Category: FECOP News

FECOP FISHING CONSERVATION ICAST

FECOP Makes Appearance at This Year’s ICAST 2018 in Orlando Florida

Join FECOP at ICAST 2018 July 10–13, 2018 Booth #5919 in the North/South Concourse at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida – Conservation Corner.

FECOP will make an appearance at this year’s ICAST 2018, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show and the premier showcase for the latest innovations in fishing gear, accessories and apparel.

FECOP is a sport fishing advocacy and conservation group and is very active in Marine Conservation in Costa Rica.

We hope you join us in speaking up for better management of the ocean and it’s threats, and the right of sport fishermen to enjoy it responsibly.

Fecop’s website www.fishcostarica.org


See ICAST Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

 


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Costa Rica Roosterfish Tournament

Costa Rica’s Outlook Bright for Anglers

Costa Rica Sport Fishing productivity to improve thanks to the efforts of Moises Mug and FECOP

From Sport Fishing Magazine

Scenes like this one have become far less frequent thanks to the efforts of Moises Mug to reduce tuna-seiners’ bycatch off Costa Rica.

The sport fishing community is extremely optimistic with the appointment of Moises Mug as head of Costa Rican fisheries. President Carlos Alvarado made the appointment and Mug began his 4-year tenure as head of INCOPESCA (the governing body of fisheries) June 1st.

Costa Rica fishing

Mug, an expert in fisheries and former Director of Science for FECOP the sport fishing advocacy group in Costa Rica, is most known for his work on the tuna decree that moved tuna purse sein boats 45 miles off the coast and protected a total of over 200,000 sq kilometers of territorial water from purse sein activity. In 2017 Mug supplied the science to convince the government to reduce tuna licenses issued to foreign fleets from 43 to 13. By analyzing previous catch records by observers on tuna boats in 2017 alone, 25 metric tons of would be marlin bycatch was saved as well as sailfish, dorado, wahoo, sharks, turtles, and marine mammals.

Part of his plan of action, “We have a Pacific Ocean which is very large (11 times greater than terrestrial territory) and a smaller portion in the Caribbean in Costa Rican territory. There is an opportunity for Costa Rica to regain their rights to the wider Eastern Pacific Ocean resources, like the tuna capacity allowance the tuna commission gave us back in 2003. We need to define a specific policy to reduce poverty in the coast, to improve income of the fisheries by restoring fisheries, and improving the catches without over-exploiting the resource, and to basically have prosperity of the ocean. In this prosperity, we can not only see marine resources as only food resources. We have an important and amazing potential in tourism. Tourist fishing and sport fishing, but we need to find a balance of the fisheries so one fishery does not negatively impact the other, so reducing bycatch (incidental catch while targeting another species) is very important.”

Mug has a big chore right from the start. Shrimp trawlers were recently banned in Costa Rica by the Supreme Court after a lengthy battle and Mug has the responsibility of helping 800 employees displaced in that industry find a new livelihood. Sport fishing and greenstick or pole and line tuna fishing have been suggested.

He also understands the importance of sport fishing to coastal communities and management of marine resources. Sport Fishing has surpassed coffee in contributing to Costa Rica’s gross national product.

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New Director of INCOPESCA

FECOPs Director of Science Appointed to Head INCOPESCA

From Coastal Angler Magazine: Costa Rica Edition – FECOP’s Director of Science Appointed to Head INCOPESCA

What is surely a loss for FECOP is a gain for Costa Rica. President Carlos Alvarado picked Moises Mug to head the fisheries department of the country for the next four years. Mug is a Fishery biologist with 32 years of professional experience in sustainable fisheries, and ocean conservation and development.

Moises Mug, new President of INCOPESCA

His experience includes high-level policy work and advice, strategic planning and implementation of complex fishery programs, teaching and research. For the last 15 years, he has worked in international fisheries focusing on several aspects of oceanic fisheries including policy, governance, capacity building, markets and livelihoods, and sustainable finance. He holds a Master’s degree in Fisheries Science from Oregon State University (OSU) in a joint program with The University of Washington (UW). Fulbright – LASPAU scholar (1990-1993). Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Stakeholder Council Member (2015 to present). He grew up in Limon, where he worked in his father’s store and surf cast for snook in his free time as a youngster.

