Tag: costa rica fishing

The future of Costa Rica fishing

Fishing for the Next Generation in Quepos

Fishing for the next generation in Quepos

Scott Cutter / Marina Pez Vela May 20, 2019

Published for The Tico Times

The Tico Times

Having completed the 20th edition of the Offshore World Championship in May, and the 7th edition of this iconic event here at Marina Pez Vela, the opportunity to reflect on the impact of fishing on our local community and tourism in the area is upon us.

While Manuel Antonio is firmly established as an ecotourism destination, for so many of us, we forget that fishing has long been a way of life and subsistence for the local Quepos community and that early sportfishing exploration was some of the first tourism to the area.

The history and roots of the ocean and fishing are deeply rooted in this community, and it would be easy to write a book, or two, on the history of both artisanal fishing as well as the history of sportfishing in the area along with its socio-economic impacts. 

That being said, I wanted to take a minute to share some thoughts and perspective on the sustainability of fishing in the area and the generational component which is visible now, more than ever.

At Marina Pez Vela, there is a tremendous commitment to sustainability in all forms of the word.  Our commitment to our community, its growth and well-being from a cultural and economic standing is unwavering and very much a part of our DNA at the project.

In regards to fishing, Costa Rica in general — led by agencies such as FECOP and members of the private sector — has been a global leader in sustainability in the fishing world. Costa Rica was one of the first countries to implement mandatory use of the circle hook in its sport fishing practices, and today it bans the practice of taking live billfish out of the water for photographs. There is an acute awareness of the importance of protecting the very things that have made this destination a hot spot for anglers, and Marina Pez Vela is now the top location in the world for the Gray Fish Tag Research foundation.

These efforts are crucial to the future of the project and the ability to ensure that our waters are rich in marine life for generations to come.

Culturally, we are already seeing multi-generation teams of captains and mates working the growing charter and private fleets in the marina. With all the new tourism and investments in marina, high-paying jobs are being created that allow our local community amazing opportunities in all areas of the fishing world, including captain, mates, marine mechanics, electrical engineering and canvass, to name a few.

More and more Quepos youth have family members or friends who have been part of the industry and are dreaming of their chance to learn more about fishing and its magic.

At this year’s Offshore World Championship, we had an amazing opportunity with 50 children from the community. While anglers from around the globe went out to fight for a world title, the captains and crews from the fleet at Marina Pez Vela, along with the team from Bonnier, host of the OWC, presented each of the 50 kids with a rod. They were taught casting and the basics of fishing from the organizational team.

While records were not set with the amount of fish caught, I can assure you records were set with the amount of smiles, excitement and enthusiasm from these children.

At the end of the session, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Bonnier announced that each child was able to keep their rod as a gift from the OWC. One child and his family spoke of how he had been starting to save to buy his own rod but didn’t know how many years it was going to take him.  His commitment and passion were rewarded with some basic knowledge and tools to pursue his passion, all in the shadow of the world’s biggest fishing tournament stage.

Who knows how many of those kids will fish for pleasure or as a way of life, but odds are, at least one of them will be leading anglers from around the globe on an expedition in the future.

This story was written by Marina Pez Vela.

Read Blog Detail
Costa Rica Map of places to fish

General Costa Rica Information and Fishing Map

Costa Rica Map and General Tourism Information

See the Fish Icons below for Costa Rica fishing areas/towns. Read more general tourist information about Costa Rica below the map

Costa Rica Map of places to fish

Costa Rica Fishing Species

More About Species

Costa Rica Tourism Quick Facts

Location

Costa Rica is located in Central America, south of Nicaragua and north of Panama. The western side of the country is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the eastern side by the Caribbean Sea

Capital City San José Population (est.) 4.8 million

Language The native language is Spanish and English is spoken throughout various tourist areas of the country

Climate Temperatures range from 70 to 81 degrees all year round. While many tropical countries have changing weather patterns that affect the entire nation with different seasons, Costa Rica enjoys 12 different tropical micro climates that remain constant throughout the year. The most common micro climate in Costa Rica is the Tropical Moist Forest, which is filled with evergreen trees and bountiful vines, but the Tropical Sub alpine Rain Páramo is a micro climate with temperatures ranging around 41º and 57º Fahrenheit, with occasional snowfall and hail. The water temperature on both coasts is at a reliable 28-29 degrees Celsius (84°F)

Currency  The national currency is the Costa Rican Colon (CRC), though U.S. dollars and credit cards are widely accepted.

The exchange rate as of 2019 is approximately 590 CRC to $1, but can vary daily

International Airports

San Jose: Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO – Costa Rica’s Main Airport )and Tobías Bolaños International Airport

Liberia: (New International Airport in Costa Rica’s Northern Zone ) Daniel Oduber International Airport Airlines American Airlines, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines.

Copa, Delta AirLines, jetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Avianca Airlines, United, U.S.Airwaysand Westjet

Entry Requirements U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport – valid from 6 months AFTER your planned EXIT date, an entry and exit ticket and the exit tax is currently set at $29

Tourism Information For more information,please visit www.visitcostarica.com

 ABOUT COSTA RICA

Costa Rica is located in Central America, bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea and the west by the Pacific Ocean. Opportunities for sport fishing , adventure, relaxation, romance and exploration are unlimited, making it one of the most visited international destinations in the Western Hemisphere.

