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Costa Rica’s fish frenzy waters have marlin, sailfish, tuna, tarpon, snook, wahoo and more than a dozen spool-spinning freshwater species. On the Pacific, it is not uncommon to catch and release 20 sailfish and even a marlin or two – in just one day. Boat operators now use the circle hook so they can release all billfish (at least those that are not contenders for a world record). Costa Rica holds over 250 world records! Even fly-fishing has set a record number of fish. Here are some of the fish and their seasons. Text and Flash provided by Costa Rica Sportsfishing

Click the Fish to learn more about it


Costa Rica Fishing The Caribbean Coast: Tortuguero, Barra del Colorado
Fishing along Costa Rica's Caribbean coast can vary from one day to another depending on the weather. When it rains, as it often does, fishing is difficult out in the ocean. If the rivers fall somewhat or the surf is low enough to let you outside the river mouths, you'll probably catch tarpon, some in the 150-pound range. Tarpon fishing out of the lodges in Tortuguero and Barra Colorado further north on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast is best from about May through October, while snook traditionally peak from October through December.

There are a lot of flat days in October and November when tarpon are abundant, and some of the best fishing has even been in June and July. But both species can be caught year round, providing the weather cooperates. Other species caught are guapote, goliath grouper, small tuna and for the lucky angler, the rare Atlantic sail. There are no roads into the area, and one can get there only by commercial airline and charter flights.

The prize gamefish of this area are always around, the best time being from May through October/November 300-500 yards offshore when the sea is flat, although you can also get them in the river mouths and the canals..

Record snook generally peak from March through May and again from September through the end of November.

Calba (Flat Snook)
These small and exceptionally tasty snook come from mid-November through late January, but can sometimes appear much earlier.

When you can get outside to blue water you can find the occasional Atlantic sailfish and equally occasional Atlantic blue marlin throughout the year. Best time is from February through September.

Best from early February through mid June.

Found just outside the river mouths throughout the year, most are caught when the runoff carries out the debris to form inshore trash lines.

January through June..

Other Species
Spanish and Cero Mackerel, Jack Crevalle and Barracuda are found close to shore any time the ocean is flat.

The North Pacific: Tamarindo, Flamingo, Guanamar/Carrillo
Tamarindo and Flamingo are the major sportfishing centers in the North Pacific. Boats with lesser-known captains also charter out of nearby Coco Beach, Ocotal, Potrero, Brasilito and elsewhere. The area further south – Nosara, Garza, Guanamar and Carillo – get more protection from the winds that normally blow late December though March and April. Many boats from Flamingo will fish out of Guanamar/Carrillo from mid-December to the end of March/mid April. For anglers fishing out of the Four Seasons Papagayo and other Papagayo hotels, there are excellent boats and captains who will come north from Flamingo.

Caught every month of the year, with mid-November to early March exceptional, then slowing a bit from April into early June when the fishing picks up again, peaking in August and September.

Caught throughout the year, with May through August normally the top season. They may begin to thin out in September; the slowest months are from late August through November.

They are around all year, but more are caught in the Bay of Papagayo area from November through March. Roosters like the structure of the shoreline and islands where they're found in 50 to 60 feet of water.

More properly known as dolphin, these colorful gamefish are most abundant from late May through October when the seasonal rains flood the rivers, carrying out debris that forms weed lines close to shore where they like to lie. Troll past a floating log and you'll likely hook a dorado.

Peak months are probably August through October, but there are always tuna throughout the year. Yellowfin and some big-eye tuna are often found well inside the Catalina Islands, 30 minutes or less running time from the beach, while schools of 12 to 20lbs are usually abundant farther out. There are often schools of 40 to 60 pound tuna, and there are plenty of the 200 to 400lbs caught every year.

They first appear when the rains start in mid-May, peaking in July and August. Most are caught around the rocky points and islands, but you will pick one up occasionally fishing offshore.

Fishing Costa Rica's Central Pacific: Los Sueños Marina and Quepos
Los Sueños Marina (just north of the resort town of Jacó), the finest marina on the Pacific coast south of Acapulco, and Quepos are the two fishing centers on the Central Pacific coast. Most anglers target billfish, and they are seldom disappointed. From December through March/April this area hosts one of the world’s great sail bites, although sails and marlin will linger throughout the year.

From both fishing centers, it’s no more than a 12 to 20 mile run out to blue water where most of the billfish action is found. Closer inshore there are tuna, roosters, wahoo, dorado, jack, mackerel, small cubera snapper and even snook that can be taken trolling just outside the breaker line of the river mouths. Some boats out of Quepos will go down on multi-day trips to the Drake Bay and Caño Island area, overnighting at one of the several lodges at Drake Bay. This southern region is best known for its wahoo, big cubera snapper and roosterfish, but there are also tuna, dorado, sails and marlin further offshore.

October is normally the top month for marlin in this area, but action is also good in September, October and November, and occasional blues and even blacks can be found any time of the year, although they are usually out farther than anglers targeting sailfish are likely to be.

Mid-December to the end of April - when they begin moving north - is rated the best season, but big schools can move in about October and occasionally stay longer. A few sails are always in the area from June through September, mixed with the other species that are found closer inshore during these months

More properly known as dolphin, these colorful gamefish are caught year around, but they are most abundant from May through October when the seasonal rains flood the rivers, carrying out debris that forms weed lines close to shore where they like to lie. Troll past a floating log and you'll likely hook a dorado. about October and occasionally stay longer. A few sails are always in the area from June through September, mixed with the other species that are found closer inshore during these months.

Found throughout the year all along the Pacific coast, they are most abundant from June through September. Some are in the 10-pound range, but tuna in the 10-30lb range are more common, those in the 100 to 200lb range less so, and many of 200lbs and over are also caught.

Not common in the area around Los Sueños and Quepos, but some are caught in the late summer farther south, especially the Drake Bay area from June to early August.

The South Pacific Golfito, Puerto Jiménez, Drake Bay
Golfito (on the east side of Golfo Dulce), the largest town in Costa Rica's southern area, along with Puerto Jiménez on the other side of Golfo Dulce, and Drake Bay at the top of the Osa Peninsula on the Pacific Coast are the main fishing centers of this region. There are sails and marlin offshore during peak season, and plenty of exciting roosters, mackerel, amberjack, wahoo and big snapper closer inshore.

Inside Golfo Dulce, with its profusion of small coves and rocky islets, small barracuda and snapper, mackerel, sea bass and the occasional snook can be caught on light tackle. Off Cabo Matapalo in the Pacific, anglers will encounter sails, marlin, tuna and other blue water species, and inshore there are roosters that average over 30 pounds, wahoo, grouper, jack, barracuda and trophy-size Pacific cubera snapper.

There is also excellent snook fishing inside the Zancudo peninsula, and farther north, at the mouth of the Esquinas river.

August through December is the peak season, but striped, blue or black are caught most any month when the water is warm.

All year, but best from mid or late May through July and in January and February before they move north.

The region is very famous for its big roosters which can be caught virtually any month of the year.

Best time is traditionally from late May through October along the weed lines, when the rivers are running full

Best fishing for yellowfin of over 100 pounds is during the marlin and sailfish season, but tuna of up to 30 pounds can be found year-round.

Wahoo can be caught most any time of the year when you are trolling offshore for billfish or around the reefs off Cabo Matapalo.


Big snook generally peak from March through May and again September through the end of November.

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