Month: February 2019

costa rica jack creavalle

Inshore Fishing – Jacks or Better to Open

Costa Rica Inshore Fishing: Jacks or Better to Open

The Tico Times

Published for the Tico Times

by Todd Staley February 23, 2019

for the better part of the year, the rivers running into the Caribbean side of Costa Rica look like coffee with cream because of the runoff, mostly from the volcanoes. The San Juan, which borders Costa Rica, Rio Colorado, Tortuguero and Parismina river mouths have become famous over the years for catching tarpon.

The coffee-colored freshwater floats on the surface of the saltwater and brings nutrients to the sea that start the chain of life. The surface water looks dirty, but a couple of feet before the water is Caribbean clear, and fish have no trouble seeing to feed. As the river water pushes offshore, it collides with a current and forms a horseshoe, leaving and coming back to shore. It is as if nature had drawn a line with dirty water on one side and Caribbean emerald on the other. One side of the current will usually be flat as a pancake and the other like a washing machine on gentle cycle. Baitfish gather on the current, and the predators move in to feed.

Captains fishing the current will usually stop about 50 yards on the clear side of the current and drift back toward it. The bait of choice for years was the old Porter Sea Hawk, and bucktail and plastic jigs. In recent years, sardines, which are jigged up on small gold hooks, have become very popular.

Rolling tarpon always gets an angler’s adrenaline pumping. Photo via Pesca sabalo.

A seasoned angler from Florida worked his jig just outside the rip. Tarpon rolled on the surface nearby and the adrenaline level was rising. Finally, a tap on the line and then the rod doubled over. The angler drove the hook home and line began to scream off the reel. He was expecting to see his line head toward the surface, as it does when a tarpon takes to the air. Instead, it dug deep and he felt that old familiar head shake. He gritted his teeth as he grunted out, “It’s a #+#*#*## Jack!” Thirty minutes later, he had a 35 lb jack next to his boat that he considered a waste of time — he could have been pulling on tarpon.

Jack Crevalle are often referred to as head-shakers, bulldogs, thumpers, or the not-so-tactful words chosen by this angler because of the way they fight when hooked. They are found on both coasts of Costa Rica. For a seasoned angler used to fishing in saltwater, they might be considered a trash fish, but for a vacationing angler from somewhere in the midwest, they are one hell of a battle.

Dan Aled with a Pacific Jack caught while filming with BBC. Photo via BBC

I truly believe if they jumped and tasted better, they would be right up there on the top of the game fish list. I remember when I was about 8 years old, when my little brother and I brought home a stringer of small jacks we had caught. My mother cooked them for dinner. I never kept another jack, although I did have one prepared by Clifford the chef on the Rain Goddess years ago in Barra del Colorado that was excellent. Local Costa Rican fishermen eat them regularly. I’m sure they know something my mother didn’t.

Jacks are ferocious eaters and fighters. They readily hit a live or dead bait, jig, popper, or almost any type of artificial offering. The Atlantic jack crevalle grows larger than its Pacific counterpart. They can grow to over 60 lbs; the Pacific species can obtain a weight of nearly 40 lbs. They are for the most part an inshore species but have occasionally ventured offshore.

If you are fishing tarpon on the Caribbean, or roosterfish on the Pacific coast, you are more than likely going to encounter a Jack crevalle. If you are dealt a hand of a pair of jacks or better, you’ve still had a good day of fishing.



Tarpon in Costa Rica’s Pacific Focus of New FECOP Study – Sport Fishing Magazine

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womens fishing tournament

Fishing Tournament Against Trafficking of Minors

Pescadora Billfish Championship to support
organization against trafficking of minors

By Didier Fernández
Special sponsored article to A.M. Costa Rica

For the first time, women who love sport fishing will go to sea in a world-class retouch to compete for the title of Best International Fisherwoman during the Billfish Championship, which will be held the next 21, 22 and 23 of February, in Marina Pez Vela. (see complete Costa Rica fishing tournament calendar here)

A portion of all proceeds will be donated to an amazing organization called the Seeds of Hope. They work in Costa Rica on the national and local level to combat sexual exploitation, drugs, violence and trafficking of minors.

The participants will compete in the categories of billfish (sailfish and marlin) and dorado.

“We want to attract woman from all parts of the world who are lovers of this activity, either with us without the experience of the tournament,” said Samantha Mumford Pescadora.

The event will start on February 21nd with the registration process during the afternoon and continue with the fishing sessions on the 22nd and 23rd, to conclude on February 23rd with the big award, a trophy for the team winner and for each of the participants in each category.

Within the awards, the teams compete for cash prizes as well.

“After all the billfish releases, a verification is made by means of videos and likewise, the tuna and dorado species will be weighed in the official Roman Navy of the Pez Vela, to carry the count of points. The fisherwoman who gets more points at the end of the two fishing days will be crowned as the best in the world,” said Jeff Duchesneau, general manager of Marina Pez Vela.

