Coastal Angler Magazine | January 2020 | Costa Rica Edition

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Winter's

Best Bites

Switch It Up Offshore

PHOTO COURTESY OF DARYN ANDREW WHITE VOLUME 25 • ISSUE 298

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Photo courtesy of Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service, bigolfish.com

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hether saltwater or fresh, good striper fishing awaits those hearty enough to brave winter on the water. So layer-up, zip into that parka and go. Some of the biggest fish of the year are feeding right now. On the southern end of their fall migration, striped bass are holed up for the winter off North Carolina. They’ll be chowing down and following schools of bait up and down the coast from Wilmington to the Outer Banks. Many years, Oregon Inlet sets up as the epicenter for the bite, but striped bass can be found in most area inlets. The key is to follow the birds and find bass blowing up on menhaden, glass minnows or eels. The action can sometimes come in close enough that surf casters can catch stripers from the beaches of the Outer Banks, but the best bet is to hire a local captain with recent intel and a fast boat. A little farther south, Wilmington offers another option, as stripers pile into the Cape Fear River, where they hold around structure, drop-offs and creekmouths and can be caught on artificials or even flies. These resident fish are a separate group from the highly migratory fish that winter off the Outer Banks. Cape Fear stripers are catch-and-release only, and must be returned to the water immediately. Keep an eye out for tagged stripers swimming these waters. Finally, on freshwater reservoirs across the Southern states and up through the Mid-Atlantic, fisheries stocked with striped bass produce pretty well for anglers this time of year. While smaller schoolie-sized stripers tend to get tough during the coldest temperatures of the year, the larger fish will still feed. The action won’t be as fast as dropping downlines to massive summertime schools, but the fish that do eat tend to be larger. Tactics will vary depending on the fishery, but when water temperatures stabilize or during a warming trend of a few days, the biggest fish in the lake tend to move up shallow—sometimes very shallow— behind schools of small shad. Find the flickering shad, and you’ll find the stripers. Sometimes you’ll see them plucking bait near the surface. Stealth is imperative in catching them, and a soft plastic such as a Fluke will usually out-produce live baits in such situations. It’s easier to cast and slowly retrieve an artificial. Another popular tactic is to cover a lot of water trolling wide spreads of small live baits or pulling an umbrella rig loaded with swimbaits, or both. When prospecting like this, it’s wise to seek out good information on where the stripers are holding. On many lakes they spend winters down by the dam. On others, you might find them way up in the creeks.

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12/10/19 9:01 AM


It’s boat show time! And the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), which produces 18 boat and sportshows across the country, is investing in more experiences and education than ever to meet the desires of attendees and inspire the next generation of the boating workforce. Attendee favorites will return, too, from fishing ponds to Super Thursdays. Here are some 2020 show season highlights. • With a need for skilled workers in the marine industry (more than 31K open jobs), NMMA boat shows are expanding Boating Career Days, offering the chance for students and job seekers to learn more about opportunities in the boating industry, get career advice from marine professionals and check out job openings. Last year the program attracted more than 550 students across eight shows. In 2020, the program is expanding to 14 markets: New York, Baltimore, St. Louis, Kansas City, Nashville, Louisville, Atlanta, New England, Atlantic City, Minneapolis, Northwest, Miami, Norwalk and Tampa. • New for 2020, NMMA is introducing The Discover Boating Experience (DBX), the “Hub for Boaters,” an educational marketplace that provides space to mingle, enjoy expert seminars, explore new products, learn boat care, discover new technologies, learn to navigate a boat show and more. DBX offers a place to relax and have a drink while enjoying a variety of topics, inspirational stories and live music. • The Progressive Boat House features an Occulus Rift Virtual Reality boat race game, the Annapolis School of Seamanship’s expert seminars and a docking pool with a remote-control boat and helm station to master docking skills. • Returning favorites include free fishing for kids and special deals, like $5 tickets after 5 p.m. and Super Thursday, offering deeper discounts, exclusive pricing and incentives. • Ongoing education for boaters and anglers of all skill levels is a hallmark of NMMA boat shows with free daily seminars.

The Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show, Presented by West Marine cruises into the docks at Miami Marine Stadium Feb. 13-17. Great deals and hands-on experience with hundreds of boats and the associated gear are the big annual draw. Highlights of the 2020 boat show include:

• Costa Conservation Village will showcase the work of some of Florida’s leading environmental organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy, Captains for Clean Water, and Costa’s Kick Plastic program.

• Presentations on sustainable seafood from esteemed Chef Allen Susser and an opportunity to get a signed copy of his new cookbook, “Green Fig and Lionfish: Sustainable Caribbean Cooking.”

• Junior Captains Program, where kids ages 13-17 can learn to operate a boat with Annapolis School of Seamanship.

• Boat US on-water training with Intro To Boating, Women on the Water and Precision Docking.

• The Progressive Boathouse, offering boating seminars, a remote-control docking pond and an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality boat race game.

• Wining and dining at three full-service, sit down restaurants at

the Show including: Latin Café, V&E Restaurant Group Showcasing menu items from Havana 1957 & La Cerveceria De Barrio and SuViche featuring select menu items from Novecento.

• For more information, visit www.MiamiBoatShow.com.

For more information and the schedule of 2020 NMMA boat shows, visit to www.boatshows.com. 4

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The easiest way to find bait when you’re ready to go fishing is by using the new Baitfinder App, available for free download on both Apple and Android devices. Bait shops are the best possible resource for local information on what’s biting, and on what bait, to ensure you have the right equipment and knowledge before you head out to target a specific species of fish. Everything about Baitfinder is designed for anglers, by anglers, allowing all bait shops in your area to advertise their bait availability in real-time. There’s no more last-minute anxiety about locating bait or driving all over to locate the bait you’re looking for. Anglers can reserve their bait of choice prior to getting to their favorite bait shop to pick it up, and it’s all easily done on the app! Let your friends know of this free app, and encourage all your local bait shops to enroll at: WWW.BAITFINDER.COM

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By Nick Carter

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otivating yourself can be tough when daytime temperatures fall into the low 20s and ice forms on the edges of Southern tailwater trout fisheries. Even on these dam-fed systems, where water temperatures remain relatively consistent, trout become difficult when tiny midges are the primary food source. But there’s a phenomenon that occurs on some tailwaters that makes fishing the cold snaps worth sucking ice out of your guides. It’s called a shad kill. When it happens every fish in the river takes part in the feast. Shad kills are caused by extended cold weather. When air temperatures drop into the teens or lower for several days in a row, baitfish in reservoirs that feed our tailwaters suffer from plummeting water

temps. Either stunned and dying or just diving deep to find more comfortable conditions, shad and blueback herring get sucked into dam turbines. What’s washed out into the tailwater is a mix of chopped up, whole dead, and quivering stunned baitfish. “All of a sudden, they get flushed out into the tailrace. It’s like chumming the river in that upper mile or so below the dam,” said Bill Stranahan, who guides with Southeastern Anglers on Tennessee’s Hiwassee River. “Good browns and rainbows will key in on it. The ones you catch are so stuffed they look like they’re about to pop.” Fed by high-mountain winters on Appalachia Lake, the Hiwassee shad kill is a good one. In the Arkansas Ozarks, the White River sees shad kills almost every year. The Cumberland River in Kentucky and Georgia’s Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier are two other tailwaters where trout put on the feedbag for these events. But shad kills are not like a hatch you can follow by calendar. It takes rapidly cooling water temps to disorient the numbers of baitfish necessary to be noticeable in the tailrace. During the winter’s hardest freeze, intrepid anglers should hit the water near the dam and watch for activity. “You’ll see them floating down the river stunned or dead,” said Stranahan. “Sometimes you’ll see fish coming up to the surface to swipe at them.” White and flashy are the keys to catching fish during a shad kill. White Zonkers or other bunny flies, white Woolly Buggers, anything that looks like a dead or dying baitfish will work. Stranahan said to match the size of the baitfish you see in the water and to experiment with depth and presentation. Sometimes a jerky retrieve is preferred, while other times a dead drift is the ticket. At times trout will feed on the surface, and some days call for a sinking line to get the fly down. Shad kills can be ephemeral or they can last a couple weeks when conditions are perfect. It’s the kind of thing you have to be on the water to encounter, and when it happens it brings out the biggest fish in the river.

