After joining Mike Fitzgerald and Joe Codd on their very successful hosted trip in Panama, I continued traveling through Central America with the first stop at Zancudo Lodge in Southern Pacific, Costa Rica. Once I landed in San Jose – eager for a day of offshore and a day of inshore fishing ahead of me – I was a short Sansa flight away from being at a fisherman’s paradise.
Upon arrival, my bags and fishing gear were taken to my room, and I was given a tour of the classic Costa Rican tropical resort. I was pleased to quickly find out that when you stay at Zancudo, you know you’re in Costa Rica. Stone slabs guide you through the whole resort, lined with native plants and flowers just as you would imagine a lodge in Costa Rica to be.
The rooms were large and allowed me to comfortably assemble and store my nine foot fly rods in preparation for the next two days. Each morning, I received a wakeup knock on the door to make sure I wouldn’t sleep in and get a late start. A perfect breakfast of eggs and crispy bacon with a side of fresh fruit was served at 5:30 am, then a short walk to the docks to depart at 6 am.
My day of offshore fishing was aboard a 32’ Contender with twin Yamaha 300 outboards. The Contender is loaded with enough technology to please the most advanced fisherman. We made a short ten minute run back to Golfito to catch bait on Sabiki rigs. My captain, Javier, and I quickly had enough bait as we consistently pulled up rigs with four and five blue runners and sardines at a time. In no time, we were headed for the blue water.
As we made our 12-mile run to blue water, I prepared my 14-wt. fly rod and made sure that my line was not going to wrap around any objects. Once Javier set out the hookless teasers, I stripped 30 feet of line off of my reel and stacked it in the bucket with water. I sat patiently waiting to see a sail arise from the wake of the boat, and before long Javier yelled “FISH FISH FISH FISH!” I jumped up, tossed my bubblegum pink streamer into the water and waited for the fish to get close enough to make a cast. I guess that sail didn’t read the script because he never followed the teasers in like he was supposed to. My heart was thumping out of my chest just seeing the fish rise, even though I hadn’t made a cast.
Javier found a school of bonito, and after a few passes with chartreuse trailers we had four perfect size fish for cut belly bait. We saw a handful of sails jumping on the horizon as we scanned looking for birds. Before I knew it my day of offshore was coming to an end. Just as I thought I should start breaking down my rod, I saw a sail emerge from the wake. Once again this sail didn’t cooperate and didn’t follow the teasers to the boat. After that last heart stopping moment, Javier and I went back to the marina for dinner with a beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Dulce. My meal was prepared in the lodge’s newly renovated kitchen utilizing vegetables harvested from their own garden. The surf and turf I had paired with a mix of these vegetables was spectacular!
I fished one more day, with Caption Abilio on a 28’ center console boat of inshore fishing. We left the gulf, and cruised along the rocky shoreline. Before long, rods were bent and drags were screaming. I crossed off another species on my list, as I brought a decent rock snapper boat side. I told Coco that I was ready to find some rooster and we shot across the gulf and fished a large rocky outcropping. We made three passes along a short white sand beach and landed three fun sized roosters to end the day.
The welcoming staff and members of Zancudo Lodge made sure I had everything I needed. I was more than happy with my accommodations, and was excited to start each morning with a delightful breakfast followed by a short walk to the docks. They take their customer service just as serious as they take their fishing. Zancudo Lodge is one of those places you cannot wait visit again.
By: Derek Hathazy