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About GringoJohn

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  • Birthday 06/21/1980

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Quepos, Costa Rica
  • Interests Fishing...the only sport where you get to be an electrician, plumber, carpenter and mechanic!
  1. One of the biggest Mahi I've seen out here, check out the size on this thing! Fishing has been pretty good lately, best day this week was 11 dorado and a nice marlin, slowest day was 3 sails and a pair of dorado. Fishing is really start to pick up down here! Sorry for the bad colors, my Nikon battery died and these came off a cheap cell phone!
  2. 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? Before: After:
  3. I finally got my new Nikon D5100 camera today, and today we took it out for the first time on the water. Got some really good aerial shots of some sailfish, and also some video from it. We were actually hooked up today, when a totally white, albino sailfish swam right past the boat. I've only seen one other one my entire time down here so we were casting, and jigging and popping trying to get it to bite something. After I finally realized it wasn't going to bite, I ran for the camera and snapped a short little video on the beast!!! Check it out:
  4. Wow, Christmas fishing has been awesome! We went out today and boated a nice Marlin and three sailfish. We also had another of those crazy customers who jumped in a swam with the Marlin before we released it, it was an awesome time! This week has been really good for the Marlin, we've had 3 in the last four trips, two blacks and this striped, and every week seems to get busier! We have been spending tons of money on the boat, so it's hard to safe if that's paying off or there are just a ton of Marlin in the area, but either way, we'll take it! Check out the awesome photos the customer just sent in!
  5. My type of Art!

    Finally decided to get serious about the underside of the boat! There were some dis-laminated spots on the bottom, so I went out and got some vinyl ester resin and some Kevlar and got the bottom back to new. Let it sit for two weeks with some heat lamps, and then did an epoxy barrier coat by interlux. We did hard bottom paint this time, last year we ran out of ablative before the end of the season and were scratching off shells. We also wet sanded it trying to pick up a little extra speed. The wet sanding discolored the paint a little while it was dry, but we went under and it's all uniform now. I took a shot with the underwater camera and that's the second picture up above. After all that work, thought we'd have some fun, and I bought some red bottom paint to go over the blue and we decided to make some Dorado chasing Bonita! I'm not very artistic, so I let Mike man the brush! Hopefully it'll catch the eye of quite a few big ones!!!
  6. Been crazy good offseason fishing here in Costa Rica! Typically, we consider September and October to be our off season fishing months, but man last trip out we nailed the huge Blue Marlin in the first picture! We've also had tons of sailfish hits each trip out, the bottom fishing has been doing really well also. Lots of Group and Snapper out for lunch. Inshore there have been some nice large Roosterfish out, and it's been very flat and dry. Blue water is about 8 miles off the coast now and the fish have been coming right up to the 12-15 miles mark as well! There were quite a few schools of Yellow Fin out a little earlier in the year, but that's kind of winding down now. It's been a blast out here lately, and with our official high season starting in November, I expect the fishing to get better and better. To prepare for that, we've got the boat up right now and we're repainting all the little fish we paint on the bottom of the boat, and we've got a ton of new gear we're putting on as well. Should be a great year, be putting up more fish pictures soon!
