I came to Costa Rica on vacation in 1998 and caught three sailfish, two dorado and a 200-pound tuna. I was in love.
Within a year, I sold everything, quit a good job in Nebraska and moved to Costa Rica with two dogs, three cats and all of my fishing gear.
For the next five years, I fished all over Costa Rica and Central America. In 2004, I relocated to Jacó, on the central Pacific coast, to be closer to the ocean.
I opened a fish taco stand in Jacó called “bubba’s.”My food is popular with the guys in the marina, so I get fresh fishing reports daily.
For the past few years, I’ve written monthly fishing reports for a local publication called “El Chunche.” I also publish a pocket fishing guide called the “Costa Rica Fishing Report.”
I’ve been a fan of The Tico Times’ fishing column for years, and it’s with great enthusiasm that I now tackle the responsibility of carrying on the tradition.
My goals are to provide readers current fishing reports and forecasts, information on fish species and seasons, and occasional reviews of fishing lodges and charter boat services. We also want to provide an outlet for fisherman to post fishing reports, both here and online, and to help protect and preserve Costa Rica’s oceans while promoting responsible fishing.
I invite you to participate in this column and ask you to help by sending me your contact information, fishing reports, photos, forecasts and any comments or suggestions.
You’ll find my contact information at the end of this article.
Now for the fishing! Sadly,my first duty as fishing columnist is to report loss and damage caused by last week’s Tropical Storm Alma, which pounded the Pacific coast Thursday and sent fishermen up and down the coast scrambling to protect their boats and equipment. The Quepos area on the central coast was especially hard hit, with almost a dozen fishing boats sinking the afternoon of March 29.
Brandon Nappy of Fish Costa Rica in Quepos sent us this firsthand account of the storm: “As the water came from the mountains and plowed through the rivers, it shut down bridges and flooded homes. The unstoppable surge came through the narrow estuary where the boats were all moored together in a giant ball for protection. It broke the mooring lines and sent the entire ball of boats floating down the river and into the ocean, still tied together.
“Between nine and 11 boats were lost as they turned sideways and upside down, crashing into each other before taking the final plunge.
“Thank God no one was seriously injured as captains went down with their ships and crew members swam the river to get to their battered and sinking boats. It is a true miracle that nobody died.”
Prior to the storm, Nappy reported the fishing was up and down in May, but the clients were going home happy. Most boats were fishing a submerged rock just offshore called the “26” and averaging two or three sailfish and something for the dinner table.
Capt. Dave Dobbins of Fish La Manta reported decent fishing last month, with four sailfish releases and a few dorado for the grill. He also saw some good snook fishing before the full moon mid-month.
Leanne Batten of Quepos Sailfishing Charters reported a good bite with boats releasing three to eight sailfish per day, as well as a few nice marlin. Keith Ruhr, fishing the On the Fly, caught a 350-pound blue marlin. The Frenzy reported a double hook-up on marlin: one blue and one black.
Farther north out of Los Sueños Marina, the sailfish bite was average for the month of May, but there seemed to be a few more dorado, tuna and maybe a marlin if you were lucky. Look for more of the same in June.
Capt. Dana Thomas of Ocean Adventures caught a couple of sailfish, a blue marlin, several yellowfin tuna and a couple of big dorado, while Capt. Bill Kieldsen with Costa Rica Fishing Charters landed two sailfish, a striped marlin, a couple of nice tuna and a big dorado. Capt. RJ Lilly of Macushla Costa Rica released seven sailfish and a couple of nice dorado.
In the northwestern province of Guanacaste, Richard and Melissa Chellemi of the Gamefisher II out of Flamingo reported good fishing in May with decent numbers of sailfish and some marlin.
Capt. Adam Hermson of CR Gamefish out of Tamarindo reported an average sailfish bite for May with two or three releases per day, lots of tuna, some big dorado and the occasional marlin. He said the fishing will only get better in the next few months.
Petra Schoep of Tamarindo Sportfishing reported an average sailfish bite mixed with some marlin, dorado, tuna and roosterfish.
Curt Langford, fishing on the Salsa, caught a nice blue marlin estimated at 250 pounds. Schoep said June is usually a good month for blue marlin, sailfish, dorado, tuna and wahoo.
Out of Sierpe, on the southern Pacific coast, Rande Schuck of Aldea del Río reported a good tuna and wahoo bite to 40 pounds on light tackle. He said the dorado bite will pick up as the rain starts, and the billfish bite is generally 30 to 40 miles out this time of year.
Over on the Caribbean coast, Dan Wise of the Río Colorado Lodge reported that the next three months are expected to be drier than normal, according to the weather service.
He said the mild weather should make it easier to catch tarpon, snook, wahoo and more. The lodge is offering a summer special of $100 per fishing day, per person, through the end of August.
Please send fishing reports, photos and comments to Jerry “Bubba” Hallstrom at [email protected], or call 2778-7217 or 8841-5109. To post reports and photos on The Tico Times’ online fishing forum, go to ticotimes.net/fishingforum.