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

Season 4 Episode 19

Update from the Osa: Season 4 Episode 19 (the Wildlife Diversity edition).

This update features a variety of photos from the past two weeks including a mountain biking trip (across a long motorcycle extension bridge), an incredible inshore fishing day (with Sailfish, Roosters and Jacks oh my), an amazing off-shore fishing day (with Monster Mahi, Tuna and Marlin) and a bird outing (Scarlet McCaw and Great Kiskadee).   

The 36-mile cycling trip was along the mountain road that extends from Rincon to Drake bay. To essentially cross the Rincon River, there is a spectacular suspension bridge that has been created for motorcycles and foot traffic.  Cars can drive across the riverbed when the water level is low enough but have to take the long road around for most of the rainy season. The first shot is a panoramic photo (180 degrees that captures the view upriver, downriver and the bridge itself in the center.    The second photo is the same bridge but with a wide angle shot from the opposite direction. Note: if you look closely, you will see red marks painted on the “planks/boards” that represent parts of the bridge where the wood either has significant holes or that are damaged enough to identify the areas you literally could fall through if not going fast enough. For the record… I walked my bike across.       

Next up are the photos that represent the incredible inshore fishing day that I had with several trophy roosterfish, a sailfish, multiple Jacks, a Longfin Trevally, hammerhead shark, Yellowfin Tuna and Amberjack. BTW… With the Hammerhead, we are now up to 62 different species of gamefish caught here on the Osa.                   

Next up are the photos from the Offshore expedition (with Dave Horn, Tony Reyman, Captain Cory and his trusty mate Alias). We started out about 20 miles offshore fishing a current/trash line and it didn’t take 15 minutes before Tony Reyman hooked up with an athletic Mahi in the 40 pound class (a PR for Tony).   Next up was 3 more Mahi (to make sure we could feed the hood for a week) before I tied into a spectacular Marlin (about 180+ pounds), that technically wasn’t even hooked (the hook actually wrapped around the bill and somehow didn’t come undone after a terrific battle).   I handed off the rod to Dave and he settled in for the battle with Alias providing an assist on the rod (to make sure that Dave didn’t go for a swim).                 

The end result was that I managed to capture the single best close-up photos of a Marlin that I’ve ever taken.  The close ups of the eye of the fish with the water spraying off the head as Cory held on tight to the Bill don’t get any better.   When you are literally one foot away from an enormous head, mouth and eye of such an amazing creature - that is larger and a lot stronger than you, it leaves you with a lasting impression. What’s even better is to release it “unharmed,” to continue its lifelong pelagic journey for a thousand miles in the Pacific Ocean.   As an action sport photographer, the photo op doesn’t get any better than this.   

One more comment about close-up photography of Game Fish…   

 When the fish is totally exhausted, the eye actually “appears lifeless” and the fish is stressed to the point where it may not survive. When the eye is looking down, at you and/or is focused, the fish is fine and ready to be released unharmed.   

 It’s at this moment – looking into the fish’s eye that you make a spiritual connection with the fish and you almost seem to appreciate/respect each other. This is the ultimate shot for me to capture as a photographer and one that I never forget – no matter how many fish I catch. In fact, the quality of the photos I captured of this fish are so good that the file size of each shot is over 50 Mbs. 

 Next up was what we set out to accomplish when we left the dock… I wanted to catch a PR Mahi in the 50-pound class and I went public with that goal several times that morning.  Well, after another 30 minutes of trolling along a massive current line offshore, MahiZilla hit my rod and the battle was on.   

When it initially jumped and cartwheeled when hooked, I knew it was a beast and after about a 30-minute fight, it came into Cory Gaft as a new PR for Yours Truly. The head on this Male fish was so massive that it actually extended from my waist to just below my chin – which made it somewhat of a challenge for me to hold by hand so I ultimately had to prop it up on my lap. The picture below says it all and it may have well exceeded a 50 pound class fish.       

Just after landing this Mahi, Cory got a report over the radio that there was a huge school of Yellowfin Tuna less than three miles away so we set off in pursuit of Tunazilla as Dave had a score to settle (he lost a true trophy fish he hooked on his fly rod the last time we were out - after an hour long fight).   

As soon as we arrived at the school, Tony hooked up with a 40 pounder (a new PR for him).     I then landed two 40 pounders on my topwater popper and while reeling in my second fish, Dave finally connected with the TunaZilla of the Day (a mid-70-pound class fish) that truly tested him physically and mentally.     

Dave’s fish seemed to fight well above its weight class and it apparently was VERY PISSED OFF at something (maybe it was the large hook impaled in its mouth). Either way, Alias once again had to provide an assist on the rod to help keep Dave in the boat and after about an hour, it came alongside for Cory to set the Gaft.       

Birds etc: I also managed to get some great photos of Scarlet McCaw as they gorge themselves on the Almond Trees on the lower section of our property.           

We also have a pair of Great Kiskadee that have been staging at both our pool and our neighbor’s giant bird bath (Dave and Jackie Horn). Whereas they have not been swimming in our pool they have been doing “touch and go” landings in the Horn’s saltwater pool. I was able to capture this action photo just as the bird bounced off the surface on one of this practice landings.       

Finally, we’ve had two Jesus lizards that have moved into our pool area and they are the largest I’ve ever seen (at least 2 Ft. long).  They are famous for actually being able to run/sprint across the surface of the water on their hind legs and somehow not sink (hence the name they have earned). I’m still trying to get an action photo of them on top of the water but they are really fast and somewhat skittish so more camera time will be required to secure that shot.     

That’s all for this week. More to follow as I’m out on the water Saturday for a final outing before traveling home to Bozeman next week.   Enjoy, share and plan your trips.   T.O.

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