Contact Southeastern Anglers through their website at www.southeasternanglers.com.

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after wrestling it from between the pilings, it turned toward open water. As I felt the battle shift in my favor, the line parted, likely from earlier contact with the pilings. “That can happen when you’re fishing up tight like this,” said our skipper, “but some days you have to dig in to get the big ones. Other times we’ll find them in more open water around oyster bars or in the surf.” Captiva Island, on Florida’s southwest coast, is prime territory for snook, redfish, sea trout, tarpon and a variety of other inshore species. “Our waters produce so well because we have a ton of bait, structure and opportunity here,” said Fischer, proprietor of Tarpon Fischer Charters (http:// www.tarponfischercharters.com). “Pine Island Sound, on the backside of the island, for example, has several passes that allow water and bait to flow in and out. The Peace, Myakka and Caloosahatchee rivers also empty into here. I run a lot of my charters out of South Seas Island Resorts (https://www.southseas. com) at the north end of Captiva, and from there you can be fishing in the sound or the open Gulf in a matter of minutes.” Snook and redfish top 40 inches, tarpon range from chickens to 200 pounds and sea trout are abundant. Those species are resident, noted Fischer, but come December and January, offshore action also kicks in with snapper, sheepshead, grouper, kingfish and cobia, among others. For anglers, these waters call for medium-light spinning tackle. Rig a size 3/0 J-hook or a light jighead on a 2 1/2-foot leader of 30-pound mono to freeline live baits around structure, mangroves or the surf edge. Add a 1/2-ounce splitshot two feet above the hook to get down in deeper water or stronger currents, or add a float two feet above this rig to fish the flats. If you prefer to throw lures, toss a 4-inch paddletail, Rapala Skitter Walk or Zara Spook. Fischer favors a 7 1/2-foot, 8- to 17-pound class Bull Bay rod and Shimano 4000 spinning reels for his inshore fishing. Keep in mind this area occasionally suffers from red tide blooms. “It can be here one week and gone the next.” Fischer said. “If it occurs during your visit, simply head for the cleanest water you can find.”

By Tom Schlichter

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apt. Nick Fischer nodded at a boat dock ahead. “There should be a Launching is available at South Seas Resorts (if you are staying there) or good one under there,” he said. “We had a couple there this morning from the Sanibel Island Public Boat Ramp ($5/hr. parking fee: 239-472-6397; but saw a real solid fish just before we left.” 888 Sextant Dr., Sanibel.) Nearby, the ‘Tween Waters Inn is another good spot It didn’t take long to confirm a nice snook was home. I hooked it and, to spend the night. More info at www.fortMyers-Sanibel.com.

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t’s prime time for wahoo in the sparsely populated southeastern Bahamas, where a fleet of boats shows up each winter specifically to target some of the biggest wahoo in the world. Just off San Salvador and Cat Island, precipitous ledge drops within a 15- or 20-minute boat ride from shore are a magnet for wintering wahoo. The prime wahoo season runs from November to about April, when fish are densely congregated. Triple-digit weights are not uncommon, and the average wahoo will tip the scales between 50 and 60 pounds this time of year. High-speed trolling is the name of the game. Pulling lures at 14 knots and zig-zagging along the ledge over depths from 400 to 600 feet is the kind of fishing that produces world records. Five current IGFA line-class record wahoo came from the waters off San Salvador and Cat Island. Two of those weighed more than 150 pounds. When that reel goes off, screaming from the pull of a big fish moving at 60 mph, it’s important to crank down on the drag and power it to the boat as quickly as possible. Oceanic whitetips are thick in the area, and they’re known to show up and rip a trophy fish to shreds.

For information on lodging and charters in the southern Bahamas, go to www.bahamas.com.

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Winter can be brutal, but to the saltwater fly fisherman it can be the greatest time of year to catch some quality fish on the fly. The beaches, flats and bays are practically deserted, the “sunshine” fishermen having retreated to their firesides at the appearance of the first raindrop or snowflake. It’s time for the serious fly flingers to put on thermals, grab a fly rod, and head for the water. Two of my favorite wintertime saltwater fish are the speckled trout (or spotted seatrout) and the redfish, two game fish that thrive in cooler water and make for some great fly rod action even “when the frost is on the pumpkin.” The speckled trout is a coastal fish found on the shallow mud flats and sand flats from North Carolina to Texas. A fish generally traveling in large schools, the “speck” is capable of providing fast action on the fly whether you’re wading or fishing from a skiff, kayak or boat.

A proven way to locate the “speck” is to look for depressions, channels, holes or cuts on or along these areas. Once located, cast into them with a floating or intermediate line, a 9-foot leader and a baitfish pattern. A weedless fly like a Bent Back works well. The key to catching speckled trout in cold water is to retrieve the fly sl-o-o-o-wly using short, jerky strips. The strike is often as light as an aunt’s peck on the cheek, so keep close eye contact with your fly. Another worthy wintertime adversary is the redfish, a fish found in the same areas as the speckled trout. Redfish (red drum), can tip the scales from 5-pounds to a heavyweight of 40 pounds. These members of the croaker family take up residence near breakwaters, pier pilings, channels, estuaries and marshes. They are a great match for the fly rod. Redfish can be finicky eaters and sometimes the fly needs to be placed close to their noses, especially in colder water. An accurate cast is essential in fishing for these rascals. Come prepared with a 9- or 10-weight rod, a floating line (weight forward), a 9-foot leader and a pocket full of crab patterns, as reds favor crustaceans. Don’t hang up your fly gear at the first signs of the winter solstice. Winterize yourself and go fly fishing; it beats sitting in a chair and dreaming of warmer weather.

For more Bowman, go to

CAMFLYFISHING.COM COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM

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By CAM Staff

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veryone seems to gets excited about those spring runs, when cobia push north in their migration and can be targeted by sight while cruising the beaches. With the run-and-gun nature of these tactics, it’s arguably the most exciting way to catch them. But it’s not the most efficient. Die-hard cobia fans know that wintertime, before the big move, provides some of the best fishing of the year. Consolidated is a good way to describe cobia populations during the winter. On the Atlantic coast as well as in the Gulf of Mexico, fish have moved southward and offshore in search of comfortable water conditions.

