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Yellowfin Tuna Costa Rica

Costa Rica Sets the Bar High for Sport Fishing

Stop Illegal Fishing in Costa Rica

How Costa Rica Sets the Bar Higher for Sport fishing

Two distinctive coasts, a wide variety of fish, and the possibility of a sport fishing grand slam make this country a place to return again and again.

Costa Rica continues to set the bar high for sport fishing but is also known for many things: flavorful coffee, a remarkably relaxing pura vida lifestyle, and tropical rainforests. For most, fishing isn’t high on the list of reasons to visit this Central American country—but those in the know can attest that it should be. Why? When it comes to Costa Rican sport fishing, it’s all about variety. Year-round fishing, more than ten species to catch, a rich history of competition, and two completely different coasts make Costa Rica a sport fishing hotspot that you’ll need to visit more than once to truly appreciate.

There’s an important distinction between regular fishing and sport fishing. Regular fisherman typically keep and eat or sell their catch. Sport fishing is done at a higher, sometimes professional level, and is mostly catch-and-release. And certain fish—marlin, swordfish, roosterfish among them—are only meant to be caught for sport and released. Costa Rica is a fishing pro’s paradise for its large variety of fish species to be caught 365 days a year throughout the country. As the country’s legislation is trending towards prohibiting industrial-scale fishing, now is as good a time as ever to get your catch-and-release on in Costa Rica.

Stop Illegal Fishing in Costa Rica

It’s Always Fishing Season in Costa Rica

The best place to land a marlin in Costa Rica is on the Pacific Coast. [Photo Credit: MichaelMaywood, iStock]

Marlin in Costa RicaWhen planning a fishing vacation, it’s important to study up on your destination’s seasons and to know exactly what you can expect to catch at the time you’re traveling. Costa Rica has two distinct seasons: the dry season and the green (or wet) season. Dry season runs from December to April, and will be your best bet for catching most species. It’s also the high season for Costa Rica vacations. While dry season will get more hype, there’s a lot to love about wet season. The summer months can be the best time to catch billfish; schools of tuna will be easier to spot after a heavy rain; wahoo season heats up when the water cools down around May; and the jungle becomes lush and green as everything begins to bloom again.But truly, the best time to fish in Costa Rica depends on what you’re looking for. Costa Rica’s vast geography offers up so many different microclimates and currents that affect the fishing season that you can practice different types of sport fishing and catch plenty of totally different species. For example, snapper and roosterfish are catchable all year, while other species like marlin, sailfish, and wahoo virtually disappear during the fall months. In the North Pacific region, marlin can’t be found in January and February, while in the Central and South Pacific, they’re abundant at that same time.

Bottom line: Do your homework, set your goals, and plan accordingly.

Here’s a detailed chart to help you plan your Costa Rica fishing vacation

A Tale of Two Coasts

What makes Costa Rica a sportfisherman’s dream is its unique location. Close enough to the equator for its fishing season to last all year, Costa Rica benefits from two coastlines, each with strikingly different characteristics.

Pacific Coast

Marlin sailfish, Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is ripe with marlin, sailfish, roosterfish, and more. [Photo Credit: reisegraf, iStock]

Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast enjoys more sunny days than anywhere else. It also boasts plenty of local Tico culture, and is the most popular for tourists. On the Pacific Coast, you’ll hunt marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, roosterfish, and tuna. Los Sueños—a small resort town in Punternas province—is one of the world’s top big game fishing spots for blue, black, and striped marlin, plus has lots of sailfish (which are easier to catch, especially in February!).The best Pacific fishing spots during the green season are in Papagayo Gulf, Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, and Playas del Coco. The best catches in dry season are found in Golfo Dulce, Zancudo, Puerto Jimenez and Golfito.

Visit: December – April
Avoid:October

Caribbean Coast

Costa Rica’s entire Caribbean coast is occupied by the province of Limón. It’s rich in Caribbean culture and preserves its Indian heritage, while its white sand beaches are uncrowded. It’s also more natural (read: less Americanized) and suited for laid-back travelers. Fishing here is year-round, though it often depends on the weather, which changes day-to-day. The east coast is known more than anything for tarpon, which fish best from December to May. Tarpon are massive—averaging 100-120 pounds and sometimes even cracking 200. What makes them a favorite among fishermen is their fighting ability. One of the toughest fish to catch, the tarpon’s nickname is the “Silver King.” The best fishing spots on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica are Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado, around the rivers, estuaries, and larger lagoons.

