The next chapter of my Costa Rica adventure is one of my favorites. After a fun day of inshore fishing and a good night’s rest, we went back to the Marina Pez Vela for more fishing action. The game plan for the day was offshore targeting Mahi Mahi and Pacific Sailfish.
We met our guide at the docks. His name was Junior, and his mate was Pepe. Junior said, “We won’t have to go far. They are only 7 miles out.”
I nodded with anticipation and followed the captain to his boat. Abby and I loaded up and the boat cruised out of the marina. The water was calm and flat for our easy ride out. The air was salty and warm as Pepe rigged the lines for trolling. He did several setups and rigged a couple of outriggers to spread the strike zone out. The bait was dead Ballyhoo hooked to a colorful skirted rig. It looked like sailfish candy to me.
As he dropped the lines out, the boat kept its course through the calm. I took my seat beside Abby and began to watch the lines. After a few minutes, we started a conversation about our trip so far. It wasn’t shortly after we started conversing that one of the trolling poles bent down with a hit.
“Fish on!” Pepe exclaimed. My heart pounded as I saw the fish break surface and danced in a frenzy on its tail. The nose was long and pointed on the fish. Its back had a huge dorsal fin and the color of it was vibrant. I had hooked my first sailfish.
I made my way to the fighting chair and engaged in a battle of wills with the fish. It took more line than I was gaining. Thinking to myself, “I need him to stop running so I can gain more line.” It eventually took a breather and it was my turn to gain on the fishing.
I worked the fish by lifting up on the rod smoothly and quickly reeling down. After gaining 20 yards on the fish, the sail decided to give me another run for my money. The line peeled and squealed from the reel and against the drag. The fish was taking the line but at a cost.
I imagine big game fishing as a game of tug of war with your dog. The energy and ferocity of their fight needed to be matched with cunning and timing. The fish stopped and I began my gain of line again.
My hands ached as did my shoulders and arms. The fish finally made it to the boat. And the fight was over. Pepe told me to sit on the corner and get ready. He grabbed the fish and placed him on my lap. Abby, eager to capture the moment, took several photos quickly. Pepe swiftly revived the fish and we released it.
I went back to my seat and as soon as I got comfortable. The lines hit again. This time it was Abby’s turn. She fought a solid 7 minutes with a Mahi Mahi. She gleamed with joy as the fish was gaffed. It would be dinner for the tonight.
The day continued with a few more Mahi Mahi but no more sailfish. Luckily, we had one more day of fishing to go. For more on my Costa Rican sailfishing, check out here.