Simply put: I find no greater enjoyment on the water than fishing with other women. When I can combine that with prime accommodations, bragworthy meals, rainforest nature and a pampering massage, sign me up — again and again.
In June, I traveled to Crocodile Bay in southern Costa Rica to test new tackle from Penn Fishing. Also new to me was the recently opened Botanika resort. During the three prior visits I’ve made to this location over the last 12 years, I stayed at Crocodile Bay’s original property — which I would call a nice fishing lodge. It had just enough comfort and amenities to suit groups of guys and even families, as well as some extra perks and options like eco-tours to see sloths, toucans and monkeys, and ziplining through the tree canopy.
But Botanika attains a level of class that’s rare for any location, particularly one that offers the kind of offshore and nearshore fishing available here. Over three days, we encountered acres of spinner dolphin and yellowfin tuna feeding and breaching like aquatic missiles. During prior trips, I’ve caught Pacific sailfish, snappers and groupers and punched a bucket-list ticket by boating a 30-pound roosterfish on a topwater plug.
On this recent adventure, and once about seven years ago here, I was fortunate enough to fish with a group of women. This time, I spent the final half-day aboard one of the resort’s Striker Yachts with two women anglers from Penn — Kimberly Hoffman and Jen Ripple. We asked to fish nearshore to target roosters, so we spent our first hour catching sardines with gold-hook rigs — sublimely simple fun.
As the captain started slow-trolling the livies inside the Golfo Dulce, our mate rigged a popper on one of the new Penn Carnage III rods that was paired with a new Penn Authority spinning reel. Jen and I took turns at the bow with the popper rod and a fly rod. Bait was everywhere. We saw one follower, but found no takers.
The rest of the morning, we slow-trolled just outside the breakers along the ocean beaches, where the bow heaved too dramatically for casting. While the bite proved slow, we spent hours talking about experiences and eating perfectly spiced and blended fresh-tuna salad. No tension. No competition. No comparisons. No bragging.
Toward the end of the morning, our captain — who had been casting the popper from the fly bridge — hooked a rooster and handed down the rod. Kim fought the fish to the transom where the mate brought it aboard for multiple photos before release. You might have thought we’d won the Super Bowl.
Target fish notched, we headed back to the dock for our rendezvous with Gloriana, the massage therapist. One muscle-melting hour later, and I met the others for drinks and fresh tuna sushi for supper.
At dinner, I asked a Crocodile Bay representative if the resort had any package offers for female anglers, so others can experience a getaway that’s unique and special to women. They do. For a limited time, visit this link to see the Girlfriend Getaway Fishing Special. Sign me up.