Need to know basics about Costa Rica’s Central Pacific sport fishing species, and the best time to get your catch.A special note about bill fishing:
You will not be allowed to bring your billfish catch onto the boat for photos. Your crew will help hold the fish by his bill alongside the boat so that you can grab a photo there.
The reason for this restriction is that the Costa Rican government has issued a law that comes with some heavy fines and even loss of chartering licensure for the captain if caught bringing a billfish onto the boat. If you don’t think anyone is watching, think again: they use social media and other means to keep an eye out for offenders.
This is not a frivolous law, but rather intended to preserve the species, as removing billfish from the water scrapes off their external protection layer of slime and they could die from a bacterial infection without it. In addition to that, their bodies are not designed to protect them from internal injuries that could be sustained by being hauled up onto the hard surfaces of a boat.
In Costa Rica, billfish are for catch and release only, and your crew knows how to handle the special “circle hooks” which are intended to only hook the fish in the mouth. It takes some skill to use them, so your mates will handle this part for you.
September through November is typically the most optimal time for catching marlin. Nevertheless, black, blue and striped marlin are usually around, and the boats that target them almost always get rewarded. You might have to venture a little further out, and work a little more for it, but your captain and crew have a lot of experience and will guide you through to a great catch.
There’s never a shortage of Yellow Fin tuna on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Year-round, you’re bound to catch these guys weighing in at 100 pounds or more; big game tuna is the norm, but if you want to really see some huge results look for 200-pounders during the months of June through September.
The Sailfish bite is always above average in Costa Rica, and pretty much every fish is over 100 pounds. When the sport is at its best, boats can easily raise dozens of fish a day. When the fishing is not so great, crews will be happy with a decent catch. December through April are typically the most rewarding months, but truly, there is never a bad time of year to go for Sailfish.
June through October is green season and brings with it the most optimal time to fish for those 5 to 15- pound dorado that gather on the weed and trash-lines closer in-shore. During “dry season” or high season, as it were, the bigger dorado are usually found further offshore in deeper waters along with marlin, and it isn’t uncommon to catch dorado up to 70- pounds.
Wahoo can be a cool surprise anytime of the year. Not typically targeted, wahoo is usually a nice bonus catch while trolling for tuna or marlin. Many wahoo never make it to the boat, due to their sharp teeth; such disappointments can be avoided by using wire leaders.
June through October is typically the most optimal time of year for Rooster Fish, but really the bite is good year-round. Ranging from 20 to 80 pounds, this is always a fun fish to catch.