By Captain Herb Gordon
Once or twice a year I try to spoil myself with an exotic fishing trip to somewhere in the world that I have never been before. The older you get, the more you want to do this as you realize time is an issue. In other words you may run out of time before you get to fish and see all of the places you have heard or read about. The phrase World Class may be over used, but there are places that provide world-class fishing by anyone's definition. If you are blessed with relatively good health and can afford to do it, you should treat yourself to some of these world-class fishing spots while you can still cherish the moments.
Last year I went up north and did the Alaska deal for halibut and salmon. I filmed a great show for our TV series The Weekend Fisherman, and really enjoyed the scenery and fishing in our great state of Alaska. For those of you readers who were able to view show # 10 Halibut in Alaska, you were able to appreciate what great fishing and scenery we have in the great state of Alaska. Many of you ordered a tape or DVD of that show on line from our website www.theweekendfisherman.tv.com. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed filming it.
2006 brought a new challenge for me, as I was invited by some friends to accompany them to Central America to do some Pacific sailfishing. I 'd like to give special thanks to Bill Thayer and Keith Wilkinson for this trip. Would you believe 100-pound sailfish on light tackle? That's what I'm talking about! Some of the boats were averaging 15 to 30 sails a day the week before we arrived. Do you think I was excited when I heard that? I have heard lots of fish stories, as I am sure you have too, about places in the world that can provide that kind of action. Did you really believe them? Have you ever been to a place like that? I was doubtful and had never actually been anywhere that offered fishing that could really be so good. The week before, a friend of mine was an observer on a tournament boat that caught and released 29 sailfish on Sunday and the boat didn't even come in first place!
We left Norfolk airport on Wednesday morning February 1 and flew to Charlotte, N.C. We then switched planes onto a 757 and made the four-hour flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. We gained an hour and arrived at the El Presidente Hotel just in time for our own Happy Hour celebration. We then took a look around and made our way to the Blue Marlin Bar at Hotel Casino, Del Rey. This is a must for the boys who like to party, drink and gamble. I cannot describe to you what this experience is like.
One day in San Jose we went to the market where you can buy the best coffee you ever drank to bring home. Next, we were off to our next stop in Jaco, Costa Rica. The younger guys were going to stay there and surf while we headed further south to fish. I am told these are some of the greatest beaches in the world for surfing. My interest was in the giant Pacific Sails I had heard so much about. The trip over the mountain by van from San Jose to Jaco was very interesting. My advice is to let a professional driver take you. Even Evil Kenevil could learn a few tricks from some of the Tica drivers we encountered.
We had only two
days left of fishing out of Quepos. Remember this unusual name, as it
will become known as one of the world-class hotspots for Pacific Sails,
especially after they build the new marina.
The first day we were on a local boat, a 33-foot Strike named Reel Deal
with a Tica Captain named Glen. The cloudy conditions brought on by
a low pressure and full moon currents had caused the fishing to fall
off from earlier in the week. However, the fishing was still great by
Within 17 miles of the harbor we were raising fish within five minutes of casting our lines out. I shot some good footage and we caught and released 3 or 4 big sails and had missed 3 or 4 and had 2 blue marlin come in to our spread. One of the two blues hooked up and started stripping the line until a sail, hooked at the same time, came across the line that the blue was on and cut him off! What a shame, as yours truly was just getting the camera focused on the 350 pound blue marlin as it aired out!
On day two we were with Captain Jesse Baletti on the Wavedancer, a 44-foot Jersey with a brand new 671 Detroit. This boat was one of the nine built with an extra large cockpit, and 3 fighting chairs. Jesse, an American, has fished in Costa Rica for 14 years and before that commercial fished in Alaska for halibut. His mate, Daniel is from Colombia and speaks excellent English and also guides fly rod for tarpon on the East Coast in the Caribbean. These guys used 30-pound class tackle with a top shot of 150-pound Power Pro or Tuf line to get a faster straight drop back to the fish. They used a mono leader 100-pound from the top shot to the circle hook suspended ballyhoo.
Danny hand stitches each ballyhoo and suspends them from the thin wire circle hooks. The fish were not as aggressive on day two, but we caught just as many fish. Jesse was upset because we didn't catch a dozen or more fish, which he averages on poor days and we had to come in on a short day because of our schedule to get back to San Jose.
He told us a story about black marlin his charter caught and released a couple of years ago on a 30-pound tackle. It was a nine-hour marathon battle with a fish he could barely get his hands around because the end of the bill was so large in diameter. It was a potential world record fish that he thinks could have weighed well over 1600 pounds! If you are in search of the ultimate trip of a lifetime remember Quepos Quarry, whether the quarry is 100-pound sail or 1000-pound black marlin, Quepos, Costa Rica has it all! Our TWF-TV show on the trip will air Memorial Day weekend 2006 as show #1.
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