Thursday, March 4, 2010

Costa Rica: Sport Fishing

Now I know that this topic isn't going to be of interest to everyone. Some might say, "What's so exciting about sitting in a boat, waiting for a hapless fish to bite on some bait?" Well, it just so happens that my son loves to fish. He loves to be out on the water in the early morning. He avidly reads fishing magazines, trying to learn the habits of different fish and then matching lures and weights and lines to those habits. And, because my son usually goes off with my husband to play sports, I don't get to be with him that often. So when the opportunity comes to go off fishing, I go along. I don't get seasick, I love to be out on the water, I don't get bored just sitting about looking at the horizon when things are slow, and my son is happy to have my company.

And so it was that one morning, my son and I left with a captain and his mate and sailed 32 miles off the shore of Costa Rica to go fishing for a day. People hadn't been too lucky lately; the water had been at 86 degrees Fahrenheit and the fish were sluggish. We were hoping to break that trend.

After catching bonitos for bait, we cast out some lines for sailfish. What luck! Within 30 minutes, my son had a huge sailfish on his line! He had to put on a belt to help leverage the rod as he reeled in the fish. Sailfish are the fastest fish in the ocean and dance around the surface and put on a good show as they are brought into the boat. Here are some action shots:

And look at that big fish! My son brought him in after a twenty-five minute battle. The captain estimated that this fellow was about 7 feet long and 120 pounds. Not to fret; after this photo, we put the sailfish back in the water and watched him swim away -- a little sore from the effort, but not hurt. The hole from the hook heals rapidly and the fish is hunting and eating again in no time. We hooked another sailfish but alas, he got off the line after about five minutes.

We switched gears then and started to fish for dinner. It's common courtesy to fish for fun for a while, then to fish to feed the folks back on shore (and for the crew). We decided to try for mahi mahi, also known as dorado and dolphinfish. Success again! I caught the first fish, one about 50 pounds. Though they are not as big as sailfish nor as heavy, they are much harder to bring in. They are powerful, fast fish that dive deep. It's like bringing up a soaked piece of lumber that's battling against you. My son was laughing at my struggles; it took about twenty-five minutes to catch the fish. But he stopped laughing when he caught his own fish and he was soon dripping in sweat from the effort. Together, the two fish weighed about 90 pounds, enough to feed everyone at the inn that night, including the staff, with some extra for the crew.

And though it may seem macabre, I feel compelled to share a picture of the mahi mahi up close. Nature sure made a beautiful fish; look at the gorgeous colors!

As we headed back, we got a wonderful sailor's omen: we were surrounded by more than 300 dolphin! They frolicked and played around our boat for about half an hour. We were only blessed with this sight because we were so far out at sea. We have some video of the encounter but I can't post it here and, quite frankly, watching it may make some people queasy.

So, what should I share next? After this post, I'm figuring you might want a flower or bird show. On the other hand, I can get all the "icky sticky" creepy crawly stuff out of the way and post about lizards, crabs, spiders, and toads. Which would you prefer?


Anonymous said...

I'll have the toads, please, with lizards on the side.

Cindy said...

Wow! What an exciting experience! Gorgeous fish and photos! I'm amazed! We're ready for whatever you want to dish out next!

Kristin L said...

I gotta say, the mahi mahi have a face only their mother could love, but... the colors are fantastic. The sailfish is impressive too.

And, bring on the icky sticky!

Vivian said...

I've always said that mother nature makes the best abstracts!
great photo.

Natalya Aikens said...

i see those fish scales as an inspiration for your next abstract work!

Karen L R said...

What a thrill for your son, and fun for you as his Mom. The photos are wonderful. Let's have the next chapter soon, OK? Whatever strikes your fancy.....

Susan Schrott, Artist said...

The close up of the mahi mahi is extraordinary...I see free motion quilting stitches as well as hand sewn stitches..I see some new work ideas floating (no pun intended) around..

costa rica sportfishing said...

Hi, I applaud your blog for informing people, about your very interesting sport fishing, keep it up.