At no other time are cobia populations so dense around the Florida Keys, but they can also be found grouped up on deeper wrecks and reefs along both Florida coasts. In the warmer waters of the Keys, deep jigging the ocean-side reefs with butterfly jigs or 1-ounce bucktails will haul up a mixed bag, which will likely include cobia, and chumming them up to the surface is also tried-and-true tactic. Out on the reef line, anchor up and drop a chum bag of chopped-up frozen baitfish and wait for the action to come to you. Cobia will show up with sharks, as well as various mackerel and snapper species. Whether it’s pinfish or shrimp, present your bait weightless, and you might want to add a wire leader for the toothy critters in the melee. Farther north on both coasts, resident cobia are schooled up and easier to locate than they are at any other time of year. Find a good winter day, with warm sunshine and calm seas, and make the run to offshore wrecks or reefs. The key to this is water temperature, so look for temperature bands with surface temps around 70 degrees, and find some good structure with bait present on the sonar. Again, chumming can bring cobia right up to the surface, which leads to fast action on live baits, but jigging is a tactic that is both fun and effective for targeting fish you actually spot on the screen more than 100 feet down. It’s quicker, cleaner and more efficient than live bait. The key to this technique is finding the magic depth where the cobia are schooled up. Drop a 2- to 6-ounce jig, depending on the current and depth, vertically to the depth you’re marking fish. Experiment with the action until they eat. Some pump a jig up with fast, short jerks, others prefer to swing it up high and let it flutter back down. Both techniques will work, and the jig should be sweetened with either a 7-inch soft-plastic trailer or a natural bait like cuttlefish. Some of the biggest cobia of the year come off wrecks and reefs in winter. So head down to the Keys or make the run offshore and catch them before they scatter with the spring run.

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elcome to Costa Rica’s ONLY magazine dedicated exclusively to the country’s Fishing and Watersport’s Tourism Industry. This issue is packed with all the information you need to see what’s happening up in the mountains in Lake Arenal and the vast winding rivers for Freshwater and Fly Fishing. And off the beautiful Pacific Coast Inshore and Offshore no matter what you are looking for in regards to SportFishing in Costa Rica, we have you covered! From the best of the best in SportFishing Charter Operations, to getting your boat serviced, Competitive SportFishing Tournaments, and Fishing Reports for the main fishing regions. This magazine has tons of great information for the avid Angler/Water Enthusiast! January/February brings us to the peak of Costa Rica’s high-season! Our last magazine distribution was loads of fun. There are so many people from so many different countries already in country and on their way or plan to experience the Pura Vida. So far, the season has been picking up steadily throughout Costa Rica with people literally EVERYWHERE! And just in time, anywhere south of Flamingo all the way to Osa will bring a great fishing trip whether it’s in the winding rivers in the mountains and mangroves or inshore/offshore expect possible Grand Slams Inshore and Offshore and plenty of Mahi, Tuna, Snapper and Grouper to go around. I really suggest if you have never fished Costa Rica, that you call one of the Advertised Charter Operations or check out the charters by region, we only list the best of the best, get out there and catch something! Use this magazine as your guide to find that epic bite on your trip to Costa Rica, or if you are a resident, do the same thing this magazine is geared towards fishing tourism but it’s not our only focus. We want to rally the Fishing Communities in Costa Rica together for a collective consciousness, which I believe we accomplish every month! Any suggestions are always welcome! This magazine’s format consists of a USA National Section on the outside sleeve, with a robust thirty-two page Costa Rican Section in the center (Starting on this page. Every 2 months look for the newest issue as we bring the world class Costa Rican Fisheries to the forefront of Tourism in CR. Coastal Angler Magazine has coverage of all the fishing tournaments in Costa Rica. This issue announces the dates for the 2020 tournament season. If you’re looking for fun, yet competitive fishing, check out the upcoming tournaments in our tournament calendar. Don’t miss our awesome Brag board Submissions! Get involved with our Brag Board where you have the unique opportunity to show off your catch in a fishing magazine for free with a readership of 10k people, with all the bragging rights that come with it! Send your photos to mikey@coastalanglermagazine.com to get your catch in future issues, and remember its first come first serve! If you’re not in Costa Rica to get your printed copy, you can also read the digital version of the magazine at www.coastalanglermag.com/costa-rica/. If you’re interested in fishing while you’re in Costa Rica, our regional directories are filled with the best of the best charter operations for each area, and the accompanying contact information will put you directly in contact with the operators. Bait and Tackle Shops, SportFishing apparel from Pelagic, Marine Service Providers, Resort Destinations, and much, much more can be found throughout these pages. I hope you enjoy the read!

Tight Lines and Pura Vida Costa Rica!

Mikey Erickson

Co-Publisher/Editor/Ad Sales

Contact Us

Mikey Erickson

Coastal Angler Magazine Costa Rica - Co–Publisher Tres Niñas Tours Costa Rica - Manager Costa Rica Office 506.4700.6622 Costa Rica Cell 506.8305.0041 (US) Costa Rica Office 561.427.2137 US Cell 561.310.2665 Mikey@CoastalAnglerMagazine.com info@TresNinasTours.com Mini Site: www.coastalanglermag.com/costa-rica/ E-Magazine: www.coastalanglermag.com/ e-magazine/costa-rica/ Tours: www.tresninastours.com

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Three to get ready! A group effort with Jackpot Sport Fishing out of Marina Pez Vela on Good Day.

II” Luhrs “Dream iñas Tours 32” a Grand Slam+ N es Tr on s nt arina with Happy Clie os Resort & M out of Los Sueñ

Jeff Luft Dream Oig with his 100 + for anothn. This fish brok pound Yellowfi n e er 30 m inutes w the gaf and fo on u brought h in...gaf en he was finallght and all! y

Smiles all ar ound boat Geaux on Maverick Spor t Fish Fly out of Lo s Suenos. ing’s

er Mario, Dream On’s 1st Mate Superer! isp Wh ster Roo The

Look Ma, no hands! Having fun on Good Day out of Marina Pez Vela with Jackpot Sport Fishing.

ica with Costa R ucket to e m a b c t that se fish for his . o an avid Ellio ter for Dtching one of thon the Wing M s o o R e a d c e Nic f n o e p m p the dreaand made it ha list

Dream On’s Alex Graham 75+ pound roosterfishwith one of his three taken that day.

I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA Send us your catch photos: COASTALANGLERMAG.COM mikey@coastalanglermagazine.com

3


TOURNAMENT NEWS . . .

Dorado Derby Tournament 2019 Brought Together A Total Of 40 Teams And More Than 250 Fishermen

T

he second edition of the Dorado Derby tournament held at Marina Pez Vela, Quepos on Saturday, November 16, was a resounding success. The activity was attended by more than 40 teams from different countries, a total of 250 fishermen. For some it was their first time, others repeated one of the most wonderful experiences. In the end everyone competed for the same goal: to get the biggest dorado. In an environment that combined smiles, joy, nerves and much adrenaline, the teams registered on Friday, November 15 and immediately received their official shirt sponsored by the OffshoreLifestyle brand (www.offshorelifestyle. com), as well as rules and instructions for the next day. The activity was attended with delicious hot dogs courtesy of Double Hook, cold Heineken and the traditional Flor de Caña rum that could not be missed. However, work called and the participants returned to bed early, as the great day was to begin at 7:00am the next day. Saturday, November 16. In the morning the participants enjoyed a delicious breakfast courtesy of the Hotel Sí Como No, accompanied by selfies and photographs that captured iconic boats and sunrises as only in Quepos can be witnessed. The big day had arrived and the teams were heading to their respective ships, where the captain and crew were already planning the best strategy to attain first place in the tournament. Forty teams were ready to go out in search of the biggest dorado. Everything depended on the initial whistle to give way to one of the best experiences that any human being should write down in their bucket list, and which our country was going to witness. The activity lasted about 8 hours, fishing in our majestic blue ocean, covered with a completely cloudy sky, but the rain was not present. You could easily see fishermen at strategic points looking for the largest dorado, selecting the heaviest, and taking it to their boat to win first place in the competition. At about 3:30 pm, the teams had to approach the marina again. An

enthusiastic audience was already waiting for them at the weighing station, spirits were full and the smallest details made the tournament a festival. Approximately 75 dorados went through weighing. On site fish were recorded between 15 and 58 pounds and attendees were anxious to know who took first place in the tournament. The tension increased every time one team after another placed a dorado on the scale, but none could beat the Koquitos Light team aboard the Gunner, who seemed to own the 2019 Dorado Derby Tournament. Suddenly the Spanish Fly team arrived. They had fought all day to find the heaviest dorado, one of 58.24 that made them securers of first place of this second edition and surpassing the Koquitos Light team that were second, and the Dan Moran team, in third position. Results were for the Second Edition of the Dorado Derby Tournament Position Ship Equipment Weighing First Spanish Fly Spanish Fly 58.24 Lbs Second Gunner Koquitos Light 54.78 Lbs Third NautiVentures Dan moran 54.24 Lbs Quarter Portafino Portafino 51.50 Lbs Fifth Good day Paytons Pirates 50.54 Lbs Sixth Big eye ii Big eye 50.16 Lbs We especially want to thank our sponsors Marina Pez Vela, Offshore LifeStyle, Hotel Si Como No, Radio 2, Heineken and Flor de Caña, as well as all Marina Pez Vela staff. For upcoming tournaments www.marinapezvelatournaments.com

