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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.