The Faces of Crocodile Bay Resort – Diego Camacho Aguilar – Fishing and Fleet Director
Tell us about yourself:
I was born in San Jose and lived there for the first seven years of my life. When I was around six years old, my mother started working at the Costa Rican consul part-time in the United States, and we would spend six months in the US, and six months here in Costa Rica. Around a year later, she was offered a full-time position at the Costa Rican consul in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and my entire family (my older brother, my stepdad and I) moved to the United States.
We were only the second Hispanic family in West Allis, Milwaukee at that time. I had to learn English right away and started going to elementary school. It was difficult at first to move from an all-Spanish life in Costa Rica to an English speaking life in the US. But throughout our time in the USA, I always came back to Costa Rica to visit my extended family and to spend summer vacations here.
Wisconsin has a lot of freshwater rivers and lakes, and I got into fishing with my friends very early on. We loved going fishing every chance we could, and sometimes we would drive 2-3 hours to get out to the lakes where we wanted to fish.
I got married when I was only 19 years old and had my first son at that time. He is now 16 years old. Later on, I had two more children, now 14 and 10 years old.
I started working in the fishing industry around the time I started my family. One of my uncles was a fishing captain in the Florida Keys, and he offered me a job. That’s when I got into saltwater fishing.
I worked with my uncle as a mate and stayed with it for 8 years. Then I moved up to become a captain, and I received my first fishing license. I was also working at a private shipping yard at the time, and my boss, one day asked me if I wanted to join him on a fishing trip to Costa Rica. The funny thing is, he actually didn’t know that I was originally from that country. So I signed on and soon after we started our journey down to Costa Rica.
The owner of the boat ended up selling it in Costa Rica. And the new owner asked if I would be interested in staying on and possible going down to Brazil with him. But at that time, I was more intrigued to stay in my home country, Costa Rica.
Shortly after arriving in Costa Rica, I met my current girlfriend. Her mother lived in a small town called Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula, so we went down to visit. In Puerto Jimenez, I quickly got into the fishing, and I was hired to work at Crocodile Bay Resort as a mate. My English was better than most mates, and I was pretty much out on the boats fishing every single day. I sometimes helped out as a captain, but my main job was being a mate. As a mate, you have more opportunity to go fishing (which is my absolute passion)!
A while later I was introduced to the operations side of the fishing department as I was asked to begin to attend meetings, coordinate staff and help directly serve clients in the role of Assistant Fishing Director. In October of 2019, I was offered the position of Fishing Director at Crocodile Bay.
What is the most unusual request you’ve ever had from a guest?
One time I was out fishing with a husband and wife duo. Traditionally, when you catch your first billfish, you have to jump in the water. After hooking her first sailfish, the husband wanted to throw her overboard offshore into the deep blue ocean while we were still trolling. At first, I thought it was a joke, but he actually grabbed her, and it looked like he actually wanted to throw her overboard. I eventually talked him out of the idea, but ever since that memory has stayed with me.
What is the most challenging experience you’ve ever handled at the resort?
One day, we were out fishing offshore and found a big floating log that had a lot of bait-fish under it. And beneath that was a massive school of marlin. That day, along with three of our guests, we caught 16 marlin. We all had so much fun, but it was super exhausting.
What’s your most significant professional accomplishment?
My whole life, I dedicated a lot of effort towards my fishing career. Fishing, to me, is my passion and not just a job. If you do what you love, it becomes effortless and doesn’t feel like work. I have fished so much in my life that now I am happy to pass the rod on to our guests and watch them fight the fish.
The best career advice you received?
“Be consistent and never give up”. This advice came from one of my Crocodile Bay clients Tony Thompson, who is also a good friend of mine. He believed in me from the beginning, and we built a great friendship over the years. He comes to fish every year at Crocodile Bay, and I am very grateful that he always believed in me and gave me good advice.
What do you love most about your job?
Making our client’s dreams come true of catching their fish of a lifetime!! Helping them experience all this, that fulfils me.
What are your plans for the future?
Helping Crocodile Bay Resort to continue to grow. My plan is to stay committed to Crocodile Bay and keep growing with the company and maybe one day retire from here.
Why did you decide to work in Costa Rica and not go back to the US?
I prefer natural surroundings, with the peace and tranquility that we have down here in Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula. Pura Vida!