Currently, the competition has teams of fisherwomen from Costa Rica, the United States, Panama, Mexico, Angola and Canada, although it is expected that open registration will include around 30 or 40 teams to the tournament.

In order to participate, interested women must gather a team of two to five members. Registrations can be made online on the event website:

Pescadora Billfish Championship courtesy photo

Billfish Championship, which will be held 21, 22 and 23 of February, in Marina Pez Vela.

This registration includes access to the party to start the event, drinks and food for the whole tournament, a bag for each fisherwoman, a blouse and supplies donated by the sponsors.

“The requirements are to have at least two people per team and a maximum of five, love fishing and come with the willingness to have a good time and make new friends,” said Mumford.

In addition to the main tournament, the marina will have other activities that weekend, such as a party to start the event, activities on the docks on the second day and a party during the award ceremony.

To get a special free pass for you and friends to these weekend activities feel free to call me at 506 8310-0337 or email me at

FECOP and Larry Dahlberg Team up to Create Jobs for Displaced Workers

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Costa Rica Fishing Tournament

New Women’s Tournament to Fight Child Trafficking

Quepos Hosts Women’s Fishing Tournament in Quepos, Costa Rica This Week

For the first time in Costa Rica, women who love sport fishing will go to sea in a world-class retouch to compete for the title of Best International Fisher-woman during the Billfish Championship. Registration for the tournament took place today, and competition will take place today and tomorrow at Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Marina will award a trophy for the team winner and for each of its participants in each category, which include  billfish (sailfish and marlin), tuna fishing, and Dorado.

A portion of all proceeds will be donated to an amazing organization called the Seeds of Hope. They work in Costa Rica on the national and local level to combat sexual exploitation, drugs, violence and trafficking of minors.

Teams will compete for cash prizes as well.

“After all the billfish releases, a verification is made by means of videos… tuna and dorado species will be weighed in the official Roman Navy of the Pez Vela,” said Jeff Duchesneau, general manager of Marina Pez Vela. “The fisherwoman who gets more points at the end of the two fishing days will be crowned as the best in the world.”

The Marina expects approximately 30 to 40 teams in the tournament, with fisherwomen from Costa Rica, the United States, Panama, Mexico, Angola and Canada. Teams have at least two members, with a maximum of five.

In addition to the main tournament, Marina Pez Vela will have other activities on Feb. 22 and 23, such as a party to start the event, activities on the docks on the second day and a white party for the award.

Costa Rica Fishing Species

Costa Rica Top Global Fishing Destination

Fecop Costa Rica and Gray FishTag Update

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Costa Rican Fishermen Want Access to Local Tuna

Tussling for tuna: Costa Rican Fishermen Want More Access to Local Tuna

The Tico Times

Todd Staley Published for The Tico Times February 14, 2019

Speed boats launched for a purse seiner to herd dolphins and tuna. (Photo courtesy of FECOP)

Robert Nunes is a commercial fisherman who actively defends his peers in Costa Rica’s commercial fishing industry. He volunteers a lot of his time with Mauricio Gonzalez, director of the Camera de Palangreros (or the chamber of longliners) traveling the country lobbying for fisherman’s rights.

Longlining is a type of fishing that boats set miles of hooks across the ocean and is not selective in what type of fish takes the bait placed on a hook. This has caused grief among many different groups who support, sharks, marlin, and sailfish that some people consider bycatch to a longline boat. The longline sector does not consider these species bycatch as the total catch is utilized and nothing gets wasted.

But Nunes is an innovator and found a way to specifically target tuna with less than one percent bycatch. One of first to outfit his commercial boats with greenstick, an art of fishing that targets tuna and rarely catches anything but tuna.


Robert Nunes (Photo courtesy of Changing Seas)

Tuna are able to see what’s happening above the water and greenstick fishing uses lures that skip along the surface, so greenstick fishermen rarely catch anything besides tuna.

Nunes has a six-boat operation. He fishes greenstick whenever possible and catches about 80 tons of tuna a year. That still only makes up for 40 percent of his catch though. Lots of times, tuna isn’t available so he longlines for dorado, which can catch sharks and billfish.

Gonzalez, the director of the chamber of longliners, is not opposed to using greenstick, but for him, it’s a matter of cost.

“We would love to fish greenstick a lot more,” says Gonzalez “If we had access to the [tuna]. We don’t have a lot of interest in many other species, but we need to make a living.”

Costa Rica has rich fisheries, but every year, thousands of tons of tuna are fished by foreign vessels. While local fishermen face high costs, those from other countries extract Costa Rican tuna for pennies on the dollar.

“It costs us as Costa Rican fishermen a lot more than foreign tuna boats to extract tuna from the ocean,” Nunes said.

