Sportfishing fleet’s electronics enjoy tons of support
mere 30 years ago, Costa Rica wasn’t even
on the radar of most American anglers.
Sure, people who had fished Central America knew the coast held plenty of opportunity. But a lack of infrastructure, modern
amenities, and modern charter fleets meant that few people
were exposed to just how incredible the winter season could
be along the central and southern Pacific coast of this
nation. The country sports coastlines along both the Pacific
Ocean and Caribbean.
Still, word got out. A few mothership operations (
including the famed Madam and Hooker, www.marlinmag.com/
madam) probed these waters, small charter outfits survived
in ports like Quepos and Golfito, and as banana exports
were affected by blight, tourism and sport fishing became
important forms of income.
The real breakthrough came in 1991, when Californian
William Royster purchased a cattle ranch that he would
develop into Los Suenos Resort and Marina, in Herradura.
The marina opened in 2001 with 200 slips for sportfishing
boats and yachts up to 180 feet, as well as dry storage for
another 100-plus boats up to 35 feet. At about the same
time that the first phase of construction of Los Suenos was
completed, hotels began springing up some 45 miles to the
north in Quepos and construction began on Marina Pez
Vela. Today a third megamarine facility, Golfito Marina Village, is open for business.
All of these ports share one thing in common: they have
the infrastructure and the amenities to cater to the
demands of American yacht owners. Add to that the fact
that the government is stable and the locals are friendly,
and it’s no wonder that ever since Los Suenos opened,
American sport fishing boats began heading south during
the winter months.
Better all the time
Costa Rica seems a long way off, but shipping a 50-
footer there from south Florida only takes about a week and
costs less than $30,000. In the grand scheme of things, if
you own a 50-footer in the first place this probably isn’t
going to be a crippling expense. But sportfishermen this far
from home have to plan for a number of contingencies, not
the least of which is making sure their marine electronics are
in prime condition. And if something breaks while your
boat’s in Costa Rica, what’s next?
“Today it’s not a problem,” says Captain Josh Ruskey,
captain of the 50 foot Viking Live Wire, who’s spent many
winter seasons in Costa Rica. “In the first years we were
going down there it was different. I remember having to pull
a Northstar 6000 out of the helm, put it in a carry-on bag,
and fly it home to get it fixed when the screen blanked out.
But now there are several companies working down there.
Honestly, running a boat in places like Los Suenos or Quepos, it’s become just like being in Palm Beach.”
BY LENNY RUDOW A
Los Suenos on
coast of Costa
Rica draws a
of US sport
every year to
chase trophy-size marlin,
50 foot boat
marinas in the