San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Both Coasts Good; Mystery Fish Reported

Fishing continues to be good on both coasts. Tarpon are still abundant just outside the river mouth at Barra Colorado, on the northern Caribbean coast, where the Río Colorado Lodge reported that Tom and Emily Bowdey from the U.S. city of St. Louis jumped 27 with three to the boat Feb. 9, and another boat went four for 30 the same day.

The lodge reported a full house early this week, with 14 boats on the water, all going one or two tarpon a day, some up to six. For a report on the Pacific coast, we talked to Gamefisher II skipper Richard Chellemi on his cellular Monday morning, and he had already had a 250-pound blue marlin release, fishing about 20 miles south of Carrillo, where he was running to duck the winds farther north.

On the central Pacific coast, J.P. Sportfishing in Quepos reports hit-and-miss action, with some boats releasing eight or 10 sails a day, others only one or two, and some even getting blanked, although water is blue with temperature holding.

Down south in the Golfito area, Parrot Bay Lodge reported that Mike Jones, Howie Woolman and David Scott from Cape May, New Jersey, fished four days both inshore and offshore, and landed a 40- and 60-pound roosterfish, a 40-pound jack, a load of snapper 35 pounds and under, some big dorado and a few small sailfish.

Eric Goetz, Bob Waskiewicz, John Wardlaw, Jr., John Wardlaw, Sr., Sam and Joe Melillo, Bill Stattel and Joe Rossi caught some roosters in the 40-pound range, while the Melillos, father and son, landed a few sails – their first ever – and Goetz, the Melillos and Wardlaw the elder raised a marlin after it crashed on the teasers.

Rossi ended his last day of fishing pitching a bait on a spinning rod, fighting a 120-pound sail for an hour and fifteen minutes, only to have the leader pop off. Other catches included a 38-pound jack, dorado to 35 pounds, six cubera snapper, a 20-pound blue crevalle and 20 or more yellowtail snapper.

The first Stu Apte fly-fishing tournament, held Feb. 1-3 at Golfito Sailfish Rancho, on the southern Pacific coast, reported 38 sailfish releases for the 14 boats in the competition.

The event was filmed for the TV show “Sportsman’s Adventures.” A “mystery fish” (see photo at right) was caught in the reefs off Quepos two weeks ago by Tico Times reader Paul Frederick, from Minnesota.

His boat crew identified it as a “Tico tarpon,” but it is obviously not a tarpon. I have sent the photo via e-mail to a few skippers to see if they can shed some light.

My son Rick, who fishes his boat, the Kingfisher, out of Carrillo, said he used to see the fins of these fish on the surface all the time, but could never get them to bite and doesn’t know what they are.

Katy, at Parrot Bay Lodge, said she asked two of the captains there and looked it up in a book, and believes it is a bonefish (macabi). No one I have asked has ever heard it been called a “Tico tarpon,” and I have never heard of bonefish being caught in Costa Rica.

“It took a live sardine and put up a great fight, clearing the water twice and making several 30-75 yard runs with my drag screaming away,” Frederick said, adding that two years ago he caught a 175-pound sailfish in Costa Rica, and loves the country. If that sail weighed in at 175 pounds, it would have been the largest ever caught in Costa Rica and one of only eight caught worldwide, according to the International Game Fish Association record book.


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