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Why Costa Rica is the Perfect Destination to Take the Kids Fishing

Why Costa Rica is a great place to take the kids fishing

The little Cessna rolled to a stop on the airstrip at Barra del Colorado. Out stepped a man and a young boy around 10 years old. “Welcome to Rio Colorado Bob”, I said. With a stern look he replied, “I prefer to be referred to as Dr. So and So.” I fed them breakfast and sent them out fishing. Later I saw the boat headed back in early and thought the poor kid probably got sea-sick.

Todd Staley

We got the hook removed without too many tears, but the kid had no desire to head back out on the water to chase tarpon with dad. I told dad he would be ok here at the lodge and thought to myself, I wouldn’t want to spend all day in a boat with that guy either. A while later I grabbed a couple of small spinning rods and the two of us spent the afternoon catching little snook, roncadors, and machacas off the dock. The kid was in heaven.

Twenty-five years later and I have entertained hundreds of families with kids fishing. The last 18 years at Crocodile Bay. Costa Rica is God’s place on earth to spend family time. Jungles, waterfalls, beaches and volcanos are all close to each other. Fishing should never be overlooked as family activity. Crocodile Bay is the perfect place to introduce your kids to the sport or just enjoy the hobby together. With the world moving fast-forward with fast food, single parenting, and electronic babysitting, family time seems to get scarcer and scarcer.

Mike Pizzi began fishing with us fifteen years ago and has since become a good friend. I have fished him as a single guy, while he courted his wife and again just recently as a family man. As a single guy he always had me in stiches but was not the luckiest of anglers. Although over time he caught many good fish, the grand prize of offshore fishing, the marlin had eluded him. We were sitting one night at happy hour when an elated customer who had never fished before began telling me all about his 500 lb marlin. Pizzi told him how much money he has spent to date chasing a marlin and directed the man to a fiery place where believers say is somewhere below the surface of the earth and people who live unsaintly lives go when they die. The first time Pizzi brought his wife Ann, who was then his girlfriend, she caught two marlins.

Today the Pizzi’s have been married 10 years and travel here once or twice annually with their daughter Eloise 8, and son Finn who is six. The kids each started fishing before their 4th birthday and refer to me as “Tio Fish”, Uncle Fish. They both have become quite the little anglers. Dad introduced then to fishing the correct way.

Rule #1. When you take a youngster fishing it is their day not yours. It is all about them, not you. If you take them out in the hot Costa Rican sun to watch dad or mom catch a big fish, you really haven’t accomplished much. As we know children have a short attention span, and need to be kept busy. In fishing they need action and fish small enough to entertain them, not scare them. Pizzi started his kids out catching bait. They could only handle a few hours on the water when they were small and by catching sardines and goggle-eyes, Pizzi accomplished two things. He showed them fishing was fun and had plenty of bait to use the next day while mom took them to look at monkeys.

By her Eloise’s 6th birthday, the kids had enough experience to tackle a full day on the water soaked in sunscreen and were ready for bigger quarry. Bottom fish like small snapper and triggerfish are in great abundance and it kept them busy while also teaching them about catch and release.

Then they were ready for something more challenging that took a little more patience. They started to chase small roosterfish and little yellowfin tuna. By now they were beginning to learn how to play a fish, not fight them and mom and dad were having more fun watching Eloise and Finn than if they were catching fish themselves. This year it was time for the big leagues.

I often have people call me before they come and ask if their 12 or 13-year-old child can catch a sailfish. I tell them they are a few years behind schedule. Sailfish are the perfect fish for a youngster, with close supervision and just a tad bit of help of course. First it is a giant of a fish compared to the size of a small angler and it cooperates very well. Sailfish make one powerful and amazing run putting with an acrobatic show not soon forgotten. Then they kind of just settle in near the surface. With a little support on the rod and the backing down with the boat of a capable captain, a relatively small child can catch a big fish.

Show and Tell will be a little more exciting for Eloise and Finn this year as they both caught their first sailfish. With all the crazy other stuff they did like chasing lizards, monkeys and crocodiles they had a great vacation. The tears in their eyes as they did not want it to end when the left made it all worth it. Mission accomplished mom and dad. Mission accomplished Tio Fish!

Related Articles:
Sport Fishing in Costa Rica – Where to Go and What You’ll Find

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Tarpon in Costa Rica’s Pacific Focus of New FECOP Study – Sport Fishing Magazine

FECOP, a Costa Rica sport-fishing advocacy and conservation organization, has announced an unprecedented study to unlock secrets of Atlantic tarpon now living in the Pacific.

From SportFishingMag.com

Tarpon in Pacific Costa Rica Focus of New Study

Scientists are trying to determine if tarpon are breeding in the Pacific.

Courtesy FECOP

Twenty-seven years ago, Didiher Chacon was a young biologist from the National University in Costa Rica. Todd Staley, co-creator of 12 Fathom Jigs that forever changed tarpon fishing in Boca Grande, Florida, in the late 1980s, had just moved to Costa Rica to manage Archie Fields’ Rio Colorado Lodge, a world-famous tarpon destination. Chacon stopped by the lodge one day to explain he was collecting tarpon samples for analysis by Dr. Roy Crabtree in Florida. Staley, who was familiar with Crabtree’s work, jumped at the chance to catch a few tarpon and help science at the same time.


Chacon went on to become well respected in marine conservation circles. He is currently the director of the NGO, Latin American Sea Turtles, as well as a professor at the National University in the post-degree program. Staley moved to the Pacific side of Costa Rica after Archie Fields died and for two decades managed famous billfish destinations like Golfito Sailfish Ranch and Crocodile Bay. He began working full time for FECOP, a Costa Rica sport-fishing advocacy and conservation group, last May.

“I first saw a tarpon roll in the Pacific back in 1995,” Staley explains. “For a minute I thought I was losing my mind but then I thought, I have seen tarpon roll my whole life, I know one when I see one.” Eventually one of the charter captains returned to the dock one day with a 40-pound tarpon and had no idea what it was. Since then clients have hooked five to 10 tarpon a year, occasionally landing and releasing a few. The largest tarpon taken was estimated around 130 pounds. It has always been assumed that the tarpon, which are not indigenous to Pacific waters, passed through the Panama Canal and took up residence on the Pacific coast.