  7. This was really really awesome. We got this doing a SCUBA / Spearfishing dive on my favorite bottom fishing spot. After this trip, I just bought 20 tanks and a ton of spearfishing equipment, after one trip I'm hooked! Check out this monster: Cost
  8. Nov 12 Ok, before I explain the picture of the 350 pound 120 inch Black Marlin with a banana in his mouth (which was caught by us today), I'll have to take you back a few weeks. I decided I was going to start eating better. That meant lots of berries, fruit, veggies and juice. So I started bringing different healthy foods on the boat, in my lunchbox. One of those good wholesome foods was a banana. You know, potassium, helps to keep the cramps away, etc. Well, i quickly learned from a customer that you can't catch fish with a banana in the boat. Now, I have no doubt that bananas are a very, very evil thing while fishing in other parts of the world, but here in Costa Rica, I have the insider's knowledge that big, Costa Rican, fish don't like cramps either. Well, as it went, today I had my banana for lunch, in my lunchbox, and the mate started complaining that we could never catch a fish with it aboard. Granted it was only noon, and we already had a pair of sailfish released, he just kept going about bad luck, no bananas etc. ??? Knowing what I know about Costa Rica Marlin, and other big Costa Rican fish, I decided to just dispell the rumors once and for all, and I went ahead and put a really big hook in the banana, attached it to the 50 wide, and threw it out in the spread. Literally five minutes later, we were hooked up with the big one in the photo... So next time you're out and the fishing is slow, remember two things, eating bananas is great for keeping away the cramps, and bananas are best trolled from the shotgun, way back away from the boat. Oh yeah, and they swim better frozen! Went inshore yesterday, and using regular fishing tackle released 4 Rooterfish, a jack and a Mackeral. Here are some other pictures from this month:
  9. Just put on a new Vernatone MK2 round 2 chamber muffler on my B series Cummins and the results were enormous. I have a 5.9 M3 330hp cummins and before I was running a Costa Rica engineered muffler system which just had some bends in the exhaust tube and was bad. Here's the pros and cons I found Cons: We'll start with the negative as I don't want to end with it This was hard to install. Vernatone recommends you install this thing above the waterline (which in my case is the floor) so i had to install it above the engine. Had to build a riser off the turbo so the muffler sits right above the engine. Then I had to buy a ceramic insulation mat to guard against heat from the riser (it is dry until right before it hits the muffler) and wrap the riser in Fiberglass tape. I am going to cover that in Aluminum but haven't got to that part yet. I then had to sand and add on arms to the versatone so that it is removable but well installed when I am in rough water. I built four tabs and put them around the motor in the side walls of the box, and the muffler has four arms that sit on those tabs with a big stainless bolt in each. Lots of work, but the muffler is very secure, you can sit on it, and it comes out easily. This might be easier on a different boat, but overall the installation was well worth it! The only other con would be cruising. It reduced the noise cruising a ton, but I thought it would knock 100 percent of it out. I'd say it got rid of about half the cruising noise. About 1200 rpm you can hear it throwing the water out of the muffler (a cool bubbling noise), and then about 1500 you start to hear exhaust. At 2000 you can really hear the exhaust, but not as bad as before. Pros: It is dead silent trolling. I mean nothing coming out of the pipe at all at 1000 rpms. When we first started the boat, we all said "wow", nobody thought it would be dead silent. You could here a little noise coming out of the motor box, but nothing out of the pipe. I instantly heard one of the valves clicking out of adjustment, which I couldn't hear over the exhaust. It reminds me of when I had a race car and we would put mufflers on it to hear if the motor sounded ok and then take them off to race. You really can't hear what's going on with all that exhaust noise drowning out everything. When we went out trolling, I never realized how noisy the wake is. I couldn't hear any of that before, but now all we hear is wake while trolling. The radio can be on low and heard very well as well. My particular boat was a little poorly designed and the exhaust comes out right at the water line (I think the exhaust noise mostly matters when the exhaust comes out at the water line, otherwise you are scaring birds and not fish:) ). The floor prevented me from raising the exhaust up, so I had to kill the noise instead of moving it. Mission accomplished. Since installing the muffler, we are in the middle of the lowest season for billfish here, and have gotten 5, 4, 2, 2, 4 to the boat on the last 5 trips. Typical this time of year is 1 or 2, and I think this is mostly from the muffler. The two days with 2 I was trying a smaller prop, and I switched it back out and got the last 4. Good fishing technique is vital, but it's nice not to have noise working against me. Before, we never had fish hit on the muffler side teaser, now both sides are very active. First day out, I yelled to mike, short teaser and instinctively he ran to the non muffler side. I had to yell, the other teaser, and he was like huh? That almost never happened before. I also used to not be able to make the lap and pick up billfish that bite but didn't get hooked as they would run off, but now I make the lap and they are still there. Another interesting story, we had a sailfish on yesterday, and in the past they always ran straight from the boat after they were hooked. Yesterday, this fish swam right up to the boat, and about 5 feet away, the boat startled him and he took off the other direction. He had no idea where we were at. I've only done 5 trips with the muffler, but I can see a huge difference in the behavior of the fish. And there are more of them. So overall, if you have the time to install it, or better yet, the money to pay someone else to do it, I think this is on par with the Barry control motor mounts I installed a while back. Helps a ton with the fatigue, raises fish(which hang around longer as well), and definitely lets you hear the radio better. And on a side note, I am in no way connected or affiliated to Vernatone, just a paying satisfied customer.