Best known lately for his research working on the “Tuna Decree” created in 2014, protecting a total of over 200,000 square kilometers of territorial waters from tuna purse sein operations including moving tuna boats out 45 miles from the coast to eliminate conflicts with both Costa Rican commercial and sport fishing fleets. In 2017 his researched convinced the government to reduce tuna licenses issued to foreign fleets from 43 to 13. According to observer on-board catch records, this saved 25 metric tons of what would have been marlin by-catch as wells as dorado, wahoo, sailfish, turtles, sharks and marine mammals.

Mug has also been spearheading a co-project with INA (Costa Rica’s technical institute), INCOPESCA and FECOP, supplying technical and scientific support for the “greenstick” project, a method of fishing tuna with almost zero bycatch.

One thing is for certain, INCOPESCA now has a leader who truly understands fisheries management, understands the value of sport fishing to Costa Rica and the number jobs it supplies to Costa Ricans, and the contribution sport fishing is to tourism. Best of luck Mr. Mug, and Congratulations

PanAmerican Picks Costa Rica for First International Roosterfish Tournament

Luis Miguel Garcia, president of the Mexican Sport Fishing Federation and Ben Blegen and Sean Warner from USA Angling, all board members of the PanAmerican Delegation recently visited Costa Rica in search of a place to hold the First International Roosterfish Tournament. The PanAmerican Delegation is made up of anglers from North, Central and South America. FECOP represents Costa Rica in the Delegation. The goal is to one day include sport fishing in the Pan American Games and eventually make it an Olympic sport.

“We chose the southern zone because of the vast area of inshore fishing, and looked at some beautiful properties including Casa Roland in Golfito, Gofito Marina Village, Zancudo Lodge and Crocodile Bay Resort,” commented Blegen, head of USA Predator Fishing team. “It being the first tournament and not being exactly sure of the participation, we think we will have between 20 and 30 four-person teams to fish the event. Logistically it made more sense to use Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica to host but we will most likely be using boats from other operations as well.” Costa de Mar sunglases has already committed to sponsor two women’s teams. Private boats can also fish the tournament.

The tournament is scheduled November 16 to the 19th. For more details contact BenBlegen@USAPreatorTeam.org or todd@fecop.org

FECOP Kicks Off Social-Economic Study

Henry Marin, FECOP’s project manager is looking for all captains, mates, and boat owners to help demonstrate the impact of sport fishing on local communities and Costa Rica as a whole. A study done in 2009 estimated sport fishing added $600 million to the Costa Rican economy but those numbers have been challenged on several levels.

FECOP is giving away fishing caps for your help in study

Marin wants to show the value in eight different coastal communities, as well as the entire country. He has chosen Golfito, Puerto Jiménez, Quepos, Jacó-Herradura, Tamarindo, Flamingo, Playas del Coco and Barra del Colorado. That way he can show the effect on the livelihood in each coastal region separately.

His methodology is to focus on captains, mates and boat owners and will measure five big areas: Social, economic, financial, environment and governance characteristics around that population.

FECOP will use this information to show the government, local and national authorities, other non-profit organizations, civil organizations and general public; the importance of sportfishing to Costa Rica in two levels, macro and mico economically.

This information will show how different families and communities around the country are being included in the dynamics of sportfishing and how they are being impacted.

Local goverments of Quepos, Garabito and Santa Cruz are being involved in the process and CANATUR, as part of the tourism industry.

If interested on being part of the research and helping demonstrate the value of sport fishing in your community, please contact Henry Marin at hmarin@fecop.org. This email should include phone number and if possible the contacts of others working in the industry who could also take the survey. You can also leave you name and number at the FECOP office, telephone 2291-9150. If you are an owner please encourage your crews to participate.

FECOP staff will be calling to apply the surveys. All personal information is confidential and will be used only for research. Marin will give all participates a fishing cap in appreciation for taking the survey.

