by Capt Gene Kelly

My wife and I got back from Costa Rica the last week in March. It’s never just a fishing trip, but we have to spend some time on the water. We fished two days out of Quepos and I had been checking reports leading up to the trip and it seemed things were on the slow side as far as the sailfish were concerned, two or three per trip being the average. When we got to the pier Jerry Glover, the owner of the boat we were fishing on told me that some new fish had been found and it was picking up.

Well, that was a little bit understating it. The first day my wife landed nine and I landed one – but I have an excuse. I bring my own 15 pound tackle and that’s all I fish. My wife gets all the boat rods, so I was outnumbered 5/1. But I should have done better. I dropped back to six fish. Two never took the bait all the way down, just held onto the tail; two never left any mark on the bait at all; I hooked one that came loose after a couple of jumps (I think he was lassoed) and I landed the last one. My wife told everyone at the hotel that she was pissed at me because I wouldn’t help her. I tried to take some videos, but in the sunlight, I can’t see the viewfinder. We did get one decent shot when Ivan, the mate gave it a shot. He’s 45 years younger. Maybe that’s why he could do it.
The second day we got eight sails and a 30 pound dorado that we had for dinner and crevice for our road trip the next day. My wife got five of those sails and the dorado. This day the fish weren’t coming up on the teasers, which is where I usually get my fish, but I did have to help her. One fish came up on the boat rod while the mate was cutting up some fruit,  












(mostly true)



so I grabbed the rod and my wife wouldn’t take it from me. Just my luck because this one wound up tail wrapped and I had to bust my ass to get him to the boat. I had to reel up another when we raised four and came tight on three, one of which was cut off by one of the others. At least this one wasn’t tail wrapped. Of the one fish that came up on the teasers, I got him with no trouble.As I said, it was not just a fishing trip. The first day in San Jose we drove about an hour and a half or so out of town up in the mountains to the La Paz Gardens. It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours just wandering around. They have a big butterfly area and lots of walk-in netted off areas with all kinds of native birds, etc. And then there are the waterfalls, about five of them, and you can follow different trails through the jungle that wind their way along the river. The longest trail is over a mile, but we opted for a shorter one. They are all down hill, which could be worrying if you think about the return trip, but they have a bus at the bottom to bring you back to the lodge.
On the drive to Quepos, we had to stop at the Crocodile Bridge to count the crocs (18-20). The last couple of times we were there they were all hanging out at the south end of the bridge and people would occasionally bring some chickens to feed them. I was going to do that, but could not find any place to buy them along the way. Good thing too, because they were all hanging out at around mid span, saving me about 500 colones ($1)
In addition to fishing at Quepos, we also had to visit the Manuel Antonio Park. It’s not what it used to be. Because of the number of visitors to it every day, they have enlarged the main trail to the size of a one lane roadway. It kind of takes the wilderness aspect out of it. The trail used to be wide enough for two people at a time. At one point a large golf cart came along with a handful of old folks who I guess weren’t up to the walk. I do not think we will be back there again.
The last leg of our trip was up in the Savegre Valley. It’s a bird watchers paradise and we are not exactly birdwatchers. But we do like to look for Quetzales, a medium sized bird with real long tailfeathers, and March is the nesting time for them. We did see one making a nest, but for most of the time all we saw was the tail as he pecked around inside the hole in the tree. I never did get a good picture of him because it was early in the morning and his hole was in heavy shade. We went back around noon and we had sun light on the hole, so I set up the video camera on a tripod an waited for two hours, but he never came back. You get to the Savegre valley by driving up to the highest point of the Pan American Highway in Central America (12,000’) and turn off and drive about ten miles over a winding single lane gravel road down to elevation 7000’. The road itself is an adventure. When we first went there 12-15 years ago there was only two or three lodges. Now there are about ten and in addition to their avocado, peach and apple farms, they all have trout farms where they raise rainbow trout. (You can also fish for them downstream a bit and I believe the fishing is pretty good, since it not heavily fished.)
We got back to San Jose late the last afternoon in country, had dinner and I wanted to go into the casino to use up the colone coins that I had accumulated. But, coins don’t work in slot machines anymore so we had to use the paper receipts. I cashed in a twenty and deposited 1000 colones ($2)in a machine, as did my wife. Just about as I was out of money, my wife's machine went nuts. She won big time, so we decided to take our winnings and leave. According to the receipt from the machine she one $109.40. Pretty good for a $2 bet. Unfortunately the machine didn’t have the symbol for colones, which is a c with two vertical lines through it like a dollar sign. What she actually won was 10940 colones ($21), which still ain’t bad.
The last notable part of our adventure occurred as we were approaching New York on American Airlines. Before we left San Jose they were encouraging people to take a $1000 credit to fly home on a later flight. Apparently the flight was too heavy. Some people took advantage of it, but not enough. As we got close, the pilot announced that due to fog at JFK there was a long holding pattern and we didn’t have enough fuel to participate and would be landing in Newark to top off the tanks. Interestingly, the copilot in Spanish blamed it on snow. After waiting on the runway for a while a fuel truck filled us up, then of course we had to wait in line to take off. We took off heading east and promptly turned left, finally turning east again around Peekskil. We finally turned south, crossing the Sound around Port Jefferson. On our final approach over New York Harbor, I could swear I saw Newark Airport. Forty-five minutes from Newark to JFK, with no sign of snow on the ground and about 20 miles visibility. I felt sorry for the lady sitting nest to my wife who had to get on a connecting flight to Spain that left ten minutes after we landed three hours late.That’s it. Can’t wait until la proxima aventura.

La Paz Waterfalls

Crocodile Bridge


Manuel Antonio

Karahe Monkeys


THE PATCHMEN                                          by Capt Gene Kelly

GUATEMALA LIGHT                                     by Capt Gene Kelly

PARADISE ON EARTH                                   by Capt Bob Koliner

GUATEMALA GUY'S TRIP                             by Capt Gene Kelly

FOUR DAYS IN PANAMA                                by Capt Gene Kelly

ONE MAGIC NIGHT                                         by Capt Bob Koliner

THE GREAT WHITE SHARK ROBBERY          by Capt Gene Kelly

THE RAGING QUEEN                                       by Capt Gene Kelly


COSTA RICA TARPON - CIRCA 1972                 by Capt Gene Kelly

JUST ANOTHER FISH STORY                            by Capt Gene Kelly

RETURN TO COSTA RICA                                 by Capt Gene Kelly

MONTAUK                         Artcle in Marlin magazine September 2011

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Capt Gene Kelly

Tropical Fishing Adventures

PO Box 2104, Montauk, NY, 11954

631 668 2019


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