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 San Carlos Sport Fishing    

 FIELD  & STREAM  Magasine Article:

 "There is a River in Nicaragua filled with Thousand of giant tarpon  and very few fishermen .In other words , go now."

 Article, writen  by Mr Bill Heavey and published in the MAY 2004 Edition of Field and stream Magasine.


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Notes & Remarks 

From Philippe Tisseaux   and staff of San Carlos Sport Fishing  upon the Article, writen  by Mr Bill Heavey and published in the MAY 2004 Edition of Field and stream Magasine.


At San Carlos sport Fishing we sincerely  enjoy reading the article. Some  specific parts are " VERY TECHNICAL" and are a very good description of the way we fish including some of our tricks..

We also like the writing of Mr Bill Heavey  because Article  is not the " usual  no taste no colour comercial promotional stuff you can read  concerning fishing trip   ...


These pages are  a very honest description of our place..


We all like to say Hello and Thanks Bill .


 I will make  a few remarks / Comments..


1) Yesterday 12th of May I Showed ( and Translate ) the article to Eliesser  ....... . Concerning the quality of  fishing  in this Fishing trip we  like to point out than  it  has been : " a little bit below than  average  trip"

 In 3 days of Tarpon fishing  Bill had a total of 12 Tarpon on  and Brought 5 to the boat ... Average is a bit higher.. What has been good in this trip is size of fish....

 All fishing has been on 10lb /12lb  Bait Casting reels Nylon line  and also for  1 or two tarpon   on 20lb braided line Spining rods  ... Among these catches  there is a fish around 125lb on 10lb and one  nice tarpon " around 200lb "  on 12 lb...  

if we would have kill this fish it would have been at my knowledge the New world Record IGFA 12lb class as our line set up are always IGFA and  Bill did bring the fish to the boat absolutely alone..So Bil just like  several other of my guests  you could have been in the IGFA Book next year as the actual record is 188lb..


2) It's been raining  a lot during this trip Bad luck because this never happen at that time of the year . Never never saw that before.. Concerning weather in San Juan River.. Dry season is from November  till May will  rain really ocasionaly  During the Rainy season from June till October it will  obviously rain more but I insist nothing Major it is not the " Deluge" ... Rain and Sun and rain and sun.. I really like this time because these showers   cool a bit the weather... 


3) All of my fishing for Tarpon is Catch and release Tarpon Fishing  We all feel very sory when we kill a fish,  unfortunately this happen in the Trip of bill.....I like to insit  this kind of accident is exceptional...  Bill said we give the fish to local people ..this is totally corect.... The area is  very poor. Give the tarpon  is still sad but at least it make a family happy.... 


4) . I also like to highlight than   Yes we catch big tarpon all year round but in Tropical river  Unique Jungle scenery... also full of history... Mark Twain, Pirat Morgan , Horacius Nelson...The fortress in Castillo, the museums...  etc etc...


5) To Come to visit us Bill  mention an hotel   In San Jose Costa Rica ...

 Well  there is a little confusion there.. nothing against this Hotel  but so far I do not use this place  but some other very nice as well in San Jose, Managua,or Granada



I offer  all include 

Fishing trip Package 

I wait for  my guest at International airports


Pricing       Contact us



To visit us there are two options coming via Managua Nicaragua  then your transfer to San Carlos Fishing ground will be by Aiplane ( 55 mn )   or  via San Jose Costa Rica.. then your transfer wil be by car or van ( 4 Hours )  to the same San juan River... anyway in all case   WE WILL WAIT FOR YOU AT THE AIRPORT....

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 Original layout can be seen on Clicking on pictures of pages behind, 

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Folowing is the text  published in FIELD AND STREAM...

Alone in Tarpon Paradise
The civil war is over in Nicaragua. The tarpon, unfished for 30 years, are hungry. And no one knows.
by Bill Heavey

Before we head out into the steamy afternoon on Nicaragua’s remote San Juan River, Philippe Tisseaux wants me to pay a visit to the hospital. Or rather, he wants the hospital to pay a visit to me. “Carlos! L’hôpital!” he calls in French to one of the barefoot boys who are always in evidence around the new two-story lodge on almondwood piles he built here at the junction of the San Juan River and Lake Nicaragua.

