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Costa Rica Fishing Calendar by Fish Specie (2021)

These are the Fishing Calendars for the Most Coveted Inshore/Offshore Fishes in Costa Rica!

(Click on any fish for full details)

Although Costa Rica is worldwide famous for its rich and diverse inshore and offshore big game fishing experience, most people excited about fishing in Costa Rica for the first time think mainly about catching marlins and sailfish, which is understandable being in the world’s capital of billfish, but here we show you many other fishing species (and their seasonal fishing calendar) you will also enjoy a lot catching when being here.

What is the best time of year to fish in Costa Rica?

Without a doubt, one of the most frequently asked questions for anglers visiting Costa Rica for the first time is when is the best time or season for fishing in Costa Rica.

In short, most fishermen and fishing charter captains will simply say that the best season to fish in Costa Rica goes from December to April, and so we agree (for most pelagic species) but, this quick answer does not mean you won’t have a great fishing experience any other month of the year, at all.

The Pacific Ocean waters of Costa Rica’s West Coast (Los Suenos – Jaco Beach region) is excellent year-round for deep sea and inshore fishing, however, during certain months of the year, different species of Game fish are more abundant than others.

To see what months typically represent the best time to fish for the different species we catch in Costa Rica please review the yearly fishing season calendar, below.

Fishing Calendar By Months And Seasons

(Jaco Beach & Los Suenos)

January To April
blank SailfishExcellent
blank Blue MarlinExcellent
blank Black MarlinExcellent
blank Striped MarlinGood
blank Mahi-Mahi, DolphinfishExcellent
blank Yellowfin TunaExcellent
blank WahooGood
blank RoosterfishGood
blank Red SnapperGood
blank Cubera SnapperGood
blank Jack CrevalleGood
blank Grouper Excellent
May To June
blank SailfishExcellent
blank Blue MarlinExcellent
blank Black MarlinGood
blank Striped MarlinGood
blank Mahi-Mahi, DolphinfishExcellent
blank Yellowfin TunaExcellent
blank WahooGood
blank RoosterfishGood
blank Red SnapperExcellent
blank Cubera SnapperGood
blank Jack CrevalleFair
blank Grouper Good
July to August
blank SailfishGood
blank Blue MarlinFair
blank Black MarlinFair
blank Striped MarlinFair
blank Mahi-Mahi, DolphinfishGood
blank Yellowfin TunaGood
blank WahooFair
blank RoosterfishGood
blank Red SnapperExcellent
blank Cubera SnapperGood
blank Jack CrevalleGood
blank Grouper Excellent
September to October
blank SailfishFair
blank Blue MarlinFair
blank Black MarlinFair
blank Striped MarlinFair
blank Mahi-Mahi, DolphinfishGood
blank Yellowfin TunaGood
blank WahooFair
blank RoosterfishGood
blank Red SnapperGood
blank Cubera SnapperGood
blank Jack CrevalleGood
blank Grouper Good
November To December
blank SailfishExcellent
blank Blue MarlinExcellent
blank Black MarlinGood
blank Striped MarlinGood
blank Mahi-Mahi, DolphinfishGood
blank Yellowfin TunaGood
blank WahooFair
blank RoosterfishGood
blank Red SnapperExcellent
blank Cubera SnapperGood
blank Jack CrevalleGood
blank Broomtail Grouper Good

Sailfish (Pez Vela)

Sailfish facts:

These are the easiest of all the billfish to identify. Their tall, arching dorsal fin is filled with blood vessels and is used to regulate the fish’s body temperature. Its back and dorsal fin are dark blue, sides are silver, and belly is white. The bill is usually twice the length of the fish’s lower jaw.

Where found:

Sailfish will migrate in deep, warm waters, but they’re known to move near shore for feeding. Typically caught out of Los Suenos area anywhere from 18-35 miles off shore.

Feeding Habits:

Sailfish eat squid, octopus, mackerel, mullet, flying fish, needlefish, and other small fish. Although they travel in deep water, they will usually feed in mid-depths as well as close top the surface.

