142. A New Year Begins

New Years GIF from New GIFs Monday 1/1- Being a holiday I had the day off but even so, we didn’t have any plans. Ramie decided early in the day that we should go for a Dusti ride and he wanted to take Skye with us. She has only been for one ride before, and we realized that the set up in the back seat wasn’t ideal for her, so Ramie has made a nice modification to hopefully make it easier for Skye to ride. Part of the problems that Skye was running into are that Dusti doesn't have easily removable rear seats, and that the floor is slippery plastic and has ribs, which makes it hard for Skye to stand on and hold herself in place. We brainstormed for a while and thought about what we could do to make the ride easier for her and came up with a few ideas. Ramie has found a way to make the flip up seats easier to remove and he cut a piece of plywood to fit the space where a person’s feet would go when you’re sitting on the seat, and finally we attached a rubber floor mat to the plywood

115. Fish On!

via GIPHY

Tuesday 3/28- Today we have a post completely from Ramie's perspective 

I was scrolling on Facebook this evening and saw a posting for an open seat on a fishing trip that leaves right out of Uvita. I was a little surprised because that is not something that you see posted very often. I often see tour companies offering a day of offshore fishing for a group, but to see someone saying there is an open seat is not common. I pondered on it for a while and then mentioned to Dana that I was thinking about sending a message to the person to ask for details. She told me to go for it because at least then I would have a little bit more information to base a decision from. The guy quickly replied saying that he is looking for a “crew” to go out and try to find Tuna and Mahi Mahi. We are just coming into season where they will be much easier to find, but they don’t know where they are right now and he wants to get a jump on the competition tours. There was a fee involved but it was significantly lower than what a tour price would be. I told Dana all the details and we both agreed that it was a good deal for a full day of fishing, and since I always talk about wanting to go on one of these trips, now would be a good opportunity to try it out. I quickly messaged the person back telling him that I’d like to join him aboard to help out. It turns out that the person I was talking to was the actual boat owner and also mentioned that in addition to the one I just booked, there is still one more seat open if I knew of anyone else that might be interested. After thinking about it for a few minutes I messaged Ray. You are probably wondering who is Ray? Well Ray (and his wife Wesley) are the people who are currently renting Karen's house (the place we rented when we first moved here). Since I help Karen out by managing and taking care of the house, I have gotten to know Ray a little bit so I figured why not spend a day fishing with him? I quickly got a reply back from Ray saying he was all in. Excellent!

For the readers that have been following along you may remember that we went out fishing just over a year ago when an old friend from MN was visiting Costa Rica. That boat was a large what I would call a “pro” fishing boat, with a big inboard Diesel engine, room for 8 plus the crew, and a bolted in chair to sit in when you’re reeling in a big one. Overall, that was a much nicer and way more expensive boat that measured 38-42’ long and 16-18’ widith. Something like this..

The boat we will be going out on in a few days is much much different. We will be fishing out of a Super Panga. This type of boat has an outboard engine, no fancy chair for when you’re fighting that big fish, you have to pay attention to how many people are all on one side of the boat and keep it balanced, and it’s only about 28’ long and 8’ wide. This would be a very different ride! 

Thursday 3/30- Today is the day we are headed out in search of Tuna. The plan was to meet at the National Park entrance at 6:30am and leave the beach by 7am. There are no marinas here in Uvita so the tour companies launch the boats directly from the beach. The National Park has some large tractors that will hook to the boat trailers and tow the boat down to the ocean and launch them as a large wave is coming in at the same time. Once the boat is in the water, the crew has to turn it around to face it into the waves and push it out far enough that they can start the engine. Once it is floating and the Captain starts the engine and gets the boat into position the rest of us got boarded. Eventually once we were all on board, we got organized and stowed everything so it wouldn’t fly out as we were speeding out into the ocean. We had a long ride ahead of us. 

Here we are heading away from the beach in our boat for the day

We would be speeding out to the fishing grounds which start about 35 miles offshore and it would take us about 1 hr. to get there. The ride out was somewhat uneventful but we did spot some sea turtles and sailfish fins. Once we made it to what they call the Blue water (which is the deep water where the tuna will be, and of course an amazing shade of blue) the captain and the owner set out 4 lines and the search for the fish was on.

