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Vivir o morir!
Octubre 2013 - by:: Coco Funes

My first day of fishing was like all those one goes first, of study and adaptation. We left early and sailed for 20 to 30 minutes, upon arrival we found out the river Sixaola turning into sea, with a tawny color that clashed into the ocean water changing its color. We searched for tarpon on the surface, but nothing. There was a lot of birds and seagulls eating sardines and the guide said ' millions of jacks '. I had the rod # 12 in my hand and sent my fly in that direction, and they bit immediately, fighting with a tremendous strength, bending my rod like a ?U?. After hooking 5 of them, I wanted to dish what we really came looking for? tarpon! In one moment, it happened, one took my fly (tarpons from Costa Rica are very aggressive, the moment is as if you are walking down the street and suddenly a bus, comes out of nowhere, and strikes you) but as I wasn?t ready, I couldn?t set the hook properly. The heat and humidity also were doing their work, diminishing my resistance.

The second day was Barone?s fishing day, so I went in the boat as moral support. This day was tremendous the amount of jacks in the sea, Tito fought without stopping all of them (there were 7) and lost 3 tarpon that were tremendous, I think one of them even reached the 100 pounds!
I was like Templar Hot with no sword! But I knew that the third day, my second fishing day, I was playing my cards once more and that was ?my? time.

We left at 6 in the morning but I told the guide called Augustine to come 5:30 and it was only me in the boat, since Tito decided to hire a tour for snake photography. We arrived and there was no one in the place. I started to cast and notice that the day was not the same as before, no seabirds and therefore no jacks eating schoold of sardines... after a while "zasss " a jack bit, good enough to prepare my spirit and body. The guide took it as dinner for his aborigin community. The speak a local language which is a mix of spanish, french and english. He spoke very fluent the English language and Spanish as well? once in a while he mixes up the words and you get totally lost, but you manage to get along just fine.
New shots and suddenly " grass " totally unaware a small tarpon around 22 pounds bites the fly and when it jumps, spits out the fly. I started to get a bit anxious, so I change the fly, one with feathers since they?re lighter, and notice that my fishing companions have arrived and fished already!
Suddenly, sharp pull, I nail it 1 , 2, 3 times and hold the line while all happens in milliseconds fraction ... the tarpon comes out of the water, jumps ... lands ... runs and making himself out again, I salute the king and in the 3rd jump spits the fly! Fuck 'm beaten, it had about 80 pounds, ?what a streght? I think as I ask again Agustin for more water.
I start all over again, not before changing the fly , tippet , and check the knots. We give another ride through the are, while I listen to the guide asking God for a tarpon.
It's 10:45 when suddenly I get a abrupt pull, short, but incrdeibly powerful. I set the hook repeated times, while I feel my thumb getting cut in half by the line. But I didn?t care, and the line continued to be tight. The cards are dealt, I came for that: all or nothing, so I?m doubling the bet. I strongly hold the rod and there he jumps and fall into the watre carrying with himself part of the Atlantic Ocean! ! He speed runs and jumpsshaking his head trying to get loose and falls ... The finger was bleeding and I was shaking like a leaf by the tension and effort and looked stunned as he devoured the backing ... new jump at 215 yards, and started to feel terrifyed by long distance between the tarpon and me. I instantly shout to the guide ?start the engine? to get closer, so there we went, to open sea. I got finally the backing in and shortenned the distance, it would have been impossible otherwise. As I said I came here to this, to live or die in the attempt.
The coast was far, far away and I asked the guide, how much time I have been struggling; ?two hours? he answers? ?shit, and this fish feels as nothing has happened!?. I remember seeing a Coke in the cooler and I ask the guide to pass me one, I needed sugar to recompose myself again.
It came to meet me in 2 occasions, and the guide tried to grab the tippet but it was still very alive, the second time to upload but was very rough , the second time it almost drags the guide with him As time went by, I started thinking wejter the knots were ok, if the leader was going to resist, evey time it entered and wen out the rod holes!
Fear gripped me as well as tiredness, but non of us would surrender. I didn?t have any other choice but to take him to the coast, so I tel this to Agustin and he agreed, the idea was to keep the tarpon always at 55 yards from the coast. My left foot hurts a lot, I must have a finger totally blasted... we put ourselves in tune with the guide to start approaching maneuvers . The guide is another old fighter , Agustine is 49 like me , and there we were risking our lives the 3 of us. Getting the boat to the coast wasn?t easy since the waves were strong and the boat was 8 meter long! As soon as my foot touched land, I jumped and run far from the boat, giving the backing away to the fish and parying it didn?t cut off.
I sat in the sand, and stuck there to finish my fight.
I enter the 35 meters and closer, used the waves in my favor, whenever the wave came I quicly put more pressure. When it was at and got more pressure advantage , until he had a 16 yards, Agustin jumps into the water and tries to get the tarpon. As Agustin is a short guy, the water completely covers him, and all of a sudden he cries out ?there are 2 tarpons?
My god, 2 tapons, is as if your best friend got right next to you in you worst moments and would let go until you?re safe! It?s common that tarpon watch after another, when they are in danger, so they hit his mate to wake him and give him courage to fight for freedom.
But this time, it would have his freedom but when I say so! It was like a gladiator?s scene, Agustin rolling over the tarpon!. It is impossible to describe Agustin?s happiness and the big smile he had in that tanned face, once he got the tarpon by the mouth.
We both unhooked the fly and took as many pictures as we could. I asked him how much it probably weighted and he answered '140 pounds'.... 'wholy sh...' I screamed!!!