Peak Season:

While trophy Sail Fish are caught in strong numbers out of the Los Suenos region year-round, January through the end of June have historically proven to be the best time frame to catch large quantities of these fish in this region.

Sporting Qualities:

Sailfish are incredible sprinters, reaching speeds of up to 65mph. When hooked, they are known to make spectacular long hard runs and aerial leaps. They tend to travel in packs ranging from 3 to 30, making chances for a double hook-up very good.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Sails are prime targets for medium-tackle bait-and-switch. Once incited, they will pursue a baitfish longer and more aggressively. This gives anglers a good chance of luring a sailfish from a teaser to a hooked drop back bait and affords maultiple hookups at the same time.

Food Quality:

None: All Sailfish caught aboard our fishing boats are live-released at the leader once brought boatside.

Preferred Water Temps:

 70 to 86 °F

Sailfish Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneExcellent
July / AugustGood
September / OctoberFair
November / DecemberExcellent

Blue Marlin (Aguja Azul)

Blue Marlin Facts:

The Atlantic and Pacific Blue marlin look nearly the same in their appearance. The upper and rear portions of the body are dark, brilliant blue in color, and that includes the dorsal fin. The lower portion has a silver white color. In many cases, there are up to 15 vertical stripes, consisting of small dots and narrow bars, also in a brilliant blue color.

Where found:

Blue marlin can be found in tropical and warm temperate waters around the globe, mostly in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It is the most tropical of the billfish and is often found in waters near the equator. In eastern Pacific waters, they can be found in an area generally from southern California along the coast of Mexico through Costa Rico and as far down as Peru in South America.

Feeding Habits:

Blue marlin feed primarily near the surface, though they occasionally dive to deeper water to feed, depending on where their prey is found. Their diet consists mostly of fish and other sea life found near the surface and is highly dependent upon location. This diet can include tuna, mackerel, squid, octopus and any number of fish species indigenous to the environment.

Peak Season:

While caught year round here, November & December offer the largest migration of all Marlin Species that travel through the Los Suenos region. During these months, impressive numbers of Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin are caught daily on our fishing charter boats.

Sporting Qualities:

Most believe Blue Marlin are the most sought after of all the ocean sport fish. A super strong and powerful bill-fish, blue marlin will fight hard and run fast for many hours on end, especially when you are hooked up to a very large marlin. They can suddenly dive to deep water and can make wild jumps like some type of fish acrobatic. With impressive endurance, it is not uncommon to see a hooked fish make up to 15 or more spectacular jumps. This fish can be a true test of an anglers deep sea fishing skills.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Anglers commonly troll brightly colored lures and teasers as well as natural baits such as mackerel, tuna, bonito and ballyhoo in hopes of enticing one of these giants. Blue marlin anglers will look for temperature breaks in the water and follow large concentrations of baitfish.

Food Quality:

 None: All Marlin caught aboard our fishing charter boats are live-released at the leader once brought boatside.

Preferred Water Temps:

 70 to 86 °F

Blue Marlin Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneExcellent
July / AugustFair
September / OctoberFair
November / DecemberExcellent

Black Marlin

Black Marlin Facts:

The black marlin is the only marlin with non-retractable fins. Another distinguishing trait is their dorsal fin which is proportionately the lowest of any billfish. It stands less than 50 percent of the fish’s body height. The black marlin’s back is slate blue and transitions to a silver belly. It may also have light blue stripes when ex

Where found:

Black marlin generally exists in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are a highly migratory, pelagic species that will rarely swim deeper than 100 feet. They are most commonly found in deep waters, near such prominent bottom structures as continental shelves and reefs.

Feeding Habits:

Large black marlin are known to feed on squid, scad, mackerel tuna, frigate mackerel, and tuna.

Peak Season:

While caught year round here, November & December offer the largest migration of all Marlin Species that travel through the Los Suenos region. During these months, impressive numbers of Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin are caught daily on our fishing boats.