THE MOST UNIQUE LADIES BILLFISHING EVENT IN THE WORLD

FEBRUARY 20 - 22, 2020

4 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


On The Water with FECOP By Todd Staley

“Fish Smarter Not Harder” pezCA App Now Available

T

he app that every fisherman should have on his cell phone and computer is now available for all anglers and it is Free! pezCA (Central America) Originally just for Costa Rica, the coverage of the App will cover all Central America, including both the Pacific and Atlantic sides. The plan changed after meeting with people in Guatemala and Puerto Rico, as well as Ft Lauderdale. The app may one day be expanded to those area. For those who know the significance of ocean temps, depth, chlorophyll, currents, eddies, thermoclines, tides, and moon phases and how they affect the movement of fish, this tool will be a game changer. Also included is a description of species available and other pertinent information about no fishing zones and other new information. The brainchild of Dra. Marina Marrari of FECOP in conjunction with INCOPESA and app designer Jeff Wells, the project took several months to develop. Dra. Marrari will be traveling the country giving a course on how to get the most out of pezCA at the regional sport fishing councils set up by FECOP. The five council, Guanacaste, Quepos, San Jose, Zona Sur and the Caribbean are up and running and invite any interested anglers to join. Contacts are: FECOP Council Coordinator Gabriel Coronada 7201 3757 Guanacaste Josue Ruiz 8433 7877 Quepos Alcides Alfaro 8519 3003 Zona Sur Olympia Rohden 8736 4506 San Jose Rony Villalobos 8938 3570 Caribbean Alberto Sanchez 8705 6231 A picture says 1000 works so I will keep this short to save space for some screen shots of our app.

Todd Staley has managed sportfishing operations in Costa Rica for 25 years. He has been involved with FECOP since its inception and is former President of the group and was co-recipient of IGFA’s Chester H. Wolfe award in 2015 for his conservation efforts in Costa Rica. He is currently Fishing Columnist for the Tico Times and works fulltime with FECOP as Director of Communications. Contact Todd at todd@fecop.org

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 5


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PAPAGAYO REPORT By Rick Graham • Dream On Sportfishing

G

reetings Anglers! Rick Graham here from the beautiful Northern Pacific Zone in Costa Rica. The rain has stopped and the breeze has picked up as we enter our Summer. We’ve wrapped up our Green Season which was the best yellowfin tuna fishing I’ve ever seen here. Fish over 200 pounds were brought in and several over 100 pounds. Numerous ‘footballs’ in the 15-25 pound range which are excellent on the dinner table. All of our gear is set up, serviced and ready to go for the coming high season. Looking toward January and February we generally see a slow down in the Billfish bite. That being said, I caught my biggest blue marlin (500 pounds) in January and my biggest sailfish (150 pounds) in February. If that’s what you’re after, we’ll go a little farther and do whatever it takes to get you on billfish. The dorado bite is always on around here and we’ve been catching big numbers of big fish. One angler caught a beautiful 90 pound dorado (mahi mahi) 3 miles offshore a couple weeks ago! The grouper and snapper bite is also year-round in these parts and its the best tasting grouper I’ve ever had. Bottom fishing charters are great with kids or just a relaxing day on the water. As always, the highlight of January and February...roosterfish! There’s a 6 pound test line class record ready to be broken out there. All you need is a 52 pounder. Also, another record to beat is in the 20 lb test line class. That record

stands at 85 pounds 13 ounces. When you book, let me know if you want to go for it and I’ll have the right gear ready. There’s 100 pounders taken every year so it’s just a matter of time as we release all roosters to keep them growing and reproducing. ‘Dream On’ is rigged up with 2 Penn Fathom Master downriggers so you could try to beat both at the same time! Usually we troll a single line on the downrigger but Super Mario can keep the lines straight, rarely crossing them. Have questions or ready to book your Dream On Charter drop me a line at info@dreamonsportfishing.com. I personally respond to all emails and I’m at your service. Until next time anglers, Tight Lines & Pura Vida!

6 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM

Rick Graham represents Dream On Sport Fishing in Playas del Coco. After a lifetime of fishing as a hobbyist Rick decided one day to live his dream. He sold everything, quit his job and bought a sport fishing business in Costa Rica. Rick has a full time crew with a combined 60+ years experience fishing these local waters. He also represents several other top notch local operators through his website www. DreamOnSportFishing.com. Dream On ranks #1 in area boats by TripAdvisor and Rick personally responds to every inquiry received. Contact Rick at dreamonsportfishing@gmail.com


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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 7


FLAMINGO REPORT By Captain Skeet Warren • “Bushwacker Sportfishing”

J

anuary and February should bring some really good marlin fishing to the northwestern part of Costa Rica. The rainy season has been done and the Papagayo winds are pretty much on their normal patterns. They blow hard to the north of us but since we are right on the edge we can run south, where the deep water comes in close to the beach….where we are protected by the tall mountains. Our runs vary, depending on how hard the winds are blowing, but we can almost always get out of them. If anyone tends to get sea sick you can get Transderm Scop patches from your doctor http://www. transdermscop.com/. Our winter marlin bite consist of blue marlin, striped marlin and black marlin making it a great time of the year to catch a Grand Slam (3 billfish species in one day). Sailfish are almost always prevalent. The mahi and tuna should be biting as well. Inshore should be decent for roosterfish and snapper, depending on how hard the The Christiensen family enjoying some tuna fishing on wind blows and how the Bushwacker out of Flamingo dirty the water gets. Our November/December offshore fishing has been off and on with the currents determining how the bite is going to be. I expect the billfish bite to pick up soon. Inshore there have been a few roosterfish, snapper, some mahi and bonito. I expect the inshore fishing to get better soon also. As the high season gets going there will be more boats out fishing which will help everyone. Be sure to book a well maintained boat with an experienced captain during this time of the year because the Papagayo winds can be dangerous if they are not respected, the boat is not maintained and/or the captain is not experienced with them. Also be sure to get some Pelagic performance shirts and sun masks for the sun. Charlie and his group on the Come enjoy the great marlin fishing Bushwacker releasing a nice sailfish out of Flamingo and get out of the cold weather in the US. Captain Skeet Warren owns and operates the Bushwacker, a 42’ Bertram out of Flamingo, Costa Rica. After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1980 he captained boats, fishing extensively, including Hawaii, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and Bermuda. He won the 2013 Top Tagging Captain in the Pacific Ocean for Sailfish. Some other notable catches include 13 blue and black marlin over 1000 lbs., 51 giant bluefin tuna in one day and 53 sailfish in one day. Contact Skeet at captskeet@bushwackercr.com or visit www.bushwackerCR.com