Whe to Visit Costa Rica: January – May; late August – early November
Avoid: June – July

Hit the Elusive Grand Slam

A grand slam is one of sportfishing’s most honored accomplishments. The impressive feat occurs when one angler has a day so successful that he or she catches three different species of fish in a day. In Costa Rica, three or four grand slams are reported each year. Each family of fish—trout, salmon, bass, and so on—has its own grand slam requirements. For a good shot at a grand slam. Its waters offer the opportunity to catch blue, black, and striped marlin, as well as a massive selection of sailfish, giving experienced fisherman a chance at the esteemed billfish grand slam. That particular feat requires catching any three of the following: the Atlantic blue marlin, Pacific blue marlin, black marlin, white marlin, striped marlin, Atlantic sailfish, Pacific Sailfish, swordfish, or spearfish.

Costa Rica Cements its Sportfishing Reputation

Boat for sport fishing Costa Rica

A sport fishing boat heading out for some offshore fishing in Costa Rica. [Photo Credit: THEPALMER, iStock]

Costa Rica is home to many of the world’s most recognized tournaments.Los Sueños hosts an annual three-leg billfish tournament in the winter called the Triple Crown, and is the self-proclaimed billfish capital of the world. Quepos, just 45 miles southbound down the coast, is another competitive fishing hotspot. It hosts the largest and most prestigious sport fishing tournament series in the world: the four-day Offshore World Championship.

World Record Catches in Costa Rica

For a country with only 727 miles of coast (612 on the Pacific side, 115 on the Caribbean side), Costa Rica boasts an impressive amount of outstanding sport fishing achievements. Here are six of the country’s best catches, ranked by Sport Fishing magazine:

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High Tech Albatross

Curbing Illegal Fishing With High Tech Albatross

Tech-tagged albatrosses bode ill for rogue trawlers as French Navy battles illegal fishing

Published by https://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Mariners of old believed that an albatross following their ship signified good luck, but fishermen illegally trawling the Indian Ocean now have cause to be wary of the majestic seabirds.

Some 250 albatrosses are being equipped with tiny transceivers that will automatically pick up trawlers’ radar signals.

Their locations will be transmitted to the French navy, which will use the data to identify vessels fishing in prohibited waters in the Indian Ocean, off the remote French islands of Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam. France is responsible for patrolling some 260,000 square miles of the southern sea.

Vessels fishing illegally generally switch off their automatic identification system (AIS) to avoid being tracked by satellite, but they cannot navigate safely without emitting low-level radar signals which the birds’ transceivers can detect as they fly over the ships.

Sailing without radar in the rough waters of the Indian Ocean would be extremely reckless. “Radars mean safety, especially for illegal ships that have to detect and avoid naval vessels,” said Henri Weimerskirch of the Chizé Biological Research Centre in western France. “Half of the boats we detected [during trials] did not have their AIS switched on.”

The transceivers, weighing less than 60 grams, will be mounted on the albatrosses’ backs. They can pick up radar signals within a radius of more than three miles. Scientists will also use them to track the birds and analyse their feeding habits.

Eighteen of the 22 species of albatross are threatened, some with extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Commercial longline fishing poses a major threat to seabirds. Hundreds of thousands of birds drown each year after being ensnared in fishing lines or nets as they swoop down to catch fish.

The transceivers will relay the whereabouts of illegal fishing boats to authorities Credit: Georges Gobet/AFP

More than 50 million birds live in the French Southern and Antarctic Nature Reserve, which includes the Indian Ocean waters policed by France, according to Cédric Marteau, head of the reserve.

“This is the highest concentration [of birds] in the world and the explosion of fishing after 2000 has caused lasting damage to the fragile natural balance,” he said.

The transceiver beacons, developed by scientists from France and New Zealand, will be fitted on albatrosses over the next five months in an operation known as “Ocean Sentinel”. Further trials are also to be carried out next year off New Zealand and Hawaii.

Many vessels that fish in prohibited waters fly flags of convenience and deliberately create confusion about their identities and nationalities.

Around 250 albatrosses will be fitted with the radar-sensing beacons Credit: drferry

A report by the Environmental Justice Foundation revealed that they try to escape detection by changing vessel names and flags, concealing ownership and sometimes removing ships from registers.

Chinese-flagged vessels have often been suspected of breaching international regulations, according to campaigners. Others have been registered in Panama, Belize or Malaysia, but even when ships are tracked with GPS and satellite systems, catching them in the act and taking their owners and operators to court can prove difficult and costly.

To avoid being apprehended by French authorities in the southern Indian Ocean, many vessels that fish illegally now prefer to operate in international waters, including Asian and South American trawlers that rarely use bird deterrent devices, officials said.

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