San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Presidential Challenge Raises $20,000

Tarpon fishing is still wide open at Barra Colorado, on the northern Caribbean coast. Angler Alan Wright from the U.S. city of Albuquerque e-mailed on his return home that he had an incredible week of fishing with guide Aldemar at Casa Mar Lodge. For the week, he scored 14 tarpon releases, with four running 140-150 pounds, and one 90-pounder on a fly rod, all caught outside the river mouth.

Wright said jungle fishing was also good; he landed no fewer than 30 fish of eight species one morning working the shallow waters inside the river mouths.

Río Colorado Lodge, in the same area, reported the river is at an all-time low and all the tarpon fishing is on the outside, with anglers there jumping 28 and catching and releasing 19 last week.

LakeArenal guide Ron Saunders had two parties on the lake in north-central Costa Rica last week, both catching rainbow bass and pinto bass up to a kilo in weight. He said  the lake’s water level continues to drop, revealing many new stumps and structures in the coves for fish to congregate around, and the weather continues pleasantly mild with a few daily showers and afternoon sun.

Gregg Muffson at Zancudo Lodge in Golfito, on the southern Pacific coast, reports that fishing is still fantastic, with a mixed bag of inshore and offshore species. He said sailfish action has slowed a little, with his boats averaging two to four a day fishing 15 miles offshore, but the marlin action is heating up, with one or two being raised daily by five or six boats out. On Monday, Muffson reports, one client fishing inshore caught five roosterfish – one exceeding 70 pounds – four amberjacks and one large red snapper, and on Tuesday he nailed a wahoo in the 300-pound range, while another boat found a school of yellowfin tuna and caught 15 from eight to 15 pounds.

I had a surprise call Sunday from veteran skipper Danny Arnold, who I didn’t know was back in Costa Rica. Arnold was fishing the Good Dog, and reported that blue marlin were hot with the fleet releasing five, along with eight sailfish, with most of the action off Tamarindo, on the northern Pacific coast.

The 11th annual Presidential Challenge of Costa Rica, out of Carrillo, south of Tamarindo, ended with a very slow day of fishing last week, and it was a tight race for the top three spots.

Team A-Fin-Ity, the 2006 Lowrance Grand Champion Team, got off to a roaring start to defend its title by once again taking first place. Dan Pimental led the team to victory in the Contender Boats division with his blue marlin and sailfish releases on the final day.

Team Gallo Pinto fishing aboard the Riviera Mistress took second-place team honors, while Maverick Sport Fishing aboard the Spanish Fly released a sailfish to tie Gallo Pinto, but moved to third on time.

Maior Oporto, fishing for Maverick Sport Fishing team, charged ahead of Ben White (Gallo Pinto) on the final day to win the Baptist Health International Angler Division.

Henry Riggs-Miller (A-Fin-Ity), fishing aboard Permit III, was skunked that day, but kept up his stellar reputation by winning third place.

Capt. Chepe Santana from Playa Flamingo, north of Tamarindo, once again skippered his Permit III to the win in the King Sailfish Mounts Boat division.

Tournament organizer Joan Vernon said the competition raised more than $15,000 for The Billfish Foundation in an auction conducted by Russell Nelson and Dan Kipnis, with an additional $5,000 raised by the tournament. The money will be used to assist Costa Rica in its billfish conservation efforts, she added.


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