Fishing for a birthday present
Shopping for brithdays can be a little tricky here in Costa Rica, especially out in the boonies where we live. But one thing that Dorian wanted for his eighteenth that we could provide was to go fishing. So we arranged a 1/2 days charter out of Potrero to see what he could catch. Of course I didn’t want him to fall overboard or anything, so I decided that I should probably tag along, just in case.
Now if you have ever read this blog you know Dorian likes to fish. Quite often he seems to catch the most and the biggest fish on our trips. He also puts in the most time fishing. He likes to kill fish. Just type in fishing or Dorian in the search box to the right and you will see.
We have not done a lot of charter fishing in our time. So this charter trip was going to be a pretty new affair. It started great. A small skiff backed into the surf to pick us up from the beach. The water was warm and as we waded knee deep out to the skiff, I could see there was some cloud cover, but no rain in sight. Our vessel was a 30 foot fiberglass inboard with a soft top and cabin for sun and rain protection if needed. There was a single well used white leather fishing chair on the back deck. As soon as we let loose from the anchor the two deckhands got to work. Within 5 minutes they had 5 lines in the water and we were trolling. Within another 15 minutes Dorian had landed two Spanish Mackerel. All this before we even left Potrero Bay.
Now being from Alaska my idea of fishing is a little different than what we were doing here. You see when I fish I like to get my hands dirty, put on the bait, tie on lures, set the lines and most of all set the hook. Here our two tico guides did all the work for us while we watched intently. You could tell they had time on the water. Their skin was dark and dry, from the sun and salty water. They hand sunglass rings around their eyes, and the youngest ones white logo t-shirt was as thin as a toilet paper, with small fish stains all around it. They worked in unison, each knowing what the other was doing, while the slipper skipper up on the flying bridge drove the boat. The deckhands were thin and whispy, their clothes dirty, they were happy talkative and fun. The skipper, he was nice, but he was a big man, his clothes much cleanier and we didn’t get to talk to him much.
The wind was a steady 10 knots out of the east, but it was a welcome wind making the temperature just about perfect for shorts and t-shirts. There were clouds, but sparsely strewn amongst the blue sky, and this aftternoon the water was the perfect place to be.
After his initial catch the fishing slowed a bit as we headed out to deeper waters. We fished hard between some local islands, Elephant Rock, the Catalinas and the Mexican Sombrero. We managed to catch a couple of bonito and saw some neat birds, but that was about it. After several hours we trolled our way back into Potrero Bay. As we reached the mouth of the bay, Dorian landed another Spanish Mackerel. Then all of the sudden two rods went down at once and we both landed a nice silvery Pacific Mackerel, about 6 pounds a piece. Then the bite was on. For the next hour there was a fish on the line every 3 or 4 minutes. We were pulling them in as fast as we could. It was hard to take my eyes of the golden sunset, but I knew fish needed to be landed, so I did. The gear was too big for the fish we were catching, but every once in a while one of them would put a little extra fight to up the excitement. It was fast, furious and fun.
By the end of the day we had landed at least a dozen mackerel, let several fish go, ate an expertly butchered fresh pineapple and watched an amazing sunset. It wasn’t fancy but it was effective and it was a fun way for a dad to spend the day with his 18 year old son. The next night we ate like kings with mackerel 3 ways. We even shared some with our guards, life long Ticos who said they were as good as any fish they have ever had in Costa Rica. High praise. Perhaps next year when he is going to college in Florida, he will take me out deep sea fishing for my birthday for the big ones, as long as I pay the way I’m sure it is a date.