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Thread: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

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    Fishin' Magician Sky-Guy's Avatar
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    Default Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    The Forgotten Coast

    It was about a year ago when Dave asked me if I wanted to go on a fishing trip to Nicaragua. The goal was to chase Tarpon, Snook, and whatever else we could catch while doing a little photography for a Saltwater Sportsmen's article he was putting together. My first reaction to his proposal was "HELL YES!" but soon afterwards, a little apprehension set in.

    Aren't they still at War in Nicaragua? Is it a safe place for a fishing trip? Malaria, Dengue Fever, etc? Don't the tribal people still kill & eat gringo’s on the Caribbean coast?

    After doing a little research, networking with some people living there, by all accounts, Nicaragua is one of the safest places to visit in Central America. As they say, Life's supposed to be an adventure, let’s go for it....


    Flash forward to February 21st, 2009. Dave and I are flying into Bluefields, NI on a small locally operated commuter Cessna. The ride over to Bluefields From Managua was a bit rough, with more than enough Thundercap-induced turbulence to make the ride "fun" in a small plane. The only way into the R.A.A.S is by boat or plane. No Roads in and out and very few cars aside from Taxi's one you get there. The whole eastern side of Nicaragua is divided into Autonomous regions, which when asked I got the response "The Region works with the government of Nicaragua, but isn’t really governed by it."
    I get the feeling that everyone is pretty much on his or her own out there. Live simply, and by whatever means you can.

    We arrived at Casa Rosa to find a nice lodge located right at the mouth of the Rio Escondido. They have 6 rooms, a huge dining room/living room, A nice patio out back, Nicely stocked open bar, and it’s only 40 paces to the Pangas. Right after getting orientated, we’re ordered to throw our bags in the room… its time to go fishing. Put down your bag, pick up a beer, and walk out into the backyard where the boats await.


    The first night fishing in the Rio Escondido, we tied into a Snook, a couple Trevally, no Tarpon:
    Dave with a Jack caught on lighter steelhead gear:






    The following morning, it was easy to get up, no matter how much Flor de Cana Rum was consumed the night before. Many call this Rum the best in the Carib, due to how smooth it drinks, and refreshing inability to produce a head-pounding hangover the next day.
    We ran south about 25 miles to the southern end of Bluefields Lagoon, to the Kukra River. This river is lined by extremely lush Mangroves and forest, & in most places the river is merely 50 yards wide, with White-Faced monkeys, tons of parrots, and butterflies in your face to entertain.

    Fishing wasn’t all that hot. We saw a Tarpon roll, hit a few eater Snook and a Jack or two after working our way into the jungle about 5 miles…








    …then ran back to the lodge for lunch. On the way back, the Sky opened up and for the third time that morning, dropped more rain on us in 15 minutes than Seattle sees in a year. Or at least it felt that way.
    Back at the lodge, We chatted for a bit with our host Randy, and he explained that the rainy season we had attempted to schedule our trip after hadn’t really ended yet.
    You don’t say?
    We had 25 kt. winds solid from the NE, and the all the waters we’d fished were turbid with runoff from the jungle. He explained that we’ll keep probing around Bluefields for good water that night, but if conditions didn’t improve, He would send us north to fish two days in Pearl Lagoon within more protected areas. Because of the distance and so we could fish more, we would stay overnight in a Moskito village at a friends place.

    That night, more poor fishing, and murky waters. We caught a few more snook, a Trevally, and I caught a pretty cool little catfish with a big spike hidden in his dorsal, and 10 inch whiskers…


    ..but no Tarpon seen. The decision is made to run to Pearl the following morning.

    Pearl Lagoon is largely uninhabited with the exception of the town of Pearl Lagoon and a few small Moskito villages. From Bluefields, it’s a good 3 hour run north in good weather, through windy mangrove waterways and across the length of the lagoon. It’s basically the equivalent of running from Tacoma to Port Townsend in length.
    Overnight, Our guide Marco filled all the Panga’s onboard fuel tanks, plus a 55 gallon auxillary drum, 2 coolers full of food and beer, and we were set for the next morning. To make matters more interesting, it sounded like we didn’t even know if we would be welcome where we intended to stay that night in Barra del Rio Grande. Like I said, Life’s an adventure….

    After first-light start & long run north through whitecaps and rain squalls, we arrive at Evil Lagoon at the northern end of Pearl Lagoon, and meet two boats of Miskito’s shrimping at the entrance of the Lagoon:

    These were the first people we had seen in 40 miles, there wasn’t anyone else around.

    Entering Evil lagoon:


    Evil Lagoon is a 4-5 acre Lagoon that’s best described as a Tarpon playground. Outside Evil in Pearl, there are no fish rolling, no signs of life, but within the protected confines of Evil Lagoon, it’s a Tarpon Paradise. Small schools of 60-80 pounders breaking the surface, Really big adult fish porpoising and splashing here and there. The scene was like a stocked trout pond at dusk during summertime, with fish boiling all over the place…anticipation unbearable.

