Report: December - February
We are well into our high dry season now. The weather has been nothing short of perfect. Zero rain, zero clouds, daytime temps about 90', lots of sun and the seas have been perfectly flat calm so far, every day this year.
This is traditionally peak time for sailfish, we had 5 record breaking years one after another, for sailfish numbers here on the central pacific coastline of Costa Rica Last year at this time 20-30 bites day less than 35 miles out was the norm.
But to be honest, this year has been a bit tough for them so far. They have not shown up in the consistently high numbers we are used to. There have been a few days here and there were a patch of water moves through with good number of sails, but most of the time, it tends to be pretty far out. And often, it has been at least 35 miles to find the visible good conditions of bait marking on the bottom machine, and birds working around the surface. But even then 8-12 sailfish bites have been a pretty good day. Closer in 4-10 bites a day has been the norm. It seems like the seasonal bites for most species has been a little late. So I expect the numbers to be improving over next few weeks.
Fortunately, there have been some blue and striped marlin still in the mix offshore. They were here in very good numbers through the end of January and have tapered off a bit here in February, but they are still common catches. We had unusually large numbers of juvenile striped marlin around very common to see 20-40 pound stripeys on a daily basis for a while, along with normal sized 80-120 striped marlin, blues ranging from 150-400 pounds have been a daily possibility in the mix.
The 3rd leg of the Los Suenos Triple Crown billfish tournament begins Feb. 23, so I bet someone is bound to fish them with 50 boats trying to win.
The mahi-mahi/dorado numbers were pretty good through January but also have tapered off here through February as expected. They will be occasional catches until their numbers increase again next fall.
Yellowfin tunas have been very consistent catches, available daily if you look for them. They travel with pods of spinner dolphin and have been scattered around anywhere from 18 miles on out. Lots of small schoolies in the 10-50 pound range have been easily caught on cedar plugs, bullers and rubber squid. Larger ones 50 to almost 200 pounds can be targeted with live bait, such as skipjack or frigate mackeral work the best.
The highlight of the past month has been Black marlin inshore. We have had very good success targeting large black marlin by live-baiting with skipjacks around shallow inshore reef areas. Black marlin are the apex "bucket list" gamefish. If they are not on yours they should be. They are the toughest fight, and often put on a spectacular aerial show second to no other; and they are most likely the largest gamefish you can encounter here averaging 400 pounds and getting much bigger.
I have spent a few hours on several days this month targeting black marlin by live baiting on the reef. On average, we see about 2 per day of trying. But to catch one is the ultimate fish of a lifetime for any angler.
Further in, there have been rooster fish and some cubera snappers in the 150 ft. and shallower range. Along the beach, good numbers of small rooster fish under 20 pounds, if you fish right past the breakers with sardines.
We have had several good days of deep drop/bottom fishing in the 300- 600 ft. range. Catching plenty of grouper of all sizes - any of which are some of the best fish you can get for a fresh meal.
Captain Michael MJ Alligood
EPIC Sportfishing Costa Rica
USA call: 561-459-5355
CR call: 011-506-8718-2357