After the billfish left us a bit perplexed in February with great numbers to the north along the Nicoya Peninsula and very little action to the south by Quepos, we were hoping that March would bring a return to normalcy. We are still in the midst of a historic pandemic however, so why did we even bother? The billfish continued to be feast or famine in March as the fortunate boats would find pockets of sailfish while others would have to spend the day searching for schools of yellowfin tuna. The flip side of that was the absolutely insane sailfish numbers that were registered by some of the private yachts fishing out of the Los Sueños Marina for a week in mid-March as they took advantage of a rare “biomass”. The black marlin bite was better than expected, the inshore fishing remained productive, and the bottom fishing turned on. Read on for our full Costa Rica Fishing Report – March 2021.
March is one of the busiest and most popular months as it’s the peak billfish season in Costa Rica and the middle of our dry season. Most years that equates to a near guarantee of daily sailfish action, calm seas, and perfect weather – but during the COVID-19 pandemic we should probably stop expecting whatever “normal” is. Continuing the trend from February, the sailfish remained hard to find along the Central & Southern Pacific Coast to start the month. Far from a wide open bite, the sailfish that were caught seemed to be found in bunches or not at all. A Costa Rica fishing report of just the best daily numbers wouldn’t tell the full story because some of the boats that were able to catch 5-10 sailfish did so in the final hour or two of the day! Similar to last month, the sailfish numbers were best much farther north than normal for this time of year as the best numbers were still found up around the Nicoya Peninsula, not right in front of Los Sueños or Quepos like they normally are. Many charter captains were faced with the decision of ‘search for sailfish all day and hope we get lucky to find a few or we may come empty handed‘. As such, many simply made the decision to go for the “sure thing” and target the multiple large schools of yellowfin tuna that have been cruising the coast all year long.
While the sailfish numbers may have disappointed a few anglers, the black marlin bite was one of the most consistent I’ve ever seen. Nearly all month long, the boats that dedicated the day or even half a day to slow trolling live bonito over the popular “26” rock pile were rewarded with a showstopper. Captain Tom fishing out of Los Sueños released 10 black marlin in the month of March alone. He said that out of all the days he targeted them only twice did he not release one: one day he never got any bites and the other day they went 0 for 3! Captain Mike Alligood, also out of Los Sueños, released several himself including the beauty below with CAF angler and fellow Wisconsinite Dave Gugger on March 8.
If the sailfish bite was slower in March, then what’s up with the impressive sailfish numbers listed below in the Costa Rica Fishing Report – March 2021? The answer is what many referred to as an ocean biomass. Since February we knew that the currents were keeping the best sailfish action farther north along the Nicoya Peninsula, but in mid-March a truly epic event occurred where for about a week the bite was as good as anyone has ever seen. A rare combination currents had all the baitfish and gamefish pinned into the same small stretch of ocean creating an epic, but short-lived, fishing experience. It was the private yachts fishing from the Los Sueños marina that discovered this first as they aren’t legally bound by any distance-restrictions like the charter boats (many of which aren’t allowed to fish past 40-50 miles). The problem was this bite was 70-80 miles offshore, so most of the charters boats couldn’t reach it anyway. Looking at our daily reports below, from March 9-14 the Los Suenos fishing charters that put up the best numbers were our famous Maverick Yachts, which have the ability to run that far in a day (leaving earlier than normal and charging a little more for the extra gas needed). Many of the private yachts simply stayed over night. What was all this fuss about? The famous Fish Tank released 94 sailfish from 114 bites on March 11. On March 13 the Vaquero released 164 sailfish and followed it up on March 14 with 150 more (plus a striped marlin). This isn’t made up – they released 314 sailfish in 2.5 days of fishing!!
