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Deep sea fishing - practical and philosophical questions

Deep sea fishing - practical and philosophical questions

Old Nov 28th, 2007, 06:46 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,063
Deep sea fishing - practical and philosophical questions

This post is mostly as a follow-up list of questions to dfarmer’s Bosque del Cabo’s pictures posted in the following thread:
and a series of philosophical questions - I just did not want to highjack that thread…and dfarmer, loved your pictures, they are great.

For anyone who took a deep-sea fishing trip in Costa Rica (or anywhere else), did you use your fishing gear, or did the company that offered the tour also provided the gear? Did you have any experience? Would the fishing trip be appropriate for a first-time fishing experience?

Separately from that, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing – those big fishes are wonderful, I never thought it would be possible to get so close to them, so it seems a shame to technically kill them. Can you release them after you catch them? I thought “deep-sea fishing” meant carp-size fish…I would have no problem fishing for that..

What do you all think about this whole thing? I am not a vegetarian, I do not have a problem knowing that the meat I am eating was once a living fish or chicken or cow…but those fishes are different, wild…like a National Geographic encounter. Am I nuts?
xyz99 is offline  
Old Nov 28th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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did you use your fishing gear, or did the company that offered the tour also provided the gear?

We've caught a couple hundred marlin and sailfish on trips to many countries (Venezuela, Panama, Guatemala, 7 ports in Mexico, Kona, Australia) and the boats always had gear. The better boats had really good gear, the cheap boats had less fancy gear but they always had gear. Usually heavier line than we would prefer, which is why we often brought our own tackle, but what the boats had was always at least adequate.

Would the fishing trip be appropriate for a first-time fishing experience?

Sure, but expect the mate to hook the fish for you and hand you the rod for the actual fight. Hooking them on bait takes a bit of practice, though if they are trolling lures it's easier.

Can you release them after you catch them?

Sure ... the better fleets in release-oriented ports generally release about 90-95% of the smaller marlin and sailfish. Unfortunately the blue marlin often wrap around the leader and drown (can't open their gills to breathe) so the release rate is lower on these but still maybe 70% or so. The meat is used for food by locals so it's not wasted.

What do you all think about this whole thing?

Give it a try ... first time you see a fin in the spread slashing at your bait you'll probably find it exciting and when they jump it's pretty cool, but it sounds like you'll take it hard if one dies on you.

Am I nuts?

I'd say 'ambivalent' ... my wife was the same way when she first starting marlin fishing and she shed a few tears when she caught a 286 lb blue that died after wrapping in the leader, but she also won three awards from the Billfish Foundation for being among the world leaders in tagging and releasing white marlin, striped marlin and Pacific sailfish and that made her very proud. And she never let me forget that her biggest tuna weighed 201 lbs and my biggest was a wimpy 187 ...


Bill_H is offline  
Old Nov 29th, 2007, 06:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Thank you xyz! That day still excites me.

As for first timers - I really did not want to go on that fishing trip. Thought my husband was nuts for booking it since "I don't fish!". So I packed a book for reading and prepared for a boring day, but content just to be on the water. BORING! WHAT WAS I THINKING! That dinner that I brought in - was my first ever fish to catch! Talk about an adrenaline rush! Sure I had been fishing with a minnow or those plastic lure things, but while everyone else would catch fish, not me, so I would just eventually pull out a book and read. But not that day in CR, it was action packed excitement all day.

The crew were wonderful, and definately noticed that I was a novice. The captain told me early on that when he shouted at me it was not "at me" but to help me. I followed his orders and had a blast.

The fish was cleaned and filleted and packed in ice to be delivered to BdC. They radioed ahead to let the chef know that dinner was on its way. The chef shifted gears and planned a meal around the fish that we were bringing in. I felt so special!

In Costa Rica the big game is catch and release. Yes, sometimes they do get tangled and sometimes they die, but for our day, I guess we were lucky and the Marlin and Sailfish were released to swim another day. I do recall a conversation where that the fish that could not be saved were taken back to town for the locals.

Yes they do have their own gear. As to how good it was, well you know that is not a question for me.

My husband has fished other times during our trips. Some good, some not so, but they always were fun. On these trips the fish he caught & kept would either be cooked at a local restaurant or our lodge, or sometimes he has given it one of the staff to take back to their family. Always depended on the time in our trip that he went fishing. But the fish never went to waste.

Are you nuts - NO. It was an experience that I will never forget. And will most likely try to relive again. It is an awesome experience just watching the fish jump out of the water.

Bill - as you notice I was the one that brought in the dinner, not my husband, so I can relate to your wife! Loved reading your reply, very informative and interesting. Way to go Bill's Wife!

By the way the company we used was http://www.cabo-matapalo.com/
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 06:47 AM
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xyz, you're not nuts! I really mostly wanted to just weigh in here to tell you I applaud your sensitivity -- the hesitance to fish for these beautiful creatures SHOULD arouse the mixed feelings you have!

It's funny that somehow size factors in to what we don't want to kill (we don't think twice about a carp, but a marlin might really bother us). And it's funny that somehow people have less of a problem killing a fish than a deer... after all, fishing is basically hunting. The difference is that, yes, you can catch and release, and I highly encourage you to do that.

I grew up in Florida and fishing has been a big part of my life... as I got older (and caught a LOT of fish) it started to bother me, and now I don't go anymore, even though it's something I enjoyed very much on some level. Everyone is different and has different sensitivities and philosophies, so I applaud the fact that you're thinking about all this.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 07:01 PM
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Thank you all, this really helps.
Bill, that’s a lot of good info for me there – I do not fish (never have) so the whole thing, being close to these magnificent creatures sounds wonderful (probably the closest I c ould ever get, if you don’t consider an aquarium ‘close’), and killing them sounds wrong. I am glad to hear that most of them can get released, or at least used for food for locals.

Dfarmer, the recap of your day was great. Was there any non-fish dish that day for dinner? I am not sure if we’ll go fishing, but we’ll keep it as a possibility. Our trip to CR won’t happen until Feb 2009, when we plan 2 weeks in Arenal, Manuel Antonio and Bosque del Cabo. If we’ll do it, it will probably be in Osa (haven’t heard of fishing in MA).

Carol, you are so right – I would never think twice about a carp or trout – but a marlin!!! Well, that’s different. And I would never hunt – not even rabbits. So in the end, I don’t think I’ll be able to do it and DH has no interest in doing it, either.
Anyway, thank you all and I’ll let you know if I change my mind.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 09:03 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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xyz, I think you're a softie like I am. When I was in elementary school, I begged my dad to take me fishing. So my sweet dad rented a boat for the day, and we went out on the lake. I just loved fishing because I hadn't caught anything yet! Soon enough, I landed a huge fish and was pulling it in, and as soon as I saw it, I burst into tears. I just didn't like seeing an animal like that. When we got back to shore, the man at the dock said he was so proud of me and took a picture of me holding my big catch. I look so funny in that picture - little ponytails, crying, and holding up this big fish while everyone else is beaming. Dad told me that he realized I really just wanted to spend the day on a boat!

When we were at BdC, a family went out fishing, and they had a ball - said it was one of the best things they did while they were there, so it really just depends on the person. Let us know how it goes.
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