San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Pacific Bite Steady; Caribbean Gears Up for Tarpon

The weather continues to be beautiful up and down the Pacific coast.

Though it is rainy season, the showers usually don’t start until late afternoon, so it doesn’t affect the fishing.

The boats on the northern Pacific coast report a decent sailfish bite with the occasional marlin. On the central Pacific, we’ve had a steady sailfish and inshore bite, while the southern Pacific has had a solid marlin bite with some nice-size tuna in the mix. In the north at LakeArenal, they’re waiting on the full-moon bite. The boats on the Caribbean side are catching fish and gearing up for their best tarpon months of the year.

Northern Pacific

Capt. Adam Hermsen on the Ocean Smasher out of Tamarindo reports that boats are releasing two or three sailfish on average, and lots of boats are getting a shot at a marlin per day. Hermsen adds that the green water has moved in and slowed down the inshore bite.

Joe Bergler fished on the Salsa out of Tamarindo and caught three sails and a blue marlin. Capt. Gene Kelly of Tropical Fishing Adventures says Bergler was a happy camper.

Petra Schoep of Tamarindo Sportfishing reports that Spaniard Rafael Gonzales fished a half-day recently on the Salsa and caught numerous roosterfish, several nice grouper and an amberjack in the 70-pound range while jigging and casting lures.

Central Pacific

The Cormier family recently fished with the guys on the Estrella del Mar and caught five sailfish and three nice dorado. Ken Cormier says they had an action-packed vacation in Jacó with great fishing, canopy tours, Quadrunner tours and horseback riding.

Capt. Bill Kieldsen on the Sailfish took Steve Lansch and his wife offshore at the beginning of August. They released three sailfish, one over 180 pounds, Kieldsen says. Lansch says he’s caught plenty of sailfish but never one that size.

A lucky group of guys from the United States went offshore with the guys on the Barbarrosa and came across a big log about 30 miles out. The log was a “honey hole” – they raised nine blue marlin and released four. They also released four sailfish and two sharks, and kept a couple of tuna for dinner.

The lesson here is that even if the fishing is just average, you should go; you could be the next lucky angler who stumbles across a honey hole.

Capt. RJ Lilley on the Predator fished the “26 rock,” a submerged rock 20 miles from Los Sueños, with a couple from Cuba. The fishing was a little slow, but they stuck it out by the rock and were rewarded with a small tuna, a wahoo and a 400-pound black marlin.

That’s three blacks for Lilley in the past two months at the 26 rock.

Jason Betker fished inshore and offshore with the guys on the Scorpion out of Los Sueños, catching a handful of nice dorado, with a few more than 40 pounds, as well as some yellowfin tuna and roosterfish. Betker froze 15 pounds of mahimahi fillets and was lucky enough to get them back to the States in good condition. He had friends over for a fish fry.

Capt. Dave Mothershead on the Miss Behavin took a honeymoon couple from Florida out to the 26 rock and caught three sails, three wahoo, a tuna and a dorado. A guy couldn’t ask for a better wedding present.

I went fishing with the guys on the Dragin Fly last week, and we ran 35 miles offshore and fished out by Cabo Blanco. It was my friend’s birthday and he was a little hungover, so we got a late start. We fished four hours and went three for four on sailfish.

Birthday boy caught a fish, had a few cold beers and took a nap.

Anglers Dave Toxie and Sabine Roes from Washington, D.C., fished with Bill McMenemy aboard the Straight Up out of Los Sueños. The lucky anglers caught a monster roosterfish northwest of the resort.

Capt. Chris Bernstel on the Kinembe II reports a steady offshore bite and a decent inshore bite. Bernstel used live bait and caught marlin the last two times he fished a local hot spot called the Furuno Bank. On a recent half-day trip, Bernstel took a guy from Minnesota out and caught three big roosterfish and four big jacks while slow-trolling live blue runners near the rocks.

Capt. Dave Dobbins of Fish La Manta reports some good action offshore of Quepos. He took a couple out recently and caught four sailfish.

Southern Pacific

Paul Bradley and son Adam are frequent visitors to Costa Rica. Adam recently caught a 30-pound-plus roosterfish while trolling between the mouth of the SierpeRiver and CañoIsland with Capt. Pablo Chaves.

Todd Staley of CrocodileBay had a big group from Texas at the resort last week. The group fished inshore and offshore. The guys who went offshore caught three marlin between 150 and 450 pounds each day. The sailfish bite has been slow, but they did catch some mahimahi for the grill. The guys fishing inshore caught lots of roosterfish in the 20- to 30-pound range. They also caught a grouper that weighed more than 200 pounds. Before the big group arrived, Staley reports, they had a hot snook bite, with a couple in the 30- to 40-pound range.

Capt. Bob Baker of Golfito Sportfishing reports good weather and calm seas on the southern Pacific coast. They’re enjoying a good yellowfin bite, with fish ranging from 20 to 200 pounds. The black marlin are around, chasing the tuna, but the sailfish and mahimahi bite has been spotty. Baker says the good marlin bite makes up for a slow sailfish bite. Roosterfish are the main target for inshore fishing and are being caught in good numbers. Some snapper and sea bass have also been in the mix.

Northern Region

Lake levels are above average at Arenal and the fishing has been a little slow, but the bite is expected to pick up during the week of the full moon Aug. 30. Nuevo Arenal resident Justin Hamel went fishing for some guapote with Capt. Ron Saunders of Arenal Fishing. He caught a nice five-pound-plus guapote while topwater fishing.


Jim DiBerardinis of Tarponville says their big tarpon season is coming up, starting in September. Ricko Hannos and his group from South Africa visit the lodge every year in early September. Last year, Hannos battled a 200-pound tarpon on a fly using 20-pound class tippet.

Capt. Eddie Brown in Tortuguero spoke with me while fishing. He reports a steady tarpon and snook bite, saying they are jumping six to eight tarpon a day and getting a couple to the boat. Brown’s client reeled in a 75-pound pompano a few minutes before we talked to him.


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