rican waters. The star studded grouper, the long jaw leatherback, or the hog mullet are not household names. The bigmouth sleeper, something my wife has accused me of being while I rattled the tin on the roof with my snoring is actually a fish in the record book the came from the Rio Sarapique. You can get your own record book or more info at www.igfa.org.
April was a crazy month. If my hair hadn't’t fallen out years before it surely would have in a month’s time. It was a month filled with highs and lows.
Eleventh Hour man Mark Davis from Bigwater Adventures TV filmed his second show here and like his first he fished for marlin. The currents associated with El Nino had brought 87 degree water into the area and bill fish aren’t very active in bath water. Mark hung in there and put in his time and ended up with several sails and a 300 lb blue marlin that you would have thought had a Screen Actors Guild member card.
Leo Stakos from Canadian based Fish-On TV is a light tackle specialist and was here at the same time as Davis. Stakos chose to concentrate on inshore species after bagging a few sails his first day on the water. Sometimes artificial lures produce better than live bait and Stakos proved it when he brought 32 roosters to the boat in one day trolling Rapalas.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation www.nfwf.org auctioned off a dream trip to CostaRica when Crocodile Bay Resort teamed up with the sport fishing yacht Typhoon for a 5 day fishing and eco adventure on the Osa Peninsula. The Typhoon is captained by Darren McClave and Donald McGuinness.
Patrick and Luke Durkin
Patrick Durkin, a big National Fish and Wildlife Foundation supporter was top bidder of the trip and came down with his wife Kristen and sons Luke and Austin. Also on the trip was Patrick’s twin brother Tim accompanied by his wife Liz and friends Dr. Gary and Lynn Sherman.
Several highlights of the trip included the day the twins hooked up a double on sailfish. They landed the fish at the exact same time and the two sails were the exact same size. The joke the rest of the week was “twins catching twins.” Durkin invited a couple local boys out one day to fish with his sons and it was a thrill for 11 year old Eddie Robles to catch a sailfish on the “biggest boat” he had ever been on in his life. It was a great culture exchange between the boys that surely they will remember for a long time.
Luke Durkin's Broomtail Grouper Impersonation
Little Luke Durkin is my hero. Although I love the dance of a sail fish and the adrenalin rush of a greyhounding marlin, my west coast Florida roots have always made me love bottom fishing. I have a long standing bet with all my captains about bottom fishing that I have yet to have to pay up after all these years here. When Luke showed up at the dock with a broomtail grouper more than half his size I have to admit I was just a bit jealous. When I found out he caught it on a jig, my bottom lip began to stick out. Well Luke I’m done pouting. I would be proud to go bottom fishing with you anytime.
Sailfish Blues - Blues singer Suze Sims ain't singin' the blues after landing this big sailfish.
Our fearless leader of the U.S. office Lynn Alban was down to see us with friends Mimi Burroughs, Margo Sims, and Margo daughter Suze Sims (pictured above). I was lucky enough to fish with them on the worst day weather wise I have ever seen in all my years here. A giant black cloud horseshoed itself around us but not before Suze caught her first sailfish. The rain chased us inshore and then followed us. When I started hearing the theme song from Gilligan’s Island in my head I decided it was time to call it a day. Suze is lead singer for The Red Hot Blues Sisters, a Seattle based blues group that has released two albums. This girl wails. I still haven’t hit the eject button in my car. Will Briegel (Pictured Below) Crocodile Bay's Marketing and Web guy brought snapper and pompano to the dinner table - he and his mother Kristin also enjoyed sharing a fight with a feisty Jack.
April meant school vacations and we had many Costa Rican families at the resort. This prompted a kids fishing class at the pier where nearly a dozen kids fished for the very first time. The fish must have known it was kids fishing and all would go back in the water because they bit like crazy. Seven year old Angelica Chacon Madrigal is going to grow up to be a great angler. When the others had none, she had patience. It paid off as she quickly learned the secret to hooking snapper and out fished everyone else.
Best Fish story of the year goes to 8 year old Angel Williams who reeled me in like a gold fish in a pond racing for fish meal. Angel who is Crocodile Bay’s Beau Williams daughter was fishing along with the group of kids at the pier. She had one of my crew put a live sardine on her hook and cast it out. I got called to the hotel to check on a matter and when I returned she was holding a 10lb dorado and saying “Todd look what I caught just now.” Now stranger things have happened. Long time customer Mike Pizzi once took a 60 lb roosterfish off the pier and several years ago my night guard was fishing and not guarding and he caught a 53 lb cubera snapper on a hand line. This dorado was juvenile size and I thought it believable.
She went on and on about how this fish fought and jumped. She went on to explain that she caught it because she is a really good angler and the other kids were catching little snappers and she got this big dorado. “I have to get a picture of this.” I told her. “This deserves to go the website.” Well to make a long story short a boat arrived while I was at the hotel and brought in the dorado that was deep hooked and couldn’t be released. Angel took the opportunity to pull one over on me which she did in the most believable manner. Good luck Beau, she’s good.
The Boston Whaler Group helped us wrap up the season with their 9th annual visit here hosted by President John Ward, Ben Cast, and Will Rogers. There were many first timers in this group as well as regulars like Whaler’s Ron Berman who’s father, Capt. Mel Berman passed away this year and was an icon to the sport fishing community I grew up in and a personal friend.
Will Rogers did a Costa Rican audition if they ever make the movie “Jackass 3” when he jumped overboard into a pod of three killer whales. They came over and checked him out but decided he didn’t look enough like a seal to gulp him down. He did get some amazing underwater photos and a life long memory. (we don't recommend you try this on your next trip down!)
Every year Boston Whaler holds a tournament here and later donates all the prize money to a project in Puerto Jimenez. They have rebuilt and tiled the floor in the kindergarten, bought new desks for the first grade, bought camping equipment for the local scouts and raised nearly $2000 for the elementary school again this year. The daily winners who donated their prize money were, Kevin Miller, Jeff Furches, Jeff Glenny, Chuck Cashman, Todd Turley, and Tony Villareale. Thanks guys.
Overall the warm water made the number of billfish caught drop this year but when a pocket of cooler water would move in the numbers would shoot up to 15 or more fish a day per boat. Just when I let out a sigh of relief, more warm water would move in. The numbers were phenomenal last year with the new laws in place and I expect next season as the climate returns to normal, the big numbers of fish will return. One immediate change we noticed this year was in the snapper fishing. We saw more fish and bigger fish. I attribute this directly to the shrimp trawlers no longer working in the Golfo Dulce. The sport fishing lobby in CostaRica is working hard to insure we remain the premier destination for a fishing vacation.
Straight From the Catfish’s Mouth
After heading up Crocodile Bay Resort’s fishing program since the beginning 11 years ago, owner Robin Williams, (he’s a character but not the actor) decided I should see how our U.S. office works. Shortly I will be traveling up for a few weeks to see the nuts and bolts of the other side of the operation. If you have any questions about fishing down here as far as fish, peak times, equipment, boats, tackle, captains or anything related to Crocodile Bay Resort I will be happy to give you a call while I am there. Maybe you are planning a trip for next season. No one knows how this machine operates better than myself. Email email@example.com
More Highlights from the 2010 Season
Marin County CHP Officer Gilbert and son Matthew Osuna enjoy their fishing vacation at Crocodile Bay. Thanks for the great shots of the Whale Shark!
Whale Shark in Costa Rica's Golfo Dulce Taken by the Osuna Group
This small blacktip reef shark was safely released
by Gilbert Osuna