Costa Rica Fishing and Vacation Packages - Parrot Bay Village, Puerto Jimenez, Osa Peninsula, lodging near Corcovado National Park. Resort in Costa Rica
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A Gem In The Jungle - Costa Rica's Newest Treasure

 
 

Author: John DeBona

Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I very rarely ventured too far from my roots, but I loved fishing and traveled off to far away places to quench my thirst for game-fish. To me, traveling to the far east meant jumping on to the Long Island Expressway and heading to Montauk. My northern excursions have taken me up to Pulaski, NY for salmon and steelheads. I even hit Canada for small-mouths and awesome Northern Pike the size of your leg. I moved up to the big time traveler status when I uprooted myself and headed south to New Jersey. That's when my travels really began. I've collected bumper stickers from Jersey City to the Delaware Bay! I thought I was a happening dude, the envy of most anglers, the cat's meow.

Sure I've read Traveling Angler articles in The Fisherman for years, why I even read The Old Man And The Sea . I'll even confess to have seen those Saturday morning fishing shows where they caught exotic species like Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Dorado, Tarpon, Roosterfish, and the list goes on. There was a whole other world out there that I was missing and it was time I took a bite out of it. Perhaps it's your time too!

Doing Your Homework

The Internet can serve you well in your search for that "once in a lifetime" trip that will give you memories to last, well, your lifetime. I narrowed my search down to Central America's Costa Rica. I've heard and read so much about the world-class fishery that I had the taste in my mouth for several years. To further narrow my search, I was introduced to a couple of local New Jersey fishermen who had recently become partners in a resort in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica, Arturo "Art" Augustensen and Sean Weaver, both from the Manasquan, NJ area. Together, they have been traveling the world as fishing buddies and found Costa Rica to be their personal piece of paradise. What was initially intended to be the purchase of a small house to keep a boat for their bi-monthly fishing excursions, ended up being eight private cabinas nestled in a tropical setting with lush attractive gardens called Parrot Bay Village.

Your Personal Itinerary

Today's traveling angler has to do very little by way of planning. Most resorts will provide you with an abundance of things to see and do while staying at their resort. The toughest thing you may encounter is choosing what not to do. Torn between my love for the ocean and my love for the wilderness, my itinerary was carefully planned by Captain Daren and Katie McClave, both New Jersians now living la vida loca in Costa Rica and a vital part of Parrot Bay Village's success. Together, they probed my likes and dislikes and planned my three-day visit to Costa Rica with splendor. When I vacation, I want to keep busy throughout my visit. I am not the type to go away for your basic R&R. I need action and plenty of it. I figure, I get my best rest while at home in my own bed anyway.

With Parrot Bay Village sitting at the foothills of a secondary rain forest, your itinerary look similar to mine. I departed Newark Airport on a 5:00 PM flight on a Wednesday afternoon and arrived in the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica at 10:30 PM Eastern Time, 8:30 PM Central Time. Parrot Bay Village provided me with my own personal English-speaking driver, Dacx Jimenez, who was waiting for me with sign in hand. A few minutes drive from the airport and I was an overnight guest in the four-star rated Sheraton Hotel Herradura. At 5:00 AM, Dacx drove me a short distance to the Nature Air terminal in Pavas for a 55-minute flight on an eight-passenger twin-prop plane to my final destination of Puerto Jimenez. Captain Daren McClave was waiting for my arrival to take me on a 5-minute drive to a world I only dreamed of.

After signing in and a quick introduction to some of the staff like Ronnie Cascante who, as tender of the bar, made sure your every desire was met, from fresh cut local tropical fruits to the freshest and best tasting coffee in the world, not to exclude libations of your wildest imagination. No relation to Ronnie, but worthy of mention is chef Freddy Cascante, who cooked up a quick breakfast of my choice and away I went on a planned eco-tour with my guide for the day Carlos Garcia. Carlos and I hopped on to the back of a canopy-covered safari-type pickup truck and headed to Matapalo Rain Forest for an invigorating hike trough the lush density of the tropical rain forest. Photo opportunities were abundant as we gazed upon White-Faced Monkeys (also known as Cappuccino Monkeys), Toucans, Roadside Hawks, the colorful Poisonous Frogs, Snakes, Scarlet Macaws, Holler Monkeys, Tree Sloth's and butterflies galore. Some of the countries best surfing is at the beaches of Matapalo.

