On May 4th, 2011 I will be heading off on an exciting 1-year trek across Central & South America. I will be carrying two fishing rods in my backpack - one spin casting & one fly rod. Join my adventure as I search for each country's best fishing spots, learn local techniques, and show you how to get in on the action. Rainbow Bass fishing in Nicaragua, Machaca in Costa Rica, and Peacock Bass in Guyana are only a few of the adventures on the itinerary.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rainbow Bass Fishing - Lake Arenal Costa Rica

My recent journey to Lake Arenal, Costa Rica proved to be very successful on many fronts. Although I hoped to land a record sized Guapote/Rainbow Bass (8 plus lbs), I was quite content when I hooked into a four and a half pounder. We arrived in Arenal expecting to fish weed beds with spinner baits and top-water lures but Captain Marc quickly assured us that catching a Guapote on those lures would be nothing short of a miracle at this time of the year (late August). Spinner baits work best in May when the fish are closer to shore in shallower water.

Marc made it crystal clear that the best way to catch a Guapote would be to troll the deeper waters with crank baits. He has fished Lake Arenal for over 20 years and has been taking people out on his boat for about 7 years. Disappointed by the captain’s warning, I decided to use his services for a half day instead of a full day as trolling for 8 hours didn’t quite appeal to my adventurous nature.

As they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. At 6 a.m. we still decided to try our luck closer to shore with spinners and shallow running crank baits. But, as Marc predicted we did not have much luck. We only caught one small fish that resembled a sunfish on steroids.

With the clock ticking and the number of fish netted unchanged, we decided to give up on the casting and take the captain’s advice. On went the tail dancers and out we went into about 20 feet of water. Within the first 3 minutes of trolling my rod tip stuttered and I stood up and shouted “I think I’ve got one”.  I would repeat this chant every ten minutes for the next two hours. Every time I saw my rod dip my heart skipped a beat as I envisioned it bending to its breaking point with a 15 lb Guapote on the other end. The rod never did bend that far but it did get its fair share of action as we caught one Guapote after another. Marc suggested that we keep the fish since they were all a perfect eating size. He furthered to say “don’t worry you can give them away, no one around here will turn down Guapote”. 

2 female Guapote from Lake Arenal

Since I am trying to get this story published in the upcoming months, I will not divulge all of the details or post many pictures. If you are really interested in the adventure to Arenal, you will have to keep posted to see which magazine takes the story. In the mean time, if you are going to Costa Rica and you would like to fish for some Rainbow Bass contact me for more information. You can also check out Captain Marc Delvaux’s website http://www.fishinglakearenal.com/. If you contact him by email he may take a day or two to respond since he is always on the water. For a faster response, just give him a call. He speaks English fluently.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A wild adventure on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica - Part1

Last June I made my maiden voyage to Costa Rica with my longtime amigo Denver. We landed in San Jose, rented an SUV and headed out on a 10-day road trip across the country. As usual, I walked with my fishing roads and a tackle box full of my favourite crank baits and spinner baits just in case the opportunity to cast a line presented itself. Before leaving Canada I had done some quick internet research about where I could fish in Costa Rica. Of course I was bombarded with countless deep-sea fishing charter websites that boasted the best Wahoo, Sail Fish, Marlin or Dorado fishing in the country. Coincidently I came across a site that offered Rainbow Bass fishing on Costa Rica’s largest lake, Lake Arenal. The lake was located right at the foot of one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Volcano Arenal.

The colourful Rainbow Bass (locally known as Guapote, meaning ‘the most handsome’) are renowned for their fierce strikes and the fact that they fight like it were a title heavyweight bout in the UFC. Rumor has it that a Rainbow hits twice as hard as Largemouth and makes a Smallmouth look like a geek in an arm wrestling competition with the high school jock.

Let’s just say that I ended up going on zip line tours through the jungle, hiking to the largest waterfall in the area, relaxing at the hot springs and drinking one too many Imperial cervezas, then ran out of time to get in a day of fishing. Well…not quite. 

On the drive out of Arenal going to Monteverde, we decided to pull over on the highway to take one last look at the lake and the smoking volcano in the horizon. We shook our heads in disbelief that we were about to leave without having the opportunity to fish such a picture perfect lake. The sun was high in the sky and it had to have been one of the hottest days of our trip. Standing there drenched in sweat, we decided that it was probably not the best use of our money to rent a boat at the hottest hour of the day. Just when we decided to go back to the car we were approached by a guy who asked us if we were interested in fishing or going for a tour of the volcano from the lake. To feed our curiosities we asked him how much he would charge for 2 hours and he quoted us $150. We knew it was literally highway robbery (since we were standing on the highway) but decided that we would go if he lowered his price to $120 (that’s $60 per person). Minutes later we were on a little fishing boat heading towards the volcano. 