The puzzle got even more interesting when Saul Porras caught a baby tarpon while snook fishing at the mouth of a creek on the Osa Peninsula in southern Costa Rica. Chances that little guy passed through the canal and swam that far are extremely slim. So, are tarpon now breeding in the Pacific? They have been caught all along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, especially in the southern zone. An increasing number have been taken in the Sierpe and Coto Rivers. Tarpon have also been have recorded as far south as Colombia and as far north as El Salvador.

Tarpon in Pacific Costa Rica Focus of New Study

Most of the river tarpon are small, but some as large as 100 pounds have also been captured.

Courtesy FECOP

FECOP agreed to sponsor a project to find out more about tarpon in the Pacific. Staley contacted Chacon (the two had remained friends over the years) and he agreed to work on the science part of the project. “The Sierpe Wetlands are per-fect habitat for juvenile tarpon,” Chacon says. “That very well may account for the increase in numbers of tarpon caught there in the last few years.” Most of the river tarpon are small, less than 30 pounds, but some as large as 100 pounds have also been captured.

Tropical Storm Nate delayed the project when massive amounts of rain fell, which not only caused major landslides but also completely flushed everything out many of the coastal rivers.

Phase 1 of the project will concentrate in southern Costa Rica. A DNA comparison will be done between Pacific-caught tarpon and tarpon taken at various locations on the Caribbean side of the country. Biologists will also study what the Pacific tarpon have been feeding on. This can be accomplished with a small tissue sample without sacrificing the fish. All Pacific-caught tarpon will also be tagged.

Chacon notes that there is a possibility tarpon could change the ecology of the rivers over time. So far it is not yet known what these tarpon are feeding on or how they will affect native fish. But the ever-increasing encounters along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast make it worth finding out.

For more information contact: www.fishcostarica.org or info@fecop.org.

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Costa Rica Fishing Team FECOP Surprises With Success in Lake Okeechobee Pan-American Bass Tournament

When FECOP sponsored three teams to compete in the first Pan-American Delegation bass tournament on Lake Okeechobee in Florida last week, it was akin to David meets Goliath. The Jamaican bobsled team participating in prior Winter Olympics is a similar analogy. The Pan-American anglers were fishing against experienced pros like Roland Martin and his son, Scott, in a tournament hosted by USA Bass and Fishing League Worldwide. Teams representing the United States, Canada and Mexico also competed, yet Costa Rica was the only country without its own bass fishery and local knowledge.

Henry Marin is a project manager and sociologist for FECOP. FECOP is a conservation association representing sport-fishing interests in Costa Rica. Marin fully understands the socio-economic aspects of the sport and its value to the men and women who work in the industry. But the expert academic had no prior experience actually fishing, so he was quite surprised when he was asked to join a team.

Marin partnered with Carlos Cabero, FECOP’s president and an avid angler. The other two Costa Rica teams were from the National Fishing Club, which is a FECOP member organization. Marin read up on largemouth bass and watched videos before departing for Florida. Upon arrival the team stopped off at Bass Pro Shops and Marin bought his first fishing rod. “When we were not fishing, I asked a lot of questions of the other anglers. They were extremely helpful about the habits of bass,” Marin says.

The two practice days improved Marin’s casting, although he was still not as accurate as he thought he needed to be. “I knew I could not hit the spots I wanted, so my strategy during the tournament was to cast beyond and bring my lure back to the spot.” That technique paid off. Marin ended up catching more bass than his partner, but Cabero landed the largest fish.

Once all the catch logs were tallied, Team Cabero and Marin had scored enough points for a fourth-place finish. The team of Ronny Villalobos and Mauricio Monge came in ninth and the combined scores allowed Costa Rica to take the bronze medal or third place overall in the competition. Roland and Scott Martin earned first-place honors and the gold for the USA, while Canada won the silver medal for its second-place finish.

When the teams returned to Costa Rica there were no screaming fans flooding the streets like after a soccer match. Still, this little country is proud of its anglers. When FECOP was asked to represent Costa Rica in the Pan-American delegation last November, the goal was to first include sport-fishing in the Pan-American Games before eventually being added to the Olympic roster. And in the process, FECOP’s Marin now appreciates the emotional and competitive aspects of the sport, too.

For more information, contact: www.fishcostarica.org or info@fecop.org

Results and Teams

1. USA – Scott Martin and Roland Martin – 15.51 kg (34-3)

2. USA – John Cox and Keith Carson – 14.68 kg (32-6)

3. Canada – Cole Bailey and Bruce Leeson – 12.98 kg (28-10)

4. Costa Rica – Carlos Cabero and Henry Marin – 12.86 kg (28-6)

5. Canada – Phil Hegarty and Stephen Hegarty – 12.46 kg (27-8)

6. Canada – Rob Lee and Dave Chong – 12.41 kg (27-6)

7. USA – David Dudley and Mark Schlarb – 12.38 kg (27-5)

8. USA – Shirley Crain and Michelle Jalaba – 11.47 kg (25-5)

9. Costa Rica – Ronny Villalobos and Maricio Monge – 11.37 kg (25-1)

10. Canada – Dave Bairstow and Matt Hubble – 11.25 kg (24-13)

11. USA – Alan Boyd and Kyle Alsop – 10.62 kg (23-7)

12. Canada – Joey Ford and Shawn McCaul – 10.51 kg (23-3)

13. Canada – Spiro Agouros and Fern Campeau – 10.5 kg (23-2)

14. Canada – Brian Hughes and Anais Chaves – 10.27 kg (22-10)

15. Canada – Bob Izumi and Darren Izumi – 10.27 kg (22-10)

16. Mexico – Richie Gonzalez and Arturo Saldana – 9.78 kg (21-9)

17. Mexico – Jorge Bruster and Luis Flores – 9.36 kg (20-10)

18. Mexico – Victor Concha Jr. and Gerardo Ibarra – 8.25 kg (18-3)

19. Mexico – Gabriel Torres and Eduardo Yoshii – 8.14 kg (17-15)

20. Mexico – Alex Salinas and Fernando Salinas – 7.52 kg (16-9)

21. Mexico – Tomas Santos and Cruz Alejando Salinas – 5.8 kg (12-13)

22. Costa Rica – Jonnathan Arroyo and Vincente Naranjo – 4.78 kg (10-9)

Top 10 Patterns from the PanAmerican

From Fishing League WorldWide

Intimate knowledge of Lake Okeechobee bass not only led Scott Martin and Roland Martin to productive areas; it also helped them decipher a tough bite and amass the winning two-day total of 15.51 kg (34 pounds, 3 ounces) at the inaugural PanAmerican Black Bass Championship at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort on Lake Okeechobee.

