We spent 7 days a week, 14 hours a day, getting her back to new. Had to bring it all the way down to the hull and do a couple of patches, put in new hull and motor supports (the wood beams the motor sits on) and then built a small cabin up front with the bathroom and a ton of rod holders! It was a blast, except for being so tired, it was definitely worth it, I wish I had taken more pictures, here are some before and after and a couple of during pictures.
Here's what we started out with, classic 'Palm Beach' Costa Rica Gamefisherman with a but ugly cabin:
Then this is what we did with the cabin and floor and pretty much everything except the hull. We were going to burn it, but I think there was soo much oil and diesel in the wood, it might have exploded and taken out the ship yard here... so we took it to the dump :)
Here is what the front part of the boat looked like when we took out the floor and the hull. We left a little part of the cabin up front as you can see in the picture that became the visor. In the picture it shows pine boards going across, but before we put those in, we coated them with West Epoxy and surf board cloth so they are waterproof and we don't have to redo any of that. Here is the empty hull:
We then had to patch the hull. There was a rotten spot under where the motor support beam was. The rotten spot was only about 6 inches across, but since the boat has three layers of wood, we opened the first layer up really big, then made like a pyramid, opening the second layer up only half the size and then the hole that went side to side was only about 9 inches big. I called West and they sent me a book on how to do it, this little patch took over a week to redo. We did it with the same weightless Laurel Wood the boat was made with, and each layer we lined up the grains with the existing grains of the surrounding wood layer. Here is the patch when we finish, before putting the board on the outside:
We then had some good rot on the transom and back rail so we rebuilt those as well:
Then I got too tired to take any more pictures, but here is the floor and cabin after we put it back together a bit!
Here is a picture of the visor we turned the front part of the cabin into. That was a lot of work as we built it a couple of times until I got it looking right. We also built those two fiberglass boxes you see on the tower that is next to the boat so I can put all the gauges in one side and the GPS / Sounder / Radio in the other. I hate those ugly black cummins things, so I made the gauge holder out of glass and hole sawed it. I replaced the original gauges with the sea cruz gauges that have built in alarms, but I had to buy two temp gauges because the first one they send me didn't work, so I don't know if I would recommend them.
The bottom we treated with the Interconnect sealing epoxy and Micron 66 from Interlux. I really like the look of the blue color, and hopefully after 3 coats of their best paint, I won't see any buildup for the next year or so.
2 and a half months later, we got her down in the water. This is from about 5 minutes after I got it in the water. The boat on the right is the panga we built a couple of months ago. We didn't get to start it until a couple days later because I was waiting on a new Racor.
Here's the first run last weeek:
First trip out was yesterday, she beat my other two boats releasing 6 nice sailfish and a couple of 30 pound Mahi. It was a fun build, I need to take some more pictures...
Here's a before and after just to see the difference, I really thought it came out better than I expected, what do you guys think?
Had an awesome day of fishing today! The morning was kind of slow, using the gyro - binoculars, we found an enormous (over an acre) school of spinner dolphins and Yellow Fin Tuna in the morning, and there were 100 pound Tuna jumping all around the boat. Millions of birds, seagulls, brown boobies, and frigates. We were so excited when we got there, because we had loaded up on the live bait in the morning and tlive bait on a school like this is almost guaranteed a day full of 100 pounders. We stopped in front of the school countless times though, and nothing would bite! There was even once where a 100+ YF jumped out of the water chasing a flying fish and landed right on top of our poor sardine, and still no hookup! We tried cedar plugs, feather jigs, birds, daisy chains, pencil jigs, sardines, blue runners, and finally lookdowns. Nothing. Frustrated with seeing the big cow tuna jumping all around us, and getting tired of the 'white rain' of the huge school of birds overhead, we decided to head a little more offshore and try to save the day with some billfish. About 12:30, we had our first looker. Mike (the mate) saw an unusual wake behind the short teaser and everybody started yelling, Mike throws the pitch bait, teaser comes in, Fish takes / touches the bait. Mike lets the line go freespool... one ... two ... three .. four ...five ... six. Mike raises the brake... Nothing. No bent rod, not even a zancocho. (zancocho is the Spanish word for when you have a fish and he eats your ballyhoo and not the hook). After examination of the bait, it looks like the fish just swatted at it with the bill but wasn't eating. A little bummed out we didn't land our first one, but excited we finally were seeing hungry fish, we decided to stay in the area. We started making circles and it wasn't 10 minutes later and finally had our first hook up. Double sailfish. One knocked down the long rigger bait (ballyhoo) and one was on the teaser. Mike quickly bait and switched the close one and Jose (2nd mate) dropped the rigger line into freespool letting the fish eat, raising the brake to demonstrate how to successfully use a circle hook! The fish of course go in opposite directions, so we have to use the reels to get them all to the boat. Finally the day was getting started! It was now about 1:15 and we had 2 to the boat. We drop the lines in the water again, running a sprial pattern out from where we had the double and this time a sail kills our yellow green islander and somehow someone got a picture of him knocking it into the air! No hookup yet, but on the next pass we had one on the long teaser which is a pink moldcraft squid daisy chain with the large chugger islander chaiser(with a ballyhoo but no hook), quick pitch bait throw, teaser in and fish hooked! By 3:30 we had released a total of 8 sailfish out of the 15 sailfish we had behind the boat. Today the fish were in love with the pink daisy chains and green chasers. Our moldcraft daisy chain had 6 fish on it, and we have another diasy chain made from 3 sea striker pink birds being chased by a green moldcraft wide range that had 5. Alot of the plain ballyhoo hits were on the riggers right behind the chains as well.
