Our friend Patrick, is the Captain of a beautiful 64′ fishing yacht. He invited us on a short delivery from Quepos to Golfito for a little FAD fishing. We met him at Manuel Antonio Estates and had the pleasure of hanging out with him while he was doing repairs on his boat.
This trip would take Sugar Shack 2 full days to make, whereas Patrick’s boat would only take 3-4 hours. But why rush when you can swing by the FADs?
FAD stands for Fish Aggregating Device. They are man-made objects used to attract ocean going fish such as marlin, tuna and mahi-mahi (dolphin fish). They usually consist of buoys or floats tethered to the ocean floor with concrete blocks.
HOW FADS WORK:
FADs come in different sizes, and they will be strategically placed in various depths and spots in the ocean. Large predators, including Marlin, will congregate here due to the fact that small bait fish are naturally attracted to these structures. Thus, the larger fish come here to feed.
There is a lot of controversy around FAD fishing just as there is around hunting blinds. I do not know enough to speak for or against FADs, so I will just tell you that people come from all over the world to do FAD fishing in Costa Rica. Most charter boats are sport fisherman that do catch and release programs.
THE BOAT AND CREW:
Patrick the Captain; Tony the first mate, and Eliza the second mate joined us on this adventure. As we are leaving the marina, at just above idle, moving 8 knots we realize his “idle speed” is close to our regular max speed 🙂 Love it.
Just outside the marina, Patrick showed us the benefits of a SeaKeeper. A SeaKeeper is installed to minimize the movement of the boat. Works particularly effective on monohulls and fishing boats as it keeps them from rocking side to side. SeaKeeper video. I am a huge fan – best 1/4 of a million dollars you could spend!
The crew rigged the boat and prepared the bait the day before. I have never been on a sport fishing yacht and it was super cool and very fancy. A really great experience for Matt and I.
Of course, this boat is beyond stocked. They put out the outriggers with huge teasers and readied the poles with bait. Below, you will see two black poles standing by for a nibble. The bait is in the cylinders below the poles. They wait to see the teaser move, then pull in the teaser as they toss out the bait on the poles. An expert maneuver of bait and switch. Its all about timing between the captain, first mate, and fisherman.
Once the throttle went down, we saw a max speed of 40.2 knots which burned 100 gallons per hour, per engine (2 engines). The “cruising” speed was 32 knots at 1900 rpm and 70 gph. And it all felt effortless. A completely thrilling experience.
As we were headed out to the FADs, we passed by a huge fallen tree floating in the water. Matt and I would normally tack to avoid such a collision, but Patrick actually headed toward it. Imagine my confusion.
Of course, he has a lot more horse power and could maneuver the boat a lot easier than our sailboat. There were some yellow footed boobies hanging around the tree, taking a break from flying over the Pacific Ocean. As we neared the trees, the crew tossed out a couple of lines and within a few minutes, we heard our first zing! A beautiful Mahi-Mahi took the bait and jumped in one of the 4 freezers on deck.
BLUE MARLIN CATCH & RELEASE:
Hammer down, we made it 100 miles offshore to one of the FADs in just a few hours. Matt was first in the “chair” and reeled in a beautiful blue Marlin. We caught one on Sugar Shack – the same day we caught a sail fish. But that experience was a lot more difficult than this one as we could not slow down our sail boat to reel in the fish like we did on Patrick’s boat.
Eliza reeled in the 2nd one which jumped on the line within 15 minutes of releasing the first one. I was nervous about reeling in one as my arms are super weak. Frankly, after “the cancer” I never went back to working out and the arms just never recovered. But, Patrick was relentless and convinced me to hop in the chair.
After great instructions and a lot of help from the Captain, I was able to reel in my first blue marlin! Word was he weighed about 350-400lbs. Pretty freakin awesome! Could not have happened without Patrick’s excellent boating skills, he continually reversed to help me reel in this beast.
After catching the Mahi and 3 Blue Marlin, we decided to head to Golfito. We released all of the marlin by the way. Hammer down, a few hours later, we arrive at Fish Hook where Patrick effortlessly backs in this 64′ beauty into a slip – 1st try, no shouting, no problems, no worries. Impressive! That’s why he’s a paid captain of a multi-million dollar sport fishing yacht – as he says “its what I do.”
We enjoyed lots of fish for dinner, met a new friend Sheddy from Chuffed and celebrated our successful day.
The next day was a little “rough” for everyone, but Tony, Matt and I managed to hop in a taxi to Rio Claro to catch a 4-hour bus back to Quepos.
Patrick worked closely with the boat owners to design and create this beautiful boat. It is truly a master piece. Not only is it beautiful, but it makes incredible use of every nook and cranny. Extremely efficient, useful, and elegant. It was a special treat to be among such luxury.
We are truly blessed to have met such wonderful people! It was a once in a lifetime experience and we will always be grateful to Patrick for this adventure!