When is it best time to fish Costa Rica? Always!
There is always a best time to fish Costa Rica
Costa Rica fishing is seasonal. It is also pretty good 365 days a year. How do these two mesh?
There are ALWAYS Sailfish, Marlin, Dorado, Tuna, Roosterfish, Grouper, Snapper, etc. off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. You can find them, from north through south, all year around. Ditto for Tarpon on the Caribbean side. But there are times of the year when the bite, especially the billfish bite, is spectacularly good in specific areas.
Billfish move south to north. Once the rains have subsided throughout the country at the beginning of November, Marlin and Sailfish first appear offshore in big numbers off the South Pacific coast. Golfito, Puerto Jiménez and Drake Bay are the destinations. Sailfish stay relatively closer to the coast. Marlin congregate further off.
Costa Rica Sailfish charters can see 20-30 a day
Wherever the billfish season is at its peak, boats will see 20, 30 and more Sailfish. Every so often – on one of those days! – anglers might even see the same number of Marlin. You won’t find both species in those numbers at the same moment, however.
In the South, the peak Costa Rica billfish bite lasts for two to three months. After that, some will stay.
However, most will move gradually northwards. So by the beginning/middle of January, the bite begins in earnest off the Central Pacific coast.
The two prime destinations are Pez Vela Marina in Quepos, and the internationally acclaimed Los Sueños Marina just north of Jacó.
Central Pacific billfish bite awesome
The best time for Costa Rica Sailfish that bite off the Central Pacific coast between mid-January and the end of April can be awesome.
By no coincidence, during this time there are two huge international billfish tournaments. The Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown comes first. The Offshore World Championship out of Pez Vela Marina in Quepos follows. Between the two, there are 13 fishing days in all. In these 13 days, anglers released over 8,000 billfish over the two events. About 98% of these were Sailfish.
During late April and May, the major concentration of Sailfish and Marlin moves north. However, many will stay around Los Sueños and Pez Vela. The good captains will find them; you are not going to get skunked!
North Pacific fishing the best time is in summer months
By the end of May, the billfish bite shifts into full gear in the North Pacific: Tamarindo, Flamingo and the Papagayo Marina. Sailfish and Marlin will stay around up there through September and October.
Yellowfin Tuna follow much the same pattern. The peak Costa Rica Tuna fishing bite occurs just a bit later, and they move faster up the coast.
And if you come across a floating log or two, or hit the weed lines well outside the river mouths after it has been raining, there is a good chance of hooking and boating a fair number of Dorado (Mahi-Mahi).
Furthermore, at any time during the year, especially when the Pacific water is crystal clear, you might raise a welcome and extremely swift Wahoo. Wahoo are found either inshore, or even a bit further offshore.
Costa Rica fishing offers superb inshore fishing
Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is also a great place for inshore fishing on light tackle. There is terrific action everywhere year around, especially in the South Pacific. You are almost guaranteed to get Roosterfish, Snapper (more than 10 species), Grouper, Mackerel (an under-appreciated food fish), tasty Conger Eel and Jack. You should not be surprised if you manage to boat a 50lb or more Rooster, or a Cubera Snapper or Grouper of equal size.
On the Caribbean coast, the weather is not quite as stable. It rains more often, and the rains are not as predictable. Of course, there are always Tarpon around in the Tortuguero/Barra del Colorado area. However, when it rains between February and August, it might be difficult to get out of the river mouths for the bite.
Tarpon season starts on Caribbean when summer ends
The best time for Costa Rica Tarpon fishing is between August and the beginning to the middle of January. On a good day, anglers on Costa Rica sportfishing charters will see dozens of these amazing prehistoric gamefish. They will congregate between 300m (330 yards) and a kilometer (1,100 yards) off the coast. Most Tarpon range between 70 and 100lbs, but some can reach 150lbs.
During the last three months of the year, the Snook run on the Caribbean side. There is also a smaller and delectable Snook species called Calba.
For those who enjoy freshwater fishing, there are Guapote (Rainbow Bass), Machaca and Mojarra. These are smaller but very feisty species in the 3-8lb range. They inhabit the exotic inshore Caribbean lagoons and canals.
Rio Indio Lodge, just across the San Juan River in Nicaragua, is a prime destination for Caribbean freshwater species. The Lodge’s Rama sportfishing guides are intrepid freshwater anglers, and no slouches either when it comes to Snook.
Enjoy Costa Rica fishing at any time of year; no best time
The moral of the story: fish Costa Rica at any time of year. You will see lots of action. Costa Rica has some of the world’s top saltwater charter captains. But if you want to be sure of a certain species, come during the peak season.
Here is some of the latest Costa Rica fishing news. Costa Rican sport fishing boasted two IGFA Grand Slams over the past week. In Flamingo, Captain Junior Bustos, on the 31ft Gamefisher II, released a 400lb Black Marlin, a 350lb Blue Marlin, and six Sailfish. And out of Los Sueños Marina, Captain Carlos Espinoza on the 42ft Sea Fly, released an amazing 20 Blue Marlin, this Striped Marlin (below), and a Sailfish.
Marlin fishing highlights Pacific coast action
Black Marlin are hanging out off the Central Pacific Coast. Captain Dana Thomas, 36ft Hoo’s Your Daddy, released a Black and two Sailfish. He also boated a half dozen Yellowfin Tuna. Captain MJ Alligood, 34ft Epic, tagged and released a small Black Marlin live baiting the reef. He then ran offshore, and caught a Yellowfin Tuna and a Dorado. Both boats are Los Sueños fishing boats.
Finally, we move to the North Pacific coast. The noted Flamingo fishing captain, Skeet Warren, 42ft Bushwacker, released a Blue Marlin and three Sailfish. A couple of days later, Skeet, went 1-2 on Blue Marlin, and caught a couple of Yellowfin Tuna.
Don’t wait, contact us now for Costa Rica fishing adventures
Don’t wait for spring. Fish now! Call FishCostaRica today: 1-800-407-9438 toll-free from the US and Canada. From anywhere else, call +506 2282-7215. In Costa Rica, the number is 2282-7215. You can also email us, or fill out our contact form. FishCostaRica will hook you up with the top Costa Rican sportfishing captains this autumn, or any time of year. Enjoy a Costa Rica sport fishing adventure of a lifetime. Tight lines.