The Panama Canal was the Culprit

~ by Jill Green from San Josecito

My grandson, Sebastián León Hines, just had his 15th birthday.

Excited enough to make the transition from kid to high school teenager, and though he received a wonderful selection of gifts from family and friends and a nice birthday lunch in Manuel Antonio, what he really wanted to do was go fishing. Although he’s an all-around great athlete, including surfing, soccer, and mountain biking, but fishing is his addiction.

He had time to hit his favorite spot in Dominical at the mouth of the Barú River, and he was feeling lucky.

The Panama Canal was the Culprit - Uvita, Bahia Ballena, Osa, Costa Rica

Pole in hand, lure whizzing into the deep water, he got a mighty strike. Reeling like a madman and swearing like a sailor, in both Spanish and English: “¡Mae, jue… puta! Holy shit!” He realized this was no normal fish. In fact, as it jumped and fought, he thought for sure it was a róbalo (snook), but when he finally brought the fighter in, he looked twice… then stared at his first tarpon. Couldn’t be. He’d heard they were only found in the Atlantic. When he brought the photo of this beauty home and checked online, he was right. “How did it get over here to the Pacific side?” he wondered. 

Doing a little research, he found out that the connecting Panama Canal was the culprit.

Every so often, tarpon found their way through the Canal, and he was one of the lucky few to catch one. He knew that tarpon were not good eating but great fighters, so he did the right thing – caught then released, but not before he took this photo that he will always remember as the best birthday gift he would ever receive.

INFO: Jill Green –

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