Justin, the owner of Pez Rey, our guide service, picked us up at 6:30am sharp and we boarded the boat by 6:45. We headed south to the water off the coast of Manuel Antonio where we got into fish right away.
Elton caught a 70-pound rooster not 15 seconds after his first cast hit the water. Took him about an hour to get it in.
Great way to start a trip where my only goal was to catch a rooster. I didn't really know what to expect, so this was a tremendous start.
I hooked a mackerel on my second cast with the fly rod, but it came off after a couple seconds.
I landed three roosterfish, baitfishing. Before we left the first place (the rocks off the coast of Manuel Antonio), I landed a small jack crevalle on a fly – my first saltwater fly-caught fish. Pepsi, our guide, told me to cast into the pods of baitfish that were popping on the surface – it worked. Elton caught three roosters, including one of the most obscene fish I've ever seen. The bait we were using were called Look Downs – looked like a 6-inch jack or permit.
From there, we moved north to the area just north of the marina to pick up some more bait. Pepsi was using this thing that had several hooks going down the last 6-er-so feet of the line, and when he'd see bait popping on the surface, he'd chuck it in there. Sometimes they eat, sometimes they snag. But they weren't cooperating, so he threw tried throwing a net overboard, but that didn't work either. Eventually we got a few, and headed further south to an area where they got a bunch of smaller roosters yesterday. Here, Pepsi could tease up some roosters for me to fly cast to, but only had a couple takes and they didn't follow it up far enough. Elton hooked another rooster, but it too came off.
With the action slow here, Pepsi decided we'd go fish behind some shrimp boats he saw way off in the distance. After a lengthy boat ride, we pulled up by a rickety old craft.
Pepsi then cast an 8-inch plug sans treble hooks, which would get the jacks in a frenzy, and I'd cast my fly into the fray and jerk it until a fish took. The first boat yielded only a couple chases (the only thing I caught was a brown sea bird – maybe a booby? - when it went for my fly), so we moved on to another. This was the money boat – on Pepsi's first cast a slew of them came up. I cast into it, but nothing probably cuz I didn't let the sink-tip sink a few feet. On the second try, however, I got one to take. Took me into my backing, and after 15 minutes or so, it was at hand. Great fish, great fun.
We went right back into it, and hooked up immediately again. This was a smaller fish that was coming in fairly readily. Then SNAP. The 12-weight Redington CPS snapped on the ferrule of the butt section. I'll tell that story for years as being a tremendous fish, but it was just a tired rod. We managed to pull the fish up hand over hand.
With no backup fly rod, I decided I'd had enough. We had a long boat ride back to the marina anyhow. After about a half hour at full boar, we returned. Thoughtfully reminiscing on the boat ride, I was on top of the world having accomplished my goal of catching a rooster, and then some. As Justin says, “Pepsi's the man.”
Great day. One I won't forget.
We're already planning a trip for next winter. We're thinking about the Bahamas for bonefish. I cannot wait.
|Ready to cast, should any jacks follow the plug.|
|My big brown booby.|