  10. Aug 20 Had a crazy day out today! Mike (the mate) went down to grab a bill of a sailfish today, and I saw the fish go electric blue. I yelled down, get out of the way, and he dove back and about that time, the fish came straight out of the water, and tailwalked right past the boat. And we got some really awesome pictures! This month has been pretty good, had some nice marlin, great snapper and amberjack, and some good sailfish. Here's some awesome pictures of a crazy but exciting day!
  11. Had a great day out fishing today and even got a little crazy jumping out and getting some in the water and under the water video of a Black Marlin. I've never taken one out and killed one to weigh it, but I was thinking around 300 pounds, so chime in and let me know if I'm close! Enjoy the video, and if you like it, click the thumbs up in youtube!!!
  12. Had a great time out today releasing 7 sailfish. Wanted to try something new so I hired a camera man to come along and we had a blast putting together this video fishing report!
  13. March 7 Had an awesome day out onthe water today! We had a nice couple from California out, and man were the sailfish and Marlin thick. We started the day off with a really big sailfish, seen below, and another mid sized sailfish. Good start, but we had no idea what was next. About 10 in the morning, we had a really nice blue Marlin, around 300 pounds,come up behind our right diasy chain teaser. We just made a new daisy chain out of 6 green squids, 1 pink one, and then Islander large jet head pink chaser with a ballyhoo stuffed up inside of it. The Marlin fell completely in love with the Daisy Chain and chased it all the way to the boat. We are running the outriggers a little bit lower as the water has been flat calm, and because of that the daisy chain can't be taken out of the water without lifting up the outrigger. So here I am reeling desperately to get the teaser away from the fish, Marlin biting the tail of the chaser, eating the ballyhoo in the process. As the clip hits the rigger and I quickly grab the rigger and pull it up. The angry Marlin is right next to the boat, about three feet away, as Mike tosses out an islander and hits the marlin in the head with the pitch bait. He's not interested. As he goes down, he must have seen the short teaser on the other side which is another daisy chain, this one pink, with a black islander chaser. He decides that would work for him as well, so he nails it before I can get it out of the way. After taking off half the spool from the teaser reel, and again eating the ballyhoo in the chaser, he lets go for a second as he turns for another hit. I pull and pull and pull and then jerk up the outrigger and he is right there under it again, looking up at it, and me, mad I took away what he wanted! It was an awesome sight, 300 pounds of pure excitment, big fins lit up bright blue and that big eye looking up at you! Again, mike hits him with a naked ballyhoo but he's not interested in that pitchbait either. He aparently only wanted those teasers and so he swims away. On the way out through the back of the spread, he slashes one of the naked ballyhoo's on the long rigger, taking about 10 yards of line and leaving a just the head. We are a little disappointed at the loss, but like anything else, you have to keep trying if you want to get the big one! We put the lures back out in the water, and about 30 minutes goes by. I am mesmerized, just watching the teasers ducking, bubbling, popping up for some more air, when I see a purple shadow below the right daisy chain again. I scream out to Mike, but notice he already has the long left bait pole in his hand and is giving somebody freespool so they can eat. Then it comes, bam the big Marlin under my teaser pops up his head and slams the teaser. I pull and pull and I'm screaming Mike, get a pitch bait out now!!! I see Mike's brother, our mate in training, running and throwing out the pitchbait, and I scream, "Where's Mike?!?!?"