To extract 80 tons of tuna, Nunes says he paid the government $46,178 in fees for licenses, social security, INS insurance, and taxes or $1.73 per kilo of tuna extracted from Costa Rican waters.

“If you add the salaries of my employees on the boats which is part of the costs to access the resource it is over $157,000 per year,” Nunes said.

That’s almost 200 times more than what the country makes off of foreign vessels.

Costa Rica sells a license to a foreign boat for $54 per net ton of that vessel’s capacity. If that boat sells 300 metric tons to the cannery in Puntarenas it receives the next license gratis. The system is perpetual. In 2018 Costa Rica issued 12 tuna licenses to fishing boats called purse seiners. Four were paid for and the rest were given away for free. All the boats were flagged from either Nicaragua or Venezuela.

They reported a total catch of 8,422 tons of tuna. In total Costa Rica collected $153,264.48 in fees. That means Costa Rica had a benefit of just under 2 cents or 11 colones for every kilo of tuna extracted from Costa Rican waters.

Gonzalez says purse seiners are also a local fishermen’s biggest nemesis.

A purse seiner set ontop of dolphins to catch the tuna below The Tico Times archives

Purse seiners surround schools of fish with up to several kilometers of net. The net is pulled in from the bottom and everything caught in the net’s radius is hauled into the boat. This type of fishing is highly regulated due to the amount of fish and bycatch a single boat is capable of producing.

In the Americas, the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) allots each member country a quota of tuna it can catch with purse seiners. The IATTC allots Costa Rica around 9,000 tonnes a year, but we catch none of it.

Costa Rica does not have any purse seine boats of its own and sells its quota to foreign flagged vessels. The system in place is outdated and Costa Rica benefits next to nothing by them being here.

We have a lot to gain from the leaving though.

As of 2014, purse seine boats can no longer work within 45 miles of Costa Rica’s shore and the sport fishing sector has seen a giant recovery in tuna. We’ve also seen more marlin and dorado which are often discarded bycatch by tuna boats.

By studying bycatch records from observers on board tuna boats in 2017, FECOP found that 25 tons of what would have been marlin bycatch were saved by reducing the area they fish. One purse seiner has the capacity to catch as much tuna in one trip as the entire commercial fleet of 300 longlines catches in one year.

“If there were more of the resource available to Costa Rican fishermen, we would target tuna. It is the fish that pays most at the market,” explained Nunes. “If you add the money generated by the sport fishing fleet for Costa Rica into the figures it is much more when you look at the whole picture.”

The benefit of giving tuna back to Costa Ricans would have a domino effect. Better living conditions for coastal families, less pressure on controversial species and more fish for the sport fishing sector as well. It would also place another star on Costa Rica’s reputation for taking care of nature.

Todd Staley has run fishing sport operations on both coasts of Costa Rica for over 25 years. He recently decided to take some time off to devote full-time to marine conservation and is the communications director at FECOP. Contact him at

This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.

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Win a Costa Rica fishing trip

Meet Last Year’s Costa Rica Fishing Trip Winner

The Costa Rica Fishing Trip of a Lifetime – Review From The Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica 2017 Sweepstakes Winner

Former specialist and now veteran Joshua Cumings and his wife Ashley Cumings won our 2017 all-inclusive Costa Rica Castaway Sweepstakes.

Joshua was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He joined the Army in February of 2003 at the age of 22 and attended OSUT (One Station Unit Training) at FT. Leonard Wood, MO to be a Combat Engineer/Demolitions and bomb expert. During his career, Specialist Joshua Cumings served as an Engineer Squad Leader. He participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. His additional deployments included South Korea as a member of 2nd Infantry Division 44th Engineer Battalion Charlie Rock Sappers Air Assault Company and Kosovo as a member of KFOR (TF Falcon). During Specialist Cumings deployment to Iraq In August 2004, he and his squad survived a severe attack by enemy forces. Due to Specialist Cumings injuries during his deployment to Iraq he was later awarded a combined award of 100 % disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Please read an excellent review by Mr. and Mrs. Cumings about their vacation at Crocodile Bay Resort.

The Trip of a Lifetime!

“When you think of paradise where do you think of, Belize, Honduras, or maybe skiing in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado? Well, let me tell you something I’ve been to all those places and nothing compares to the gorgeous lush mountains, the vibrant tropical birds and the amazing views you’re going to experience at Crocodile Bay Resort. We caught and released over 22 roosterfish, snapper and sailfish. I don’t normally go saltwater fishing, but  this was just beyond amazing.

The Resort Staff

The resort staff was out of this world. Olimpia, one of the main concierge’s was phenomenal, she was always there to make sure we had everything we needed like a mom making sure her kids had the best time possible. And her cookies are out of this world. Her son Anthony was just as kind and made sure we had a great time doing some charter fishing.

