San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Youth’s First Billfish Foray a Success

No tarpon or snook fishing reports from any of the lodges on the Caribbean coast, so I assume the high water reported last week is keeping anglers away. It’s a different story on the Pacific coast, where angling continues to improve on billfish as well as inshore species.

Don Laruffa on the southern Pacific coast reminds us that the CrocodileBay charity tournament is scheduled for Nov. 29 to Dec. 4.

Participants from out of the country will fly into Costa Rica and spend the first night at a hotel in San José, then take an early flight to Puerto Jiménez, eat breakfast and hit the water for a day of “practice fishing.”

The next two days of fishing will award points based on species of fish and method used to catch them. Sails, marlin and roosters are a fixed point value depending on whether caught on bait or fly. For wahoo, dorado and tuna that are weighed in (only one of each can be submitted per team, per day), points will be based on weight and method of angling.

An awards ceremony is planned for the final night. For more information, e-mail Laruffa at

Captain Michael Bonaiuto, co-owner of Vic-Tours and Mikey-B Sportfishing ( at Flamingo, on the northern Pacific coast, took his 13-year-old son Mikey out on the Doña del Mar for a couple of days in search of Mike’s first billfish, and said they had two days of nonstop action.

The first day, they raised two marlin, first a blue estimated at more than 500 pounds that broke the 20-pound line, then released a 225-pound striped marlin that would have gone 225 pounds, after a 35-minute fight.

They raised a total of seven sails, with five caught and released, plus three dorado that all ran about 20 pounds, four yellowfin tuna in the 30-pound bracket, two roosterfish, four yellowfin tuna, a 40-pound cubera snapper and three amberjack. Needless to say, Mikey was a very happy camper.

They used circle hooks exclusively, a practice we encourage all anglers to follow. Circle hooks are as productive as straight shanked hooks but do far less damage to the fish since they impale the lip or jaw and allow them to be released alive and kicking.

In response to queries in this column as to where in Costa Rica locals can find fresh (as opposed to frozen) fish, George Geis of Elmhurst, Illinois, writes that as a part-time resident of the Quepos and Manuel Antonio area, on the central Pacific coast, he has never been disappointed in any of the fish bought at the central market (next door to the bus station).

“You have to get there early if you want to get wahoo and snook (when they have it), but no matter what I’ve gotten there, it’s been great,” he writes.


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