ASK THE COSTA RICA FISHING  EXPERT 

 

For many years Tico Travel has been known as the leader in all aspects of Costa Rica fishing. Now we have come up with an even better way for you to get the latest and best advice on fishing in Costa Rica.

How? Ask the Costa Fishing Expert!

Get the latest and best advice on the Costa Rica fishing scene.

Costa Rica Fishing Expert: Rob Hodel

Local Knowledge is something you cannot order over the web. Along with the best prices on airfare and car rental Tico Travel offers the best in local knowledge.

There is a Tico Travel employee in Costa Rica traveling to all corners of the country 365 days a year!

This person sends us emails on almost a daily basis updating us on road conditions, new restaurants, outfitters and any changes in the ones we are currently working with.

Tico Travel is proud to be the only company offering this unique service and it shows once again why we are the recognized leaders when it comes to all aspects of Costa Rica Fishing.

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Rob,
Will be doing shore fishing south of Domincial, mid January, what lures, line weight should i have?

Thanks... Gary

Gary,
Make sure you fish the rivermouths, color changes working best. We use live sardines for snook but top water yazuris and rapalas also can get some action. Also you want to bring some jigs of varying colors with some rubber tails if it gets slow.
I also love to have a spoon in there too.
The fish can come in all sizes and there are things in the water that can nick a line so try 16 lb and then adjust up or down. You also want to have some flouro carbon liter material.
You want to fish both sides of both tides. Watch the locals for the "honey holes" but you may also want to consider a trip into the Sierpe river or even Drake's Bay.
If I can help with aythignelse let me know.

Tight Lines,
Rob

 

Hi Rob,
How do moon phases affect the bill fishing?
What is the best moon phase to go in?

Thanks Brad

Brad,
We could talk about this one for ever and there are alot of opinions on moon phases. I always felt that moon phase was just part of the "cocktail" which includes water temp, currents, and bait concentration.
Nonetheless some captians like a few days off the new moon under the theory that its harder for the billfish to find bait in the dark night waters.
I have found that if the water temp is higher than 86 degrees or way below 83 degrees things were slower no matter what the moon.

Rob

 

Rob,
I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me. I will be in the puntarenas area late november. We have rented a house on the beach... Can you surf fish in costa rica like in the atlantic coast beaches of the United states. I am used to surf fishing for rockfish and bluefish from the beaches of Maryland and Virginia. What kind of bait would you use???

Thank you for your advice. Chris

Chris,
You can have great action on the coasts, especially on the Pacific at the rivermouths. I have found small snook love small jigs and the larger ones and snapper go for small mullet or sardines, lives ones work best. Fish the color change in the water.

Rob

 

Hey Mike! I'm travelling back to CR the end of January and looking to score surf with a little less of a crowd. Any suggestions? I have been to Hermosa, Manuel Antonio in the summer during South swell peak season but haven't done too much in dry season when more likely to get NW swells. What spots get the NW swells best?? Do I need to make the trek out to Tamarindo area? Or will Central coast work also?? Esterillos?? I will have my 6 month old with me so really don't want to spend the whole time driving if you know what I mean :)

Thanks for your help!
Alan from Socal

Hey Alan
Sure know what you mean about the driving plus you probably donít want to be too far off the beaten path in case the baby needs care or meds.
The central pacific area is pretty darn consistent so you will probably get some chest high waves in Jan not big but clean.
I have a young one also and itís hard to beat that area for convenience.
Though like you said you are more likely to get bigger waves in the NW area around Tamarindo?.

Good luck please let me know if you need more details or I can assist you in booking any portion of your trip.

 

Can you catch rooster fish from the surf like we do striped bass and blue fish in New Jersey ?.
We can use metal lures or top water plugs and sometimes bait.

thanks,
Norm Hafler

Norm, If you find the right spot..yes you can. Live bait (sardines) work best but you may also pull some snapper out as well as snook (usually further south) at the rivermouths.

