San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Readers Request Fishing Trip Advice

There’s not much change in fishing as reported here last week, with the best bet on the Pacific along the northern coast out of Tamarindo, Flamingo and Carrillo.

The Caribbean has been getting some light rains, but Río Colorado Lodge reports no fishermen out in recent days, although the tarpon are rolling in the river right in front of the docks. The lodge has anglers arriving this week, so we should know more in a few days.

All of which gives me a chance to answer some questions from Tico Times readers, which may be of general interest to others planning trips to Costa Rica.

An e-mail from Buster Hill requests info on commercial or sportfishing and asks if there are lobsters. He writes: “My wife died recently and my (fishing) partner just got divorced.We are two guys looking to start a new life somewhere away from the United States. We have extensive experience in the fishing industry and construction industry… My friend is fluent in Spanish. We are open to employment in sportfishing as both of us have skippered charter and commercial vessels… I’m also interested in purchasing land with or without house…”

Under Costa Rican law, it’s pretty difficult for non-Ticos to find legal employment unless they have special skills or work in their own business. Lobsters are trapped commercially, but relatively few are taken by sport divers. There will be someone on every street corner trying to sell you land or real estate, but don’t jump too quickly. Your friend’s fluency in Spanish will be a major asset. My advice is to take your time before making any investment, and if you are offered a deal that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

You are welcome to call me or drop by my home while in the country if I can be of assistance, but keep in mind that free advice is usually worth what you pay for it.

Len and Sue Shebosky write that they read about this column on Trip Advisor and are “wondering if you can give any advice about an upcoming trip… trying to keep a surfing nephew and fishing husband happy in Costa Rica. Nephew hopes to surf in Playa Hermosa…we have two options for dates…

March 10-17, his midterm break from college, or summer of 2007. Any suggestions fishingwise as to when to be there, and any hopes of doing some fishing in that area as well? We can certainly rent a car for some flexibility but don’t wish to spend the week driving.”

The best bet for combining surfing at Playa Hermosa and fishing in March would be to base at Jacó, on the central Pacific coast. It has plenty of hotels, restaurants and nightlife and is about 20 minutes’ drive from Playa Hermosa, so your nephew can get there and back by bus or by catching a ride with other surfers he’s likely to meet. There are sportfishing operators in the area, and March is a top month for fishing in that region. If you decide to come during the summer months, fishing is likely to be much better farther north, a region that also has world-class surfing.

Robert Johnson, a recent arrival from Texas now residing in Heredia, north of San José, called me to ask when would be the best time to plan a trip for sailfish. I told him that most any time of year is likely to produce a sail or two or three, but the action will depend on when he wants to make the trip.

Right now the best action is in the north, pretty much as reported here last week, but earlier in the year the fishing is better farther south, with the action moving gradually north and peaking in the summer months.

One way to get a handle on the fishing at the time you plan to be here is to go to The Tico Times Web site at and check the fishing columns in back issues for the time you plan to be here.


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