Sanctioned by the PanAmerican Sportfishing Delegation and hosted by USA Bass, a branch of United States Angling Confederation (U.S. Angling), the event was presented with assistance from FLW. Part of an ongoing effort by the Confederation Internationale de Peche Sportive (CIPS) to make bass fishing an Olympic sport, the tournament fielded 22 two-angler teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica.

En route to taking the individual gold medal and leading Team USA to overall gold, the Martins caught most of their fish in the Monkey Box – a large bay surrounded by reed lines and interspersed with lily pads, pencil reeds and junk mats. The winners fared best by throwing Yamamoto Senkos and D Shads on 5/0 Trokar offset hooks into the reeds and meticulously working them with a slow pace.

Martins’ Winning Pattern

 

2. Second-place finishers Cox and Carson opvercome early mishap

Right out of the gate, fate seemed to stack the odds against FLW Tour pro John Cox and his teammate Keith Carson, as an engine issue crippled them at takeoff on day one. Fortunately, fellow Tour pro Brandon McMillan, who lives in Clewiston, loaned Cox a boat, and, despite the late start and rattled nerves, the U.S. duo sacked up 6.8 kg and placed fourth.

Cox and Carson would go on to add 7.88 on day two and rise to second place with a total weight of 14.68 kg (32-6) to earn the silver medal. They caught their fish in the Monkey Box flipping reeds and mats, but most of their bites came from isolated reed heads.

Carson described a key point that proved impactful both days, particularly on day one, when windier conditions challenged casting.

“We were fishing the same baits on two different lines. I was using 6-pound braided line, and John was using 15-pound fluorocarbon,” Carson says. “My line was so thin it wasn’t catching the wind, so my bait was staying in the strike zone, while the wind was pulling John’s bait right out. I fished behind him and picked up the ones he missed.”

Also, Cox noted the day-two importance of long casts. With the wind dropping to barely a breeze and sunny skies maximizing visibility, fish were on high alert.

“They were so spooky, especially in the slick, calm conditions, so we had to stay way off the reeds when we were casting,” he says. “Also, when we’d move into a new area, we had to let it settle down before we started fishing.”

 

3. Bailey and Leeson flip the script for third

Team Canada’s Cole Bailey and Bruce Leeson turned in a consistent performance by taking fifth on day one with a limit of 6.5 kg and then following with 6.48 on day two. Earning the bronze medal, they ended with a tournament total of 12.98 (28-10).

Bailey says their success hinged on shifting gears and adapting to changing conditions. Day one saw the anglers catching their fish on 1/2-ounce Dirty Jigs Swim Jigs with Gambler EZ Swimmer trailers, but the second day required a different approach

“That swim jig was our primary bait the first day when it was a little cloudy and overcast,” Bailey says. “Today [Thursday], I figured the flipping would come into play because when it gets really hot and sunny, those fish pull into the mats.

“Today, we got on a pretty good punching bite in the mud mats [dead lily pad roots]. We were flipping 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce weights and rubber punch skirts with either a Gambler BB Cricket, Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver or a Set the Hook Zaga Craw.”

 

4. Costa Rica’s Cabero, Marin learn the largemouth game

Anytime a team fares well on unfamiliar water it’s impressive, but Team Costa Rica’s Carlos Cabero and Henry Marin hail from a nation with no black bass fisheries within its borders. Therefore, finishing fourth with 12.86 kg (28-6) proved to be one of the event’s most impressive story lines.

Cabero, captain of Team Costa Rica, says he and Marin used 5-inch Gambler Ace stick baits in junebug. Their tactics produced 7.99 kg of bass on day two, which pushed them up from 12th on day one. Their final-day catch included a 5-pound, 7-ounce kicker.

“We were worried, because around 10 o’clock we had only caught little ones,” Marin says. “But we moved to another spot, and it went really well for us.”

Marin noted that precise casting proved essential to their success.

“It was trial-and-error the first two practice days because we didn’t know how to fish for bass,” he says. “At the first part, we tried drifting and letting the baits sink through the hydrilla. That didn’t work that well for us, so we tried to use topwaters, but that didn’t work either.

“Then, we noticed that there was a lot of breeze coming in between the pads and cattails. We started making precise casts, and that started working. We got three big ones in the same spot.”

 

5. Patience pays for Hegarty duo

Sharing the Martins’ family connection, the father-son team of Phil Hegarty and Stephen Hegarty represented Team Canada by climbing 12 notches on day two to finish fifth with 12.46 kg (27-8).

With day two starting strong, the team secured a limit fairly quickly, but then the bite fizzled. Overcoming the urge to relocate paid big dividends.

“We were going to run, but we said, ‘We know there are big ones here, so let’s stick around,’” Stephen says. “We stayed, and I stuck that big one that was 5-15.”

They tried different baits, but they caught all of the fish they weighed on 3/8-ounce Z-Man ChatterBaits with black/blue Yamamoto Zako trailers.

“I threw a Senko when my arm got tired, but all of the fish we weighed came on the ChatterBait,” Stephen adds.

 

6. Muddy water drops Chong and Lee to sixth

After a strong start that put them in second place on day one with 7.48 kg, Team Canada’s David Chong and Rob Lee struggled on day two when their area turned stingy. After catching 4.93 kg, they dropped to sixth with 12.41 kg (27-6) total.

“We caught them on day two the same way we did on day one. All the fish came on ChatterBaits,” Chong says. “Unfortunately, our area where all our big fish were muddied up today [Thursday]. We checked it a couple of times throughout the day, hoping it would clear up, but by the time we got on some fish, we were on Plan D.

“We stayed south all day. I’ve never been here before, so for me to look at too much of the lake would have been counterproductive. The south is really what we knew, so we stuck with it.”

Chong and Lee used 1/2-ounce Z-Man/Evergreen Jack Hammer ChatterBaits in the bruised pumpkin color with Z-Man Razor ShadZ trailers. Adding Liquid Mayhem attractant helped the fish find their baits in the lower visibility.

 

7. Dudley and Schlarb slip to seventh

After leading day one with 7.59 kg, FLW Tour pro David Dudley and his partner, Mark Schlarb, struggled on day two. They weighed a limit that went 4.79 kg and slipped to seventh with a tournament total of 12.38 kg (27-5).