With an abundance of unique wildlife, an amazing variety of saltwater and freshwater fish, landscapes and climates the country proudly shelters approximately five percent of the existing biodiversity in the world, with protected areas comprising 26 percent of its land mass. The phrase “Pura Vida” can be heard echoing throughout Costa Rica from coast to coast. Used as a greeting or expression of happiness, the phrase literally translates to “pure life,” however its truer meaning is “full of life,” which accurately describes the adventure and wonder that await visitors. Beach lovers, surfers, divers and anglers quickly feel right at home along the coasts while couples and those in search of a relaxing retreat are captivated and pampered by the country’s natural beauty and diverse spas and retreats. Thrill seekers have met their match further inland as they explore Costa Rica’s volcanoes, rain forests, cloud forests, and rivers primed for white-water adventures. In order to protect and preserve such a wealth of natural resources Costa Rica has become a leader in sustainable tourism and established the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) which has a fundamental purpose of benefitting the environment and supporting the community. Business is bustling in Costa Rica, as the country is home to headquarter offices for a myriad of multinational corporations in the global marketplace. Business and group travelers will find a plethora of hotel and meeting space options, as the country hosts a sophisticated infrastructure of hotels and international brands.

GEOGRAPHY

Costa Rica’s bio diverse terrain is a key element that attracts visitors from around the world. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with a land portion that occupies only 20 thousand square miles, it is no surprise that Costa Rica’s name translates to “rich coast.” The Central American country shares borders with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south.The nation is comprised of seven provinces: San José, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limón.

From mountain ranges and rain forests to active volcanoes and cloud forests to breathtaking beaches, Costa Rica’s diversity of landscapes, climates and natural wonders provides visitors with unlimited experiences.

CENTRAL VALLEY

Many Costa Rica fishing trips start with a one day stayover in San Jose, Costa Rica. Home to the destination’s capital, San José, many of Costa Rica’s most popular museums can be found in this urban setting including the Gold Museum, Jade Museum, National Museum and Children’s Museum, in addition to the architectural jewel of Costa Rica, the National Theater. Out in the surrounding highlands, visitors can discover two active volcanoes, Poás and Irazú, as well as the Braulio Carrillo National Park. The rural towns of Turrialba and Valle de los Santos are also in the Central Valley, offering a picturesque glimpse of old Costa Rican traditional homes, large coffee plantations, sugar mills and dairies.

MID PACIFIC

Great fishing, beautiful beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, lagoons, rivers and waterfalls make the Mid Pacific region an ideal destination for visitors in search of variety. The region stretches from the city of Puntarenas, heradurra to Dominical de Osa and is made up of some of Costa Rica’s most visited areas including  Quepos, Jacó, Bahía Ballenaand Manuel Antonio. The region’s climate creates a unique landscape that transitions from tropical wet forest to tropical forest to tropical dry forest, providing the opportunity to observe a wide range of plants and animals and of course exotic Costa Rica fishing species. In addition to wildlife, the Mid Pacific region is home to a number of luscious beaches and great inshore and offshore fishing spots, some of which are less than two hours from San José.

THE CARIBBEAN COAST

The Caribbean side is world-famous for tarpon and snook. Tarpon school up outside the mouth of the river in pods that cover several acres. When it is hot, it is red hot and you will pull on big fish all day.

The diverse coastline of the Northern Caribbean region attracts anglers, naturists and water enthusiasts in search of unique experiences. The North Caribbean region runs from the San Juan River (Tarpon and Snook fishing )to Limón City, located just south of Nicaragua, and as far West as the Eastern Sarapiquí canton. Visitors to the region can head out bass fishing in rivers, lakes and streams, embark on a fascinating excursion through the area’s interconnected canals or have the opportunity to witness green turtles nesting at Tortuguero National Park.

Limón City, the largest city on the country’s Caribbean coast, welcomes thousands of cruise passengers and serves as a popular tourism and distribution center. The Southern Caribbean boasts some of Costa Rica’s best beaches and picturesque parks, which are complemented by the area’s inviting culture. The region, which extends from Limón City to the Panamaborder, features a unique blend of natural wonders and Afro-Caribbean traditions.

A wide range of activities allow travelers to mix adventure with natural history, present day culture, gastronomy and music. The region is also home to Cahuita National Park and Gandoca Manzanillo Reserve.

THE PACIFIC COAST

The Pacific side of Costa Rica boasts two fishing seasons, with the central and southern regions most productive November through April. In the north, the good bite is from May through December. The last few years have seen record numbers of sailfish on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. El Niño slowed the bite last year, but during the two previous years, records were broken for the number of releases in the Los Sueños and Marina Pez Vela tournaments. Last year in the Offshore World Tournament at Marina Pez Vela, the sailfish were noticeably absent, while marlin released records were crushed. Read the FECOP Guide to Costa Rica fishing – Where to go, What You’ll Find for more information

GUANACASTE – Northern Pacific

The combination of breathtaking white-sand beaches, sweeping mountain views and an ideal tropical climate has made Guanacaste one of Costa Rica’s most popular regions. Located in the northwestern corner of Costa Rica, the region presents a diverse geography and boasts many of Costa Rica’s most popular beaches, including Playa del Coco, Playa Flamingo, Playa Conchal, Tamarindo and the Papagayo Peninsula. By day visitors can challenge themselves with a surf lesson, cool off under a waterfall at Rincónde la ViejaNational Park, discover the craters of an active volcano with the same name and more before enjoying the active nightlife in Tamarindo. High up in the mountains of Guanacaste, visitors have the opportunity to experience ecological tourism in a natural and picturesque environment

The beach’s pristine waters are ideal for a variety of water sports and some of the world’s best deep sea fishing.

Tamarindo, one of the most developed and popular beaches on the Pacific Coast, offers some of the best surfing and windsurfing in the world with a laid-back vibe to match. Long stretches of sand are perfect for walks, horseback riding and sunbathing. Offering a wide variety of water sports, excursions and restaurants, Tamarindo is a bustling beach town with plenty for visitors to experience.

