San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Pacific Weather Variable; Monsters in Nicaragua

The weather on the Pacific coast over the past few weeks went from one extreme to the other.

We’d have a few days of beautiful weather with sunny days and a light breeze and then a couple of days of overcast skies with showers throughout the day.

The rainy days are a sign of things to come, with October generally being the wettest month of the year along the Pacific. We don’t usually get storms, mostly just showers, so don’t let it change your fishing plans; the fish don’t mind a little rain.

Boats on the northern Pacific coast have been catching mahimahi, tuna and blue marlin. On the central Pacific, we’ve had a good inshore bite with some mahimahi, sailfish and tuna moving in. Mahimahi, tuna and marlin have been biting in the southern Pacific, while the Caribbean side continues to have a steady tarpon bite and flat seas.

In the north, the results are in from the San Carlos tarpon tournament in Nicaragua, and the fish are biting up at LakeArenal.

Northern Pacific

Petra Schoep of Tamarindo Sportfishing reports lots of mahimahi with some tuna and grouper mixed in. They’ve also seen a decent billfish bite offshore.

Capt. Adam Hermsen on the Ocean Smasher took his final trip with the Pete Lamba group, going out for a full day. They went offshore first and caught a handful of mahimahi and some yellowfin tuna in the 20- to 30-pound range. In the afternoon they tried some reef fishing, but the bite was a bit slow.

Capt. Lee Keidel of Kingpin Sportfishing in Tamarindo reports water temperatures in the mid-80s with decent water and lots of mahimahi. Several boats have been raising two to three marlin per day, all blues, and generally getting one to the boat. The mahimahi bite has been the big news, with lots of fish on the trash lines. Keidel also reports the bottom fishing has been a bit slow on the reef, but it sounds like it’s getting better every day.

Central Pacific

Capt. Brandon Keene on the Fish Whistle took some guys out recently for a half day of inshore fishing. Keene already had bait in his live well, so they hit a couple of inshore rocks within three miles of Los Sueños. They ended the day with some nice snapper for dinner and released a 150-pound sailfish.

It’s not often you get a sailfish when inshore fishing, but with live bait you never know. The guys on the J-Barrilete fished a local hot spot called the “26 rock” with a couple from Texas. They caught 11 mahimahi in the 25-pound range and three roosterfish about 35 pounds each. That same day, the guys on the Fandango caught 10 mahimahi in the same area; the rock was hot that day.

Capt. Dave Mothershead on the Miss Behavin took a couple of guys from California out for a half day, also at the 26 rock. They ended the day with some nice mahimahi and small yellowfin tuna. The Cali guys loved the fresh sushi and mahimahi fillets.

Capt. Bill Kieldsen on the Sailfish recently took a group of guys out 30 miles offshore.

They were rewarded with a few nice mahimahi in the 40-pound range. The guys took their catch to their hotel and had it cooked up with all the trimmings.

Capt. RJ Lillie on the Predator fished the 26 rock recently on a half-day trip with a couple of guys from Florida. They caught some wahoo, mahimahi and yellowfin tuna, all in the 20-pound range.

Capt. Dave Dobbins of Fish La Manta in Quepos reports good numbers of mahimahi being caught offshore between the rain showers.

Raúl Cabezas and the guys on the Reel Deal in Quepos fished several times the past week and report a good inshore bite with some big snapper, pompano and roosterfish.

Tatiana Carlton of Capt. Tom’s Sportfishing reports some good roosterfishing and bottom fishing for snapper. Offshore has been a little slow because of the green water, but they expect the marlin, tuna and sailfish bite to pick up this month.

Southern Pacific

Capt. Bob Baker of Golfito Sportfishing in Zancudo reports a lot of rain, with in-between days of summer-like weather.

Big tides and surf in the area have kept them from fishing their snook and corvina hot spots, but they expect a good bite when things calm down. The boats getting outside still report plenty of mahimahi and yellowfin tuna from 10 to 20 miles out, with some black marlin in the mix.

Capt. Mark Corn of the Osa Yacht Club in Puerto Jiménez hosted a couple of clients from a ladies’ fishing club called the Deep Sea Hookers for three days of fishing.

They ended the trip with a 250-pound blue marlin, a couple of sailfish, a bunch of big mahimahi and a handful of big roosterfish, blue jack, pompano, snapper and amberjack. Corn says those gals could catch some fish.

Northern Region

Capt. Ron Saunders reports stable lake levels with some afternoon showers and mild winds on LakeArenal. Brothers John and Bill Burness, vacationing from Oregon and Kentucky in the United States, went for an afternoon fishing tour near the dam.

They fished topwater lures and caught a few nice fish. John released a 10-pound guapote that he caught with light tackle and a spinnerbait lure.

More than 70 anglers from all over the world participated in the recent fishing tournament in San Carlos, Nicaragua. The winning tarpon weighed 140 pounds and was caught by a boat out of Los Chiles in northern Costa Rica. The second-place tarpon was 118 pounds, caught by a boat out of La Esquina del Lago Lodge in Nicaragua. The winning snook weighed in at 18 pounds, and the winning guapote was six pounds. Philippe Tisseaux of San Carlos Sportfishing says several 200-pound-plus monster tarpon were hooked and then lost.

There are monsters in Nicaragua. While fishing the San Carlos area, I lost a 220-pound tarpon after a 15-minute battle. I was fishing the San Juan River in Nicaragua and hooked a big fish using a purple and black Rapala lure. The fish was so big that it couldn’t jump out of the water. It just raised its huge head out of the water and shook it from side to side, working the lure loose with each shake. It made four or five runs and was less than 20 feet from the boat when it came up for the last time. It shook once, twice, and the lure came out and plopped into the water in front of it. I felt like I had been punched in the belly when I lost that big fish.


Capt. Eddie Brown reports nice weather, flat seas and a decent bite on the Caribbean side, where they have been jumping eight to 10 tarpon per day and releasing two or three per day. The snook bite has been steady with fish in the five- to 10-pound range.

Diann Sánchez of the Río Colorado Lodge reports good fishing on the northern Caribbean coast. The lodge hosted some fishermen from Brazil and Finland, who averaged four tarpon releases per day, as well as some groups from the United States that averaged two or three tarpon releases per day; a group from Florida had the hot hand and released 11 tarpon.

Local angler Bob Stark from San José fished several days in the Parismina area. He says the fishing was good the first part of the week, but then some water was released from the Pacuare Dam, and the dirty water slowed the fishing down.

I encourage anyone who has fished recently in Costa Rica to send me their fish stories and photos.

Please send fishing reports, photos and comments to Jerry “Bubba” Hallstrom at, or call 2778-7217 in Costa Rica or 1-800-9SAILFISH from the United States. To post reports and photos on The Tico Times’ online fishing forum, go to


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