Tight Lines,
Rob

 

I am planning a trip to the Playa Hermosa area off Coco Beach around May or June of next year, 2008 to stay in my bosses house there. I was wondering if this is a peak season for sailfish. I love to marlin fish and so does my wife, but we fish the Alabama Gulf Coast. Any tips on GREAT boats in this area?.
Thanks for the help. Jackson

Jackson, You are in luck.
That is a great time to be in that area for billfish. We have some dependable boats we work with that come up from Tamarindo and Flamingo. If you want to be sure have at least a day or two booked in advance call Laura at Tico Travel.
Rob

 

Rob,
What is the best month for bill fishing??
Thanks.

Todd,
I could write a long treatise on this but it looks to me that you want a straight answer. For the best billfishing, accompanied by the best (or most consistently sunny) weather. You want to go in March or February anywhere from Los Suenos to Golfito on the Pacific Coast.
Rob

 

Rob, I'm looking well ahead for a late 2008/early 2009 father/son sportfishing trip to Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Trying to be as economical as possible, where would you recommend (both accommodations and fishing charter), and exactly when on the calendar?
Thanks... James.

Hi James,
I would shoot for early 2009 for the best Pacific Action. There are laots of small boats working out of Quepos as well as some budget hotels. You may also want to try an "all inclusive" option like Crocodile Bay so you know exactly what your costs will be.

Rob

 

Rob,
We are planning a trip to Los Suenos sometime in January 2008. In planning this trip are there any tips on how to pick the best time to go? Are moon phases or tidal charts relevant to bill fishing?
.

DKelly,
You have opened pandora's box with that question. I am sure that I am going to get alot of emails on this answer but here it goes... Its been my experience that there is no "one thing" that can predict how the fishing is going to be. Having said that I will tell you that in my experience the phase that is most popular with most capatins is a few days after the new moon. There are alot of theories but I do not subscribe to most of them. If you can fish three days I can almost gurantee you that you will have at least one (if not all three) be one of your best on the water. Los Suenos is a great facility and there some good boats fishing out of there.

Rob

 

Hi Rob, We are planning a month visit to the Playa Flamingo area for the month of Feb.  I've been trying to find a place to do some inshore fishing, I'm not into the deep sea stuff. I'm looking for a small boat rental with a local that can show me the ropes since this is the first time in Costa Rica. I'm also into flyfishing and wonder if you know of any places on the Pacific side that might be into that.

Thanks in advance. Dave.

Dave,
In Flamingo during the winter months we tend to get what we call "Papagayo Winds" that can get to 30-40 knots and come out of nowhere. For that reason I do not suggest any craft that could withstand the seas created by the winds.
There are fly fishing opportunities inshore but if there is a run across open water to a place like the "bat islands" I would suggest a bigger boat, say at least 30 foot.
 
Rob

 

My wife and I would like to catch some sailfish in late October. Where should we go? (We were in Papagayo Bay in June 2005 and did not catch any sails and only had one hook-up. We did catch a lot of roosters, fortunately).

Hi,
I am actually quite surprised you did not do better in June at Papagayo.
Most people do well there in the summer months... as opposed to October, which is probably one of the less productive times of the year.
Nonetheless if that's the only time you can go then a good crew is essential. Some of my best days at the Bat Islands have come in October.
If you cannot get a good boat then do not waste your time and money.

Rob

 

I  am a travel agent from Louisiana, i have couples who want a really nice resort like punta islita or paradisus playa conchal for lodging but want a deep sea fishing day trip from this area. what would be availible for the months of aug and sept. they are flexible with dates.what type of fishing can they expect at this time of the year and what would be a day rate per person?
 
thanks, Nina

Hi Nina,
I can see about getting a boat from Carillo, which is nearby. Your clients should see sailfish and perhaps marlin. There are also some tuna and dorado depending on the currents.
Contact Chella at Tico Travel about availability please.

Thanks, Rob

 

Mike,
I dig your patient and thorough answers making this the best FAQ section I’ve ran across for any topic.  Your CR knowledge is tremendous.
I’m looking for “lefts”; preferably belly button high to a foot overhead.  My wife, son (11), and I are looking for mid-range accommodations for 7-8 days around mid-March 2008, while we all enjoy a bit of a family vacation as Surf-Papa gets a couple daily sessions in.
Mid-March good Left opportunities in decent yet not posh surroundings <in a nutshell>.