Pura Vida

The locals have a saying in Costa Rica. Pura Vida! The saying simply translates to “Simple Life”. In Costa Rica it really is all about the simple and pure life. Everything just kind of slows down when you come to the Osa Peninsula. People here really know how to make you feel at home and treat you like family here. As an American that works an average of 60-80hr work weeks we don’t tend to know how to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Like just going for a walk down the road and enjoying the wild life and the beautiful scenery.

The Food

The food that we enjoyed at the resort was out of this world. Expertly prepared in traditional plating the chef certainly knows what he’s doing. All of the ingredients are locally sourced and always fresh with an amazing flair for thinking outside the box with unique flavors. For example, we had a bowl of the pumpkin crème soup, braised and barbequed pork ribs and a local root that’s mashed and tastes like mashed potatoes that have amazing flavor as well as traditional beans and rice and a side salad.

Always going the extra mile!

Our last night at the resort the chef asked me what my wife’s favorite dessert was and I told him “Anything to do with chocolate”! He then said to me “I have the perfect dessert for her then that I shall create”. The desert that was made was so beautiful I was almost sad to eat it. But then, we took one bite and couldn’t stop. From the fresh cream and strawberries to the basil and coco locally sourced for the chocolate lava cake it was all amazing. And just the thought that was put into making our last night special simply put, makes Crocodile Bay Resort the ultimate home away from home destination with every accommodation imaginable.

In closing, if you’re looking for a world class resort with one of a kind sport fishing spectacular views, phenomenal customer service, and an experience that is unrivaled in one of the most exotic and beautiful places on earth then Crocodile Bay Resort is the place to go. From a several tour combat veteran and his wife, Thank you so much to the owners and staff for a once in a lifetime experience at Crocodile Bay Resort and until next time Pura Vida!”

Respectfully,Joshua and Ashley Cumings
Baldwinsville, NY.



 You can sign up here for a shot at winning this year’s fishing trip at Crocodile Bay Resort, Costa Rica!

Gray Roosterfish Tagging Update by Todd Staley

Win a 5 Night Costa Rica Fishing Trip for Two at Crocodile Bay Resort

Costa Rica Sets the Bar High for Sport Fishing

Gray Roosterfish Tagging Update by Todd Staley

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Costa Rica Fishing Tournament Calendar

Costa Rica Fishing Tournament Calendar

Costa Rica Fishing Tournament Calendar

January – March 2019


The triple crown consists of three annual tournaments, in January, February and March each year, and is fished out of the world class Los Sueños Resort and Marina in Costa Rica.

LEG I January 16 – January 19   LEG II February 27 – March 2

LEG III March 27- March 30

Email:   For info call:  506-2630-4000


January 12 & 13, 2019


Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica

The PELAGIC Rockstar! Offshore Tournament is a team event with cash, prizes, and awards estimated to over $200,000.

2 Day Tournament Big and Small Boat Divisions      Contact:


February 22 & 23, 2019


2 Day Ladies Only Tournament

Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica



March 14 – 17, 2019


3 Days – Hosted by Club Amateur de Pesca

Marina Pez Vela, Costa Rica   Contact:


March 15, 16 & 17 2019


2 Day Tournament

Big and Small Boat Divisions

Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica



April 26 & 27, 2019


2 Day Tournament

Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica



May 3, 4 & 5, 2019


$3500 per person – 4 per boat (light tackle)

$3995 per person – 3 per boat (fly fishing)

For info visit:

August 9-11, 2019


The tournament’s mission statement is to publicize Flamingo as the fishing destination that it used to be by helping charter captains book clients to fish this event. It will also create an increased awareness of Flamingo and the northern Pacific region of Costa Rica as a world class fishing destination. Charter Boats are Encouraged!  For more contact or visit

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Bluefin Trevally

Costa Rica Fishing Species – Bluefin Trevally

Trevally, bluefin
(Caranx melampygus)

The bluefin trevally, Caranx melampygus (also known as the bluefin jack, bluefin kingfish, bluefinned crevalle, blue ulua, omilu and spotted trevally), is a species of large, widely distributed marine fish classified in the jack family, Carangidae. The bluefin trevally is distributed throughout the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, ranging from Eastern Africa in the west to Central America in the east, including Japan in the north and Australia in the south. The species grows to a maximum known length of 117 cm and a weight of 43.5 kg, however is rare above 80 cm. Bluefin trevally are easily recognised by their electric blue fins, tapered snout and numerous blue and black spots on their sides. Juveniles lack these obvious colours, and must be identified by more detailed anatomical features such as fin ray and scute counts. The bluefin trevally inhabits both inshore environments such as bays, lagoons and shallow reefs, as well as deeper offshore reefs, atolls and bomboras. Juveniles prefer shallower, protected waters, even entering estuaries for short periods in some locations.

