San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Action Good to Exceptional Around C.R.

If you’re a fisherman, run, don’t walk, to the nearest airport for a flight to Costa Rica. Action right now ranges from good to exceptional most any place you throw a line.

The calba run just got under way on the northern Caribbean coast, where the Río Colorado Lodge reports two to a dozen a day per fisherman in the past week, and still a few tarpon, though heavy seas at the river mouth are keeping the boats on the inside. One angler hooked a tarpon while calba fishing at Agua Dulce, however, and battled it for 30 minutes on 12-pound line before it got away.

Calba (listed in the record books as “fat snook”) are a variety of small snook that run about three to six pounds and swarm into the river system on their annual run this time of year, providing great action on light tackle and mighty good eating. The river is high, but not over the docks, and the action there should continue to build in coming weeks.

Even better news at Barra Colorado is that the Coast Guard last week seized 37 illegal gill nets that had moved into the area to harvest the snook as they move into the river system to spawn, according to Dan Wise of Río Colorado Lodge. The lodge will maintain a special discount for Costa Rican residents through the calba season,Wise said.

On the northern Pacific coast, Gamefisher II skipper Richard Chellemi, fishing out of Tamarindo, released a marlin, sailfish and two dorado Sunday in spite of some green water in the region that is likely to send the boats to work a bit farther south.

Farther south, Kitty Cat skipper Bob Robb, at Playa Carrillo, fished only a half-day last week, but got a couple of sails and some dorado, and saw a lot of dolphin and whales in the area, which normally indicates a lot of bait in the region and should mean a good run in coming weeks.

On the central Pacific coast, J.P. Sportfishing out of Quepos had 11 sails to the boat in three days’ fishing in the past week, and there is an outrageous marlin bite all the way south, out of Golfito.

It has been months since we’ve had an unsolicited report from Golfito, but we finally heard from Todd Staley at Crocodile Bay, who said that “marlin are everywhere”; in the first few days of December, anglers landed marlin every day except one, and on that day most opted to fish inshore.

He said some of the highlights in the last two weeks were Bill Liljemark’s 500-pounder that kept him out until dinnertime, when he finally won the battle; Trapper Rudd’s 175-pound marlin caught on a fly; and Garth Carlson, who on the same day caught a 200-pound marlin and the smallest bruiser to date here, a 60-pounder.

“Some may disagree with me, but the only games of inches I know are American football and snapper fishing,” Staley added. “If you don’t get them turned in the first few seconds of the battle, it’s ‘Adiós, gringo,’ as exemplified by Jason Cohn, who had a snapper experience many only dream of.

“While Jason was reeling in a small snapper, a giant pumpkin of a cubera swallowed his fish and headed for the depths. It nearly brought him to his knees, but of course the hook didn’t grab. His next bait down was gulped up rapidly, and when the dust settled, a 49-pound cubera snapper was in the boat.”

No reply from any Costa Rican charter boat operators in response to Joe Ostmeyer’s query last week seeking a small and modestly priced boat in Quepos to fish inshore, but we did hear from a Tico Times reader in England.

Gary Pollock writes from the United Kingdom:“I’ve been taking a group of friends to Quepos for a number of years and have fished on plenty of boats; all much of a muchness we found, until coming across a skipper named Esteban, who is sensational.

This year we were fishing mostly inshore on two boats provided by you could give him a try, as he’s been very helpful so far and has a range of boats. Good luck.”


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