We are back from now Costa Rica and by the time you get this we will be off to Panama and Tropic Star Lodge. I get a lot of the “You have the world's greatest job!” stuff and while I appreciate my good luck there are two sides to everything. It takes a lot of hard work and practice to get good at any kind of fishing.
I am firmly convinced that magazines and TV shows have given just about everybody unrealistic expectations and for professionals there is a very real pressure to perform up to some of these expectations.
With only enough students for two charter boats we averaged between 6 and 10 bites per boat per day in MU Costa Rica. This is on the low side for the area but is a heck of a lot more action than I would be prepared to guarantee anyone any place. Fishing always has its ups and downs!
The main thing about Marlin University is learning how to catch billfish using all three of the essential techniques: live bait, dead natural bait, and artificial lures. We have seminars on all three methods even if, as in Costa Rica, we only fish dead bait and learn how to free-spool to a fish during the day. The students who have not used conventional reels often need several bites from the sailfish we seek to get the nack of “free-spooling”.
Many of our students are much more familiar with spinning tackle, but if we used lures instead of dead bait on conventional tackle, and only pitched bait on spinning gear, the students would not learn the skills they need in order to fish a conventional reel.
Students who use conventional “bait caster” reels have already learned how to control a revolving spool with their thumb, and this skill allows them to more quickly learn how to control the spool and avoid a backlash.
The new anglers need to learn to let the line out freely enough to not let the fish feel any pressure, and to feed the bait to the fish. This is an essential skill for anyone who hopes to become a competent billfish angler.
I tell the students that the boat's professional crew has done their job when we get the bite and it is my job to help them learn how to use the tackle. I do not get mad if a student misses a fish although the students are sometimes disappointed. In Costa Rica even with less than stellar fishing every student hooked and caught at least one billfish, on their own, and under IGFA rules.
After Panama we have some openings for Cap Cana, a real hotspot in the Dominican Republic and this may be the best chance you will ever have to catch a Grand Slam of sailfish, white marlin, and blue marlin. Wives who do not fish will have great days being pampered and exploring a tropical paradise with beaches, rain forests and great shopping.
We'll have a report soon from the D.R.
Good Fishing -- peterb