San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Blue Water, Lake or Shore Fishing: Guanacaste Has the Base

THE province of Guanacaste offers visiting and local anglers some of the best fishing in the country for both inland and ocean species.

Before its closure (see separate story, S-12) Flamingo Beach Marina on the northern coast was the base for the largest number of charter boats. Now boats are primarily based at nearby Tamarindo, Ocotal, Playas de Coco and Playa Carrillo. A couple of boats also operate out of Nosara and Samara.

For the inland angler, 22-mile-long Lake Arenal, most of which lies in the province of Guanacaste, abounds in tackle-tearing rainbow bass (guapote, in Spanish), with top guides and fast bass boats ready and waiting for fishermen, and there is a full-range of hotel accommodations around the lake in all price ranges.

The newest player in that area will begin hosting lake anglers within the next few weeks aboard the Rain Goddess, Dr. Alfredo Lopez’ luxury houseboat that formerly operated on the San Juan River.

Alfredo has moved the houseboat, with accommodations for up to 12 people, to LakeArenal, where it is being refurbished. I will have more on that in a future Tico Times fishing column.

THE Tempisque, Bebedero and other small rivers that etch the map of Guanacaste can also provide excellent freshwater fishing, depending on the time of year and water levels. One of my first trips after moving here in 1983 was with guide Peter Gorinsky, fishing my 12-foot inflatable on the BebederoRiver, and we loaded up on small snook and corvina.

But it is the blue-water fishing on the Pacific that brings most anglers to this country, and there’s hardly a month that doesn’t provide great fishing someplace along the Guanacaste coast.

BEST fishing generally begins about January at Playa Carrillo, as the fish begin spreading north, continuing through April or May. Some of the charter boats out of Tamarindo and Flamingo often move to Carrillo when the northerly winds slow action in their areas, or run their fishermen south of Cabo Vela, where they’re protected from the winds.

April through early September usually provides the best fishing for anglers out of northern Guanacaste, who can fish the Murcielago and Catalina Islands or move out to the blue water for some of the best action in the world for blue, black and striped marlin; sailfish; dorado; tuna; and wahoo.

Those who prefer fishing from shore can try throwing sinking crank baits, spoons or hair jigs with a plastic trailer or working natural baits from along the beaches, river mouths or the estuary at Tamarindo for corvina, snapper and the occasional snook. I have even caught roosterfish from the beach as they chased in a bait school.


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