Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula: Crocodile Bay Resort

In “Costa Rican Business Trip” in the October, 2012 issue of Florida Sportsman, Publisher Blair Wickstrom details his battles with yellowfin tuna on the new Penn Spinfisher V off Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. Staying at Crocodile Bay Resort in late June of this year, Wickstrom and the other members of the party, many of them Penn Tackle pro staffers, enjoyed impressive fishing, terrific hospitality and a renewed appreciation for Costa Rica’s resources and wildlife. But their mission was to test the new Penn gear, and in that they and the gear succeeded.

Below is a summary of fishing opportunities available from the Osa Peninsula. Following the fishing calendar is the full interview with Todd Staley, head of fishing operations at Crocodile Bay Resort. Part of that interview appears in Wickstrom’s story in the October issue.

For more information, visit http://www.crocodilebay.com.



Planning Your Trip Around the Bite off Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Blue Marlin Best match- April, November-mid January
Striped Marlin July – September
Black Marlin July – September
White marlin Not available
Sailfish Year-round, peaks January – May
Wahoo Not prevalent, only when blue water close
Dolphin Year-round, peaks November – January
Tuna Year-round
Roosterfish Year-round
Cubera Snapper Year-round
Snook Not many, fish of good quality

Crocodile Bay Resort

Crocodile Bay Resort, behind the scenes. I’ve known Todd Staley, head of fishing operations at Crocodile Bay Resort (CBR) for nearly 25 years. I regretfully admit that in Todd’s 14 years at CBR this was my first visit. While visiting Todd’s home in downtown Puerto Jimenez, meeting his Costa Rican family, visiting his 13-acre property, which he plans to build on one day, it became clear Todd was in Costa Rica for more than the fishing. But, fishing was why I was ultimately there, so I wanted to take this chance to get his insider views on what a Florida Sportsman reader would want to know about CBR and its fishing.

BW: As head of fishing operations of CBR what is your primary function? What does that insure for me as a prospective visitor?

TS: I have run the fishing operation here since day one (14 years). I know the area, the captains and what works best. By having such a long term relation with the captains it makes it easy to match captains with guests.

BW: Tell me a little about your captains and crew.

TS: When we first opened I had to bring almost my whole crew from outside because the locals, although good fishermen, did not have any experience as guides. It is a 4- to 5-year process before a new employee works his way up to be a captain. Ninety percent of my crew are English-speaking locals.

BW: Do your boats follow IGFA rules?

TS: Crocodile Bay is not what you might refer to as a “record-seeker destination,” though we have set records in snapper, snook and several other species. We basically want to insure the guest has a fun experience while they are fishing. If a guest wants to fish for a record we will accommodate them.

BW: You mentioned to get the most out of your trip, there’s a need to communicate with your crew and captain.

TS: When fishing here or chartering a boat anywhere the client should do their homework and ask the questions they have in mind before they arrive. No question is a bad question. Once you’re on the boat, again, good communication is key to the overall positive experience.

BW: Tell me about your boats.

TS: We have thirteen Strike inboard diesels ranging from 33 to 35 feet, ten 27-foot Rambo’s and seventeen 24-foot Boston Whalers.

BW: Can people keep their catch? Do you help in shipping fish back to the states?

TS: If someone brings their own cooler they can take fish back with them. We do not ship fish because the local airlines cannot guarantee us space on the plane.

BW: Can you tell me a little about Puerto Jimenez.

TS: Puerto Jimenez was settled by several large families. My wife has 66 cousins in town so there is always an eye on me. This at one time was a gold rush town, and still is. People mined gold in the hills of what is now Cocovado National Park.

BW: Tell me a little about your location in Costa Rica.

TS: We sit on one of the few tropical fjords in the world, the Golfo Dulce. The northeast side is formed by volcanic activity and the western edge is mangrove estuary. Throughout the Gulf there are volcanic reefs that are haunts for many different types of snapper, roosterfish, amberjack and other reef fish. The river mouths offer an opportunity for a trophy snook to the angler who has the patience to fish them in tropical heat.

BW: What are some of the things a Florida Sportsman would like to do if he wasn’t fishing? Not your typical zip line or spa visit? Anything you can think of from an insider’s view?

