5

Feb, 2018

Costa Rica Fishing Report – January 2018

By: | Tags: , , | Comments: 0

Sport fishing and word ‘predictability’ are not normally harmonious, and while that is not what is happening here in Costa Rica, there is a familiar (and welcome) trend building.  November marked the end of the green season and featured the thickest schools of dorado we’ve seen in a decade.  With the peak billfish season and dry season weather starting in December I predicted that the marlin bite should be spectacular this year, and two months into the peak fishing season in Costa Rica it has not disappointed.  December was highlighted multiple grand slams as blue, black, and striped marlin were found on a daily basis, and while January didn’t feature quite as many the marlin bite remained hot with several boats reporting multiple raises, and releases, on a daily basis.

It wouldn’t be sport fishing however if there weren’t some oddities that made you scratch your head, or some days shrug your shoulders, raise your palms to the sky and say “That’s fishing.“  The first thing that comes to mind were three different cold fronts that invaded Costa Rican territory in January.  Generally caused by arctic blasts that put parts of the US into a deep freeze or winter storms that pummel the East Coast, when these things happen that cold air races through the Gulf of Mexico and into the Caribbean and Central America.  Here in Central Valley we saw wind gusts up to 50-60 mph, while the Guanacaste region in the northwest Pacific saw winds reaching 20-30 mph on a daily basis.  The reason the offshore fishing is so spectacular in places like Quepos and Los Suenos (and Guatemala and parts of Panama for that matter) is because there are huge mountain ranges that block or divert those strong winds.  That geography makes it easier for us humans to be on a boat with lines in the water for eight hours a day, but more importantly it keeps the nutrient and oxygen rich water where the billfish can survive in one spot.  You can read the entire reason behind that phenomenon here.  Needless to say, January surprised a lot of anglers with several days of gray skies and even a few rain showers – something that is extremely rare for this time of year.
The other odd thing about the fishing was of course, the fishing.  There would be a stretch of days where every boat would see 2-3 marlin, then the next couple days there wouldn’t be any and anglers would have to settle for a few sailfish.  One day the fleet of four Maverick Yachts went out and fished the same area, two of them released five sailfish and the other two didn’t see a single one.  A welcome bonus as of the 2017 season, anglers are still encountering plenty of dorado and yellow-fin tuna so most days they are coming home with something to eat.  As most of you can appreciate it, catching a dorado or tuna is the cherry on top after a great day on the water, or at the very least it makes a slow day of billfishing bearable with at least something to show for your efforts.  Speaking of that, where are the sailfish?  For three years in a row from 2014-2016 January featured incredible sailfish numbers, then last year was a huge dose of reality as most boats couldn’t find more than 3-4 in a day.  This January we had several days of 5-6-7 sailfish, but certainly not the numbers that have made Costa Rica ‘the billfish capital of the world‘.  All is not lost however as I for one believe the storm is brewing.  If you look at the numbers below, the first double digit sailfish days were recorded on the last two days of the month.  Looking at the Costa Rica fishing report even closer, those boats are in Quepos and Drake Bay – southern Costa Rica.  My prediction is the sailfish are moving north and we’ll see catch counts increase here in February.

Jan 1 – Geaux Fly - 4 sailfish released & 4 dorado
Jan 2 – Constellation - 1 striped marlin and 6/9 sails
Jan 4 – Sunny One – 5 sailfish and 2 dorado
Jan 4 – Sea Fly – 7 sailfish released
Jan 4 – Geaux Fly – SLAM 1 blue, 1 striped, 2 Sailfish, 3 mahis
Jan 5 – Good Day Too – 1 blue marlin (500 lbs), 2 dorado, 2 tuna
Jan 5 – Spanish Fly – Released 6 sailfish & black marlin
Jan 7 – Geaux Fly – SLAM 1 blue, 1 striped, 1 sailfish, 5 dorado, 2 tuna
Jan 8 – Spanish Fly - 6 sailfish 2 dorado
Jan 9 – Geaux Fly - 1 blue, 2 Sailfish, 7 Mahi
Jan 10 – Straight Up With A Twist - 3 Blue Marlin, 2 Sailfish, 2 Dorado
Jan 10 – Spanish Fly - 2 blue marlin and 2 sailfish
Jan 10 – Geaux Fly - 1 blue, 2 Sailfish, 7 Mahi
Jan 13 – Epic – 11 roosterfish, 3 jacks, 2 dorado
Jan 13 – Reel Escape – 16 yellow-fin tuna between 40-100 lbs
Jan 10 – Constellation – 1 striped marlin, 3/5 on sails, 2 dorado
Jan 13 – Sea Fly – 1 striped marlin, 8 tuna, 2 dorado
Jan 12 – Constellation – 4/6 on sails & 3 dorado
Jan 13 – Constellation – 6 sailfish & 5 dorado
Jan 13 – Good Day Too – Released 8 sails & kept 6 mahi
Jan 13 – Sea Fly – 3 blue marlin, 1 sailfish, 1 dorado
Jan 13 – Spanish Fly – 1 blue marlin, 5 sails, 3 dorado
Jan 14 – Spanish Fly – SLAMBlue Marlin, 1 Striped Marlin, 3 Sails, 2 mahi
Jan 14 – Geaux Fly -  4 Sails, 1 Striped Marlin and 1 Mahi-Mahi
Jan 14 – Open Fly – 1 blue marlin, 4 sailfish, 2 dorado
Jan 15 – Constellation – 3/5 on sailfish & 4 dorado
Jan 16 - Constellation – 4 sails released & 4 dorado
Jan 17 – Geaux Fly – 1 blue marlin, 2 Sailfish, 5 Mahis
Jan 17 – Pescadora – 3/7 on sails and 0/1 on marlin
Jan 18 – Pacific Fly – 3 blue marlin, 1 sailfish, 2 YFT, 1 dorado
Jan 18 – Good Day Too – 5 sailfish and 3 dorado
Jan 19 – Good Day Too – 1 blue marlin and 6 sailfish
Jan 21 – Geaux Fly - 2 Striped Marlin,1 Sailfish
Jan 22 – Good Day Too - 1 for 2 on blue marlin, 4 for 7 on sails, 2 mahi-mahi
Jan 22 – Pacific Fly – 3 blue marlin, 1 sailfish, and several dorado
Jan 22 – Pescadora - 4 sails, 3 blue marlin, and 1 mahi
Jan 24 – Sea Fly – 2 blue marlin and 3 sailfish
Jan 25 - Pacific Fly - 2 Sailfish & 14 Yellowfin Tuna!
Jan 25 - Sea Fly - 1 Blue Marlin, 3 Sailfish,1 Dorado
Jan 25 - Open Fly - 3 Blue Marlin, 1 Sailfish, 2 Dorado
Jan 25 - Spanish Fly -1 Blue Marlin, 3 Sailfish
Jan 27 – Dream Girl - 3 blue marlin, 5 sailfish, 1 nice mahi
Jan 27 – Good Day Too – 2/5 on blue marlin, 2/3 on sailfish, 1 mahi
Jan 27 – Runaway – 2 blue marlin and 3 for 5 on sails
Jan 28 – Sea Fly – 1 blue marlin, 3 sails, 2 dorado
Jan 28 – Cowboy – 5 sails, 5 yellow-fin tuna, 2 dorado
Jan 29 – Circle Hook – 4/5 on sails & 1 dorado
Jan 29 – Good Day Too – Released 6 sails
Jan 29 – Sea Fly – 3 blue malrin & 2 sailfish
Jan 30 – Pescadora – 1 blue marlin & 10 sails
Jan 31 – Tranquilo – 2 marlin and 10 sailfish