This summer I will be adding another fishing trip to my list of trips I have taken I love to hunt but I also love to fish, yea I don't eat fish but I do catch em! I have been very fortunate to be able to fish around the world, and to catch some impressive fish. Now some people think just because you are out of country, and paying a guide to take you fishing that you will have a a trip like you see on television. Not so grasshopper! Fishing is fishing not catching and some times the best laid plans, just don't work out. Sometimes it is because of me and sometimes because of other factors involved.
I was planning a trip to Costa Rica and naturally I wanted to fish I mean I have seen the awesome peacock bass fishing, the snook and so I was pumped. Unlike most trips I relied on a travel agent this time, we told them what we wanted to do and they took care of the details. I like to fly in small planes, and having some hours as pilot in command of single engine land aircraft, elected that we would move around the country some in them. The day started out great after a peacefull night we went to the airport to catch the plane to our fish camp located on some obscure river running thru the jungle. I knew things were going to be sketchy from the get go, when I noticed that we were not the only ones going on this small plane! Others would be joining us with a collection of cardboard boxes, live chickens, and a voodo woman priest named Phyllis! Some kid in shorts about 10 years old was filling the wing tanks from a rusty 5 gal drum, while the Captain checked the baggage. Now checking baggage at BWI and checking baggage in Costa Rica are two separate animals. Basically this baggage check was the large bags in first and small bags stuffed in remaining spaces, chicken rides in the plane with us. Now like I stated earlier I have some hours as pilot in command and this weight and balance sheet was scary. Next we were asked how much we all weighed, naturally all the women lied and we had to stand on a bathroom scale that they got from the mechanic shop next door. They discovered that it did not work so the pilot sized everyone up and assigned seats, no co pilot just the pilot. Naturally since I had some stick time I was anticipating possibly getting the right seat and some time on this plane, not to be I was stuck in the last seat with Phyllis, and a rooster who def. did not like me! After we all got stuffed into the plane, my common sense was beginning to take hold and I was doing all the math in my head, weight fuel, chickens and such when the pilot cranks her up and starts the roll to the runway. Not a lot of warm up just check the magnetos and push the throttle to the firewall and we are rolling. From the back I am watching the airspeed and waiting for the magic number when this bird will break free from the runway. 60 comes and goes 70 is coming fast and the runway fence is getting closer, when I feel her get light and we break free, the pilot in a slow climb out, the rooster crowing and somewhere there is a smell that I hope is not coming, from my shorts! After 20 min the pilot gets ready for landing losing airspeed, pulling carb heat, setting some flaps, I am looking for the runway because all I am seeing is jungle and a lot of it, no runway. The plane makes a gentle turn and the jungle is getting closer, ocean on one side, jungle on the other, and the earth is rapidly coming, still no runway in sight. Now we are on final I still don't see a runway the pilot is flying the plane, nose is coming up stall horn blaring, I am saying the rosary and calling on mother Mary, when the wheels hit the runway brakes take hold and the plane comes to a stop. I get out and check my pants just to be sure it ain't me stinking. Looking around I see a beautiful beach, birds and tropical vegetation, and a drug runners airstrip carved out of nowhere. Now I have to get into a tin boat with a 10 horse sea king motor from 1950, and motor up/down this river to get to the fish camp. Arriving at the camp I notice that it is first class, beautiful inside, the grounds are natural and loaded with wildlife, I see yellow tree frogs and snakes, butterflies that I can't begin to describe, and leaf cutter ants doing their thing, just like on the television. My wife and I along with another 5 people are the only ones here, the kitchen is wide open, the bar is open, and drinks are poured all around as we tell the tale of how we got here.
In the morning I had a scheduled fishing trip, just me and the guide. I was anticipating fishing like no other, sailfish and peacock bass, piranha, and snook what a trip I was going to have. The boat arrives 2 hours late, a beautiful center console with a 150 outboard on the back, no electronics, no compass and def. no radio, my heart waqs sinking but I wanted to fish and I was willing to take the chance. Since it was to rough to go offshore, the captain (?) decided to fish the river flowing through the jungle, giving me the opportunity to catch some game fish on artificial baits. The Captain runs the boat til we get to a bend in the river, he baits up with a cut shrimp and drops his line over. I am a little taken back as i had anticipated some stick baits and fat bass fish! We stayed in that spot and fished for about 4 hours never moving, catching undersized snook. At the end of the day we motored back to the camp, I had 5 snook fish that I would have returned to the river had I not paid like $80.00 a pound for. I cleaned the fish myself that evening and went to the kitchen where the cook was and asked if we could have these for dinner that evening. All of us ate the fish and I had a sandwich since I don't eat fish. After the smoke cleared I added up the cost of the trip, never do that unless you are looking to have your heart broke, and the fish were very expensive. The captain had to get back to his dock, I had to clean fish, and was ready for a cocktail, all the while the captain is waiting for his tip. I tipped the man and thanked him for a good trip, then went inside feeling like I had just gotten a good screwing. I am planning another trip to Seattle to fish this summer and visit my family. I can guarantee I will not make the same mistake twice.