The bluefin trevally is a strong predatory fish, with a diet dominated by fish and supplemented by cephalopods and crustaceans as an adult. Juveniles consume a higher amount of small crustaceans, but transfer to a more fish based diet as they grow. The species displays a wide array of hunting techniques ranging from aggressive midwater attacks, reef ambushes and foraging interactions with other larger species, snapping up any prey items missed by the larger animal. The bluefin trevally reproduces at different periods throughout its range, and reaches sexual maturity at 30–40 cm in length and around 2 years of age. It is a multiple spawner, capable of reproducing up to 8 times per year, releasing up to 6 million eggs per year in captivity. Growth is well studied, with the fish reaching 194 mm in its first year, 340 mm in the second and 456 mm in the third year. The bluefin trevally is a popular target for both commercial and recreational fishermen. Commercial fisheries record up to 50 tonnes of the species taken per year in the west Indian Ocean, and around 700 lbs per year in Hawaii. The rapid decimation of the Hawaiian population due to overfishing has led to increased research in the aquaculture potential of the species, with spawning achieved in captivity

The bluefin trevally is a large fish, growing to a maximum known length of 117 cm and a weight of 43.5 kg,[6] however it is rare at lengths greater than 80 cm.[7] It is similar in shape to a number of other large jacks and trevallies, having an oblong, compressed body with the dorsal profile slightly more convex than the ventral profile, particularly anteriorly. This slight convexity leads to the species having a much more pointed snout than most other members of Caranx.[8] The dorsal fin is in two parts, the first consisting of 8 spines and the second of 1 spine followed by 21 to 24 soft rays. The anal fin consists of 2 anteriorly detached spines followed by 1 spine and 17 to 20 soft rays.[9] The pelvic fins contain 1 spine and 20 soft rays.[10] The caudal fin is strongly forked, and the pectoral fins are falcate, being longer than the length of the head. The lateral line has a pronounced and moderately long anterior arch, with the curved section intersecting the straight section below the lobe of the second dorsal fin. The curved section of the lateral line contains 55-70 scales[10] while the straight section contains 0 to 10 scales followed by 27 to 42 strong scutes. The chest is completely covered in scales.[11] The upper jaw contains a series of strong outer canines with an inner band of smaller teeth, while the lower jaw contains a single row of widely spaced conical teeth. The species has 25 to 29 gill rakers in total and there are 24 vertebrae present.[7] The eye is covered by a moderately weakly developed adipose eyelid, and the posterior extremity of the jaw is vertically under or just past the anterior margin of the eye.[7] Despite their wide range, the only geographical variation in the species is the depth of the body in smaller specimens.[5]

The upper body of the bluefin trevally is a silver-brassy colour, fading to silvery white on the underside of the fish, often with blue hues. After they reach lengths greater than 16 cm, blue-black spots appear on the upper flanks of the fish, with these becoming more prolific with age.[9] There is no dark spot on the operculum. The species takes its name from the colour of its dorsal, anal and caudal fins, which are a diagnostic electric blue. The pelvic and pectoral fins are white, with the pectoral fin having a yellow tinge. Juvenile fish do not have the bright blue fins, instead have dark fins with the exception of a yellow pectoral fin.[8] Some juvenile fish have also been recorded as having up to five dark vertical bars on their sides.[5]


A bluefin trevally photographed in the Maldives; this species is widely distributed

The bluefin trevally is widely distributed, occupying the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, ranging along the coasts of four continents and hundreds of smaller islands and archipelagos.[7] In the Indian Ocean, the species easternmost range is the coast of continental Africa, being distributed from the southern tip of South Africa[12] north along the east African coastline to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. The species’ range extends eastwards along the Asian coastline including Pakistan, India and into South East Asia, the Indonesian Archipelago and northern Australia.[6] The southernmost record from the west coast of Australia comes from Exmouth Gulf.[13] Elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, the species has been recorded from hundreds of small island groups including the Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.[6]

The bluefin trevally is abundant in the central Indo-Pacific region, found throughout all the archipelagos and offshore islands including Indonesia, Philippines and Solomon Islands. Along continental Asia, the species has been recorded from Malaysia to Vietnam and mainland China.[6] Its offshore range does extend north to Hong Kong, Taiwan and southern Japan in the north western Pacific.[7][10] In the south, the species reaches as far south as Sydney in Australia.[13] Its distribution continues throughout the western Pacific including Tonga, Western Samoa and Polynesia, and the Hawaiian Islands.[11][14] The easternmost limit of the species distribution is the Mesoamerican coastline between Mexico and Ecuador in the central eastern Pacific,[7] including islands such as the Galápagos Islands.[15]


bluefin trevally

A lone bluefin trevally patrolling a coral reef, one of the species most common habitats

