An adventurer and his fish stories

West Milford. West Milford resident Steve Sangle goes ‘canopy exploring’ and marlin fishing in Central America.

| 15 Dec 2021 | 08:22

Imagine having your body hooked up to a harness that enabled you to fly along at 100 to 130 feet up in the air at 50 miles an hour over a Costa Rican rain forest.

Steve Sangle of West Miford not only did that but later he went fishing 35 miles out in the Pacific Ocean and hooked a 450-pound marlin.

An adventurer who highly respects and works to protect and save the environment through his long-time efforts as chair of the West Milford Environmental Commission, the retired 72-year-old grandfather enjoys outdoor sports experiences. This sometimes takes him to far-a-way and very interesting places.

Steve’s latest adventure began when he boarded a plane to take him from Newark Airport to San Jose Costa Rica, a trip of about six and a half hours. After staying overnight at the Hilton lots of Anna in San Jose, the next morning his group was picked up and flown from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. This was about a flight of another hour on a small 12-passenger plane. They were then driven to a lodge around 10:30 a.m.

Zip lining above the rain forest

The day was still young and there was time for zip lining. Steve said that as he flew through the top of the rainforest he found the view 130 feet from the ground - with many birds and monkeys visible – especially beautiful. He spent about two hours flying from platform to platform.

“I got into a harness and there were eight different sets of cables going from different platforms,” Steve explained. “We started at the top of the mountain and went down to the bottom of the valley. Each cable was about 100 yards long. We would go close to 50 miles an hour and each of us wore a leather glove. We had to push down on the cable to slow ourselves before we got to each platform where there were two workers on duty to catch us. We were 100 to 130 feet up in the air going 50 miles an hour through a ten-foot-wide hooked path in the rainforest trees.”

‘Bragging rights’

Fishing 35 miles out in the Pacific Ocean off the Costa Rican coast was another adventure for Sangle who captured a spotlight with his catch. He caught a 450-pound marlin, then another 350-pound fish of the same species and then hooked a 300-pound marlin, all on the same day. He also hooked a total of ten other marlins.

Reservation manager Lisa Andresen said she couldn’t begin to tell how envious some of her clients would be on hearing of Steve’s fishing success. She said one guy had been at the resort six times for his marlin but never caught one.

She told Sangle that he definitely earned “bragging rights.” Before returning home Steve received an award for his “once in a lifetime catch.”

Steve brought back around 35 pounds of mahi-mahi or Dirado and about five pounds of wahoo. He and his wife Janice are looking forward to some home cooked gourmet meals with Steve’s catch.

In October 2020 Steve had a total knee replacement at Valley Hospital. Then the past summer in July he was working around his property and fractured his right femur. This necessitated an operation at St. Joseph Hospital in Paterson with a rod inserted through the bone.

Be it Argentina, Canada or somewhere else, his friends are always ready and enthusiastic to hear of his next adventure.

With a smile, Steve offered: “Doctors couldn’t believe a 72 year old, after just four and a half months of surgery, was zip lining in the Costa Rica tree tops up 130 feet and fishing for marlin and sailfish more than 35 miles out in the Pacific,” Steve shared with a smile.

Marlins are from a family of Istiophoridse that includes about ten species. The fish has an elongated body, a spear-like the snout or bill of a swordfish, and a long, rigid bill and a dorsal fin that extends to form a crest.
The common name of the fish is thought to have come from resemblances to a sailor’s martinspike, a tool used in marine ropework or such tasks as splicing and untying knots.
Marlins and sailfish caught by sportsmen fishermen are released back into the wild ocean.
Marlins are among the fastest swimmers, reaching 68 miles per hour in short bursts. They are closely related to swordfish.
Marlins have been featured in stories including Ernest Hemingway’s 1952 Noble prize winning novel “The Old Man and the Sea” and Frederick Foryth’s story, “The Emperor.”