Need advice - Costa Rica Pacific side November

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Its been a while since I've been on SOL.  Its nice to be back.


We are planning a family trip to the pacific coast of Costa Rica over the Thanksgiving break.  We are staying in Playa Negra not far from Tamarindo.  My wife, 2 boys and I plan to do a lot of surfing and fishing.  I have never been to central America, or surf fished the Pacific.  I plan to take three rods: 9’ 0.5-3oz spinning, 10.5’ .75-3oz spinning and 10.5’ 2-8oz spinning.  I have Penn Battle reels on all 3 rods.  4000 size on the lighter rods and 6000 on the heavier.  I assume must of my fishing will involve walking the beach looking for fish/bait/structure and then throwing topwater, spoons and swimming plugs at the target.  I don’t plan to do much bait fishing. 


I have a loose plan but I am open to any and all suggestions on lures, gear, or the trip in general.  Do you think I am wasting my time with topwater?  Do you think 30# braid is over/under what I need?  I plan to swap the treble hooks out for singles – any suggestions on a good single hook for topwater lures?  I'd love to catch a roosterfish, but I am up for whatever is available.  


Again, any and all suggestions or tips are welcome and appreciated.


Thanks, Jeremy

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Sounds like a great trip. This is on my and my son's bucket list. While I have never been it sounds like you have a good plan. I would bring large poppers (Marc Fisher if you have any) that make a lot of noise. While I think topwater will be your best bet I would also bring some swimming plugs and darters. Just in case you come across a wandering cubera snapper. Good luck I'm sure you will get more responses from people who have already been there.

Edited by MorningWood

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That's a great time of year there. End of the rainy season and pre-holidays. One of my favorite times of year. There should be metal-hitting fish off the beach or rocky points. I like Crippled Herring in the smaller sizes up to about 1.5 oz. For anything bigger I use spoons. I think the Herring lose their action when they get much bigger. Negra is a pretty rocky part of the coastline (as well as some of the surrounding beaches like Avellanas to the North), so you should see a lot of rock off the beach. Every beach in that area seems to be a scallop, isolated on both ends by rock points. The points would be worth fishing off of. Poppers don't have to be GT size. Anything you would throw for a Striper would work down there. So fish what you are comfortable with. I've caught my second largest Rooster (largest at the time!) on a $6 popper from Wal-Mart. Smack-it's in both sizes are usually nice to have with you. I wouldn't overlook bucktails with a gulp twister tail or mullet. A lot of beaches will have a small river or stream running right through the middle. You may not see them on a map, but if you find one, fish around the mouth. They collect bait.


Negra is not a protected beach. The rock formations and open access to the ocean mean you will get waves. Can be 4 foot or 12 foot. It all depends on the swell. Costa Rica generally always has a swell. They don't seem to get the wind waves we get at home. Negra is also a big surfer beach because of this but you won't have any trouble finding space to fish. It's completely expansive down there.


If you feel like you are not able to fish Negra the way you want, or you're not catching, go find a protected beach someplace. You will get knee high waves at best and much calmer water. It will be easier to see what is happening there without the breaking waves. I fish mostly the Potrero area because I have friends there. It's much more like a Jersey beach on a calm flat day. It's about 45 or so minutes north of you. Maybe a little more. Tamarindo is a popular tourist area. It exploded in the early 2000's when everyone at home was flipping houses. To me it is way overbuilt now but it's worth a day trip for swimming, surfing, and eating at the beach. There is also a large estuary that is worth fishing. You can try from the sand or hire a panga driver to take you up the estuary for an hour or two of snapper fishing fun. Light tackle and small jerk plugs would be good to throw up into the mangrove roots. I like the 2 1/2 or 3" balsa rapala's in black over white or black over silver. Use them as twitch baits or swim them. You may even have a shot at a snook (robalo) this time of year. If not, plenty of foot long snappers (pargo rojo). The panga guys line the bank in Tamarindo waiting for tourists that want to cross the estuary to Playa Grande to the north. There are crocs in the estuary and sometimes you'll see one on the bank near the mouth. I've surfed there for years and have never seen one in the water except up in the estuary.


Costa Rica is a wonderful place. I've never met anyone that came back and complained about it. It's very safe. Feel free to drive anywhere you like down there. And absolutely stop at any roadside stand or restaurant, no matter how "local" it looks. You can find some very good and inexpensive food at these places. Or just stop for a cold drink on your way. They have a petty theft problem down there sometimes but I've never had any trouble. And I think any of that is more likely from the immigrants. Take your family zip lining for sure and if you pass a monkey park or the like, stop in and have a look.


Post pics! :) 



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