Homosassa Guide – Fishes Costa Rica

Amigos: Hope everyone enjoyed a safe and happy holiday weekend! Before I get to the much requested and anticipated fishing report from our “adventure of a lifetime” to Costa Rica, I’d like to thank and highly recommend, Rudy Gomez, from www.cyberangler.com for all his hard work and expertise in designing our new website, www.HomosassaRedfish.com. Check it out, as we’re very proud and believe it’s one of the best fishing websites on the net!

Though as anyone that has a web-site knows it’s a never ending project, and any comments and suggestions on ways to improve ours are always appreciated. Also if you have any photos, or testimonials of your time with us, that you’d like added to our gallery, please forward them to my attention at, RedEd@homosassaredfish.com. Due to the many requests and inquires, we have also added a Recipe Page to our new site, and if you’d like to add any favorite recipes to that page, please send them our way. Make sure you look at the classic picture on the bottom of the page, About The Captain! It’s ancient!!

Our amazing and unforgettable experience started on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica at The Rio Colorado Lodge, www.riocoloradolodge.com which is located on the Northeast coast of the country, very near Nicaragua. The “rustic elegance” of The Rio Colorado Lodge is only topped by the amazing Tarpon fishing! The lodge is like attending fishing boot camp, each morning, you are awakened with a knock on your door, at 5 A.M., with breakfast served at 5:30, and the pangas departing, out the river to the Caribbean Sea, at 6 A.M., for five hours of morning fishing. You return to the lodge in time for lunch and siesta, before going back out for three hours in the afternoon. The afternoon session ends just in time to return for happy hour which is always followed by a gourmet feast! All the meals at The Rio Colorado Lodge were deliciously amazing!

The entertainment was provided by the lodge owner, Dan Wise, a retired judge and attorney from Mississippi. You gotta hear him speak Spanish! Anyone that has met or knows Dan, knows that he is full of _ _ _ _, never-ending stories and a wealth of knowledge regarding this beautiful country! As some of you already know, my fishing partner, (as I crossed another fishing destination off my “bucket list”), was my best friend and beautiful wife, Cynthia, who just smoked me the entire journey and CAUGHT all the trophy fish! Not only did she CATCH more fish then me, ALL of her fish were bigger then mine!! Beginners luck??? I became the photographer on our honeymoon/anniversary adventure, see attached photos!!

Our first morning session was spent trolling and hunting for Silver Kings, without any luck. Things changed as we went back out in the afternoon with Captain Speedy, who had located the fish and we began deep-jigging, and Cynthia was rewarded with her FIRST ever, Tarpon, a respectable 70 pound trophy! Cynthia also managed to land a feisty 20 pound Jack Crevalle. I was also lucky enough to CATCH and release my only Tarpon, of the trip which we estimated at 50 pounds!

The second morning session, we felt like we were in a thimble, bouncing around in the panga as it was choppy, messy and windy, which made standing in the small boat very difficult. As we trolled the morning away in the difficult conditions, Cynthia did manage to JUMP two Tarpon, estimated at 90 and 100+ pounds! Captain Speedy, due to the rough conditions changed the plans for the afternoon session and we fished anchored at the mouth of the Rio Colorado River, where the fresh water of the river met the sea. The color of the water made it look like we were fishing in chocolate milk as we bounced in the rough surf. We now were drifting rapalas behind the boat with the current, lined up with five other anchored pangas waiting for the Tarpon to eat. The “Tarpon Queen”, Cynthia, did land another fish, this one estimated at 120 pounds. Speedy, estimated the one I briefly had on at 190 pounds before he jumped the fourth time and threw the hook. His last jump came so close to one of the other pangas, that the two guys in that boat each had one leg out of the boat, as they thought the monster was coming in!

