San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

‘Weird’ Fishing Season Looking Up

‘Weird’ Fishing Season Looking Up

It was a strange February for fishing along the Pacific. Reports from up and down the coast were consistent: one day lots of fish, the next day only a few. It seemed like even when we were seeing big numbers of sailfish, it was a lazy bite, with lots of fish just looking at baits and not attacking like usual. For some reason, the bite slowed around the good moon but was good around the slow moon. We’ve had some rain and winds, which is unusual for February and March. A lot of captains say it’s El Nino; I don’t know what to call it, but it has been a weird season.

However, most captains I talk to think the next couple of months will be good ones along the Pacific coast. There is talk of El Niño reversing soon, the water temperatures have been dropping and the bite has been improving offshore. March and April also are good weather and tarpon months on the Caribbean coast.


Northern Pacific


Congrats to Capt. Chris Garner on the Hattaboy for winning the 14th annual Presidential Challenge of Central America Costa Rica leg, held March 4 to 7 in Playa Carrillo. Despite strong winds and tough conditions, his team managed eight sailfish and three marlin releases to take first place.

Capt. Lee Keidel on the Kingpin in Tamarindo says the water color is improving and the winds have been manageable. The offshore bite has been hit-and-miss, with four or five fish on a good day and one or two on a slow day. The inshore and bottom fishing has been steady, with a variety of fish being caught at the reef and on some nearby rocks.

Petra Schoep of Tamarindo Sportfishing reports the inshore action has been great, with grouper, snapper, mackerel and a nice 50-pound roosterfish caught on the Salsa. Offshore, it’s still a little slow, but they are seeing marlin and sailfish.

Roger Tetreault and friends fished with Capt. Rob Brenchley on the Black Magic in Tamarindo and released five sailfish on a full-day trip. They also saw whales, dolphins and turtles for a great day on the water.

Dick Hauguel and Jack McGann from the United States fished in Carrillo with Capt. Chepe Santana and crew aboard the Permit III. They brought 18 sailfish to the boat in three days and caught eight mahimahi and three tuna.


Central Pacific


Capt. James Smith and the crew of the Dragin Fly have been keeping busy offshore, catching four to 10 sails and a mahimahi or two each day. They also caught three marlin in one week.

Ocean Adventures and Capt. Dana Thomas fished a local hot spot called the “26 rock” recently and caught a couple of roosterfish, a handful of jack and amberjack and a 35-pound cubera snapper. The next day, Thomas fished the same rock and caught only two fish, an amberjack and a cubera snapper, both over 70 pounds. The 20-year veteran said it was the biggest cubera he’s ever caught.

The Rosa Lu crew in Herradura took visitor Mac McCune out for a full day of inshore fishing. They caught only one fish, but it was a whopper: They released a beautiful roosterfish that was almost 100 pounds (see photo). That is the biggest roosterfish I have seen in 10 years here.

The 60 Megabyte raised 30 sailfish during a recent hot bite about 30 miles in front of Los Sueños. A few days before, they caught a 200-pound-plus yellowfin tuna that took three hours to land – seared tuna steaks for all.

Capt. Chris Bernstal on the Kinembe II reports a hit-and-miss offshore bite but recently caught a beautiful snook while inshore fishing south of Quepos.

Jerry Glover of Luna Tours Sport Fishing in Quepos says the inshore fishing has been excellent, with a good snook and snapper bite at the river mouths. Offshore, they’re catching mahimahi, wahoo and tuna. The sailfish bite has been producing three to four fish daily, and several marlin have been released recently. Capt. Dave Dobbins on the Barbarossa in Quepos fished several days recently and saw marlin every day. They’ve also been seeing a lot of sails, but the fish haven’t been very aggressive in feeding, he says.

Sissi Espinoza of Blue Pearl Sportfishing in Quepos reports two to five sailfish releases per day and usually a mahimahi as well. They also enjoyed a good snook bite for a few days.


Southern Pacific


The Boomer Esiason Foundation still has room for those interested in fishing the 2010 Costa Rica Classic, benefitting the Costa Rican Children’s Hospital and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The event will be held March 27 to 28 at the Fish Hook Marina in Golfito. Several NFL celebrity anglers are coming again this year. For more information, visit

Todd Staley of Crocodile Bay Lodge says it’s been a strange year, with one day red-hot, seeing a dozen sailfish, and the next day not, with only a few. He also reports that former baseball star Wade Boggs recently fished at CrocodileBay and caught some sailfish on the fly and his first wahoo.

Bob Baker of Zancudo Pacific Charters reports some good mahimahi and yellowfin action with fish in the 25- to 40-pound range. He also says the sailfish are moving in; boats are starting to see some good numbers each day, though the fish are not always feeding aggressively.




Capt. Eddie Brown on the Bullshark in Tortuguero reports nice weather and flat seas after some late February cold fronts and rain. A couple from the U.S. state of Texas fished recently and caught four nice tarpon when the weather cooperated, and a nice tarpon just trolling in the river when the weather wasn’t cooperating.

Diann Sánchez of Río Colorado Lodge reports improved weather on the Caribbean coast. In four days of fishing, five anglers jumped 50 tarpon and released 13 at the boat. They’ve also caught some nice snook recently.


For the full version of this article, with additional reports from various regions, go to Send fishing reports to Jerry “Bubba” Hallstrom at, or call 2778-7217. To post reports and photos on our online fishing forum, go to

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