8 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 9


NICOYA PENINSULA REPORT By Rick Ruhlow • Kingfisher Sportfishing

C

oastal angler recently expanded my writing horizons to include all of the Nicoya peninsula encompassing the area between Cabo Blanco to just north of Punta Guiones, so I will be including Garza/Nosara in my reports as well. As of this writing, the boats from Nosara south to Carrillo, have been having a good tuna bite offshore, with a smattering of sails, marlin and dorado. Last year at this time we were seeing a lot more Mahi mahi, and more billfish, so it seems we are just off to a later start, and by the time this goes to print we should be in the thick of it! Al Harper and four of his friends opened the season on the kingfisher with more tuna than we could count, 5 nice mahi and a blue marlin to boot! Most of my radio talk when fishing offshore is with the boats from Nosara Sportfishing( they have 5 boats at their disposal) and Buena Vista Sportfishing, both companies run a top notch operation, and are very forthcoming when it comes to sharing information on where the action is, so I can get a pretty accurate read on what is going on in our zone. Buena vista Sportfishing specializes in inshore fishing ( roosters, cuebera snapper, AJs, etc) and from what I have seen on FB, his season is off to a very good start. There are a few other good operations in the area but you need to know where to look. One thing I will say is that the adage “you get what you pay for” is true, you can find a small panga for less than $200 and maybe even have a good day, but the chances are you will be going for a boat ride, or a dolphin/

whale tour. If you have a choice, try to optimize your fishing trip with a good boat that has a reputable reputation. Not many want to be the guy that hears about the boat offshore that released 5 sails, a blue marlin and put three dorados in the box, especially when all you may have caught is a bonita and jack trolling from a small skiff close to shore. It’s not a perfect science and occasionally everyone carries the “doughnut” home, but if you are looking for sails, tuna , marlin or mahi, the odds are much more in your favor further offshore.

Originally from California, Rick Ruhlow moved to Costa Rica over 33 years ago. While exploring the country he fished Playa Naranjo (gulf of Nicoya), Quepos, Drakes Bay and Flamingo, before discovering Playa Carrillo almost 28 years ago. He was the Fishing Manager/Captain for the newly re-opened Hotel Guanamar for three years, before venturing off on his own. He has been owner/operator of Kingfisher Sportfishing since 1995. Contact Rick at kingfish@racsa.co.cr

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10 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 11


DRAKE BAY REPORT By Captain Willy Atencio Dan Matthews with a beautiful Roosterfish caught on the Reel Time with Capt. Willy

G

reetings from Drake Bay, your “off the beaten path” destination for awesome fishing in Costa Rica. We have good news to report! The wahoo and sailfish are arriving early. In our last few offshore trips we have had an incredible yellowfin/big eye tuna bite and as an added bonus a reasonably good sailfish bite. While the sails and the tuna are not typically mixed together, they are within a few miles of each other. Our clients love this offshore trip as it combines the best of both worlds. The magnificent pacific sailfish is considered an aerial acrobat as they leap and twist out of the water during the battle. Once brought alongside the boat, our mates take great care to remove the hook and make sure they are healthy before releasing them. On the flip side, a tuna will hit the bait like a moving locomotive. Once hooked they dig deeper and deeper and the fight is on. A tuna is solid muscle, shaped like a torpedo and is an incredible fighter. The “battle saddle” on board the Reel Escape allows the angler the maximum leverage when fighting a tuna. All anglers need to be ready when there is a bite because the tuna swim in huge schools. We have had several times where we have had six fish on at once. Our clients learn how to “dance” real quick. The mates will expertly filet the tuna and keep them on ice for maximum freshness. We also keep some soy sauce and wasabi on the boat for clients who would like to experience “hook to table”. The inshore bite has been just as productive as offshore lately. We regularly catch roosterfish, snapper, grouper, pompano and amberjack near shore. The first four months of the year are considered prime time or high season in Drake Bay. Clear sunny skies, calm seas and warm temperatures make for a very enjoyable fishing trip. We are on the water virtually every day in the high season so make your reservation early. We remain the #1 tour in Drake Bay on Trip Advisor with thousands of satisfied clients from around the world. Until next time...Tight lines

Andrew Janos with a nice early season Wahoo on the Reel Time with Capt Willy in Drake Bay. The Captain of Fish Drake Bay, Willy Atencio is a native of the local area. Fish Drake Bay is the premier sport fishing charter service in Drake Bay, the surrounding Osa peninsula and Corcovado National Park. Captain Willy is considered one of the best Captains in Costa Rica with over 20 years experience. Willy has captained sport fishing yachts ranging from 31-47 feet in the USA, Caribbean and Costa Rica. He has also fished in numerous big game fishing tournaments including the Offshore World Championships for 5 consecutive years. Contact Willie at info@fishdrakebay.com

12 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


FLY FISHING REPORT By Mark Evans

R

eady for Summer time! Snook off the beach and in the mangroves has been on the top of our list! I have been able to get out on two occasions recently to the Guanacaste region for some mangrove Snook and have not been disappointed. Fly of choice has been a small pink shrimp pattern tied by my man Jesse Males of BackwaterFlyfishing.com. The pattern is actually a Bonefish pattern but the Snook cannot resist! Not only will Snook and Bones eat this little morsel but so do the Mangrove Snapper! It is the perfect pattern if you want to get what the Costa Rica mangroves have to offer. Use at least 10ft plus leader with an intermediate sink tip and as light a fluorocarbon leader as you are comfortable with‌ I use 16 or 20lb. A 6wt rod is ideal. Snook are on the beach almost everywhere you go in Costa Rica. Your fly of choice should be a Clouser Minnow in white or pink. You want to keep in mind that the Snook can and will be in knee deep water so you want to stay back a bit not to spook them. Even if the waves are up just cast into them and let the fly sink and then strip away. The best time to go is dawn to 7 or 8am. An 8wt setup will serve you well. If you are looking for a guided fly fishing trip instead of DIY then drop me a line at info@506outdoors.com. Keep’em wet!

Having graduated from cane pole fishing as a kid to more technical equipment these days, Mark Evans prefers floating the many rivers of Costa Rica in his kayak, with a fly rod in hand. Mark is one of the founding members of the Costa Rica Association of Fly Fishers (CRAFF) For tour info please contact Mark at: info@506outdoors.com or stop by Stone Mountain Outdoors in Santa Ana for a coffee.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 13


QUEPOS INSHORE / OFFSHORE REPORT By Benn Gilmour • Jackpot Sport Fishing

OFFSHORE: A Happy New Year to all and welcome to the best billfishing months of the year here in Quepos! January & February can only be described as sailfish central when huge numbers of big pacific sailfish move close to the Quepos coastline and provide some of the best sailfishing on the planet. The bite normally gets cranking towards the end of December and stays hot until the mid to end of April. Double digit sailfish days can be possible on day charters when the bite is on, however, some truly staggering sailfish release numbers that will make your eyes water are produced at this time of year. So if you are heading on an offshore trip out of Quepos this January and February, expect a chance at a world class sailfish bite and excellent opportunities to fish for blue, striped and black marlin. There will be tuna schools offshore which are typically located together with the megapods of spinner dolphins and can provide some National Geographic worthy scenes to your day on the water. Expect dorado/mahi mahi numbers to thin out as water temperatures increase during the height of the summer, however, the odd dorado should make a welcome appearance to those that are billfishing. INSHORE: Closer to shore, the rocks, islands and rivermouths around Quepos will provide some truly amazing light tackle inshore/coastal fishing. Roosterfish, snook, snapper, jacks and mackerel will be the main targets, however, there are many other species on offer such as corvina, big eyed jacks, grouper, bluefin trevally and

who knows, even the odd pacific tarpon have all been caught out of Quepos recently. The dates are now set for the 2019/20 Marina Pez Vela Tournament calendar for what is set to be our biggest tournament season ever! These events are guaranteed to be a blast and are open to all, we would just love to see you there! We get ROCKING on 11 & 12th January with the PELAGIC ROCKSTAR, which is always a total blast before the ladies take center stage on 21st & 22nd of February for the LADIES ONLY Pescadora Billfish Championship. Be there or be square! TOURNAMENT DATES: January 11-12, 2020 February 21-22, 2020 March 7, 2020 March 20-21, 2020 April 17-18, 2020 April 20-23, 2020 May 23-24, 2010

Pelagic Rockstar The Pescadora Billfish Championship (Ladies Only!) Roosterfish Rodeo (NEW!) Quepos Billfish Cup Marina Pez Vela Open Offshore World Championships Pelagic Pura Vida Inshore Classic & Kids tournament!