Agustin was in a hurry to return the tarpon to the water, since it they?re very delicate whe tired, and didn?t want him to die.
It took a while for Agustin to return the tarpon back into its regular pace, very kindly he frees him and I hear he says ?Thank you God?.

It was a 4 hour fight, so we started our return to the lodge, as Templar after a battle I check my body for injuries .. I have three cuts across both, my feet hurts, I take off the Crocs and realize I have a finger totally red, about to explote! Definitely I?m ogoing to lose the nail? but I do not care!.

We live surrounded by jungle in Manzanillo, sleeping in the first floor of the lodge, and right above us there?s a band of howler monkeys, which at 4 in the morning begin to howl and throw coconuts and broken branches on owr roof, no glass in the windows of course, only flimsy nets. It?s like a Fellini film? as we wake up Tito runs out in underware with his camera to photograph them, I mimic their nosie and they cry louder and throw more and more stuff, also shit on us which we have to dodge! Our neighbors are propably cursing us ?no one sleeps ? and I don?t want to go back home!!!!

Coco The Legend of Costa Rica

Flyfishing Go to flyfish destination: Costa Rica Tarpon Paradise

Testimonial More testimonails about Costa Rica Tarpon Paradise

COSTA RICA, a great experience!
May 24, 2012 - by:: Daniel Beilinson

My adventure started yesterday afternoon, around 2pm we went out fishing, and in only 20 minutes we were in the opening of the Sixaola. The landscape from the boat was precious, crystalline waters, white sanded beaches and abundant tropical vegetation. It was a sunny day and we could see a remarkable fishing activity; many tarpon rolling next to a sardine shoal. I started casting and in few minutes I hooked a jack crevalle that weighted around 18 lbs. I kept on casting for my tarpon to appear but jacks kept on stepping in our way. After 3 hours I fished 6 jacks, and one of them over 26 lbs. By 5.30pm the day was over and sunlight was scarce.

This morning I went out with a different guide named Carlos, who assured that many tarpon were caught in an area that goes from Punta Mona (island near Manzanillo) to de opening of the Sixoala, covering a total of 4 miles. Once near Sixoala I started casting using the same technique as the day before, the boat going with the flow while I casted and brought slowly. Around 9am I felt a strong pull and immediately hooked it very tight. After a 20 minute fight I landed a 100 lbs tarpon; tied a new shock tippet, a fly and continued.
After lunch around 2.30pm we went back fishing, but the weather had changed and it was windier than during the morning. Started casting again, always using intermediate and a Red & Black Toad, I felt a strong pressure and I hooked strong, with the feeling of it being a tarpon but weird because it didn?t jump. It run 150 yards taking line and backing, which made the guide think it was a big jack crevalle. It was very hard to bring it since every time I pulled a bit, it started running again?but after half an hour around 50 or 60 yards we finally saw it?s back and it was clearly a very big tarpon. With the guide we commented the fact it hadn?t jump ever since the hooking, and said that it jumped half body out of the water. After a 3 hours fighting, it was still in deep waters and the strange thing was that there were 3 or 4 small tarpon around mine, getting in the way each time it wanted to take some air?

Anyhow, it was soon 6pm getting dark and a thunderstorm approaching the boat so we had to act fast. As I tried to approach the tarpon to the boat, the guide could finally grab the tippet and pulling it, the tarpon moved its head breaking the hook?s knot and got away!!! A pity, but worth it. The guide could felt its weight and said it probably reached 130 / 140 lbs.
Now I?m in the lodge, writing this report, drinking a comforting ?gin tonic? waiting for dinner. Tomorrow more!

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