Admitting that the frustratingly fickle tendencies of Florida strain largemouth bass often stump him, Dudley says he probably spent too much time moving when a more stationary strategy might have better served his team.

“I’ve been fishing for a long time, and Florida bass have my number; they are a different breed,” Dudley says. “I think I get a little too antsy. I want to move around and make something happen. But in Florida, you have to get in an area and let it happen.

“We were in the right area [the Monkey box], but if I had to blame anybody, I’m going to point all my fingers at me.”

Dudley and Schlarb caught their fish on a topwater frog, Zoom UV Speed Worms buzzed over hydrilla and a Texas-rigged craw flipped into holes in weed mats and reed heads.

 

8. Repositioning helps Crain and Jalaba rise to eighth

Making the biggest move on day two, Team USA’s Shirley Crain and Michelle Jalaba rose 13 spots from 21st place to eighth by sacking up the event’s second-heaviest catch (behind the Martins’ 23-3 on day two). The only all-female team caught a limit of 8.63 kg (19 pounds) to finish with a total of 11.47 kg (25-5).

Crain and Jalaba caught most of their fish by casting Senkos to isolated reed heads, but when the afternoon brought a little more wind, a Rapala Shad Rap produced a couple of their keepers. Their day-two bag included Jalaba’s kicker that went 5-12.

“We fished south yesterday [Wednesday], and I pretty well wore out my spot,” Crain says. “So we decided we would go north today and fish the Monkey Box. We got into the area, and my second or third cast, I got a 5-pounder. We thought, ‘Well, we made the right decision,’ so we just squeaked it out.

“David Dudley was instrumental in my decision to go north, because he shared the information with me about what he had done the first day. Otherwise, I would not have gone there.”

 

9. Senkos land Villalobos and Monge in ninth

Gaining two spots from 11th on day one, Ronny Villalobos and Maricio Monge finished in ninth place with a final-round catch of 6.4 kg, which included a 5-pound kicker. Fishing with unweighted junebug Senkos, the Costa Rican anglers tallied 11.37 kg (25-1).

“We went to the Monkey Box and fished the tall reeds,” Villalobos says. “We were casting the worms and bringing them slowly.

“We fished two ways: We cast the worms into the tall reeds, but we did better by casting into the small patches [pencil reeds].”

 

10. Bairstow and Hubble rise to 10th

After nabbing a limit on Senkos, green pumpkin ChatterBaits with black/blue trailers enabled Team Canada’s Dave Bairstow and Matt Hubble to sack up a day-two limit of 6.91 kg and move up from 16th place to finish 10th with 11.25 kg (24-13).

“We fished the baits on 7-foot-11, medium-heavy rods with 55-pound-test Daiwa Samurai braid and slow-rolled them,” Bairstow says. “We were touching the tops of the grass, and that’s how we got most of our bites this morning. Around 11 o’clock, we moved outside the hard line and started tying into some fish out there.”

Hubble, who caught a 5-pound, 10-ounce kicker around noon on day two, says he often complemented Bairstow’s ChatterBait with a Gambler Big EZ swimbait.

 

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Fishing as an Olympic Sport?

Fishing as an Olympic Sport?

Recreational groups meet at Pan-American Delegation to discuss sport being added to Olympics and Pan-American Games

Winter sailfish off Stuart, Florida

Could sport fishing be in the next winter Olympics?

Recreational fishing groups from the United States, Mexico and several Latin American countries hope to make sport fishing an Olympic sport in the near future.

According to a press release from FECOP, a Costa Rican non-profit sport-fishing organization, the groups met in Cancun, Mexico, in November for the inaugural assembly of the PanAmerican Sport-Fishing Delegation. The purpose of the group is to promote sport fishing as a competitive sport, with hopes of it being added to the Pan-American Games, and share a unified front on fishing conservation. FECOP represented Costa Rica during the meeting.

The release states the Olympics addition would be reliant on cooperation from the European countries. Golf, table tennis and handball recently were added as Olympic sports. Skateboarding, surfing and climbing will be included in the 2020 Games.

The release cites the Confederation International of Sport Fishing, which says the countries from North, Central, and South America making up the Americas “are not yet sufficiently organized for sport fishing to be considered for the Olympics.” An international governing body for fishing applied for the sport’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympics, but it was denied. According to BBC.com, fishing was part of the 1900 games in Paris but it was an unofficial sport and there was no winner — and only six countries participated.

There are four Pan-American tournaments — three saltwater — scheduled for 2018. A snook tournament will be in Tabasco, Mexico, and an offshore tournament will happen at Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Guatemala also might host another snook tournament. – Article from www.saltwatersportsman.com

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Explaining The Costa Rica Tuna Decree

Costa Rica Fishing Conservation: Why is the Costa Rica Tuna Decree so Important?

There is nothing like enjoying a fresh yellowfin tuna sushi, sashimi, or even a big fat juicy fresh tuna steak when your arms are almost too tired to lift the chopsticks. Recreational anglers are catching more tuna than ever all along the Costa Rican Pacific seaboard. Fighting a tuna on rod and reel is like having your line attached to a freight train. The increased availability of tuna has been a saving grace for many a charter captain in the off season for billfish.
People are asking: Why so many tuna?

yellowfin tuna sashimi In 2012 FECOP (Federacion Costarricense de Pesca), a non-governmental group made up of different sport fishing associations around the country began researching the tuna purse industry in Costa Rican waters. Territorial waters are 11 times greater than Costa Rica’s terrestrial area. Costa Rica does not have any national flagged tuna vessels and purse licenses are sold to and operated by foreign flagged vessels in Costa Rican waters. FECOP approached then President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla explaining a problem existed and she advised them to submit a project supporting their claim.

FECOP then discovered that over the 2008-2011 period, 193 purse vessels operated in Costa Rican waters while INCOPESCA the governing body of fishing in Costa Rica reported only 81 licensed vessels sold for the same period. Apparently 114 or 58% of the vessels were operating illegally. Much of the tuna never made it to port in the country. Costa Rica benefited a mere $37 a ton for tuna stored.

Knowing the government would be slow to react to just a group of sport fishers’ complaints, FECOP held meetings with the longline fleet. After decades of throwing stones at each other the two groups decided to present the project to the government together. The longline fleet expressed if there were a steady supply of tuna available they would have no interest in sailfish which are a major bycatch problem in Costa Rica with non-selective types of fishing gear.
President Chinchilla signed the “tuna decree,” as it is known near the end of her term and newly elected President Luis Guillermo Solis delayed the publication of the decree, but it eventually passed in October of 2014. The decree protects over 200,000 square kilometers of territorial water (44%) from purse sein operations, (see map). The most important area to recreational anglers is the first 45 miles from the coastline in which sein operations are now prohibited.