The bluefin trevally occurs in a wide range of inshore and offshore marine settings throughout its range, including estuarine waters. The species is known to move throughout the water column; however is most often observed in a demersal setting, swimming not far from the seabed.[16] In the inshore environment, the species is present in almost all settings including bays, harbours, coral and rocky reefs, lagoons, sand flats and seagrass meadows.[17][18][19] Juveniles and subadults are more common in these settings, and prefer these more protected environments, where they live in water to a minimum of around 2 m depth.[20] Adults tend to prefer more exposed, deeper settings such as outer reef slopes, outlying atolls and bomboras, often near drop offs,[15] with the species reported from depths up to 183 m.[20] Adults often enter shallower channels, reefs and lagoons to feed at certain periods during the day.[17] The bluefin trevally displays some habitat partitioning with giant trevally, Caranx ignobilis, tending to be more common outside the major bays than their relatives.[21]

Juvenile and subadult bluefin trevally have been recorded in estuaries in several locations,[18] and generally occupy large, open estuaries up to the middle reaches of the system. These estuaries are often lined by mudflats and mangroves, however the species rarely enters these shallow waters.[22] Individuals of between 40 and 170 mm have been recorded in South African estuaries, where they are the least tolerant carangid to the brackish and freshwater conditions of these systems. Bluefin trevally can tolerate salinities of between 6.0 and 35 ‰, and only occupy clear, low turbidity waters. There is evidence the species is only resident in these estuaries for short periods.[23] The species is also absent from coastal lakes that many other carangids are known from.[22]

Biology and ecology

The bluefin trevally is a schooling species as a juvenile, transitioning to a more solitary fish with well defined home ranges as an adult.[24] Adults do school to form spawning aggregations or temporarily while hunting, with evidence from laboratory studies indicates bluefin trevally are able to coordinate these aggregations over coral reefs based on the release of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) from the reef. DMSP is a naturally occurring chemical produced by marine algae and to a lesser extent corals and their symbiotic zooxanthellae.[25] The number of fish present in an area is also influenced by tidal factors and possibly the abundance of prey and other environmental factors.[24] Tracking studies in Hawaii have found bluefin trevally patrol back and forth along a home range of patch reef walls during the day, only stopping for variable periods where major depth changes or discontinuities in the reef were present. Several fish patrol the same reef patch, reversing direction where the others do. While most fish patrol the one reef, some have been observed to make excursions to nearby reefs, before returning to their home reef later.[26] Night time movements are less extensive than daytime movements, with the trevally moving rapidly between several small reef sections, before slowing down and milling in one patch for around an hour. The fish living in a particular region congregate in one area at night, before returning to their individual daytime range during the day. The reason for this congregation is unclear, but may be important to the social structure of the species.[26] Long term studies have found the fish may range up to 10.2 km over several months, however, is much less restricted in its movements than its relative, the giant trevally.[27] A Hawaiian biomass study found the species to be one of the most abundant large predators in the islands, however it is less abundant in the heavily exploited Main Hawaiian Islands compared to the remote Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The main difference in these populations was the relative lack of large adult fish in the inhabited areas compared to the remote, unfished regions.[28] A study on carangids caught during a fishing tournament in Hawaii found the bluefin trevally is the most common trevally species taken, accounting for over 80% of the carangid catch. The authors note that this may not only reflect its abundance, but also it vulnerability to specific fishing methods used in the tournament.[21] Apart from the typical predator-prey relationship the species shows (described later), an individual of the species has been seen to rub itself against the skin of a Galapagos shark, apparently to rid itself of parasites. This behaviour is also observed in rainbow runner and is a rare example of a commensal cleaner relationship where the cleaner does not gain anything.[29]

Diet and feeding

A school of bluefin trevally working a baitball of anchovies

The bluefin trevally is a fast swimming, mainly piscivorous predator[30] which shows a wide range in hunting techniques.[31] Two studies of adult fish in Hawaii found fish to be the dominant food type in the species, making up over 95% volume of the stomach contents by weight.[21] Here the main fish selected were small reef dwellers, with fish from the families Labridae, Mullidae, Scaridae and Priacanthidae being the most common. Despite the preference of several families, bluefin trevally do take a very wide variety of fish in small amounts, including various species of eel.[16][21] The species appears to have a preference for fish of a specific size, which depends on its own length and age.[32] Cephalopods (mainly octopus or squid)[21] and a wide array of crustaceans are also taken in smaller quantities, with shrimps, stomatopods and crabs being the most common.[12][16] The diet of juveniles in Hawaiian and South African estuaries has also been determined, with these younger fish having a more crustacean based diet than the adults.[18][23] In Hawaii, crustaceans make up 96% of the gut contents numerically, with tanaids and isopods dominating the diet, while fish (mainly gobioids) only make up 4% numerically.[18] Juveniles less than 170 mm in South African estuaries feed predominantly on mysids and paenid prawns, before shifting to a more fish based diet at larger sizes. Small fish are able to effectively filter these small crustaceans from the water, while adults are not.[23] In both cases, a transition to a more fish based diet with age was found to occur, although the length at which this transition occurred varied between location.[18] The diet overlap with the similar C. ignobilis is low in the Hawaiian Islands, suggesting there is some separation of feeding niches.[16] Calculations suggest each individual bluefin trevally consumes around 45 kg of fish per year on average, making it one of the most effective predators in this habitat.[16]