Sporting Qualities:

The black’s immense strength and exceptional size makes it a favored target among big-game fishermen. A fight with one of these fish can last for hours, wearing severely on the angler as well as the tackle.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Anglers commonly troll brightly colored lures or rigged ballyhoo baitfish to catch Black Marlin.

Food Quality:

None. All Black Marlin caught aboard our fishing boats are live-released at the leader.

Preferred Water Temps:

 70 to 86 °F

Black Marlin Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneGood
July / AugustFair
September / OctoberFair
November / DecemberGood

Striped Marlin

Description:

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Where found:

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Feeding Habits:

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Peak Season:

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Sporting Qualities:

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Most Effective Angling Technique:

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Food Quality:

 None: All Marlin caught aboard our boats are live- released at the leader once brought boatside.

Preferred Water Temps:

 70 to 86 °F

Striped Marlin Fishing Calendar: ????????????
Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneGood
July / AugustFair
November / DecemberExcellent

Mahi–Mahi (Dorado, Dolphinfish)

Mahi-Mahi/Dorado Facts:

The body of the Mahi-Mahi / dolphin is quite slender but fairly deep, with a noticeable tapering from head to tail. The male of the species is distinguished from the female by its high, vertical head. The anal fin has approximately 30 soft rays and stretches over half of the length of the body. The distinctive dorsal fin is long, covering almost three-fourths of the body, and has around 60 soft rays

Where found:

Dolphin Mahi-Mahi are a warm-water fish usually found in deep waters, close to the surface. While sometimes found in coastal waters, they often concentrate in the open ocean around floating objects such as buoys, driftwood and seaweed clusters. They are considered to be the most surface-oriented of all big-game fish.

Feeding Habits:

Dolphin are known as voracious predators. While their favorite prey is the flying fish, they also consume squid, shrimp, crustaceans and even smaller dolphin. Using a keen sense of eyesight the dolphin locates most food near clumps of floating vegetation and objects

Peak Season:

While caught year round here year round, November through July are the best months to catch huge trophy Mahi-Mahi here.

Sporting Qualities:

The Mahi-Mahi is considered one of the top offshore game fish and is highly targeted by anglers around the world. It is famous for its leaps and flips over the surface when hooked. Because of their speed and agility, dolphin provides for an exciting catch as they run long and jump often.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Mahi’s are usually caught here while trolling for Sailfish and Marlin with rigged ballyhoo and skirted lures with bright colors. Our average Mahi range from 25-50lbs in size.

Food Quality:

Outstanding! Light, White fillets. No fish taste. A delicacy and prized food fish. Our sponsor restaurants do a great job and cooking your Fresh Mahi fillets in a variety of different styles.

Preferred Water Temps:

 72 to 80 °F

Mahi-Mahi Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneExcellent
July / AugustGood
September / OctoberGood
November / DecemberGood

Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna Facts:

Yellowfin tuna have a muscular, streamlined body like a swimming torpedo and like all tuna they can swim fast as lightning. A tuna’s color is dark blue to black on the back and tail fin, yellow and silver on the side and belly. The second dorsal and anal fins are yellow and very long in older fish. Yellow finlets run down the back and belly from these two fins to the tail fin and are a bright, canary yellow with black edges.

Where found:

Yellow fin tuna are found here from 15-40 miles offshore and are usually caught trolling the same lures and baits as are used to catch sailfish. They are commonly found under large schools of spinner dolphin, which are abundant here.

Feeding Habits:

Yellowfin feed on fishes and invertebrates associated with sargassum. This will occur in at the water’s surface in the open ocean. Foods include larval crabs and shrimps, squids, paper nautilus, flying fish, triggerfish, and jacks.

Peak Season:

While caught year round here, January through August seem to offer the strongest numbers of Tuna caught here.

Sporting Qualities:

Yellowfin tuna are considered a sport fish and are highly sought after by anglers and commercial fishermen alike. After hitting a lure or bait, they often go deep and will fight with great power and tenacity.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Anglers commonly troll brightly colored lures or rigged baitfish to catch this species.