We trolled and trolled looking for signs of where the tuna may be located. We were told to call out anything that we may see that could indicate the tuna were nearby. Some of the indicators that we were looking for were birds, schools of small bait fish on the surface of the water, Dolphins, or basically any signs of life. To be honest it was very boring the first 3 hours of just trolling. I always say, I’m just out for the boat ride and it’s a bonus if we catch some fish! We did have a Marlin come and hit the lure a couple of times, but couldn't get it to bite. Catching a Marlin is still on my bucket list but I don't think that's going to happen today. We spotted a few birds and followed them but nothing came of following those.

Around 12:30 we started seeing more birds, in fact we started seeing large groups of them. Apparently this is a good sign. The birds are there because the bait fish are there. And where there is bait fish, there are tuna. All of a sudden, about a half mile away we spotted something that took us a while to figure out what we were actually seeing. Then it finally clicked, well at least for the Captain, he told us to hang on and he sped towards whatever this was. As we got closer we were all in shock… Hundreds of Spinner Dolphins jumping and spinning out of the water chasing the bait fish. Mixed in with the Dolphins there were massive tuna also jumping along and hundreds of birds diving into the water!

The water looked like it was boiling! It was amazing to see all this wildlife in one place, someone even said that this is the stuff you only see on National Geographic! We all agreed and we were all yelling with excitement of seeing this magnificent sight. 

Now that we found the tuna, all we have to do is follow the visible birds and Dolphins, but the trick is that we have to get in front of the moving, always zig zagging Tuna in order to catch them, and in the process we have try to figure out where they may turn next. All of a sudden we had a fish on the line! I happened to be standing in the back by the fishing rods and the owner grabbed the rod and handed it to me while he brought in the other lines. I had to wait to start reeling until the other lines were clear, so I had to play the fish and keep the tension on the line so it wouldn't shake the hook. I could tell it was not a very large Tuna but it did put up a hell of a fight and had one good run with the line. Once I was given the all-clear, it only took me about 5 minutes to get it in the boat. I’ve always wanted to catch a Tuna and now I can say that I have. I just need to catch a bigger one now! Congrats and high fives went all around and the lines were all dropped again. Now we had to go catch up with the fish again. 

What is interesting about Tuna fishing is all of the other different animals that you encounter when you’re out there. The reason behind everything that is happening and why there is so much action is that Tuna travel in what they call the “tuna ball” which consists of hundreds of Tuna, big, small, and every size in between. That ball can be swimming along at anywhere from 50-100+ feet deep. This Tuna ball is chasing the school of bait fish and as the Tuna are going after them the bait fish are being pushed up to the surface. This then gets the attention of the Dolphins and they will join in on the hunt. The dolphins will go below the bait fish and blow air bubbles to make the bait fish go up higher towards the surface. When this happens it draws the attention of the birds which will dive in to catch those little fish to eat as well. Once the bait fish are that close to the surface they are thoroughly confused but still grouped together so all of these animals go on a feeding frenzy. This is why the Tuna and Dolphin are trying to fly out of the water and the birds are trying to swim. It's truly an amazing sight to witness.

For the next 3 hours we followed this group of tuna all around the ocean. At times the tuna would stop moving forward and would just be suspended so we would try jigging for them and throwing surface poppers. We were able to hook 2 other fairly large tuna, but unfortunately the line kept breaking before we could reel them in. I guess there was some rotten fishing line on this rod, so they finally stripped off a bunch and re-spooled it with fresh line. Once the Tuna went on the move again we continued trolling around with one small, lonely tuna in the boat, they joked we may be able to all get one or two Tuna fish sandwiches out of it. Like I said before, I'm just out there for a boat ride and if we happen to catch a fish well that is just a bonus. We got our bonus, albeit, a small one.

Our time was quickly coming to an end and I heard them say we had a 1.5-2 hour ride back to shore. Wait what? While we were following the Tuna farther and farther from shore we ended up at about 52 miles off shore. Wow! I would have never guessed that we ended up going that much further while chasing the fish! We kept referencing Cano Island (an Island that is about 30 miles offshore) while we were moving, and I noticed that it was getting very hard to see from where we currently were. 

