I thought a few of you may be interested in seeing a few shot’s from a trip I did last month over to Costa Rica. I must say first up that the quality of the actual fishing was not great – the plan had been to do 3 days on the pacific side (Playa Samara) and then a further four days on the Caribbean side for tarpon.
Pre-trip packing, and the general ‘packing list’ in terms of what I planned to take..!
A great purchase in the end - Stradic 4000 FI.. see a later description..
Well, upon my arrival at Samara, I was told there had been a red tide sweeping up the nearshore waters of the coast, and this was seriously affecting the fishing, as one would expect – great I thought!
These guys woke us up at 4.30am every morning - fit their billing as 'Howler' monkeys..!
What can you do when the water looks like this…!
Anyways, we pretty much spent a great deal of time looking for good water, which was not easy, especially as an area which was OK on one day, would be ‘red’ the next..!
That said, on the first day I did have a bit of fun – got a bonnie on a topwater popper on the way out, a modest size snapper on an Orion ‘crazy joe’ sinking stickbait and then caught a dozen or so modest sized Pacific jack crevalle; all were taken on topwater, on either the 120 or 150 mm size Tackle House Feed popper’s – very good lure.. I generally used a light outfit for most of the trip – a G-Loomis three piece 10-20 lb class rod, with a Stradic 4000 FI reel, plus 30 lb Power Pro ‘super slick; braid.. great reel by the way – 140 USD at Tackle Direct, on sale – in my opinion great value for money, and a good drag system. We did see one roosterfish, which were my primary target – the ‘comb’ was out the water as it tailed a lure….but wouldn’t take..!
Day two – well, very difficult, tried everything – connected up to two fish that must have been Scierra mackerel on one cast (K-ten Minnow..) and lost both – story of the day..! All I had to show for my efforts was one more pacific jack crevalle…tough day..!
Day three, and we worked some great beaches – looked like prime rooster territory, and if the water had been good, I was told that they would almost be a certainty – not today though..! We headed way south, and found decent water and worked the area for the rest of the day – I picked up a few more crevalle on the popper/light outfit…
Then I finally managed to get a roosterfish on the jig – funny, you don’t see one all day, and then the one you hook up to, has about a dozen or so fish following it..b**tards…! Anyway, not a big fish, but a roosterfish nonetheless – and they are a beautiful fish!
We did have one more roosterfish follow a popper – big fish – over 25 kilo’s, but nope, it would not take – on a good day you can get 10 or more, but as I say, the conditions were ‘wrong’ – even jigging produced virtually nothing – very rare, and unusual for the area, which normally produces AJ’s etc..
Anyway, I was giving it my best shot – we tried to get a cubera from the rocks near the coastline – not easy keeping your balance, as the swell close to shore was pretty large at times. I did manage to lure one out of the rocks – saw the big shoulders and open mouth – it grabbed the dumbbell popper for a few seconds, put holes in it, and then came unstuck – s**t happens, it was nice to see though..! I got one more Jack crevalle that day.
All in all not a good result on the Pacific side, and normally you would expect to fare better – but fishing is not an exact science, and no one can plan for the weather..!
Typical cubera territory..
The result of a Cubera latching onto a new dumbell popper for a few seconds..pity the bloody thing came unstuck..
I have / will put up a more detailed report in the general report section of the Caribbean leg of the trip, which was a bit better. Without trying to repeat too much, in brief, one of the highlights was fishing a rivermouth feeding into the ocean, surrounded by rainforest, howler monkeys etc, one afternoon, using the light outfit, and picking up a couple of ‘true’ Jack Crevalle – one on a Xorus Patchenko stickbait, and the other on a Storm saltwater popper (I had forgotten my feed poppers in my room..ahem…!). The fight of these fish, against a strong current was great, and I was pleased as I was outfishing the two local fisherman at this stage two zip – they were using crankbaits and jigs…against my topwater…lol..! Then one guy hooked a fish – it was fighting weird, and at one stage we thought he had hooked a tarpon, as we saw one rolling close to the angle of his line…however, he managed to get the fish in..another Jack Crevalle…but then a few meters from shore a dorsal fin came closing in…and his fish was sharked..great to see..! Um, at this stage I decided not to wade in quite so deep….!
Playing a fish in the the surf, rainforest in the background..great stuff..
the result - first Jack Crevalle..
He isn't too happy..!
Tax man work..
All in all, a great experience – I had wanted a rooster and a 100 lb plus tarpon from the trip, which I achieved, so can’t be too disappointed, however the fishing was below par. The country, and the general hosting, food etc – top notch – lovely place, and I would highly recommend it for a visit.
I already have another trip aimed at roosterfish and cubera booked next year, at Paradise Lodge in Panama. Hopefully this trip will yield better results; I definitely believe these two species are the Central American equals of the GT and Dogtooth – not directly comparable of course, but very emblematic, and special in their own ways…need to tick them off the bucket list…!