Costa Rica

mjkirshner

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Looks like we have taken a total left turn on the honeymoon, and have decided on Costa Rica instead of Europe (and I can't say that I am disappointed!). We are going in May, and will be near Las Catalinas, in the Guanacaste province, along the northern Pacific coast, staying a few days there and then moving inland for a couple days. This is not a dedicated fishing trip, but if the chance comes up, I'd like to be prepared. The first few days will be near the beach, so I would like to try some DIY fishing there, and any information/advice would be welcome. I have 8 and 9 weight saltwater rods with floating and intermediate/sinktip lines for each. What would I likely be fishing for and what flies might work best? I am not yet certain where we will be when me move inland, so I don't know if there will be any fishing opportunities. Based on the limited research I have done, it seems as if rainbow bass/guapote could be a possibility inland.
 

gpwhitejr

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I have done a fair amount of world travel (including Europe and Asia) and I love Costa Rica. We had great sportfishing there (I didn't didn't do any flyfishing), scuba diving, paddleboarding, fireworks on the beach on New Years eve, I am jealous.

Have a great time: pura vida!
 

okaloosa

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I have been to CR 3 times, never did DIY...always chartered a boat for sails,,,
very exciting fishing....May would be beginning of Pacific sail and dorado season there.
if you can afford to charter a boat I would suggest that....
 

Matt4.0

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Subscribing to this in case anyone has experience with DIY and/or shore fly fishing. Been to CR once and it’s on the short list for next vacations. Great country to visit but I’ve found very limited fly fishing opportunities in my research (short of the jungle tarpon lodge, but that doesn’t sound like it fits in your vacation description any better than it fits with what I can talk my wife in to. Lol)
 

flafly14

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May on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica? I'd ditch the flyrods and take a surfboard!
 

First Light

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Will do. A little more research found that snook, jacks, and roosterfish can be caught from the shore on the Pacific coast. I don't know how common any of them are where I will be.
I've been to CR ff'g a lot, but mostly in the central and south Pacific coasts. Those species are available along the central and southern coastlines, but not so easy from the beach as CR beaches are not particularly beach ff'g friendly (too shallow), "except" around river mouths where you will be more likely to find those species. However, sharks also hang out around the river mouths, so be weary of that issue. :shocking:

The NW CR coastline is more rocky than the central and southern coastlines and you will find fish around the rocky areas, but most of those areas are difficult to ff. A friend actually caught a small yellowfin tuna casting off of the rocks near Playa Hermosa, but on a spinning rod(sic).

Another issue in NW CR is wind, as that area of the country is more predictably windy than it's central and southern coastlines due to the mountains along the northern CR and Nicaraguan coastline. Hopefully you will not experience this.

I wouldn't want to throw anything smaller than you 8 wt and would probably start out with the 9 wt. A floating line with a big popper will work for all the species you will encounter, but if all you have for those rods is an intermediate then toss anything that looks like a baitfish - including a Clouser or Lefty's Deceiver.

Inshore/freshwater fishing in CR is a different animal, and I would not count on being near freshwater fish unless you do a lot of pre-planning.
 

okaloosa

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I've been to CR ff'g a lot, but mostly in the central and south Pacific coasts. Those species are available along the central and southern coastlines, but not so easy from the beach as CR beaches are not particularly beach ff'g friendly (too shallow), "except" around river mouths where you will be more likely to find those species. However, sharks also hang out around the river mouths, so be weary of that issue. :shocking:.
don't forget the crocs at the mouths of the rivers.
 

First Light

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don't forget the crocs at the mouths of the rivers.
Yes, and they are also "up in" the rivers. I can't remember the name of the big river on the way from San Jose to Quepos but there is a long high bridge where lots of people stop to walk out on the bridge and view the crocs down below, some of which had to be 12-15 ft'rs.

