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Tamarindo, Costa Rica Fishing

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Hi folks - I just got back from a trip to Tamarindo Costa Rica and wanted to share my experience in case others were thinking about visiting.

 

Overview: fishing from shore was okay but definitely had potential. I did not charter a boat but talked to some folks who did who did really well catching Mahi Mahi and grouper. Be careful going in December through Feb because it can be very windy. Tamirindo itself was very touristy and crowded although the food was very good and the town was very walkable - we did not rent a car although many recommend it. 

 

I brought a two piece 8 foot .5 oz to 2oz rod with 5000 size reel and a 9 foot 1 ounce to 4 ounce with 8000 size reel. I was hoping for a shot at some big cubera snapper or roosterfish but ended up using my lighter set-up for most of the trip. 

 

Tamarindo beach is bordered by rocks to the south and a river mouth to the north. I fished mostly off the beach towards the south outside of the Coastal hotel. This happened to be where the least swimmers/surfers were, especially early morning. The beach is pretty shallow so if you are willing to wade in past your waist, you can get about 30 extra yards into the ocean. After 6 days of fishing I had caught 3 Jack and 2 pacific snook (see below representative pictures, not mine). Also had a follow from a needle-fish and a few more bites. All of my bites were on 1 to 2 oz metal spoons (kastmaster) and epoxy jigs. 

 

 image.png.61e507af9c97e2f22bcc9c9235727650.pngimage.png.2c48b393dc7b36b29206e15a125e1f66.png

 

On one of the days when I had most of my bites, there was constant bird activity just out of range of my casting. But whenever the birds came in range I would at least get a bite. Another day when there were no birds, I saw a school of snook busting into some bait right in front of me before hooking up. Otherwise both the bites and visible indicators (birds, bait, topwater breaks) were pretty few and far between. 

 

If you want to fish off of these volcanic rocks I would bring a pair of sneakers that you don't mind leaving in CR. The rocks are very sharp. I personally did not catch anything off these rocks despite hours of popper casting. If you wanted to catch reef fish, I would try a bobber set-up rigged with small hooks and some shrimp casted off the rocks, you would probably get some hawkfish or triggerfish-like species. The markets in tamarindo did not have bait - on saturday at the town market there was a guy selling seafood including shrimp. Otherwise you would have to take a 15 min taxi to villareal to a bigger supermarket to find frozen bait, likely. There aren't many fishing tackle stores around so bring what you need, although apparently the mechanic shops on the streets sell basic fishing gear.

 

On the opposite side of the rocks, Tamarindo beach has a river mouth which supposedly holds a lot of fish, but also holds crocodiles. There have been attacks on humans over the years so I decided to stay away - but multiple locals told me that's where the fishing is best. 

 

Overall it was a fun trip, but not sure I would go back. The place was mobbed with tourists and I might try somewhere more off-the-beaten path next time. 

 

 

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On 2/8/2024 at 7:53 AM, Wildlife said:

Hi folks - I just got back from a trip to Tamarindo Costa Rica and wanted to share my experience in case others were thinking about visiting.

 

Overview: fishing from shore was okay but definitely had potential. I did not charter a boat but talked to some folks who did who did really well catching Mahi Mahi and grouper. Be careful going in December through Feb because it can be very windy. Tamirindo itself was very touristy and crowded although the food was very good and the town was very walkable - we did not rent a car although many recommend it. 

 

I brought a two piece 8 foot .5 oz to 2oz rod with 5000 size reel and a 9 foot 1 ounce to 4 ounce with 8000 size reel. I was hoping for a shot at some big cubera snapper or roosterfish but ended up using my lighter set-up for most of the trip. 

 

Tamarindo beach is bordered by rocks to the south and a river mouth to the north. I fished mostly off the beach towards the south outside of the Coastal hotel. This happened to be where the least swimmers/surfers were, especially early morning. The beach is pretty shallow so if you are willing to wade in past your waist, you can get about 30 extra yards into the ocean. After 6 days of fishing I had caught 3 Jack and 2 pacific snook (see below representative pictures, not mine). Also had a follow from a needle-fish and a few more bites. All of my bites were on 1 to 2 oz metal spoons (kastmaster) and epoxy jigs. 