    We entered the lagoon and set gear out. Two small Yo-Zuri red/white Crystal Minnows modified with rvrfshr 3/0 siwash hooks. I could barely contain myself putting gear into this water that was teeming with huge tarpon after fishing for two days and catching only a glimpse of a single fish.

    We slowly trolled our gear into the first turn as I shot video. Bad light, but it sets the scene, and I wish I would have kept film rolling because as soon as set the camera down, I got hammered! by the second biggest fish we saw during our trip…

    Dave got one still off as it rolled, the only time we saw it. Big fish, and acted like he didn’t know or cared about being hooked for the first 30 seconds of our encounter. I’m Liking this already...
    :thumbs:


    We reset gear and into our first turn on the other side, Dave hooks up. Nice fish that goes totally F’in berserk for the first 20 seconds like all these fish do. Almost each and every hookup is followed by a ballistic jump straight up by these fish.
    On


    And off

    You can just see the lure on the water surface as he pops off.
    Tarpon 2, Anglers 0.

    Gear back out, and another hookup for Dave before you can regain focus. Another big tarpon cartwheels away from the boat, and I roll film again.
    http://vimeo.com/3448082

    Tarpon 3, Anglers 0

    This fishing goes on for an hour or so with a few more hookups, fights to the boat, LDR’s, and a fish brought to hand.
    Marco strips a pink and white clouser behind the boat for this fish.




    The bite slows, so we decide to run about 2 miles to the mouth of the Rio Kurinwas and work up river.
    Mouth of the Kurinwas


    We have a few hookups early, and the bite turns epic as the afternoon grows late and the weather gets better. As we are probing around, we find several schools of hungry adult Tarpon in the river. Action picked up in bursts as we got on the schools of fish, & battles varied from short-strikes to big hits, jumps, with long drawn out battles, elation, and disappointment. I lost more fish that afternoon than any day ever before. On the bright side, we were jumping trophy class Tarpon before we could set our drags while paying out line.

    On one occasion, I had a big fish hit me so hard, I set the hook with a 7’ 15-30lb Lamiglas rod and the rod snapped in half from the force of my gear, tied with 100# leader, being stripped off by the fish in mid-air.

    The Siwash hooks held in place well & The score slowly starts to change.
    Nicaragua Tar-porn:




















    Most fish are released boatside without leaving the water.





    We gently raised 3 for pictures




    Dave's personal best Tarpon. What a fish!






    Dave had the hot hand, and fish bit everything he put in the water. I really enjoyed watching him fish & settled in with my camera. He was geared up perfectly with a 7’ 15-30 rod and an Avet mxl 6:1 reel, and played these fish like a world class pro. He’s too modest to ever say it, so I will. Dave can reel in big critters with the best of them. I became determined to land my first fish using my Islander MR3, which proved extremely challenging as I'm sure you can imagine. I lost fish alot of different ways, broken rods, at the boat,...but the best example is paying out line in freespool on a single action and getting nailed behind the boat by a 100+ Tarpon.....with no drag......F%$#!

    Dark falls at 5:30, so we leave a red hot bite at 4:00 for our run to Fidel’s house at the mouth of the Rio Grande. We’re greeted by the Nicaraguan Navy, who check our papers and agree to tie up/watch our boat overnight for a pack of Marlboro’s and beer money. Hey, guys with AK47’s will guard your boat all night for a pack a smokes and a six pack…Killer deal! All really friendly people, who speak plain English with a Cajun/Jamaican accent. We ate well and drank beer with a few locals until late.




    It was a long sleepless night with pounding rain and dreams about the locals stories of Jaguars entering the village night to kill the village dogs...in an interesting role reversal

    The next morning we returned to the Kurinwas and Evil Lagoon, and found a few here and there, and the bite seemed to be heating up as we had to leave again. We knew we had some good images, so we packed up to run home.
    Stopped in Pearl Lagoon to have a refreshment at the riverside bar .

    Cruising home through the jungle.


    We tried to get outside to fish some rocks & cays in the ocean, but the swells were up, so we explored upriver on the Escondido and Kukra Rivers.
    Hey BNelson, I caught the biggest snook of our trip on that whirlybob-tailed-musky lure I grabbed that one day :thumbs:


    More Snook and Trevally, Dave caught a big catfish , & conditions were locally unfavorable for Tarpon. We covered great water to fish when the Tarpon move in .





    The last couple days were a blur. We won and lost at the casino, checked out the town & market, fished, ate more shrimp than a man has a right to, and had an interesting flight home, all too many stories to tell.

