Two Costa Rica billfish seasons: ‘peak’ and ‘pretty darned good’

There are two billfish seasons off Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast. One is the ‘peak season’. The other is the ‘pretty darned good’ season.

The ‘peak season’ starts in January, and tails off somewhat by the end of April.  In peak months, boats going out of Los Suenos Marina will often see between 25 and 40 Sailfish a day. Costa Rican sportfishing captains might raise between 15 and 30. And anglers might also release 10-20 or more on a day offshore.

Anglers who fish Costa Rica out of Pez Vela Marina in Quepos can also expect the same.

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Costa Rica is the world’s top billfishery

Los Suenos fishing charter

The 36ft Good Day Too with Captain Esteban Marcos

Those enjoying an offshore Costa Rica fishing charter can expect to see one Marlin for every 10-12 Sailfish. On some days, however, they might encounter even more Marlin off the Central Pacific coast.

This is one of the many reasons why Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast has been dubbed the world’s top billfishery.

All the rest of the year, it is the ‘pretty darned good season’. Costa Rica sportfishing charter boats will often see between 4-8 Sailfish, raise 3-5, and release 2-3. They will see Marlin as well.

Captain Esteban Marcos on the 36ft Good Day Too out of Los Suenos Marina just had one of those days. He released a Sailfish, and caught a 50lb Yellowfin and some small Dorado (Mahi-Mahi) for dinner. The day before, Esteban had released two Sailfish, and caught two Yellowfin Tuna.

Nobody gets skunked on Costa Rica billfishing charters

sailfish central pacific billfishery

Sailfish make the Central Pacific the world’s top billfishery

A couple of days earlier, the Ed Wielehowski group booked by FishCosta Rica, fished with Esteban They released a 200lb Blue Marlin and a Sailfish, and caught a bunch of Yellowfin Tuna for dinner.

The rains have slowed things down a bit. Captain Brent Moyer, 58ft Chaser out of Herradura Bay, went 2-2 on Sailfish (one seen here, right), and caught an 80lb Yellowfin Tuna. A couple of days earlier, Brent had released four Sailfish, and had caught four Dorado and a Yellowfin Tuna. And despite the rain, Captain Dana Thomas, 36ft Hoo’s Your Daddy, went 1-1 on Blue Marlin, and also got some nice Yellowfin Tuna.

Of course, we are talking about fishing. One day can be a bit better, one not as good. But all things being equal, anglers coming on a Costa Rica sportfishing vacation can expect numbers like the above. There is always action. Most important, nobody is getting skunked!

South Pacific coast billfishing ‘pretty darned good’

‘Peak’ and ‘pretty darned good’ also apply to Costa Rica’s South Pacific coast. The peak billfish season there starts a bit earlier, in November. It continues through March.

south pacific blue marlin

Blue Marlin released by Captain Geovanny Leal

The Brittany Blacksmith group fished several days ago with our featured Captain Bobby McGuinness out of Golfito. Bobby picked them up across the Golfo Dulce in Puerto Jiménez. They fished offshore in the morning, and released five Sailfish.

In addition, they fished inshore that afternoon. It was equally rewarding. The group caught six Grouper and a Snapper. In the Costa Rican sport fishing annals, this was definitely a ‘pretty darned good’ day.

Captain Geovanny Leal, who fishes with Crocodile Bay Lodge on the Osa Peninsula, just released this nice Blue Marlin. The South Pacific is a prime Costa Rica billfish destination. Golfito and Puerto Jimenez have great reputations.

north pacific blue marlin

Anglers on the Bushwacker wanted only Marlin. This was one of them.

Ditto for the North Pacific coast. There, the peak Costa Rica billfish season begins in May. It tails off somewhat in August, although there is often a billfish spike in October. Captain Skeet Warren, 42ft Bushwacker out of Flamingo, recently went 1-3 on Blue Marlin. The anglers also raised two Sailfish, but didn’t want them! This group comes to fish Costa Rica for Marlin, nothing else.

On an earlier Costa Rica fishing charter, Skeet had released a Blue Marlin and three Sailfish.

Extended-day Marlin fishing charters

For a combination of offshore and inshore action, the South Pacific coast is second to none. Anglers fishing nearshore on Costa Rica sportfishing trips can encounter as many as 12 Snapper family species. In addition, there are also Grouper, Roosterfish, Shark and Barracuda nearshore.

One of the world’s most ‘decorated’ anglers, Captain Bobby McGuinness, fishes out of Golfito in the South Pacific. Bobby can be chartered out of Puerto Jiménez as well. Bobby has twice been named world’s top captain, in 2006 and 2010, by the International Game Fish Association. He holds more IGFA world records than any other captain fishing in Costa Rica.

Bobby McGuinness offers full-day Costa Rica fishing charters, and also extended days with a very early morning departure. In addition, he also offers two- and three-day overnighters. The best time for overnighters is between now and November when the Marlin bite moves well off the coast.

From Pacific billfishery to Caribbean Tarpon fishing

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If there are Tarpon around, Eddie Brown (r) will get them

For anglers eager to do battle with one of the world’s top gamefish, the mighty Tarpon, now is the time. Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, its northern area near the Nicaraguan border, is one of the world’s top Tarpon destinations. Pound for pound the Tarpon, or Silver King, is the world’s toughest gamefish.

The Costa Rican Tarpon fishing season begins in September. It lasts until mid-January. In addition, runs of Snook and Calba, a smaller and simply delicious Snook species, make this period more attractive.

Captain Eddie Brown, considered Costa Rica’s top Tarpon fisherman/guide, is waiting to take you after these prehistoric gamefish. Eddies fishes out of Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado. People call him the Tarpon King.

Bringing an 80lb Tarpon to the boat is like hauling a 1949 Buick off the bottom of the ocean. Anglers on Costa Rica fishing trips will never forget the excitement and adventure of boating a Tarpon. They got this big Tarpon with Eddie last week.

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Furthermore, anglers who target Tarpon also can fish out of Rio Indio Lodge just over the border with Nicaragua. Rio Indio Lodge is magical. Local Rama indigenous fishing guides will take anglers trolling in the lagoons and canals. In addition to its Tarpon, that area is famous for its freshwater Guapote, Machaca and Mojarra gamefish.

Sailfish, Marlin, Tarpon… Costa Rica boasts an incredible range of prized gamefish. Anglers who come for Costa Rica fishing trips can catch them 365 days a year.

So take note. It is time to plan your next Costa Rica fishing trip. Don’t wait. No matter what or where you decide to fish, move quickly! Fish Costa Rica, and enjoy some of the world’s best sportfishing. Fish Costa Rica – the most respected name in Costa Rica fishing for over a quarter century.

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