Food Quality:

Outstanding! Most commonly eaten raw as Sashimi or lightly seared with red center.

Preferred Water Temps:

 72 to 82 °F

Yellowfin Tuna Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneExcellent
July / AugustGood
October / SeptemberGood
November / DecemberGood

Wahoo (Peto)

Wahoo Facts:

Long, slender body marked with zebra-like stripes of white and deep blue or black. Mouth is elongated and narrow, and equipped with razor-sharp teeth.

Where found:

Wahoo are present in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans in clear, tropical and subtropical waters. Heavy seasonal concentrations occur off the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica, Panama and Baja California in the summer months.

Feeding Habits:

Primarily feed on whole small fishes, such as sardines, scads, mackerel and squid. They are frequently solitary feeders, but they may sometimes be found in small, loose groups. Wahoo are sub-surface hunters that hang several feet below the surface and shoot up to attack prey with tremendous speed. They tend to be more active in the morning and evening hours.

Peak Season:

While caught year round here, the summer months have offered the most occasions where Wahoo are caught.

Sporting Qualities:

May strike a surface bait in spectacular, greyhounding fashion, but seldom jumps after being hooked. Wild fight is characterized by several sizzling runs, usually at or near the surface. One of the fastest of all game fish..

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Trolled rigged baits such as ballyhoo, spoons, or other lures. Wahoo are commonly caught in the same spread being trolled for Sailfish and Marlin.

Food Quality:

Outstanding! Often found on the menus of local seafood restaurants.

Preferred Water Temps:

 72 to 80 °F

Wahoo Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Good
May / JuneGood
July / AugustGood
October / SeptemberFair
November / DecemberFair

Rooster Fish (Pez Gallo)

Roosterfish Facts:

This is probably the most easily recognized specie in the jack family. Roosterfish have 7 distinct spines that stand high above the dorsal fin when they are excited or threatened. There are also two long streaks that run from the fish’s dorsal fin, down the sides, and ending before their tail.

Where found:

Predominantly along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica near and inshore along sandy shoals, as well as rock formations and reefs.

Feeding Habits:

Roosterfish eat small fish, crabs, squid, and other crustaceans.

Peak Season:

While caught here round out of the Los Suenos region, the months of June through Late November seem to offer the most successful trips for Rooster Fish.

Sporting Qualities:

Much like it’s relative the Amberjack, roosterfish will make a screaming first run once hooked. These very strong fighters can often be found near surf, circling birds, and inshore waters..

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Live Blue runners and various other live baits are typically slow trolled around near shore rock formations to produce the best Roosterfish action. Drifting and slow trolling strip baits is also a very effective method of enticing Roosterfish bites.

Food Quality:

None. All Rooster Fish caught aboard our fishing charter boats are live released after photo.

Preferred Water Temps:

 72 to 80 °F

Roosterfish Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Good
May / JuneGood
July / AugustGood
October / SeptemberGood
November / DecemberGood

Amberjack

Description:

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Where found:

???

Feeding Habits:

???

Peak Season:

While caught year round here, January through August seem to offer the strongest numbers of Tuna caught here.

Sporting Qualities:

 Yellowfin tuna are considered a sport fish and are highly sought after by anglers and commercial fishermen alike. After hitting a lure or bait, they often go deep and will fight with great power and tenacity.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Anglers commonly troll brightly colored lures or rigged baitfish to catch this species.

Food Quality:

Outstanding! Most commonly eaten raw as Sashimi or lightly seared with red center.

Preferred Water Temps:

 72 to 82 °F

Blue Marlin Fishing Calendar:
Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneGood
July / AugustGood
November / DecemberExcellent

Red Snapper (Pargo Rojo)

Red Snapper Facts:

The back and upper sides are scarlet to brick red, and the lower sides and belly are lighter. Small red snapper, up to 10 inches, have a dark spot on the upper sides just below the soft dorsal fin. Adult red snapper are easily distinguished from other red-colored snappers.

Where found:

Snapper can be found Nearshore and offshore, typically congregated around rocky bottom structure and reefs.