    I’m feeling spoiled rotten. The first place I’ve ever been to fish Tarpon is as good as it gets. Hard for a guy like me to say, since I’ve only fished Tarpon once and the fish were unreal. Dave insists Pearl Lagoon and it's surrounding waters are among the best spots in the world...if not the best. For the numbers guys, we jumper 55-60 Tarpon in that afternoon and following morning in Pearl.

    I’d like to say thanks to Dave for setting up the trip and being a great travel partner, and thanks to Randy and Rosa Poteet, our hosts.



    Contact info is:
    http://www.Rumbleinthejungle.net
    Randyrosa97@yahoo.com
    If you contact them, tell them I sent ya.

    It’s noteworthy to point out that there are very few bugs and mosquito’s (the bloodsuckers), and neither Dave or I got sick from eating or drinking anything in Bluefields or at Casa Rosa. They treat all their water, and the lodge is very well kept.

    That’s why we’ll be back next year.
    Salut!

  2. #2
    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!
    SWEET!!!!!
    I hope to fish Pearl Lagon one of these days
    Thanks for sharing partner!! Awesome pictures!!

  3. #3
    Viejo del Foro El Greco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Great Story! I haven't fished in Nicaland since I was 5 years old, Your story belongs in a sports magazine Awesome....
    Dios es Amor!

  4. #4
    Fishin' Magician Sky-Guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by El Greco View Post
    Your story belongs in a sports magazine Awesome....
    Funny you should mention that....

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    Junkyard Dog randude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Great stuff Skyguy. Your work (fishing and photography both) look very professional.
    Survivor

  6. #6

    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    stuuuunnnnnniiiiiinnnnngggg pics! I even feel the breeze on my face, reminds me when I read Hemmingway's The Old Man and the Sea tale. Just awesome
    "Today is a good day for an airstrike"

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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky-Guy View Post
    Funny you should mention that....
    great story! do you have a link for the magazine your story appeared in?
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/0...our-years-ago/

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    Fishin' Magician Sky-Guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    I don't, it hasnt been released yet. And to be clear, I won't be writing it, Dave Vedder will be. My role on this trip was as a freelance photographer. I write as well, and may publish some of my writing & work about this trip elsewhere.
    The story will be in Print in the June/July edition of Saltwater Sportsmens magazine.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky-Guy View Post
    I don't, it hasnt been released yet. And to be clear, I won't be writing it, Dave Vedder will be. My role on this trip was as a freelance photographer. I write as well, and may publish some of my writing & work about this trip elsewhere.
    The story will be in Print in the June/July edition of Saltwater Sportsmens magazine.
    maybe i better go fishing there before the story gets out?
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/0...our-years-ago/

  10. #10
    Fishin' Magician Sky-Guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Here's a very well produced short film by some new friends at Bent Rod Media. They spent the week with at Casa Rosa just prior to us, and produced an excellent film portraying some of the same areas we fished.

    http://www.vimeo.com/3480702

    All images and work here are under copyright protection, thank you.
    Last edited by Sky-Guy; 03-06-2009 at 04:27 PM.

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    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    This is without a doubt, one of the finest posts ever posted on this site.

    Thank you for taking the time to do it!

    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  12. #12
    TRN Surgeon General El Doc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    All I can say is WOW!

    You really shouldn't go on these trips without bringing a doctor along.
    "Un Estado que no se rigiera según la justicia se reduciría a una gran banda de ladrones." --San Agustín

  13. #13

    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Tell the guys at Casa Rosa to start building more rooms and buy additional boats, because I think your story is going to attract some serious attention!

  14. #14
    Active TRN Member marnica's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    It is specially nice to see and hear a great Nicaragua experience from someone that is not the same old same old. Although I’ve been to Nic. many times I know nothing of the east coast or Bluefields . Only the bad things you hear in the news from time to time. Truly gives me a fresh new perspective of Nicaragua. Fantastic photos guys, thanks for sharing.
    Here in the real world they're shutting Detroit down.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by tres frijoles View Post
    Tell the guys at Casa Rosa to start building more rooms and buy additional boats, because I think your story is going to attract some serious attention!
    Now that's when the magic fades out, with the mag article+superpics revealing this crowd puller fishermen paradise it will be just inevitable IMHO.
    "Today is a good day for an airstrike"

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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by marnica View Post
    It is specially nice to see and hear a great Nicaragua experience from someone that is not the same old same old. Although I’ve been to Nic. many times I know nothing of the east coast or Bluefields . Only the bad things you hear in the news from time to time. Truly gives me a fresh new perspective of Nicaragua. Fantastic photos guys, thanks for sharing.
    Hee.hee..........don't get carried away by the good fishing and all, for it is not roses and clover on the east side.

    I purchased a track of land on the beach and proceeded to clean up what would have appeared to be a dump, built a ranchito.

