Friday, August 31, 2012

For a Reel Adventure Head to the Osa Peninsula for Sport Fishing

A guest post from Crocodile Bay Resort in Costa Rica.

By Nora M.

Deep in the Osa Peninsula surrounded by wild beaches and rainforests, you will find some of the best offshore and inshore fishing in the world.  This secluded area is home to Corcovado National Park, which is one of the most biologically intense places on the planet. With its pristine secluded beaches, warm waters and Costa Rica’s catch and release fishing policy, it is hard to find another place that can compete with this small country’s fishing opportunities.  Big game fish such as Marlin, Sailfish, Snook, Roosterfish, Dorado, Tuna and Wahoo swim in the waters off the Pacific.  Costa Rica ranks as one of the top 100 sport fishing destinations in the world , attracting both championship anglers and amateurs.

The Osa Peninsula is the most remote region in Costa Rica and is a favored travel spot by backpackers, nature lovers, conservationists and world-class anglers. The Marlin inhabiting these waters are probably the biggest prize of all the game fish.  Reaching a weight that can exceed 500lbs. Blue Marlin peak in April and November. Once a Marlin is hooked, you are in for the fight of your life.  With an all time record of 1560lbs, it is not surprising why Ernest Hemingway choose this king of the sea as his protagonist in The Old Man and The Sea. Catching a Marlin is a thrill. Marlin and Sailfish are among the catch and release fish. Dorado or Wahoo can be taken back to port for consumption.

For a long time, this region was protected from overdevelopment because it is difficult to reach.  This factor coupled with Costa Rica’s overall commitment to a sustainable tourism industry has a positive impact on maintaining healthy marine populations and overall marine life.  According to a 2009 study conducted by the University of Costa Rica, 22% of high season tourists come to Costa Rica for sport fishing.  The industry generates $600M per year in gross income, 4,000 direct jobs, and $78M in tax revenue.  Preserving marine life is big business, and as a result Costa Rica enforces responsible fishing programs including catch and release.  Dorado and Wahoo are exempt from catch and release because they reproduce at such a prolific rate and maintaining a healthy population includes hunting them for consumption. 

The expertise and knowledge of the locals who fish here is top-notch , as is the equipment and technology on most of the boats. There are expert Captains familiar with these waters and the migration patterns of big game fish that can take you out on a charter . Sailfish, Tuna, Dorado and Wahoo are all offshore fish.  If you want to venture for some inshore fishing, there are plenty of options to choose from, including large Big Cubera, Snook and Roosterfish. With the mangrove estuaries, beaches and rivers there is an abundance of freshwater and inshore saltwater fishing opportunities. In fact, every day you could choose a radically different fishing adventure. 

Costa Rica has taken what was already an abundant marine environment and by practicing sustainable business, it has maintained an area that is truly a sport fisherman’s dream.  If you are looking for excellent fishing, hot sun, great beaches and pristine conditions in a secluded environment, the Osa Peninsula is the place to visit.  Year round you can fish game fish both inshore and offshore. It is one of the few places in the world you can travel to with exceptional sport fishing that is not overrun by tourists.   It is really just a matter of personal preference, since you can have pretty much any kind of fishing experience in these parts making the Osa Peninsula a top sport fishing destination.

Be sure to check out the Crocodile Bay Resort Blog for more great Big Game fishing content!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gear Review : Costa del Mar Wave Killer 580G Sunglasses

Part 1 : First Impressions

Like most bloggers , I love to get gear review opportunities. It's a win-win for me and the manufacturer. I get free or reduced price gear , they get an honest review. I really haven't pursued any gear reviews for quite some time , so the story of how this one came about needs to be told before I go any further...

Recently , I was talking with another blogger on Twitter about his planned purchase of a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses. I told the truth - great glasses , I've heard good things about Costas , etc. All true. Where it gets interesting , at least for me , is the part where I mentioned that " I'm still waiting on @CostaSunglasses to give me a pair to review ". I was mainly kidding around with my friend , but I do have a habit of getting myself into trouble on Twitter. Much to my surprise , and indeed an indication of how great the people at Costa are , I had a reply an hour or so later that said " :) give _______ at costa a shout for possible review " ! WOW , someone at Costa smiled at me with an emoticon via Twitter , and even said I might have a chance to review one of their fine products! Needless to say ,  I was stunned , but wasted no time in getting in contact with Costa Del Mar.

*DISCLAIMER* I received these glasses free of charge to use , review , and write about here at . The opinions stated herein are my own , and not in any way influenced by Costa Del Mar.