We just happened to get in front of the Dolphins again and the Tuna were jumping around us. There was a guy up on the bow casting the popper lure into the fish and then he got a hit! Great, same pole that had the rotten line, what's going to happen this time? I was expecting it to break again but it didn't. He quickly passed the pole to one of the other guys in the boat who tried to bring the fish in from the bow but he was told he needed to get the rod to the back in order to catch the fish. We had to pass the rod around the posts that were holding up the sun top so very carefully to make sure the fish didn’t get any slack in the line, we handed the rod from person to person until it was at the back. When I had it and was walking it to the back, I could tell that this was a huge Tuna! Nothing like testing your grip by holding the rod in one hand and passing to your other hand over open water! This fish has some power behind it! Ray quickly moved to my other side and took the rod again and started reeling. Little by little he was gaining, but then the Tuna would run and he’d lose all of the progress he had just made. Ray would gain on it some more and then another run! After a few rounds of this game Ray was getting exhausted and could barely hold the rod up. The owner was asking if he wanted to pass it off but Ray said no fish would get the better of him, so he just kept trying.

The tuna exhausted Ray before Ray exhausted the Tuna. The fish was probably about 100' out but Ray's muscles failed and he had to ask for help. Since I was standing next to him, I would help him bring the rod up and he would reel when we brought it back down, but he was so exhausted that he just couldn’t even reel either. He was defeated but would not give up the rod. 

Finally, the Captain said we had to get it in fast because we had a deadline, we had to make it back to shore if we wanted to get the boat pulled out of the water before the tractors quit for the day.  Ray tried, I will say he gave it his all but when he said “I think I'm going to puke my lungs out” I knew he couldn't do it anymore. He fought the tuna for a good 15-20 minutes, but eventually had to relinquish the rod to the owner of the boat. It took the owner another 5 minutes to bring it onboard. Ray wanted to hold the fish up for a photo but he couldn't even lift it off the floor! 

Ray is trying to lift it but his muscles are still fatigued
Once again everyone was cheering and high five-ing, but the celebration had to be cut short. With the fish onboard we had to go, we quickly stowed everything again and the boat started flying through the water. After about an hour the boat slowed down and the Captain came to the front of the boat where there was a huge fuel jug, I guess we had to refuel the boat! It took about 5 minutes and all 30 gallons from the jug were now in the main tank and we were again flying along the water. On the way back in we had to dodge more sea turtles and we also saw some huge sailfish fins on the surface of the water. Monster Marlin were in the area, man it would be fun to hook into one of those!

We made it back to the beach about 20 minutes late and kept our fingers crossed that one of the tractor operators would still be there. I was watching the captain as we were on our way in and he was watching his cell phone for signal. Once he had enough bars to make the call, he called the guys on land to let them know we would be late. Getting the boat back close enough to the shore with big waves was quite the challenge, they had to back the boat to the shore so they basically surfed the boat on the waves. You could tell they’ve done this a few times and they almost made it look easy.

Once we were off the boat we unloaded all of our gear and waited for the owner and Captain to wash the boat down and cut up the Tuna. We decided that a celebratory beer was in order and we walked to a little restaurant not far from the park entrance.

We enjoyed our beers and waited for the call saying everything was ready to be picked up. When we got to where they stored the boat, the crew was there waiting with the news of our haul. My fish was 8lbs and Ray's fish was 60lbs. Wow, Ray's fish was enough to feed all 6 of us! They gave me half of my fish and the Captain wanted the other half, we split up the big one equally. At the end everyone was happy with the amount that they got to take home with them and the owner was happy with how much we helped today. He told me that he is going to keep our phone numbers and reach out when he needs our help again. He explained that he has a core crew that he typically uses but if one or two of them can't make it then he will reach out to us as the standbys. I can't complain, I think today was worth what he was charging us and I hope to maybe be part of his more regular crew someday (Although, Dana does say that this is the most expensive tuna she’s ever eaten outside of a restaurant, I think that you have to take the experience into account as well).

Here I am taking a bite of our delicious fresh raw Tuna.

The Official Casa Costa Breeze end of March rainfall total was 8.6 inches

Pura Vida!


 

Comments

  1. So amazing! I love reading your adventures ❤️

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  2. awesome. nothing better the fresh tuna!!

    ReplyDelete

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