    Had plans of building some permanent buildings and setting up a small business with the employment of several people in mind with a projected budget of or investment of around $60,000.00 per year for the rest of my life.

    Tried to be open and friendly with the people, inviting them to come into the protection of the ranchito when it was raining, or hot, but some of the group obviously mistook my initial friendliness as being weak and started stealing right away.

    One might tolerate a bit of mischief, however, when they will not respect the property as defined by known markings (cerca), a five wire fence was constructed around the place.

    When not on the property, the intruders would molest the roof of the ranchito (kids in the rafters), poop in the center of the floor and of course make a little woopee, leaving their trailings behind.

    With continued disregard of another's property, it was close to the point of killing someone or being killed, so I fired the ranchito for no further use by the savages.

    Responding, they stole the fence.........wire, post and all.

    When I return, or should I return, I will bring a pit bull bitch dog full of pups and raise them on the property under guide of an electric fence. At that time entry past the wire will be at their own peril.

    I love Nicaragua and have since the early 60's, but there are laws for the gringos to obey and none to be enforced against the indigenous people. The cards are stacked.

    Understand that there are many good people in this zone, however, there is no, and I repeat no enforcement against the delinquents.

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    Active TRN Member renco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Sky Guy, what an excellent post. The Atlantic Coast is slowly coming into it's own. Shortly before your crew was in town shooting the fishing video another team with Andrew Zimmerman, from the Travel Channel was visiting Bluefields shooting a segment about Nicaraguan exotic foods. Zimmerman really liked the DAC and he did a big piece on local foods and Bluefields. The show will air for the first time on the Travel Channel on June the 2nd.
    You'll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon.
    Casablanca-1942

  18. #18
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    I was wondering when Andrew would do Nicaragua! Excellent! Can't wait to see what crazy stuff he eats.

    He usually has a local show him around. Do you know who it was there?

    http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Bizarre_Foods
    Last edited by Jonh; 03-07-2009 at 01:38 PM.

  19. #19
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by FisherCigarman View Post
    WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!
    SWEET!!!!!
    I hope to fish Pearl Lagon one of these days
    Thanks for sharing partner!! Awesome pictures!!



    Join Date: Jan 2008
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    Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report
    Great Story! I haven't fished in Nicaland since I was 5 years old, Your story belongs in a sports magazine Awesome

    He has just went down in my sportmans hall of fame.....

    Just like "Go To Hell Murle."

    The Husband of Marlies, whom is another fisherwoman and friend....Not to mention

    The man that has a Casino and Hotel in Bluefields
    .....

    He klnows the way to point you as well

    What the F#ck is that rouges name

    Ahh it is RENCO hiding behind a a bloomin, fishing pole....
    ?
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  20. #20
    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    He is the Pimp with the Limp,better known as Mr. renco.
    I had the pleasure of meeting him,and he's a very astute kind of guy .


    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain John Wayne View Post

    What the F#ck is that rouges name

    Ahh it is RENCO hiding behind a a bloomin, fishing pole....
    ?

  21. #21
    Viejo del Foro El Greco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    When Bizarre foods Nicaragua airs, I'm gonna be glued to the TV..
    Dios es Amor!

  22. #22
    Fishin' Magician Sky-Guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    While in Bluefields I ate Turtle over rice, and some type of jungle rat that was pretty good.

    But the shrimp....ohhh man, I ate more shrimp in a week than I will in the next two years. They are so sweet and perfect. MMMMM!

  23. #23
    Pinolero De Cepa!! FisherCigarman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    that's because they are Fresh water shrimp pal, only in Nicaragua you will ever eat those.
    We have Fresh water Lobters as well,those are a bit harder to catch.
    Ate plenty of those in my days,going to Nueva Guinea,a region of the Atlantic Coast,on the Rio Plata.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky-Guy View Post
    While in Bluefields I ate Turtle over rice, and some type of jungle rat that was pretty good.

    But the shrimp....ohhh man, I ate more shrimp in a week than I will in the next two years. They are so sweet and perfect. MMMMM!

  24. #24
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky-Guy View Post
    While in Bluefields I ate... ...some type of jungle rat that was pretty good.
    Could it have been tapir? Capybara?

  25. #25
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rumble in the Jungle- Full trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky-Guy View Post
    While in Bluefields I ate Turtle over rice, and some type of jungle rat that was pretty good.

    But the shrimp....ohhh man, I ate more shrimp in a week than I will in the next two years. They are so sweet and perfect. MMMMM!
    I bet the Jungle rat was a Gimnott (Miskito) or Guardatinaja.....

    I guess it could be called in English Havalina, a three toed animal with a squrrells head that is similar to pork.....

    I love em myself, they are on most all of your finer 5 star local resturants menu.......Put there by local hunters....

    PAIN in the A$$ for local farmers....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



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