Carlos returns with his “hospital”—a wooden box filled with the mangled bodies of large Rapalas. “My wounded,” Tisseaux says tenderly. He is a cheerful expat French businessman and angler who fell in love with this place after discovering that he could catch tarpon up to 250 pounds all year round. A few of the lures are merely chipped or gouged, or have had their stainless-steel intestines pulled partway out of their butts, but most have been totaled, the metal ripped from their flanks at crazy angles and twisted into corkscrews.

I climb into the boat with Elieser (El-ee-AY-sir), one of Tisseaux’s top guides, and young Carlos (whom everyone refers to as Plomo, which, as near as I can tell, means “lardass”). We head downriver to a bend that has been productive lately. We pass dugouts with fishermen staking gill nets in the reedy shallows for guapote, a toothy, white-fleshed member of the perch family that makes wonderful eating when fried in garlic. Every so often, we pass a shack set on stilts by the water. But there is scarcely another motorized boat in sight—much less anybody fishing for tarpon.

This wasn’t the case as late as the mid-1970s, when several tarpon camps operated along the San Juan. But the vicious civil war between strongman Anastasio Somoza and the rebel Sandinistas, then the Sandinistas and the Contras, put a serious damper on business. Thirty years of rest have done wonders for the fishing. There are a lot of big, unpressured tarpon here once again, and it’s only a matter of time before the word gets out.

You wouldn’t know it today, but this nearly deserted waterway was once one of the most important in the New World. After the Spanish relieved the Incas of their gold, they shipped it east across Lake Nicaragua and 125 miles down the San Juan to the Atlantic. Later, thousands of eager young men reversed the route to California during the Gold Rush. When the Panama Canal was built, the area returned to its former obscurity.

Nicaragua is a big, ruggedly beautiful place without a lot of people telling you what you can and can’t do. The lack of infrastructure keeps the country well off the tourist circuit. What this means is if you like clockwork schedules and dependable electricity, stay the hell away.

Lake Nicaragua is the largest in Central America (3,300 square miles, most of it pristine) and contains islands with standing pre-Columbian statues, as well as the world’s only freshwater sharks. The country is loaded with wildlife, short of guardrails, and subject to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and mudslides. You are pretty much guaranteed not to run into anybody who went to your high school.


At the bend in the river, Carlos idles the motor while Elieser and I rig four rods. When the water is low and clear, you can sight-cast to breaking tarpon with fly or conventional tackle. If it’s running high and stained, as it is now, the sensible thing is to troll. We’re fishing heavy rods and light lines: stout 7-footers with flexible tips, 12-pound-test, and 8-foot leaders of 100-pound mono spooled on Catala baitcasting reels. The drags are set just tight enough so that we don’t lose line as we ride slowly back up against the current.

You want the drag as loose as possible for the initial strike, then you tighten down slightly for the fight. We make runs of about half a mile up the river, returning each time to the same spot at the bend. Elieser speaks little English, and I less Spanish, but he is fluent in pantomime. He explains that you wait until the rod is well arced before you take it because a tarpon will often bruise a lure once or twice before biting. Set the hook three times with long, smooth sweeps of the rod at water level, so you don’t goad the fish into an early jump. Pull too hard and you’ll draw it out of his mouth; too soft and he’ll spit it out. Make your move too early or too late, and there will be nobody there. You can screw up in any number of ways, it seems, and have one chance to get it right. If you connect, just keep the pressure on—not hard but constant.

Tisseaux has already told me that a good average is one hookup for every three fish that hit the lure. You can’t overpower something as strong as a tarpon on light line. That you can catch Megalops atlantica at all, he says, is because the battle takes place as much in the fish’s mind as anywhere else. There comes a moment in each fight, he believes, when the great fish begins to wonder whether its unseen opponent is stronger than it thought. If you’re bearing down at this instant, you can break the fish psychologically. This is why 200-plus-pound fish are sometimes boated in 15 or 20 minutes. If you are not pressuring the fish at this juncture, however, the fish will fight on. And a defiant tarpon will fight longer than you can. On our fourth pass, the rod with the 43/8-inch redhead Rapala bobbles once, twice, and goes down hard. Elieser shouts. I grab the rod and do the triple hookset while he and Carlos scramble to reel in the other lines. Strangely enough, the fish is swimming toward me, and I have to crank as fast as I can to stay connected. Stranger still, it stays hooked. Elieser watches the angle of my line closely, and when he sees it starting to flatten out, he yells what sounds like “Brita! Brita! Brita!” It’s an unlikely time to endorse a brand of water filter, but then it occurs to me that the fish must be getting ready to jump.

