Anticipation Is Part of the Fun
Any Costa Rica fishing trip is a great experience. You’ve signed up, taken care of payment and just dreamed about the trip to sunny, beautiful Costa Rica for months now…anticipation is at an all-time high by the time you leave on the grand adventure! We started planning our hosted group trip more than a year in advance.
We talked with Rob Endsley, a good friend we met in Panama on a fishing trip. Rob has been a hunting and fishing guide for many years. He owns and operates Prince of Wales Sportfishing in Craig, Alaska. Rob also co-hosts the “Outdoor Line” on 710 ESPN Seattle every Saturday at 6:00 a.m. for two hours. We had been talking about hosting a Costa Rica fishing trip together for years in a special place and decided now was the time to do it.
All of us had been on many fishing trips but this one was different. We started thinking from the perspective of someone who had never been to Costa Rica before. As part of getting ready, Lisa and I went to Crocodile Bay in August before the trip to make sure we planned the perfect itinerary. We knew people wanted great fishing. Our other goals were for everyone to get some relaxation away from winter and work and experience the local people and surroundings.
People are asking about the trip and this article will give you a great flavor of what we experienced with eleven other people. For many of them, this was their first Costa Rica fishing trip.
Starting Our Costa Rica Fishing Trip in San Jose
Getting to San Jose, Costa Rica is easy from many US cities. Lisa and I flew from Orlando on a non-stop, three-hour flight. Many in the group came from the west coast and had longer trips. The Juan Santamaria International Airport is a modern facility served by several airlines. Clearing immigration and customs is easy.
You walk outside the terminal looking for your ride to the Double Tree Cariari just a few minutes away. The first thing I noticed was the temperature was a little cool. We had been telling people to prepare for temperatures in the 90’s and lots of sunshine. I had to remember our Costa Rica fishing trip starts in San Jose in the Central Valley over 3,800 feet above sea level. Living in Florida, we have a completely different standard of warm weather. At the bar that night, our friends for Seattle seemed very excited about how warm it was—Seattle has been experiencing a cold and snowy winter this year.
We arrived in the early afternoon and nearly everyone was there by dinner time sitting by the pool with a cool drink. For dinner, we all went to El Novillo Alegre, a Argentinian steak house that is a short walk from the hotel, and had a wonderful dinner. As the cocktails and wine started to flow so did the stories with lots of laughter. As all of us got to know one another to become a happy group.
Excitement and adrenaline was high and you just don’t feel like calling it a night but you know that you should. At seven the next morning, we are all in the lobby heading back to the airport and to Crocodile Bay and a great Costa Rica fishing trip.
Getting to Crocodile Bay and Our First Day
At Nature Air, they weigh you and all of the luggage. Don’t worry—weight is confidential. You can drive to Puerto Jimenez, the small village near Crocodile Bay, but it takes eight hours on winding mountain roads. The forty-minute flight is high above the scenery and the way to go.
We landed at Puerto Jimenez and then a quick van ride to the resort. Checking in includes a traditional drink (yes you can add rum) and a song from Olimpia.
After getting everything to our rooms, we were off on a half-day rain forest tour. Dennis and Diego drove and they are both expert wildlife spotters and carry the latest viewing equipment. Our group was fortunate to see the “monkey grand slam” which is all four native monkey species in the Osa Peninsula.
Lisa and I went on this tour in August and you can see more photos from the wet season tour as well. At sea level, the temperatures were in the high 80’s with all of the sunshine we expected. After the tour, we relaxed and talked around the bar and pool waiting for our first dinner. Everyone was excited for our next day—offshore fishing for sailfish and marlin.
On the Water—Three Days of Fishing and Fun in the Sun
The greatest danger on a Costa Rica fishing trip is the sun. Everyone in Costa Rica wears a lot of sun protection including the right clothing. Even locals wear sun mask head gear when fishing. Believe those statements that say you can burn in minutes. We had three boats on the water after getting offshore, it was just a few minutes before we had our first two sailfish. They were also the first sailfish for anglers Ken & Craig from Portland. They were pretty excited! Here’s a great pic of Ken. There will be many more and lots of video to come.
Our trip was at the height of billfish season. Still, the ocean is huge with many factors that impact fishing even in the most productive fisheries of the world. I have never been on a trip where I did not want to catch more fish. Water temperatures were higher than normal, at almost 90 degrees, making fish stay deeper to feed.
We all fished offshore the first day and then inshore on day two. Roosterfish are the target fish when inshore and we also caught snapper and grouper.
Day three was a combination of offshore and inshore fishing and Lisa caught a nice sailfish. Paul did some fishing off of the pier and came up with a 30 pound catfish of all things! There was a huge snook down there but he was too smart for everyone.
We saw a lot of fish in the water and many sailfish sunning themselves on the surface all three days. Over the trip, we raised 27 sailfish, landed 12 and I also caught a gorgeous blue marlin. Everyone always wants to catch more fish. “That’s why they call it fishing” is an often-heard phrase at the end of a day on docks everywhere.
It is called fishing and many times you catch all kinds of things when you fish including new friends and memories. I do all I can to put myself in the best place, with the best experts, at the right time for the fish I want to catch and then….I hope Mother Nature smiles on that point in time. There is always a smile—sometimes it is a wonderful, full-blown smile and other times Mother Nature is a little closed-lip because she has hidden some things wanting you to return.
A Day of Relaxation and Local Fare
As part of our Costa Rica fishing trip, we wanted everyone to have some personal time to do whatever they wanted. There are many tours and activities at Crocodile Bay. I wrote an article about our rain forest trip and going to the chocolate farm in August. People did many things on our free day including the chocolate farm, going to the beach, fishing from the pier and just relaxing.
Lisa and I went to a restaurant at a nearby beach to relax and spent a few hours together.
Lisa thoroughly enjoyed a ginger martini and I had a whole, deep fried red snapper. Dessert was absolutely TO DIE FOR coffee ice cream. I would go back just to eat that ice cream again!
Usually I am ready to go home but leaving Crocodile Bay is different. Maybe part of it is I live in Florida and the best parts of tropical life are evident in Costa Rica. I just like sitting on the porch of our room listening to the birds and animals and seeing the forest. I do the same thing on my back porch. However, in Costa Rica we are watching scarlet macaws and many other exotic species of birds which is loads of fun.
We had an early flight back to San Jose. Many people had layovers long enough that they took in a coffee farm tour.
A Big Shout Out To Crocodile Bay Staff and Grundéns Sportswear
The entire Crocodile Bay Staff did a fantastic job of making sure all of our needs were met in a very high standard. They are fun, happy and really work hard to ensure each meal, each fishing day, each nature excursion and each spa treatment are perfect! We are going down a couple of days early next year–the staff is going to take us salsa dancing on a Saturday night.
I’m sure you noticed that Rob, Lisa and I were wearing matching fishing gear. That’s because Rob has a great relationship with Grundéns and they sponsored our trip. They were kind enough to outfit everyone on the trip with hats, shirts and shorts. Check out the Grundéns website. I wore my fishing shirt in the sun all three days and had no sunburn any where it covered. Thank you to the people at Grundéns–I have already tossed all my old stuff.
We Are Going Again–Our 2018 hosted Costa Rica Fishing Trip
Does this sound like a trip you would love? Then hop aboard for our trip next year! We will be offering 3 and 4 day fishing packages.
Exact dates aren’t set but it will be during the last two weeks of February again at the height of the billfish season. Give Lisa or Rob a shout and sign up for the newsletter updates on the right of this page. We will be posting more info, more photos, videos and stories from the trip in the coming weeks as well. We hope to see you in Costa Rica next year.