Fishing Reports

Tournament Success and Another Record Falls to Billfish Safaris

June 26, 2011

Greetings from Billfish Safaris! We are pleased to bring you another fishing report from our fleet and this by far the most exciting one we have been able to write in while. To get us going we are happy to report that the first annual Presidential Papagayo Cup Billfish Tournament concluded on the evening of June 25th here in Marina Papagayo. The tournament action was hot and heavy over all three days. A total of nine boats competed with boats coming from Los Suenos Marina in Costa Rica, Guatemala and as far away as Puerto Rico and Texas. These boats did not travel in vain as we experienced a phenomenal sailfish bite with most boats raising 15-20 sails a day during the first two days with a slight drop off on the third day with boats raising 7-10 sailfish a piece. Overall the tournament resulted in 136 sailfish releases across all the boats during the three days of fishing. We are pleased to report that Billfish Safaris' boats placed very high in the standings. Our 47-foot Riviera, the Zara, took second place overall releasing 18 sails over the three days and they walked away with $11,000 in cash. In addition to the Zara's amazing work, Billfish Safaris' mates also took 1st and 2nd place anglers across the entire tournament. First mate on the Zara, Hansel, took 1st place angler by personally releasing 11 sailfish to help his team take 2nd place overall. The second mate on our 35-foot Cabo, the Fish Tale II, took 2nd place angler with 10 personal sailfish releases and the Fish Tale II ended up tying for 4th place in the overall standings. We are very proud of these captains and crews and it goes to show that our boats at Billfish Safaris can successfully compete against the best boats in Costa Rica.

On a slightly different note, we are also pleased to announce that yet another world record has fallen to our own Sjon Harless. While Jamey and Sjon declined to enter themselves and the Plautus in the tournament they were not far away from the action. They spent these three days chasing world records and they were not disappointed. On June 23rd they headed up north to their secret spot in search of giant roosters. They ended up finding the roosters with multiple roosters between 25 and 40 pounds being released with the largest of the day tipping the scales at over 55 pounds caught on 130 lb. test! As the day grew shorter Sjon switched to her 6 lb. rig (basically sewing thread). Her live blue runner didn't last long as it was eaten by what later turned out to be a large Pacific jack crevalle. Due to believed discrepancies with our scale on the boat we made our way back to dock hoping that the fish would get the job done. We were not disappointed! The fish ended up tipping the scales at 16.3 pounds which will eclipse the previous record of 15.5 pounds. With spirits high we proceeded to fish the following day in an attempt take the women's 6 lb. roosterfish record and that fish found our bait within two minutes of putting out the downrigger. We saw the fish three times over the course of the fight and it was estimated at over 70 lbs. however; the fishing gods were not with us. Sjon fought the fish stand-up without a harness for over five hours! It dragged the boat 15 miles (almost to Nicaragua), tried to swim through another boat's anchor line and a gill net during that time period. Sjon was rained on for over three hours during the fight and was covered in jellyfish coming off the line and in the end as the fish stopped to snack on some blue runners it broke her off on some rocks. This speaks of two things. One, Sjon is one bad ass fisherwoman and secondly giant fish prowl our waters and we are just waiting to take you out in search of your own record!

Sjon's pending women's 6 lb. line class record for Pacific Jack Crevalle
Sjon posing with a roosterfish
Sjon posing with a roosterfish that weighed in at over 55 lbs. The monster she fought for over 5 hours was estimated at over 70 lbs. Take this fish and add another 20 lbs. to get an idea of the "sea monster" she decided to battle on 6 lb. test line!
Team Zara
Team Zara of Billfish Safaris receives their winnings of almost $11,000 dollars for taking 2nd Place in the Papagayo Cup Billfish Tournament.
First mate on the Zara, Hansel, accepts his award for top angler during the Papagayo Cup Billfish Tournament. He personally released 11 sailfish during the tournament.
Sjon's Roosterfish
A typical-sized roosterfish during this time of year on the Billfish Safaris charter boats.
Sjon's record for Pacific Jack Crevalle
Sjon putting the heat on a big roosterfish. Seriously, she is 5'2" and she is rocking 20 lbs. of drag on this fish!