In March of 2017, using data supplied by FECOP’s Director of Science Moises Mug, INCOPESCA reduced tune purse sein licenses sold to foreign fleets from 43 vessels down to 9 for the rest of the year. The government amended the agreement and sold 13 licenses. A new decree is waiting to be signed that would only permit 8 licenses permanently. It is estimated 25 tons of what would have been marlin bycatch in purse sein operations were saved in Costa Rican waters in 2017 alone.

According to agreements in the Tuna Decree there are a few provisions that have yet to be implemented. A management plan for the coastal and special polygons. Polygons A and D on map. An onboard observer program must be created for longline fleets, and a research program including horizontal and vertical migration using archival tags. The management workshops have already begun with sport and commercial fisherman, government agencies and NGO’s all participating.

INCOPESCA, INA the governmental technical institute that trains for many occupations including different types of fishing, and FECOP have all teamed up for a year- long “greenstick” and vertical line study which started with the first voyage in October. Greenstick is a method of fishing tuna with almost zero bycatch that is common in the Atlantic side of the United States but INCOPESCA requires technical support studies done in Costa Rica before they will give licenses for fish them here. With more tuna available and a growing demand for sustainably caught tuna on the International market with a higher value at the dock, hopes are one day a portion of the longline fleet will convert to greenstick fishing. This would decrease the amount of billfish bycatch tremendously.

FECOP was formed in 2008 by a small group of anglers who discovered 480,000 kilos of sailfish were being exported annually into the United States. Much of this was served in seafood restaurants as smoked seafood spread and people had no idea they were eating sailfish. FECOP convinced the government to stop the exportation of sailfish but it can still be sold on the National market as a low-cost supplement to the Costa Rican diet.


The first major conservation project FECOP tackled was the creation of the largest Marine Area of Responsible Fishing in Central America. Sport fishing is allowed and small scale artisanal fishing is permitted in the Golfo Dulce on the Osa Peninsula, but shrimp trawlers and gill nets are no longer allowed. A Golfo Dulce Commission was formed with representatives of all the users of the gulf as well as governmental agencies and NGO’s who meet monthly to manager the area.

FECOP has not existed without controversy. While the whole Costa Rican sport fishing community should have been celebrating the Tuna Decree when it passed, they were distracted by a campaign from The Billfish Foundation labeling FECOP as “quasi-green environmentalists” and a threat to sport fishing in Costa Rica. The controversy started when a FECOP member voiced his opinion at a public forum on regulating more the organized billfish tournaments in Costa Rica. TBF ran with it claiming it was FECOP’s stance to discredit the organization.
A blessing in disguise, the incident prompted FECOP to re-evaluate itself. The staff was reduced and Moises Mug, one of the most respected marine scientists in the country was hired full time. Today their agenda is quite simple. Promoting sport fishing in Costa Rica both recreationally and professionally with a focus on bycatch, research and communication. The staff is supported by a board of directors from both the recreational and professional fishing sector including sportsman and Hall of Fame baseball player Wade Boggs who is an avid fisherman and conservationist.

Continuous maintenance of the Tuna Decree will be needed in 2018 which Dr. Mug will oversee. Henry Marin will head up a socio-economic study concentrating on coastal communities individually, demonstrating the importance of sport fishing.

One study FECOP will be doing that will be especially exciting is Pacific Tarpon. Not indigenous to Pacific waters the numbers caught on the Pacific coastline has been increasing annually. It is suspected they have come through the Panama Canal and are breeding in Pacific waters. Fish will be captured, tagged, a tissue sample taken and then released. Genetics and feeding habits can be determined by a tissue sample. The study will be done in the southern zone where more fish have been taken, but tarpon have been caught up on the Nicoya Peninsula and one was caught recently as far north as El Salvador.

More information can be found about FECOP at www.fishcostarica.org

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Sport fishing in Costa Rica: where to go, what you’ll find

Costa Rica Fishing Guide: Where to Go and What You’ll Find

Published by Todd Staley for the Tico Times

I remember years ago I would see an article about fishing in Costa Rica in a fishing magazine, or a television show about catching tarpon by the boat load in the jungle. It started a series of “bucket list” fishing fantasies in my head. I made my first trip to Costa Rica over 30 years ago, caught and released a ton of fish, and told all my friends when I got back to the States: “I don’t know how yet, but I am going to figure out a way to live down there.”

Twenty-seven years have passed since I moved to Costa Rica, and I have been fortunate enough to run world-renowned fishing operations over the years. Big fish tend to beat me up more these days than vice versa, but the fever for both the sport and the country has never left me.

Costa Rica has so much to offer all types of anglers that it is a shame not to experience it. Here is a rundown of some of the many sport fishing opportunities.

Freshwater:

Guapote (rainbow bass) are available in Lake Arenal, along with machaca, a relative of the South American piranha that is quite acrobatic when hooked. The rivers and lagoons in Los Chiles, which is in the Northern Zone, and all along the Caribbean seaboard have those species as well, plus tarpon and snook that also venture deep into the freshwater ecosystems. Several types of other cichlads, known as morjarra are found deep in the jungle and make for great ultra-light fun.

High in the mountains that divide the Pacific coast from Cartago, known as the Cerro de la Muerte, anglers will find wild rainbow trout in almost every creek. In that region, San Gerardo de Dota is a popular area and is also great for birdwatching species like the elusive quetzal. Fishing in a National Park is not permitted, so check that the area you are in is not park property.

If you would like to take the kids, there are trout hatcheries along the Pan American Highway, which runs through the Cerro de la Muerte. You can fish at those hatcheries and they charge you by weight. Stone Mountain Outdoors in Santa Ana has good information on trout fishing.

Saltwater:

The Caribbean side is world-famous for tarpon and snook. Tarpon school up outside the mouth of the river in pods that cover several acres. When it is hot, it is red hot and you will pull on big fish all day. As mentioned above, they will also enter the rivers and back lagoons.

The fishing in the ocean is done with lures or sardines on circle hooks. Inside the mouth of the river, it is almost always done with artificial lures. The late Bill Barnes made fly fishing for tarpon popular in the area.