TS: We are located on the Osa Peninsula on what National Geographic describes as the most ecologically intense place on the planet. A rainforest jungle hike is a must and can be as easy or strenuous as you like. From a stroll on flat land to scaling a waterfall. Surfers are offered four different breaks within thirty minutes of the resort, including the famous Pavones break which is the second longest left in the world. The jungle can also be done on horseback and many options involving rural tourism like the Chocolate Farm show guests how some of the local people make a living.

BW: As a former Florida angler tell me what fishery in Florida comes closest to matching the fishery you have at CBR?

TS: As a long time west coast Florida resident I would guess that the inshore snapper fishing would be the closest. If someone would have told me 20-some years ago that I would one day be jigging grouper in 400 foot of water and watch people walk on the beach at the same time I would have told them they were crazy. Down here I have learned that a cubera snapper will come up in 100 foot of water and hit a popper. Most east coast Florida anglers like a chop to fish for sails but here a flat ocean is most productive.

BW: Is there anything else the readers of Florida Sportsman, who are planning a trip to fish the Tropics would like to know about CBR…should know about CBR or your region of Costa Rica.

TS: We have the most friendly and service oriented staff I have ever worked with.

Big plans for CBR. If construction goes as planned beginning mid-2013, CBR will be building a much larger marina, an oceanfront hotel and a residential village. The new marina will become the closest international full service marina north of the Panama Canal. For more information go to: www.crocodilebaymarina.com

  • caloundra resorts

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  • http://www.williamamanning.com/ William A Manning

    From the time we arrived at Puerto Jimenez airport, to the time we left, everybody at Crocodile Bay made us feel welcomed and at ease.

    A big thank you goes out to Anthony, Johnny and Andre with doing all the hard work for us while we were fishing for sailfish for the first time. We had a great time and I learned a lot by watching.

    We also want to thank Dennis for being an awesome guide on two EcoTours. The cocoa farm was extremely informative, as a mention, you will learn how a home remedy for foot rot helps save a tree. Enjoy the taste of the freshest chocolate you will ever eat and help make some for the next visitor. (Para Herman y su familia: Muchas gracias para entrada.)

    Dennis was also Crocodile Bay’s liaison for the Zip line tour. Learn a little about native fauna and hopefully you’ll see a sloth or two. The equipment is in great condition and safety was their number one priority.

    Also, Dennis is a professional nature photographer. Have a great camera but don’t know how to get the best use out of it? Ask Dennis and he’ll give you a lesson or three.

    Another Thank You heads to Alberto. Alberto was Crocodile Bay’s liaison on the mountain horseback EcoTour. (Para Alberto: continuar la difusión de la idea de que las políticas gubernamentales que ayudan a la madre naturaleza no debe perjudicar a los pobres y la clase trabajadora. Felix: Echo de menos el caballo gris)

    We haven’t forgotten our friend, Diego. He was our EcoTour guide for snorkeling and the night time critter watching. Thank you for your patience and your enthusiasm.

    During our stay, we enjoyed a couples massage and we also enjoyed individual treatments. The masseuses are trained physical and occupational therapists, so when I say they are magnificent at what they do, know that I don’t say it lightly. Oh, and my wife suggests that the all the ladies should experience a Chocolate wrap at least once in their lives.

    When you stay at Crocodile Bay, I hope you meet Miss Olimpia. Who, I think is a Bob Marley fan, will mother and spoil you at the same time.

    None of this would have been nearly as enjoyable, had it not been for the friendly people that will cater to almost every whim. They will see that you get what you ask for, unless you ask for the impossible or absurd (por ejemplo: pechugas de camerones o pezones de tortugas), and do it in such a way that is unforgettable and seemingly magical.

    Steiffer, Genny, Flor, Maria and everyone that works behind the scenes; thank you for everything that you do. (Para Flor: gracias por recordar que como huevos revueltos, salchichas y papas para el desayuno. Para Louis: gracias por enseñarme un poco de la lengua de signos.)

    Last, though certainly not least, we want to thank Juan for being an exceptional ambassador for Crocodile Bay. He was the first person that greeted us at the Puerto Jiménez airport and the last person to see us off. Thank you for waiting until the plane left the ground and waving back as we waved. Little things like that do, indeed, make a big impact.

    The best advice I can give anybody visiting Crocodile Bay is to wake up before dawn, sit at the pool and watch the world wake up. In those brief moments, the illusions of the world and your worries, will simply fly away like a hummingbird.