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The Big Adventure Costa Rica Crocodile Bay Report – Day 8

The Big Adventure Costa Rica Crocodile Bay Report – Day 8

Hi Shipmates


Its Day 8 of our Big Adventure In Costa Rica. The Shipmates are now having to pace themselves because the lovely warm weather is taking its toll. Having said that we had some rain today, all 3 minutes of it. Too much good food and wine does not help. Today we were on a Strike boat with Captain Manwell (he isn’t from Barcelona) and Gerardo as mate. With me was Crab Pot Chris, he has never caught a sail so I was hoping today his luck would turn.

With a bait well full of fish we headed offshore in search of Sailfish and MarlinOn the way I watched Gerado skilfully rig several Ballyhoo that would be our main trolled bait. These were rigged differently to what I had seen before, everyone was perfect and laid out on ice ready to be used.

After about 45 minutes we were in 6000’ of water and the lines were all out.2 teaser outfits, two shotgun rigs with rods in the tower, and two flat lines behind the teasers. We had two flipping rigs on stand by and a drop back Marlin rig ready to go. This is a very skilful setup and covers all the options. Everyone who knows me also knows that trolling is my least favourite method of fishing, but with this set up the 2 flipping rigs make for some exciting fishing if the fish attack the teasers. I looked at my watch and it was just after 8 when one of the flat lines screamed off and our first sailfish was on. It was the usual spectacular tail walking that makes this so exciting.

Initially the fight is hopefully long range because all of the other rods have to be bought in before the boat can back up towards the fish. With a strict policy on caring for the fish, it is extremely difficult to take a good photo. In the old days, the fish would have been taken out of the water for the photo, It’s nice to know that all these fish are very quickly released to grow bigger for someone else to catch. Estimated weight 80-90lbs.

We were quickly back in action and all the rods and rigs in position. It’s very tiring trying to keep the concentration going, you need to constantly be looking at the baits so that you can flip a bait back if a fish attacks the teasers. It’s no good resting your eyes because sometimes you only have a few seconds to reach. About an hour later the same flatline with a trolled Ballyhoo screamed off and Chris had the rod. It was loaded with at least 500 yards of 30lbs mono and after a short time, I thought Chris was going to be spooled. We cleared all the other rods away just before we were in the danger zone of having no line left and Manwell backed the boat after the e fish. With no mistakes, we had the fish alongside for the photo.

It was then back to trolling again. We did however raise another 3 sails but only briefly and they didn’t want to play with us. We worked our way towards the shallow water this time about 3000’ deep when a sail attacked the teasers. A quick drop back with the flipping rod and the bait was taken. This was much more fun. Several spectacular leaps and I soon had the fish alongside.

It was about the same size and was carefully released. It was time to make for the barn. In all a tough day but with its rewards, Chris had is first ever Sailfish so he was happy. The shipmates are all in bed fast asleep except me who is writing this. Struggling to keep my eyes open.

Below is a report from The Cuda Kid who is snoring like a pig in the next room and I can hear him.


Signing off 
Admiral Marlow

Second to last day and a shot at redemption.

Crocodile Bay has been very kind to us and allowed us a second trip on a strike boat and that meant only one thing for us…. off shore.

We started early by having breakfast at 5.30am and apparently I fell asleep at the table only to be woken up by uncle Roy poking me with something. The man can be very hurtful sometimes haha.

Anyhow back to the fishing we had lots of live and deadbaits and were being skippered by the excellent Francisco who has been at the resort for 15 years and is a friendly chap, and 1st mate the excellent Anthony. 