Snook are also taken in the rivers and lagoons as well as the beach. There are four species of snook on the Caribbean side. The fat snook (calva) run that starts in December offers a chance to catch lots of snook on light tackle. It is a smaller species of snook and averages 5 to 8 pounds. The monsters that made Costa Rica famous in the fishing world are usually taken off the beach at the rivermouth. Rarely will you see lots of fish, but you have a chance to tangle with a once-in-a-lifetime fish of 35 pounds or more.

The Pacific side of Costa Rica boasts two fishing seasons, with the central and southern regions most productive November through April. In the north, the good bite is from May through December.

Costa Rica Fishing Sailfish

The last few years have seen record numbers of sailfish on the Pacific side. El Niño slowed the bite last year, but during the two previous years, records were broken for the number of releases in the Los Sueños and Marina Pez Vela tournaments. Last year in the Offshore World Tournament at Marina Pez Vela, the sailfish were noticeably absent, while marlin released records were crushed.

Dorado or dolphinfish have started off as a bang this fishing season, showing what seems to be a recovery of the stocks that migrate through here. Dorado is not only a beautiful fighting fish but also great table fare.

Also in the bluewater are marlin, tuna, and wahoo. Tuna have made a great comeback after the area in which purse seiners are allowed to work was reduced 200,000 square kilometers in 2014, and the reduction of purse sein licenses granted to foreign fleets was reduced from 43 to 13 in 2017. There have been phenomenal catches of marlin around man made marine eco-systems. You probably won’t see a grander (a marlin over 1000 lbs) here in Costa Rica, but the Pacific offers blue, black, and striped marlin.

Costa Rica Fishing

Roosterfish are the Holy Grail inshore on the Pacific side, and are available there all year, unlike other areas. The average is 10-15 lbs, but 50-lb fish are common. Also available inshore are a large variety of snappers, grouper, jacks, African pompano and others. When the water is clear, wahoo and dorado venture close to shore. Roosters, snook, jacks and snapper can be taken here casting from the beach.

Don’t pass up a chance to fish in Costa Rica. And remember: a Costa Rican fishing license is required for all anglers over 16 years of age.

 

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Todd Staley is a Tico Times columnist and director of communications for FECOP, a sport fishing advocacy federation recently chosen to represent Costa Rica in the Panamerican Sportfishing Delegation, formed by groups from the United States and all Latin America countries. One of the group’s goals is to get sportfishing recognized as a competitive sport and to organize teams from various nations to compete in the Pan-American games. The group also seeks a common front on conservation issues. Costa Rica will host the Federation Assembly in November 2018 followed by a roosterfish tournament with competitors from the different nations. Learn more at www.fishcostarica.org

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Sustainable Fishing News: Green Sticking in Costa Rica

Green sticking or “palo verde” as it is known in Spanish is not a new form of fishing in Costa Rica. It has been used successfully for years in Japan and the United States in commercial and sport tuna fishing. The method allows anglers to target tuna with very little bycatch. It involves mounting a long fiberglass rod, tinted green, on the boat to drag squid lures above the surface of the water. The tuna are drawn to the lures by the commotion of the trailing “bird” teaser lure-weight and competition for food.

FECOP, Costa Rica’s sport-fishing advocacy group’s Director of Science, Moises Mug, holds a Masters of Science degree in Fisheries Biology and has been studying the tuna purse seine industry since 2001. His work with FECOP persuaded President Laura Chinchilla to sign a decree at the end of her term that moved tuna purse seine operations 45 miles off the coast and protected a total of 120,000 square miles of ocean from commercial tuna fishing. Her predecessor, President Luis Guillermo Solis, published the decree and it became law. Earlier this year Mug’s studies helped persuade the government to reduce tuna licenses issued from 43 to 13.

Costa Rica Green Stick fishing

Since late 2016 Mug has led a green-sticking study involving FECOP, INCOPESCA,(the government agency in charge of fisheries), and INA, the technical training institution that teaches different trades in Costa Rica including commercial and sport-fishing as a business. FECOP has spent over $100,000 on refurbishing and outfitting INA’s boat, Solidaridad, which was once used to teach longline fishing. The research team will be testing the efficiency, amount of bycatch of green-sticking as well as vertically dropped lines for tuna. Eventually INA will add a “Green-Sticking” course to its fishing trade agenda, training Costa Ricans on their proper use.

In Costa Rica all new or modified fishing rules must be backed by technical support. Studies not conducted in Costa Rican waters are rarely accepted. So even though green-stick fishing has proven successful in other parts of the world as a sustainable method, it has not yet been officially approved for Costa Rica.

“Costa Rica will greatly benefit from the adoption of green-sticking for tuna for the commercial market and sport-fishing as well. The adoption and promotion of green-stick fishing not only will provide social, economic and environmental benefits but will set an example for sustainable fisheries in Costa Rica,” Mug says.

Once this project is before the board of directors of INCOPESCA, a decision is expected soon. With the increasing demand for sustainable-caught tuna on the International market, the tuna exporters are also expected to support this license.

For more information, contact: www.fishcostarica.org or info@fecop.org

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FECOP to Represent Costa Rica in Panamerican Sportfishing Delegation

FECOP Costa Rica SportfishingSportfishing groups from the United States, Mexico and several Latin American countries met in Cancun, Mexico in November for the inaugural assembly of the Panamerican Sportfishing Delegation. The purpose of the group is to promote sportfishing as a competitive sport and have a common front of on fisheries conservation. Goals are to have sportfishing placed in the Pan American Games and with cooperation from European countries, the long-term goal is to make sportfishing an Olympic sport. With golf, table tennis, and handball already Olympic sports and skateboarding, surfing, sports climbing, and mixed gender competition introduced to the 2020 Games, it is time to introduce sportfishing to the event.

According to the Confederation International of Sport Fishing, (CIPS) founded in 1952 in Rome Italy with 50 million members from 77 countries, the America’s are not yet sufficiently organized for sport fishing to be considered for the Olympics. The America’s include all countries from North, Central and South America. The Federacion Costarricense de Pesca Turistica (FECOP) a Costa Rica non-profit which represents 8 Sportfishing Associations as well as the National Fishing Club and the Club Amateur de Pesca was asked to represent Costa Rica in the Panamerican delegation. FECOP has been a pioneer in conservation in Costa Rica including, stopping the exportation of sailfish, sponsoring and supplying the science to protect over 200,000 square kilometers of territorial water from tuna purse sein boats in 2014. A reduction of tuna licenses sold to foreign fleets (43 down to 13) in 2017 saved 25 metric tons of marlin bycatch this year. “It is very exciting to be chosen to represent Costa Rica,” exclaimed Carlos Cavero, President of FECOP. “We now have an open line of communication with other countries and will join the Americas in a single agency that represent sport fishing interests. Costa Rica has so much to offer the sport fishing world and has many anglers with the skills to compete on an International level.”