Tisseaux has talked me through the procedure of “bowing to the king,” of lowering the rod tip to accommodate a leaping tarpon. But when I see the silver missile launch itself 50 yards away—see the impossibly vivid fish, clad in bright chain mail, levitated and soaring sidewise over the water—I have a brief out-of-body experience. I stand there mesmerized, watching as if from a parallel universe. The tarpon, exempt from the laws of gravity, is, by many orders of magnitude, bigger, more beautiful, and more violent than anything I’ve ever hooked.

Suddenly I am aware that the line has gone slack, and that everybody on the boat is busily looking anywhere but at me. My mouth opens as I struggle to join up brain and tongue. At last, demonstrating my keen grasp of the obvious, I blurt out, “Big fish!” Elieser, who has busied himself with some task at the front of the boat, doesn’t turn around. But he nods his head once as if he has just heard something encouraging. Perhaps this gringo is not a complete fool after all; he knows when he has lost a big fish. (In the debriefing that follows, I discover that what Elieser had been yelling was not brita but brinca—“he jumps.”)

We head back down for a few more runs before dusk. Pushing my beginner’s luck, I hook another tarpon almost immediately, this time on the shad-colored Rapala. Remarkably, again, it stays hooked. I’ve got nearly 100 yards of line out, and at first the fish feels like dead weight. Then it starts taking line and swims downriver and toward the far shore. Elieser positions the boat ahead of the fish, motioning for me to keep pressuring. By urging the tarpon to go where he’s already headed, we make him change his mind and turn back.

After a few minutes, I gain some line. I’m concentrating so hard on feeling what he’s doing that I’m not really watching the water. But now when Elieser shouts “Brinca!” I’m smart enough to drop the rod tip. The fish is a little smaller than the other, but still a good one. My guide thinks he may go 130 pounds, an average tarpon on the San Juan. When he jumps, I look to the side to avoid being mesmerized. I want this fish.

I am not aware of the moment of doubt in the tarpon’s mind, but it must come because just 20 minutes later, Elieser has the leader in his hands. Then he mouth-gaffs the fish and disgorges the lure with pliers. The tarpon stays there briefly, riding in the current alongside the boat, surveying us with a wild, inscrutable eye. Elieser moves him to and fro in the current with a gloved hand. Then with a giant, indifferent shrug the fish disappears beneath the water. Elieser whoops and claps me on the back. It is only now as I finally smile and the adrenaline subsides that I realize that I’ve been fighting the fish with every muscle in my body. But I’ve done it. I’ve caught a tarpon.

[A Town in Darkness]

It is nearly dark as we head back up toward the tiny port town of San Carlos, set where the river flows out of the lake. As we get closer to shore, Carlos and Elieser put on their sunglasses and motion for me to do the same. “Chayul,” says Carlos. A moment later we are immersed in an endless cloud of tiny nonbiting insects. There are billions of them, so many that you cover your nose and mouth to avoid filling up on live protein before dinner. Light must increase their concentration, for the entire settlement is dark, a ghost town.

We stumble off the boat and directly under the roof of a cement-floored restaurant where a single red neon Carta Blanca beer sign provides the only illumination. Apparently the bugs can’t see red light very well. Beer arrives at the table with a napkin over the mouth of the bottle and a straw poked through the napkin, the local version of bug armor. Meanwhile, night falls. Someone sets down a plate of what seems to be garlic-fried guapote, rice, and beans before me. It is delicious, even if I can’t see it. Over-the-top Spanish pop ballads blare from the stereo. For dessert, someone hands me a stiff Flor de Cana rum and Coke with another napkin-and-straw bug guard. I down it and find that I can’t stop grinning.


