San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Red-Hot Marlin Bite Out of Los Sueños; Calba Early

The weather on the Pacific coast these past weeks has been almost like summertime. The north winds blew hard a couple of days, but for the most part we’ve had warm, sunny days with calm seas and few showers. The folks on the Caribbean side also report sunny days and calm seas, unusual for November.

Boats on the northern and southern Pacific coasts are catching good numbers of mahimahi, sailfish and some marlin. On the central coast, the marlin bite out of Los Sueños Marina continues to be red-hot. The fishing on the Caribbean side has been good for tarpon, with some fat snook starting to show.

Northern Pacific

Gerardo Molina and Wilson Martell report they had a great three-day fishing adventure on the northern Pacific coast.

They caught tuna, sailfish, mahimahi, trevally and their main goal, roosterfish. They vow to return for the “big one.”

Capt. Lee Keidel of Kingpin Sportfishing in Tamarindo fished a few days last week and reports the offshore bite has been mainly mahimahi, with a few sailfish each day and maybe a tuna or two if you are in the right place at the right time. The inshore bite on the reef has provided lots of action with snapper and mahimahi. Keidel caught a 45-pound-plus snapper last week.

Capt. Ron Brenchley on the Black Magic took Brian Gagnon’s group from Canada 15 miles west of Tamarindo in relatively calm seas. They found a good current line and feeding birds, and went six for 10 on some finicky sailfish. They also caught some goodsize mahimahi that were inhaling even the biggest lures. Brenchley reports the marlin are starting to show and the upcoming high season looks good – summer is almost here and so are the fish.

Petra Schoep of Tamarindo Sportfishing reports Tom Douglas and friends fished on the OutCast and Salsa and caught marlin, grouper and mahimahi.

Central Pacific

I went out last week on the Dragin Fly with some friends from Dallas, Texas. Capt. James Smith and crew did not disappoint. We fished about 30 miles out, and it was a great day. The weather was perfect, the seas were calm, and we ended the day with nine sailfish, seven mahimahi and one blue marlin in the 250-pound range.

I have reeled in plenty of sailfish, so I took photos while the rookies got their fill on sails. My goal was to catch a mahimahi on a hand line. The captain found a long-line buoy loaded with mahimahi. I pitched my ballyhoo with circle hook back on my hand line and hooked up a 35-pounder. It took about 10 minutes to land the fish. We made a second pass on the buoy, and I hooked up another mahimahi about the same size.

Catching those fish by hand was a blast; I may never use a rod and reel again.

Capt. Brandon Keene on the Fish Whistle took a group offshore, and they ended the day going four for eight on sailfish, with eight big mahimahi. Keene had a good week offshore with a total of four marlin, a dozen sailfish and dozens of mahimahi.

Capt. Dave Mothershead on the Miss Behavin got himself a grand slam last week with one blue marlin, one black marlin, a couple of sailfish and a few mahimahi.

A group of fly fishermen recently went out a few times with Capt. Jeremy Trujillo on the R&J. Those fly guys had a great trip, seeing six marlin in three days and catching two on the fly. They also caught a half dozen sailfish and more than 40 mahimahi.

Capt. Bill Kieldsen on the Sailfish went six for eight on sailfish and caught 10 nice mahimahi last week with a group from Florida. Earlier in the week, Kieldsen caught 40 mahimahi less than 15 miles offshore.

A group from El Róbalo Sportfishing went out on the Predator with Capt. RJ Lillie, ending the day with 18 mahimahi. Later that week, Lillie caught eight mahimahi and a 300-pound blue marlin.

The captain and crew on the J-Barrilete did a couple of half-day trips recently and caught good numbers of mahimahi each day.

Capt. Chris Bernstel reports the Kinembe II has been catching good numbers of mahimahi and some billfish offshore of Quepos.

He says the inshore fishing for snapper and roosterfish has also been steady.

Dennis Arnold of the newly remodeled Caribsea in Quepos spent a few days offshore with a group that caught four sailfish, a wahoo and 23 mahimahi from 20 to 60 pounds.

That’s a good way to christen the boat.

Southern Pacific

Capt. Bob Baker of Golfito Sportfishing reports continually improving weather conditions in the Golfito area. A couple of anglers from Ireland fished a day offshore last week and caught numerous mahimahi and had a marlin break the line. One local angler released a 250-pound black marlin earlier that week while packing his cooler full of fresh mahimahi. Meanwhile, the snook fishing in the Río Esquinas has been slowed by illegal fishing nets being strung out at the river mouth, Baker says, but there have been a few nice snook over 20 pounds caught while shore fishing.

Todd Staley of CrocodileBay says the new airstrip in Puerto Jiménez is almost ready, just in time for high season. Staley and the guys have been getting everything ready for high season, as well as doing some preseason fishing. They say the marlin and mahimahi have been biting less than 10 miles offshore and report good numbers of hungry roosterfish in the Matapalo area.

Some of the guys were trying to catch snapper for dinner, but they couldn’t get the bait past the hard-hitting roosterfish.


Capt. Eddie Brown on the Bullshark reports unusually calm seas and warm weather for November. He says they have been jumping 10 to 12 tarpon per day and landing three or four. Anglers have also been catching some black snook as well as calba or fat snook, which seem to have shown up early this year. The black snook range from 10 to 20 pounds, while calba run three to five pounds. The good thing about calba is that you can catch 20 a day if you are there at the right time.

Diann Sánchez of the Río Colorado Lodge reports the calba bite has started early and should continue to improve through December. The lodge has hosted several groups the past few weeks, with boats jumping 10 to 15 tarpon per day and releasing three to five per day. Besides tarpon and calba, anglers have also been catching jack, snapper, mackerel and kingfish. The best day goes to Robert Duhs and Cornelius dePlessie, who jumped 15 tarpon and boated nine, all in the 90- to 160-pound range.

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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