Today finds me fast approaching the end of my second week in Costa Rica, and a lot has changed in the last 12 days. The ocean has gone from a milky and churning mess to beautifully clear, with pleasant rolling waves in this time. My Spanish vocabulary had wheneve widened substantially, and more often than not, I serve as the family translator, and have now purchased my first legal beer in Spanish. Now, when I walk through town several locals will greet me by name as I pass by, and in Puerto Viejo I am now known as "the fisherman who caught the Big Jack", which i will say, is a rather enjoyable title.
And as the previous statement would imply, I've succeeded in my endeavour to catch my first fish in the salt, although it certainly hasn't been easy getting there.
With the high seas, previously milky water, and lack of watercraft, fishing the surf has been challenging, with fish only being located and landed on two days out of the 10 I have gone out. I now have caught two Jack Crevalle, two Blue Runner, a few tiny reef fish, and a single Needlefish, and good Lord have I had to put the time in fur each of those. Luckily, the rains have let up, and the ocean has lowered due to the lunar phase and winds, so fishing should improve dramatically. I even have been invited to come fish off of a boat with some locals for Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, and maybe even red snapper, and then separately for tarpon and snook next week! My fingers are crossed, and I hope that these endeavors may prove successful and that I will be able to break in my new 10wt.
Thus far, the fish that stands brightest in my memory was that very first Jack. After many hours spent traversing the shore in Puerto Viejo, my heart jumped into my throat after something slammed into my chartreuse clouser like a freight train. Moments later, after a vigorous scramble to untangle my line, the fish took off on a blistering run that pulled at least a hundred feet of backing off of my reel, a sight that I haven't seen since my trip to Minneapolis for the Carpicide tournament. Several minutes later, after regaining half the fly line, the fish took off again! Three more times! After many minutes spent wondering what fish could possibly be on the end of my line, the sleek silver body of a Jack Crevalle emerged from the surf in front of me, and after several more minutes spent trying to tail the fish, I was holding a beautiful 5-6 pound example of a sardine hunting machine. It was a triumphant moment, as I had fished for 4 days before without bringing anything to hand. Sadly, not many fish have followed after that.
Aside from the fishing, Costa Rica has offered many very interesting opportunitIes including visiting the bribri indigenous tribe, and watching their age-old methods to process cacao beans into chocolate, snorkeling through the immense reef in the national park, and holding enlightening conversations with the local Rastafarians.
All in all, it's not too bad to be sitting on the coral shoreline eating fresh coconut in a t-shirt while watching the surf come in...
Until I next catch a fish,