On the Nicoya Peninsula, picture-perfect beaches offer snorkeling, diving and windsurfing. Samara is one of the region’s most pleasant beaches and although it is peacefully secluded, there is no shortage of restaurants, shops, excursions or hotels. Protected by a coral reef, allowing the waters near the coast to be calm and safe, Samara is particularly known for its pleasant swimming conditions. For a more quiet experience, visitors can venture just north or south to the undeveloped sands of Barrigona, Buena Vista or Playa Carrillo.

 THE CENTRAL AND SOUTH PACIFIC

Continuing south toward the mid-pacific, Jacó Beach is one of the world’s most renowned surfing destinations, known for its consistent waves. A short drive from San José, Jacóis a popular weekend getaway for locals and party goers ready to paint the town .Home to the continent’s largest Pacific coastal rain forests and some of the world’s most endangered species,Puntarenas’ beaches are lush and tropical as a result of the frequent rainfall.

Bahía Ballenais located south of Dominical and at low tide displaysa coastline that resembles a whale’s tail.An interesting fact about this bay is that whales from the north and south find the water’sreliable temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit asideal for birthing, allowing for two whale watching seasons to take place.Children love to spot the different humpback, pilot and false killer whales. While on these tours, visitors can also sight bottlenose and spotted dolphin sall year round.The neighboring beaches of Manuel Antonio are some of the country’s most immaculate. Surrounded by dense forest vegetation, the beaches of Espadilla, Blanca and Puerto Escondido are inside Manuel Antonio National Park, offering visitors often unexpected views of exotic wildlife.Nearby Dominical is known for its authenticity and world-class surfing. Frequented by backpackers seeking an experience that differs from usual tourist destinations, the unspoiled nature of Dominical offers thrilling water sports and awe-inspiring sights, including the Dominicalito and Naucaya Waterfalls. Surfing is particularly noteworthy on Pavones, a simple mile-long beach where surfers can ride the longest left-breaking waves in the world. Home to some of the

best conditions on the entire Pacific coast of North and South America, the rocky beach of Pavones is a surfer’s paradise.

Adrenaline

Outdoor enthusiasts can rejoice in the wealth of water-based activities to choose from in Costa Rica. Sport fishing, surfing, diving and rafting are several popular favorites, and the combination of a wide range of difficulty levels and destinations where visitors can partake create the perfect activity for everyone in a group.

COSTA RICA SPORT FISHING

Check out the following Links for Great Costa Rica Fishing Information:

Costa Rica Fishing – Where to go, What You’ll Find

Chasing Sailfish and Marlin in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific

Why Costa Rica is the Perfcet Destination to Take the Kids Fishing

Catching Cubera Snapper in Costa Rica’s South Pacific

Costa Rica Fishing – How and Whtere to Catch Trophy Roosterfish

Sailfish For Dummies – Catching Sailfish in Costa Rica

Fresh Water Fishing in Costa Rica for Rainbows

The Northern Pacific coast, Central Pacific region, Southern Pacific region, and Caribbean coast all make for great fishing spots. Travelers can enjoy offshore fishing in the area of Quepos on the central Pacific coast, boasting large billfish such as sailfish and marlin and sport fishing in the small harbor town of Golfito on the southern coast or Puerto Jimenez – The largest town in the Osa Peninsula and the gateway to Corcovado National Park.

On the Caribbean coast, more unpredictable conditions can cause variation in the day’s tarpon and snook catches; however, fishermen can generally expect tarpon during the winter and spring and snook during the fall.

For those who enjoy inland fishing, Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest lake located at the foot of the active Arenal Volcano, boasts rainbow bass. Fishing seasons vary by location and type of fish, and a valid Costa Rican fishing license is required for any freshwater fishing done in the country.

Sport Fishing Generates Nearly 500 Million Dollars Annually in Costa Rica

 

What is a Billfish?

The Circle Hook Revolution

Costa Rica Top Global Fishing Destination

 

Costa Rica Sport Fishing – Sailfish for Dummies

Costa Rica Fishing FAQ

Costa Rica Fishing Species

 

Read Blog Detail

River and Lake Fishing in Costa Rica: Palm Trees and Rainbows

“Trout fishing in Costa Rica has been something that has grown closer and closer to me over the past 3.5 years in the jungle.”– Jesse Males – BackWater FlyFishing

Being able to take people freshwater trout fishing in Costa Rica is something that still blows me away. Seeing people’s reactions to rising fish in a place not necessarily known for its trout fishing is always an interesting thing to see.

Recently I was able to witness my fellow guide Micah Baly from www.506outdoors.com put our client Patrick on some amazing trout fishing opportunities in Costa Rica’s high mountains. Below is a short film showcasing our day on the water. ENJOY!

In the past few years tout fishing in Costa Rica has become more and more popular amongst tourists and serious fly fishing anglers alike. If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica and would like to schedule a trip with me, please send me an email at info@506outdoors.com.

Tight lines,

Jesse Males

Thank you to

Related Videos

Thank you to Stone Mountain Outdoors, 506OutDoors and Jesse Males for the video and Costa Rica fresh water fishing videos

Related Articles

Costa Rica Fishing FAQ

Everything You Should Know About Sport Fishing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Fishing Species

Read Blog Detail
Costa Rica Fishing

Costa Rica Fishing FAQ

Frequently Asked Costa Rica Fishing Questions

Can I take Sailfish or Marlin out of the water for a photo?

No, it is illegal to remove sailfish and marlin (see What is a Billfish) from the water for photos or other publicity/social media photos. There are a number of ways to photograph fish that is not harmful to them. Read this article on capturing Costa Rica fishing photos with minimal impact.

