David Collier was not only the top fly-angler in the Mercury [email protected] Crocodile Bay Osa Classic, but also he swam with the fish in the fund-raising event for cystic fibrosis research.
The New York City businessman won the fourth annual event in the Pacific waters of southern Costa Rica, catching eight sailfish on fly and a roosterfish on bait, the largest at 35 inches in the three-day tournament held at the Crocodile Bay Lodge on the Osa Peninsula. Catching both species netted him the win. But the highlight of the trip was what happened on the final day.
“On the third day, shortly after noon, there was a buzz in the air; the birds began to mass, along with the turtles, the manta rays and then the sailfish,” he said. “Pods and more pods of them surfaced everywhere, all around and far beyond it. They were circling, balling baits like a wagon train. It’s something you read about and hope to eventually witness in your lifetime.”
Collier put down his rod, put on a mask and dove into the crystal clear waters and swam with the lazily swimming sails as they continued to gulp in the sardines.
“These tournaments are a special thing to be a part of, but fishing was the last thing I thought about for those three hours,” said Collier. “It was another exciting reward for us to be part of this event and in this remarkable place.”
The six teams of anglers raised 309 fish, and caught and released a three-day total of 51 sailfish and 14 roosterfish. Collier was the Grand Champion Angler, as well as the fly division champion.
This was the third event in the 2004 [email protected] calendar of 28 charity fishing tournaments for cystic fibrosis. The Mercury Redbone tournaments have raised nearly $6 million for CF research efforts. Pete Johnson