San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Still Seeking Place to Buy Fresh Fish

Fishing reports from boat operators along the Pacific have been scarce in recent weeks, but it’s safe to assume that, barring unusual weather or water conditions, bite will continue steady on sailfish and marlin, with tuna and dorado available to those who want to go for them.

A report from Ron Saunders, a guide on north-central Costa Rica’s Lake Arenal, said fishing has been steady even with the currently low water levels. Saunders said he had three half-day fishing trips last week, all yielding more than 10 fish per trip, primarily guapote (rainbow bass).

Clients fished a top-water Zara Spook and poppers, attracting strong strikes within 30 minutes of hitting the water each morning, with fish running up to three pounds. Cool breezes and light showers make the weather comfortable and fishing conditions excellent, Saunders added.His cell phone is 339-3345 if you want an up-to-the-minute report.

No word from other guides, lodges or fishing operators on either coast, but I do hear from Tico Times readers.

Mark Balan from Wilmington, Delaware, responds to a recent column in which a reader grumbled about not being able to find fresh fish or other seafood here. He said they fished the northern Pacific coast on the Kitty Kat with Capt. Rob Gordon a few years ago and released all but a couple of yellowfin tuna (dinner), and also caught and released an estimated 700-pound black marlin, as documented in this column (TT, Oct. 17, 2003).

“Two evenings prior to fishing, our group wanted to have fresh fish. We went into the local ‘fish store/restaurant’ and found – just as your unnamed reader found – frozen fish and frozen shellfish,” he writes. “We asked around and were directed to Playa Carrillo, where docked just offshore were the Kingfisher, Kitty Kat and many a fisherman’s dream life of fishing experiences, Enrico Capozzi’s Spirit of Pilar.

“Local fishermen had a refrigerator right off the beach under the palm trees. It was filled with fresh red snapper. We purchased two whole fish for a nominal (cost) and were pleasantly stuffed later that evening.

“On another note, farther south in Quepos (on the central Pacific coast), I have never had a bad meal at El Gran Escape. I did have quite a hangover the next morning once or twice. I look forward to having shots with Marcia (the owner) once again.”

Mark, it is often possible to get fish directly from the boats as they come in, but it’s not often that you will see someone set up with a refrigerator on the beach, and you can’t count on that as a regular source. So, once again we ask if a reader knows of a location, particularly in or near San José, that offers fresh (not frozen) fish, lobster, shrimp, shellfish, etc.

I am sure every fisherman in and around Quepos will agree with you about Marcia’s Gran Escape. She is a legend, and the billfish tournament she organizes there every year has raised many thousands of dollars to fight cerebral palsy in this country.


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