Do I have to use circle hooks in Costa Rica?

Yes circle hooks are required by law in Costa Rica when fishing any live bait. Other kinds of hooks are damaging to the fish because they are more likely to swallow the hooks. For more information about using or installing circle hooks during your Costa Rica fishing trip read this article The Circle Hook Revolution

Do you need a Fishing License in Costa Rica?

Yes, a fishing license is required and you can purchase them online before your Costa Rica fishing tripLearn more or purchase a Costa Rica fishing license here

Where Can I find Costa Rica Fishing Laws and Regulations?

FECOP has all the most recent Costa Rica fishing laws and regulations available online and for download. Costa Rica fishing regulations

What is FECOP?

Sport and recreational fishing has contributed actively to the coastal development of our country since its consolidation over a period of almost 70 years. Fishing clubs, tourism operators and the different stakeholders in sport fishing have contributed to the positioning of this activity, above and beyond any promotion by the State.

More than 60,000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as a contribution of 330 million dollars to Costa Rica’s gross domestic product, are among the benefits obtained from this activity. In addition to this information recognized and produced by different sources, sport fishing has other less visible impacts and benefits. It represents a socioeconomic sector with a special dynamic that needs to be understood from a scientific and technical perspective so as to boost its growth and contribution to Costa Rican society.

FECOP assumes this challenge and will work with the sector in the generation of knowledge to benefit both the sport fishing and the fisheries sectors and Costa Rican society as a whole.

What Kind of Fishing Does Costa Rica offer?

Costa Rica fishing is good year round. Although certain target catch and release species e.g. sailfish and marlin peak in certain months, other inshore release fish such as roosterfish, snappers, jacks, African pompano and others may be targeted year round.

What is the best time of year to find billfish in Costa Rica?
Peak times for Costa Rica billfish vary depending on which part of the Pacific coast you’re on.

Can I catch Tarpon in Costa Rica?

Yes, Tarpon can be found on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast. Read more about tarpon fishing in Costa Rica here.

When should I go Fishing in Costa Rica?

Sailfish, marlin, dorado, tuna, and wahoo can be caught any day in Costa Rica but these pelagic species peak at different times, consult your fishing lodge or guide for peak times. You can also read this primer/guide on Costa Rica fishing and what to expect here

How do I catch Snook in Costa Rica?

There are variety of ways to fish for Snook or robalo in Costa Rica. Here is an article on one of Costa Rica’s best snook fisherman

Can I Eat Roosterfish?

Roosterfish are protected and may not be taken. They are a catch and release species and one of the oceans top fighting fish with amazing physical attributes. Learn more about Costa Rica roosterfish fishing here

Please send your questions to info“at”fecop.org

Related Costa Rica Fishing Articles

Explaining The Costa Rica Tuna Decree

Costa Rica Top Global Fishing Destination

Everything You Should Know About Sport Fishing in Costa Rica

Read Blog Detail

Costa Rica Fishing – Where to Go, What You’ll Find

Costa Rica Fishing Guide: Where to Go and What You’ll Find

Published by Todd Staley for the Tico Times

I remember years ago I would see an article about fishing in Costa Rica in a fishing magazine, or a television show about catching tarpon by the boat load in the jungle. It started a series of “bucket list” fishing fantasies in my head. I made my first trip to Costa Rica over 30 years ago, caught and released a ton of fish, and told all my friends when I got back to the States: “I don’t know how yet, but I am going to figure out a way to live down there.”

Twenty-seven years have passed since I moved to Costa Rica, and I have been fortunate enough to run world-renowned fishing operations over the years. Big fish tend to beat me up more these days than vice versa, but the fever for both the sport and the country has never left me.

Costa Rica has so much to offer all types of anglers that it is a shame not to experience it. Here is a rundown of some of the many sport fishing opportunities.

Freshwater:

Guapote (rainbow bass) are available in Lake Arenal, along with machaca, a relative of the South American piranha that is quite acrobatic when hooked. The rivers and lagoons in Los Chiles, which is in the Northern Zone, and all along the Caribbean seaboard have those species as well, plus tarpon and snook that also venture deep into the freshwater ecosystems. Several types of other cichlads, known as morjarra are found deep in the jungle and make for great ultra-light fun.

High in the mountains that divide the Pacific coast from Cartago, known as the Cerro de la Muerte, anglers will find wild rainbow trout in almost every creek. In that region, San Gerardo de Dota is a popular area and is also great for birdwatching species like the elusive quetzal. Fishing in a National Park is not permitted, so check that the area you are in is not park property.

If you would like to take the kids, there are trout hatcheries along the Pan American Highway, which runs through the Cerro de la Muerte. You can fish at those hatcheries and they charge you by weight. Stone Mountain Outdoors in Santa Ana has good information on trout fishing.

Saltwater:

The Caribbean side is world-famous for tarpon and snook. Tarpon school up outside the mouth of the river in pods that cover several acres. When it is hot, it is red hot and you will pull on big fish all day. As mentioned above, they will also enter the rivers and back lagoons.

The fishing in the ocean is done with lures or sardines on circle hooks. Inside the mouth of the river, it is almost always done with artificial lures. The late Bill Barnes made fly fishing for tarpon popular in the area.

Snook are also taken in the rivers and lagoons as well as the beach. There are four species of snook on the Caribbean side. The fat snook (calva) run that starts in December offers a chance to catch lots of snook on light tackle. It is a smaller species of snook and averages 5 to 8 pounds. The monsters that made Costa Rica famous in the fishing world are usually taken off the beach at the rivermouth. Rarely will you see lots of fish, but you have a chance to tangle with a once-in-a-lifetime fish of 35 pounds or more.