Full details at: www.marinapezvelatournaments.com

Check out the Charter directory in this publication for some of the great boats available here at the Marina Pez Vela waiting to take you on the Fishing Adventure of a lifetime! Tight lines & hope to see you on the water! Benn Gilmour runs Jackpot Sport Fishing out of the beautiful Marina Pez Vela in Quepos. His boat Good Day is a Costa Rican custom built 31-foot Sport Fisher. Jackpot Sport Fishing specializes in offshore, inshore & fly fishing. They cater to serious anglers who come to fish with them for a week, as well as families and honeymooners looking for a day on the water during their vacation in Quepos/ Manuel Antonio. Look for the British guy! Contact Benn at info@jackpotsportfishing.com or visit www. jackpotsportfishing.com

14 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


Quepos Tres Niñas Tours “Tres Ninas I”

Rockstar Sportfishing “Rockstar”

(CR) 506-8305-0041 (US) 561-427-1306

(CR) 506-8625-9635

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Tres Niñas Tours “Dream II”

Frenzy Sportfishing “Frenzy”

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Idra Fishing “Idra 2”

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iFish “Sea Hag”

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Tres Niñas Tours “Los Suenos”

Maverick Tours “Pacific Fly”

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G-Fly Sport Fishing “Chloe Frijole”

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info@jackpotsportfishing.com

www.jackpotsportfishing.com COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 15


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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 17


Marina Pez Vela • Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica

Saturday

The Rooster Rodeo is a One Day Roosterfish Release Tournament.

MARCH

7

General Entry (Mandatory) Largest Rooster Fish Jackpot (optional) Super Jackpot (optional) Total (All In)

www.marinapezvelatournaments.com

$250.00 $100.00 $500.00 $850.00

Marina Pez Vela Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica www.marinapezvelatournaments.com

The Quepos Billfish Cup is a two day billfish team event with top-team honors going to the team that tallies the most billfish points during the tournament. Prizes pay down to third place (1st, 2nd, and 3rd). The tournament will award trophies, cash, and prizes to the team(s) that score the most accumulated points for marlin and sailfish.

FrIday, Saturday

MARCH

“HOOK N PASS” Scoring Billfish: Blue, Black, or Stripe Marlin • 500 points Sailfish • 200 points

20 & 21

9th ANNUAL QUEPOS BILLFISH CUP 2020

2020

Marina Pez Vela • Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica MARINA PEZ VELA OPEN 2020

www.marinapezvelatournaments.com

FRIDAY & SATURDAY APRIL

17&18 18 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 19


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LOS SUENOS OFFSHORE REPORT By Captain Daniel Espinosa • Maverick Sport Fishing

I

have been fishing as a professional in Costa Rica for over 30 years. I have seen El Nino, El Nina and everything in between. Fishing for billfish in Costa Rica has NEVER been better. Ever. We have seen multiple “Grand Slams” reporting from off shore, multi marlin days frequently, and a variety of other species being boated. The just past “off season” was amazing. Forget multi-day trips to the seamounts although it is difficult to do so in the face of the unique marlin fishing there. Let’s just talk about the fishing off-shore from Los Suenos. Reports like “we had a grand slam before lunch including a black marlin”, “the tuna bite was amazing”, “biggest mahi I have ever caught”, and similar reports on a near daily basis. If that was the “off season” what can we expect as we move into the “high season”? People call and ask “what is the best time for fishing in Costa Rica?” The true answer is anytime. A bucket list day can happen as they say, on any given day of the year. Time will tell, but we expect large numbers of sail fish, and marlin. Remember that grand slam including a black marlin? Think of the possibilities if the stripers move in. There are real opportunities for a “Royal Slam”. We actually lost count of the number of “Grand Slams” our fleet reported over the past 12 months. The joke has always been that the best fishing was last week as in “you should have been here last week”. Now I have to say, you should be here next week. It used to be that we saw a few marlin every year. Many years passed with the total number of marlin released from a single boat fishing around 200 days a

year would barely break double digits. For the year. Recently we have seen double digit marlin in a single morning on the sea mounts, and the same over the course of a single week off shore. When you can put together this kind of fishing, not is some remote corner of the world but just off-shore from a world class family resort with great dining and a lot to do, the sign-up line should be around the block. Guess what, it is. Securing a good boat is not always easy especially in the so-called high season, but there is still some availability over the next few months. This is your chance to check off a couple of items on your personal bucket list. Visit the Charter Dock at Los Suenos and talk with a few folks there. Visit the Maverick Center and check into boat availability out of Los Suenos. Captain Daniel Espinosa has been fishing these waters for almost 30 years, starting at the age of 14. Born in Quepos, Daniel first fished as a Captain at age 17, and has not finished yet. Currently General Manager of Maverick Sportfishing Yachts, Daniel is owner of the Spanish Fly which he ran full time for 12 years, releasing a documented count of over 10,000 bill fish releases. His lifetime total exceeds 22,000. A pioneer in sportfishing in Costa Rica, Daniel has captained tournament winning boats in several Central American countries. His wins include the Los Suenos series and the WBS World Championship. He lives with his wife and family in the Los Suenos area.

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Located halfway down the road to Los Sueños Marina on the North side of the street in Herradura, Costa Rica COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 23


Los Suenos / Herradura Tres Niñas Tours “Los Suenos”

Tres Niñas Tours “Dream II”

(CR) 506-8305-0041 (US) 561-427-1306

(CR) 506-8305-0041 (US) 561-427-1306

info@tresninastours.com

info@tresninastours.com

www.tresninastours.com

www.tresninastours.com

Macushla Costa Rica “Macushla”

Maverick Tours “Geaux Fly”

(CR) 506-2637-7200 (US) 360-588-3154

(CR) 506-8787-9314 (US) 866-888-6426

casey.j.j@att.net

christian@maverickcostarica.com

Tres Amigos Sportfishing

www.macushlacostarica.com

www.maverickcostarica.com

“Tres Amigos”

Maverick Tours “Sea Fly”

(CR) 506-8898-5323 (US) 508-720-0077

(CR) 506-8787-9314 (US) 866-888-6426

gggiampapa@hotmail.com

christian@maverickcostarica.com

www.tresamigossportfishing.com

www.maverickcostarica.com

Maverick Tours “Reel Fly”

Maverick Tours “Open Fly”

(CR) 506-8787-9314 (US) 866-888-6426

(CR) 506-8787-9314 (US) 866-888-6426

christian@maverickcostarica.com

christian@maverickcostarica.com

Epic SportFishing “Epic”

Maverick Tours “Super Fly and Top Fly”

