San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Upheld Fishing Law Affects Operators

The big crowd of fishermen reaping a harvest of tarpon at lodges in Barra Colorado, on the northern Caribbean coast, as reported here last week, has dropped to near nothing, but apparently the fish are still around.

Dan Wise reported from the Río Colorado Lodge on Monday that Minnesota anglers Joe Pancotto and Anthony Nicklow jumped four and had two to the boat soon after arriving late Friday, and as of early Monday morning two other guests had two in the air but nothing to the boat, though they were still on the water as this was written.

Big news in that area, according to Wise, is that the new Fishing Law prohibiting sport and commercial fishing in protected marine areas has been upheld, after legislators rejected proposed reforms to the law (TT, Nov. 3).

This will likely have a profound affect on fishing operators at Tortuguero. Fishing will not be permitted in the canal or in the protected ocean waters of the region, though it will not affect lodges from Parismina north.

Certain designated protected areas on the Pacific coast, particularly in the southern Golfito region, are also included in the closures, and I welcome comments as to if and how charter boat operators will be affected.

Skippers and fishing operators on both coasts are invited to send me their comments, but the absurdity of suddenly closing areas to sportfishing while approving commercial fishing plans for an immense corral of nets to entrap tuna by the tens of thousands seems clear.

Some months ago, we had a bit of controversy going here regarding bonefish, and whether we have any in Costa Rica waters.

We never were able to determine whether the species, popular in Flordia waters and traditionally caught on the inshore flats on a fly rod or light tackle, had actually been caught here.

Craig Shotton from Canada appears to have answered that question, and e-mailed a photo of a bonefish he caught on the Caribbean coast in 2001.

“On this particular day, I saw several bonefish (upwards of 30-40) of equivalent size tailing on a flat that was maybe 300 by 150 yards,” he writes. “It was an exploratory trip and my time ran out as the tide was quickly changing.”

“The following day a friend hooked a larger bonefish that quickly broke him off after ripping him into his backing.

“Since that time, I have made a few trips to the same location to no avail due to the conditions of the water (heavy silt). As you can see from the photo, there is no mistake that Costa Rica does in fact have bonefish.”

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