Sail and Bill Fish in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is renowned for its Sailfish and Marlin fishing – species include the Pacific Sailfish, Black Marlin, Pacific Blue Marlin and Striped Marlin. The Marlin and Sailfish bite (Pacific Sails are usually much larger than Atlantic Sails) is year-round in Costa Rican waters, but the season really sparkles off the Central Pacific coast from late December through April. February is considered the top month to catch billfish. A dozen or more Sailfish releases in one day is normal, and it is not unusual to raise 30 or 40 and release 20 or more over a couple of days offshore in the peak season
Costa Rica’s peak months for tuna are August through October on the Pacific side. Yellowfin Tuna (and occasionally Bigeye Tuna) of up to 350lbs and more are found 30-60 minutes running time from the dock, while schools of 12-20 pounders can frequently be found where you see the birds and Spinning Porpoises, spread over acres. Fly fishing enthusiasts can have a field day! In season, it is not uncommon to hook a Yellowfin when fishing for Sailfish or Marlin. June through September is usually the best time to catch the really big guys, fishing 10-30 miles out. Yellowfin will bite on the same lures and ballyhoo rigs that are used to catch Sailfish. Tuna are usually found feeding along with Spinning Porpoises – if you come across schools of them, you can then target tuna with cedar plugs and deeper running trolling lures like the Green Machine. Live bait is best for the big Tuna. As you see on this video from a recent fishing trip out of Los Suenos, it is best to get in front of the feeding pack and drop your live bait down and hold on. Below are just a few of the big and small Yellowfin Tuna caught by clients and top captains.
Dorado Fishing – Mahi Mahi
Dorado (most people are more familiar with the name Mahi-Mahi thanks to seafood restaurants) are found on both coasts of Costa Rica, especially the Pacific. The high season there runs from May through August, but it is not uncommon in November and December to catch 20-30 and sometimes 40 Dorado in the 30-40lb range under floating logs and weed lines. This colorful and acrobatic fish is a favorite game and food fish everywhere. While small Dorado can be found inshore; the big, hard-fighting adults are found offshore. Once hooked, high leaps and lengthy tail walks are a common sight. Hooking a a Dorado is a bonus because not only do you get a great fight, but an even better meal as well. Below are some great photos from clients and top captains
Roosterfish, Grouper, Snapper, Wahoo
he Roosterfish has an unusual ear arrangement : the swim bladder penetrates the brain through the large foramina and makes contact with the inner ear. It uses its swim bladder to amplify sounds. Roosterfish can reach four feet in length and weigh over 100lbs.
The Wahoo is a dark blue scombrid fish found worldwide. It is an extremely fast-running fish when hooked, and can spool a reel. The fish is also known as Ono, after the Hawaiian word for “delicious”. Wahoo tend to be solitary or occur in loose-knit groups of two and three fish, rather than in schools.
The Goliath Grouper, or itajara (Epinephelus itajara), is a large saltwater fish of the Grouper family. The Goliath Grouper is found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths of up to 165 feet (50 m).
The Red Snapper, once hooked, will immediately head for the rocks to try and break you off. This fish can be huge – some can weigh as much as 60lbs and even more. Heavy tackle and tight drags is the way to land big Costa Rica Red Snapper.
Both offshore and inshore, the Pacific provides Costa Rica’s most consistently exciting sportfishing; you can catch sails, marlin, tuna, wahoo, roosterfish, mackerel, dorado (mahi-mahi) and snapper throughout the year. The abundance of billfish has made the Pacific coast famous; the number of sailfish and marlin releases per boat is phenomenal when the bite is on. The lagoons, canals and rivers of the northern Caribbean coast near and over the Nicaraguan border boast some of the best tarpon and snook fishing in the world, and the lush rain forest and natural beauty heighten the experience and adventure.
Hundreds of International Game Fish Association world records have been set in Costa Rica. Be prepared to catch sailfish, yellowfin tuna, blue, striped and black marlin, dorado and wahoo offshore. Inshore there are roosters, snapper, jack, mackerel, pompano and barracuda. And, of course, tarpon and snook, along with guapote (rainbow bass) are to be had on the Caribbean side.
The high season in Costa Rica – December through April/May – is the dry season, with day-long sunshine and fresh breezes. It seldom rains, and temperatures in most sportfishing destinations hover in the high 70s to mid 80s F (25-30 C). The rainy season, which lasts from June to November, usually sees sunny mornings, with showers in the late afternoons and evenings.
Costa Rica is often compared to Switzerland and Hawaii because of its mountains and forests. Unlike many areas of Mexico, Central and South America, Costa Rica remains calm, beautiful and warm year-round. This is partly because it borders the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Caribbean/Atlantic Oceans on the east, and has a string of semi-active volcanos on the Central Plateau. Combine all this and you have a unique tropical paradise with 11 climatic zones and world-class sportfishing. Costa Rica Fishing Experts invites you to enjoy a totally unique sportfishing adventure in gorgeous Costa Rica.