In less than 36 hours after arriving in Costa Rica my friend Cody had us out on a boat for my first ever, deep sea fishing adventure. I had stopped at a pharmacy the day before to get some Dramamine as I tend to get seasick when the boat is not in motion and just bobbing up and down on the waves. I was trying to remember the elements of a photojournalistic story and the types of shots to take. I'm missing a good close-up portrait of Chino but I've got most of the other elements.

Captain Chino and his first mate took us out past the horseshoe-shaped bay that gives Playa Herradura its name. We picked up speed and headed out until the coast was just a small strip on the horizon. Chino knows all the best fishing spots so we headed to those to check things out.

Taking the water taxi out to our fishing boat.

Heading out to the open ocean past the horseshoe-shaped bay that give Herradura its name.

Sailfish are the sportsman’s fish and they are supposed to be released after they are caught so we were looking for tuna and grouper this trip. We would see where small flocks of birds were flying and diving and head to them. I knew from countless hours of Discovery channel that the birds were eating the smaller fish that were chased to the surface by bigger, predatory fish. In this case the bigger fish was tuna.

Casting a lure out to a patch of feeding tuna.

Lures were cast out into the feeding area and pulled in to attract the tuna and entice them to bite the lure. The tuna were very smart that day and preferred do be the diners and not the dinner. We tried several locations and found many schools of feeding tuna but did not get any bites.

Dropping the baited hook to the bottom where the grouper hang out..

So Chino headed out to a large rock cluster in about 180 feet of water that was right on the edge of a shelf that dropped off into really deep ocean. We dropped baited hooks down to the bottom and, in no time, the fish were biting. Now, 180 feet is a long way down so each fish took a while to reel in. Each line had two hooks on it and three times Cody reel in a double catch.

The First Mate unhooks the grouper Cody reeled in.

In about an hour at that spot, we caught 24 fish. 16 of them were grouper and the rest were a species I can’t remember the name of, but Cody told me they have a much too strong fish flavor for his taste. He also said that was the most he’d ever caught. I didn’t really want to catch more that we could eat and my Dramamine was wearing off so I let Cody know I’d had enough. By the time we had everything reeled in and set to go, I was in pretty bad shape. Soon after the boat got going I was doing much better. I love the clean ocean wind on my face and cruising across the waves.

We kept the grouper and gave the other fish to the first mate for his family. He graciously accepted the fish. Cody also invited Chino to bring his wife and join us for dinner that night. We took the fish to a beach-side restaurant and let them know we would be back that evening with friends for a fresh-caught dinner. Grouper was most definitely the “catch of the day”.

Captain Chino and his wife plus other friends join us for a dinner of fresh grouper.
That evening we had a nice dinner with several Costa Ricans and a couple of American ex-pats. There was a mix of Spanish and English spoken at the table that had me wishing I had gotten further along with my Rosetta Stone Spanish course. All-in-all it was a pretty good day that ended in a real nice evening.

  • Wayne Turner

     Nice story Don.  Please keep these up!