Costa RicaCosta Rica

Day 10: Go Fish

Destination: Tamarindo

lisa, captain chris and fresh catchI have yet to find another pursuit that is as simultaneously relaxing and exciting as sport fishing. Today, I had the pleasure of offshore fishing with Captain Chris and Captain Peter, owners of Go Fish Costa Rica. These two best friends love two things: the "Pura Vida" lifestyle and catching lots of fish.

Our group consisted of myself and a newlywed couple named Bill and Lisa. We met up at Tamarindo's El Pescador restaurant at 7:30 a.m. As we hopped into the speedboat that ferried us to the the yacht, Peter told us to get ready for sport fishing summer camp for adults. We boarded the boat, and he introduced us to their mate, Hever (which Chris pronounced "A-bear," in his Southern accent).

giant sailfish

The fishing yacht was pure luxury. Fully equipped with a bathroom, kitchen, air conditioned cabin, GPS, sonar equipment and fishing gear, I could have lived on this boat. Chris asked us what kind of music we liked, and hooked up Lisa's iPod to her favorite playlist.

Since the protected waters of Las Baulas National Park is located just north of Tamarindo, we set our sights south toward Avellanas and Playa Negra. When we arrived, Chris and Hever set up the rods and strategically placed them around the boat so that the lines would not tangle.

fishing gear on the yacht

Then we waited. And waited. And waited. We watched a sea turtle bob to the surface just a few yards away, and Lisa and I snorkeled for a bit. Afterward, Chris whipped out drinks and snacks for us to munch on, and we lounged on the deck and got to know one another. Finally, a fish began tugging on one of the poles, and the captain said it was all mine.

After struggling with it for a few minutes, the fish escaped; although we will never know what it was, I like to think that I was wrestling with a shark. About ten minutes later, a mahi mahi took the line and this time I successfully reeled it in without a problem. We could not have been happier when Captain Chris began to clean and prepare it for lunch, right there on the boat -- fish doesn't get any fresher than this -- sashimi style with soy sauce and wasabi.

haver with sailfish

Just when we had settled down from this last catch, all of the rods lit up at once, like magic. Captain Peter had made a wise comment this morning, and his words kept echoing in my head: "fishing is a day of complete tranquility filled with moments of utter chaos." He could not have described the experience more accurately, and we loved every thrilling minute.

After about 3,052 high fives and 45 minutes spent running around grinning, fighting with fish and screaming every time we pulled one in, everyone on the boat was exhausted. Collectively, we had bagged nine tuna, three mahi mahi and one sailfish. I had seen sailfish on TV and in photographs before, but seeing one in person was unreal -- it was huge, with an impossibly long bill.

go fish crew

Bill had landed this beautiful sailfish, and for letting it go he would be receiving a three dimensional replica trophy in the mail (based upon the fish's physical appearance).

After we snapped a picture, Chris cut the beauty loose and released it back into the blue. With a fresh drink in her hand, Lisa asked why we couldn't eat it, to which Chris replied "If it has a bill, you don't eat it. It's like kicking a puppy....or eating a kangaroo. You just don't do it."

Much like diving, sport fishing is addictive. There is something surreal about being in the sun all day, and using massive amounts of energy to catch a meal. Chris and Peter invited me back anytime, and before our feet had even touched dry land I had pulled out my calendar and set a date.

Day 10: Go Fish in Pictures