Feeding Habits:

Snapper commonly eat small fish, squid, crustaceans and chunked baits.. They are verocious feeders and are caught with a wide variety of baits.

Peak Season:

Caught here year round, July through December offer the strongest Snapper bites. There are multiple species of Snapper caught here.

Sporting Qualities:

All species of Snapper offer the angler a challenging battle, especially when hooked on light tackle. They are hard fighters that once hooked make strong, head shaking runs for the bottom, looking for cover.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Live bait slow trolled or fished directly on the bottom. Dead bait fished on the bottom over rocky structure and reefs.

Food Quality:

Outstanding. Light, white flaky meat when cooked. A prized fillet for table fare.

Preferred Water Temps:

 70 to 89 °F

Red Snapper Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Good
May / JuneExcellent
July / AugustExcellent
October / SeptemberGood
November / DecemberExcellent

Cubera Snapper

Cubera Snapper Facts:

The largest of the snapper species, averaging 15-75lbs, Cubera Snappers are silver or steely gray to dark brown on the head, body and fins and occasionally have a reddish tinge. They tend to be darker on their dorsal edge and sometimes have a pinkish, purplish sheen. The Cubera has thick lips, dark red eyes, and a rounded anal fin and large sets of sharp teeth.

Where found:

Cubera Snapper can be found Nearshore and offshore, typically congregated around rocky bottom structure and reefs in depths from 50-200 feet.

Feeding Habits:

Snapper commonly eat small fish, squid, crustaceans and chunked baits.. They are veracious feeders and are caught with a wide variety of baits.

Peak Season:

Caught here year round, July through December offer the strongest Snapper bites. There are multiple species of Snapper caught here.

Sporting Qualities:

All species of Snapper offer the angler a challenging battle, especially when hooked on light tackle. They are hard fighters that once hooked make strong, head shaking runs for the bottom, looking for cover. Cubera Snappers are commonly caught using 50-100lb test line.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Live bait slow trolled or fished directly on the bottom. Dead bait or live crabs, small lobsters, fished on the bottom over rocky structure and reefs.

Food Quality:

Excellent! White, Flaky fillets when cooked.

Preferred Water Temps:

70 to 89 °F

Cubera Snapper Fishing Calendar:

Jan / Feb / Mar / April Good
May / JuneGood
July / AugustGood
October / SeptemberGood
November / DecemberGood

Jack Crevalle

Description:

???

Where found:

???

Feeding Habits:

???

Peak Season:

While caught here round out of the Los Suenos region, the months of June through Late November seem to offer the most successful trips for Rooster Fish.

Sporting Qualities:

Much like it’s relative the Amberjack, roosterfish will make a screaming first run once hooked. These very strong fighters can often be found near surf, circling birds, and inshore waters..

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Live Blue runners and various other live baits are typically slow trolled around near shore rock formations to produce the best Roosterfish action. Drifting and slow trolling strip baits is also a very effective method of enticing Roosterfish bites.

Food Quality:

None. All Rooster Fish caught our boats are live released after photo.

Preferred Water Temps:

 72 to 80 °F

Blue Marlin Fishing Calendar:
Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneGood
July / AugustGood
November / DecemberExcellent

Grouper

Description:

????

Where found:

????

Feeding Habits:

????

Peak Season:

While caught year round here, January through August seem to offer the strongest numbers of Tuna caught here.

Sporting Qualities:

 Yellowfin tuna are considered a sport fish and are highly sought after by anglers and commercial fishermen alike. After hitting a lure or bait, they often go deep and will fight with great power and tenacity.

Most Effective Angling Technique:

Anglers commonly troll brightly colored lures or rigged baitfish to catch this species.

Food Quality:

Outstanding! Most commonly eaten raw as Sashimi or lightly seared with red center.

Preferred Water Temps:

 72 to 82 °F

Blue Marlin Fishing Calendar:
Jan / Feb / Mar / April Excellent
May / JuneGood
July / AugustGood
November / DecemberExcellent

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