The Pacific side of Costa Rica boasts two fishing seasons, with the central and southern regions most productive November through April. In the north, the good bite is from May through December.

Costa Rica Fishing Sailfish

The last few years have seen record numbers of sailfish on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. El Niño slowed the bite last year, but during the two previous years, records were broken for the number of releases in the Los Sueños and Marina Pez Vela tournaments. Last year in the Offshore World Tournament at Marina Pez Vela, the sailfish were noticeably absent, while marlin released records were crushed.

Dorado or dolphinfish have started off as a bang this fishing season, showing what seems to be a recovery of the stocks that migrate through here. Dorado is not only a beautiful fighting fish but also great table fare.

Also in the bluewater are marlin, tuna, and wahoo. Tuna have made a great comeback after the area in which purse seiners are allowed to work was reduced 200,000 square kilometers in 2014, and the reduction of purse sein licenses granted to foreign fleets was reduced from 43 to 13 in 2017. There have been phenomenal catches of marlin around man made marine eco-systems. You probably won’t see a grander (a marlin over 1000 lbs) here in Costa Rica, but the Pacific offers blue, black, and striped marlin.

Costa Rica Fishing

Roosterfish are the Holy Grail inshore on the Pacific side, and are available there all year, unlike other areas. The average is 10-15 lbs, but 50-lb fish are common. Also available inshore are a large variety of snappers, grouper, jacks, African pompano and others. When the water is clear, wahoo and dorado venture close to shore. Roosters, snook, jacks and snapper can be taken here casting from the beach.

Don’t pass up a chance to fish in Costa Rica. And remember: a Costa Rican fishing license is required for all anglers over 16 years of age.

 

Todd Staley is a Tico Times columnist and director of communications for FECOP, a sport fishing advocacy federation recently chosen to represent Costa Rica in the Panamerican Sportfishing Delegation, formed by groups from the United States and all Latin America countries. One of the group’s goals is to get sportfishing recognized as a competitive sport and to organize teams from various nations to compete in the Pan-American games. The group also seeks a common front on conservation issues. Costa Rica will host the Federation Assembly in November 2018 followed by a roosterfish tournament with competitors from the different nations. Learn more at www.fishcostarica.org

Related Articles

Costa Rica Sport Fishing- Sailfish for Dummies

Like Snook? Meet Costa Rica’s Snook King

Featured Captain – Eddie Brown – The King of the Silver Kings

The Circle Hook Revolution

Sport Fishing Generates Nearly 500 Million Dollars Annually in Costa Rica

First Sailfish On The Fly – Costa Rica Fly Fishing

What is a Billfish?

Read Blog Detail

Searching for the World’s Last Sawfish in Costa Rica

Read Blog Detail
Costa Rica Sea Lion

Lost Sea Lion Visits Costa Rica for the Holiday Weekend

Yet another sign Costa Rica is a great place  for fishing as a Sea Lion – a master fisherman himself, shows up for Holy Week in Costa Rica

Sea Lion Swims Ashore on Malpaís Beach, Costa Rica

This species belongs to the family of seals and walruses, which form the group of marine mammals known as pinnipeds.

NCRNoticias.Com Editorial Staff Published: April 18, 2

This Thursday a Sea Lion was seen on a beach in Malpaís Costa Rica.

A user of social networks recorded the moment in which the mammal left the sea to perch on the rocks.

Sea lions are always in areas close to the coast and are cooler than tropical waters, so it is not common to see them in Costa Rica, but rather in South America or very in the north.

In Costa Rica, there have been sightings on the beaches of Punta de Banco, Pavones de Golfito, and San Pedrillo, in the Corcovado National Park, located in the province of Puntarenas, as reported by tourists and foresters to the press.

One possibility of the arrival of these mammals is to hunt food and move away from their natural area, it can also be by marine currents, but they do not get to stay, and they do not establish a population here.

The sea lion is a carnivore that fishes and, according to its species, is very social, so it seeks to be in large communities other sea lions.

It is very risky to say that climate change has to do with the arrival of sea lions on the coast and that a pattern and more studies should be established to verify this.

Sea lions arrive for a few days to rest, for the loss of direction or because they are sick.

A sea lion weighs between 275 and 450 kilograms and measures between 1.7 and 2.5 meters, is capable of submerging up to 186 meters and can be under water up to 40 minutes.

Also, nothing up to 40 kilometers per hour, although some people may consider him a lazy animal because he likes to relax and sunbathe.

Currently, there are six species of sea lions: California, Steller, Australian, Galápagos, New Zealand and South American. Sea Lions love fish and are frequently seen harassing fisherman for their catch in areas up North such as Mexico and the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more about Sport Fishing in Costa Rica

Stop Illegal Fishing, Sign Our Petition to Stop the Killing of Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles, and Billfish!

Stop Tuna Purse Sei

 

Explaining The Costa Rica Tuna Decree

Read Blog Detail
Costa Rica Sport FIshing

Everything You Should Know About Sport Fishing in Costa Rica

EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT FISHING IN COSTA RICA – THE ANGLER’S PARADISE

One of few places in the world you can average 10 or more billfish per day with the possibility of catching and releasing 4 different species the same day. Only few other places on earth that can beat that record!”
— Press Release by Danny Lombardo for EIN News

JACO, NEW YORK, COSTA RICA, April 14, 2019 – Fishing in Costa Rica – The Angler’s Paradise

Nature has endowed Costa Rica with vast swathes of rich coastal ecosystems, making it one of the best fishing destinations of the world. Sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica commands 800 miles of coastline. The sportfishing opportunities here are nothing less than phenomenal.

