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Old 03-03-2010, 08:10 AM
JR SPEY JR SPEY is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Just about anywhere
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I just came back from my seventh trip to Guatemala. Normally, the period from December through early April is considered prime time, though most captains will tell you that fishing can be good year around. Traditionally, the seas are most pleasant during that time, and in Guatemala that usually means virtually no seas at all. That's one reason I prefer Guatemala to most areas of Costa Rica. However, the last two years I've gone down in February and we had what's described as a very unusual cold front go through that made the seas very rough (too rough to even get out for a couple of days this year.) According to our captain that was the first wind of any type since very early January. Since I've been known for years as "Cold Front Williams" that only means you don't want to go down there when I'm scheduled to go.

Most years we raise forty to fifty fish a day. Of that, perhaps a little better than half of those actually respond to the teasers. I'd say that roughly 60-70% of those teased up end up taking the fly. From there on it's a matter of technique in setting the hook and playing a fish of that speed and size. I've had days when, fishing three guys per boat, I've landed seven fish and days where I've only landed one or two. I'd have to go through my journals to be sure, but I don't recall a day when I haven't landed any. One day when fishing two guys in a boat, I landed eleven fish and could barely get out of bed the next day I was so stiff and sore.

The biggest mistake is not doing the research on who you're going to have as your captain and boat. There are a bunch of good ones down there, but there are also some you want to avoid. This is certainly one instance where you don't necessarily want the least expensive guys. They are all pretty expensive, so pay the little bit more it takes to get a really good captain and boat. I'd guess that there are now about thirty boats at the San Jose Marina. I'm sure some of those are private boats, but most seem to be taking on clients each day. And Pacific Fin is using the inlet for access so their three or four boats are not at the marina. I'd be happy to help someone find a good captain/boat if you send me a PM.

The only other real mistake I made early on was bringing way too much gear and having a reel along that could land a 100lb+ bluefin. The last several years I've brought only one rod and reel and the reel is no larger than most tarpon reels. If you already have something bigger there's no reason to not bring it, but there's no reason to spend big bucks on a pelagic reel for this fishing unless you really want to do so. You also don't need a box full of flies of every pattern known to bluewater fishing. For the last five years all we've ever used were Cam Sigler's Big Game tube fly in pink and white. And that color is used only because it increases visibility for both you and the captain. One thing sailfish are not is fussy about flies. I'm also obsessed with hooks and hook sizes, though ultimately the first year or two you fish with a particular captain/mate combo you're best off doing what they suggest. These days I bring my own tube riggings and use Owner Aki or Gamakatsu SL12S hooks for the front hook and Owner SSW for the rear hook.

I'll stop there. Obviously I've done it enough that I could write at least a magazine article on it, but that has been done many times in the past. I guess my last caution would be to not worry about having three in a boat and fishing only three or four days. If the fishing is good you'll get more than enough shots in that time, and if it's not good due to extreme wind (or el Niņo this year) three days will be more than enough.
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