Needless to say, my excursion was intense and upon my return to Parrot Bay Village, a hammock on beach had my name written all over it. I took a two hour nap before my scheduled 3:30 PM kayak tour to see a beautiful sunset and the ever possibility of seeing dolphins and whales. Although no sign of the latter, I did get to frolic with a giant sea turtle and a breath-taking sunset. Dinner followed and by 9:30 PM, I was off to bed.

Day Two-Let the fishing begin!

As I approached the dock, I found my captain for the day; Oliver and his mate Luis in an ultra-slow drift a few yards away from land catching the days live bait using Sabiki rigs. These eight to ten inch baits varied with each changing tide from sardines to threadfin herring (the Pacific version of blue runners. All live bait was contained in an over-sized lighted live well that kept them frisky throughout the day.

To my surprise and shear delight, the fleets 29' custom built Sea Vee center consoles are powered by twin 140 Suzuki four stroke engines, (30 knot cruise) and features an over-sized custom T-top to protect you from the deadly effects of the sun, Furuno Color GPS, plotter, moving map, duel frequency eco- sounder, stern mounted tuna tubes for readied live baits, an under the console head and perhaps most important, a giant cooler full of food and beverages. As for the fishing gear, all were recognizable and top quality. All rods are custom made by Kevin Bogan. A short 40-minute ride across flat, dead calm water and we were offshore ready to raise some Pacific sailfish. Bait and switch technique First allow me to burst a bubble or two. If you go to Costa Rica thinking you are going to raise 70 to 80 Pacific sailfish a day, you living in the past. By today's standards, a good day will see 20-25 fish raised. This was what I was told to expect and was just what we did. Whether you fish the northern or southern part of the country, this is what you should truly expect.

The coolest thing I've ever seen in my life was the method for which we baited, raised, hooked and released all of our Pacific sailfish. We employed Penn International 30's and 50's spooled with Andy fishing line, Dacron & High Catch wind-on leaders to which they tied on 100 lb. to 300 lb. ball bearing snap swivels. Only Rapala and Owner circle hooks are used here. Dental floss is tied into a 3" loop and passed through the baits eye socket without harming the live bait. Each end of the loop is picked up by the circle hook and in a twist and hook method, the circle hook is attached to the bait without ever penetrating the baitfish. The now rigged live baitfish is placed nose down into the tuna tube where fresh ocean water circulates.

The spread consisted of two 12" hook-less high-speed lures trolled off Cannon teaser reels and two flashy pink-colored Kona-Head type lures pushing plenty of water set in close to the boat. Within minutes of trolling, Luis yells "fish up," meaning the pencil like bill of the Pacific sailfish broke the surface chasing one of the Kona-heads. Quickly, the hook-less lure was brought in closer to the boat and replaced with a pre-rigged live bait that was lifted out of the tuna tube and lobbed in front of the sailfish who immediately fell for our bait and switch game and pounced on the confused offering and with one turn of its head, the sailfish was off on a gut-busting run. This was the kind of stand-up action seen on television. The first fish was the only sailfish boated for a photo opportunity and quickly released, as was all of the other12 sails brought boat-side.

Only four fish hooked did not make it to the boat. We had a total of 17 hookups and raised a total of 22 sails on our first day fishing. Day Three-One of the best days in my life! "Today fish light tackle," blurted captain Raffa, our new captain for the day. The boat was all fitted with custom-made light tackle rods fitted with Penn International 975s and Shimano TLD 15, 20 and 30s. After a short lightning speed ride to an inshore "hot-spot," we drifted over the piece. Rigged in the same fashion as the day before with Rapala circle hooks, we lowered our live sardines down to the bottom and then up a few cranks. Within what seemed like seconds, I felt that familiar quivering panic of my sardine as it encountered the gnarly jagged teeth of a fast hitting and fierce fighting cubera snapper that quickly had my rod bent to near breaking point. This was the pattern for well over two hours. The inshore fishing is pure insanity. We caught and released roosterfish to 65lbs., cubera snapper and jack crevalle. Just short of a sounding horn, captain Raffa yells "Offshore tuna." That was perfect English to my ears, and away we sped for a twenty-five minute ride to where another Parrot Bay Village boat was drifting through a scene right out of National Geographic. Acres of bottlenose dolphin were swimming in perfect harmony with each other and our moving boat as they crisscrossed our bow with amazing grace only to be upstaged by the acrobatics of spinner dolphins.