As a top fishing destination, the country attracts thousands of eager anglers and trophy hunters every year from the US and Canada. While the most sought-after game fish in Costa Rica is the billfish (the collective name for marlin and sailfish), anglers can put their skills to test in big game involving dorado, tuna, snapper, roosterfish, and wahoo.

In the unrelenting world of sport fishing, Costa Rica manages to emerge victorious many a time, going by the fishing records, which include dozens of prestigious IGFA titles. Many a reputation has been built here. Many a record created or trounced. To illustrate from a recent example, 54 marlins were caught and released during the Offshore World Championship Billfish Tournament held this year. If you know your marlin well, it’s one tough cookie. Forget 54; getting just one could be your crowning moment.

The Best Time to Fish in Costa Rica

All seasons are not made equal and neither is the fishing experience. But the good news is that in Costa Rica, any time is a good time for fishing. Says Parker Bankston, a fishing veteran, “The ocean is calm 95% of the time. There’s great fishing to be done, no matter what the season is.”

How can this be? Aren’t summers universally the best time to fish? To understand this, we need to make ourselves familiar with how the seasons play out in Costa Rica. (Most of what is explained here applies to the Pacific Coast. The Caribbean side has slightly different weather conditions.)

The concepts of summer and winter don’t really apply to Costa Rica. The country enjoys a tropical climate and experiences two kinds of seasons – dry and wet. The average annual temperature is 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no drastic variation in temperature during the dry or wet seasons; rather the seasons are distinguished by the amount of rainfall received.

Dry Season or Verano (Dec-Apr)

The dry season is marked by clear skies and calm waters. Together, they set the stage for some serious billfishing in the Pacific. Starting December, the billfish make their way into Central Pacific. Their numbers start swelling from January through April. Many a tournament is launched, creating near frenzy among anglers to exhibit their competitive prowess.

Wet Season or Invierno (May-Nov)

It is when Costa Rica receives most of its rain, which averages 100 inches. Also called the green season, Invierno comes as a relief from the summer spell. Fortunately, the rains are mostly confined to afternoons and evenings, which leaves a window of opportunity open for fishing in the mornings. During May, June, July, and November (called the hedge months), it only rains for a few hours in the afternoon. October, by far, is the rainiest month.

Inshore Vs Offshore Sport Fishing in Costa Rica

For inexperienced anglers, the whole inshore and offshore conundrum might be a little perplexing. Does it make a difference if you are fishing inshore or offshore in Costa Rica? Yes, it does. Where does the best fishing happen, inshore or offshore? In both places. It all depends on your tastes and the expectations and goals you set for fishing in Costa Rica. Let’s first unpack this whole inshore and offshore thing before wading deeper into those waters.

Costa Rica Sport Fishing

Inshore Fishing in Costa Rica

Fishing anywhere within 30 miles of shoreline classifies as inshore fishing. The average run time is between 15 minutes to an hour, so inshore fishing trips can be made with just half a day to spare. However, once you get the taste of inshore fishing and get reeled in by a giant rooster, you’ll want to hang out the entire day. Because of the relatively relaxed style of fishing, inshore fishing is a hit with families out with kids.

Offshore Fishing in Costa Rica

If your heart is set on the deeper treasures of the ocean, the marlin, sailfish, wahoo, or yellowfin tuna, you need to head as far as 120 miles into the Pacific. Equipped with sonar, GPS, and state-of-the-art fishing gear, and steered by a hardy captain and crew, your offshore fishing trip could result in some epic encounters with the elusive marlins, which travel at a speed of 60 miles per hour.

Costa Rica Marlin Fishing

Sport fishing in Costa Rica: Legal Aspects

Fishing is an important source of income for Costa Rica and regulations are in place to ensure that fishing-related activities are responsible and the fish stock is not depleted. Here’s a quick rundown of things to be aware of when fishing in Costa Rica:

Fishing License All anglers need a valid fishing license issued by INCOPESCA, the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute. The license, which can be obtained online, costs $15 for 8 days, $30 for a month, and $50 for a year, regardless of whether you are a native or a foreigner.

Catch and Release All billfish should be live-released by law. To ensure their chances of survival, they are brought only up to the side of the boat before being released into the ocean. Anglers are free to keep and consume other fish they catch, such as snapper, dorado, tuna, and wahoo.

Start Planning Right Away!

A great time is guaranteed, no matter whether you are a new, lapsed, or an accomplished angler. Remember to pack your camera and leave your tackle behind. They aren’t as effective in the Pacific as they are in the Atlantic. All the leading fishing charters in Costa Rica are fitted with top class gear for the fast-paced fishing demanded by the Pacific.

 

Costa Rica Fishing Species

Sport Fishing Generates Nearly 500 Million Dollars Annually in Costa Rica

Explaining The Costa Rica Tuna Decree

Costa Rica Top Global Fishing Destination

Costa Rica Fishing Species

Read Blog Detail
Costa Rica Circle Hook Fishing

The Circle Hook Revolution

Costa Rica Fishing Conservation – The Circle Hook Revolution

 

Marlin Magazine

Published for Marlin Magazine

The Beginning

In 1998, circle hooks exploded on the American sport-fishing scene with Capt. Ron Hamlin’s declaration that he would use nothing but circle hooks when fishing with bait. The announcement came as he was accepting the annual release award for the most Pacific sailfish in a single season (546 sails caught on J hooks in 1997). Tired of seeing gut-hooked billfish gushing blood, that night he denounced the J hooks that had brought him so much success. What the spectators did not realize was that Hamlin had experienced a catch-per-unit effort rate of 65 percent or better for circle hooks on sailfish in Guatemala, compared to 50 percent with J hooks. From his perspective, it was a no-brainer that would tremendously benefit the fishery.

black and white image of boat captains

Capt. Ron Hamlin, Joan Vernon and Tim Choate each made a substantial case for industrywide circle-hook use, which prompted the rest of the fishing world to follow.