 

 image.png.61e507af9c97e2f22bcc9c9235727650.pngimage.png.2c48b393dc7b36b29206e15a125e1f66.png

 

On one of the days when I had most of my bites, there was constant bird activity just out of range of my casting. But whenever the birds came in range I would at least get a bite. Another day when there were no birds, I saw a school of snook busting into some bait right in front of me before hooking up. Otherwise both the bites and visible indicators (birds, bait, topwater breaks) were pretty few and far between. 

 

If you want to fish off of these volcanic rocks I would bring a pair of sneakers that you don't mind leaving in CR. The rocks are very sharp. I personally did not catch anything off these rocks despite hours of popper casting. If you wanted to catch reef fish, I would try a bobber set-up rigged with small hooks and some shrimp casted off the rocks, you would probably get some hawkfish or triggerfish-like species. The markets in tamarindo did not have bait - on saturday at the town market there was a guy selling seafood including shrimp. Otherwise you would have to take a 15 min taxi to villareal to a bigger supermarket to find frozen bait, likely. There aren't many fishing tackle stores around so bring what you need, although apparently the mechanic shops on the streets sell basic fishing gear.

 

On the opposite side of the rocks, Tamarindo beach has a river mouth which supposedly holds a lot of fish, but also holds crocodiles. There have been attacks on humans over the years so I decided to stay away - but multiple locals told me that's where the fishing is best. 

 

Overall it was a fun trip, but not sure I would go back. The place was mobbed with tourists and I might try somewhere more off-the-beaten path next time. 

 

 

 

Wildlife,

 

Welcome to SOL family !

 

Thank you for sharing the info about Costa Rica…..

 

I am thinking to go to CR perhaps in the April but haven’t decided where: north or south of CR?

Looking for rooster fishing from the shore.

I thought about Gulf of Papagayo because it’s close to the Liberia airport…but I need to study a little more about that area.

 

Thanks,

Rick

(*member formerly known as 'Ricardo8')

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Excellent report, thanks. I fished there 1 day. I skipped the river mouth because it was crowded and went a couple of miles to the south and fished a stream mouth. Caught nada

"what good are tractors without violins" ?   jose figueres

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On 2/11/2024 at 6:32 PM, Mahigo said:

 

Wildlife,

 

Welcome to SOL family !

 

Thank you for sharing the info about Costa Rica…..

 

I am thinking to go to CR perhaps in the April but haven’t decided where: north or south of CR?

Looking for rooster fishing from the shore.

I thought about Gulf of Papagayo because it’s close to the Liberia airport…but I need to study a little more about that area.

 

Thanks,

Rick

 

 

Hey Rick

 

I heard the fishing was pretty good out of the Rio Guanacaste resort which is more $$$ than I could afford. That would be northern pacific CR

 

I also hear Nosara is good which is a bit south of Tamarindo, but still northern and probably 2 hour drive from Liberia airport. And supposedly the charters out of Playa Flamingo are pretty good. Report back! 

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 i also have heard for years that nosara was good. finally got there a few months ago. fished the river mouth hard 2 days for nada. plenty of crocs. guy rents kayaks for cheap to cross the river and fish the mouth on the other side. i tried both sides.  the locals told me it was hot a couple of weeks before i showed.....last day i fished the rocks of punta guiones just south of there for a couple of snapper

 

 nosara is a lot more then 2 hrs from liberia. more like 4 hrs as a guess. last good bit of road is not paved

 

 good luck

"what good are tractors without violins" ?   jose figueres

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On 2/20/2024 at 1:38 AM, Wildlife said:

 

 

Hey Rick

 

I heard the fishing was pretty good out of the Rio Guanacaste resort which is more $$$ than I could afford. That would be northern pacific CR

 

I also hear Nosara is good which is a bit south of Tamarindo, but still northern and probably 2 hour drive from Liberia airport. And supposedly the charters out of Playa Flamingo are pretty good. Report back! 

Hi Wildlife,

 

Thank you for the additional info.

The resort you pointed out is quite expensive for me too.

Nosara is over 3 hours from the Liberia, will look to find something closer like a Playa Hermosa.