Todd Staley has managed sportfishing operations in Costa Rica for 25 years. He has been involved with FECOP since its inception and is former President of the group and was co-recipient of IGFA’s Chester H. Wolfe award in 2015 for his conservation efforts in Costa Rica. He is currently Fishing Columnist for the Tico Times and works full-time with FECOP as Director of Communications. Contact Todd at todd@fecop.org

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Roosterfish in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Chosen as Location of First Ever International Roosterfish Tournament

Costa Rica Chosen to Host International Roosterfish Tournament

Costa Rica Roosterfish TournamentThe PanAmerican Delegation recently sent representatives from the USA Angling team and the Mexican Sport Fishing Federation to choose a location for the First International Roosterfish Tournament. They scouted out several locations in Costa Rica and decided Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica  would be the best venue to hold the event. (www.crocodilebay.com)

The PanAmerican Delegation is made up of fishing organizations from Canada, United States, Mexico, Central and South America. They hold tournaments in various countries promoting the sport as well as conservation with the goal to one day place sport fishing in the Pan-American games and eventually in the Olympics. FECOP, the sport fishing advocacy group is the Costa Rican representative of the PanAmerican Delegation and will co-host the event.

“First we picked the area of Costa Rica which we felt had the most productive inshore fishery with more available area to fish,” said Ben Blegen captain of the USA Predator Fishing Team. “We decided Southern Costa Rica had more to offer.”
Next, they had to find a location that could easily house a big group and move them around with ease once they arrived in the country. “Crocodile Bay’s close proximity to the regional airport, the ability to house everyone in one location and the on premise private pier were all a big plus in making our decision,” explained Blegen.
The event will be held November 16 until 19, 2018 with open ceremony dinner on the 16th, tournament fishing on the 17th and 18th. Blegen went on to explain the it is not a money tournament put rather anglers will compete for bronze, silver and gold medals and fish for their country of residence. For example if you live in the USA and enter the tournament you will be assigned to fish on the USA team.

This will be PanAmerican’s first roosterfish tournament and first tournament the organization has held in Costa Rica. They are planning to add a tarpon tournament in Costa Rica to the agenda in 2019 as well.
“People’s first comments were, how do we fish a roosterfish tournament when we don’t know how to fish roosterfish,” explained Blegen. “I tell them the Costa Rica team took the bronze medal in the Black Bass tournament last February on Lake Okeechobee, Florida competing against some professional bass anglers, and there is no bass fishery in Costa Rica.”

The tournament will be a catch and release format with each team consisting of 4 anglers. The cost includes one-night lodging in San Jose, in country air transportation to Crocodile Bay and airport transfers, 3 nights at the resort will all meals, two days of tournament fishing, and fishing license. Price is $1250 per angler quad. $1300 triple in room and $1375 double in room.

November is historically a great month for large roosterfish. The tournament is open to all anglers. Costa del Mar sun glasses has already committed to enter two women’s teams from the US. Individual anglers who do not have a full team can participate and will be placed on a team by drawing at the opening dinner. All Penn tackle provided, or you can bring your own.

More information at todd@fecop.org on BenBlegen@USAPedatorTeam.org or www.crocodilebay.com

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fecop kids fishing costa rica

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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Coastal Angler Magazine Costa Rica Edition – On The Water with FECOP

Coastal Angler Costa Rica Edition

On The Water with FECOP

From Coastal Angler Magazine Costa Rica Edition

FECOP Submits Criteria to License Greenstick Fishing in Costa Rica

Greenstick or “palo verde” as it is known in Costa Rica is not a new art of fishing. It has been used successfully for years in Japan and the United States in commercial and sport tuna fishing. Although not legal in Costa Rica, it has been used for several years in this country. The greenstick allows anglers to target tuna without almost any bycatch.

FECOP, Costa Rica’s sportfishing advocacy and conservation group’s Director of Science Moises Mug is a Masters of Science in Fisheries Biology and has been studying the tuna purse sein industry since 2001. His work convinced President Laura Chinchilla to sign a decree at the end of her term in 2013 that moved tuna purse sein operations 45 miles off the coast and protected a total of 120,000 square miles of ocean from tuna boats. Her predecessor, President Luis Guillermo Solis published the decree and it became law. Mug’s science convinced the government this year to reduce tuna licenses issued from 43 to 13.