Richard Gibson

His employer, Tim Choate, had mandated the use of circle hooks by all five of his Artmarina-owned charter boats even before science had proved that billfish survival rates greatly increase with circle hooks. In his speech that night, Hamlin acknowledged Capt. Peter B. Wright and angler Skip Walton for bringing circle hooks to Guatemala after first using them in the giant bluefin tuna fishery off North Carolina.

A charter captain, and owner of Red Drum Tackle in Hatteras, North Carolina, Capt. Bob Eakes had a lot to do with pioneering the area’s bluefin tuna fishery, bringing in Wright and marine scientists such as Dr. Eric Prince

Prince, now retired from his post as head of the NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami says it all began in 1995, approximately two years before they started tagging bluefin tuna with implantable, archival and pop-up satellite tags. “The big question was how to minimize the damage and stress of capture so the tuna would survive the surgical implantation of the oversize tags, which then cost about $4,500, so survival was essential,” he says.

Wright and his mate, Scott Levin, suggested a plan to bring the fish aboard through the tuna door and insert a saltwater washdown hose in the tuna’s mouth to oxygenate the fish, along with using a cloth to cover the eyes and body.

“This helped eliminate stress from handling,” Prince relates. But it was the circle hook that Eakes first suggested that eliminated gut hooking, ensuring the long-term health of the fish. “On our fishing trips, every tuna caught on circle hooks was hooked in the hinge of the jaw. Looking at it with a little biological insight, I could see the benefits not just for endangered bluefin tunas, but also to reduce gut-hooking sailfish.”

After expressing those insights to Wright, Prince shared them with Choate, who suggested a fishing trip out of Guatemala, where catch rates exceed 40 sailfish per day, to provide a suitable test. The success of that expedition led to a scientific study by Prince in March and May of 1999.

Dead-bait trolling off Iztapa, Guatemala, showed conclusively that circle hooks produce more fish that are released without evidence of bleeding. Out of 461 sailfish bites, they hooked 360. Using an equal number of J hooks and circle hooks, 125 were caught and released on J hooks versus 235 on circle hooks. Out of those 235 releases, only 14 sailfish showed any signs of bleeding, six of which were deemed severe. Of the J-hook-caught fish, 71 had bleeding, 32 of which were deemed severe. The conclusion? Sailfish caught on J hooks are 21 times more likely to suffer hook-related bleeding — and possible death — than fish caught on circle hooks. Furthermore, circle hooks had a higher hookup percentage. Follow-up studies all came to the same conclusion: Significant conservation benefits can be realized in dead- and live-bait fisheries for billfish and tuna by simply changing the terminal tackle from J hooks to circle hooks.

“The simplicity [of one change] really touched a chord,” Prince says.

sailfish jumping in the air

Sailfish caught on circle hooks benefit both angler and fish with higher hook-up ratios and lower mortality rates

Bubba Naquin

Central America Leads the Way

Like a messiah spreading the gospel, Hamlin broadcast the success of circle hooks to every influential angler he knew. In Joan Vernon, he found a disciple. Since the year 2000, she has personally caught more than 2,200 billfish — all on circle hooks.

“Hamlin explained he had a new hook he wanted me to try,” she recalls. “At first, I was a little skeptical about using circle hooks with the 8- and 12-pound-test tackle I used for sailfish, but I had no trouble hooking them. Every fish was hooked right where Hamlin predicted: in the hinge of the jaw. I was convinced, but getting everyone else on board would be a challenge.”

Vernon is also the executive director of the Presidential Challenge of Central America tournament series. Founded in 1996, the tournaments were originally held in Panama, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Guatemala (now also in Aruba for the past decade). They are fun events, but at their core they are meant to ensure the continued abundance of healthy billfish populations throughout Central America and the Caribbean through research and education. At the 1998 Sport Fishing Economic Conference of Central America — held for scientists, resort and charter operators and politicians — she floated the idea of circle hooks as a tool in reducing billfish mortality.

Putting her money where her mouth is, Vernon announced the 1999 Presidential Challenge series would become the world’s first all-circle hook release tournament.

“I had no idea if the anglers would go for it, but there was no opposition,” she says. A few years later, Costa Rica and Guatemala declared circle hooks mandatory for recreational billfish caught in their territorial waters.

“By 2005, virtually every tournament in Central America had gone to circle hooks,” she adds. “And in countries with no recreational circle-hook laws, they were mandated by the local resorts and lodges in these fishing destinations.”

Vernon also helped found the Yamaha Contender Miami Sportfish Tournament — previously known as the Miami Billfish Tournament — and was its executive director in 1982.

“The whole premise was to raise funds for conservation and education, but committee members were afraid of losing participation if we went to circle hooks,” explains longtime tournament committee member Capt. Bouncer Smith. Despite Prince’s convincing research that circle hooks produced better hookup rates while substantially reducing mortality, the others on the board were resistant. “Finally it was suggested we ease into circle hooks by creating a separate division.

Vernon refused. “‘It’s a complete rule change, or nothing,’ she said at the time, making it the first tournament in the United States to require the use of circle hooks,” Smith relates.

circle hook rigging bait

In just 10 years, a small change in terminal tackle has made a significant difference in billfish survival rates around the world. The design also produces higher catch rates for most species.

©️Scott Kerrigan/www.aquapaparazzi.com

Bridling and Larger Hooks

Smith first joined the circle-hook revolution after hearing an impassioned talk by Hamlin and Choate at the Miami Rod and Reel Club in 1998. Experimenting first with 5/0 Eagle Claw circle hooks that matched the size of the J hooks he used for sailfishing, he was discouraged.

