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Archive for February, 2006

 As a hardened angler with fairly serious fishing problem, I have often and accurately been accused of dragging my wife and children to places where their interests took a backseat to my fishing obsession.  But recently that changed when I packed up the crew (including a three year old and a six year old) and took them to Crocodile Bay Lodge in Costa Rica. Located on the Osa Pennisula in Southwestern Costa Rica (on the Pacific coast) the lodge sits in the heart of the most ecologically intense portion of the planet and offers a remarkable array of non-angling and eco-tourism activities in addition to excellent offshore fly fishing for Pacific sailfish and other saltwater species.

During our five day stay we pretty much did it all. We took a half day guided nature tour with a skilled naturalist in which we saw countless bird species (including lots of huge scarlet macaws), poison arrow frogs, coatis, iguanas, three species of moneys and sloths as well as many other animals of interest. We visited exquisite botanical gardens, butterfly gardens, local craft stores, and fed caimans and crocodiles. We ocean kayaked, swam and body surfed on beautiful nearly uninhabited beaches, we spent hours in the lodge pool (and gave the swim up bar a good workout) and the ladies enjoyed a number of luxurious treatments at the lodges’ elegant new spa. We also fished and landed some impressive sailfish on the fly under the guidance of excellent captains and mates that spoke very respectable English.
 
All and all we were greatly please with the food accommodations, level of service and the array of available activities (not the least of which was the offshore fishing). For couples, families, and anglers of all skill levels, Crocodile Bay proved to be a real winner, and for once my family was really pleased that I drug them along on another “fishing trip”.
 
The Great Sailfishing Company, Guatemala
  
This past April I made a quick trip to Guatemala to see first hand if the reports I had been hearing about hoards of willing sailfish were actually true.  The bottom line was that they were. After landing Guatemala City we were met outside the airport by one of the owners of the Great Sailfishing Company and driven in an air conditioned van (well stocked with cold beverages and beer) to the Villas del Pacifico on the coast. There we checked into our private house where the rest of the group, a private chef, and server were waiting. After hours devours, complimentary drinks and an excellent meal we hit the sack and were up early to fish.
We deliberately decided not to bring any of our own tackle and were pleased to find excellent gear, including Cam Sigler rods, Billy Pate anti reverse reels, state of the art flies, and knowledgeable captains and mates all at the ready. While we were warned that we were past the peak of the season, the fish did not appear to know that. Each day we rose between 17 and 24 fish with a good many of those coming all the way in to eat the fly. And while the action was as hot and heavy as any that I had experienced, the crew was unimpressed and wished that we had come earlier in the season!
 
All and all I feel that there is no other place on the planet that offers anglers a better chance at taking numerous sailfish on the fly. This last season was proof with new world records set for released fish from a single boat for both fly and conventional anglers. I was also impressed with the range of accommodations and the overall level of service and safety. And for all that have a bit of extra time, a day trip to the historic town of Antigua is a must, as it will leave you with a lovely impression of the country, it crafts and gentle culture.

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