In my more than two decades of living and fishing in Costa Rica, I have been involved in 87 television programs about fishing, mostly done with production companies from the United States. My first fishing show, many years ago at Archie Fields’ Rio Colorado Lodge, I learned to my disappointment that a fishing host I had idolized in my youth was one of the biggest jerks in the world.
Fortunately, most of my experiences with film crews have been nothing but fun. I’ve gotten to fish with true gentlemen like Flip Pallot. Larry Dahlberg is not only one of the most methodical fishermen I’ve ever met, but also probably one of the funniest men on earth. Sometimes-grumpy Mark Sosin is still producing his famous Saltwater Journal at almost 80, and will be doing another show in Costa Rica in March.
Once, while working with Tico Travel, I was all excited because we were going to fish with Molly Hatchet, one of my all-time favorite Southern rock bands. Their manager canceled at the last minute and sent us the Budweiser Babes instead. Although they were much prettier than Molly Hatchet, they didn’t quite understand that if you want to catch the morning bite, and get good footage, you have to get out of bed in the morning. Between Archie Fields’ and Crocodile Bay, I’ve been lucky enough to fish with most of the great names in television fishing shows.
Last week was the first time I got to work with a Costa Rican film crew. I wasn’t sure how it would go, because after all these years I still speak a “gringo pinto” form of Spanish, with a little bit of a Southern accent. But I’m not afraid to jump right in and try.
When I met Tamela Hedström, singer, performer and host of Channel 9’s “Así vivimos los ticos,” I was immediately taken by her infectious positive energy. Here is a woman who was literally run over by a bus, wouldn’t listen to doctors in two countries who told her she needed to have her leg amputated, and endured more than 20 operations and therapy over the following years.
Today, besides her popular show, she has a No. 1 hit, “Murió nuestro amor,” off her CD entitled “Tamela.” When she is not on the road filming or recording in the studio, she still finds time to help her husband, Adriano Martino, run the Resort Martino in La Garita de Alajuela and other family businesses in the Central Valley.
Hedström visited Crocodile Bay Resort, on southwestern Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, with her crew from Channel 9, Esteban Calvo, Sofía Yglesias and José Rivera, to do a little sportfishing and see what other things the Southern Zone has to offer. They all shared the same positive attitude that turns what is really a job into something that is a lot of fun. This is the same attitude that makes for a great sportfishing captain.
Hedström’s show is about Ticos living in different parts of the country and what they do. Heading out of the Golfo Dulce with Capt. Geovanny Leal and Will Briegel, a fisherman from the U.S. city of Detroit, they passed two humpback whales and their calves. Half an hour later, Leal was demonstrating his trade and had teasers skipping across the cobalt ocean.
When a sailfish finally came into the spread, Hedström saw for the first time what keeps people going back to blue water. Lit up in a purple hue, the fish took the bait and then did a tropical dance on top of a marine dance floor. When the dance was over, Hedström gently released the fish back to the ocean.
Many Costa Ricans are not familiar with the jewel of the Osa Peninsula. That could be because until recently the road was always washed out or had bottomless potholes. Hedström and her crew went out with some local guides and filmed surfing, kiteboarding, waterfall rappelling and the rain forest to share on “Así vivimos los ticos.”
In the evening, we talked about the Channel 9 crew’s love for their country and some of the challenges it faces. Famous for its “green agenda,” Costa Rica is finally starting to look to its oceans, and hopefully one day will be just as famous for its “blue agenda.”
Yglesias probably gave me the best analogy of shrimp trawling I ever heard when she said it was like “clear-cutting a forest just to remove the crickets.” Our conversation covered everything from sea turtles to sailfish and how the Costa Rican general public needs to be educated on the health of our oceans.
If more Ticos have the perseverance of Tamela Hedström, there is hope to save our ocean here.
The “Así vivimos los ticos” show featuring the Osa Peninsula will air on Channel 9 Monday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. and be repeated Feb. 8 at 11:30 p.m. and again the following Saturday at 6 p.m.
Fishing report, Feb. 3
Quepos still seems to be the center of action on the Pacific side of the country. Jeanette Pérez of JP Sportfishing said the fishing for sails has been extremely good, though not too many marlin are around. She added that the inshore fishing has been red-hot and boats are playing with lots of roosterfish.
Up the coast a little way at the mouth of the Parrita River, snook fishermen are having a heyday. Lots of snook are taking both live bait and jigs. Rolando Chaves had the big fish of the week with a whopping 36-pounder.
Up in Guanacaste, the action improved greatly over last week, although the wind has made the fishing a little bouncy. A few billfish are being taken and the inshore snapper bite is back again.
Down south, the offshore fishing has been spotty with some good day; other days the fish go into hiding. The fish are grouped in small pockets, and if you are lucky enough to find one, you just might have a double-digit day. Lots of 30-plus-pound roosterfish were taken this week, and one big rooster went 55 pounds.
Over on the Caribbean side, Dan Wise from Río Colorado Lodge reported the fishing really heated up this week. Boats who were hooking just a few fish a day are now seeing 10 or more a day.
Todd Staley is the fishing manager at Crocodile Bay Resort in Puerto Jiménez, on southwestern Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. Skippers, operators and anglers are invited to email fishing reports by Wednesday of each week to [email protected]. To post reports and photos on The Tico Times’ online fishing forum, go to ticotimes.net/Weekend/Fishing/Fishing-Forum.