San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bite Back On After Heavy Rains; Mahimahi Hot

Rain, rain and more rain is the only way to describe the weather we had in mid-October, but once it stopped the sun came out and the weather returned to normal with nice days, light breezes and a few afternoon and evening showers.

Boats up and down the Pacific coast are catching good numbers of mahimahi with some sailfish, marlin and tuna in the mix. The fishing on the Caribbean side continues to be good, and the water levels are up but the bite steady at LakeArenal.

Northern Pacific

Petra Schoep of Tamarindo Sportfishing reports some good fishing after the rain and wind stopped. Nick and Stacey Branca, who last fished with Tamarindo Sportfishing 10 years ago on their honeymoon, caught a 300-pound blue marlin and a half dozen nice mahimahi on the Talking Fish. Amy Kimball and friends also went out on the Talking Fish and caught a sailfish and a dozen mahimahi.

Felipe Fernández with the Good Day Team reports a good mahimahi bite in the Flamingo area. They fished on the boat Online and caught 17 mahimahi in the 30-to 40-pound range and three nice sailfish.

Capt. Skeet Warren on the Bushwacker last Sunday caught one sailfish and 15 mahimahi from 20 to 30 pounds. He said it was raining so hard they couldn’t even take photos.

Central Pacific

Capt. RJ Lillie on the Predator fished a current/trash line 14 miles out with a group of guys from Florida, who caught 10 mahimahi from 20 to 25 pounds on a halfday trip. The guys were happy to fulfill their promise to bring home enough fish to feed their group of 20.

Capt. Dave Mothershead on the Miss Behavin took an international group – a North American, an Italian and two guys from Mexico – out for a day offshore last week.

They fished 25 miles out and caught a couple of sailfish and a mahimahi before 1 p.m. Capt. Jeremy Trujillo on the R&J took a couple from the U.S. state of Tennessee out for a full day offshore. They caught a sailfish, a tuna and four nice mahimahi. Trujillo said they fished in green water 25 miles out from Los Sueños Marina.

Capt. Chris Bernstel on the Kinembe II reports a slow inshore bite in the Quepos area. He went offshore last week and caught a marlin, a sailfish and a dozen nice mahimahi; everyone has been catching big numbers of the latter, he adds.

Capt. Dave Dobbins in Quepos took a couple of guys out for a half day of inshore fishing. Angler Van Porter released a nice roosterfish, and Roger Morales caught and kept a nice grouper for the grill. Morales caught his fish on a 30-pound test hand line.

Dobbins also put a hurtin’ on a dozen or more small snapper. (My personal goal for this year is to catch a sailfish on a hand line.) Felipe Fernández and the guys on the Good Day II in Quepos caught 14 mahimahi and released a sailfish and a 400-pound blue marlin on a recent trip offshore. Fernández also reports good numbers of mahimahi being caught in the Quepos area, even though the blue water is 45 miles out.

Leanne Batten with Quepos Sailfishing Charters had client Chris Stuart fish offshore last week with Capt. Glen Morales on the Reel Deal. They had nice weather and calm seas, and caught three nice mahimahi.

Southern Pacific

Capt. Bob Baker of Golfito Sportfishing reports “tons” of mahimahi just outside Cabo Matapalo, only five to seven miles out.

The local panga fleet has been chasing the schools of mahimahi, trying to make up for the recent bad weather. Baker thinks the marlin are chasing the schools of mahimahi as well. Off Playa Zancudo, good numbers of sierra mackerel, jack crevalle and a few snapper have been taken casting bucktails with a twister tail added (white or chartreuse) and bouncing the rig back to the beach.

Northern Region

Capt. Ron Saunders of Arenal Fishing says the water at the lake is up about 10 feet with all the rain this month. The high water has slowed the bite a little, but they are still catching average-size guapote, mainly trolling with some topwater action.


Diann Sánchez of Río Colorado Lodge reports a steady bite on the northern Caribbean coast. Several groups have been in the past few weeks and all have been catching tarpon. One group jumped 11 tarpon and boated two, another jumped six and boated three, and yet another group jumped 16 and boated four.

My last column ran with a photo of a marlin that came up dead and could not be released (TT, Oct. 17). I asked the captain for details, because 99 percent of sportfishing boats will do everything they can to safely release billfish. Capt. Skeet Warren sent me this account: “The marlin was caught on a 15/0 circle hook. It got tail-wrapped while jumping, and when the hook pulled out of its mouth, it somehow hooked the tail. I have never seen that happen before with a circle hook. We dragged the fish beside the boat for 30 minutes trying to revive it.

“After 30 minutes I finally made the decision that the fish was dead. Instead of leaving it for the sharks, we put it in the boat and fed about 50 people in Brasilito. In the last year, I have run 117 days fishing and had only that fish and a roosterfish die, and the rest were released. I have been captaining boats since 1981 and have fought very hard for the use of circle hooks and releasing fish.”

Please catch and release all marlin, sailfish and roosterfish.

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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