An Anglers Dream!
By Staff writers
For anglers who
want to reel in the big ones, Costa Rica is the ideal fishing destination.
Both the Pacific
and Caribbean coasts offer some of the best salt water fishing anywhere.
It all depends what you're after.
The tarpon is
one of the world's most incredible fighting fish. As someone once
truly said, landing a 75-pound tarpon is like trying to haul a '49
Buick from the bottom of the ocean.
There is no better
tarpon fishing than in the waters in and around Barra del Colorado,
a small village on Costa Rica's north Caribbean coast near the Nicaraguan
border, and no better person to find them than Eddie
Brown, generally acclaimed as one of the world's greatest tarpon
The only way to
get to Barra del Colorado is by plane from San Jose. The area itself
is incredible: a rich, tropical delta jungle, featuring lush foliage,
an abundance of birds and other wildlife, such as monkeys and small
jungle cats, and of course, the tarpon.
A typical fishing
excursion to Barra would be something like this: you would fly in
on the very early morning flight from San Jose. Eddie Brown will
meet your flight and take you to one of the area's top fishing lodges,
Mar, owned by world-famous angler and sportsman Bill Barnes.
After a solid, tasty breakfast, Eddie will take you offshore to
go after those tarpon. If he can't find them, no one can.
You'll be back
Mar for lunch, and then out again, either back offshore for
more, or if you like, to do some beach casting for the incredibly
tasty snook which inhabit the region, or trolling in the winding
canals of the surrounding delta. The expert angler might try casting
for tarpon with a fly.
Mar's fabulous cooks will prepare your catch to perfection,
or if you come back empty handed, will offer you some of the best
fried chicken or pork chops you've ever tasted. Casa Mar's open
bar (your stay there is all-inclusive) features some of the world's
most prestigious alcoholic beverages, so relax and enjoy the evening.
Spend the next
day or two doing about the same - whatever pleases you most. An
added attraction, if you are in the mood, is a trip up the coast
and across the border to Nicaragua, where you can fish on the San
You would leave
Barra - and one of the most unique and rewarding angling experiences
- on the early morning return flight to San Jose.
If billfish are
what you fancy, Costa Rica's Pacific coast
is where you want to be. There are three main fishing areas: the
North Pacific, which includes the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula
from the Gulf of Papagayo south through Samara and Carillo; the
Central Pacific, which revolves around Quepos and the new slips
in Herradura; and the South Pacific, which includes the Osa Peninsula
and Golfo Dulce.
Tamarindo, along with Garza, Nosara and Carillo further south,
are the key fishing sites in the North Pacific, where many of the
world records for billfish and other salt water species have been
set. Marlin and sails can be caught throughout the year, although
for the former, November to March is exceptional, while May-August
is the peak sail season. Tuna, especially the huge yellowfin tuna,
peak in August-November.
For inshore fishing,
roosterfish are caught year-round, but seem to love the Bay of Papagayo
between May and November. Dorado (dolphin) are most plentiful in
May-August, in 50-60 feet of water. And the tasty wahoo are found
inshore when the rain starts in late May; they stick around in goodly
numbers until October.
Some of the country's
top captains and boats, such as Randy Wilson (Talking Fish, a 38'
Topaz Express; and the 26' Salsa), Danny Arnold (White Magic, a
36' Mirage, the top boat in 1993 for marlin, winner of the Cape
of Sails Tournament for marlin in 1994 & 1996), Mike Aikens
(Cazador, a 37' Merrit), Warren Sellers (Cha-Tah, a 27' North American),
the Wavedancer (44' Sportfisher) and many others, fish out of these
domestic flights of 30-40 minutes link Tamarindo, Samara and Nosara
with San Jose. All the North Pacific fishing centers are easily
reached by taxi from one of these three. For convenience, air charters
are available at any time during the day, as is land transportation
from and to San Jose by comfortable, secure A/C vehicles with courteous,
There are excellent
hotels along the North Pacific
which have years of experience hosting fishing parties, and
will facilitate communication with and transportation to the marinas
and docks in their areas.
in what is called the Central Pacific, is Quepos, along with the
newly built slips north of there in Herradura. Quepos also features
the beautiful Manuel Antonio park.