 

Up to May is windy on the north and rain o the south and from May on will be rain in the north…not sure if this is correct info.

I do not want to fish for “nada” like mark said.

I always travel with my rods, reels and all tackle I need for fishing.

I prefer to walk on the beach and throw lures…..so no charters for me at least for now.

 

Rick

(*member formerly known as 'Ricardo8')

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On 2/20/2024 at 12:43 PM, mark d said:

 

 

 i also have heard for years that nosara was good. finally got there a few months ago. fished the river mouth hard 2 days for nada. plenty of crocs. guy rents kayaks for cheap to cross the river and fish the mouth on the other side. i tried both sides.  the locals told me it was hot a couple of weeks before i showed.....last day i fished the rocks of punta guiones just south of there for a couple of snapper

 

 nosara is a lot more then 2 hrs from liberia. more like 4 hrs as a guess. last good bit of road is not paved

 

 good luck

 

Hi mark d, 

 

Thank you for the info.

The fish bite twice a day: before you get there and just after you leave….

Hopefully I will catch more than "nada" if I go to CR?.....hahaha

(*member formerly known as 'Ricardo8')

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10 hours ago, Mahigo said:

 

Hi mark d, 

 

Thank you for the info.

The fish bite twice a day: before you get there and just after you leave….

Hopefully I will catch more than "nada" if I go to CR?.....hahaha

I fished San Juan del Sur in Nica (Just a bit North of CR border) for 5 weeks  3 years ago( March-April) and it is still by far the worse fishing trip I  ever had...Couple little snappers...And I fished hard, trust me.

Good luck

 

It is my opinion that the coast is waaaaay overfished.

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1 hour ago, snapper1 said:

 

 

 

 

It is my opinion that the coast is waaaaay overfished.

 

   agreed. if you see a bunch of small skiffs in an area leave. they have vacuumed the bottom. for years i have done my serious fishing on the Caribbean side, the local fisherman there are involved with the drug trade, dont fish anymore. i see them come and go but no fishing gear in their skiffs. however,  my last trip there i caught a few jacks for 5 days of hard fishing. i asked some locals i know there what was up and they said it had been dead for months

 

 i have been having a bit of luck in the northwest part of the country, guanacaste.  lot of tourism there. it seems that the local fishermen or at least the next generation have transitioned into tourism

 

  

"what good are tractors without violins" ?   jose figueres

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On 2/11/2024 at 6:32 PM, Mahigo said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought about Gulf of Papagayo because it’s close to the Liberia airport…but I need to study a little more about that area.

 

Thanks,

Rick

 

 thats the area i am concentrating on now. we are building a small beach house there and it seems commercial fishing pressure is less. last trip there i caught corvina, 1 rooster and some snapper. all small but i am still figuring the place out

 

  good luck

"what good are tractors without violins" ?   jose figueres

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13 hours ago, Mahigo said:

Hi Wildlife,

 

Thank you for the additional info.

The resort you pointed out is quite expensive for me too.

Nosara is over 3 hours from the Liberia, will look to find something closer like a Playa Hermosa.

 

Up to May is windy on the north and rain o the south and from May on will be rain in the north…not sure if this is correct info.

I do not want to fish for “nada” like mark said.

I always travel with my rods, reels and all tackle I need for fishing.

I prefer to walk on the beach and throw lures…..so no charters for me at least for now.

 

Rick

 

I did a CR family vacation a couple of years ago and brought my gear. I snuck in a few very early morning outings while the family was sleeping. We started in Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste and that's where I had the most success (compared to Manuel Antonio.) I fished off the rocks on the northern part of the beach and got a couple of small jacks and then got a few small spanish Macks that were hitting huge schools of bait (sardines?) as I was walking the beach. It was a great experience but I certainly wouldn't call it successful. If I went back I would just leave the gear at home and enjoy the country....maybe I would think about doing a charter one morning to try and get some reef fish just off the coast. 

This ground is not the rock I thought it to be.....

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1 hour ago, sbcbmx112 said:

A couple February's ago I had good luck in the area of quepos fishing from rocks and on a half day inshore rooster charter.

 

 what did you catch from the rocks ? ....thanks

"what good are tractors without violins" ?   jose figueres

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