! Looking over at the other side of the boat, I see Mike with a bent pole and he's yelling "Stop, stop!!!". Not wanting to give up the Marlin, I let Jose throw out the pitch bait but the Marlin lit up blue goes for the other side. Seeing the pole that Mike had getting about half way down through the spool, I give Jose one last chance. He throws out the pitchbait on the other side, as I pull the teaser in to the boat, i see the pole he has get bent all the way down and bang, pops back up. No hook up, we stop and then have a sailfish dancing about 400 yards behind the boat. Nice, big sailfish, but we all have got the Marlin fever bad at this point. I call out to another boat over the radio, Jerry with the Cowboy, to let him know our saga, and he starts harassing me saying I had a spinner dolphin behind the teaser or maybe it was a sailfish. The usual ribbing you get from another captain after seeing a huge blue but not having it bite. By 2 oclock, we had a great day, we had released 5 sailfish, including the double above but were going for a little more to beat Jerry. Jerry, the captain of the Cowboy, had 6 releases to our 5, and I don't like coming in second! So we are trolling along about 100 yards apart, he's harassing me on the radio, letting me know he's up one and then, to my horror, I see his mate run to the back of his boat and throw out the pitch bait! Oh no, I think, he's going to be two up! Sure enough, Jerry works his teaser magic, and soon I see a happy customer, reel in hand, and another dancing sailfish behind the Cowboy! Here it comes I think, as I hear his voice over the radio, "Gringo, 7 to 5, I win!" I'm thinking, "dang, no way", but I remember that it's not over yet. About that time, I saw a big shadow under that right daisy chain teaser. Knowing that the Marlin have been in love with that all day, I start yelling to throw out the pitchbait and I pull that teaser up as fast as I can! Mike throws out the blue / yellow islander ballyhoo combo pitchbait and CRASH!!!?! We have a huge hookup on the 50 wide, line whirring, I'm pulling up the right outrigger and latching it in as fast as I can. I look down and see the spool half empty! Only 450 yards left I think to myself. Mike's yelling, "Go!!! Go!!!" as I turn the boat hard right, and hit the gas full throttle. I look down and now we are to the backing on the reel, only 200 yards left! I notice on the other side of Jerry's boat, about 600 yards away, there is a huge blue marlin, tailwalking as fast as he can away from my boat. I go down on him full speed, right past Jerry (sweet victory:) ), and finally, the boat gets up to the same speed as the fish, and although we don't gain line, we finally quit losing it! Talk about a rush, this is every angler's dream! Everybody is yelling, Jerry's screaming over the radio, "faster faster, Gringo, go get him!" customer is yelling, "Reel's almost out!" the Cummins is roaring at redline and maybe (probably) a bit more, everybody doing their part to catch up with that fish!!! With about 100 yards to spare, reel smoking hot, we finally start gaining line, customer reeling as fast as he can, making up tons of distance and the fight is on! Mostly the fish wins the next couple of battles, but every once in a while, we get a little back. After a while, I start noticing one by one, the Quepos fleet all headed my way, everyone circling, jealous! With one proud angler on the reel out back, and tons of other envious anglers in other boats snapping pictures, waiting for the next jump, we finally get the fish up to the leader and the fish is officially released. Wanting to get it in closer for the picture, Mike goes to bring it up to the side of the boat, but the 13 foot long Blue Marlin was having none of that as he slashed his head left and right, right next to the boat. The line goes limp and we all watch as he slowly goes back down into the deep crystal clear blue water. Officially released, but never surrendering, he goes back down to get ready to fight another day. What a great time, what a day!
  14. February 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!
  15. Mid December Been a great month down here, with 10 Marlin on the last 13 trips, and schools of Tuna 85 percent of the trips. Hear's a neat video a customer of mine sent in. Great video, but she cuts off the camera when we hook up! We ended up getting some nice YF. Great way to get a Christmas Sun Tan! You Tube Link: