Saltwater Fly Fishing in Costa Rica

Saltwater fly fishing has seen tremendous growth in the past 50 year as more and more sportfishing enthusiast experience the exhilarating thrill of hooking a big game fish on a fly. Saltwater fly fishing can be done in shallow or inshore fishing areas as well as the deep sea or off shore.

Although there are not many charter boats in Costa Rica’s sportfishing industry that have the know-how and equipment for saltwater fly fishing the numbers are growing. Saltwater fly fishing is a lot work, and a majority of the fishing charters in Costa Rica are geared for the standard fishing tourist with trolling rigs, and that’s it. Saltwater fly fishing in Costa Rica is still a specialty.

Knowing the Right Conditions for Saltwater Fly Fishing in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers a varied and unique set of conditions for deep sea fishing. The north, central and south Pacific coastal regions all present different opportunities for big game fish at different times of the year.

From a multitude of mangrove nurseries to deep water up-wells of the continental shelf to hundreds of rivers feeding in to the ocean, the Pacific coast delivers veritable feeding smorgasbord for predator fish as well as diverse inshore and offshore locations.

Understanding the tide flows is critical for successful saltwater fly fishing, because tides affect the surface temperature and visibility as well as the movement of fish in any particular area.
Wind, current flows, up-wells, all play a factor in saltwater fly fishing, and an experienced Captain knows it and reads it all automatically. All of these factors effect fish availability as well as what tackle to be used, rods, reels, sink tips, line weights, leader length, and fly type and size.

Inshore and Offshore Saltwater Fly Fishing

With inshore salt water fly fishing many species of fish are available including striped bass, bonefish, barracuda, rockfish, halibut, jack crevalle, mackerel, snapper, snook, rooster fish, and tarpon. Deep sea fish species that can be caught while fly fishing include marlin, wahoo, sailfish, and tuna.

The Marlin is the apex predator that everyone, expert or novice, wants to hook onto. Marlin are the by far the hardest hitting and hardest fighting fish on the high seas. Marlin can be had in almost all of the waters of the planet and in Costa Rica throughout the year in different regions and can be caught by a variety of techniques most times of year – fly fishing be the most exciting. Marlin is simply the ultimate offshore big game fish due to their power and size.

Gear & Techniques of Saltwater Fly Fishing

As established, Marlin are beyond question the hardest fighting fish you will ever hook on a fly. The crushing strike, and tail walking acrobatics of these monsters is legendary. Because of their weight, larger Marlin tend to deliver less aerial time, but they are all ferocious fighters.

Hooking a Marlin on a 8 weight can be fun, but anything less than a 12 weight is not recommend. The importance of a good saltwater fly fishing reel cannot be stressed enough – its critical! Also have plenty of leader on hand, many use fluorocarbon but you can use monofilament as this species is not generally leader shy.

Fishing for Marlin is location and species dependent. There are many different methods but what is important is to hire a good captain and boat and follow his advice. The most common and arguably the best way to fly fish for Marlin is the old bait and switch method. By dragging teasers behind the boat, creating hard trails and bubble trails, racket and plenty of bling and color combinations will attract these bad boys, and then have your fly rods ready.

Once you have some Marlin chasing the teasers, you then can cast a fly around the teaser while one of the mates removes the teaser. While this is an over-simplified description it is essentially the basics of fly fishing for Marlin.

Tube Fly Advantages and Techniques

Tube flies are hardly a new fishing technique. Tube fly’s for inshore and offshore sportfishing are used by sportfishing experts who specialize in targeting billfish and other pelagic fish.

Tube Flies are Versatile – Tube flies are tied to a plastic tube and not directly tied to the hook like traditional flies. You can use the same tube fly on a single hook rig double and a triple rig. The same tube fly can be used as a stand-alone fly, or you can adjust presentations by adding a popper or a bubbler cones to match conditions. If your hook gets destroyed on a tube setup, it’s an easy change your tippet with a pre-tied tippet and then simply put the same tube fly back on, and re-tie the new hook, and you are back to casting relatively fast.

Control – You can easily control the hook(s) size you want or need to use on your fly setup. Marlin tend to prefer larger baits so in order to imitate a larger baitfish, the hook shank quite large in order to accommodate size and material quantity of required in order to increase the fly profile. Tube fly give you the control to use of oversize fly presentations as well as the adjustment of the style and size of hooks you need to for a particular set of conditions.

Tube Fly Mobility –A fish hooked on a tube fly lets the tube slide up the leader out of harm’s way. It can slide all the way up to the class tippet connection with your shock tippet. Although it doesn’t necessarily move far, 10 inches more or less, the fly is often out of the fish’s face and mouth and therefore there is less risk of the tub fly getting destroyed adding to the longevity of your saltwater tube fly.

Costa Rica Fly Fishing

Many sportfishing charters in Costa Rica offer the basic tourist fishing packages – live bait trolling. Why? It’s easy. For most newbie’s to sport fishing, this method is fine, they get a day on the high seas, have a few beers, and will probably hook a big game fish or two.

Also, as mentioned previously, the equipment for fly fishing is expensive and requires more work and expertise so there are few boats offering this service. If you are looking for the thrill of hooking a big game ocean predator on a fly you will have to spend some time on due-diligence and find those charters and Captains that specialize in salt water fly fishing.

One of Costa Rica’s best regions to find experts in saltwater fly fishing is the Central Pacific region, from Los Suenos to Quepos. While there are also area in the Southern Zone that region is just longer and more difficult to get to.

Fly Fishing the FADs in Costa Rica

FAD fishing in Costa Rica is probably the most effective way of finding billfish. The Fads are a smorgasbord for predator fish and many Marlin take up permanent residency around FADs. Casting your fly’s in and around the FADs generally yield large numbers of strikes.

For more information on Fly Fishing in Costa Rica you can contact Dan Ross directly. Dan Has over 30 years fishing experience all over the world and 16 years in Costa Rica. Visit our Condos at Jaco Vista Mar

Phone: 1-888-326-7677
Costa Rica, Mobile: 8345-8346
Email: dan@gofishcostarica.com