March 1 – Open Fly – 5 sailfish and 5 tuna
March 2 – Good Day Too – 9 sailfish and 2 mahi
March 3 – Captain Tom – 1 blue marlin and 6 sailfish
March 4 – Geaux Fly – 5 Sailfish released
March 5 – Wet Ass II – 5 for 7 on sails + 4 tuna
March 6 – Good Day – 2 sailfish and 6 tuna
March 7 – Open Fly – 26 sailfish
March 8 – Epic – 1/2 on black marlin on live bait and then bottom fished for grouper
March 9 – Geaux Fly – 25 sailfish released, 2 dorado, 1 tuna
March 10 – Open Fly – 1 blue marlin, 24 sailfish, 1 dorado
March 11 – Sea Fly – 21 sailfish and 4 dorado
March 12 – Geaux Fly – 1 blue marlin, 19 sails, 3 mahi
March 13 – Pacific Fly – 29 for 35 on sails
March 14 – Sea Fly – 17 sailfish, 1 mahi, 1 tuna
March 14 – Tiger Fly – 14 sailfish released
March 15 – Sea Fly – 9 sailfish, 2 mahi, 1 wahoo
March 16 – Open Fly – 11 sailfish released
March 17 – Open Fly – 2 blue marlin & 4 sailfish
March 18 – Wing Man – 1 blue marlin, 4/5 on sails, and 2 dorado!
March 19 – Hoos Your Daddy II – 4 sailfish released and 7 tuna
March 20 – Geaux Fly – 5 sailfish & 3 mahi
March 21 – Good Day Too- 8 sailfish and 1 mahi
March 22 – Go Fish – 3/8 on sailfish, 1 dorado and 0/4 on marlin!
March 23 – Good Day – 6 tuna
March 24 – Big Eye II – 3/7 on sails and a 80 lb tuna
March 25 – Top Fly – 13 sailfish and 1 mahi
March 26 – Good Day – 7/10 on sails
March 27 – Satis Fly – raised 15 sailfish
March 28 – Pacific Fly – 1 blue marlin, 7 sails, 2 dorado
March 29 – Satis Fly – 9 Sailfish
March 30 – Go Fish – 7/13 on sails, 2 tuna, 1 mahi
Fortunately towards the end of the month the currents changed and the sailfish bite spread out to it’s normal range in front of the Los Sueños Marina and the Marina Pez Vela in Quepos. The final week of the month both the Quepos fishing fleet and Los Suenos were able to post the solid sailfish numbers we are accustomed to, along with of course nice tuna and dorado action. Kurt & Susan waited a year to take her retirement trip and were rewarded by raising 10 sailfish (releasing 3) and pulling the hook on a nice blue marlin after a short fight. Repeat angler Matt Moore had a fantastic day on the Geaux Fly finishing with 2 blue marlin, 2 sailfish, and a trophy bull mahi. Amy and her dad Ed had an epic day offshore with Captain Carlos finishing with 1 blue marlin, 4 sailfish, and 2 dorado. The Woznak’s from MN, also delayed and entire year due to COVID, were rewarded for their patience with a beautiful blue marlin and some grouper for dinner.
Los Suenos hosted the third leg of it’s Los Sueños Triple Crown from Mrach 17-20 and it was Team Galati who took home first place. They didn’t make a contest of it either as their 54 sailfish and 2 marlin over the three-day tournament were double or triple of all the other boats apart from the second place Tarheel (32 sailfish + 3 marlin).
The Costa Rica Fishing Report – March 2021 isn’t all about offshore fishing as the inshore fishing remained consistently productive with jacks, snappers, roosterfish and even a few nice sea bass keeping anglers busy. Amy and her dad’s hot hand didn’t end offshore as they each landed roosterfish fishing with Captain Carlos out of Los Suenos. Kurt Krauss hit the water for one full day of inshore fishing in Quepos and finished with three roosters, including a double. The Mott’s took 16 yr old Ian with them for his first inshore experience and beginner’s luck struck again and he hooked and landed his own 50 lb trophy roosterfish. The bottom fishing turned on as well as multiple anglers enjoyed successful days catching grouper in the afternoon after fishing for offshore trophies in the morning.