Fishing calendars are meant to be loose guidelines based on historical weather data, fish migration patterns, and other factors like presence of baitfish or mating seasons. Rarely do they adhere to the turning of the page of your desk calendar, but last month they sure seemed to know what month we were in. Costa Rica’s dry season ended as May 1st kicked off the start of our green season, which runs through November. While the dry season months of December through April are considered the peak billfish season, the fishing is so good from May through November that we call it our peak ‘meat season’ or ‘variety season’.
During these months the winds that affect the Guanacaste region and Gulf of Papagayo all dry season subside and the bite spreads out north along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. While we catch plenty of billfish twelve months a year here in the ‘billfish capital of the world‘, it’s during these months that we tend to see the best numbers of yellow-fin tuna, dorado, and wahoo when fishing offshore in Costa Rica. Truth is the 2018 fishing season in Costa Rica has been full of tuna and dorado anyway, and it continued right on through to the green season. What was most surprising was the surge in sailfish numbers at the start of the month. The 2018 billfish season in Costa Rica was phenomenal for marlin but somewhat frustrating for sailfish as the release count was down for the second year in a row, but the first two week of May saw some of the most prolific sailfishing we’ve seen all year. Right on cue the sailfish seemed to move north to Guanacaste as several boats reported raising 10+ sailfish a day as well as a few blue and striped marlin. Towards the end of the month the sailfish bite returned to what is considered more normal this time of year with a couple of sailfish each day, but the tuna bite remained strong and the dorado bite was nearly automatic with some boats catching as many as 20 or 30 mahi-mah in a day!
The Caribbean Coast benefited from the start of the North American summer as the winds died down and ocean conditions for tarpon fishing in Costa Rica were near perfect. My dad and I fished with good buddy Primo on May 5th and jumped 12 tarpon, releasing three. Throughout the rest of the month the seas were relatively calm as anglers from the Rio Parismina Lodge up to the Rio San Juan were able to enjoy daily battles with the silver king.
Below are the highlights from each day so you can see our Costa Rica Fishing Report – May 2018.