Archives for July2015

Capt. Blackbeard visits Drake Bay

It was not long ago that I was waking up to the sound of howler monkeys and exotic birds just outside my bedroom window. I can still hear the waves breaking down in the bay… I’m talking about my last trip to Costa Rica. I’ve been back for a little over a week; my mind is still in Drake Bay.
Drake Bay is located in the Osa Peninsula which is in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica. It is only a short 45 minute flight from the Juan Santamaria International Airport. We flew into a town called Palmar Sur, then drove 20 minutes to the adjacent town called Sierpe where our transfer to the fishing lodge would be waiting. From Sierpe it would take an hour and a half boat ride through amazing mangrove tunnels and past little fishing villages to the river mouth and up the coast.
After all this traveling, we arrived at Aguila de Osa where my good friend and lodge owner, Bradd Johnson was waiting for us on the dock along with his staff and cold drinks. Given the special welcome we received and the amazing sight of the lodge’s entrance, we could tell this was a place we would never want to leave.
The reason for our visit was to work along with Heliconia Press and Jim Sammons on the production of The Kayak Fishing Show which airs on WFN and NBC Sports. We had planned to spend the rest of the week fishing in Drake Bay in search for roosterfish, cubera snapper, dorado, sailfish, and any other species we could find. I had been working with the Costa Rican Board of Tourism, my correspondents in the country, and Bradd Johnson for months in order to plan this trip. It felt so good to finally see all the efforts come together especially when my guests’ minds were being blown with each moment and each experience. Just on the ride there and even before arriving, we managed to watch and photograph caimans, crocodiles, toucans, macaws, and three different species of monkeys.
We all knew we were in for a week of extreme adventure…
Day one started with a meeting with members of Blackbeard Fishing Co., Heli Press, Bradd, Capt. Deidy and his crew. After discussing our goals for the week and loading the kayaks we left the dock and headed south in search of structure near the shore. When we arrived to our destination, Jim Sammons and I got on the kayaks and began to do what we do best…
The feeling of anticipation combined with the majestic sights of the Corcovado National Reserve’s shore line immediately made us feel like there was no other place we’d rather be. Well…, that and the fact that we started catching fish right away. I managed to hook to a couple small snapper and lost two large fish while Jim released two nice roosters. The day came to a close with Jim’s last release and we headed back to the lodge in time for happy hour.
Days two and three where my favorite. Not only because on these days I managed to have good luck, but also because everyone did great. We fished around Isla del Caño and on a couple of underwater mounts not far from there, about seven miles offshore. The bite was on!
Now, the real story here happened on the morning of day two… as usual, I managed to get myself in hot waters (literally!). Fortunately, the story ends well so don’t worry. Keep on reading and I promise you’ll be laughing.
Things were calm on the morning of the second day. Jim Sammons hooks up to a roosterfish, Drei Stroman (BBFC) lands a gorgeous dorado, and Esteban (yours truly) goes for a swim. Wait, what???
Yes… I flipped my kayak! But it was all for a very good reason!
So, I’m sitting on the yak rod in hand, legs stretched out while waiting for a bite when suddenly my line gets tight and then the reel starts screaming… Oh snap, fish on!!! I began to position myself for battle, secure my paddle, adjust my drag (maybe too much), and start the sleigh ride. At this point I have no idea what’s on the other end, all I know is that it feels huge. After a few good runs and taking half my line I began to reel it in, as it got closer I could tell it was a big rooster. Obviously me seeing the fish meant that it saw me, that’s when my “new friend” decided to go down and under my kayak and I followed… I was being dragged underwater but there was no way I would let go of that rod. I managed to surface and by then one of the support boats was close so I climbed onboard (rod still in hand) flipped my kayak back, got on the kayak, couple strokes of the paddle and I was back in the fight. After another ten minutes or so, I had a gorgeous 60 pound roosterfish on my lap. That’s when I realized that one of my rods, and my tackle boxes were gone. –“It’s all good” I said-. Although I lost some gear, I was thrilled especially knowing that this priceless moment was all caught on camera. Yes!!!
Of course, as you can imagine the guys cracked some jokes about the flipping of the kayak and probably will for a long time… But you see… it was hot out there!!! As Director of Operations of Blackbeard Fishing Co. I must lead by example and heat stress is no joke… So, what better way to cool off than going for a swim?
All and all, this was the most amazing trip and collaboration I’ve ever had since founding BBFC. The rest of the time in Drake Bay was no different from days one, two, and three. Everyone got fish, we ate like kings, laughed out loud, cracked jokes (mostly about me), and most importantly strengthened our friendships. It just doesn’t get any better than that! No wonder my mind is still at Aguila de Osa…

Photo credit to:
Will Richardson
Heliconia Press