From Quepos, it's
only 10-20 miles to the blue water where the billfish hang out;
inshore one can get tuna, roosterfish, wahoo, dorado, jack, mackerel,
cubera, a variety of small snapper species and even snook
November is best for Marlin; sails can be found all year, but are
exceptional from November through April, when they begin moving
north, although schools will begin arriving in October. Tuna can
be caught out of the Quepos region year-round, but are most abundant
from the end of May through September.
Quepos and Herradura
are also home during the fishing season to some of Costa Rica's
premier captains and boats. Here, like anywhere else, it's best
to book early to ensure that anglers hook the best in these categories.
Christmas through Easter is the peak sportfishing season throughout
the country, so if you're thinking of fishing during this time,
it is advisable to begin booking months in advance.
Antonio area is renowned for its wonderful hotels. It's just
a short plane hop - 25 minutes from San Jose, and three and a half
hours by car. Herradura is even closer to San Jose. As with the
fishing centers further north, transportation to and from Quepos
is available by domestic commercial flight, air charter or private
land transportation; to Herradura by the latter only.
Not as well known,
but becoming a big favorite with anglers, is the newly developed
ranging from Drake Bay along the shores of the Osa Peninsula through
Puerto Jimenez and Golfito in Golfo Dulce.
The South Pacific
area of Costa Rica is, frankly speaking, gorgeous. Nature lovers
gasp at the diversity of wildlife and vegetation. National Geographic
unabashedly calls it "the most biologically intense place on earth".
Anglers are equally
rewarded. Starting from the north, there is an abundance of wahoo,
big cubera and roosterfish inshore in and around Drake Bay, as well
as tuna, dorado, sails and some marlin that can be caught offshore.
Wilderness Resort offers four-day and longer fishing packages
that include both blue water and inshore angling.
Also in Drake
Bay is the lovely Aguila de Osa
Inn, which offers an extensive fleet of custom designed sportfishing
vessels, ranging from 24' Palm Beach center consoles and a 24' Garret
for inshore fishing, to 31' Palm Beach cold molded sportfishing
boats and a 31' Garret to get anglers offshore. Aguila de Osa also
features a wide range of fishing packages with professional captains
there is Cape Matapalo on the tip of the Osa Peninsula. Offshore
one can bring in sails, primarily December through March, and again
in August-September; marlin, which can be caught throughout the
year, but are most plentiful during the August-December period;
and tuna, plentiful all year around, but for the big ones, the best
time is the August-March. Inshore there are roosters that average
over 30 pounds, grouper, jacks, barracuda, and trophy-size Pacific
cubera snapper all year round.
Moving into Golfo
Dulce, there is excellent snook fishing inside the Zancudo Peninsula,
and farther north, at the mouth of the Esquinas river. Throughout
the gulf there is light tackle fishing in its many small coves and
rocky islets and shoreline, where small barracuda and snapper, along
with corvina (sea bass) and an occasional snook of over 40 pounds
can be found, The town of Golfito has two modern marinas, both offering
fishing charters as well as slip facilities for incoming boats.
Bay Lodge, nestled on 44 acres of beautiful tropical gardens
and virgin forest near Puerto Jimenez, offers a range of excellent
fishing packages which give a choice of both blue water and inshore
fishing, or a combination of both. The resort has more than ten
boats ranging from 17' flat boats, 21' Champion center consoles,
27' Rambo center consoles or 33' Strike boat with tower. Experienced
English-speaking captains are on hand to guide anglers to the top
Practically all the fishing packages to South Pacific
fishing centers include round trip air transportation from San Jose;
boat or overland transportation from local airports to the respective
resorts; lodging and all meals; plus the number of desired days
sportfishing preference, the experienced travel consultants at Costa
Rica's Travel Web are available seven days a week for consultation
and reservations. They will design fishing packages that include
international air from any destination; transportation to the preferred
sportfishing area; charters with the top captains and boats; and
any other tourist activity that fishing clients might desire.
For the best in
Costa Rican sportfishing, visit the Travel Web at http://www.crica.com/ , or
call toll-free at 1-888-246-1431.
this Page to a friend!