A few of us went fishing in Nicaragua, in the south part of the country, just north of Costa Rica, at a fishing camp on the Rio San Juan. You might not think that there is so much water in Nicaragua, but this river is huge and at one time supported large boats moving people across the country going up the west coast of California during the gold rush. (See The Tycoon’s War, a book about this era).
We had nice meals, pleasant evenings, and good guided trolling on the river. The water moves quickly, and we soon saw swirl after swirl of the dorsal fin on the tarpon. We hooked a couple, and a couple of the guys had a good time fighting the fish until it spit the hook, or wrapped around a submerged tree stump. But on the next to last day, one of our group hooked a fish that we all recognized was a big one. The 200 pounds fresh water tarpon took a small lure, no larger than 2″ long, and the fight was one. He pulled the fish or, more accurately, the fish pulled him, two men, and a boat over 3 miles east of the camp.
Three of us in the other boat had just gotten back to camp, and witnessed the scrap from the shore, while our guides jumped into another boat to help the other Nicaraguan fisherman/guide. A good hour later, both boats returned, and had the fish. We try to catch and release, but the fish was evidently completely spent and expired just as the guides were trying to remove the lure. We were informed that night that the camp operator donated the fish to a local NGO (home for displaced children), and they will have protein for days. While the gentleman pictured was not happy that we could not save the fish, we took comfort in knowing that the flesh would not be wasted.
Fun times. Big fish. Lots of memories.
Gran Pacifica VP Sales, Kent Payne, invites you to join him if you plan on visiting Nicaragua