100 kg yellowfin tuna taken on greenstick during research

Since late 2016 he has headed up a greenstick study involving FECOP,  INCOPESCA,(the government agency in charge of fisheries), and INA, the technical learning institution that teaches different trades in Costa Rica including preparing students with the government requirements to work in commercial and sport fishing trades. FECOP has spent over $100,000 on equipment, and refurbishing and outfitting INA’s floating classroom, the Solidaridad. The research team is testing the efficiency, amount of bycatch of greenstick as well as vertically dropped lines for tuna. The plan is that eventually INA will add a “Green Stick” course to their fishing trade agenda training Costa Ricans on the proper use of them.

In Costa Rica all new or changed fishing rules must be backed by technical support. Rarely do they accept studies not done in Costa Rican waters. So even though greenstick fishing has proved successful in other parts of the world as a sustainable art of fishing, Costa Rica has yet officially approved their use.

“Costa Rica will greatly benefit from a wide adoption of green stick for tuna fishing, not only for commercial fishing but for sportfishing as well. A proper 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”, said Mug.

Once this project is in the hands of the board of directors of INCOPESCA, a vote is expected soon. With the demand for sustainable caught tuna on the International market it is expected tuna exporters will also support this license.

Sportfishing in the Olympics?

FECOP to Represent Costa Rica in Panamerican Sportfishing Delegation

Sportfishing groups from the United States, Mexico and several Latin American countries met in Cancun, Mexico in late 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.

“It is very exciting to be chosen to represent Costa Rica,” said 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, Florida, snook in Tabasco, Mexico, and an offshore tournament at Isle Mujeres, Mexico. Costa Rica and FECOP will host the 2018 Panamerican Assembly next November followed by a 3-day International roosterfish tournament.

Costa Rica is world famous for its Pacific side billfish action. Marina Pez Vela and Los Suenos host several world class events. FECOP decided 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 its belt and add an International tarpon tournament in 2019.

The Hero Shot . . . A Call for Help!

For the last 9 years it has been against the law in Costa Rica to remove a billfish from the water to take a photo. Everyone wants to go home with a picture of their prized fish for bragging rights. A fine of 2 million colones, (around $3500.00) can be imposed if you do in Costa Rica. Science has shown the survival rate is lower on fish dragged over the gunnel and taken out of the water. Sadly, if you Google “sailfish Costa Rica” you will come up with site after site with photos of sailfish dragged over the gunnel for the “hero shot”

Costa Rica’s history of poorly enforcing fishing regulations works to the advantage of sport fishermen this time but that does not make it right. I have yet to know anyone prosecuted for breaking this rule although there are examples plastered all over the internet of billfish out of the water. There was a time when charter operations felt they needed lots of fish nailed to a board at the dock to attract charters.

I have always thought there is a lot more to charter fishing than driving a boat and catching fish. A good charter operator is an Entertainer, Educator, and Communicator. What a horrible day on the water if fishing is slow and your crew hardly talks to you. A good and brief orientation before you leave the dock explaining to your customers, the position of safety equipment, types of fishing to be done that day and how, as well educating them on the law of removing fish from the water will go a long way in being considered a true professional with a concern in safe-guarding your catch and release fishery.

Your customers can still get a great photo at the side of the boat if you plan ahead. Tell them to have their camera ready and if someone is going to shoot a photo for them with their camera to make sure they know how to use it first. With the technology in cameras always changing it is easy to get great action shots these days.

From Coastal Angler Costa Rica Edition January 2018

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Baseball Legend, All-Star Fisherman: Wade Boggs in Costa Rica

Wade Boggs with a Costa Rican snook. (Todd Staley / The Tico Times

I have never been inside a NFL locker room, but I can image what it sounds like. I sat in the restaurant area of Crocodile Bay Resort and listened to huge men who once wore uniforms from NFL teams in Miami, Tampa, Oakland, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. They were there to fish and raise money for cystic fibrosis in the Redbone/Boomer Esiason tournament and were throwing some humorous jabs back and forth at each other.

In the corner sat a superstar in his own right, but in baseball, not football. He was talking intently to a 10-year-old kid, not about sports played with a ball, but about fishing.

