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Announcing the release of Sweet Gulf, the ultimate coffee table photography book!

Season 4 Episode 18

Season 4 Episode 18 Packing as much as physically possible into 3 days…     

This week we entertained Rob and Hunter Brinkerhoff at Osa Eden.   With only three days visiting the rainforest, we decided to “go big” and spend all three days on the water.  Two kayak days with Captain Tosh and one day in the Gulf with Captain Cory. Once again, the Osa didn’t disappoint us and we witnessed something special.   

Chapter 1: The Golden Sunrise   

The first morning at sunrise in the Kayaks (after Rob and Hunter went for an unscheduled swim) we were treated to a truly unique sunrise where both the sky and water turned a brilliant glow of gold with incredible reflections, layers and textures.   

 Da Boys paddlin out.     

Rob silhouetted with the Panama Mountains in the distance.

It didn’t take long before both Rob and Hunter were hooked up, Rob with a monster Jack and Hunter with what turned out to be the best fish of the trip – A RoosterZilla in the 40 pound class! I was obviously entertained while I captured pictures of the boys being towed around the Gulf in opposite directions at about 6 knots.       

Hunter with the Roosterfish of the trip – a 40 pound class fish that towed him into the Gulf about a mile towards Golfito (Hunter says…”Take that Captain Billy!”)     

Chapter 2: In the AM we were “0 for life.” In the afternoon we hit it big!   

On day two we started out with an incredible amount of bait before heading off-shore approximately 10 miles (we heard a report of extremely large TunaZilla’s but didn’t know the coordinates). The only problem was we ended up trolling for about three hours with absolutely No takes!   We came in around 11:00 and after a Rooster and a Jack along the beach, we then dropped off Rob for a breather (in the Hilux AC recovery room) while Hunter and I went back out on another mission. The mission – To find, hook, fight and release the next Roosterzilla. 

Literally within one minute of arriving at the mouth of the bay, all Hell broke Loose!!! All around us, the surface of the water was BUSTING with bait, birds and Roosters. There were dozens of huge fish spread out in a massive feeding frenzy and for the next 90 minutes, Hunter and I hooked 14 Roosters and landed 10.  We even had two double – double battles with multiple simultaneous hook ups.  

It was the most spectacular Roosterfish feeding frenzy that I’ve witnessed after more than three years of fishing the Osa. Most of the fish were in the 10 to 15 pound class while the largest fish landed during this exchange was in the 30 pound class.   What’s even more incredible was that we witnessed an even larger frenzy in the exact same spot 15 hours later.                        

Chapter 3: The double hook up Shit Show.   

Day three of fishing was once again in the Kayaks with Captain Tosh. We got a slightly later start that next morning but managed to time another Roosterfish feeding frenzy perfectly – Right at the mouth of the bay.       At about 8:45 AM - For what seemed to be about 200 meters across, directly in front of us, for more than a minute, the savage predator's had pinned a massive bait ball of sardines up against the drop-off-lip of the delta and were crushing the bait in a washing-machine-like-frenzy. All three of us hooked up – which was great – except for me because I had two fish on simultaneously.  

Fish # 1 hit my popper cast from the front of the Kayak and as I set the hook, Fish # 2 hit my live bait on the rod facing out the back end of the craft.  I initially fought the fish on the popper briefly but as I glanced back at my bait rod, the line was quickly disappearing off the spool which was set in “bait runner mode.”   

This forced me to open the bail on the popper rod (to allow the fish to run), set it in the front facing rod holder, reach back to engage the Bait runner reel, grab the rod to reconnect with the fish -  all in an effort to prevent fish #2 from “spooling me” (aka stripping off all the remaining line).  As this was happening and I thought I’d gained some sense of control (NOT), the fish on Rod #1 (the popper rod) began to take after his brother and started running towards Golfito (on the other side of the Gulf) with all my remaining line.   

Confused yet???   

Just then, Fish #2 (on the bait-runner reel out the back), decided to do a complete 180 and head back towards the Kayak at full speed. Naively thinking that once again… I had things under control (yeah right), I grabbed Rod #1 (the popper rod) and tried to re-engage the fish.  The only thing was that somehow, the fish threw the hooks and wasn’t connected to my popper anymore. Ok, I thought – no problem, I’ll just set this rod back into the holder and grab Rod # 2 to fight that fish.  

OOPS, that fish had now run completely under my kayak (after doing the 180) and my line got caught on the bottom fin of the Kayak and that fish came unbuttoned. SHIT, I just blew the greatest opportunity I’ve ever had to land two spectacular fish at once – in a kayak!  Dumb-Ass.   

Meanwhile, while Rob was being towed out to the middle of the Gulf, Hunter was being towed back in the opposite direction towards the Puerto Jimenez pier.     Tosh and I followed Rob (where he ultimately landed a great Jack) and Hunter was on his own.  Everyone landed their fish except me and after regrouping, we set out on one more attempt to land a Rooster for Rob.     

Rob hooked up once again and of course - this fish was also a beast.  It ultimately towed him over a mile out into the Gulf for over an hour and it turned out to be his best fish of the week.     

Chapter 4: Fish Art (designed by Captain Cory)   

About three weeks ago, while fishing with my friend Tony Thompson, I landed a very fine Cubera Snapper that managed to destroy with it’s crushing teeth - my favorite Top-water popper.  Unknown to me, Cory decided to create a little dining table ornament for me using the skull of the Cubera and the damaged popper.  Well, here’s a picture of the fish and the mounted “business end of the fish” (aka Jaws) that put three holes in my popper.  

I can hear Katie now… “Get that S_ _ T off the dining room table!”     

Now everyone can clearly see the evidence of why these Badd-Ass fish are my personal favorite.

Chapter 5: Hummingbirds at night.   

I managed to get a pretty good photo of a humming bird just after sunset at Steve Griffin’s house and while this is a great shot, the best is yet to come as I figure out the ideal lighting and positioning.     More to follow and of course - Plan Your Trips.   T.O.    

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