San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Action Good Everywhere but Central Pacific

THE only thing consistent about fishing is its inconsistency.


This is more evident than ever with reports of some great action on the northern and southern Pacific coasts over the holidays, while the central coastal region out of Quepos – where fishing is normally at its peak this time of year – is having the worst fishing in memory.


Some examples: Fishing out of the Sanctuary Resort just south of Tamarindo in northern Guanacaste, White Magic skipper Forrest Zielke reported on New Year’s Eve that the boat raised eight marlin, four sailfish and some dorado, with angler Steve Hindman personally accounting for two sailfish and two marlin releases.


Zielke said they were fishing 28 miles offshore, where they found pockets of good water and schools of flying fish. At one GPS location they raised three marlin and two sails, with water color and bait the key.


A bit south of there, Kitty Cat skipper Rob Gordon reported that following a long and exceptionally hard rainy season, the fishing turned on big time, with clear water at the end of December and water temperature up to 82 degrees and rising out of Playa Carrillo.


“Marlin are here, with all boats fishing out of Carrillo raising three to 10 a day, and a lot of dorado, some to 50 pounds,” he said, adding that anglers are also getting a lot of small tuna inshore, with a few up to 70 pounds, some nice dorado and a few wahoo.


On the southern coast, Roy Ventura reported the action on big tuna has been incredible. One angler fought one for four and a half hours that broke off near the boat and was estimated at more than 300 pounds. They also scored a 124- and a 75-pounder that were brought in for sushi.


Plenty of dorado being caught close in, but those who want to go for sails have a long run. One boat released seven sailfish, and lots of roosterfish are being caught inshore.


In that same region off Golfito, Captain Mark Corn of Osa Sportfishing at Puerto Jiménez said that on Dec. 30 his anglers went three releases for five strikes on sails, two dorado to 45 pounds and a 224-pound yellowfin tuna.


THE central coast – where Costa Rican fishing normally shifts into high gear this time of year – is another story. Bill Gannon, who has been operating the 33-foot Unique out of Quepos for the past 17 years, said it is the worst fishing he has ever seen in the region during December, a month when sails are most often jumping into the boat and there are plenty of marlin and an abundance of dorado and tuna.


“We are not seeing any bait, and very few boats are even going out,” Gannon said, adding that the Ojaran II caught and released a small blue marlin last week, but even tuna and dorado have been scarce.


Gannon fished the legendary Tim Choate for four days last week, and they went zip in four days on the water. Old timers may recall that Choate operated a couple of boats here many years ago, and even financed a boat and skipper to fish offshore on the Caribbean coast for many months, trying to find a blue-water fishery there without success.


Choate more recently put in a few seasons in Guatemala, but according to Gannon he has now headed to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands to do some more exploring.


THE last report we had from the Caribbean coast was at Christmas, with good tarpon action as they began moving upriver and calba in the backwaters and lagoons.


For more info on fishing or assistance in planning a trip to Costa Rica, contact Jerry at or visit, operators and anglers are invited to contact Jerry with fishing reports by Sunday of each week. Call or fax 282-6743 within Costa Rica or write to the e-mail address above.


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