San Carlos Sport Fishing
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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.



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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...


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 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..   


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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  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 

Bait Casting 

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.



balance.jpg (133415 bytes)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    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

This report is from Philippe TISSEAUX.


San Carlos Sport Fishing
Fishing Adventures In Nicaragua and Costa Rica 
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