First , let me just throw it out there : I've always been skeptical of high end sunglasses. Why? I am extremely unlucky with sunglasses : If I don't break them , one of my kids will. Because of this (keep in mind it dates back to before I had kids) , I've always found that cheap sunglasses are the best way for me to go. A fiver for something that won't last more than a few trips? Not too bad. Two Benjamins for something that won't last more than a few trips? Absurd.

That's where I was mistaken. The glasses I currently have in hand are pretty sweet. I am pleasantly surprised that Costa's claims about clarity and color , and also the durability (assumed ; before testing) , are spot on with regards to the quality of their glasses.These are the clearest sunglasses I have ever had on. They also seem to be very well made. Advanced polymers and several proprietary technologies are combined to make Costa Del Mar Sunglasses durable , dependable , and nearly indestructable.

So what kind of Costas did I choose? Did I forget to mention that? : I opted for the Wave Killer style with 580 Glass lenses in the Green Mirror finish. Why? The team at Costa has researched this , and touts the 580G Green Mirrored lens as perfect for " Inshore saltwater , river and stream fishing ", which makes it perfect for the types of fishing I do , with the exception of lake fishing. As of now , I'm predicting these will do just fine for Striper fishing , or even the wayward Bass or Trout trip.

Why the big Wave Killer frames? I have a big head. These are a perfect fit for me. So far , the only complaint I have is a little unfiltered light getting in from the bottom edge of my glasses - right next to my giant nose. Coverage across my face is excellent.

Now , let's examine what an order from Costa looks like :

IF SEAL IS BROKEN Check contents before accepting...

A little creepy , but maybe Costas really are that good? The picture above was taken before I opened the package. I assume they've had problems with people stealing the glasses and substituting an inferior product?

A real Costa Box.

And the case.

Good marketing - social accounts for Costa , plus a decal on the back for the back of the fish wagon.

Gripper that came with my order , probably every order?

My thoughts :

I wasn't actually expecting these to be here until early September , so right off it was a pleasant surprise.

My local UPS guy got in on the fun too. He and I always talk fishing , so it's nice to open the door to a " Hey dude , here's your fancy fishing goggles". It was surreal to hear him talk about how good Costas are while he was wearing another brand.

I am very excited to try these on the water. The green mirror glass actually has an amber/copper tint to it (or some technical term that I'm not aware of.) After only a few hours of use , I can definitely see why these sunglasses are priced as they are. Costa is not kidding when they say these glasses enhance color and block glare . I am certainly impressed. It was almost distracting at first , then very comfortable. After I had taken the glasses off , I was very disturbed by the bland look of reality without the rose colored lens of my Costas. --- I'm only halfway joking about that - really unbelievable how much sunglasses have changed over the last 25 years.

I was somewhat disappointed that they came with a "Gripper" , as I had already made my own in an attempt  to continue the fine tradition of homemade Costa pier insurance.

Next up : A Trip to the Beach.....Will the Costa Sunglasses hold up on the pier? I have no idea , but I intend to find out!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Can Fishing Turn You Into an Asshole?

Excuse the , um , salty language. I really try hard not to let that stuff creep into what I write , but sometimes it's called for. I had an enlightening moment last night when I was talking to Owl Jones over on G+. Sadly , I realized that  , yes , I can be an asshole , and I've picked it up from years of fishing.

I try really hard not to do it , but the fact of the matter at hand is that I've developed a certain distaste for certain types of people that frequently pester me when I'm trying to fish. I can go into great depth about some of the crap I've seen people do that angers me , but I'll just stick with a few memorable ones.

Entitlement  : Just because you've seen me catch a few fish , does not mean I am in ANY way obligated to tell you how or why what I'm using works. If you approach me demanding to know what I'm doing differently , chances are I'm going to give you a bullshit answer. Don't get me wrong here , if someone is nice , or if they have their children with them , I'm usually friendly , polite , and helpful. When some jerk comes up to me and starts pumping me for information , without an introduction or any semblance of humility , things go badly.

Rudeness and assumptions : I had a guy demand that I help him with his purchase at a pier house one time. Did I look like I worked at the pier? Maybe. Could I have helped him? Most definitely. Did I? Nope. Why? I was watching the pier house to make sure douchebags like him didn't start stealing anything , while the manager dealt with an important delivery. His attitude told me that he would have been just as rude and demanding of my very dear friend , the manager. She doesn't deserve that crap , and I stuck around after she got back to make sure he didn't give her any trouble. I really hate people who think it's OK to talk down to anyone working in a job that requires them to deal with the general public.

