Fishing around for the Best

Costa Rica: Billfishing Paradise

For many, big game fishing means one thing—billfish. And on Costa Rica's Pacific coast—thanks to a fish-friendly ocean current that hits the country's Osa Peninsula and then turns west into the ocean—you'll find one of the world's richest billfishing areas. Behind it, in the happily placed Dulce Gulf, the current deposits its bounty: large numbers of blue marlin, black marlin, and Pacific sailfish.

Roosterfish, snapper, tuna, tripletail, dorado, and all types of jack also prowl these warm waters. Seven rivers and 25 smaller streams feed the Dulce Gulf, which make it a natural hatchery for the bait fish that draw bigger—carnivorous—game fish.
Situated on a private beach on the Dulce Gulf is the Golfito Sailfish Rancho, a premium seaside lodge. Owners Carlos and Maria Davidov are so sure that you'll catch a billfish if you fish at least three days that they offer free lodging on a return trip within the next 12 months for those who missed out the first time. Although the Golfito Lodge is relatively new, the waters around Golfito have long been recognized as one of the world's richest billfishing areas. A week's stay, with 5 days fishing, starts at about $2,100.

An equally good billfishery is the Gulf of Papagayo to the north. Blue and black marlin are abundant and the sailfishing is considered by many to be the world's best. Anglers can expect 10 to 30 billfish shots a day with multiple hook-ups a regular occurrence. "This is a great place for sailfish—we caught 19 sailfish in three days, nine our first day. We raised about 40 sailfish and two marlin, landing one blue that was about 250 pounds," one visitor reported. "There is also great light-tackle fishing for dorado, wahoo, and yellowfin."

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 30 May 2001 | Last Updated: 3 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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