(CR) 506-8718-2357 (US) 561-459-5355

(CR) 506-8787-9314 (US) 866-888-6426

epicfishingcr@gmail.com

christian@maverickcostarica.com

Wing Man Charters “Wing Man”

Maverick Tours “Spanish Fly”

(CR) 506-8305-5051

(CR) 506-8787-9314 (US) 866-888-6426

www.maverickcostarica.com

www.epicfishingcostarica.com

hihook1@hotmail.com

www.wingmancr.com

24 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM

www.maverickcostarica.com

www.maverickcostarica.com

christian@maverickcostarica.com

www.maverickcostarica.com


www.crprimo.com

100 mts. before Los Suenos Herradura, Costa Rica (506) 2637-6111 www.crprimo.com

50 mts. north of del Hotel Kamuk Quepos, Costa Rica (506) 2777-1110 www.facebook.com/quepostackle

Marina Village Golfito, Costa Rica (506) 2775-0800 www.golfitobaitandtackle.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 25


TOURNAMENT CALENDAR January 11 & 12, 2020 PELAGIC ROCK STAR Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica The PELAGIC Rockstar! Offshore Tournament is a team event with cash, prizes, and awards estimated to over $200,000. 2 Day Tournament Big and Small Boat Divisions Contact: jerry@ifishquepos.com

JANUARY 14, 2020 LOS SUEÑOS LADIES ONLY TOURNAMENT JANUARY - MARCH 2020 LOS SUEÑOS SIGNATURE TRIPLE CROWN 2020 Leg 1: January 15-18 Leg 2: February 26-29 Leg 3: March 25-28

April 17 & 18, 2020 MARINA PEZ VELA OPEN As the second leg of the Marina Pez Vela Championship Series, the Marina Pez Vela Open is a two day billfish team event with top-team honors going to the team (s) that tallies the most billfish points during the tournament. Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica Contact: tournaments@marinapezvela.com

April 19 & 24, 2020 2020 OFFSHORE WORLD CUP Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica Contact: tournaments@marinapezvela.com

February 21 & 22, 2020 PESCADORA BILLFISH CHAMPIONSHIP 2 Day Ladies Only Tournament Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica Contact: tournaments@marinapezvela.com

March 7, 2020

2020 MARINA PEZ VELA ROOSTER RODEO Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica Contact: tournaments@marinapezvela.com

March 20, 21, 2020 9TH ANNUAL QUEPOS BILLFISH CUP As the fist leg of the Marina Pez Vela Championship Series, the Quepos Billfish Cup is a two day billfish team event with top-team honors going to the team that tallies the most billfish points during the tournament. Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica Contact: tournaments@marinapezvela.com

April 23 & 27, 2020 5TH ANNUAL GUATEMALA BILLFISH INVITATIONAL Puerto San Jose, Guatemala https://givebacksports.com/experiences/3rd-annual-guatemalabillfish-invitational/

May 23, 24, 2020 PELAGIC 2020 PURA VIDA INSHORE TOURNAMENT Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Puntarenas Costa Rica Contact: tournaments@marinapezvela.com

August 7-9, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL FLAMINGO FISHING RODEO

The tournament’s mission statement is to publicize Flamingo as the fishing destination that it used to be by helping charter captains book clients to fish this event. It will also create an increased awareness of Flamingo and the northern Pacific region of Costa Rica as a world class fishing destination. Charter Boats are Encouraged! For more contact joan@preschallenge.com or visit www.preschallenge.com

LOS SUENOS INSHORE REPORT By Captain Carlos Arguedas • Wing Man

V

ery nice action with lot of mahi every where. Nice trash lines with good old logs full of bait and mahi very close to shore and some small yellowfin tunas around the reef. The way it looks it is going to continue the same way for December and January. On the reef the action has been a bit slow this year and the mullet snapper hasn’t show up yet, but very importantly, there is bait around the reef so the cuberas and nice amberjacks keep showing up, every now and then. Hoping to get better as the dry season goes on for December and January.

Lots of mahi action this month with some big fish around like the one Joe Hummell and his wife Karen got on Nov. 15 fishing with us on Wing Man and made her fall in love with fishing.

Captain Carlos Arguedas of the Wing Man and been fishing the area of Herradura Bay since 1990, fishing along the shore for roosters, bluefin trevally, etc. and the reefs near us for big Cubera, Goliath groupers, Amberjacks and Broom Tail groupers. Now based at Los Sueños Marina, the Wing Man boasts being the boat with the most trips inshore, making Carlos a specialist when it comes to keeping track of inshore bait and fish. Contact Carlos at hihook1@hotmail.com or visit www.wingmancr.com 26 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


FRESHWATER REPORT By Alberto Gutierrez • Pura Pesca Costa Rica

Fishing in San Juan del Norte Nicaragua

T

his town is on the pure border with Nicaragua, next to Calero Island. It is a fishing paradise, and a small town near the coast with 3000 inhabitants. Its people are very helpful and friendly. The fishing area is very extensive and you can choose to fish several species such as guapote, robalos, machacas, many mojarras and the famous royal shad. We fish a lot with lures of surface 7 and 8cm pencil style, and with 7 and 8cm floating action minnows. To have more success you have to work the lure by hitting it. You need to give it life with the cane and make precise shots.

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 27


GOLFITO REPORT By Captain German Bustos

B

y the time this gets published the sailfish will be thick as thieves and the marlin bite will slow a little. Nice yellowfin tuna has been, and will continue to be, the soup of the day. Every year the tuna population has been getting better since the purse seiners were pushed offshore. The dorado bite has been active, but not in the astonishing numbers of last year. Inshore, roosterfish have been caught and released up to 60 lbs. Cuberas have been steady and the coming months are tops for deep jigging grouper and amberjack

German Bustos has been head captain at Crocodile Bay Resort for the last dozen years after working on prestigious sportfishing boats all throughout Central America for nearly 20 years. He is one of the most requested captains at Crocodile Bay.

28 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


Golfito / Osa Peninsula Fish Drake Bay “Reel Time”

Crocodile Bay Sportfishing

(US) 855-372-5322

(US) 800-733-1115

todd@crocodilebay.com

info@fishdrakebay.com

www.fishdrakebay.com

“Dos Mas” (CR) 506-8834-9124

donaldmcguinness@yahoo.com

“Muy Caliente” (US) 800-705-3474

captkeithtx@gmail.com

www.crocodilebay.com

Inta Sportfishing “Inta” (CR) 506-8657-3519

ca.lobo10@hotmail.com

Sierpe Fishing “Eagle Claw” (CR) 506-8848-8914

sierpefishing@gmail.com

www.fishgolfito.com

www.sierpe-fishing.com

“Cazador”

Fish Drake Bay “Reel Escape”

(US) 800-407-9438

(US) 855-372-5322

info@americanacr.com

info@fishdrakebay.com

www.fishdrakebay.com

COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 29


Marine Services Directory Will Swanson OWNER

Daniel Espinosa Principal 707 320-2459 Costa Rica Shop 011 506 8363-3562 Costa Rica Cell

Daniel@MaverickCostaRica.com www.MaverickCostaRica.com

506-8924-6832 Costa Rica Cell 506-2637-6252 Costa Rica Office 954-903-0832

US Direct Number

willswanson@ricaboats.com

Justin Seyler Yacht Yard Project Manager

Carter Takacs Harbor Master & Manager Yacht Yard

justin.seyler@MarinaPezVela.com

carter.takacs@MarinaPezVela.com

Tel (506) 2774–9074 Cell (506) 8423–6391 Toll Free (866) 739–8352

Tel (506) 2774–9000 Cell (506) 8998–6161 Toll Free (866) 739–8352

30 COSTA RICA I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COASTALANGLERMAG.COM


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COASTALANGLERMAG.COM I JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2020 I COSTA RICA 31