“I lost two sailfish in a row on them, so I went back to my J hooks,” Smith says. “Months later, I caught a white marlin on a J hook that bled to death. It was then I recalled Hamlin’s speech at the fishing club. So, I upgraded the size of the circle hooks to a wide-gap 7/0 and gave them another try. I started having immediate success. Larger-size hooks were the answer.”

Twenty years later he’s still having success, having gone from using 7/0 Eagle Claws to 6/0 VMC circle hooks for sailfish and other species.

“I’ve found the more exposed the hook is, the better the hookup percentage,” adds Smith, who primarily fishes bridled baits with non-offset circle hooks. Another refinement is using slightly rounder rubber bands when rigging his baits. “They solved the problems I was having with common rubber hair bands that cut into the baits.”

Capt. Bobby Brown first used circle hooks for pitching baits to marlin well before it became the norm. In 1996, he was working for Fonda and Wayne Huizenga of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, teaching them the pitch-bait technique with a favorite blue marlin bait — fresh squid — when he encountered a problem. “The squid was wrapping around the J hooks, so I decided to try circle hooks. On the first cast we caught a blue marlin,” he says.

After a month of marlin success, he tried trolling for sailfish with circle hooks, but the only hooks available at the time were made of heavy wire, and in sizes too large for sailfish. “The fish were coming to the bait and fading away,” he explains. He had all but given up on circle hooks for smaller billfish when Eagle Claw and The Billfish Foundation launched a lighter wire hook that became an instant hit.

circle hook in fish jaw

Keeping the circle hook a short distance from the bait gives it enough room to find its way to the corner of the fish’s jaw — where it belongs — without obstruction.

©️Scott Kerrigan/www.aquapaparazzi.com

East vs. West

In the early 1990s, long-range fishermen out of San Diego began experimenting with circle hooks while chunking for southern bluefin tuna. Using small-diameter fluorocarbon leaders and circle hooks with live sardines, the catch rates skyrocketed. Not only were the hooks stronger for their size, the bait swam more naturally. By using circle hooks that tend to lodge in the hinge of the jaw, they also solved the problems they’d had with fish chafing the light leaders

Since then, circle hooks have become standard equipment, says well-known Southern California angler Ben Secrest. “Circle hooks are like a mousetrap for bluefins; once they latch on, they don’t come off,” he reports. These days, he fishes skipping Yummee flying fish and bridled natural baits with Owner 11/0 circle hooks — straight from the rigger or from a kite stabilized with a helium balloon. “I have had the best results with larger-size hooks, and my hookup ratio is running 20 percent better with circle hooks.”

ringer swivel bait

The Ringer Swivel makes changing baits easier as well as allowing the hook to rotate freely.

ringer swivel bait

Rigging Techniques Vary

Capt. Kyle Francis of Jensen Beach, Florida, has been fishing circle hooks since he was 15 and has complete confidence in them. Francis — who regularly works the Costa Rica, Florida and Bahamas billfish circuit — says there have been innovations like the rubber O-ring for ease in bridling the hooks to the bait. He prefers a small barrel swivel though. “The O-rings impede the natural movement of the bait,” he explains.

When rigging combination baits such as a chugger or Ilander, he is more open. “With the Ilander, I position the bait with the hook crimped down tight to the lure. With a chugger-and-bait combination, I use one size larger hook. Instead of a 7/0, I’ll go with an 8/0 or 9/0 and add a swivel connected by copper wire with the bill going up into the chugger. It may be simple but it works great,” he explains.

Creating a streamlined circle-hook rig — with the maneuverability of a barrel swivel and ease of rigging with an O-ring — was the concept behind James Turner’s invention of the Ringer Swivel.

Article courtesy Marlin Magazine

Sport Fishing Generates Nearly 500 Million Dollars Annually in Costa Rica

Sailfish – The Evolution of The Hero Shot

Explaining The Costa Rica Tuna Decree

Read Blog Detail

Sport Fishing Generates Nearly 500 Million Dollars Annually in Costa Rica

Sport fishing tourism generates nearly 500 million dollars a year in Costa Rica or almost 13% of total tourism revenue.

Published by AmPrensa.com

March 11, 2019 Ana Yancy Aguilar Featured, Nationals

The Costa Rican Sport Fishing Federation (FECOP) recently finalized a study that shows the social and economic contributions of  sport fishing in Costa Rica.

Photo By Pat Ford

This study includes an analysis of the impact of Sport Fishing activities in Costa Rica on both macroeconomic and local levels.  This new FECOP study developed in 2018 and early 2019, determined that Sport Fishing activities directly and indirectly generate around 500 million dollars a year to the country, and represent almost 13% of total tourism revenue

The data also indicates that Sport Fishing activities have grown, surpassing other eco activities in the tourism sector.

“The Sport Fishing segment of the Costa Rica tourism industry is a substantial part of the industry accounting for around 5.6% of total tourism or between 150,000 and 200,000 tourists that come Costa Rica to fish annually. These tourists also invest in the different communities where Costa Rica sport fishing is active thus benefiting the local area families and communities. ” explained Henry Marin, sociologist and author of the study. At a local level, data collected from areas such as Herradura, Quepos, Golfito, Puerto Jimenez, Flamingo, Playas del Coco and Tamarindo were analyzed. The complete study will soon be available for download on FECOP.org

For more information visit www.fecop.org

Related FECOP Projects and Features

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

Costa Rica Top Global Fishing Destination

Sailfish – The Evolution of The Hero Shot

Costa Rica Fishing Tournament Calendar

Read Blog Detail

Pin It on Pinterest