San Carlos Sport Fishing
Jungle River Big Game Fishing
Fishing Adventures In Nicaragua and Costa Rica
Fishing Report # 49 May 2004
Fishing on San Juan River with the party of Georges Vice President of RAPALA
A great trip with Georges Vice President of Rapala Company and his friend, Frank , James and Brad V.I.P in our Sport Fishing World.. A lot of fun and Tarpon , several of them over 200lb ( on Rapala Rod, Shimano reels Rapala Lures Super Shad and Floating Magnum VMC Hooks)
We became friends and I have the feeling than Georges. Brad, Jim amd Frank will not forget their new friends from San Juan river, we have a lot to share...Thanks all of you Amigos... a very special thanks to you Frank.
" Since Ever " I have been using rapala lures.. All started 42 years ago when in France my Elder brother Alain offered me my First Rapala ... We went trolling for Bar ( Sea Bass? ) close to Houlgate in Normandy on La manche and it works so well than I became a Rapala adict since then in all my trips werever I go I have RED HEAD in my tackle box...
Super Shad Rap and Magnum works perfectly in our Jungle Rivers ( We are also curently experimenting some of the soft STORMS) . We have been the first to use them here. Now on Tournament day ( The only days in the year when River is a bit busy ) almost everybody use them.. well we still win because "we are lucky" and perhaps also because as fishing everyday all year round we know better than other the Colour to use.. ( oK.. We also have some other litle secret) .
George Party: Frank, Brad, James came in Via San Jose I met them at the airport.. Impossible to miss the group because Frank is always definitely the talest guy around and also because of the quantity of fishing equipment they came with.. First night as been in the center of town...
Folowing day we transfered everybody to Los Chiles in our Van ... we were suppose to fish the late evening that day but we left San Jose Late.. everybody was a bit tired Was raining , we went Down River In Hotel Sabalo ( a long ride ) and so and so... , We decide to relax and also we had to organise the Tackle ( Georges and Friends brought in a Truck load..) we have been talking and talking , For dinner we had our RIVER SCRIMP ( the big one 1lb each ) Meanwhile hundreds of tarpon were rolling/Playing in front lodge..Hotel Sabalo . at 30 Yards from us..
Folowing morning Fishing started at 5.30 am ... with a tremendous quantity of Tarpon every where in the river but "playing Tarpon" , not feeding no biting.. Not the total disater , still a few Strike.. and some tarpon played.. but for us so slow fishing compare to so many fish... It's been the same all day.. with Rain etc etc.. I started and my guide to feel some pressure coming from looks of our new friends ( Frank know this was trip #4 with us.. but for the others??). Please no missunderstanding every body was still very very nice but some strange Glanse around..You know... We were concern with my guides Eliesser, Lolo, Abraham. Carlos , El Chele but not worying to much because with so many years around we start to know how to face such a situation..... .This may happen everywhere on tarpon fishing but is very sensitive here in Rodal del Toro.. because there is a tremendous quantity of fish going up and down River ... and when they do not want to bite it is definitely very very frustrating... you can be really surounded of Tarpon and have no bite...or only for short Active period during the day ... ( I wrote about that in another Fishing Report sorry I do not remember the # there are 48 there please Click ) WELL WE HAD GOOD MEAL THAT NIGHT and it's been my pleasure to open some botle of Champaign , this help sometime..
I explainwhat in my opinion was hapening and made suggestions.. then together we made what will happen to be the good decision fish another area next day .... precisely up river closer to the lake.Me and my guides knew than tarpon were going to bite there...
In all my fishing trip I like to be able to move from one fishing area to another . This flexibility made my Operation sucessfull ( Since opening I had around 500 Guests, so far 98 % of them fishing San Juan River released tarpon to the boat.. ) .. My trips are somewhere diferent from usual outfiter .
In a "conventional fishing trip" you stay in a very confortable lodge generally with an open bar and Fishing will be in place close to Lodge.. Good or bad fishing you are there..well bar is open .. I have my own Lodge /Hotel/Guest House in front of San Carlos if we consider the factor accomodation my place is a revolution in San Carlos , It is very nice... , I like it but I will never be stocked there .. In all trip we will move according to where is biting in a 60 miles long area... from Bartola to Solentiname.. a lot of space to fish.
Sucess of Tarpon fishing on San Juan River is to find where fish feed not to see a lot rolling or playing...( We have so many tarpon here than on some days we are scare to move up or down river.. as we do not want to hurt them with the Prop, bending from the boat you almost can touch them... these Playing /Rolling/having fun tarpon will not take a lure or whatever..Fly , Live bait etc.. )
What's make fishing still fun for us, is than This Location tracking is dificult as they are constently changing..( the hour of bite also ) this is fun as really Chalenging.. Snook fishing is totally impredictable... I report snook over 50lb lost to the boat , our biger weighed so far is 42lb habitual catch are 8lb/30lb... unless we organise special expedition for snook fishing we catch them using the same lure fishing the same spots than Tarpon.... In this trip we had no snook. I plan to have a special Snook Trip for this group in the future...
I also have one regret witch is than trip was to short so we had no time to go for our Rainbow bass in Solentiname Archipelago...This is also Fun... and very productive.. To be close of fishing we then stay at so nice Hotel Mancaron of Xavier and Bertha Rosa..
