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Crocodile Bay

The Big Adventure Costa Rica Crocodile Bay Report – Day 12

Hi Shipmates

I was very worried last night when I looked at a very clear sky with all the stars shining brightly, I thought there was going to be a very hard frost like fellow shipmates have had in the UK. However a couple of hours later being a thinking angler I thought I would check the thermometer expecting single digits next to zero. I need not have worried it was 27 degrees, not 2.7 degrees. Ah ah.

Back to the fishing. It was day 12 of our Big Adventure at Crocodile Bay, that’s our last day and the shipmates have all done well by pacing themselves. Today we are again with Humberto, this time on a Boston Whaler and our initial plan were to go offshore in search of Sailfish.

For the first time, we struggled to catch any Sardines for live baits so we set off with the few baits we had in the live bait well. It was then the usual format, Marlin rod out, teasers in position and a far-out Ballyhoo skipping away. This time we had two pitch rods on standby and all eyes on the teasers being towed at 7 knots in 5000’ of clear very blue water in the almost flat calm sea. It was now 8 am when we saw the Sailfish chasing the teasers, like a very hungry tramp on chips I picked up my pitching rod and dropped it back and the sail ate it instantly. The mandatory count of five I closed the bail and wound tight, I felt the fish but it dropped the bait. It was time for the drop back trick, open the bail and drop it further back, another take and the same story. Third time with a longer count I hooked the fish and off it went. As you can see I was looking happy.

The fish was now 200 yards away doing a tail walk across the ocean, meanwhile, all the other outfits have to be stowed before Humberto can back down towards the fish.

Humberto skilfully backed the boat down on to the fish and it was soon alongside and the leader touched for a release.

There is a very good policy at Crocodile Bay and that is that Sailfish must be kept in the water, I noticed that every Sailfish we caught had a perfect sail, all down to careful handling. Pacific Sailfish are much bigger than their Atlantic cousins. Tea Break Over ( you need to have heard the joke) and we were back fishing. Concentration is key to this type of fishing unlike regular trolling, you only have seconds to react.  An hour later another Sail slashed its bill at the teaser. I was now like a well-oiled machine and instantly picked up my pitching rod and dropped back a Ballyhoo next to the teaser. Its now a team event and Humberto pulled in the teaser that the Sail was tracking, that only left my bait and the frustrated Sailfish engulfed my bait. The mandatory drop back and a slow count to five with the line running through your fingers is easy to get wrong but again this time the fish was on when I closed the bail arm on the reel.

The next minute is the most exciting time of the battle, the boat is still going forward at 7 knots, the fish is going away at 15-20 knots and the reel screams and you wonder if you are going to run out of line because the boat cannot back up till all the other tackle is stowed back on board. The Sailfish came out of the water and tail walked for at least 100yards.

I needed some photos so Chris became the angler and I was on camera duty. We were fishing our light spinning outfits these are just perfect for most fish.

Chris who has now had Jedi training for a couple of years made no mistakes and we soon had the fish alongside. The water is an amazing blue and I managed the photo with the fish over 20’ down alongside the boat.

We soon had the fish alongside for a quick release and I got a picture of Chris admiring his fish.

We were soon back in the water with high hopes 2-2 was a good start. It was almost two hours later before we saw another fish, this time it was Mahi Mahi and it wanted our bait. These fish fight hard for their size but Chris soon had it alongside. A quick photo and another release.

The action had now slowed so we decided on Plan B to see if we could catch a Rooster. We only had 4 baits so they had to count. On the first drop, I had a Rooster on my Ultralight a definite outfit to bring if you like a challenge. Chris had two Roosters in quick succession.

We needed a photo for Humberto because he now has a global fan club in addition to his wife. He didn’t let us down with a nice Jack. Humberto is the one wearing the sunglasses.

It was time to head back to the barn for cool drinks and dinner. It was our last days fishing with great company in a fantastic setting.


As you know I say it how it is. Firstly this adventure was organised by Sportsquest Fishing Holidays. From the first enquiry, everything was perfect, the itinerary was agreed with Sportsquest and they arranged everything. This is the second time I have used this company if you don’t want the hassle of organising everything yourself this is the way to go. One really appreciates the small details like being met at the airport for all the transfers plus everything is protected.


If you want to be totally looked after this is the place to go. Nothing is too much trouble, it’s everything their marketing department says it is. It is people that really make for a good fishing trip and the Fishing Director Allan Smith goes out of his way to oblige. Communication is key and he was constantly on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly.

The restaurant, the food, the accommodation and the staff are first class, again nothing is too much trouble.You have to be careful not to eat too much, the menu is always very tempting and the girls are very polite and pretty.The Hotel Manager was always on hand to help if you needed it.

Crocodile Bay is not all about fishing, plenty of other activities and the wildlife is amazing. Plus if you want to pamper like me you can have special attention (Said that to make Tim jealous.)


I fished for 11 straight days, hardly a lot of time to get to know what it’s all about. The first week of my trip the fishing was hard for everyone, but you have to be realistic if you are targeting Pelagic you must understand that they move around a great deal and can some species are seasonal. Plus and I think it is a big point, I have found on my other adventures that the time around the full moon is often the time for poor fishing, I would suggest you check this out before finalising dates.

Sportsquest will always advise on this. Our group was totally hands on regarding tackle and using it, but if you are not competent don’t worry the Captains are first class. We had nearly all our own tackle, you don’t have to take any its all perfect on the boats. The boats are Boston Whalers and Strike Boats, most are less than two years old and well maintained, very comfortable and clean.

ts people who make for a good adventure and communication is key, we made a lot of friends and again fishing wise nothing is too much trouble. The inshore fishing was good and it could be brilliant, Rooster Fish and Jacks were my main target and well worth fishing for. My tip is to take an Ultra-lite outfit, you will have a lot of fun using it.

We always have a species count, this time we had 29 species but didn’t spend a lot of time targeting them, I added a Snook and a Lizardfish on the last day.I didn’t rate the bottom fishing but being realistic why waste time on them when there are so many other big fish to target. The Yellow Fin Tuna fishing can be brilliant and a must if you see them.

My fish of the trip was my huge Sailfish on my light spin outfit in 40’ of water with only a 40lbs leader.At least 140lbs.

The big question is would I go back to Crocodile Bay? The answer is yes it is unique.If I can help answering questions from anyone who is interested in going just drop me an email or ring me.Finally and I say this after every Big Adventure “don’t put it off till later in life, you might not be fit enough to do it or worse, life is to short”

Signing off till the next Big Adventure

Admiral Marlow

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