Well the peak tourist season has finally started to slow down here
The Peak tourist “High Season” runs from December through April here, and pretty much corresponds with what most people consider the traditional peak sailfish season here.
It is also the driest time of the year, where we no rain at all, cloudless skies, flat seas and daytime temps in the upper 80’s, night time temps in the upper 70’s almost every day.
It is the perfect opportunity for people to escape the cold fronts of North America and experience some hot fishing and tropical warmth.
In 2012 , January was pretty spotty offshore, we would have a few good days followed by some dead ones.
This year, 2013, the high season started with the sailfish showing up in full force.
From the last week of December through the first week of February, we experienced true world class sailfishing a short 20 to 25 mile run from the marina, on very calm seas. Most days you would not move more than a few miles from where you put your lines out and caught your first one.
When you get your first fish to the boat, and there are 3 or 4 swimming alongside, it is a pretty good indicator you are in the right spot.
There was not a bad day for 6 weeks straight. On a “slow” day, we would complain about getting only 15 bites and catching 8 to 10. On an average day we would get 20-30 bites, landing 10 to 20. On a the better days you could expect having 30 to 50 shots and landing as many as you could handle.
Our best day aboard EPIC, we were 25 for 40 with some of our regular guests hooking all the fish.
Even days where we tried to avoid sails, we would run 20 miles in the opposite direction and still get 15 bites, they were good numbers of them everywhere, in all directions. Raising several multiples- doubles, triples, quads or more, was common everyday.
The first leg of the 2013 Los Suenos Signature series Jan 17-19th, even broke records with 38 boat releasing 1410 sails and 2 marlin over 3 days of fishing.
I do get allot of people who say they are not interested in catching sails, that they have been on a few charters and “reeled in a bunch”.
The truth is if you are just reeling them in after a mate hooks them and hands you the rod; not getting involved and trying to hook them yourself, it will get boring sooner or later. Which is why I always encourage people to get involved and participate. Rather than just sit there and watch.
Learning to hook them “bait and switch/ circle hook “style is the real game that gets people hooked. It is hard to get bored in the chaos of a quad of hungry sails rising in the spread trying to eat.
It is a game of attention, reflexes, reaction time and smooth performance -beating the fish to the bait and controlling the bite, feeding, and hooking the fish. It definitely clears your mind of everything else as you focus on seeing a fish rise on the bait or teaser, rushing to the (correct) rod, getting the bait in position, and freespooling (dropping back ) at just the right time and for the right amount of time, to successfully hook the fish, time after time.
So much going on in seconds, it can be very rewarding or very frustrating.
There were also a good number Mahi/ dorado around throughout Jan, but not every boat, every day would catch them, most were in the 20 to 50lb range.
The first week of February, we even had a good sailfish bite just 7 to 12 miles out in front of Los Suneos.
Around mid- February we had the water turn and lots of green water moved in pushing the sails offshore ( last year we had a very similar problem with red tide) there were still sails to get caught, but not as many, and we were having to go 35 to 45 miles vs 20 to 25 miles.
This Something very important to consider If you are coming here to fish is to make sure you charter a boat fast enough, capable and willing to run the distance when the fish happen to be further out. If got out there, you could get easily get 10 to 15 bites in a few hours once you were on them, With some Mahi /dorado very possibly in the mix as well . Marlin stayed pretty scarce through February this year as well.
Inshore was good, provided you could get bait. The schools of blue runners were not as thick as last year, and the sardines where a bit late and spotty showing up. Getting bait was key to success inshore (as it always is here). There is usually good to excellent inshore fishing here year round, but not many people are consistently good at it.
The roosterfish bite was pretty solid if you could get a few runners, moonfish or bonitos, You would get bites and catch some fish. There were good numbers of Cubera snappers and big amberjacks around as well.
By the second half of February the bait started showing up more consistently and the inshore started getting easier as you could fill your livewells quicker with more bait
Over the past few year march had been the most consistent offshore action with high numbers of billfish to get caught, but this year the dirty water offshore continued to hang around through early march, making us have to work for it, still having to run at least 35 to 40 miles most days to find fish but there were sails and mahi to be found, by mid march it had cleared up quite a bit and ther was good action to be found about 30 miles out.
But the highlight of March has the inshore fishing really turned on red hot .
Up in the gulf of Nicoya,
The Cubera snappers really turned on, mixed in with plenty of big AJ’s. I had several days where we kept 1 and RELEASED 6 to 10 cuberas in the 30 to 60 lb range, along with several big AJs, lots of other jacks & some roosters and other types of smaller snappers. There was plenty of big fish around to bend rods and pull drag.
I encourage everyone to practice a conservative-minded approach when catching big snappers (and roosters). They are long lived and slow growing and don’t get replaced. Everybody wants to catch one, but on days when you catch multiples I feel it is better to release for the future, rather than kill every one.
By April the water had cleared up pretty well, and decent fishing for sails and mahi could be found 30 miles on most days, by mid April we had excellent fishing 20 miles from los Suenos many days. Not just sails, but mahi and a unusally high numbers of wahoos around as well, but most hoos were lost on the normal mono leaders most boats are pulling for billfish. We have been catching a few on lures (intended for marlin) with cable hook rigs.
the 2013 Offshore World Championship was held here at Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, Costa Rica April 14-18. ( I work out of Los Suenos)
68 teams of anglers (up to 5 anglers per team) from 21 countries around the globe came to compete. the tournament sponsored by Marlin Magazine, Saltwater Sportsman, employed 71boats for the teams, pretty much every registered charter boat on the pacific coast of Costa Rica from northern Guanacaste, to Golfito in the south, assembled to compete.
Angler teams rotated boats daily by random draw and fished for 4 days,
The Bahamian Team (who actually practiced fished with me for 3 days prior to the tournament) won 1st place top angler team with 29 sailfish releases and one 27 pound Mahi.
1st Place Boat, Top Captain and Mate went to yours truly, Captain MJ and my mate Randal on my 33' L&H walk around- EPIC
guiding the teams which fished with me to 26 sailfish ad 1 blue Marlin Release with 5700 points
beating the second and 3rd place boats and crews, with 4835 and 4827 points respectively.
The past few weeks the offshore action has been very good, with much more than just sails. Over the last half of April, we have begun to see marlin (mostly blues and stripeys) on a regular basis, after months of them being scarce. We have started to average at least one shot per trip, since the last week of april. sometimes trolling, sometimes livebaiting on floating debris (wood, ropes, trash).
Floating debris is becoming more common as is does this time of year through November. Often loaded with small yellowfins, some dorado, tripletails and many other species, offering a variety of fishing opportunities offshore, rather than just trolling
The larger yellowfin begin showing up here in May and are here pretty steady through October, the best time seems to be late June – September.
Coming months May – October
The traditional “green Season” here, means we do start to get some rain here and there, but it is usually no worse than being in Florida at the same time. Most days start sunny, get cloudy late afternoon, and rain in late afternoon or evening for a few hours 3 or 4 days a week.
Still sails around (year round) but marlin fishing and tuna fishing significant improves. Will post more later
Last edited by EpicFishingCR; 05-10-13 at 07:17 PM.