Four Panamerican tournaments are scheduled in 2018 representing different types of sport fish. A largemouth bass event will be held on Lake Okeechobee, snook in Tabasco, Mexico, and an offshore tournament at Isle Mujeres, Mexico. Guatemala was also suggested as a possible location for a snook event. Costa Rica and FECOP will host the 2018 Panamerican Assembly next November followed by a 3-day International roosterfish tournament. Site has yet to be determined. Luis Garcia will head up the events with the following representatives in charge by species.

  • Largemouth bass, John Knight USA
  • Snook, Rolando Sias , Mexico
  • Offshore Big Game, Jose Espinoza, Mexico
  • Tarpon, Carlos Cavero, Henry Marin, Costa Rica
  • Roosterfish, Todd Staley, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is world famous for it’s Pacific side billfish action. Marina Pez Vela and Los Suenos host several world class events. FECOP was asked to pick a species accessible to many that offers anglers without big game skills a chance to do well and highlight the country’s fishery at the same time. Two species came to mind for a catch and release style tournament. All fish released will be marked with a spaghetti tag for scientific study. Roosterfish on the Pacific and tarpon on the Caribbean side of the country. FECOP decided to get a roosterfish tournament under it’s belt and add an International tarpon tournament in 2019. Of course, you can’t travel all the way to Mexico and not wet a line in the Gulf of Mexico. The group boarded the EL Patron not really feeling optimistic about catching. It was not yet quite the season for the big pelagics and the red small craft warning flags had been blowing in the breeze
the last couple of days. The bonita and small king mackerel were there to play. The breeze picked up and Ben Blegen, a tournament ice fisherman from Minnesota soon laid out a chum line of scrambled eggs, tortillas, and Mexican choriza. The color returned quickly when despite that awful queasy feeling he managed to land a mackerel over 30 lbs. Later while looking out at the turquoise waters at Puerto Morales, the Mexican’s put on a seafood feast of lobster, fresh mackerel and Mexican rice. Amazing how Ben’s appetite returned.

You can learn more about FECOP at www.fishcostarica.org

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Why I sometimes hate conservation – or, the ‘dolphin breeding ground’ debacle

Why I sometimes hate conservation – or, the Dolphin Breeding Ground Debacle

The Dolphin Breeding Ground Debacledolphins deserve our protection, an ongoing petition regarding a new development is misleading, according to the author Todd Staley

Todd Staley FECOP

Todd Staley- Special Content Contributor

This fisherman is about to open a can of worms here for the second time.

The first time was when I agreed with a national legislator who suggested opening the National Parks to sport and small-scale artisanal fishing. Thirty-eight NGOs screamed, “No!” I suggested they open them and charge a fee to fish there to raise money for enforcement patrols, which were, and still, are nearly non-existent.

Here I go again, about to raise the hair on the backs of the necks of many in the environmental crowd. It started when a post hit my inbox with a petition sponsored by Planet Rehab.org on the Change.org website, which allows anyone in the world to start an online petition for free. This petition urged people to help stop a Hilton Curio hotel from being built in Puerto Jiménez, in the country’s Southern Zone.

The petition’s headline read, “Prevent Hilton from building a hotel on top of a Dolphin Breeding Ground.” The sub-headline that followed was a stern message to Hilton which read, “Hilton, we’re breaking up with you, so we can save the dolphins before it’s too late!” Over 50,000 people have signed the petition, and they appear to be gaining more signatures every day.

A very wise man once gave me some very sage advice when he told me, “Always put your cards on the table, because once they are on the table, they are off the table.” So here come my cards.

I am very well-versed on this subject. For the last 18 years I have walked the pier at Crocodile Bay as Fishing Director, sending thousands of tourists out sport fishing. The Crocodile Bay property is the site where the Hilton will be built. I also know the person behind the petition very well. After five decades on the water, I also know a little bit about dolphins.

If you think I am going to defend the Hilton project in this article, you will be sorely disappointed. The developers are big boys and can do that for themselves. Because I spend a lot time working with marine conservation and am employed by the developers, people often corner me looking for my opinion. I have never given an opinion pro or con; it’s not my place to defend the project. What I have defended against many times is fabricated statements from environmental zealots who prey on uninformed or uneducated people to support their opinion for whatever their cause is.

The Change.org petition states that the area in question is “essential for the reproduction of many marine species, potentially destroying endemic dolphin breeding grounds and putting all aquatic marine life in imminent danger.”

It continues, “This large-scale Hilton Hotel Botanika Resort can only be stopped by an urgent appeal to the directors of Hilton Curio Worldwide, alerting them to the potential damage their project will cause.”

The key word in both those statements is “potential.” It is a word that can be used as a giant loophole to cover one’s tail when making outlandish statements.

Maybe I could post a petition on Change.org to my own advantage. It would read something like this. “Todd Staley is a fisherman and mediocre writer. He has a couple of tattoos and on the weekends when it is not raining, he rides his Harley Davidson. Staley could potentially roust up a bunch of bikers and pillage your pueblo. Please donate today to buy him a new boat to keep him on the water and off the street.”

I slowly waded through many of the comments left by people who signed the Hilton petition. After I got through the vulgarities and the threats to never sleep in a Hilton again, I stumbled on some I really liked:

“Please verify the findings on marine biologists for the claim in this petition and look to relocate to a less fragile location.”

“This is unacceptable if these dolphins loose there breeding ground were would they Go, for all we know if would take them years or months to find a new place to breed and are dolphins would be more endanger then ever.”

“Apparently they ( Hilton) did not research this very well to even think about building on a Dolphin breeding ground.”

And my personal favorite, “Dolphins are people too.”

Why is that my favorite? Because “dolphins are people too” is a lot closer to the truth than anything else I read. After observing dolphins while fishing for over fifty years, I decided to ask some marine experts, “What exactly is a dolphin breeding ground?” I sought the opinion of a marine biologist, a marine mammal expert, and a woman who has worked alongside dolphins and whales here in Costa Rica for years.

