July 7, 2010
Didn’t send a report yesterday because the day was pretty uneventful. I did venture out about 4 and tried to get some fishing in before the rains came. Nothing where I usually go, which is about middle of the beach, so I decided to walk to the north end. A pretty good walk. Turns out there’s a river that empties into the ocean there and there were a few people fishing. There was one older guy there fishing with live mullet, so I had to ask him some questions. He spoke some English because he used to have a home in South Beach, Miami. Now he just has a home in San Jose and a condo right on Jaco Beach. I’ve met my first rich Tico. He told me he gets his bait in the river and then fishes at the mouth for snook. His name is Abraham and he’s probably about 60. Told me I could get a cast net and air bubbler in San Jose, which is a long way to go for your friendly fishing tackle store. Then he said to try Lagar on the main drag so I decided to tackle that task today.
The search for a net
Overcast day and a nice breeze coming in from the ocean so it was a decent day to take a walk in search of a cast net. I wrote out a translation for fishing tackle and set out for Lagar. Turns out it is the same hardware store I’ve been directed to twice already and they no longer stock fishing supplies. I showed a guy at the entrance my translation and asked him, sort of, where I could find fishing tackle (donde es – where is – works well for stuff like this). He directed me down this side street and said to take a derecha (right turn – a word I had just looked up that morning, go figure). He also said Garabito, which I didn’t understand at the moment but turned out to be a part of tow, or a small town attached to Jaco. Anyway. I walked for quite a while before coming to a main road, which happened to be the road I came in on from Quepos. Across the street was a hardware store with Garabito on it, and in front was a sign saying fishing supply. Now let me tell you, they don’t stock a lot of stuff in these places, but they did have a number of cast nets and at a reasonably price – $32 – which was about half what that tackle shop in Herradura wanted. I also picked up a small bucket to hold bait, a couple of bungee cords and some 3-in-1 oil.
Why the bungee cords? I had already decided that if I found a casting net then the die would be cast – I would bite the bullet and buy a bike ($131). I now have wheels. This was a big decision because it basically says I’m going to try to make a go of it in Jaco. I then walked back to main street and went looking for the store with bikes that I had checked out previously. I picked one out, handed them my bank card and they put the bike together for me. This is a typical bike down here – bulky, one-speed, reverse-pedal braking, basket on the front and carrier on the back. Pretty clunky but it will do. I needed the bike now because I will be fishing at either end of the beach, which is at least a half-mile hike, and will be carrying more weight.
You know what? You never really do forget how to ride a bike, but riding it on relatively narrow streets with cars coming by is a little scary. Made it back home and packed up for the beach. Have to tell you that while my walking muscles have gotten a pretty good workout since I’ve been here, apparently the thigh muscles need a whole different kind of workout. Once I reached the north end of the beach, I set about trying to catch bait in the river. It’s very muddy and there were a couple other guys casting nets. Then Abraham showed up and told me one of the guys was catching bait for him. He pays the guy $20 to catch him small mullet. Ahh, the good life!
I finally caught three small mullet, which Abraham said were too small, but I used them anyway. His bait catcher managed to net about six bigger ones. Let’s see, that’s more than $3 a mullet. The other guy casting a net apparently was American. He was too far away to talk to but he did yell to warn me that there were rocks in the middle of the river that could snag my net. He also told Abraham that he didn’t try casting up a tributary of the river because there were two 10-foot crocs in it. Anyway, did the snook fishing pretty much the traditional way but we didn’t catch anything. Pedaled back home and now it’s raining again.