We just started running ballyhoos behind each of the teasers like a pitchbait and then the long ballyhoos on the corners and the really long center ballyhoo, and I think it has helped raise more fish. We go through more ballyhoo, but sometimes when the fish was just coming to look and that pitchbait is already swimming behind the teaser, he just changes his mind for an easy meal :) We also just had the riggers lowered for the calm season here, giving us a wider spread and pulling the fish from a better angle and making everything swim better. We are lucky though, we haven't even had 1 foot seas for the last two months, and shouldn't get into any waves until the end of May so we can get away with having the riggers about 2 feet off of the water. It's fun because it's so stinkin wide we can get all the baits out of the boat wake and into the clear blue water! It's kind of a neat setup, it wouldn't have worked in Texas or Florida because it's never flat (or at least not when I would go out), but it's something different we can do here!
It was a action packed afternoon and we got back in with some tired fisherman! Enjoy the pics! Great day of fishing out of Quepos, Costa Rica!
November 10, 2010
Awesome day of fishing. We started out around 30 miles because there was a billfish bite there the day before, and about an hour in we had our first Marlin hooked up! We fought it for about an hour, using the boat and the angler as to not wear out the fish. Trolling the same area produced another Marlin about 20 minutes after releasing the first one. They were both blue Marlin, although it's hard to tell by the photos. After that, the customers decided they couldn't handle any more Marlin reeling so we went in search of Tuna. We actually had to go through 3 schools of Dolphin with birds until we found one with tuna. Using the stabillized binoculars, it was easy to jump from school to school though, and when we finally found a school that produced, we boated 17 of about 25 good Tuna bites. It was a great day out, enjoy the photos!
End of October 2010
Great day out on the water today. We had tons of Dorado and boated at least 7 big ones and some smaller ones as well. We also boated a sailfish and it was the customer's first, so that is always a blast! More important than the report are the pictures which were absolutely awesome. Great cameramen on board today as all these came from the customers! I really like the aerial shots of the Dorados. Well, here's the pictures, enjoy!
[B]October 19, 2010[/B]
Had a great day out on the water today with not only great fisherman but great cameramen as well, as the pictures show! We went fishing with a gentleman from San Diego today and his two Godsons and since two of them had never hooked into a billfish before, billfish were the target. Just some background for those of you unfamiliar with Quepos, October is right at the end of our low season, and fishing is generally considered to be much easier from Nov-May. With that in mind, we decided that the farther out we go, the better the chance of getting something with a bill. We ended up cruising out to about 40-45 n. miles out. Well, turned out to be an awesome day releasing 2 sailfish along with getting 3 YF Tuna and 6 Dorado to the boat. It was an awesome time and we met our goals, and now the whole family has a Pacific sailfish checked off their list! If the fishing is this good in October, i really expect it to pick up for November and this high season should produce some great numbers. We also went out a couple of other times this week and had two nice Marlin hookups. We hooked a 450 pound Blue and 300 Blue in two different days. Unfortunately, we lost both the fights, but just seeing those fish come out of the water on the strike and then hearing the line peel away made it super exciting! Also, as you can see from the pictures, the weather this October has been great. The ocean was pretty much flat all day and made it easy to spot the Tuna Schools from miles away using the Fujinon's. We actually found 5 different groups of spinner dolphins in the morning today before 12 o'clock. The bottom picture seems to sum up our days recently, with me and Jerry looking ahead for stuff and Mike getting a better angle to see when the sailfish come into the spread. Another great day of fishing in Quepos Costa Rica!
[B]Mid October 2010[/B]
Fishing has been picking up. Although I haven't been trolling for them, we are starting to see the sailfish come back in and this November - April is going to be great for catching billfish! Right now, we have been doing some botom fishing most mornings and getting between 10-30 nice sized Amberjacks, or as they are called in Florida, 'Reef Donkeys'. In the afternoons we have been using the stabilized binoculars to find schools of Yellow Fin Tuna. On our last three trips, we have found spinner dolphins feeding all three times and 2 times we caught over 10 nice sized 15-40 pounders! There have also been lots of snapper coming off the bottom, and we're getting a few on almost every trip. Today we actually went out and had a great day as well, scoring 30+Amberjacks and 10 big Yellow Fin Tunas. We were hooked up pretty much for 8 hours straight, usually with more than one fish. The customers went home today with lots dinner and muscle aches! With the new sonar installed on the boat, we now have litrally hundreds of bottom fishing spots, and if anybody is a big bottom fishing fan, or just want to spend all day hooked up, I believe we can find a great bottom fish bite pretty much all year. Great day out, and I can't wait until November gets here and I can start posting billfish pictures again!
