San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Northern Pacific Action Hot; Calba Showing Early

Major action on the Pacific continues on the northern coast, where Wetass II skipper Sonny Kocsis reported he went two sails on Saturday, along with two 50-pound dorado, and three for six up on Sunday.

He added that the boat Plautus on Saturday got one sail and a marlin, while the Royal Blue had one marlin release and missed another.

Still no reports from the central and southern coastal areas, so I assume things are slow and not many boats are getting out in that area. Look for action to get under way down there about November and to turn hot beginning in December.

If planning a trip during that time period, you’d better be making your reservations now, as even hotels book pretty solid around that time.

The weather on the northern Caribbean coast has been hot with blue skies and occasional showers, but the tarpon fishing has cooled down a bit since last week’s report, according to Dan Wise of the Río Colorado Lodge. Anglers are finding a few at the river mouth, but the fish are scattered, he said.

Herman Swank from Washington jumped four tarpon but got only one to the boat late last week. On Monday, Tampa, Florida, angler Joe Sumner battled an estimated 25-pound snook at Agua Dulce, but it got away, while Ken Summerell from Mississippi had six in the air and got only one to the boat, estimated at 150 pounds.

Calba, those hard-hitting and great-eating small snook, are showing very early this year well up the river, with six caught last week. They normally begin their run the first week of November.

If you enjoy light tackle action in the calm river waters and want to fill the freezer with some great eating fish, plan a trip to Barra Colorado or Parismina in November or December.

Chicago attorney Brian Pierce, a Tico Times subscriber who has property at Playa Matapalo, between Quepos and Dominical on the central Pacific coast, reported that Javier González, one of his employees there, nailed an outrageous 58-pound snapper fishing from the beach in front of his beach house, and hauled it in on a handline after a two-hour battle (see photo).

I was surprised at the black coloration of the big snapper, which are normally red, but Pierce said they turn black with age. I also heard from Linc Adams, another TT reader in Berkshire, New York, who said he recently got a place at Palo Seco and believes there should be some decent snook fishing there.

“I have some surf rods but have never fished for snook,” he writes, adding, “Can you give me any advice as to how to fish for them or any other game fish in the surf there?”

Linc, I don’t know about snook in that area, but as evidenced by reports to this column, they and a variety of other species are regularly caught from shore, even on handlines (see above).

I’m getting too old and decrepit to hump along the beaches on foot anymore, but in my early days here I did quite a bit of beach fishing, on both coasts, and it was a rare day when something didn’t hit. On one occasion on the southern Caribbean coast, I got a couple of jumps from a tarpon, which goes down as one of my most memorable fishing days.

I found that the long surf rods I had used to fish the beaches of Southern California and Baja for barred perch were overkill, as there is no need to throw a bait beyond the breaker line. I would suggest a mediumaction rod, about seven feet, spooled with eight- to 12-pound line.

Feather jigs, chrome spoons and crank baits are all likely to be productive, so keep switching baits until you find something that works.

If other readers, more experienced than I, have some suggestions for Linc, e-mail him at


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