Well on one trip we watched a guy drop a whole chicken down off of the bridge with a hook in it, and he was attached to a heavy bent butt conventional marlin/tuna rod & a Penn International 80W reel & fighting belt. The croc of course ate the chicken and the fight was on. Three guys finally wore the croc out, after which they had to pay some crazy Costa Rican guy $10 to go down and cut the leader.
 

mjkirshner

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I've been to CR ff'g a lot, but mostly in the central and south Pacific coasts. Those species are available along the central and southern coastlines, but not so easy from the beach as CR beaches are not particularly beach ff'g friendly (too shallow), "except" around river mouths where you will be more likely to find those species. However, sharks also hang out around the river mouths, so be weary of that issue. :shocking:

The NW CR coastline is more rocky than the central and southern coastlines and you will find fish around the rocky areas, but most of those areas are difficult to ff. A friend actually caught a small yellowfin tuna casting off of the rocks near Playa Hermosa, but on a spinning rod(sic).

Another issue in NW CR is wind, as that area of the country is more predictably windy than it's central and southern coastlines due to the mountains along the northern CR and Nicaraguan coastline. Hopefully you will not experience this.

I wouldn't want to throw anything smaller than you 8 wt and would probably start out with the 9 wt. A floating line with a big popper will work for all the species you will encounter, but if all you have for those rods is an intermediate then toss anything that looks like a baitfish - including a Clouser or Lefty's Deceiver.

Inshore/freshwater fishing in CR is a different animal, and I would not count on being near freshwater fish unless you do a lot of pre-planning.
I don't think I will be near any river mouths, just the beach. Shallow is not an issue with snook, though. They say that when fishing for snook, if you are up to your knees in the water, you are too deep. The one and only snook I have ever caught was no more than knee-deep. In fact, I was in my kayak and had to get out and tow it because the water was so shallow. I have seen snook and jacks chasing mullet in water so shallow, that the baitfish actually beach themselves to evade the predators, then flop their way back into the water. I have floating, sinktip, and intermediate lines for those rods, so I will probably just fish as I would for snook here. As I said, this is not principally a fishing trip, but I will be up early and my wife likes to sleep in, so I will have time to kill every morning, and can think of many worse ways to kill a couple of hours than walking down to the beach and throwing a fly line in the surf.
 

First Light

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I don't think I will be near any river mouths, just the beach. Shallow is not an issue with snook, though. They say that when fishing for snook, if you are up to your knees in the water, you are too deep. The one and only snook I have ever caught was no more than knee-deep. In fact, I was in my kayak and had to get out and tow it because the water was so shallow. I have seen snook and jacks chasing mullet in water so shallow, that the baitfish actually beach themselves to evade the predators, then flop their way back into the water. I have floating, sinktip, and intermediate lines for those rods, so I will probably just fish as I would for snook here. As I said, this is not principally a fishing trip, but I will be up early and my wife likes to sleep in, so I will have time to kill every morning, and can think of many worse ways to kill a couple of hours than walking down to the beach and throwing a fly line in the surf.
Understand. But keep in mind that fishing for snook along the beach or mangroves, bay, etc., in the US bears no resemblance to DIY fishing for snook along the beach in the CR.
 

First Light

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^ Holy sugar - there's no reason you could not do that with a fly rod as long as you found a kayak rental (using a big whitish Deceiver fly) - AND you had water that was that calm. The waters in central and southern CR are predictably calm, but not so much in NW CR.
 

duker

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If you go to strungmag.com and click on the "Current Issue" link at the top of the page, it'll take you to a digital copy of the issue. Story on Costa Rica and machaca is at p.104.

Scott
 

mjkirshner

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Understand. But keep in mind that fishing for snook along the beach or mangroves, bay, etc., in the US bears no resemblance to DIY fishing for snook along the beach in the CR.
Care to elaborate? Is it just the shallow water depth that you mentioned before or something else?

Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk
 

okaloosa

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I'm sure everyone wants to fish the salt, or the mangroves, but there's a freshwater drift boat guide down there too. Their "flies" are imitations of the tree flowers that the fish like to eat for the nectar:

On Rio Nino, Fish Gone Wild for Colorful Flower Ties - The New York Times
Once you have strip set the fly on a 120 lb billfish offshore in the Pacific using straight 100 lb mono as a leader you will know why it is easy to resist floating an imitation tree flower down a stream ;)
 
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