The bluefin trevally displays a remarkable array of hunting techniques, ranging from midwater attacks to ambush and taking advantage of larger forage fish. The species is reported to hunt during the day, particularly at dawn and dusk in most locations;[30] however it is known to be a nocturnal feeder in South Africa.[12] The bluefin trevally hunts both as a solitary individual and in groups of up to 20, with most fish preferring an individual approach.[24] In groups, these fish will rush their prey, and disperse the school, allowing for isolated individuals to be picked out and eaten,[24] much in the way the related species, giant trevally have been observed to do in captivity.[33] In some cases, only one individual in a group will attack the prey school. Where the prey is schooling reef fishes, once the prey school has been attacked, the trevally chases down the prey as they scatter back to cover in the corals, often colliding with coral as they attempt to snatch a fish.[31] While hunting in midwater, fish swim both against and with the tide, although significantly more fish hunt when swimming with the tide (i.e. ‘downstream’), suggesting some mechanical advantage is gained when hunting in this mode.[24] Another method of attack is ambush; in this mode the trevally change their colour to a dark pigmentation state and hide behind large coral lumps close to where the aggregations (often spawning reef fish) occur.[31] Once the prey is close enough to the hiding spot, the fish ram the base of the school, before chasing down individual fish. These dark fish in ambush mode vigorously drive away any other bluefin trevally that stray too close to the aggregation.[31] Ambushes have also been observed on small midwater planktivorous fishes are moving to or from the shelter of the reef.[24] In many cases, the species uses changes in the depth of the reef such as ledges to conceal its ambush attacks. Bluefin trevally also enter lagoons as the tide rises to hunt small baitfish in the shallow confines, leaving as the tide falls.[34] The species is also known to follow large rays, sharks and other foraging fish such as goatfish and wrasse around sandy substrates, waiting to pounce on any disturbed crustaceans or fish which are flushed out by the larger fish.[30][35]

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Bluefin Trevally Costa Ricxa

Bluefin Trevally

Costa Rica fishing Species – Blue Fin Trevally

Learn more about catching Bluefin Trevally in Costa Rica


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Costa Rica Deep Sea Fish Species

New Deep sea fish species and animal discoveries warrant expanded protections in Costa Rica

Researchers Discover New Fish and Animal Species in the Deep Seas of Costa Rica


Golden Stalked Crinoid in Costa Rica

A bright golden stalked crinoid.

Over the course of three weeks, a team of scientists aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor explored the deep sea seamounts of Costa Rica. Spending their time in the waters outside Isla del Coco National Park, they marveled at the diverse ecosystems and discovered several new species. Now, the researchers are hoping that their findings will allow them to understand more about how these seamounts provide an essential animal corridor.

Isla del Coco, or Cocos Island, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by deep water and has a marine ecosystem unlike any other island in the region. Using remotely operated vehicles, 19 dives were conducted to explore the deep sea, with some of the dives going thousands of meters deep. The findings were shocking, for both good and bad reasons.


The scientists, who were led by Dr. Erik Cordes of Temple University, focused on marine life of all sizes—from tiny microbes to fish and coral. Over the course of their dives, they discovered at least four new species of deep-sea coral and six other animals new to science. By surveying these seamounts for the first time, the researchers will learn much more about the coral communities hosted there and how to protect them from potential harm.

The images they brought back are a fascinating look at the thriving diversity of life that exists far below the surface of the sea. Among the discoveries was a piece of black coral that was about 2 meters (6.5 feet) tall, which leads scientists to believe that it’s about 1,000 years old.

Schmidt Ocean Institute - Falkor - Deep Sea Research in Costa Rica

ROV SuBastian is deployed in the waters of Cocos Island National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“This new research will support Costa Rica’s efforts to conserve these important habitats by providing a baseline of the incredible species and ecosystems found in the deeper areas that don’t always attract the attention that they deserve,” says Schmidt Ocean Institute Cofounder Wendy Schmidt. “One of the most important things we can do right now is to understand how these communities work, so, if there are changes in the future, we can measure human impact.”

Unfortunately, one of their finds shows that humans are already making their mark on the ecosystem. During their deepest remote dive at 3,600 meters (over 2 miles), they discovered a large pile of human trash. As threats to seamount communities increase due to the fishing and energy industries, researchers are working faster than ever to analyze and implement measures to save these vulnerable organisms.

