Crocodile Bay will soon open it’s doors for the 16th season of sport fishing on Costa Rica’s South Pacific coast. Since we don’t re-open until Saturday, I’ll talk a little bit about what anglers can expect in November. As always the blue marlin move in and dorado (dolphinfish) ranging 20 to 40 lbs will be here in droves. A few sails and yellowfin tuna will be in the mix. Inshore, the roosterfish will be circling the rock and also cruising around the reefs and beaches. Snapper and African pompano will be camped out on the volcanic reefs as usual.
Blue Marlin like the one pictured here are historically good to target in the month of November at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica.
One of the perks of this job is getting to meet tons of interesting people and sharing fishing stories, both present and past, jokes and other adventures with each other. One that comes to mind is Gene Moe who will be returning to Crocodile Bay again this season. He is lucky to be fishing anywhere. Back in 1999 while skinning a deer in Alaska a large Grizzly decided he would take out Gene and steal a meal. With only a Buck knife in his hand and no time to get to his gun, the bear attacked. After losing large chunks of flesh from his arm and leg Gene managed to get a direct hit in the vertebrate with the knife and put the bear down. Luckily he survived long enough to get medical attention, but is the only person I know of to take down a Grizzly with only a knife.
Face to Face with a Legend
While going through some old photos the other day I came across some photos of my visits to see a legend. I have always been a fan of Hemingway and probably watched the “Old Man and the Sea” a hundred times as a kid. I still watch it now and then. Before coming down to Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica to help start Crocodile Bay Resort with the Williams family, I had a friend here in Costa Rica who kept a boat in Hemingway Marina in Havana. When he asked if I could check on his boat a couple times a month I jumped at the chance.
One of the things I have always done when I travel somewhere is walk up to the oldest people I see on the street and start up a conversation. That is the best way to get a real picture of the place. I soon found everyone was eager to talk about Hemingway, his boat the Pilar, was on display at the Hemingway home and museum. I also found out Hemingway’s captain Gregorio Fuentes was still alive at 100 years old and living in his home in Cojimar and accepted visitors.
As I arrived in Cojimar the first time I was awed by seeing the same castle I had seen in the “Old Man and the Sea” standing proudly on the water’s edge. The locals directed me to the home of Gregorio and my hand trembled as I knocked on the door knowing I was about to be face to face with a legend. As we sat in his living room I saw the years on the ocean in his eyes and spots of skin cancer on this nose.
We sat for several hours and talked fishing, marlin, and of course Hemingway. Locals had told me that Gregorio and Hemingway would argue a lot about fishing technique, where to fish and so forth. As I pressed Gregorio he was a true professional and never admitted whether that was true or not. He did tell me that Hemingway did have a true disgust for sharks, especially when one stole a prized fish.
He told me after his death, Hemingway’s widow gave Gregorio the Pilar. Already in his early sixties and without Hemingway, he lost his desire to fish. Fidel Castro also took the boat from Gregorio to place in a museum. In exchange Castro gave Gregorio the right to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Terrazzo, a restaurant frequented by Gregorio and Hemingway in Cojimar. “I guess I got the better deal,” he laughed. “I have been eating there for 40 years.”
Gregorio demonstrated his sense of humor when I asked him how to live to be 100 years old. I often chuckle as I recall his secret. “Every day before dinner,” he started, “I have just two shots of rum, after dinner a good cigar and every once in a while a young woman.” I laughed and thought to myself, at 100, what’s a young woman, 80?
Over the next years I visited Gregorio many times. Each time I left with a feeling like I actually knew Hemingway. I have not been back to the Island since coming to Jimenez 16 years ago. The legend Captain Gregorio Fuentes passed shortly after in January of 2002 at 104 years old.
I am glad I came across those old photos. It made it all fresh again. I look forward to this coming season to see old friends and meet new ones and of course chewing the fat with them after a days fishing. We’re looking forward to our 16th season at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica and hope we get to see you this next year.
Watch “Crocodile Bay in 60 Seconds” to learn more about sport fishing at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica.
Crocodile Bay Resort
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica