San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fishermen Readers Write In; Pacific Going Strong

An e-mail from Tico Times reader Bob Stark, a frequent visitor to Costa Rica and an avid snook fisherman from Miami Beach, Florida, asks about snook fishing on the Caribbean in September and October and also farther south, to Puerto Viejo.

Those are peak months for snook on the northern Caribbean coast. The National Fishing Club has an annual surf-fishing snook tournament based at Parismina at that time of year, which visiting anglers are welcome to join.

The International Game Fish Association lists five Atlantic snook world records, including the all-tackle record 53-pounder, taken in that area with four caught at Parismina and one at Barra Colorado. Four were taken in October and one in May. You can get more information on the tournament at Keko’s tackle store (232-4142) or Gilca tackle store (222-1470), both in San José.

I first fished the northern Caribbean soon after moving to Costa Rica 20 years ago. A bum leg makes surf fishing pretty difficult now that I’ve entered my vintage years, but I’m told they do get snook surf fishing at the various river mouths. Perhaps my most memorable fishing moment ever came when I was camped at the mouth of the Estrella River, throwing a jig beyond the surf line with the nine-foot surf rod I brought here with me. To my amazement, a tarpon took the jig and I got two or three jumps before he shook it off.

You are more than likely to get some rain in September and October, but keep in mind that is also peak season for fat snook, a smaller species that swarm into the rivers at that time of year.

If anyone would like to offer Bob more information, his e-mail address is

I also heard from Karl Van Horn, whom it has been my privilege to meet on his past trips to Costa Rica. He expressed some skepticism about the 500-pound black marlin caught and released off the Bat Islands, as reported here (TT, June 16).

“I gotta wonder about today’s story… to fight and bring in a 500-pound black, to the leader, in 45 minutes, on a Penn 30… I am dubious. Mostly because of the time frame, on that light of gear. It is a GREAT story though, thanks,” he wrote.

I responded that the marlin story “does seem pretty wild, but they had him on a Penn International, which spools a lot of 30-pound line, and were in tight on the island so he didn’t have a chance to go deep but did a lot of greyhounding over the pinnacles as I heard the story. And we both know that fishermen ALWAYS tell the truth…”

Van Horn also asked about the status of the tuna-farming project at Golfo Dulce, on the southern Pacific coast (TT, May 12), adding “I’m thinking that sucks, worse than long-liners.”

I agree, and am sad to report that the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA) has awarded the project its operation permit, the final hurdle before construction can begin (see related story). I guess conservation and sportfishing interests can’t compete with the big bucks in Costa Rica, as elsewhere in the world.

As for the fishing, Río Colorado Lodge reports that Scott Thames and Nick Welch of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, hooked 29 tarpon and boated six of them on a two-day tarpon trip last weekend. They had a one-day contest in the backwater, fishing with Brian Saliba and Julia Garita on light tackle.

The result was 35 guapote and some nice mojarra, the biggest guapote weighing in at 6.5 pounds.

Things on the northern Pacific coast are still pretty much the same as reported here last week, with enough billfish, tuna and dorado taken to keep anglers happy. We finally heard from the southern Pacific coast, where Todd Staley reports from Puerto Jiménez that inshore fishing has been red-hot, and offshore action is showing promise for anglers out of Crocodile Bay.

Staley says Jerry Dollar cashed in big on his three-day spree, landing a 250-pound marlin, two sailfish, six dorado and some yellowfin tuna. He adds that John Bretza jigged up the lodge record amberjack at 80 pounds, and the Idaho Timber Company sent down a group of 32 anglers who in their three-day visit landed bruiser jacks, roosters and other inshore species.

Group leader Maurice Van Hall landed a 45-pound roosterfish, while Rene and Windy Rogers had no shortage of action, nailing 58- and 40-pound roosters, a hefty sailfish and some nice snapper. See photos at

On the northern side of the Osa Peninsula, we heard from Tim Powell, who reports from Drake Bay that he and his family spent a couple days with Fred Maschmeier at Hotel Ojalá, fishing with Maschmeier on his boat Macho Loco, and scored on tuna, roosterfish and wahoo to 35 pounds.Maschmeier has a small, family-run operation, with a four-room hotel, meals included, and just one boat, but it is budget-priced and we get rave reviews from those who fish there. I haven’t fished with him, but it’s next on my list. Maschmeier’s email address is


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