A Guide To Costa Rica Fishing Species
Posted: Sep 12, 2017
Dorado, dolphin and mahi-mahi are all the same fish, and are here year round with November, December, January, being the best months. If you want to have a shot at the biggest dorado, come fish Costa Rica during June and July and you will have your best shot. And who wouldn’t want a shot, seeing that mahi-mahi is served around the world and is one of the best tasting fish out there. They are a very distinct looking fish, with bright yellow, green, and blue colors below its elongated dorsal fin. When underwater, its colors reflect the light and create an amazing glow off the fish. The world record dorado caught is 88 pounds, but more commonly they can be found in the three feet 40 pound range when travelling in schools.
Dorado live very short lives, 5 years on average, but have some of the fastest growth rates for fish in the world. They have a very diverse diet, feeding on squid, crabs, smaller fish, and other smaller invertebrates. They are often founds on the surface, sometimes clustered under floating debris or seaweed patches. A lot of captains in Costa Rica will hook up on dolphin while going after sail fish or marlin. They are typically caught while trolling lures or ballyhoo, but can also be found when casting towards piles of debris or seaweed. Catch them on fly or conventional tackle; hook up on one with light tackle and be ready for the fight of a lifetime. Catch a few dorado and bring some in, we will find you a place to cook em’ up!
Blue Marlin Fishing:
A blue marlin is the most common of your marlins here as they cruise the Costa Rica waters year round, and most readily found in October, November, December although the last few years we have encountered a great number of them year round. Blue marlin are one of the most prized fish to be caught in all of Costa Rica, and arguably all of the world. Their strength and beauty is unmatched, growing up to 14 feet and weighing nearly 2,000 pounds. They are among the fastest and most aggressive fish in the open ocean, making for a great fight for any fisherman daring enough to challenge them. They are a very migratory fish, travelling thousands of miles as they cruise through the blue water. The average blue weights in at about 300 pounds, a monstrous fish by anyone’s standards.Blue marlin live in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean, with their highest concentrations being off the coast of Central America.
In Costa Rica, the best areas for blue marlin fishing are the Central Pacific area (Los Suenos and Quepos fishing grounds are the most popular) or the Southern Pacific (Golfito, Drake Bay). Most are found swimming above natural humps and shelfs that form on the ocean floor, which cause currents and create concentrations of bait. Marlin feed primarily on species of tuna and other smaller preferably live bait like mackerel and squid, as well as lures. Marlin will often use their spear-like bill and attempt to wound a school of baitfish, then sweep back to chomp down their wounded victims. Nothing beats the thrill of watching a 600 lb. marlin track and gulp down your fly, something that I have been lucky enough to experience a few times. It is illegal to keep and eat marlin here in Costa Rica, a great protective measure that is successfully preserving such a beautiful species. If you have ever read Hemingway’s classic The Old Man In the Sea, you should know that the fish the old man desperately battles is in fact a blue marlin. Maybe you will get the chance to hook up on a fish like that on your next Costa Rica fishing trip; let’s just hope you don’t fight it for days and that the sharks don’t get to it!
Black Marlin Fishing:
The black marlin are most abundant in Costa Rica in June, July, and August, although like their cousin the blue marlin, we have been seeing more and more year round. Black marlin fishing is also best around the Central and Southern Pacific areas of Costa Rica. They too will feed on tuna, squid, mackerel, and ballyhoo, as well as artificial lures like a Rapala or imitation squid. In terms of flies, they will crush poppers or streamers with a ferocity unmatched by any other fish species. The world record black marlin caught was nearly 1,600 pounds. With an average weight of around 200 lbs, they truly are a magnificent sight cruising above the shelves looking for prey. Like the blue, black marlin in Costa Rica are great fighting fish, and they are able to reach speeds of up to 65 mph. Whether it be a black or blue marlin, Costa Rican waters will always provide you with the opportunity to catch one of these beasts of the sea.
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