Had a super exciting day offshore today and we caught an enourmous amount of fish. We started the day off fishing on the bottom and scored more than 10 Amberjacks and a couple of Snappers. By about 11 everybody had had enough reeling so we went out in search of something on top. We caught a Dorado as we were leaving the Furuno banks and then about 5 miles off the Furuno banks, we came across a floating tree. These floating 'reefs' are going to be the main theme for the next couple of months. I actually just imported an expensive pair of stabilized binoculars to help us find these and when you do the results are great! We ended up pulling 5 nice wahoos out from under this tree and another 10ish Dorados! After calling the position out to the other captains in the area, we moved off the stick and had a double sailfish bite, but they were just playing with the teasers. An awesome day where we put 30 fish in the boat of quite a few different species!
Here is what a customer said about us this August:
John, Donna and I had a great time fishing with you and your guys last week. Donna's arm hurt for 3 days after pulling up those AJ's and snapper. Look forward to fishing with you guys in the future!
We went out for a couple of hours today on the bottom, and had pretty good results. We usually let most of our fish go, but today is mother's day here in Costa Rica and the mates wanted some fish to cook up for mom! We probably caught about twice as many amberjacks, and spent about 2.5 hours fishing. We went back in early, but I think if we had stayed out all day we would have gotten a billfish in the afternoon. Another great day fishing in Quepos, Costa Rica!
Sailfish, Amberjacks and Snapers are the story of August so far. Usually in August there aren't that many sailfish around, as our season in November through May. I can only imagine how good the season will be this year having so many billfish in the off season! In addition to the unusually great billfishing, the bottom has been really hot! It has made trips super interesting because we have been bottom fishing in the mornings while we collect live bait, and then have been trolling in the afternoons for billfish. It has been pretty successful, and we have been averaging at least a sailfish per day, with tons and tons of other nice fish while we fish on the bottom.We had had many days of over 20 nice fish to the boat! We have also been seeing tons and tons of little Dorado coming through. That should mean by mid October, we will start having the bulls come in and everybody knows how great Dorado season is here! We've got the spinning reels all oiled up waiting for Dorado, and we are looking for people who like to hook one and then see how many we can have on at the same time. Last year, we had five on multiple times so this year we need to have a 6 at once! It's going to be an awesome winter here, I can't wait!
I just got a new pair of the Fujinon Stabilized Binoculares off of Ebay and spent about 1150 after shipping. Before I bought them I couldn't find any current articles on here or anywhere else of people who had them so I thought we need to fix that!
I use them from the tower driving station while the boat is on Autopilot and they are crazy effective. In the past where I can just see a boat on the horizon, now I can identify who it is and if they're moving. Helps alot to know whether it is a long liner putting out line or if it is another sport-fisher on the fish. You can pick out birds really well on the horizon where it would be impossible otherwise. It's kind of fun, because I think my mate has the best eyes for spotting stuff of anyone I've been around and now it's no contest. The first day out, before I even left the dock, I could see Bonito jumping at 2 miles away while I was waiting on the customers. In addition, they don't burn batteries like I thought. I use them off and on so it's hard to say how long the batteries last, but I make it through the full day with good batteries and just recharge them at night for good measure. The first day out I brought 12 batteries thinking they would burn them fast and that isn't the case.
The case is freaking awesome. They come with a pelican hard case and it's awesome. Enough said.
I spent forever researching them before I bought them and I found these have 5 degrees of stabilization where the canons only had one degree. Obviously 1 degree wouldn't work in the tower in even flat weather. They take 48mm camera filters if you want a UV filter or polarized filter to save your eyes. The polarized filter is a little dark, and if you don't give everything time to heat up they fog really bad. i have to let the lenses heat up (after being at the house in the AC) or they instantly fog and you can't see anything. If you don't use a filter, fogging isn't too big of an issue after you figure out to keep your eyes a little off of the eyepieces.
They do make me a little bit seasick, but it's minimal. That says alot though as we fish 220+ days a year, and that doesn't include the days off which are usually spent in at least some part on the boat. I hasn't gone away yet, but I haven't had many trips with these yet so hopefully that will go away.
In short, if you want to find more fish, use these. On my last trip, they turned what could have been a 0 afternoon into a 13 Dorado and 5 Wahoo afternoon. I pretty much can always find something each trip with them, and won't be out on the water again without them. Two Thumbs Up!