Hot Summer Action: Costa Rica

Catching roosters, sailfish and grouper with Columbia Sportswear out of Crocodile Bay Lodge.

The Green Welcome

Flying in Costa Rica means witnessing endless vistas of green. On my June trip to Crocodile Bay Lodge, we enjoyed the rainy season — honestly we did enjoy it. We were there to test Columbia Sportswear‘s new OutDry technology, designed into foul-weather jackets. In between the rain drops, we caught sailfish, marlin, roosterfish, grouper, snapper, African pompano and jacks. Chris Woodward

Scenic Drive

Because I traveled with a large group of writers, bloggers and Columbia pro staffers, we boarded vans in San Jose after our international flights and drove to the Osa Peninsula — about a seven-hour trek. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Local Fauna

At one roadside stop, we found this hand-sized bug creeping up the trunk of a palm tree. Chris Woodward

Morning Start

Crocodile Bay Lodge lies near the tip of the Osa Peninsula, just north of the border with Panama. Its marina features a long dock leading to multiple inboard-powered Strike sport-fishers and outboard-powered Boston Whalers. All are equipped with Penn fishing tackle. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Into the Blue

A Crocodile Bay sport-fisher heads toward the mouth of the Golfo Dulce to reach the Pacific Ocean. Though the lodge is pretty far south on the peninsula, it’s still about a 5-mile run to open seas. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Perfectly Prepared

My first day fishing with Capt. Geovanny Leal and mate Cristian Avalos Alvarez was an epic and unique adventure. Not only were these two fishermen top notch (could they have any more lures?), they were great fun — particularly since our entire angling crew was female. I’ve been fishing a long time, and I’ve never fished with an exclusively female team. We kept this group together for two of three fishing days. Both mornings, Cristian pulled out a new assortment of lure colors, bridled a pile of ballyhoo and set out multiple lines for sailfishing. At midday, we ran to the beach and slow-trolled live baits for roosterfish. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Sail On!

Columbia pro staffer Cindy Nguyen dances with a tail-walking sailfish. An accomplished inshore and fly fisherman, Nguyen had never caught a billfish. Her enthusiasm for the fight was infectious to the rest of us. One truth I documented with our all-women team: This trip was all about fun and encouragement. Chris Woodward

Pacific Pelagic

I really appreciated the fact that Crocodile Bay teams opted to leave billfish in the water rather than haul them aboard for photos. All the sailfish we brought to the boat were also tagged before release. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Tag Time

Alvarez quickly tagged Nguyen’s sailfish as Leal kept the boat idling forward. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein


Nguyen poses for one happy snapshot before releasing the big sail. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Write Stuff

Can’t keep tabs on sailfish tags without the paperwork. Nguyen documents the catch while freelance writer Kelly Bastone (left) awaits her turn on the rod. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Hammer Down

Bastone, a Colorado freshwater fly angler, gets her turn at a Pacific sail. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

End Game

Bastone’s billfish makes one final aerial assault. Minutes later, it came boatside, where it surged and broke the leader before it could be tagged. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Catching Dinner

Another Crocodile Bay Lodge boat sticks a lively dorado. Each night the lodge restaurant served our fresh catch either as sushi/sashimi or grilled/fried/blackened. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Spreading the Wealth

While the sailfish weren’t thick as thieves, many of the lodge boats tagged and released at least one or two. One boat released a 300-pound blue marlin; another boat hooked a similar marlin on fly that died at depth. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Body Count

Field & Stream Editor-in-Chief (and Bonnier Men’s Group editorial director) Anthony Licata (right) prepares to release another Pacific sail. Columbia pro staffer Bob Izumi shoots a few photos. Chris Woodward

Dock Talk

Hammin’ it with a selfie after fishing (left to right): Cindy Nguyen, Gerhard Laubscher (CEO at FlyCastaway), the author, Matthieu Cosson (FlyCastaway head guide). Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Billfish Bath

Nguyen and Bastone take the plunge in honor of their first billfish! Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Technical Gear

Jeff Timmins, senior global brand director for Columbia, talks to media members about 2016 Columbia Performance Fishing Gear products, including the OutDry foul-weather gear. Chris Woodward

Slimy Catch

On day two, the female fishing team took some reef-fish trophies. Nguyen marvels at an eel that ate a chunk of bait on a dropper rig. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Reef Wrangling

Nguyen also captured this spotted grouper in 280 feet of water. Chris Woodward

Pacific Red

Bastone caught the first pargo (snapper) of the trip. Chris Woodward

Denizen of the Deep-ish

I dropped a knife jig on the reef 280 feet below and got slammed by this hefty fellow — a ten-spine grouper! Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Bait String

Catching live bait to slow-troll for roosterfish was always the first order of the day. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Needle Work

Nguyen bridles a live bait to slow-troll. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Popping Gallos

On the roosterfish grounds, Leal starts casting a topwater plug as Alvarez keeps the boat slowly circling. I asked for a plug to cast as well, and after just five tosses with the Sebile Splasher, I was hooked up! Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Dream Catch

The rooster hit the popper much like a jack crevalle — with vengeance. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Productive Plug

The Sebile Splasher forced out a lot of water with its dished head. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Wow Fish

The amazing roosterfish is much-sought-after, particularly on a popper. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Say Cheese

Nguyen and her African pompano pose for a selfie. Chris Woodward

Perfect Pose

The slow-trolled liveys scored too! Leal boated this roosterfish for Bastone. Columbia Sportswear/Tiffany Renshaw Hein

Picture of Paradise

After three days of fishing, the group broke into smaller teams and headed out to surf or try a zip-line. This was a scenic overlook on the way up into the mountains to the zip-line. Chris Woodward

Hasta la Vista

The first group of writers and pros flies out of Puerto Jimenez via some brand new Sansa Airlines airplanes. Chris Woodward