Fish Species and Calendar
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Either blue and black species can easily approach 600 pounds and because of the power, size and persistence each fish is one of the most highly prized by all anglers. Marlin can be found from the southern part of Costa Rica in the Golfito area all the way up to the North Pacific Coast.
Top Marlin spots in Costa Rica include Golfito and Drake’s Bay in the South, Los Suenos in the Central Pacific. It is generally agreed that Marlin Fishing is the best in the southern and Central areas during December to April. Black marlin tend to show up most during April and May. The smaller striped marlin is caught year-round.
The sailfish has engraved Costa Rica on every international angler’s wish list. The tournaments are usually during June and July but there is not really a particular season regarding sails. The beautiful fish, spending more time in the air than in the water during the fight is not as powerful as the marlin, but always spectacular. Double and triple hookups are not uncommon.
Los Sueños is considered to the be the center of the action, from December to March, with February being the key month with the highest concentration of sailfish and the possibility of 20 or 30 hookups a day. Year round availability of Sailfish makes it a world leader for anglers.
Known as well as dolphin fish or mahi mahi, the dorado is one of the most exciting fish to catch on light tackle. This extremely colorful fish is an extremely fast swimmer. It’s been estimated that they can reach speeds of 50 mph in short bursts.
They are more abundant from late May through November when the seasonal rains flood the rivers, carrying out debris that forms trash lines close inshore that like to lie under. Schools of dorado can become a nuisance for anglers looking for the larger billfish lurking below the school. The dorado is a delicious food fish.
Yellow Fin Tuna
Yellow fin are usually around the size of a football but can reach up to 300 pounds and begin one of an anglers most spectacular fights. A tuna must constantly swim and is one giant muscle. Yellow fin are common from January until June and July but look for the larger fish off of Central Pacific during spring and early summer.
The dorsal fin with its fanlike array gives the fish its name. It’s an inshore species, often found in the surf, over sandy bottoms and always in moderate depths. The all-tackle world record is 114 pounds caught off of Baja, Mexico but many international anglers speculate that the conditions are right for the next record to come from Costa Rica. An aggressive predator, the roosterfish is always exciting when hooked.
They are available all year, but there are more caught in the Papagayo Bay area from November through March. That may be because more boats in the northernmost area of this region are fishing inshore during those windy months, and the roosters like the structure of the shoreline and islands where they’re found in 50 to 60 feet of water.
There are many species of snapper. Each fish is a shallow water fish preferring a rocky bottom structure that provides bait fish and protection. The cubera is the largest of the snappers, often going beyond 100 pounds. The dog snapper is the largest of the Pacific snappers with the world record of 78 pounds held by a resort in Costa Rica. Each species will be a tough fighter, particularly on light tackle and although all snapper are delicious eating the flesh of the larger fish can become course.
The wahoo is a loner and when traveling with other wahoo it’s usually only a school of five or six. The fish can be found anywhere in the ocean but does seem to concentrate during the summer off of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. The first showing begins about the time the rains start in May, peaking in July and August. Most are caught around the rocky points and islands, but you will pick one up occasionally fishing offshore. It is considered one of salt water’s finest delicacies. Experts speculate that the wahoo is the fastest fish in the ocean and it’s no wonder that the first scorching run can burn out the drag on some reels.