Fishing In Costa Rica – What You Need to Know

July 31, 2020

Located in Central America, the small nation of Costa Rica has long been a tourist paradise. Beautiful beaches on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean), volcanoes and rainforests packed with brilliantly colored animals are just a few of the reasons people go there.

The US State Department gives this beautiful country a Level 2 grade for travel. It’s generally safe. Do not show off money or valuables, stay in groups and listen to your guides. Read more about this paradise county here.

GETTING THERE

You must have a passport good for the length of time you’ll be there. You must also have proof of return transport or proof you will go to another country. You must show you have at least $100 per month that you will be there. You can arrive by plane or cruise ship. Most international airports along the US Gulf Coast and Southern California have trips in and out of the nation.

Costa Rica fishing charters have everything you need to fish, so leave the rod and reel at home. The exception is fly fishing. Every fly rod angler wants his own equipment. Orvis has some traveling tips that will make sure your gear arrives intact.

GETTING BACK

You can bring your catch back, depending on the species but only as frozen fillets and in checked baggage if you fly. Some fish are protected and some are OK to keep. All billfish, bonefish, permit and tarpon are catch-and-release. While not required, many charters recommend releasing roosterfish and cubera snapper.

THE FISH

Before you make plans to head south, decide which fish you want to catch. Then, check the seasonal fishing guide to pick the best time to go. This is a rough guide only as climate conditions and daily weather also have a lot to do with the fishing.

Caribbean Sea

You can fish the Atlantic side or the Pacific side of Costa Rica. If you want tarpon, that is exclusively a Caribbean Sea fish. The Silver Kings inhabit the shallows out to slightly deeper water off the beaches and mangroves. Fly fishermen need at least a 9-weight rod for the smaller ones and up an 11-weight with 200 yards for backing to go after the monsters. Top flies are crab and shrimp patterns and big streamers. Up in the mangroves, you can also expect to land rainbow bass, machaca, snappers and snook.

The world-record snook, 53.10 pounds, was caught in 1978 in Costa Rica,

Dolphin, also known as mahi mahi, mackerel and wahoo lurk offshore.

Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Coast is more than twice the size of the Caribbean Sea side. An isthmus on the west side creates Colorado Gulf and the Gulf of Nicoya. Pavon Bay is formed on the very southern end. Quite frankly, the fishing is better on the west coast based on the variety of fish and sheer numbers of them.

Inshore and nearshore

You can find snook up and down the west coast wherever there is structure. Sometimes called a linesider, snook love live and cut bait. They hit minnow-imitating, crab and shrimp fly patterns. Traditional rod and reel anglers find success throwing the new generation of shrimp lures. The most popular shallow-water fish are the roosterfish and cubera snapper. As most captains recommend catch-and-release, take plenty of good pictures and get measurements if you land a trophy. When you get home, a good taxidermist can use that information to make a life-sized replica for your wall.

Offshore

This is why most anglers come to Costa Rica. The top spots for bluewater fish are Golfito and Drake Bay in the South Pacific, Quepos and Los Suenos on the Central Pacific and Tamarindo and Papagayo Gulf in the north. The Offshore World Championship fishes out of Quepos.

This Central American country is a world-hotspot for Pacific sailfish. These hard-charging fish are famous for their acrobatics when on the line. They are also a popular wall hanger because of the huge dorsal fin that stands taller than the thickest part of the fish’s body. These fish are mostly commonly caught trolling bait behind the boat.

Other popular offshore fish are mahi mahi, mackerel, wahoo and tuna. All these fall to good spreads of lures and baits pulled behind the boat. Your Costa Rica fishing charter captain has everything you need. You just have to pull the fish in.

LET’S FISH

FishAnywhere will connect you with Costa Rica fishing charters that deliver memories of a lifetime. When you are ready to hit the warm equatorial waters in search of tackle-busting monsters, let us help make the trip perfect.

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