Imagine the thrill of cruising the surreal, offshore waters of the Pacific Ocean and feeling that first tug of an enormous sailfish on the line. Now picture yourself struggling with it underneath a clear Costa Rican sky, and finally reeling it to the boat – it was so much bigger than you’d imagined – before snapping a quick photo and releasing it back into the deep. A great adventure for any Costa Rica vacation.
It’s no wonder why sport fishing is in such great demand in the thriving coastal waters off the country’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Expert and amateur anglers alike are sure to enjoy half or full-day tours that usually include bilingual captains and mates, tackle and all the food, beer and soft drinks a fun-loving seafarer could handle.
The Central Pacific is the best place to come searching for warm water billfish, primarily between December and April. In-shore fishing off Jaco and Herradura yields chances to catch feisty species like mackerel, roosterfish, snapper, wahoo and mahi mahi. Offshore, anglers will find better chances for hooking big game like tuna, marlin and Pacific sailfish. Guanacaste’s Gold Coast offers a similar experience, with most tours leaving from towns like Tamarindo and Playa del Coco.
The isolated waters of the Osa Peninsula are also home to first-class fishing territories. Sport fishing tours depart from both Drake Bay and Sierpe, the latter of which features a mangrove populated by sea bass, snapper and snook. The other side of the peninsula is also fruitful, particularly around Golfito, Pavones and Puerto Jimenez. In this region, visitors can expect spectacular turtle, dolphin and whale watching while trolling the depths offshore.
On Costa Rica’s eastern Caribbean coast, towns like Tortuguero, Parismina and Puerto Viejo provide a different – but nonetheless exciting – fishing experience. To add cultural flair to the angling experience, rural areas in this region often focus on using traditional methods for catching fish. Sport fishing in the Caribbean is best from January to June, and prime prizes include tarpon, rainbow bass, grouper and barracuda. Sailfish and marlin are also prevalent throughout most of the year.