Frequently Asked Questions
Your Charter Fishing Trip
For any questions not addressed below, feel free to contact me directly at our US Telephone # 561-459-5355, or [email protected].
Do I need a fishing License?
Yes, you will need to purchase an individual fishing license as required by Costa Rican Law. It will cost $15 for 1 month, or $26 for a year. You can buy one at the marina office in the morning of your charter, if you do not have one. The vessel fishing license does not cover the individual anglers.
What do I need to bring on a charter?
- A positive attitude
- Sun block, lip balm, Polarized sunglasses, hat, loose SPF rated clothing and a light rain jacket in green season
- Comfortable shoes or sandals - non-marking soles please
- Copy of passport
- Enough cash to tip the crew (20% is standard) and purchase fishing licenses if you do not already have one.
- Any specialty food or beverage items
- The central Pacific seas are among the calmest in the world, but if you are prone to motion sickness, you may take a pill such as Dramamine or Bonine, the night before
What should I wear?
I highly suggest bringing light colored, SPF (sun protection) rated clothing. The tropical sun here can be intense, and the proper gear can make your vacation much more enjoyable.
A lightweight hat, and long sleeve shirts really help. I find the “Quick dry” lycra type material clothes (like for sports) works much better than cotton. It drys quickly, and allows the breeze to blow through, providing a cooling effect like air conditioning compared to a sweat soaked cotton shirt.
Check your local sports store or fishing outfitter - even cheap atheltic brands from sport stores work great.
What do charters include?
- Full-day charters: lunches, fruit, snacks, soft drinks, beer and bottled water
- Half-day charters: snacks only, soft drinks, beer and bottled water
A standard 4 person full-day charter includes:
- All bait and tackle
- 2 bags of ice
- A case of local beer
- 20 water
- 12 sodas
- 10 teas
- Snacks and chips
- A light lunch
We can customize provisions of any trip to fit your needs
What time do we need meet at the docks annd How long is a charter?
A full-day charter is 9-10 hours from departure until return to the dock. A half-day is 4.5 to 5 hours.
For a full day or morning half day, Try to be at the docks by 6:45-7:00 am to maximize your time on the water. The crew will be ready to leave the dock between 7 to 7:30am. It is usually about an hour run to the fishing grounds. A morning half-day should return by 12:30 pm and full-day should return around 4:30 to 5:00 pm.
For an afternoon half-day charter, you should arrive at the dock by 12:00 noon and expect a 12:30 to 1:00 pm departure. You will return to the dock between 5:00 and 5:45pm (sunset).
I always recommend a full day if your buget allows - the best action of the day cannot always be predicted. It could be morning or afternoon, or scattered throughout the day. If you book a morning half-day and another half-day gets booked the same day, you will not have the option of extending your fishing time the day of the trip.
Also, be aware that a typical offshore trip involves running an hour out and an hour back. An inshore trip may be a shorter run, but may involve several short runs from spot to spot. This reduces your time fishing in a half day.
Can we keep our fish? Does the crew sell fish?
Marlin, sailfish and roosterfish are on a catch and release basis only.
You may keep all meat fish you catch: tuna, dorado (mahi-mahi), wahoo, snapper and grouper. The mate will professionally fillet and bag it for you on the way in. Most restaurants in the area will be happy to cook it up for you.
It is customary to offer a bag to each the captain and mate if there is extra. Here in Costa Rica it is illegal for the crew to sell fish, the boat can lose the license if caught. However, if there is unwanted excess, the crew know plenty of people to share it with.
Can I bring or ship fish back to the USA?
While it is possible to carry and/or ship fish back to the USA. I generally do not recommend it. It can be costly and not worth the trouble.
To carry fish on the plane, it needs to be frozen, and you are not allowed to have it packaged with ice, dry ice, or any type of chemical refrigerant. I have seen people freeze it solid, wrap it in newspaper, and carry it in a cooler.
To ship it, it would likely cost you more than it would to purchase it back in the USA.
How much should I tip the crew?
It is customary to tip your crew 15-20%. It should be based on the professionalism and efforts of the crew, not how many fish are caught. On our boats, all crew members take fishing very serious. The crews we use work very hard to catch you that trophy, and/or as many fish as possible; but rarely, due to numerous external factors (moon, tide, weather, etc), fishing can be slow regardless of crew efforts.
The Tips should not be based on how many fish are caught. The tips are split evenly between the crew, captain and mates. It is an important part of their income.
