Offshore Fishing Costa Rica
Offshore fishing is (arguably) what Costa Rica is most famous for! With the fertile currents of the Pacific Ocean passing right along the coast of Costa Rica, we have what many would say is the best offshore fishing grounds anywhere in the world. Depending on the areas you are fishing from, average run times to the offshore fishing grounds is between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. Sometimes less and sometimes more.
Where is the best place to go offshore fishing in Costa Rica?
Anywhere along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica offers phenomenal offshore fishing. However, there are some key areas. When booking a trip, pay attention to areas with a more accessible charter fleet and marinas. As well as proximity to areas that are most famous for offshore fishing.
Popular areas for offshore fishing in Costa Rica are: Golfito, Drake Bay in the South Pacific.
Quepos and Los Suenos on the Central Pacific.
Tamarindo and Papagayo Gulf in the north.
All these areas except for Tamarindo, have a marina that is home to some of the best fishermen anywhere in the world. Tamarindo has a great fleet of boats, but due to the lack of a marina, they are all moored boats, located right in the bay that protects Tamarindo Beach.
Quepos, which is known as the fishing capital of Costa Rica, has a long standing history of being the go to destination for offshore and inshore anglers. And is only getting more popular because of the brand new Pez Vela Marina. Quepos now hosts the most prestigious offshore tournament in the world, The Offshore World Championship. Get the scoop on what these tournaments are all about and 2018 dates here. As well as 3 more amazing tournaments (Pelagic Rockstar, Quepos Cup, Marina Pez Vela Open). OWC has been held in Quepos, Costa Rica since 2012 and is the holy grail of fishing tournaments. More than 60 teams from all over the world, compete here every spring. To take part, teams have to first win an OWC qualifying tournament somewhere in the world. Then, they compete in the productive offshore waters of Quepos, Costa Rica to be crowned “Offshore World Champions”.
When is the offshore fishing season in Costa Rica?
The truth be told, offshore fishing Costa Rica is great year-round. However, some areas have proved to be better during certain times of the year for different species. As with most fishing seasons, these are not scientific or exact, but they do provide a good base to work with, so your expectations on what can be caught are set correct.
The most famous fishing season for Costa Rica is when our large schools of Pacific sailfish show up in the central pacific areas between Drake Bay and Los Suenos. With Quepos being right in the heart of it all. These schools typically arrive in Costa Rica around December and remain here until April. December to April in the central pacific area, is considered the absolute best months for sail fishing in Costa Rica. But, don’t let that fool you as we have sailfish in Costa Rica year-round.
May – August and November, are know as ‘transitional months’, when all offshore species can be caught on an offshore fishing trip.
Even though December through April, might get the most attention and buzz, the fishing during the off sailfish season is still exceptional. On any given day during the ‘off season’, you will likely catch marlin, sailfish, tuna and dorado (mahi mahi). This is the time of year as well when we see more marlin around as they coincide with the yellow fin tuna runs we get during the summer months.
In September and October, the offshore fishing is still great, but the weather can be a bit wet compared to other months. This does not affect the fishing, but if you are traveling with family and want to enjoy the other activities Costa Rica is famous for, you might get more rain you would like while onshore. However, if you want to catch fish and don’t mind the possibility of rain in the afternoons, these months are great for meat fish and billfish. There is not much pressure on the fish and because many boats do maintenance and it is just not a peak travel time in general. If your goal is filling the coolers with fresh tuna or dorado, there is the best time to come.
The other benefit of fishing during or off season is pricing. As this is a tourist off season, there is great savings to be had with lodging due to seasonal rate changes.
What will I catch on a offshore fishing Costa Rica trip?
For offshore fishing, there are 4 key species you will target on any given day and then a few bonus species that can show their face at any time.
The primary target species for offshore fishing in Costa Rica is the Pacific sailfish. This species is found in the central pacific year-round, with the biggest concentration during the months of December – April.
The second species that is commonly found on the offshore trip is blue marlin. Costa Ric is quickly becoming one of the most talked about destinations in the world for incredible blue marlin fishing.
The offshore FADS/Seamounts are gaining the most buzz, but the traditional day charter is also seeing great results because of this incredible fishery attracting more marlin closer in then ever before.
The third species that you can catch on your offshore day is dorado or mahi mahi. This feisty pelagics, which make great table fair as well. These fish can be caught any time of year in Costa Rica and seen more often during the off season months as the currents carry a lot of trash and debris, which provides the perfect hunting grounds for the mahi mahi.
The fourth most common species here is yellow fin tuna. For the longest time, this species has not been easy to target in Costa Rica, but due to some new regulations on the purse sein boats (Tuna Boats), the populations have exploded and yellow fin tuna has become a species we can target pretty much year round.
For the bonus species, you can also get a shot at Striped Marlin, Black Marlin and the occasional Wahoo.
Who can fish offshore?
Offshore fishing is great for anyone that wants to fish. There is no real skill level needed and it is fun for kids as well as adults. Sometimes a bit of patience is needed during the slow times throughout the day, but once the line starts screaming off the reel, everyone is alert and in awe at the show these offshore species put on behind the boat.