The Zancudo Lodge Fishing Report

Golfito, Costa Rica

First, I’d like to thank The Reel Animals, Captain Billy Nobles and Captain Mike Anderson for putting together an awesome adventure. I’d also like to thank the staff at The Zancudo Lodge for their hospitality, making us feel at home and the outstanding multi-course meals every evening. Congratulations to Patrick Catone and Mark Ansley for winning the “First Annual Reel Animals Sailfish Tournament” at The Zancudo Lodge! Cynthia and I were leading after the first day and managed to finish in third place for the tournament and were one of only two boats to score points all three days of the tournament.

This adventure was fishing boot camp Zancudo style! All three days of the tournament you would receive a wake-up knock on your door at 5 AM, with breakfast being served at 5:30 and boats departing at 6 AM. A short boat ride latter you were in 3000 to 4000 foot of water surround by all types of marine life but still able to see the beautiful Costa Rican mountains. The first day our Captain decided to put the lines in the water as we approached an immense school of Spotted Spinner Dolphins, there were what seemed like thousands of them spinning and swimming all around the boat and we were hoping that there would be some hungry Tuna working the bait underneath the school. It’s always interesting for me to watch and learn how different Captain’s fish in different parts of the world. Most of the Captain’s at Zancudo use the “bait and switch” approach, we had 5 teasers out, two outriggers, two short lines and one shotgun line down the middle with a skirted Ballyhoo. We had two live Blue Runners in the Tuna tubes in the back corners of the boat ready to be dropped in the water as soon as a fish was spotted in our spread. It didn’t take long for the action to begin as a Sailfish surfaced right behind the boat, maybe 5 feet behind the engines! We couldn’t get that one to eat as the Blue Runners drifted to far back and he never could find the baits. Not long after that we saw multiple free-jumping Sailfish which is enough to get anyone’s adrenaline pumping! Day One’s totals, we raised 8 Sailfish and released 2 Sailfish, estimated at 70 and 100 pounds! This for Costa Rica at this time of the year is a very slow day but still for us a very cool day. We also released two other Sailfish that were hooked on a long line and at first we thought were just free jumping fish. It was a very sad sight, as the line was so long it was almost impossible to see the other end and I got very emotional that they are allowed to bait the long lines with live bait. Our Captain told us one day he released 14 Sailfish from a long line, we did our part that day and saved those two Sailfish.

Day Two, was a day that Cynthia and I will never forget and isn’t that what an adventure like this is all about? Not only did we witness Manta Reyes jumping out of the crystal clear water but watched many huge Turtles just sunning on top of the water. What really made the day exciting was sight fishing for Sailfish! Many of you have sight-fished for Redfish and understand the excitement of seeing a Redfish tail, we’ll let me tell you that’s nothing like seeing a Sailfish on top of the water with its sail fully extended above the water! Talk about your heart almost jumping out of your chest it was impossible to remain calm as we couldn’t count how many sails were above the water! It was easily 20 + Sailfish with their sails fully extended above the water doing the Sailfish funky thing! We had them swimming next to and under the boat which was an amazing site in the clean blue deep water. Every direction we looked they were free jumping, it was a sight I’ve never seen and will never forget! Now the other reason Cynthia will never forget day two is that she caught her first Sailfish! Fishing with Captain Elvis she landed what we estimated was a 70 pound Pacific Sailfish after who knows how many jumps! With the Sailfish right next to the boat and just as the leader was about to touch the rod tip, the fishing rod exploded. She continued to battle the Sailfish with her rod now being in two pieces which didn’t make the fight any easier. She worked the Sailfish boat side again and as Captain Elvis grabbed the bill, I grabbed the tail. My hand didn’t come close to being able to go around the tail, it was fat, so I just held on until it was revived enough to swim away. As the fish swam slowly away we noticed another Sailfish maybe 10 yards from the boat waiting for his buddy/mate. Day Two’s totals, 3 Sailfish hooked and 1 Sailfish released!

Day Three, another beautiful day on the water started by making bait on the inside before heading back to the fishing grounds. We decided to stay inside and fish for Roosterfish and hoped to catch enough of them to win the tournament. We began slow drifting live Blue Runners off the world’s famous surfing beach, Pavones Beach and the action started immediately as soon the first bait hit the water. I was hooked up with a nice Rooster that measured 34 inches when we got the trophy in the boat! We trolled further south towards Panama and had some more action with Jack Crevalles and Spanish Mackerels when the drag on one of the reels began to scream. Cynthia grabbed the rod and the fight was on! After a great battle the estimated 25 pound Roosterfish, (he was longer than the cooler in the boat), came aboard for some quick pictures and was released to fight another day! Cynthia had a Panamanian Roosterfish!!

Thanks again Billy and Mike for a great time in Costa Rica at The Zancudo Lodge! If you’re interested in attending the “Second Annual Reel Animals Sailfish Tournament” I would contact the Reel Animals at to reserve your spot as I’m guessing many of the folks that were there this trip will be coming back next year as everyone had an awesome time.

We would like to thank everyone that stopped by to visit with us at Outdoors Expo & Boat Show hosted by The Reel Animals, at the Tampa Fairgrounds last weekend. The show was another great success for us as we booked more charters than any other show we’ve been to! Congratulations to the winners of the daily drawings for a FREE charter in Old Homosassa, Elwood Caudill, Kevin Adams, Tony Mayer and Alexis Henry. Your charters are good for one to four people and include everything except your lunch, beverages and gratuity; trip must be taken on a mutually agreeable date within one year from the date of the show. Please contact us at 352-382-3939, or check our web-site at for more details or to schedule your date. Thanks for visiting our booth and taking the time to register!

After last weekend’s Outdoor Expo & Boat Show in Tampa we only a few days left for charters in April or May. April has always been one of my favorite fishing months here in Old Homosassa, as the weather warms up and the water temperature increases the fish start feeding aggressively. We had days last April were we caught 14 different species and landed between 70 and 80 fish per day! Check our web-site at for more details or to reserve your charter on my new Young Boat or on my newly renovated Carolina Skiff. Let’s go CATCHING!!!

Watch my next report for photos and stories from our “Third Annual Lazy Flamingo Tournament” in Charlotte Harbor. Fishing again with our good friends Little Lisa and Big Ben Marshall from the Tampa area we’ll be staying on Useppa Island chasing Redfish and Trout around Pine Island Sound. What’s unique about our tournament is that it’s just the four of us and a big part of the adventure is to see how many oysters we can eat at the Lazy Flamingo in a week! This will also be the first road trip for my new Young Boat, “Red Eddie or Knot”. So my year started fishing with Captain Johnny “Black” Hodge in Buras, Louisiana, then to Golfito, Costa Rica fishing with Captain Elvis and next to Useppa Island with Captain Big Ben Marshall, what’s next? Oh yeah, The Waterfall Resort in Ketchikan, Alaska in June!!!

Capt. Red Ed Brennan
(352) 382-3939