What to bring on your Costa Rica fishing charter
Costa Rica’s peak billfish season is in full swing. Over a five-month period, thousands of anglers will be traveling here for Costa Rica fishing adventures. Many first-time anglers who have arranged Costa Rican sportfishing packages or individual charters through FishCostaRica ask: What should we specifically bring on our charter? They also ask: Do we need anything special?
All the Costa Rica sportfishing charter boats we recommend and book for our clients are fully rigged for conventional fishing. Some might specialize in inshore fishing, some offshore. Each boat might be rigged more in that one direction. In addition, some may focus on heavy tackle, some on light. Their/our rates for a full day or half day fishing charter in Costa Rica include all the equipment: rods, reels and lures. However, some – very few – might charge a bit extra for live bait, although this is very rare.
If you bring rods or reels, take them carry-on
But if you feel you absolutely can’t get along without one or several of your favorite rods, reels or lures, bring them with you on your Costa Rica fishing trip. But let us provide a word to the wise. If you possibly can, bring your gear as carry-on luggage on your flights. Sportfishing gear checked as regular baggage has the amazing tendency to sprout legs and walk away in the short space of only several hours.
So you need not bring any sportfishing gear on your Costa Rica sportfishing charter. There is one exception, however. Those of you who intend to do some fly fishing in Costa Rica should bring all the equipment. You should bring rods, reels, and of course, flies. Very few boats provide tackle for fly fishing. So you are best playing it safe, and bring your own.
Fly fishing Costa Rica? Carry your gear
However, there are many experienced captains whom we can recommend for fly fishing in Costa Rica. Furthermore, if you book through FishCostaRica, we will put you in direct contact with the captain well before you fly fish Costa Rica. He can recommend the reels, weights and type of flies for the season and species you are targeting.
The boats you charter for Costa Rican sportfishing adventures provide refreshments (beer, bottled water, and soft drinks) on a full day charter. They don’t carry spirits like scotch, rum or vodka. You Costa Rica fishing captain will also provide a light, simple box lunch, and perhaps some fruit or other snacks. Furthermore, on half days, the boat will have beer, soft drinks and bottled water. They might also offer some fruit or other snacks.
Costa Rica fishing charter essentials
So, what do you absolutely need to bring for your Costa Rican sport fishing charter? First, bring a hat that provides ample shade. That’s a no-brainer. Second, also bring a pair of good, rubber-soled shoes, deck shoes or deck loafers if possible. You don’t want to get a sprained ankle or a nasty fall while fishing in Costa Rica because your footwear won’t keep you stable on the boat.
Third, carry along a sun break. This is a no-brainer when you fish Costa Rica on sunny days. But although it might be overcast, and no direct sun above you, the glare off the water is insidious. Even if you might not feel the burn right away, by the time you leave the boat your face, arms and legs, if you are wearing shorts, will be beet red. You will also experience a lot of pain if you don’t use a sun break when you fish Costa Rica. Bringing along sunglasses is also a good idea.
Catch food fish and enjoy fresh Sashimi
That, basically is about it as far as what to bring on the boat. Most Costa Rica fishing captains will have some wasabi and soya sauce for when you catch something edible. The mate will filet and cut your Yellowfin Tuna into delectable Sashimi tid-bits. In addition, don’t overlook or release Mackerel that you might catch inshore. This under-appreciated Costa Rica fishing species also makes for tasty Sashimi. Mackerel is equally delicious fresh and lightly fried.
You don’t have to bring anything else on your Costa Rica sportfishing charter. However, you should definitely tip the captain and crew. FishCostaRica recommends 10-15% of the day rate a tip, if deserved! So make sure you have sufficient cash with you when you arrive for your Costa Rica fishing trip.
Costa Rica fishing licenses
You might also find info about fishing licenses useful. In principle, every angler who fishes Costa Rica must have a valid Costa Rica fishing license. Fishing licenses cost $50.00 per person, every person fishing, and are valid for one year. However, you can buy one for $30,00 pp, valid for a month. In addition, a license valid for eight days cost $15.00 pp. Most anglers who fish Costa Rica will choose the latter, as most don’t stay here for over a week.
We know we shouldn’t say this, but fishing licenses are a moot point. Unlike many other sellers/providers, we don’t charge for Costa Rica fishing licenses in advance. You arrive at the marina. If the fish cop doesn’t turn up – he slept in; had to take his wife to the clinic; drank too much the night before; has to fix his bicycle; his grandmother died (it’s amazing; most people here have at least 47 grandmothers and about the same number of aged maiden aunts, virtually all of whom are kind and accommodating enough to give up the ghost whenever necessity arises), etc., etc. – which happens a lot of the time, there’s no need for a license, especially if you’ve booked only a one-day charter.
Of course, you can buy your Costa Rica fishing license online before your trip. But as the online form is in Spanish, you might find it hard to negotiate. So, have some cash on hand when you get to the dock. If the fish cop appears, first try to avoid him. Don’t make eye contact. If you can’t do that, you will have to fork over, no penalty. Also, if there are women coming, tell him they are only there for the ride. Furthermore, if he’s not there at all … all to the good!