The air temp was warm and the wind was calm. The scene reminded me of a pleasant July or August morning back on the Cape.
I waded into the tepid water of the Pacific Ocean and made my first cast. Little did I know I was about to catch to catch my biggest fish ever from shore.
I spotted several mullet streaking through the shallows and disappearing into the whitewash of the waves. Beyond the breakers an adult bonito went airborne.
About 10 or 15 casts later I receive my first bite of the morning. The fish pulled hard and fought well for its size, but I soon identified it as a Jack Crevalle-not the monster Roosterfish which I was targeting.
I released the Jack and got right back to casting. There was life in the area and I felt as if a big fish could appear at any moment.
Frigates pass high overhead on their way out to sea, while flocks of Pelicans coasted in the air, inches above the breakers. I was fishing in the middle of a healthy, active and flourishing ecosystem.
"The Fish Of A Lifetime"
My next cast took off like a missile and sailed high into the sky, landing further beyond the breakers than usual. I began a slow retrieve and watched my white slow-sinking "Canal swimmer" from slither seductively just beneath the surface.
Once again I saw the huge Roosterfish an instant before he engulfed the plug. My heart skipped a beat as the rod doubled over. Seconds later 30 pound test braid is ripping from my reel and the drag is singing.
I caught the entire experience on camera. Click play below to watch the full 13+ minute video of the experience.
Tackle & Equipment:
The fight was like a cross between a big striped bass and small bluefin tuna. There were big head shakes on the surface and 75 yard drag peeling runs.
The fish was beat and so was I!
One of the hooks was embedded in the Rooster's gills and a pool of blood began to form in the sand. Once beached the fish didn't struggle, and it was clear to me the Rooster was exhausted.
The night before I had met a Tico named Mono who said his neighbors would really appreciate fresh Roosterfish fillets. Most of these folks earn less than the equivalent of $5,000/year, so I knew they would benefit greatly from this fish.
The next day I delivered the fillets via bicycle to Mono and other members of the community. I was amazed at how quickly the fillets went, and how appreciative everyone was of the big catch.
Later I showed photos of the fish to several locals who know Roosterfish and have caught plenty of them over the years. Based off the photos they think the Rooster probably weighed around 70 pounds, which would make this the largest fish I have ever caught from shore.
Our time here in Costa Rica is dwindling. As I write this post we have less than 24 hours left in the country. God willing, Lauren and I will be back in the USA just in time for Christmas.
As we prepare to head home from Costa Rica, I can't help but feel extreme gratitude. Out of all the places in the world we just so happened to pick a beach that would produce world class surfcasting, and so much more.
April 2019 Update
Since first publishing this post, my wife Lauren and I have returned several times to Costa Rica. In addition, in 2017 and 2019 we guided a total of 13 people from MFCC in Costa Rica, taking them on hiking trips, fishing trips and much more. In March of 2019 we teamed up with our Costa Rica friends in an effort to help them market an eco-village and wildlife reserve which is located 250 steps from the beach where I've caught roosterfish, jacks, Spanish mackerel and more. Lots start at just $35K. You can learn more about the project by going to arenaalta.com
Lauren and I would like to wish you a very Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas! We would also like to thank you for following along on this journey to Costa Rica.
We have so much more in store for MFCC in 2016 and beyond, and we are excited to have you as part of the adventure.
I’m fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I’ve been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!