The next day, we motor over into Lake Nicaragua to fish for guapote and rainbow bass, its slightly larger cousin. Elieser outfishes me badly using the exact same crawfish crankbait, smiling all the time. The guapote run 2 or 3 pounds but hit like freight trains and are far stronger than largemouths. The rainbow bass, which run 4 to 8 pounds, are reputed to fight even harder. I don’t know, because I don’t get one. But Elieser hooks a 6-pounder. When it heads for some reeds, Carlos strips off his shirt, dives off the boat, and swims right into the cover to flush the fish out. Elieser yells and dances a little jig when he gets it aboard. It makes a very tasty dinner.

Back on the San Juan the next day, I pay for my earlier successful hookups by missing three fish, one per hour. Then, at about four o’clock, the big one hits, once more on a shad Rapala. It takes about 50 yards of line, then starts swimming back and forth downriver. I move up to the bow, barefoot and crouched, feet spread wide for stability. Carlos sneaks up and buckles the fighting belt around my waist, and I jam the rod butt into it. Every time I feel the fish change directions, I counter so that I’m always pulling back across the length of his body.

The weight and strain on the rod signify a fish bigger than the one I landed, and even bigger than the one I lost. He takes line at will, and when Elieser shouts, “Brinca!” I see that the fish is so heavy he can’t get his whole body out of the water. He jumps, but only two-thirds of him appears. Then he crashes back like a falling tree. Even so, I bow to him, so far that I nearly lose my balance and go into the drink.

I try to calm down and force myself to concentrate. You don’t “play” a fish this big; you just attempt to keep from breaking off. When he jumps again, only half his body emerges. After a while, I start to gain on him. Twice he comes close to the boat, but when he sees us he surges. On the third time, Elieser snatches the leader and gaffs him in the mouth. The fish lies glistening alongside the boat just under the water, wide and long enough to walk on.

My guide looks inside the tarpon’s mouth and shakes his head ruefully. He has taken the lure deep, down into his gills, and the fight has torn them up. If we release him he won’t make it, but there are folks along the river who can use every ounce of the meat. It takes three of us on the long-handled gaff to haul him over the rail into the bow of the boat, whereupon we all hightail it to the stern. Elieser says he’ll go about 185 pounds.

The great fish lies there, occasionally slamming his body around, sending scales spinning across the deck like big silver medallions. There is enough power in that body to break your leg and then some. I watch him die, watch him change colors as he goes, a veil of purple descending over his silver scales, the black of his back deepening. The colors are fleeting and beautiful, like something that burns too bright to last long in the ordinary world. The moon in his eye sinks away to nothing, and the eye goes cold. I am glad to have caught him but sadder than I ever would have expected to be the agent of his death. And I am afraid to go near him until I’m sure the last spark of life has left his body.

We stop at one of the shacks on the river, where a small boy and I wordlessly drag him up the path with a rope, like you would a deer, to where his father sits on his haunches sharpening a knife on a stone. His wife and four more children watch shyly from a distance. I shake the boy’s hand, and his father thanks me. We walk back to the boat as the sky darkens. In my pocket is my trophy, a single round scale, thick and hard as a toenail, flecked with silver. We head back up the river. Five hundred yards from the unlit town of San Carlos, Elieser gives the signal and we all put on our sunglasses.

If You Go
Philippe Tisseaux has packages for fishing trips of various lengths. It averages out to about $275 per angler (for parties of two and up, slightly more for singles), including lodging, meals, tackle (if you don’t want to bring your own), license, and airport-to-airport service. All beverages except alcohol are included, and you drink bottled water or soft drinks with ice made from bottled water. You sleep in his lodge or in small hotels along the river. These are spartan but clean, each with a private bathroom. The easiest way in is to fly to San Jose, Costa Rica, and stay at a hotel, like the Hampton Inn at the airport ($114 a night for a double; 800-784-1180). Tisseaux will pick you up the next morning, and you can be fishing by the afternoon. See www.nicaraguafishing.com or call 011-506-395-5053. —B.H.


Note: I offer  all include Package 

I wait for   Guest at International airports . To visit us there are two options coming via Managua Nicaragua  then you transfer to San Carlos Fishing ground will be by Aiplane ( 55 mn )   or  via San Jose Costa Rica.. then your tarnsfer wil be by car or van ( 4 Hours )  to the same San juan River... anyway in all case   WE WILL WAIT FOR YOU AT THE AIRPORT....


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