The Fish

I first saw this area in 1989 while in Punta Uva, a small surfing village a few miles north of Manzanillo. I swore I would return someday with my fly rod. For years fishermen have heard rumors of large tarpon in great numbers on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, near the border with Panama. As it turned out I found the “mother lode” without knowing it at the time. Nowadays tarpon weighing up to 200 pounds are being landed and twenty hook-ups in a morning have been accomplished. Jacks, mackerel, and even false albacore (little tunny) are incidental species that can be caught when the tarpon fishing slows. In the right conditions king mackerel and dorado (mahi mahi) can be targeted.

With a good incoming tide, the guides travel north to Cahuita National Park, where the only bonefish and permit flats in Costa Rica are located.  A grand slam is possible, and has been accomplished by several anglers.

Fishing is via 26 foot boats and casting to rolling fish.  Blind casting is necessary at some of the known productive areas.  For tarpon of this size we recommend fly rods no smaller than an eleven weight and reels with 250 to 350 yards of 30 pound backing.  Most of the fishing is with intermediate lines, but floating and sinking or sink tip lines are sometimes necessary.

The fishing in this region could set a new standard for tarpon fishing.  The fishing waters are situated in wildlife and marine reserves, which insure management and protection of the fish and habitat.

The best months for fishing and other activities are March, April, May, September, and October.

Next: Fishing Day