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Anglers earn bragging rights, remorse about the ones who got away

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 28, 2011
  • East County
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LAKEWOOD RANCH — As the first woman member of the Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club, Jeanette Wirz has had to keep her fishing skills finely honed, earning herself many fishing accolades over the years.

And during a fishing excursion in Costa Rica earlier this month, Wirz added yet another accomplishment to her list of bragging rights.

The University Park resident, who also owns a home in Lakewood Ranch, reeled in the only “grand slam” of the trip, catching a tuna, a marlin and a sailfish in just three days.

“It was fun,” Wirz said, laughing. “It was some cranking. It took a half-hour to get the marlin in.”

Wirz and fellow Anglers Club members Red Bailey and Dick Franz traveled Dec. 4-9, to Zancudo, Costa Rica, where they stayed at the all-inclusive Zancudo Lodge, Costa Rica’s premier fishing resort.

Each morning, they and about a dozen other guests rose at 5 a.m. for an early breakfast, before heading out on the boats to catch foot-long baitfish and then leaving for either inshore or offshore fishing with a guide.

Fishermen reeled in tuna, mahi mahi, snapper and other fish, often trailing packs of small dolphins to find the best fishing spots.

“We ate sushi (from the fish we caught) every day,” Franz said.

Tuna were particularly plentiful, they said.

“It’s a tough fight for old guys like us,” Bailey said. “(Tuna are) bulldogs. They resist strenuously.”

Wirz pulled out pictures of the sailfish she caught, which stayed in the water as it was measured and then released.

“The pictures don’t do it justice,” she said, tapping the photo. “They’re really beautiful fish. The (color) is amazing.”

Wirz is getting replicas of the sailfish and marlin made, she said.

Not only did the East County fishermen have good fishing luck during the off-season, but they also saw an abundance of turtles, dolphins, monkeys and other wildlife. The other fisherman at the lodge also proved to be pleasant company.

“The camaraderie was great,” Wirz said, noting lodge guests fished in pairs but spent mornings and evenings all together. “Dinner was like a family dinner. It was a good crowd.”

Franz agreed, noting he enjoyed the time he shared with his son, Rich, who traveled from Colorado.
“It was a good trip, other than getting soaked and beat up on the boat,” he said, chuckling. “That’s something you’ve got to look forward to when you deal with the outdoors.”

The Lakewood Ranch Angler’s Club is planning another fishing excursion to Costa Rica in early 2013. The trip is open to experienced fisherman.

“You have to know how to handle the rod and reel,” Bailey said. “It’s not a fish on every cast. You have to work for it.”

For more information about the Angler’s Club or about next year’s trip, contact Wirz at 355-6229.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].


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