We are well into our high dry season now. The weather has been nothing short of perfect. Zero rain, zero clouds, daytime temps about 90’ & lots of sun, and seas have been perfectly flat and calm so far, everyday this year.
This is traditionally peak time for sailfish; we had 5 record-breaking years one after another, for sailfish numbers here on the central pacific coastline of Costa Rica. Last year, at this time 20-30 bites a day less than 35 miles out was the norm:
To be honest, this year has been a bit tough for them so far. They have not shown up in the consistently high numbers we are used to. There have been a few days here and there where a patch of water moves through with a good number of sails but most of the time it tends to be pretty far out; and often, it has been at least 35 miles to find the visible good conditions of bait marking on the bottom machine, and birds working around the surface.
Even 8-12 sailfish bites have been a pretty good day. Closer in 4-10 bites a day has been the norm. It seems like the seasonal bite has been a little late so I expect numbers to be improving over the next few weeks.
Fortunately, there have been some blue and striped marlin still in the mix offshore. They were here in very good numbers through the end of January and have tapered off a bit here in February, but are still common catches.
We had unusually large numbers of juvenile striped marlin around very common to see 20-40 pound stripes on a daily basis for a while, along with normal sized 80-120 striped marlin, blues ranging from 150-400 pounds have been a daily possibility in the mix.
The 3rd leg of the Los Suenos Triple Crown billfish tournament begins Feb 23, so I bet someone is bound to fish them with 50 boats trying to win.
The mahi mahi / dorado numbers were pretty good through January but also have tapered off here through February as expected. There will be occasional catches until their numbers increase again next fall.
Yellowfin tuna have been very consistent catches, available daily if you look for them. They travel with pods of spinner dolphin and have been scattered around anywhere from 18 miles on out. Lots of small schoolies in the 10-50 pound range have been easily caught on cedar plugs, bullers and rubber squid. Larger ones 50 to almost 200 pounds can be targeted with live bait, such as skipjack or frigate mackerel work the best.
The highlight of the past month has been Black marlin inshore.
We have had very good success targeting large black marlin by live baiting with skipjacks around shallow inshore reef areas.
Black marlins are the apex “bucket list” game fish. If they are not on yours they should be. They are the toughest fight, and they often put on a spectacular ariel show second to no other; and they are most likely the largest game fish you can encounter here averaging 400 pounds and getting much bigger.
I have spent a few hours on several days this month targeting black marlin by live baiting on the reef, on average we see about 2 per day of trying. To catch one is the ultimate fish of a lifetime for any angler.
Further in, there have been rooster fish and some cubera snappers in the 150 ft and shallower range. Along the beach, good numbers of small rooster fish under 20 pounds, if you fish right past the breakers with sardines.
We have had several good days of deep drop / bottom fishing in the 300- 600 ft range. Catching plenty of grouper of all sizes.