What is the difference between inshore and offshore trips?
Here on the central pacific of Costa Rica, inshore trips are generally done within 20 to 25 miles of the marina. They are usually within sight of land. They target roosterfish, snappers, grouper, mackerals, amberjacks, trevally’s and other types of jacks. Usually by Live baiting, jigging, casting poppers and lures. And sometimes trolling. Occasionaly it is possible to catch sailfish and dorado, or rarely even a marlin inshore fishing.
Offshore trips are generally are done 25 miles or more offshore from the marina. They target marlin, sailfish, dorado, tunas, wahoo usually by trolling teasers, baits, and lures. Depending on conditons, we may also live bait, jig, or cast poppers offshore as well.
Can I bring my own Tackle?
Yes, you are welcome to bring your own tackle. You can bring your own rods, reels, and lures if you really want. But you really do not need to, all of our boats are fully equipped with everything you need for a successful day on the water.
Why do charters seem expensive?
It is not cheap to buy, keep, operate and maintain a boat; especially in Costa Rica. In order to be a legal charter boat, it must be a Costa Rican flagged (documented) vessel, which involves paying a 33% duty on the boats value, plus registration, licenses insurance and other legal fees to start. Then you have a slip in the marina, yearly costs to keep legal and keep the crew around. Everything needed to maintain an charter operation - parts, tackle, etc, goes through customs and has duty added on. Whether you buy it here or ship it in. Most marine/boat items purchased here cost 2 to 3 time more than you would pay in the USA.
Gas and diesel are almost $2 more per gallon than most places in the states, and boats use allot of it.
All charters here supply food and beverages, which most charters in the USA do not. That is about $120 of the price of a typicall 4-person charter.
Baits cost $1.50 each and we usually carry 35-50 premium fresh baits, ready to go, per day offshore. They cannot be frozen and reused as quality baits.
I assure you, that you do not want to fish with a budget operation that skimps on tackle, bait, food, maintenance, safety gear, or fuel.
There are many discount booking operations that solicit tourists on the main strip in Jaco, with big promises,and what seem like cheaper price. They are happy to get a one-time customer. Most push cheaper boats moored in the bay, which are poorly maintained and outfitted; and with crew that is not proficiently bi-lingual, skilled or professional enough to work in the marina. They rarely run more than 10 to 12 miles offshore, when the real bite is 20-40. They will not get you to the world class action Costa Rica is known for.
We strive to provide a premium fishing experience aboard our boats, however, if you are really looking for a budget deal, let me know, and I will hook you up with the best options for your price range.
Our typical offshore trip involves running 20 to 30 miles out and trying to be 30 miles or less on the run back. There are times where there is a extremely hot bite 50 or more miles out. This can be reached in a typical trip running 30 miles, and trolling the rest of the way. Or you may choose to plan a customized trip or pay a fuel surcharge for the additional fuel require to run exactly where you want, as far as you want. This may be applied if you wish to run 35 or more miles.
Due to the volitile unpredicability of fuel prices, weather, and the migratory nature of fish, We reserve the right to change prices without notice. We may need to apply a fuel surcharge to cover extra cost of fuel based on distance or increase of fuel prices. We will honor any pre-paid, pre-booked contracts, and always do whatever possible to ensure our clients are satisfied.
Customized trips, boat and crew rental program.
Customized trips are available which allow you to do what you want, run as far as you want, and fish where you want. They are available as a fixed day rate for boat, crew, tackle and gear. All expendables (fuel, bait, ice, food and drinks) are the client’s responsibility.
Why use Epic Fishing Costa Rica?
- We take pride in providing a high level of customer service and strive to build ongoing relationships with out clients.
- We are American Captain owned and operated, we know what standards Americans expect and enjoy.
- We live here full time year round and love it, and we want to share our years of experience with you.
- We offer personalized service, beyond fishing and lodging, to help you get the most out of your vacation experience and your dollar.
- We provide the best boats, American captains and fully Bi-lingual crews, all of which we know personally, and know the service level they provide.
- We will only put you on boats that we know are rigged for success, and run the distance, and put forth the effort required. The crews are friendly, professional, and fully bi-lingual. They are all highly competitive fishermen, who don’t just want to catch you a fish, they strive to provide you with the most incredible fishing experience possible.
- We strive to provide total satisfaction for our guests, to provide them with the opportunity to catch their trophy, and experience the best fishing possible, so they have stories to brag about, and look forward to returning and fish with us again.