Chasing Tarpon, Tarponville, Costa Rica

Written for Leatherman

Winding through the erratic streets of downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, our driver skirted between oncoming traffic, crossing double lined lanes weaving his way until eventually the concrete and barred windows fell way into ruins and the greens of the jungle took over. We travelled the coastline of Costa Rica leaving the restless capital, driving deeper into the mountains, where paved highways turned into gravel and eventually into sand where we could no longer drive. Met with a local Costa Rican at a small suspension bridge, we loaded our duffles, rods and gear into a wagon and made way on foot to the lodge located just north of the Panamanian border into a jungle of sloths, howler monkeys and snakes.

We arrived the day before the tragic wake of Hurricane Dorian and despite it being on the other side of the Greater Antilles, we still felt her wrath. We were met with towering walls of muddy water between the already large swells in now seemingly small pangas. -Perhaps here is also where I divulge my somewhat irrational, yet crippling fear of sharks and my exceedingly sensitive stomach to motion sickness on nearly all bodies of still or moving water, (ironic given my line of work). This was a big trip for me, conquering two fears or three if you throw in the massive golden orb spiders which took up every head-level-hanging branch. The waters were full of bull sharks, hammers, rays and big crocodiles that could reach up to sixteen feet long but it was also full of some of the world’s largest tarpon, and that intrigued me enough.