 The calm before the storm - Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

We were out for just about 45 minutes when a severe storm came out of nowhere. It was unbelievable how a perfectly blue sky could suddenly change to a deep depressing grey. Within minutes a torrential downpour started and bolts of lightening were firing across the sky. Naturally we Canadian boys were not afraid of the rain but it seemed like the lightening was getting closer to our little boat by the minute. We could sense that our guide didn’t want to be the bearer of bad tidings but the weather was worsening by the millisecond. A loud explosion rang out from above and bright blot of lightening seemed to have hit the ground on shore about 400 meters from where we were. At this point we were officially shocked and scared knowing that we were like sitting ducks with our fishing rods pointed at the skies.

We knew that once we finished reeling in our lines it would be time to sprint for the shoreline. Denver got his lure to the boat first and I could see his purple Rapala Husky Jerk breaking the surface of the water. I reeled even faster since I didn’t want to be the one responsible for our electrocution in the middle of the lake.  Before I could get my line in, I heard a loud splash near the boat. At first I thought that the lightening had finally found our boat but when I looked around I saw Denver standing there like a deer in headlights with a fish furiously flopping about on the end of his line. I don’t think that Denver knows how and when the fish hit his lure but the fact is that he had just caught his first Lake Arenal Machaca

To be continued...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Q&A with Mariko Izumi: “I love my job as a TV Travel/Fishing host but I wouldn’t rule anything out in terms of future projects”

If you aren’t already a huge fan of the globetrotting Mariko Izumi and her show ‘Hookin’ Up’ it’s about time you get to know why so many people are.

Fishtalker asked and Mariko Responded. Here's what she had to say:

mariko izumi

1. Heaven forbid but assuming that you were banished for life to fish on one lake/river/body of water in Canada and one outside of Canada where would it be and why?

Mariko’s Answer: In Canada – Lake Ontario, because this way I could still switch it up…one day I could be fishing in the Kingston area and the next day I could be fishing in the Toronto area (and enjoy the view of my home city!).

Outside of Canada – Pacific Ocean (off the coast of Costa Rica)

2. You have traveled all over the world but what are your top 3 recommendations for a group of single friends searching for the perfect blend of fishing and entertainment (partying)? Why?

Mariko’s Answer: Miami: partying in South Beach and fishing for sharks a mile offshore. Jaco Beach, Costa Rica: cool tiny bars and amazing deep sea fishing for Sailfish, Dorado and Wahoo. Montreal: this city is packed with good restaurants and bars and you can fish for bass on the St. Lawrence River (although the part about being single doesn’t apply – all 3 places are great for everyone!)

3. I assume that you have tons of bloopers and funny moments when filming Hookin’ Up, but what’s the funniest pick-up line (fishing related) that someone has tried on you when you were on the road filming?

Mariko’s Answer: Believe it or not, the pick up lines are never fishing related.

4. Complete the statement: When I’m on the water and nothing seems to be working I…
Mariko’s Answer: I don’t really care ‘cause I’m on the water! It’s always good to be on the water (unless I’m sea sick of course).

mariko 2

5. You certainly don’t fit the stereotype of an angler, so what’s it like being a female angler in a male dominated sport?

Mariko’s Answer: To be honest – don’t put much thought into it.

6. What 3 lures would you tell every angler to never leave home without?
Mariko’s Answer: Depends on where you’re fishing and what you’re fishing for. I always go with what the pro or guide tells me to use.

7. Your show ‘Hookin’ Up” is doing really well but what’s next for you? Any future projects that you are dreaming of working on?

Mariko’s Answer: I love my job as a TV Travel/Fishing host but I wouldn’t rule anything out in terms of future projects…I like to take things as they come.

8. What’s your favourite part of your job?

Mariko’s Answer: Getting to re-visit favourite cities/towns and getting to explore new ones.

9. What is banging on your i-pod on repeat? What’s the last song you added to your i-pod (assuming you support Apple products)?
Mariko’s Answer: Songs on repeat lately – “We Started Nothing” by the Ting Tings and “OMG” by Usher….last album added to my ipod – Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite

10. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to make fishing more than just a hobby?

Mariko’s Answer: Think of unique ways to get yourself noticed and be respectful.

Photo credits – the WFN
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