Machaca are one of the most aggressive, exciting and hardest fighting freshwater species that anglers who fish Costa Rica will encounter. Marchaca are often called Mini-Tarpon by local Costa Rica fishing guides because of their similar aerial acrobatics. Once hooked, this small, feisty gamefish will make spectacular leaps out of the water in an attempt to throw the hook.
Machaca are related to the Piranha
Machaca, although mainly vegetarian, is in fact related to the Piranha. Their bodies are brilliant silver with large scales, and their heads are almost golden. The bigger ones are almost football-shaped, and have ferocious, almost human-like teeth.
Anglers on Costa Rican sport fishing trips can catch freshwater Machaca all year round. Although they can be encountered in any larger river, the best areas for Machaca fishing are Lake Arenal fishing, and Caribbean fishing in the rivers, deltas and lagoons of the coast near the Nicaraguan border.
World record Machaca caught in Costa Rica
Despite their impressive teeth, Machaca are primarily vegetarian, although they will eat the occasional bug. Their strong set of teeth are made for eating berries and cracking seed pods, not gripping or tearing flesh. Most Machaca caught by anglers who fish Costa Rica will weigh between two and six pounds. The world record Machaca weighing nine pounds eight ounces was caught on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.
Machaca lurk near the surface for leaves, fruit, and seeds that fall into the water. Even if the water is murky, shallow or deeper than normal, anglers on Costa Rica sport fishing adventures will find that the aggressive and splash-happy Machaca will still hit a lure, surface popper or fly if it makes a big enough splat.
Machaca are fragile, should be released quickly
Machaca are a blast to fish for with surface poppers as well as on the fly. An 8wt rod with a 9-10ft leader is recommended.
Machaca fight well for their size. However, they are fragile, and will not survive for long when handled out of the water. As they are not considered a tasty food fish, Machaca fishing in Costa Rica is completely catch-and-release; once boated, Machaca should be unhooked carefully and thrown back into the water as quickly as possible.
Conventional tackle or on the fly
Unlike Guapote, Machaca will not try to bury you in the snags and reeds, but will leap trying to throw the hook. Anglers Machaca fishing in Costa Rica should use light tackle, or catch them on the fly.
Anglers on Costa Rica fishing trips who prefer conventional tackle should target the surface or just below the surface. Small poppers work. Machaca are also curious creatures, so might strike a small lure, such as a gold or silver spinner or spoon.
As they also eat insects, Machaca can be caught on the fly; anglers Machaca fishing in Costa Rica can use a variety of flies, especially Dragonfly imitations.
Costa Rica Charters for Machaca
- Rio Indio Lodge for Nicaragua fishing
- Areas Fished: Nicaragua
- Target Species: Jack, Shark, Tarpon, Snook, Guapote (Rainbow Bass), Machaca, Mojarra, Needlefish (Gar)
- 18ft Boston Whaler for Lake Arenal fishing
- Areas Fished: Lake Arenal
- Target Species: Guapote (Rainbow Bass), Machaca, Mojarra
- 22ft Bull Shark for Caribbean fishing
- Areas Fished: Tortuguero, Barra del Colorado, Nicaragua
- Target Species: Snapper, Jack, Shark, Tarpon, Snook, Guapote (Rainbow Bass), Machaca, Mojarra, Needlefish (Gar)