Day three, was combat fishing at it’s best as not only were the conditions still rough, it was now raining real hard and we were all dressed in full rain gear. Our last morning session was full of action and visually spectacular, as we hooked and jumped, 9 Tarpon and Cynthia landed and released another one estimated at 60 pounds. She also managed to CATCH the only Barracuda of our adventure, which during the fight we were hoping was a Roosterfish. After lunch and siesta, we again anchored at the mouth of the river and were able to hook and jump, 3 more Silver Kings, with Cynthia, again, landing 1, estimated at 150 pounds! As we bounced anchored in the chocolate milk surf, this fish almost spooled her reel and she thought she was going to be pulled over-board but she was still able to boat the angry fish in just 21 minutes!! So our three day total was 18 Tarpon, hooked and jumped, with 5 landed and released!! That was freaking awesome!!!

After purchasing our trip to Costa Rica at one of the local Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), banquets, we decided that being the country was only the size of West Virginia, that we would also visit and fish on the Pacific Ocean side. After much research, we decided to stay at the Crocodile Bay Resort, www.crocodilebay.com, located on the Osa Peninsula, on the Southwest part of the country, near Panama. The property and accommodations at this resort were absolutely beautiful, and after our welcome cocktail in the resort lobby, we were shown our upstairs suite, which was very impressive to say the least. We immediately knew we were going to really enjoy this part of our adventure!

Our first day fishing on the Pacific side, was aboard a 33 foot Strike Tower-boat, and we decided to go offshore trying to catch billfish, as Cynthia had never caught a Marlin or Sailfish. We were able to raise one Sailfish and one Dorado but neither made it to the boat. As the water was murky from the recent rains, we changed plans and went back inshore hoping to catch Roosterfish. After catching a couple of Snappers, Cynthia battled a 40 pound Roosterfish which she put in the boat for a few quick pictures, (see attached), in 16 minutes! This was Cynthia’s first Rooster and you know that you’ve caught a trophy when your Captain (Freddy), came down from the tower to take a picture with his cell phone. Under Todd Staley’s, a former Floridian and Director of Fishing for Crocodile Bay, creative way to count each day’s catch, our first day’s total on the Pacific side was 1 Sailfish, 1 Dorado and 1 Roosterfish raised and 2 Snapper and 1 Roosterfish boated. After the fleet returned from each day on the water, the count from every boat was posted on a board in the lounge for all to admire and discuss at that evening’s happy hour.

As we walked out the 750 foot pier for a second day of fishing, this time aboard a 27 foot Boston Whaler center console, we decided to stay inshore and just try for Roosterfish. Fishing close to the rocky beach and picturesque cliffs, we did set a lodge record, that lasted one day, as we caught 15 Jack Crevalles! Anyone that has caught Jack’s, knows that pound for pound these fish offer great sport and the Spanish word for this species is “Toro’s”, which means bulls. The Costa Rican version of Jacks, we caught this day were on steroids with the smallest weighing 20 pounds and the largest one 30 pounds! We did also catch one Bonito before Cynthia caught another first, a 25 pound Blue Trevally! Neither one of us had ever seen one of these before and not only was it beautiful, it’s one of the few fish in the Jack family that’s good to eat. Which we did that evening, when our mate, Royer, invited us to meet him at one of the local restaurants in town.

My final day fishing in Costa Rica was with Brendt Baker, a new friend visiting from New Mexico, aboard a different 33 foot Strike tower boat. We decided to stay inshore and try for Roosterfish in the morning and possibly go offshore for billfish in the afternoon. As we approached the rocky beach, we knew it wasn’t going to take long for the action to begin as I have never in all my fishing travels seen as many frigate birds diving and working the water. We tied the new lodge record, with 15 Jack Crevalles, 6 Bonitos and Brendt was lucky enough to catch 1 African Pompano, which we invited for dinner! My last fish of the day, did his best imitation of a Roosterfish but turned out to be a real bull Jack, weighing in at 35 pounds! When we returned to the lounge for happy hour and checked the daily tally board, we discovered our lodge record for Jack’s had been broken as another boat had caught 21 Toro’s. So six of my first seven days in this beautiful country were spent on the water, now that’s my definition of a vacation! This was a journey of many FIRSTS, our first time in Costa Rica, Cynthia’s first Tarpon, Roosterfish and Blue Trevally but most importantly our first anniversary in amazing country!!! Let’s go CATCHING, Pura Vida, Captain Red ED