Fishing Costa Rica for Inshore Monsters

Most everyone knows about the record setting billfish catches all along the entire pacific coast of Costa Rica. What seems to be undiscovered is the fantastic inshore fishing Costa Rica has to offer.  World record setting snook, roosterfish, cubera snapper and multiple other hard fighting species inhabit the beaches, river mouths, rocky outcropping and near shore reefs.  Perhaps the best thing about the inshore fishery is that it’s not as subject to the seasonality as the offshore pelagic species.  Green season, high season, these inshore monsters just don’t care. I have seen pictures of rooster fish estimated at 120 pounds and snook that would crush existing records. It is not uncommon for anglers fishing the river mouths to catch snook in the 30-pound range and other giants of forty, fifty and even sixty pounds.  Rooster fish are common with forty to seventy pounds being the norm and of course the occasional behemoth of over a hundred.

Photo courtesy of Tranquilo Charters
Photo courtesy of Tranquilo Charters

Up in the north Pacific region it’s the same story.  We spent a couple of days at the beautiful Papagayo Marina and had the opportunity to spend the morning fishing with the crew of the Fish Tale II. ( We fished the area south of the Papagayo gulf. A beautiful area of large outcroppings of rock formations and small islands. We had caught a few pacific barracudas when I hooked up to something on one of the bonitos we were slow trolling.  I can best sum up the battle by saying imagine being hooked up to a V-8 engine block tumbling down the side of a mountain.  After a great battle, we released a cubera snapper in the 40 pound range.  Shortly after we managed to hook up to a roosterfish in the 40 to 60 pound range but he released himself 20 feet from the boat. It was a fantastic morning. A big thank you to Marina Papagayo and their General Manager Capt. Dan Eaffaldano for the incredible hospitality. Inshore fishing here is actually mostly done from boats just offshore. The river mouths and beaches can be accessed by foot in many areas and the fishing can be just as good as from a boat. When you come to Costa Rica don’t miss out on the inshore fishing. You can spend days exploring and catching multiple species while enjoying some of the most incredible scenery in the world.

Tom Hauer

Publisher Coastal Angler Magazine-Costa Rica