Cruelty to animals : Some of us consider the seagulls that hang out around the piers to be a type of wild pet. Regulars will often feed them , or even help a bird out if he or she gets tangled in someone's fishing line. Just because you don't have sense enough to keep your bait out of their reach doesn't mean you can scream and throw things at them. If one gets tangled in your line , let someone who knows how to handle a bird help you out. They are not frozen turkeys and because of this you have to be very careful when handling them. That bird who's wing you just broke? Probably condemned to a slow death by starvation , and I'll be damned if I'm gonna help you catch fish. He also didn't deserve to be called a " Stupid F%$%$&^ Bird " , you are a guest in his habitat , and you put your line in his way.

Bumming : I am not a tackle dealer and even though I have an abundance of fancy and exotic looking gear , I do have plans to use it. I'm not someone who can be bought , either , so if you try to offer me money for that bottom rig you've been eying all day , you're just gonna make me mad. You can buy most of what I have in my box at any tackle shop or pier house. If I do decide to take pity on you , be warned : I will give you the dullest hooks I can find and I might even mash the barbs down to further frustrate your attempts to catch fish.

Drunken Belligerence : Your wife or girlfriend may put up with the way you talk to her , but I won't be helping you any time soon. I hope you get a fish hook buried past the barb in a sensitive place. I've actually had a guy spend about 20 minutes fighting with his significant other , then come straight over and ask me for help. Not gonna happen , bud.

Trying to impress your hot girlfriend : I totally understand that you might want to embellish your fishing exploits in front of your bikini clad paramour , but understand that the guys at the end of the pier can smell a fish story a mile away. Unfortunately , there are some unsavory characters that will yell " Turtle " or " Dolphin " and frantically start pointing at the water. This usually serves quite well as a way to get your gal up on the rail and bent over , so the dirty old men can have a good long look. I don't do this and I think it's wrong , but it's further evidence that fishing can turn you into an asshole of the highest order. Please embellish responsibly.

It's a sad commentary on people's rudeness and inflated expectations , but it doesn't have to be this way. A little bit of manners goes a long way , and even though I'm sure there are some people that can't stand me , I  have made a surprising number of friends through fishing. I have no regrets. Please leave a comment below if you've ever been sabotaged by a crusty old fisherman , or if you ever set a " Tourist Trap "!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Whatever Happened to that Something's Fishy Guy?

Please excuse my recent extended absence. It's funny how time can slip away from you sometimes , and I've recently hit a time warp or something , so it's been over a month since I've posted here on the blog..!!??!?

I normally try to post at least once a week , when I first started it was more like every other day , but that didn't last very long. Personal problems have kept me away from fishing and blogging. I normally don't like to air my dirty laundry in public , but I'll let it slide this one time....

Since early January I've been fighting a losing battle with my lower back. Surgery isn't an option , so I've been doing therapy and injections. Let me just throw it out there that back problems suck and I'm sick of dealing with them after almost 20 years of herniated disks , crushed vertebraes , and nerve damage. Lucky for me I'm on the mend now , but fishing may not be in my future for another month or two.

Causing me further troubles , I live in one of the areas that was hardest hit during the recent weather phenomena that introduced the word " Derecho " to a bunch of East Coasters. We were only without power for 4 or 5 days. Some of my friends and family weren't so fortunate , and had to endure Stone Age living conditions for as long as 12-13 days! It was an absolute mess , and in the future I'll take my power outages in the middle of winter when I won't have to face riot conditions to buy ice or have to deal with 100 degree weather without my AC.

Even worse , almost exactly 7 days after the DD (Damn Derecho) , my house was directly under a microburst from a strong thunderstorm. I don't really know what that is exactly , but it was freaking terrifying and I thought it was a tornado. It also managed to knock a large tree over on top of the house , break 2 windows , severely damage 3 of my huge pecan trees so that they had to be trimmed by a professional , tore the roof off of my barn , and cause a short 2 day power outage. Fun times! I'm still cleaning up the mess from that one , and will be for quite some time , but thankfully I have good insurance.

The real kicker though , is that the most intelligent and loveable dog I've ever known passed away this past weekend. My heart is broken , and I'm almost choking back tears as I write this. She was a part of the family , loved my kids , guarded my house , and was a constant companion to me for almost 13 years. I'm thankful she didn't suffer very long and was healthy until a week before her passing , but her death has left a hole in my heart that won't heal for a very long time. I would give anything to have her follow my footsteps to our pond just one more time , or hang out in the shade or nudge my hand for me to pet her. I really am lost without her , and I will be for quite a while. I still look for her in the mornings when I have my coffee , and things just aren't the same. What more can I say?

My sweet pooch :(
I'm doing my best to get back to blogging , and hopefully back to fishing in the next few days. I do have a few hurdles in the way , like football practice for the boy , and the imminent start of the school year , but hopefully things will be back to normal by the first of next week when I post a nice interview with one of Hawaii's premier Charter Captains!

Have a great week/weekend ! I'm gonna have a beer in memory of the best dog ever...