May 16th, 2019
Jungle Tarpon Reserve Expert Interview with Brian Gies
Top Reasons to go:
4. Enjoy incredible wildlife viewing opportunities while fishing.
6. Low fishing pressure with four anglers per week and dedicated rest weeks.
Where is the lodge?
The lodge is located in a remote portion of the northern Costa Rican interior.
How do I get there?
Guests fly to San Jose, Costa Rica and overnight. The following morning they will drive overland for 4-5 hours on rough roads into the jungle.
When should I go?
Their season runs August until mid-December. This is the wet season in this region. During this time runoff from surrounding volcanoes fills the creeks, rivers, and lagoons and tarpon from 20lbs to up to 200 lbs journey over a hundred miles inland to spend the season feeding. As this is the wet season we recommend coming prepared for rain.
Where do they fish?
They fish a vast complex of protected freshwater rivers, creeks and flooded lagoons surrounded by rain forest and swampland.
What are the accommodations and meals like?
The lodging simple and rustic. You stay in cabanas less than 100 yards from the river. The Cabanas have two single beds, private baths with semi-warm water showers and ceiling fans. The property has a large covered outdoor area for relaxing between fishing sessions and evening drinks. Rooms do not have air conditioning. Meals are all taken at one of a number of small simple restaurants in the nearby town. Almost all the restaurants serve a variation of the same dish: fried fish, chicken, or pork served with a side of rice and beans. If you have elaborate dietary needs, this might not be the place for you.
Describe the atmosphere and style of the lodge.
It’s a very relaxed place with simple teak cabins set on a large fruit-tree covered lawn sloping down to the water. It is a very personal affair that gives an unfiltered glimpse of the rural ranching settlement.
Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Jungle Tarpon Reserve is a collaborative effort between Tom Enderlin and Solid Adventures of Sweden. Tom Enderlin will accompany all groups and he is a smart, passionate guy looking to create a unique and sustainable fishing destination. He truly cares about the tarpon, the environment, and making a positive impact in the region.
Is there internet and cell service?
There is decent phone service from local providers as well as a Wi-Fi connection available.
How do they fish?
Anglers fish split day sessions from local river pangas with two anglers per boat taking turns on the bow. There are two distinct fisheries. The small jungle river and a number of shallow lagoons. The river is quite intimate with guides often needing to position the boat to help keep your back cast out of the jungle. When you hook a big fish, half the battle can be keeping them out of log jams. There are times in the river where the tarpon will line up like trout at the mouths of small feeder creeks and crash bait. Most of the fishing in the lagoons is done while polling mirror glass water and sight casting to hunting tarpon.
What fish will I catch?
All sizes of tarpon are available. There are some baby tarpon but most of the fish average around 60 lbs with a good number of fish in the 100-130 pound class. Some fish tip the scales near 200 lbs.
How many fish will I catch?
This depends on the angler and the conditions, but you’ll likely have opportunities (eats and jumps) each day. Landing three fish in a week is great, and landing three fish in a day is outstanding. Tarpon here are like tarpon anywhere, they can be moody and anglers should be mentally prepared for a catch rates from 0 – 30 fish in a week.
Is there wade fishing?
No. Guests mostly fish from the boat only.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?
The run to the fishing ground is anywhere from 10 min to over an hour. Breakfast is served on they way to the first fishing spot each morning.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
They do have some tackle for rent. This should be coordinated prior to arrival but can also be arranged on-site if needed.
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
A fast-action 12 weight rod is the best for throwing large streamers and whipping large tarpon.
Are there other activities?
Although this trip is made for hard-core anglers, some wildlife viewing is possible, photography or simply relaxing at the lodge is possible. We can also offer extensions to other fisheries in Costa Rica or an array of eco-adventure activities that this country is famous for.
What are the physical demands?
We are in the jungle so conditions can sometimes be hot/humid as well as rainy. Anglers should also be comfortable throwing 12 weight rods and battling the large strong fish.
Do guides speak English?
Broken English is spoken by the local captains and the destination manager, Tom Enderlin, is fluent in both English and Spanish.
What are the guides like?
Guides are from the village and know the river, side channels and lagoons like the back of their hands. They are are new to the art of guiding fly anglers but they are passionate about tarpon as well as conservation and proper fish handling.
Are there special skills required?
All of the fishing is done with a 12 wt so some practice before arriving will help.
Who is best suited to this destination?
This trip is best suited for adventuresome and hearty anglers who like getting off the beaten path. Tarpon fans who want to experience a truly unique fishery are also good candidates.
Dangers and annoyances:
There are biting and stinging creatures in the jungle, but you will never really enter them. The only advice is to come prepared for infrequent but always possible heavy rain, strong sun and some mosquitoes at night. The guides usually always have umbrellas on board to weather the rain if and when it comes. Sunscreen and insect repellent with DEET will keep you protected from the rest.
Are there heath concerns?
Costa Rica is a very safe country but we still recommend visiting the CDC site before traveling to make sure that the situation has not changed or check with your doctor.
Have a real local experience where you eat out at a number of small, no frills, local establishments.