We steamed out about 15 miles in 3000 ft plus of water and started trolling ballyhoos and teasers including teasers with the belly of a Yellowfin. The making of these which involves sewing the piece of belly flap into good towing shape is an art and something to behold and helps while away the quieter times. I was hoping to get the chance to redeem myself and prove that the last f… up was a one off! Well, I got my chance about an hour in when my trolled ballyhoo which was second to last bait in the set screamed off. This time I calmly took the rod and engaged the drag to the present strike zone and fish on…. straight away the skipper shouted Mahi, and I was glad, I was hoping for a monster bull like Tom’s but unfortunately, I got a female. Some head shaking jumping and eventually, we pulled her alongside and was able to hand line her in and Anthony was able to pick her up and avoid the gaff.

She left me with a parting gift of a hefty smack in the chops with her tail and I thought she owed me that haha. Tom was good with the camera even hanging off the side of the boat from the outriggers and managed a couple of good shots in the short time she was with us……. well the pressure was well and truely off of me now and I could relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

Not long after this we had the most amazing bit of fishing in that Toms shotgun rod was smashed by a marlin. The rod was bent double and the big Penn international reel screaming. Tom was shouting for the skipper to hand him the rod from its lofty perch but the Marlin were overtaking the boat and were easily over taking our position and speed even at full pelt, which meant the captain couldn’t set the hooks….. the Marlin appeared by my side and jumped at least six foot clear of the ocean and shook the hooks free. The fish were massive, a bar of magenta and silver with royal blue along the top of its back. I have the image grained in my brain, simply awesome and amazing fish indeed. Tom was quiet and I left him be, best to do so I thought and I was gutted for him. We have fished together all week and make quite a team and we both feel and share the good and the bad moments together.


We eventually settled down again and then the skipper shouted sail and my same rod as before sprang to life with the reel screaming drag. I disengaged the reel and let the line be taken freely and counted to five then engage the spool and hung on. In Costa Rica, you have to use circle hooks so you don’t have to set the hook in the traditional way simply wind and hang on haha…. This fish was much heavier and staying deep, short pumping and clever manoeuvres with the boat by the captain and the sail was soon alongside the boat. She was a feisty girl and shortly after grabbing the leader she spat the hook. Obviously camera shy, but I didn’t mind as Tom was up with the captain and got some good action shots

What a difference that fish made I was feeling confident and was sure of more action…… eventually the skipper shouted long and I grabbed my pitching rod as it had come up by my teasers on the left. Using the jigging rod I was able to keep the pitch bait on the surface in between the white water and manoeuvred it to where I saw the sailfishes beak poking out. Then another memory was made as the sails bill and mouth appeared right behind my bait. I dropped it back and it disappeared, I then counted to a slow five and engaged the bail arm….. nothing….. I wound and wound furiously and eventually and thankfully I caught up with the fish, it must have swum directly towards the boat.

The rod took on a lovely curve and it was game on. This fight was different as the fish immediately stayed on the surface jumping and shaking its head and I was sure that I was going to lose it as it was going crazy…. long story short and after a nervous battle with full out of the water jumps and fish half out of the water moments later, I was able to get the leader to Anthony and was able to join him by squatting on the boards above the engines (I forget their name) and was treated to all the beauty of the fish. It was lighting up its pectorals as well as its sail being the most amazing shades of electric blue and it was looking straight at me.

A perfect hook hold in the corner of the mouth which was dealt with very easily and a few photos later and she swam off very strongly. I have to say here that Anthony really knows what he is doing and had his own little battle with the fish when he grabbed the bill of the sail. He was amazing at getting a great photo in the water as again fish preservation is a priority in Costa Rica and you cannot remove them from the water.

The first mate takes his life in his hands when grabbing these bills and to do so with a large Marlin must make for a tough day at the office to put it lightly.. .3 for 3 and I felt like I had regained my mojo and redeemed myself….. shame it’s the end of the trip.

We had a couple more raises on Toms side but they were just window shopping and not really interested and all too soon 2pm came 
along and we had to head for home. A few cold ones on the way back and then off to the pool for cocktails and a catch up with the other Angler’s staying at this wonderful resort.

I quite like being a saltwater angler, someone has to do it…..

Cheers all

Cuda kid ?

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