Big thanks for your assistance,
Omni-Appreciative, Stefan

Hello Stefan,
Thanks for the compliments I appreciate it.
It would be my pleasure to assist you in planning you CR Surf trip for you and your family
You may want to consider going to Tamarindo
There is a pretty good left right in front of town and a lot of other good surf breaks within an easy drive as well as a few spots you can get to by boat like Ollie’s point and Witches Rock .

Accommodations
You may want to check out these two places in Tamarindo
Tamarindo Vista Villas: http://www.ticotravel.com/hotels/vista.htm
Tamarindo Diria: http://www.ticotravel.com/hotels/diria.htm
El Milagro: http://www.ticotravel.com/hotels/milagro.htm

Rental Vehicle / Private Transfers
We can have a rental vehicle at the airport when you arrive or we can arrange to have private transfers take you to and from the airport
http://www.ticotravel.com/costarica/car.htm

Once you have gotten a chance to check out the accommodations let me know if you would like some more details.

Talk to you soon

 

Hey Mike, my name is Tyler and i was looking at your website where people were asking you questions about surfing in Costa Rica. Me and my dad are taking a trip to Playa Grande in early August and i was just wondering what the winds where like there that time of year?

Thanks, Tyler

Hello Tyler,
The winds should be very light in Aug it is usually in the winter Months Jan-March when they get strong offshore winds “ Papagayo Winds”
If we can assist you with rental vehicle, accommodations, transfers or would just like some more advise please just let us know Accommodations

Talk to you soon

 

Dear Rob,
Where would you recommend going for 3 days of fishing with my wife as well as enjoying Costa Rica in luxury?
We have never been to Costa Rica but have heard wonderful things about the country. Has the fishing picked up lately?

Thank you

Hi Ben,
For a luxury trip you want to go to Los Sueños. The condos a quite nice and the boats are first class.
The fishing has been steady, even good. The beauty of the big boats at Los Sueños is that they can get pretty much anywhere the fishes are and quite quickly. Whereas the boats in the other areas must pick what they can reach in an hour or so.

Rob

 

What are a couple of resorts you would recommend for a Nov-tarpon/snook fly fishing trip. I donít really need one all inclusive because my wife will only fish a little. For her we would need some eco stuff and nice accommodations.

Thanks

Hi Doug,
I assume you are fly fishing by your email address. My old fishing partner Bill Barnes has ( and I think still does) the record for common snook on 16lb tippet, since 1980 I believe. He owned Casa Mar in Barra Colorado. Its my favorite. Because the lodges are islolated they are all inclusive deals. For more of a nature lodge area you can try Tortuguerro but there is alot of boat traffic there which is not good for fishing on fly. In Tortuguerro look at the Pachira Lodge.

Good Luck

 

Rob, I will be in Costa Rica during the month of June. Will I have a good chance of doing some good offshore fishing? Where should I concentrate?

thanks, Dave

Hi David,
Thanks for that great question David. June is one of those months that brings good fishing offshore just about everywhere in Costa Rica. Nonetheless, I would consider fishing up north, off the Bat Islands. The
Papagallo winds are gone and the "Bats" hold all different kinds of fish when the clean water is in. In fact some of my best days ever have been at there.
That is not to say the action out of Crododile Bay or Quepos won't be great either. Its just a matter of this time of year being the beginning of the "season" up north and beautiful place to fish.

Rob

 

When & where is the best large Tuna fishing? Looking to fish 100lb. plus size tuna.

Thanx Tom

Tom,
Up and down the coast we get many schools of "football" size Tuna which provide great light tackle action. Occasionally we also get some big fish mixed in there with the larger concentrations being off the Central and Southern coast. The time of year is generally in the "off" season of May to December, when floating logs provide cover for baitfish.
This year Crocodile Bay and the "Spanish Fly" out of Los Sueños brought some nice tuna to the dock tipping scale at the 300lb range.
There is s special way to get the big fish out of the schools that most experienced captains know. Ross Roberts out of Quepos and Tucker Colquhoun out of Los Sueños are veteran tuna hunters that can make sure you get you best shot at a big slob.

Rob

 

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