Well on Folowing days of our trip fishing trip on San Juan River with our V.I.P everything went back to normal " all year round average per day : 10 strike , 4 tarpon release to the boat" Sincerely NO ONE COUNT but I think than in this trip it's even have been a bit better than average.....
we had the oportunity to test the eficiency of some new RAPALA Tackles.... with our Tarpon in the Santa fe /Palo de Arco/ Medio Quesso/ San Pancho area...
That's where the feeding ones were.. many tarpon for the group several fish over 200lb ( Very important all tarpon released...) Georges and friend where fishing their own equipment ( Rapala Rods Shimano reels..) Trolling and Casting... with Braided line the lighter 15lb.. a bit to heavy otherwise they also could have caught a new World record IGFA tarpon for 8lb and 12lb pound class they had the fish but on but on to heavey line.. ( Next time I wish everybody will fish 8lb or 12lb as I like to do..)
I know than some readers think than I am exagerating .. I am the owner of Company trying to promote my fishing trip ... Fish tales etc etc Fact is than I am comunicating then promoting but in my report I only speak true and I am never exagerating reallt no need to.... Anyway my testimony willl ever be questionable...so I sugest readers to have a look at the article published about us in a Magasine whose the integrity cannot be in doubt FIELD & STREAM Magasine.. ( and author forgot to report this 200lb tarpon he had on 12lb... At my Knowledge Could have been the New 12lb Class line IGFA World Record ) ...Read the article in Field and stream
Let's back to the trip with Georges .. I report the usual quantity of destroyed lures ( I gave my Hospital and Cemetery box to Georgem Including the one we paint , we have our own colour, I also gave him the White with Red Point Hand painted the neview Bill cowin caught here his 235lb Georges said he will show all these lures Super Shad Rap and Magnum to the Rapala Experts ) More eficientt lure in this trip as been as usual the Rapala Super Shad Rap...( Will not say the Colour we were using as we are still ambitious and want to win again the tournament in three Months...)
Recently Rapala made inprovement concerning the hooks New VMC hooks on Magnum 14 and Super Shad Rap are stronger.. fine for tarpon but under 150lb... If over CAREFULL HANDLE WITH CARE. Georges from Rapala could see that... Bill heavey from FIELD& STREAM could see that..
Our tarpon are very big I would say similar size than the African ones..( Sierra Leone, Guinee etc..) Presence of so big Tarpon all year round in an area is at My knowledge Unique in the Americas?...
Explanation is probably the Great Nicaragua Lake 200 miles long the bigest tarpon stay there , enjoy a tremendous quantity of bait , an all year round almost constant temperature of water and get fat... Many of them do not go back at sea.. we observe two colour in our tarpon ..the usual silver king all silver every one know and then some with Black back and Bronze/golden side .. these onesare the bigest they stay here and get this colour from the Tanin in the river...
I am writing a lot hope readers are still there.. because folowing is in my opinion very Important.. WITH ALL THESE TARPON WE CATCH AND RELEASE I DEFINITELY WISH TO START A TAGGING PROGRAM , Speaking clearly I need help to start that ...Give oportunity to scintist world to monitor the Tarpon move... And also we suspect then there is Reproduction of Tarpon in the great Lake ... ( 2 Years ago a Guest Caught by the back a perfectly formed tarpon in Solentiname Archipelago fish was around 5 Inches long..)
Back to the hook what I like to do with our Big ones around is Changing the original hook for stronger it can be for 4XSTRG O'SHAUNESSY 3/0 probably Barbless...)
New Rapala rods are perfect for our style of Tarpon fishing ( 90lb/250lb+) , they are light, balance and strong I recomand
1) Tournament class HM45 TR70TR70 H1 12lb/30lb
2) Tournament Class HM 45 TS72TR70MH1 10lb/20 lb
3)Tournament Class HM 45 TS70TR70 M1 8LB/ 17LB
With these rod we use Braided line ( smaller reels ) or Nylon... very important in our water is to have a Minimum of 300 yard of line
Spining Rods I go basically for the same equivalent model but Braided line then become a must in order to be able to cast and to also ocasionaly troll.
The new MAGNUM XLLOCK'NWEIGH Georges bring us is a real great improvement specifically in Tarpon Fishing...very usefull as it is possible totaly safe to grab the fish with the tool.. NO NECESSITY TO DO IT WITH THE HAND , some guides grab tarpon with the hand..It is formally forbiden in my company... I consider, write and afirm than if fishing with lures and Triple hooks it is a Grabing a tarpon is an TOTALLY UNRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR... ( if fishing with fly it is farless dangerous and can eventually be done ...) . So this is a very good new now with the MAGNUM XLLOCH'NWEIGH there is no need to use the gaff , and release the Tarpon with a hole.. Also the Tool can eventually be use to weighed the fish as Scale is Incorporated... It goes up to 125lb perfect even for Tarpon fishing..in and Well a bit short for us as in San Juan River we report a lot but really a lot of fish over this size ( This is 100% true and prove now... but still I feel Sorry because some people will consider writing this is a bad Joke.. NO PROBLEM anyway I do not like to lift the fish out of the water.. so no weight at all .. better a photo on side of boat when Quitting the hook with the Tool and our pecial LONG PLIERS ...) What is certain is than from now at SCS we will not use Conventional gaff anymore but these MAGNUM XLLOCK'N WEIGH
We came back to Costa Rica via The same Rio Frio we used to enter, In los Chiles Luis my English Speaking driver was waiting for us , to transfer everybody to San Jose for a lst night in center of town
Folowing day it'ds been a great pleasure to meet again our Guest at the Airport before they fly back to USA