“Every dive continues to amaze us,” said Cordes. “We discovered species of reef-building stony corals at over 800 meters depth on two different seamounts. The closest records of this species are from the deep waters around the Galapagos Islands. The deep sea is the largest habitat on Earth. Understanding how that habitat functions will help us to understand how the planet, as a whole, works.”

The Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Falkor research vessel spent three weeks exploring deep sea seamounts off the Cocos Island in Costa Rica.

Schmidt Ocean Institute - Falkor - Deep Sea Research in Costa Rica

Sunset over R/V Falkor’s bow.

They discovered at least four new species of deep-sea coral and six other animals new to science.

Black Coral Discovered by Schmidt Ocean Institute - Falkor - Deep Sea Research in Costa Rica

Black coral measuring about 2 meters (6.5 feet) tall. The coral could be about 1,000 years old.

Chimaera - Deep Water Fish

Costa Rica Fishing Species – Chimaeras are cartilaginous fish, largely confined to deep water. Their closest living relatives are sharks, though their last common ancestor with sharks lived nearly 400 million years ago.

Deep Sea Coral

Here is a deep sea coral (with polyps fully extended) and a associates, including brittle stars.

Schmidt Ocean Institute - Falkor - Deep Sea Research in Costa Rica

An octopus seen at 320 meters (1,050 feet) depth.

Abyssal Sea Cucumber

An abyssal sea cucumber feeds, sifting through sediment, near an anemone at 3,521 meters (~2.2 miles) deep.

Schmidt Ocean Institute - Falkor - Deep Sea Research in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Fish Species  – Cutlassfish vertical schooling.

Deep sea Anglerfish

Costa Rica Fish Species – An Anglerfish at a depth of 320 meters (1,050 feet).

Unfortunately, they also discovered human trash over two miles below sea level, making their work to preserve the fragile ecosystem all the more urgent.

Trash Found in Deep Water

An accumulation of trash discovered at a depth of 3,600 meters (more than 2 miles) during one of 19 remotely operated vehicle dives.


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Costa Rica Sport Fishing

Costa Rica Top Global Fishing Destination

FECOP Sponsor Mammoth CoolersCosta Rica : A Paradise for World Class Sport Fishing


Costa Rica is quickly becoming one of the most important destinations for sport fishing aficionados in the world.

The variety of marine species found in Costa Rican waters is the main factor that makes Costa Rica ideal for the practice of this activity.

“We can say that the country has an impressive richness, it is considered one of the most important places in Latin America”, commented Henry Marin, coordinator of Strategy and Projects of the Costa Rican Fishing Federation (Fecop).

Learn More About Costa Rica Fishing Species

Blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin,and  sailfish, are just some of the many species found in the waters of this beautiful country.

Sport, recreation and tourism come together in this activity that, contrary to what many think, does not affect the ecosystem. The “catch and release” sport fishing practice frees fish without harming them and at the same time the coastal areas of the country receive the benefits of tourism.

On average a tourist that comes to practice sport fishing spends ten times more than the average visitor. A fisherman can spend a day between $1,000 to $1,500 dollars, compared to the $100 to $125 that the regular tourist spends. The sport is expensive but those who have this lifestyle seek the best experiences, the best restaurants and the best hotels”, stated Jeff Duchesneau, manager of Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, Puntarenas.

“Our sport fishing clients in particular expect nothing but the absolute best, the best boats, the best service, the best amenities and most importantly the best fishing. Once most anglers experience the Los Sueños community many decide to make it a second home” stated Michael Hardy , Owner of HRG properties and rentals, Los Sueños, Herradura.

“There are four distinct regions in Costa Rica for saltwater sport fishing: Northern Pacific, centered around Flamingo and Papagayo; Central Pacific, consisting of Quepos / Jaco/Los Sueños; Southern Pacific/Golfito; and the Caribbean. Each has its own season for certain species, while others may be found there year-round”.

Fecop has begun the process to have sport fishing recognized as a sport activity by the Costa Rican Institute of Sport and Recreation (ICODER).

The International Confederation of Sport Fishing which has over 50 million members in 77 countries also began the request with the International Olympic Committee to incorporate this activity.

“Our goal is to have sport fishing as part of the Pan-American Games, and make it an Olympic Sport just as surf or table tennis that manage to incorporate for 2020. It is time for this to be part of the most important events”, said Carlos Cavero, director of Fecop.

Fecop was clear that the country still has a long way to go, commercial fishing boats continue to invade the areas were sport fishing is practiced affecting the quantity of marine a life. The Costa Rican Fishing Institute (INCOPESCA) has recognized the lack of government control in this aspect, for instance, even though they have extended a little over 1000 licenses for local fishermen records show that in reality there could be between 6000-15,000 fishermen today.


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