San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Action Hopping on Both Coasts

The bite is on! There’s good fishing just about every place on both coasts, though rain at Arenal, in north-central Costa Rica, has slowed freshwater fishing on the lake pretty much to a standstill.

On the northern Pacific coast, Capullo operator Steve Curtis reports that plenty of sailfish and some marlin are being caught by the Tamarindo and Flamingo boats, but most have been fishing closer to shore and not chasing the billfish in the blue water.

Nothing wrong with inshore fishing,with a lot of big dorado, roosterfish and tuna to the boats on a regular basis, Curtis added.

A bit farther south at Playa Carrillo, Kingfisher skipper Rick Ruhlow, my son, reports that all the boats from the region that were out last week found sailfish, a few tying into marlin, and everyone getting all the inshore action they could handle on the smaller (and a lot better eating) species.

The bite is also turning on the central Pacific coast, where J.P. Sportfishng out of Quepos had 17 sailfish releases in six days fishing last week, but you can look for action to explode any day in that region, with redhot action through the next few months.

Dan Ross from Portland, Oregon, dropped by the house last week to tell us about a new fishing operation he is putting together in Golfito, following up with a fish report.

He and Oregon anglers Doug Wilhite and Rick Robinson fished three days after we met last week at my home in Santa Ana, southwest of San José, with veteran skipper Bobby McGeniss on his boat Sweet Dreams. They were fishing flies exclusively.

Their first day out was Thursday, and he reports: “Bobby spotted a sheet of plywood floating on the surface and as he approached saw more than 20 dorado under it, and we landed 11 of those, all on flies. As the day went on we saw five more dorado and landed two of those, and also raised four sailfish, boating and releasing two of them.

“The next day we raised 16 sailfish and a marlin, and Rick and Doug landed eight of the sails, but we couldn’t get the marlin. Bobby said he fished seven days offshore in November for marlin, bringing 15 to the boat and releasing seven.”

But all the action isn’t on the Pacific coast. The calba run is wide open on the northern Caribbean, where Río Colorado Lodge operator Dan Wise reports that the tarpon are still working in the area as well. Mississippi angler Charles Phillips and his fishing buddy boated a 150-pounder and enough calba to feed everyone at the lodge over the weekend.

Tom Larkin, also from Mississippi, in three days caught 40 calba and three larger common snook.Most of the action has been at Agua Dulce.

The water level in the river has dropped and the heavy rains of last week finally let up over the weekend, and while cruising around Wise saw one of the guides working a black hair jig on a hand line in a dugout canoe at Agua Dulce, and he had about 20 of the fine eating small snook on the boat and was heaving one aboard on every drop.

Costa Rica’s Amateur Fishing Club held its annual calba tournament in the region last week, but we didn’t get a report – perhaps next week.

Wise adds that a Coast Guard boat chasing illegal gillnetters got its prop caught in a gillnet and the illegal netters had to come to their rescue.

“Modern technology is making law enforcement tough,” he said. “The illegal netters now have spotters with cell phones along the beach, and when they spot the Coast Guard they call ahead and warn those in the boats to run out to sea until the coast is clear.”


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