Fishing Outlook for January and February PDF Print E-mail
Fishing in Costa Rica is pretty sensational most any time of the year, but you can not hardly beat the action during January and February. From the southern coastal region of the Pacific out of Golfito to Quepos and Los Suenos Marina on the Central coast, we had three grand slams that I know of during this time period last year, and likely others that went unreported. A grand slam is scoring two of our three species of marlin (blue, black and striped) and at the least one sailfish the same day.

Fishing Costa RicaFishermen in Costa Rica had as many as five marlin releases a day on a single boat, and eight to 10 sailfish releases were not uncommon. And that along with plenty of tuna and dorado, some of the tuna going to over 300 pounds. The fish appear to move up the coast, with better action traditionally out of Golfito beginning early in January, peaking off the central coast in February and March, but often sticking around much longer. There are several all inclusive lodges in the Golfito region.

February, March and April are peak months for billfish, tuna and dorado a bit further north out of Playa Carrillo, and they continue moving north with the Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo region getting heavy action during the summer months and often into September. Four International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Pacific blue marlin world records have been caught in Costa Rica waters.

Tarpon are around throughout the year on the Caribbean coast, with January and February traditionally a top season, giving visiting anglers the rare opportunity to fish billfish and the Silver Rockets on the same trip. As this is written ( in late December) tarpon action is wide open with reports of as many as six to eight releases per angler per day, and these hard- hitting, high- flying aerial acrobats are likely to be around in good numbers well into February or later. They average well over 100 pounds, with frequent catches in the 200 pound range.

Fishermen more often count the number of tarpon jumped rather than those released, as you are lucky to get one out of four hooked fish to the boat for release. They take to the sky immediately when you set the hook, often coming out of the water twice their body length and making a 360 degree turn in the air. You learn quickly to bow to the king, which means dropping your rod tip when he comes out of the water to give him slack. Forget what you have been taught about keeping a tight line, as he will throw the hook or snap your string every time if you do.

Fishing Costa RicaTarpon, like sailfish and marlin on the Pacific, are protected in Costa Rica and must be released alive. The most consistent tarpon fishing is at the mouth of the Río Colorado as it flows into the ocean at Barra del Colorado and the mouth of the Río Parismina north of there, or just outside the river mouths when the sea is flat. Tarpon are also caught frequently further up the Río Colorado, as they migrate from the sea through the Río Colorado to the San Juan, continuing up to lake Nicaragua, where they are believed to spawn.

Snook are the other resident species on the Caribbean with peak action in November, the moth anglers have posted four IGFA world records, including the all- tackle record for common snook (Centropomus undecimalis). Calba, a smaller species of snook, normally appear in the area this time of year. They average around three pounds and are dynamic on light tackle, and mighty fine on the dinner table.

There are three tarpon and snook lodges at Barra del Colorado, one at Parismina and another further east on the Nicaragua side of the Río San Juan, which forms the border between the two countries. Lodges offer all- inclusive packages with lodging, meals, fishing and air transportation to and from San José. Although you can arrange fishing out of Tortuguero, north of Barra del Colorado, fishing in that region is not as good and you are likely to have a long boat ride looking for the fish.
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