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F

By Michael Okruhlik • Capt. Michael Okruhlik Photo courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures.

or those who enjoy targeting speckled trout of larger proportions, we know they are not easy to come by. The majority of trophy trout hunting is done in cooler water temps and below normal feeding patterns. Utilizing solunar tables for feeding times can improve your hookup ratio and help you get the edge on gator trout. When I was a child, I would look at the calendar on the wall and see how many fish were on the day I had a trip planned. Multi-fish days built the excitement and anticipation while zero

fish still left me wanting to go, but lessened my expectations. During my younger years, I also found no consistent correlation between my success and the number of fish on the calendar and soon felt no reason to review it. I felt it was more of a folktale than a tool. As I matured into a somewhat better angler, and started spending more time saltwater fishing, I once again started to study the solunar tables along with the tides. To be clear, these tables are not a magic act, nor do they place fish where they are not, but I am a believer that if you are on fish, they will be more aggressive during the feeding times specified in the tables. Many people misinterpret the major as the better bite. This is not necessarily the case. The major vs. the minor is the length of time the bite will last. The major is typically two hours long while the minor is about an hour and a half. Both can share the same intensity of the feeding period. I plan each trip around the bite times. Naturally, I fish more than the two hours of the major bite, but I place myself in what I feel is the prime area during the bite. One rule that I stick to is to fish during the feed times rather than travel from one spot to another. On a recent trip, I wasn’t having any luck and considered moving locations. I checked the time and realized the bite was approaching. I decided to not move during the bite and continued to fish the once non-productive area to realize an aggressive feed during the specified time slot. I find this approach especially true when hunting gator trout. They do not feed that often and are difficult to catch, therefore utilizing the solunar can give you the edge for catching these larger specks. As I stated previously, these solunar tables do not guarantee you will catch fish. However, if you have the correct conditions of tide, wind, water clarity, temps, bait and most of all FISH, giving it your best during the feeding times greatly increases your odds of catching fish, and gator trout. Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.

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ve he R ! e Old Florida Waterfront Charm Re-Discovered N t s e O R R fO eas The Perfect Vacation Getaway for Fishing, Boating and Outdoor Enthusiasts NOWteR s N Wi Accommodations are nestled on 6 lush tropical acres of pristine waterfront directly on the Indian River Lagoon. As you make your way down the one lane road you will truly be stepping back in time. Your hosts Kim and Robert Pruitt have re-captured the very best of Old Florida charm with modern conveniences and services to make your stay truly memorable and unforgettable.

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urf Expo is coming to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center Jan. 8-10. It is an enormous one-stop shop, where retailers can stock up for the upcoming season. The expo’s Bluewater category is designed specifically for retailers of fishing gear, apparel and accessories. Here is a list of Bluewater vendors at January’s Surf Expo: Smithfly, Monster Cooler, Fish Hard Gear, CEECOACH, Big Ocean Sport, Apparel by Home Run, Kanga Coolers, Float Pak, Mang Gear, Fish Hippie, Ugo Wear, Reel Happy, Hooked Soul Fishing Company, 5Fin, AFTCO, Marsh Wear Clothing, Heybo Outdoors, HUK, Tormentor Fishing Products, Jeep by Buck Wear, Bimini Bay Outfitters, Salt Life, Pure Lure Reel Fishing Gear.

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MARK SOSIN

A

ll of us have enjoyed those rare days when fish would ingest virtually any lure or bait tossed in the water. Those experiences are certainly the exception, because fish are selective about their diets and seldom vary extensively in their choice of foods. Only when they cannot find enough of their standard fare will they range in their choice. Let me share a few examples: It was a beautiful day on the offshore grounds with a strong current that should hold fish. As the hours passed, our frustration increased. We couldn’t even raise a fish. Finally, the captain told us to reel in the lines. It seemed obvious he was going to try another spot, but that wasn’t his intention. Instead of moving, he took the trolling lures off the rods and rigged them with a single hook. One of the outfits had a sinker so it would go deeper. Then he turned the boat broadside to the current and cut the engine. We were now being pushed by the natural flow of water. A live baitfish was put on each hook and then streamed off the starboard side of the boat. He chopped up dead bait and threw a handful overboard as chum every couple of minutes. It didn’t take long before the big guys hit the live bait, and it suddenly became a banner day because the skipper did something different. More than 50 years ago, the late Joe Brooks told me no

one to his knowledge had caught an Allison (yellowfin) tuna on a fly, and he was sure I could do it. Joe set up a trip for me to Bermuda, where yellowfins responded to chum. I had fished chum slicks with a fly with my father since I was a young boy, and we simply cast in the slick and retrieved the fly. I can’t remember ever having a problem with that method. We were anchored on the edge of a bank in Bermuda, with the current taking chum off the edge into deep water. Tuna were devouring chum, and I was sure it would only take a cast or two to hookup. To say I was wrong was an understatement. The tuna ignored the fly as I retrieved it. They swam around it and kept eating chum. Finally, in desperation, I dropped the fly into some chum that lingered on the surface and did not move it. To this day, I can see that tuna inhaling the fly. It weighed 53 pounds and 6 ounces. The point to remember is that if the more common method isn’t working, try a modification. A friend and I were both fishing the same plug. He kept getting strikes, while nothing touched my offering. Finally, he showed me how he periodically vibrated his wrist. It made the lure flash, and that’s all it took. In a similar situation, another friend and I were using diving plugs. He kept hooking fish while I couldn’t buy strike. While I followed a standard retrieve, he would pause for an instant periodically. That allowed the plug to float upward before diving again. Simple, isn’t it? Before you claim there are no fish where you are fishing, try a few variations to standard practice. You might be surprised with the results.

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heepshead are some of the tastiest fish in the ocean. They are abundant throughout the Gulf and up the Atlantic coast, usually holding tight to structure like piers, pilings, seawalls, jetties and wrecks. Sheepshead are easy to find, but difficult to hook. They have hard mouths and teeth designed to crush the shells of barnacles, shrimp and mollusks. They’ll crush bait, and the hook, without an angler even knowing they were there. That’s why a dropshot rig is a good tool to have. The standard Carolina or fishfinder rigs are effective, but the added sensitivity of a dropshot, where everything is in line, lets you know the fish is there before it gets away. You’ll get two taps. Set the hook on the first one, because the second tap means the fish is gone. Fishing a dropshot rig is simple. Drop it to the bottom and reel up any slack. With a sensitive rod, the smallest peck is transmitted to the angler’s hand. Here’s how to tie it: • Use a double uni-knot to secure 6 feet of 15- to 20-lb. fluorocarbon leader to a 10- or 15-lb. braided mainline. • Use enough weight to stay in contact with the bottom, and tie it into the end of the leader. • Choose your depth, typically about 2 feet up the leader, and use a Palomar knot to tie in the hook so it rides point-up. Use a sharp J hook (#1-4) depending on the size of the bait, whether it’s a fiddler crab, sand flea, pieces of clam, or shrimp.

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To show exquisite details, necklace shown is not exact size.

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Thanks to the Regata, we’ve visited Venice often and made great contacts, which is how we found and negotiated the best possible price on the highest quality Murano available. Now’s your chance to share in the spirit of this legendary event without needing to break out your passport. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Enjoy the gorgeous colors of the Cornaro Murano Necklace for 30 days. If it doesn’t pass with flying colors, send it back for a full refund of the item price. Limited Reserves. You could easily pay $300 or more for a Murano glass bead necklace, but at $29, this genuine handmade Murano won’t last. Don’t miss the boat! CALL 1-888-444-5949 TODAY!

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