Current fishing conditions and forecasts for Guanacaste, Costa Rica

June 19, 2011

Greetings from Billfish Safaris! We are pleased to bring you an update on the fishing here in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. It is officially the green season down here and that means it is time for the fishing to heat up. The winds have all but died for the year and the sporadic afternoon rain showers have turned our backyard into the lush tropical jungle that we know and love. In addition, the rains have helped to warm up the ocean as well as flush countless logs into the Gulf of Papagayo. This means one thing for all of our happy anglers: DORADO! These large pieces of debris are a magnet for these colorful (and tasty) acrobats. We have had excellent success on all of our boats on both half and full days fishing floating debris and catching dorado that average 15-20 lbs. with bulls approaching 30 lbs. not out of the question! We have also seen a smattering of football yellowfin tuna as of late which helps to round out our food fish species. Our roosterfish season up at "Jurassic Park" has gotten off to a slow start but, is starting to pick up as the water continues to warm up with the rains. Billfishing has been excellent as of late with both plentiful sailfish and marlin showing up in our spreads. On June 15th, the Plautus released a sailfish and took multiple dorado for dinner on a banner half-day. The Permit III released 8 sailfish and raised an estimated 200 lb. blue marlin during a full day on June 16th. On June 17th, the Gulf Streams released a sailfish and racked up some dorado and yellowfin tuna on yet another banner half-day. On the same day, the Fish Tale II fished a full day and went 2 for 5 on sailfish, released an estimated 350 lb. blue marlin and took home a fine selection of dorado and tuna for dinner. In addition to our half and full days, the night fishing on the Southern Belle has been amazing! We have been catching large numbers of small snappers, jacks and porgies (100+/night) but, the real excitement of late has been the arrival of a large concentration of nurse sharks which have been eager to slurp up a chunk of bonita fished on the bottom. The sharks are averaging around 50 lbs. and have exceeded 100 lbs. with others hooked that simply couldn't be stopped on 20 lb. line!

On June 18th, we were witness to yet another successful world record hunt on board the Plautus. Billfish Safaris owners Jamey and Sjon Harless fished the Plautus to kick off their annual summer world record fishing season. They headed up to Jurassic Park in search of a record roosterfish or almaco jack for Sjon. What occurred was not expected by anybody on the boat. The day started off sunny and calm when the baits hit the water around 9 am and fishing commenced as usual. The rooster bite was slow and the blue runners being fished on the surface were being plagued by our arch nemesis: large Pacific needlefish. Normally, these fish are written off as a pure nuisance and chastised as they proceed to chew up baits meant for our target species. However, on this day after quick reference to the boat's Bible (i.e. IGFA world record book) it was discovered that the current all-tackle record for the species sat at 11.4 pounds and was caught in Golfito, Costa Rica. Well we at Billfish Safaris have seen these veritable sea monsters much larger than that so in an attempt to keep these nuisances away from Sjon's bait Jamey hooked into a typical needlefish for Jurassic Park. After a short battle, the nuisance came to the boat, but after a quick weight on the boga-grip we realized that this individual just happened to be a potentially, new ALL-TACKLE nuisance! The Pacific needlefish weighed in at 11.9 pounds on our IGFA-certified scales eclipsing the current all-tackle record by a few ounces but, an all-tackle record is an all-tackle record! We know we grow them much bigger than that up at Jurassic Park so if you want to chase an all tackle world record come on down and we would love to take you fishing!

Nurse Shark
Besides the plentiful jacks and snappers, clients fishing the Southern Belle after dark have been tying into beefy nurse sharks averaging 50 lbs., like the one pictured, and individuals exceeding 100 lbs. have been released but are too large to bring on the boat for a picture
Jamey Harless puts the finishing touches on the battle with his pending All-tackle Pacific Needlefish.
The result: an 11.9 pound Pacific Needlefish which surpassed the previous record by ounces but, a record is a record!