Tabacon/Jack Ettinger/Herradura

July 3, 2010

Today was an interesting day. It started last night.


The rain finally stopped about 8:30 so I grabbed my cue and went exploring. Went to this bar about five blocks away that I walked into yesterday to see its two pool tables. Full size and not in bad shape. The bad news is these are in a tourist bar, so the prices are steep. When I arrived, one of the tables, the better one, was available so I claimed it and ordered a Jack on the rocks. I should have been paying more attention but as I waited for my change I began chatting with two young guys on vacation as they tried to order dinner. I gave the bartender a 5,000 colones note and he gave me back 500 colones. That meant my drink cost $9. Yikes! Never again. Also, the tables rented for $6 an hour. I can’t do that every night. Two ex-pats then decided to challenge me on the table and we had a very nice time for an hour or so playing pool. One guy is tall and in his late 50s and has been here six years. The other, Don, is a little wiry guy, full of fun, and travels back and forth between here and Louisiana. Talk turned to fishing at some point and they said they knew a guy who had a tackle shop just outside of town in Herradura, where the marina is located. Jack offered to pick me up and take me there today. After some missed connections due to my not having a phone yet, and him not having Skype, I finally used the phone at the security guard’s station and Jack picked me up about 10 minutes later. This was way past the call of duty and greatly appreciated.

The tour

Herradura is about five miles north of Jaco and is the location of the highest-priced community in the area – Los Suenos (Dreams). We were looking for Jack’s friend Dick’s tackle shop, but Jack wasn’t sure quite where it was. We finally found it but Dick wasn’t there. Dean was. Dean is  about 5-10 and heavy, with the leathered skin of someone who has been on the water for decades, which he has. He talked about charter fishing in a bunch of places in the Caribbean and Latin America. He was in Quepos for awhile and has been in  Costa Rica for 20 years – as of today. The tackle shop was barely 12 feet wide by 20 feet deep, and had mostly deepwater tackle, although there was some lighter tackle. I bought some white jig tails and a Sabiki rig. Why? Because Dean said they are catching snook at the mouths of rivers as they empty into the ocean and the small whitetails were what people were using. The Sabiki rig he said to use for catching bait if I saw them around. He had some 7-foot rods of interest but they were one-piece and that’s too long to be a one-piece for me. We sat and talked with Dean for awhile as I tried to get as much local fishing info as possible.

Then Jack took me down to the beach to ask a captain or two about opportunities. One local guy came up and immediately started pushing me to share a bill-fishing charter the next day for $250. Now, that’s a good deal but is not something I can afford on a regular basis just to catch a sailfish or marlin. But I took his card. Next, Jack decided to give me a tour of uptown central – Los Suenos – where most of his dinner clients come from. Jack’s restaurant is about 30 minutes away up in the hills and overlooking the mountains and CR’s biggest waterfall. It’s basically a platform on the top of a mountain overlooking all the terrain. Guests pay $100 all-inclusive for an upscale surf and turf dinner under the stars and candlelight. The photos in his promo piece are quite stunning ( He closes the restaurant this time of year and will be reopening in November. Business has been bad the last two years. The homes (mostly condos) in Los Suenos sell for between $400,000 and millions, and would be worth 4-5 times that in a similar locale in the U.S. A lot of the very expensive boats in the marina belong to these folks. Next we went to the marina, which is about half the size of the Quepos marina. Jack then dropped me off back at my complex and we may hook up again tonight.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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