It was only natural for our partner Tom Nelson to fish for blackmouth the day before we left for Costa Rica and the day after we got back. Go figure…we're heading to Anacortes today to fish in the derby. I mean, the guys talking about dam counts at Bonneville Dam while we're humming around the Pacific ocean looking for sailfish. At least he got a little taste of the bluewater, however, and I think he liked what he saw. It still didn't keep him from talking about springers and blackmouth, but it's a start.
There was no question that Tom would start off in the hot seat on our boat the "Sunny One" and after missing an early bite from a sailfish that greyhounded into the spread for a free ballhoo snack he got a solid hookup on a big sail a little later in the day.
Unfortunately the sail tail wrapped on it's first tailwalking spaz session and our crew recognized it immediately. Capt. Walton backed down on the fish as fast as he could and we grabbed a quick photo of Tom's first sailfish before it went back in the drink. I was more than impressed at how these guys handled these fish…true professionals!
Tom's 100 plus pound sail comes aboard for a momentary snapshot before hitting the drink again. Check sailfish off the bucket list Tom!
Shortly after we released Tom's fish three sails appear in the spread and all hell breaks loose on deck. Walt is screaming something in Spanish from the bridge as our two mates hop around between the 9 different rods we have in the spread. One of the sails hit's so hard it breaks off, another has his attention on the teasers and mine hammers the shotgun rig a hundred yards behind the boat and goes "grape ape". Paul got some excellent video of this fish and I'll get it up on the site this week after I get back from Anacortes. My hair is standing on end thinking about it!
Robbie Tobeck is up next and it doesn't take long before he gets bit and hooks up on a ballhoo with another 100 pound sailfish that puts on a great fight. More of this on video also.
Here's a pic I grabbed from Tom's second sailfish on day two. This aerial display occurred about thirty minutes into the fight. The sail covered approximately 100 yards in less than five seconds. Not your average blackmouth!
I can't say enough about our crew. These guys worked their tails off all day long and literally never took a break. From running the gear to preparing an amazing lunch, these guys were awesome! The topper was when they raised the hydraulic engine cover and revealed lunch tied to the valve covers on the 450 horse Caterpillar engine. They treat every day like it's a tournament and the service in between was second to none!
Here's a little quacamole to get things started.
It's not over yet…Mahi sushimi after a killer lunch. These guys redefine service on a charter boat.
After some great fishing we meet up with our host Larry, owner of Stay in Costa Rica, who takes us around to a few of their properties to make plans for our Outdoor Line party next year. Here's Notorious B.T.N. envisioning his salmon-catching self in a rap video. "Bow chicka bow-wow!"
House number one doesn't disappoint. "Nelly…we have to go. Nelly, come on!"
House number two.
House number three. This will be an Outdoor Line party to remember!
Never a dull moment with these two! Tobeck finds a place to hide one of the teasers…
The "Hook Up" restaurant where we ate breakfast every morning. Another crew primes the pumps before heading out for the day.
We raised nine sails in basically a day and a half of offshore fishing in Los Suenos while we were there, landing four of them and a couple big dorado. Not bad fishing anywhere else, but definitely on the slow side for Los Suenos. All in all the billfish action in Costa Rica has been down this season because of our little friend El Nino, which has water temperatures hovering at around 88 degrees. I can attest to it's effect on the billfish, as we experienced the same thing in Panama 4 years ago.
One of our mates was telling me that a tournament hosted in early March of 2009 boasted 2500-plus sailfish landed in three days for approximately 100 boats and just 850 were landed this year in the same tournament. As I always like to say, "It is what it is", and if a bad day fishing in Los Suenos on an El Nino year is only raising four to five billfish that's pretty darned good in my book.
El Nino is expected to back off next year and you can bet the bite will return in force again once water temperatures receed back to the low 80's.
In addition to our offshore experience we also had two seperate "Top 5" meals at Marisco's in nearby Jaco. We brought in fresh Spanish mackeral, grouper, and dorado and they prepared it for us several different ways. Pretty much one of those unbutton your pants and lay on the living room floor with a distended belly Thanksgiving-type meals and we topped it off with shrimp cocktail and ceviche.
I just found another one of my favorite places on earth!