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Attention anglers! Following the gradual easing of international pandemic travel restrictions, November 1, 2020 saw Costa Rica open up to visitors from most of the world. 

Intrepid saltwater anglers especially should rejoice at the perfect timing. Right on the heels of the opening comes Costa Rica’s annual world-class billfish bite. From December through April, the waters of the Pacific, especially off Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast, teem with marlin and sailfish. Anglers from the four corners of the globe come to catch them. Seldom if ever are they disappointed. 

The country’s two most popular destinations during this period are Los Sueños Marina near Jacó and Pez Vela Marina in Quepos, both with incredible sportfishing fleets. These marinas also host some of the world’s most prestigious billfish tournaments. The acclaimed Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown and the Offshore World Championship at Pez Vela are just two of many.

 

Guanacaste also has terrific fishing

Tourists vacationing in Guanacaste this season should also enjoy memorable sportfishing adventures. By heading to Tamarindo, Flamingo, Playas del Coco and resorts in Papagayo, for instance, you can easily make arrangements with experienced local charter captains. There are ALWAYS billfish around, with the added bonus of yellowfin tuna and dorado (mahi-mahi).

A word of caution: the seas off the central Pacific coast are flat between December and March. But in Guanacaste, the refreshing Papagayo winds sometimes make it difficult to get offshore. Listen to your captain/guide!

But don’t let the winds deter you from enjoying a unique sportfishing adventure. Inshore fishing is superb, and the action non-stop. Even if the winds are up, you will be able to hug the shore and target tasty snapper and grouper, tenacious gamefish like roosterfish and jack, along with tripletail and rainbow runner. You might even encounter a small shark.

 

Catch-and-release for marlin, sailfish and roosterfish

By the way, Costa Rica sportfishing is totally catch-and-release for certain species. Marlin, sailfish, sharks, tarpon and roosterfish have to go back into the water. It’s the law! But you can keep anything edible you catch, such as tuna, dorado, snapper and grouper. 

The mate’s job is to cut or fillet the fish as you like for you. Most restaurants in sportfishing destinations will prepare your catch to your preferences, charging a plate price.

 

Getting ready for billfish season

In anticipation of this year’s sportfishing season, many boats have just gone back into the water after major overhauls. The boat you charter should be in tip-top shape. Captains, mates and skilled crews scraped and painted hulls. Marine mechanics rebuilt and fine-tuned skittish, ornery inboard diesels. Marine electricians spent time examining and repairing every inch of sportfishing yachts’ intricate and delicate electrical systems. 

So if you haven’t already, think of some fishing while you are visiting Costa Rica this season. It’s an exceptionally rewarding adventure for everyone: men and women, experienced anglers and novices. It’s fun for couples, and especially for families with kids.

Dip your rods. Tight lines!

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