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Fishing and Boating Return to Main

Costa Rica: Fisherman's Heaven

Giant marlin, sailfish beyond number, high-jumping tarpon, record-class snook and a dozen or more hard hitting fresh water species…Costa Rica has them all!! Fishing just doesn’t get any better than you will find in friendly, peaceful Costa Rica.

The all-time tournament record of 1691 billfish releases by 120 anglers in four days was established in Costa Rica a few years ago during the International Sailfish Tournament. And all were caught on 20-pound-test line. At last count, there were more than 70 current IFGA world record fish from Costa Rica waters including 17 all-tackle marks.

There’s not been a year in recent memory without three or more Super Grand Slams reported on local charter boats, with sailfish, blue, black and striped marlin released on the same day. Grand Slams, with three of the four billfish species released the same day, are routine during peak season.

The Caribbean coast offers an entirely different type of fishing. For many fishermen, there’s simply no bigger thrill in the world than having one of those 80- to 100-pound aerial acrobats smash a lure and immediately become airborne, often soaring 12 feet or more out of the water, twisting and turning, only to land and leap again, time after time.

In Costa Rica, the fishing is even better during the Green Season when anglers will find favorable weather conditions for both deep sea and fresh water sport. On the ocean, chances are excellent for hooking into marlin, sailfish or one of the many smaller species including yellow-fin tuna, mahi mahi and rooster fish. Because deep water is so rinse to our shores, it is only a short run to the action. On the Pacific, it’s common to release a dozen or more sails and even a marlin or two in a single day, and not unusual to release more than 30 sailfish a day. There are also dolphin (including the long-standing International Game Fish Associations all-tackle record 87-pounder), giant yellowfin tuna, wahoo, cubera, roosterfish, a variety of snapper, grouper, blue runners, rainbow runners, snook and much more. And Costa Rica boat operators release all billfish that are not record contenders, so the future of the resource is assured.

Where To Find The Fish

On the Atlantic ocean, the major fishing operations are in the north. specifically out of Barra Matina and Barra Del Colorado. In the Pacific north west, boats operate mainly from Tamarindo and Flamingo, the latter being the site of an annual, world class billfish tournament. In addition, there are operators based in Quepos, about half-way down the Pacific coast, and many of the lodges on the southwestern Osa Peninsula also offer fishing. In fact, you can arrange to go fishing from just about any lodge or hotel on either coast. Perhaps the most famous place for tarpon and snook is along the Tortuguero Canals that run north from Limon, along the east coast. Because of our mountainous interior. Costa Rica has innumerable trout streams. Well-known areas include Tapanti, southwest of Cartago, and San Gerardo de Dota, in the southern Talamanca Mountains. Costa Rica also has two major lakes, Arenal and Cano Negro. The latter is seasonal, a Green Season bonus.

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