we had an incredible 4th of july this past week on the EPIC, taking long time client joe stark and his wife cora offshore.
we began putting lines out a couple miles short of the "corner" which is the drop-off area at the tip of a bank which sticks out about 23 miles due south of Los Suenos Marina. the main drop off here (the edge of the continental shelf) is around 350-400 ft where it drops off rapidly to about 1200-1500 and continues to slope down from there.
The " Corner" is very fishy spot which we often start fishing at, and sometimes make a day of it there.
this particular morning we quickly ad a few mahi bites shortly after putting them out on the edge still a few miles in from the corner. it been very good for small bailer mahi over the past month or so a little closer in, especially in the morning, and is always good to put a few fish in the box early to take pressure off.
a short time later we had a few sail bites and missed a few and landed one. as we worked around the tip of the corner.
word on the radio was there was a pod of spinner dolphins about 6 miles off the corner and the yellowfin tunas that were with them were snapping, so i pointed EPIC in the direction planning to troll my way there
as we got a little off the edge we had a small blue marlin about 175 crash a teaser, dissappear and crash a black bart mini 1656 lure (with hook in it) and game was on as it took off greyhound ballistically across the surface. sometime the smaller blues really put on a great show expending allot of energy quickly with very fast runs and explosive jumps and this was one of them.
about 20 minutes later we released him boatside and pointed back towards the tunas which had made their way a little further offshore, and continued to move offshore as we trolled towards them .
so, after about a hour of trolling the same direction they were traveling and not gaining on them, We decided to pull lines and run the 4 miles to catch up, so joe could play with them, as he likes to bring several of his own rod & reel setups.
most of the setups he brings i would consider very undersized for what we do, but he likes to use his stuff and get in outgunned fish battles, so we set a few up in our trolling spread him and set him up to cast lures and jigs from the bow whenever the opportunity presents itself.
so i let him go for it and try to put him on as much action as i can even if he looses a bunch with his tiny bass tackle.
we made it to the porpoises and tunas, and since it was a rare time we didn't have any live bait with us, put a couple rubber squids dangling short in the riggers while Joe and my 2nd mate Paco cast lures and jigs from the front.
the tunas were snapping, pretty much every pass chasing the birds, in front of the spinner dolphin. as soon i marked the tunas on the sounder we would have multiple crashes on the pearl squids in the riggers, and joe and paco hooking up on jigs they were casting from the front of the EPIC, looking up with several doubles and a few triples one after another. with less than 2 hours we had boat more than 15 yellowfins, nothing huge but all fun sized 20-40 lb schoolies, along with pulling the hook on a few and of course breaking off a few on Joe's rods.
it got to be slightly after 2 pm and we were about 40 miles offshore following the tunas at this point. so i we switched back to trolling and pointed it towards land to close the distance some.
we started trolling back for a little over an hour with no action, when a good size mahi mahi comes greyhounding into our spread, whacks a flatline out of the clip pounces on a teaser and disappears.
while i was looking to see where he went a few long riggers popped down and we came tight on one which made a quick run and then came up to the boat pretty easy and turned into a wahoo about 15 pounds. wahoo are not very common here, especially small ones off shore unless there is some floating debris so i made a quick turn around to see if there was anything floating when i notice a commercial platform FAD.
FAD's stands for Fish Aggregating Device.
Platform FAD's are essentially a free floating rectangle or square platform put out by commercial tuna purse siene ships (2000 ft ships with nets a few miles long they circa l the tuna with) the platforms are usually just a few pieces of floating wood lashed together with some rope and net pieces hang from them to create structure for small fish to begin congregating around, which attracts, bigger fish and bigger fish and so on. they often have a floating solar powered satellite beacon with gps transponder and transducer tied up to them so the ship that puts them out can keep track of them and come back months later and circle the whole area with nets and pull all the fish in , even though they are only targeting tunas they kill everything in the process and anything that not tuna, gets dumped back into the sea dead. it is a real shame and destructive form of fishing, and they are not permitted to put to these platform fads within 100 miles of costa ricas coast but many eventually drift in to out fishing areas. when we do find one they are often a gold mine, loaded up with baitfish like bonitos and small yellowfins tunas, and often have predator species like marlin and mahi nearby.
our first pass by it we had several baits popping out form bonitos hitting them and the swivels in front of them. Ithe right long came down and came thigh on one of them but really wasn’t pulling much drag so i just continued forward making a turn round the platform as paco held the rod. a few seconds later, a blue marlin comes in and crashes on the bontio getting pulled behind the boat, engulfs if and manages to get hooked on the hook that was holding the bonito on the line. the marlin didn’t like that and took off in a violent explosion greyhounding away at full speed off the right rigger.
i went to pull my right teaser in so the lines didnt rub as the marlin took off peeling yard of line off of the 30. as i looked down i see a 2nd marlin chasing the teaser i was reeling in. i shouted "marlin on the teaser "and mariano quickly grabbed the closest flat line rod and put the bait in front of teaser as i pulled the teaser out of the water. the marlin quickly grabbed the bait and took off jumping as soon a he felt the hook. went smoothly and perfect switch, except it was on one of our guest Joe’s personal rods, a tiny shimano talica 8 spooled with 20 # spectra. so we had 2 hot rat blues on, peeling line in opposite directions, one off the back and hoe with one on up front on another one of his jogging rods with a talica 12. neither one had much one capacity for a double header blue marlin running in opposite directions.
i made an attempt to run backawards and get the fish on the smaller reel, but it kept running 180 degrees away from other fish. joes began yelling he was running out of line and getting down to bare spool on his reel up from. i could see the last wraps of line getting less and less on his reel so i stopped the backwards pursuit and stopped dead boat for a minute while mariano tied the talica 8 setup to a talica 25 and let joes talc 8 go overboard tied to the larger setup on light drag. we then ran down the fish fish joe was fighting up front, grabbed the leader and made a quick release.
joe then move back to the cockpit and picked up the talica 25 and began pursuit of the 2nd marlin not even realizing that when we reached the leader, he was only half done as he was only reeling up his own rod the talica 8 which was down to the knot on the spool completely spooled out for line. he regained his own rod and began fighting the marlin on it. it was a handful as it was already a tiny setup unsized for catching marlin with light 60 pound saifish leader, but also the drag was now wet, and catching and slipping.
we took our time but it was getting late and we eventually began pushing drag up to get the fish, i didn’t want to risk running in the dark as this time of yer there can be lots of floating debris which can serious damage a boat.
I heard captian John (who sometimes times runs the EPIC) on the 68’ Viking "goodtimes" on the VHF, head out for an overnight fad trip, sp i let him know the coordinates of the FAD we we on and about the marlin action. he showed up before we had released the 2nd marlin made one pass and hooked up on a marlins as well.
bit was 4:40 pm by the time we grabbed the leader on the 2nd marlin, got a few jumps and released it.
John was still looked up on the GOODTIMES, we seriously considered going back and making another pass, but we were 30 miles out and the sun goes down by 5:30 so we had to high tail it back. fortunately we made the right choice as there was massive amounts of logs and debris the last couple miles before herredura bay where los suenos marina is located, it would have been impossible to make it in safety running in the dark.
but it was a safe end to an incredible day of fishing we won’t soon forget.
Captian Michael MJ Alligood
US call 561-459-5355
CR cell or text 011-506-8718-2357
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