David Collier was not only the top fly-angler in the Mercury Redbone@Large 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.