San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Marlin Fishing Hot off Cabo Blanco

The annual Harry Gray Fly-Fishing tournament in Quepos, on the central Pacific coast, got under way Monday, with 16 boats and 31 anglers participating.

The tourney is named for the late Harry Gray, a legendary fly fisherman who helped put Costa Rican fly-fishing for billfish on the map. All proceeds are donated to the National Children’s Hospital in San José.

Marlin fishing all along the west coast has been exceptional in recent days, with the hot spot in the central coastal area, off Cabo Blanco. The founder and chairman of the event is Marcia Bennett, who owns and operates the Gran Escape Restaurant and Bar in Quepos, tournament headquarters and a favorite hangout for anglers in that area.

A major tournament was also held out of Los Sueños Marina, north of Quepos in Playa Herradura. I assume they did well but I was unable to get a report from there.

My son Rick reported from his cell phone about noon on Monday that he had already released two marlin and hooked and missed a third aboard his boat the Kingfisher, then broke off the call when they hooked another marlin.He said they saw seven sails and seven marlin on Sunday, catching and releasing two of the marlin. Rick was fishing about 13 miles southwest of his home base at Playa Carrillo, on the northern Pacific coast, and water conditions were perfect, he said.

At Carrillo, Rob Gordon reports a few shots a day on blue and black marlin on his boat the Kitty Cat, fishing 10 to 12 miles from home base, with a few sails and dorado as well. One of the marlin ran about 400 pounds.

Water was reportedly rough farther north in the Tamarindo and Flamingo area, and we got no reports from that region.

At Quepos, Jeanette Pérez reports two to five sails a day, per boat, and says her company J.P. Sportfishing – a pioneer in that area –is up for sale, including boats, permits, office and all. For info, call Pérez at 777-1613.

I managed to get hold of Roy Ventura, who pioneered sportfishing in Golfito, on the southern Pacific coast, but recently sold his Zancudo Lodge. He reports good fishing in the region, though apparently not as hot as it is farther north. Now that he’s sold the lodge, Ventura plans to do some consulting here.

On the Caribbean coast, Pam Evans, whom we mentioned last week, extended her fishing trip at Río Colorado Lodge and boated still another tarpon, this one running an estimated 120 pounds.

Lodge owner Dan Wise reports that Oscar Obando of Cartago, east of San José, and Lloyd Aberg from Santa Ana, southwest of the capital, flew in on a one-day trip with Raúl Romero and Robert Chiciello, both from Florida. The four of them jumped three tarpon running an estimated 70, 90 and 150 pounds, and got them all to the boat for release, along with some jack crevalle, in just three hours of afternoon fishing.

The good weather has been holding and the tarpon action is at the river mouth and just inside the breaker line.

I got an e-mail from Nick Fortney, who says he started a fishing business last year and operates a 26-foot center console out of Dominical on the southern Pacific coast, and has operated a fishing lodge in Alaska for the past 15 years.He fishes Alaska May 1 to Sept. 15 and Costa Rica Nov. 1 to April 15.

“Lately the sailfish action has been slow on the banks 30 miles out. There was good fishing for sails four days ago inside 15 miles, and we raised five and brought two to the boat, but the banks should heat up anytime,” he said. “Dorado fishing has been pretty fair if you can find some current lines or birds.”

Fortney’s Alaska Web site is, his Costa Rica site is and his email is


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