On the surface it was shear beauty, while below the surface was pure pandemonium. Huge schools of balled-up baitfish were being marauded by twenty-pound yellowfin tuna, while overhead were thousands of birds hitting the baitfish as they sought refuge from the attack below by going airborne, only to meet their demise by the swift swoop and gulp of the birds of prey.

I was all happening so fast that I was momentarily content with snapping photographs instead of tossing out a rigged baitfish with a spinning rod as did our mate Jeffrey, who was hooking up with tuna for that nights sushi dinner. I am not sure if the sailfish waited for the craziness of that hour-long blitz to subside, or if the commotion raised the sails, and in doing so, broke up the party, but as birds thinned out and the performing dolphins took their last curtain call, I found myself doing battle with a 90 lb Pacific sailfish on a spinning outfit. Taking sailfish on a Penn 7500 spinning reel with live bait is a real thrill. Unable to effectively fish for sails by swimming out live baits as I had done, we set out the teasers and trolled, raising 13 sails. We pitched the live baits down the center of the boat as we did the day before, but today we were rigged for light tackle fishing. My instincts were telling me to set the hook causing me to miss several strikes. When using circle hooks with light tackle, you must refrain from your natural instinctive urges to send the hook home and allow the magic of the circle hook do its job. All in all, this was by far one of the best days of my life, and not just my fishing life, my entire life! My trip drew to an end as I dined in Parrot Bay Village's open-aired beachside restaurant and feasting on a great sushi and sashimi dinner of yellowfin tuna prepared by chef Frederico.

After a cocktail or two with some new friends and ticos (local Costa Ricans) , I turned in for the night and slept like a fully pacified baby who was nursed to sleep by its mother. Waking up to the sounds of scarlet macaws and painted toucans outside my cabina each morning was savored one last time as I was scheduled to start my journey home to New Jersey, but not until I had one last fill of fresh cut local tropical fruit and a couple of cup of the best coffee on earth.

If you're looking for that "once in a lifetime" fishing trip/eco-tour that pits you against the wonders of nature, look no further than Costa Rica's Parrot Bay Village nestled at the foothills of the Punta Matapalo (rain forest) on the Osa Peninsula in the town of Puerto Jimenez. Now being classified as "A Gem In The Jungle," Parrot Bay Village is truly like no other resort. It lies somewhere between vacation and Euphoria.

 

Side Bar

Costa Rica is a country with just about everything; nearly 30 percent of its territory is protected, making it an eco-tourist's paradise. Visitors can enjoy incredible biodiversity, lush rainforests, active volcanoes, white-water rafting and many more adrenaline-pumping activities. The country straddles the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, making it a year-round paradise for water-sports enthusiasts. As the Costa Ricans, called "ticos" say, "this is pura vida" (life at its best).

For more information about Parrot Bay Village go to: http://www.parrotbayvillage.com

Or call toll free from the USA and Canada 1-866-551-2003

All major credit cards accepted.

Interesting Facts

Pacific sailfish caught between 7 and 9 degrees of the Equator, are consistently the largest in the world at 90 to 120 pounds, 110 pounds being the average. Spanish name "Pez Bella". The largest roosterfish was taken in the Golfo Dulce (sweet gulf). It is the second deepest gulf in the world at 800 feet. The southern pacific area of Costa Rica consistently catches 40 to 60 pound roosterfish. Spanish name "Gallo".

Average water temp. 82 degrees. Water depth 1500 meters

Surfing is at Matapalo is the best in Costa Rica with four different breaks to choose from.

 

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Parrot Bay Village
Apartado 91
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
506-2735-5180
Fax: 011-506-2-735-5568
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1-866-551-2003

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