They told me that reproductive habits of dolphins are not defined exclusively by the need to perpetuate the species: like humans, these cetaceans mate for pleasure with individuals of the opposite sex, of the same genus or even a different species from their own, so talking about reproductive habits in strict terms does not apply to dolphins. Some researchers think that their recreational sexuality has social purposes. When a female feels she will deliver her calf, she tends to move away from her pod and separates herself to an area near the water surface to facilitate the first breath of her calf. There is no particular area dolphins go to mate or birth.

There are no dolphin “no-tell motels” or maternity wards. They mate whenever and wherever they happen to be when the mood hits them, and birth wherever they are when the time comes. There is no such thing as a “dolphin breeding ground.”

If the people who posted that petition are really just concerned about dolphins, I suggest they push away their tuna salad and worry about the large pods of dolphins that are netted hundreds of times to catch the tuna that swim under them. The dolphins are later released. A few dolphins die in the process; I’m sure the dolphins don’t like it. Thankfully, there is a fast-growing trend and demand for sustainably caught fish, and tuna fishermen are beginning to search out selective gear with little or no bycatch.

Anger or fear are great motivators. But in this case, 50,000 people – and counting – have been misled.

I really love conservation work. The politics of conservation can at times be quite frustrating, and the business of conservation can be at times disgusting. NGOs will sometimes work on similar projects but never communicate with each other for fear of losing credit for a success or even potential donor money. If they communicated, they could get things done faster and more cheaply, but conservation and environmental work are sometimes big business. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people out there who will misuse donor money or even advertise for fake causes to raise money.

Sadly, this “dolphin breeding ground” petition, and the reaction to it, only fortifies an opinion I have held for some time. That is the difference between a conservationist and an environmentalist: a conservationist makes decisions based on science, while an environmentalist at times makes science based on decisions.

Read Todd Staley’s Wetline Costa Rica columns here.

Todd Staley has run fishing sport operations on both coasts of Costa Rica for over 25 years. He recently decided to take some time off to devote full time to marine conservation. Contact him at wetline@hotmail.com.

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Gray Roosterfish Tagging Update by Todd Staley

Tagging Roosterfish with Gray Fish-Tag by Todd Staley

Todd Staley FECOP

Todd Staley – Special Content Contributor

I have never enjoyed fishing under pressure. I prefer to fish for fun. There was a time in my life I fished a few money tournaments and even won one or two. Nowadays, if I am fishing a tournament, it’s a charity event, where the winners are generally children with illnesses.

Even when fishing a client, I like to fish with someone who was more interested in having a good time on the water rather than catching a ton of fish or a giant fish. A much better fisherman than myself who actually was just inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame explained it very simply to me. Larry Dahlberg said, “Your chances of catching a really nice fish is directly related to how much you deserve it.”

I have noticed over the years that a good attitude catches fish and a bad attitude eats dirt. One’s relationship with the fish gods play a big part. Inexperienced anglers with good mojo have better luck than a good angler with a bad attitude.

On this particular day, the pressure was on. Gray Fish-Tag research center coordinator Bill Dobbelaer and marine scientist Travis Moore were down from Ft. Lauderdale to place another archival electronic tag in a roosterfish. Usually this would be a simple task, today was different. An ominous gray sky loomed on the horizon and the breeze was much stronger than usual for an early morning. We needed a fish around 30 lbs so it could comfortably wear the device that needed to be implanted.

 The event was co-sponsored by Crocodile Bay Resort and FECOP, the sport fishing advocacy and marine conservation group in Costa Rica. Crocodile Bay Resort’s crew was Oldemar Lopez and Sharlye Robles. Anglers, Christian Bolanos from Gray Taxidermy in Quepos and myself. Capt. Lopez suggested we try Matapalo Rock a popular roosterfish at the mouth of the Golfo Dulce. The overnight showers had muddied up some other popular inshore spots so it made sense.

Roosterfish is the perfect choice for this kind of study. It is a strong fighting fish, popular inshore game fish and Gray Fish-Tag has already learned a lot about them from the traditional spaghetti tag. Because it is a coastal animal, a good number of tagged fish have been caught again. The spaghetti tag is inserted on the shoulder of a fish and has a serial number. The number is reported to the research center by sport fishermen who recapture the fish. With this method, the information is limited to where it was caught and what size it is. When recaptured we learn how much it has grown over the period of time between captures and how far it traveled. The electronic tag records much more information but the fish must be recaptured also. The success with spaghetti tags made it worth the bet because they cost $1500 a piece. Four have been placed first time around. One in Quepos, one in Herradura, and two in the southern zone around Golfo Dulce.

As we reached the mouth of the gulf we were hit by a wall of wind in our face. Still a half mile from Matapalo Rock we trudged on. As we finally arrived I thought about renaming the famous landmark, at least for this day, Whirlpool or Maytag. It stood like the spindle of a washing machine and the surrounding waters were in the agitate cycle. We worked a nearby pinnacle but it was almost impossible to do a decent drift over the spot. Over and over we worked the area, fishing with one hand and holding on with the other. Somehow the conversation turned to the relationship between biologists and fishermen. A lot of biologists have never fished and a lot of fishermen don’t know the difference between an otolith and an eyeball. They are at times at wits end with each other because sometimes neither respects the opinion of the other. Travis laughed and said, “I can tell you a whole lot about roosterfish, but to be honest I have never caught one.

Costa Rica roosterfish taggingAbout that time Bolanos’s rod twitched and then slammed down towards the water and line screamed of the reel. After a 20-minute balancing act he had a 35 lb roosterfish on the surface. Travis jumped into action, made an incision in the fish’s belly and had the tag inserted and stitched up in less than two minutes while running water over the fishes gills. The rooster took off like he had a firecracker under his butt when placed back in the water. Mission Accomplished!

We had heard some chatter on the radio about a school of tuna working a couple miles off the beach so we ran out. We found the dolphins and tuna but the tuna wasn’t interested in anything we had to offer. Then we made a unanimous decision. Let’s go back to the rock and see if we can get Travis a rooster. Back to the washing machine!

It took about thirty minutes but finally Travis was hooked into his first rooster. He got the fish to the boat a dozen times and each time it would peel off another 50 yards of line. Eventually he had the fish to the boat and it went an easy 50 lbs. That is like winning the lottery the first time you by a ticket. I think we made a fisherman out of Travis. I know one thing. My biologist friend knew a hell of a lot more about roosterfish than he did when the day started.

Costa Rica Roosterfish Tagging

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