By luck of Mother Nature, Costa Rica is bordered by two oceans and covered with miles of rivers that crisscross the landscape, fresh water lakes of all sizes, and estuaries and canals creating nothing less than a sport fishing paradise. Annually, anglers arrive from the world over to try their own luck at landing a world record catch.
To this perfect blend of warm tropical waters and abundant fish, add Costa Rica's tiny sine that allows this enthusiastic group to plan trips that can have them fishing on both coasts, as well as somewhere in the lakes and rivers in between, within the same relatively short vacation period. Soma local operators specializing in fishing trips can offer a whirlwind day of rod and reel activity that start at dawn on the Caribbean coast, continua midday at Lake Arenal, and have you setting bait in the Pacific before sundown!
The abundance of both fresh and saltwater fish in Costa Rica's waters has led to some pretty big fish stories. According to the International Game Fish Association, Costa Rica holds 46 line class records, 25 fly rod records and 20 all-tackle records you only have to do the math to see the attraction! The line class records include a 162-pound blue marlin landed with a 4-pound test and a 111-pound sailfish caught on a 2pound test line. There are seven fly rod records for sailfish, and two each for striped and blue marlin. All-tackle records include a 57 pound Pacific black snook, a 53 pound common snook, a 26.8 pound Pacific barracuda, a 78 pound Pacific "cubera" snapper and an 87 pound dolphin fish.
The fact that Costa Rican law supports catch and release practices helps to insure the sustainability of this exciting sport so visiting anglers can always have the chance to reel in the next record breaking fish. In addition to catch and release, many of Costa Rica's fishing companies are members of the Billfish Foundation, whereupon they gather data about the age, growth and migration patterns through a tagging system. One Costa Rican Company has stated that they've recorded catch and release of over 6,000 billfish through this system.
On both coasts there are lodges and experienced captains with state-of-the art boats heading out for single day or package trips. Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, the undisputed tarpon capital of the world, offers are array of options for lodges, guides and boats at Barra del Colorado and Tortuguero. Most lodges are all-inclusive, and their guides can head into the area's estuaries, lagoons and rivers in search of snook as well. Other abundant species include snapper, "machaca", "guapote" (rainbow bass), "mojarra", king mackerel, grouper and catfish.
Heading to the Pacific provides an oven greater number of options. Up and down the coast there are hotels and resorts that show fishing and non-fishing guests a great time. From the Golfo Papagayo and the Islas Murciélago in Guanacaste down to the Golfo Dulce in the Península Osa, fishing enthusiasts are casting for and catching marlin, roosterfish, barracuda, snappers, pompano, swordfish, yellow-fin and bigeye tuna, mahi-mahi, grouper and sea bass to name a few.
Although Costa Rica's coastal fishing is world-renowned, visitors shouldn't overlook the numerous options available for inland fresh-water fishing. Fine trout fishing is possible in the abundant mountain streams, and Lake Arenal offers a spectacular site for snagging rainbow bass. Lodges appealing to nearly every taste and budget can be found throughout the country, along with tour operators who will be happy to provide guides and equipment for visiting anglers. Whichever coast you choose including both, and all points in between Costa Rica is bound to provide fishing enthusiasts with ample opportunities for bringing home a record-breaking fish story.