- Costa Rica
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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!
Todd Staley, Crocodile Bay Lodge
Costa Rica Sport Fishing Vacations at Crocodile Bay Resort
Jigging and popping at Crocodile Bay Resort
If you love the sensation having a jigging rod almost ripped from your hands as a big fish inhales your butterfly jig, or the thrill of watching a tuna crush your popper, leaving a hole in the water where your lure used to be, then Crocodile Bay is the place for you.
The Gulf of Dulce, and it’s surrounding waters offers some great opportunities to catch fish both jigging and on poppers. If jigging is your passion, we have some deep structure that hold Amberjack, Cubera Snapper, African Pompano, yellowfin Tuna, Roosterfish, Grouper, Trevally, Jacks and a host of other tropical fighters. It’s not just the thrill of the strike, the challenge of keeping the fish out of the Rocks, or feeling every head shake through the braided line. It’s the simple fact that there are such a variety of fish down there, that you often don’t know what you have on the line, until you see it. It’s not uncommon to catch six or eight different species in a single spot.
For the popping enthusiast, you have many options both inshore or offshore. Working the beach and shallow reefs can produce a mixed bag, including Roosters, Jacks, Snappers, Mackerel, Barracuda, Dorado, and Trevally. Over some of the the deeper structure, you can find “floating Snappers”, or snappers that have come off the bottom and are holding close to the surface, as well as Jacks, Roosters, Barracuda and Dorado. Big Cubera Snappers will come up from one hundred feet or more to hit a popper. When they do, it is an awesome explosion of an angry, red fish and white water.
Offshore also, holds some great opportunities for the popper fanatic. Trolling offshore, we often find floating debris, such as logs, branches, pallets, or just about anything else that floats. These floating objects, attract baitfish. Offering a place to hide, in otherwise deep and structureless water. This bait, then attracts gamefish such as Dorado, Tuna, Sailfish, and Marlin. Usually, one pass with the trolling lures, will tell you what fish are holing on the structure. Find one that is loaded with Dorado, and you can stop and have a field day with a popper. It is not uncommon to have two or three fish hooked at once, with a dozen or more swimming around the boat.
If a big fight is what you are looking for, then Tuna is your game. We catch some very big Yellowfin Tuna here, and they will readily take a popper. It is a little bit different fishing, then what some anglers are accustomed to. We rarely see Tuna breaking on their own here. The big Tuna we catch, are always in with schools of Dolfin. Tuna run with Dolphin, such as spotted or spinner Dolphin that use echo location to find bait. Once the Dolphin locate the bait, the Tuna move in and feed with the Dolphin.
When we find a school of Dolphin, we position the boat in front of the them, and let the school come to us. When you see breaking Tuna, cast to them. It is possible to cast to hundred plus pound fish breaking right in front of you. But be careful, you never know when that two hundred pounder, is going to come out of the fray and take your popper.
Jigging and popping have become very popular in recent years. With the advent or braided lines, stronger reels, lighter, more powerful rods and better hooks, the sport has grown. Anglers now push the bounds of what is possible with spinning and light conventional tackle. For the experienced pro, we offer a variety of species to add to one’s life list, as well as a shot at a trophy. For the beginner, we’re more than happy to introduce you to the sport, and offer an excellent environment to begin honing ones skills.
Captain Allan Smith
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Ok, so you’re all jazzed up about catching a sail fish on the fly rod in Costa Rica. Or you might just want to try conventional fishing for sails, marlin, tuna, dorado and rooster fish..
I highly recommend it sooner than later.
As we all know FISHING = MONEY and it all boils down to that equation. .
Most equate fishing money with expendable income. Try looking at it this way:
“To me It’s a necessity“ Go ahead admit it. Fishing does things for you that cannot be compared with fixing the roof, buying the kids the latest hand-held electronic communication device or supplying a new 2012 survival shelter.
For the past 11 years I have watched the current state of world economic affairs in regards to sport fishing as an offshore fishing captain here in Costa Rica for Crocodile Bay Resort and for close to 30 years as a guide in Alaska.
I still say do it now as apposed to later and I’ll tell you why.
In these past few years all those around us swore and still swear that we will all be begging for food long before the Mayan’s doom-laden prediction that the end of the world will occur in 2012..
I have observed and noted during these past few years that almost all of my clients talk about how THESE things are affecting them. I don’t raise the subject because the last thing I want to talk about on my boat is your work. I’d rather talk world wide fishing. But inevitably someone does brooch the subject of world economic events and I can’t help but put in my twenty cents… accounting for inflation that is.
Most of them including myself are of the well thought out and discussed opinion that all of the people who can afford a trip outside their normal circle of fishing zones and have ventured to do so in the past three years or so, have had the same mental philosophy…
I’ll delete the expletives and keep in mind that we are all fishers after all is said and done, but to put it into a nut shell… They all have the mind set that either it isn’t as bad as the powers to be would lead you to believe or that even if it is and will get worse that now is the time to enjoy some of your hard earned money to treat yourself to something you’ve been wanting to do for who-knows-how-long.
Most have said that after looking at their current state of affairs that they decided now is the time. After all, if all turns to fecal matter I did what I wanted to do and I’ll never have to say I wish I had when I had the chance.
Further more: What if the Mayans were right? In a year or so the fish could be catching us..
Do you think that if you stood on the street with a sign that read “Will Work For Sail Fishing Money” that anybody would donate? Hell no. Those that still have it will be taking this advice to heart and going fishing in Costa Rica to catch a sailfish on a fly rod or roosterfish using bait the size of the fish they are now catching from the pond next to the golf course.
I not only learned from my father about learning from other’s mistakes but to also learn from their successes.
So follow the advice of not only me but the approximately 1,242 people I’ve taken fishing in the past 4 years despite the price of oil, the stock market, the housing collapse and the heartbreak of psoriasis. “When all else fails, go fishing.”
Do you need help forming a fishing budget plan acceptable to you and the boss/wife??
Stay tuned for my next missive.
Cappy Will Kitsos
Crocodile Bay Resort
For more information about Costa Rica fishing vacations visit www.crocodilebay.com
For more information visit www.crocodilebay.com
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 Costa Rica 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 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.
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.
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. I was lucky enough to fish with them on the worst day weather wise I have ever seen in all my years here. I 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, Webmaster and Marketing Director for Crocodile Bay enjoyed his annual fishing trip inshore and filled four dinner plates with African Pompano and Black Snapper.
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 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.
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 Costa Rica 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. Drop me your number at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help you any way I can. Looking forward to seeing you next season.
On the right is Rodrigo Arias, Minister to the President of Costa Rica, and his brother.
In the middle is Olivier Jimenez, Senator of the Province of Puntarenas (our elected congressional representative)
On the left with no shirt is Gerardo Fait, president and owner of El Lagar hardware stores, one of the largest hardware store chains in Costa Rica, and personal friend of Rodrigo Arias.
They were down visiting Puerto Jimenez to inaugurate the completion of a new $50 million highway project leading from Rincon into Puerto Jimenez, as well as the new runway repaving and they took advantage of the trip to take some time out to see the beautiful Gulfo Dulce.
Oscar Arias the current president will be leaving office in May, at which time his former Vice President Laura Chinchilla who won the recent presidential elections, will be entering office as Costa Rica’s first woman president for the 2010-2014 term.
Rodrigo Arias has just announced his plans to run for president in the 2014-2018 elections.
Whaler boats are fit for a president, and his brother!
For More Information about a fishing trip in a Boston Whaler, visit www.crocodilebay.com
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
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.
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