Considering his age, this kid was a walking Wikipedia when it comes to fish. He knew species, their habits, what they ate, and what waters they were found. Just name a fish and he could tell you all about it. The reason he cornered this man he was talking to for was that he saw him carrying a fly rod down the pier. He wanted to know how you to catch big fish on a fly rod, and was not too shy to ask.

Mark Cooper, a giant of a man and former lineman for the Denver Broncos, hollered across the room towards the man talking fishing with the kid.

“Now Boggs over there,” he laughed, “played a sport that you play in your pajamas,” referring to the uniforms of big league baseball players. Wade Boggs just grinned and continued talking fishing. The joke was all in fun, as Boggs and Cooper were fishing partners in the tournament.

Bogg finesses a sailfish on a fly rod. Courtesy of the Crocodile Bay Resort

Boggs, whose Major League baseball career lasted 18 seasons, was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in a first-round ballot in 2005. His career started with the Boston Red Sox in 1982; he finished the season with a .349 batting average. He followed that with a string of seasons batting over .350, and he is the only player to have seven consecutive 200 hit seasons.

He had two World Series appearances, winning with the Yankees in 1996; played in 12 consecutive All-Star games; and won two Golden Glove awards and five batting championships. He hit a towering home run to collect his 3000th hit playing for his hometown Tampa Devil Rays, where his finished his career in 1999. On May 26, 2016 the Boston Red Sox officially retired his number, #26, and hung his jersey in Fenway Park beside the great Ted Williams’.

Boggs was considered not only one of the most talented players in history, but also one of the most superstitious. He never faltered in his game day regime. He would wake up at the same time on every game day, start the day with a meal of chicken in some form, or another and always left his house at the same time. He always took batting practice at 5:17, always took 150 ground balls, and always did his wind sprints at 7:17.

While he is not Jewish, he always used his bat to write the Hebrew word “chai” (life) in the batter’s box before stepping up the plate. A definition for “chai” I found that suits Boggs is, “Here I am” or “Here am I.” It’s about being here, and close by, and present, but also about readiness, awareness, awakeness. So perhaps it’s more of a “Here I am! Look, it’s me! I’m present, listening, and ready to roll.”

Hall of Famer Wade Boggs (L) and Mark Cooper of the Denver Broncos (R) make the author look like a little guy. Courtesy of the Crocodile Bay Resort

Boggs is generous with his time for causes he feels are worthwhile, especially when they involve youth. He and his wife, Debbie, started The Wade Boggs Foundation for Youth Athletics, a National Heritage Foundation. It raises money to help children in the Tampa area participate in sports. In 2013, Wade became a partner/investor in Field of Dreams/All-Star Ball Park Heaven, a youth baseball and softball complex adjacent to the iconic cornfield in Iowa where the Field of Dreams movie was filmed.

What most people don’t know about Wade Boggs is that he is an all-star fisherman. He only lacks swordfish and spearfish to have every type of billfish that swims under his belt. An avid fly-fishermen, he donates his time and travels all over the world to fish in charity events to raise money to fight cystic fibrosis. He is a frequent visitor to Costa Rica.

In 2016, he received the International Game Fish Association’s Chester H Wolfe Sportsman of the Year award for his participation with youth and marine conservation. He has a special affection for Costa Rica and serves on the Board of Directors of FECOP, the sport fishing advocacy and conservation federation, representing seven sportfishing associations and two fishing clubs in Costa Rica.

Along with his wife Debbie, Wade hosts “Finchasers,” which airs Saturday morning on the Destination Channel. They travel to different areas chasing IGFA world records with success. On one program Debbie broke 4 existing largemouth bass records.

One of the most accessible celebrity athletes, Boggs is in great demand for speaking engagements across the country. As the little 10-year-old in Costa Rica – who had no idea what a star he was talking to – learned, Boggs loves to talk about fishing. It doesn’t matter who you are. If it’s fishing, you’ll have a great conversation.

Oh, is Boggs superstitious about his fishing? You betcha! He always wears a necklace of the species he is chasing, wears his lucky hat, and tosses 26 cents in the water over his right shoulder. Then he is ready to catch fish.

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 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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