Fishing Seasons

The following calendar is a general guideline as to what has proven to be the better times of the year for certain species. Of course, and what makes fishing so exciting as with fishing anywhere in the world, the bite may be poor when it’s typically good, and when it’s suppose to be slow it may be great.

By choosing to fish with Costa Rica Escape Tours Team, you are fishing with some of the regions most experienced and professional Captains and Crews in the most fish abundant region of Costa Rica.

Our Captains and Crews are tournament seasoned, world class fisherman with the exceptional knowledge and skills it takes to deliver our guests the best opportunities to catch trophy Big Game Fish and enjoy the most successful days on the Pacific.

Fish Type by Seasons

(click on name for more information)

Marlin:

August through December is peak season, but an occasional blue or black Marlin may be found any month that the water temperature is high. Marlin bite can be incredible from February through March, with some weighing in at over 600 pounds as happened on 2008.

Sailfish:

Exceptional fishing from December through April. Often slows from May into early June, then picks up again and begins to peak in August or September.

Yellow Fin Tuna:

Best fishing for the bigger ones corresponds with the marlin and sailfish season, but schools of these fish can almost always be found around Cano Island and further out.

Dorado:

Best runs are traditionally from late May through October.

Wahoo:

Not abundant, but an occasional Wahoo may be caught. The best times are May though October.

Roosterfish:

The region has big Roosters and they can be caught virtually any month of the year, some weighing nearly 100 pounds. Average sizes range from 6 to 30 pounds.

Snook:

Almost all year round, but best from May through August and January though March.

Other Species:

Horse-eye Jacks, Jack Crevalle, Amber Jack, Spanish mackerel, Dog tooth snapper, Motton snapper, all found year round.

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Sailfish (Pez Vela)

Description 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 boats are live- released at the leader once brought boatside.

World Record

221 lbs.

Preferred Water Temps 70 to 86

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Blue Marlin (Aguja Azul)

Description 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 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 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 boats are live- released at the leader once brought boatside.

World Record 1376 lbs. (Pacific blue) and 1402 lbs (Atlantic blue)

Preferred Water Temps 70-86

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Black Marlin (Marlin Negro)

Description 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 excited.

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

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

World Record 1560 lbs.

Preferred Water Temps 70 to 86

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Mahi–Mahi (Dorado, Dolphin)

Description The body of the 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 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 Fishing 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 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.

World Record 88 lbs

Preferred Water Temps 72 to 80

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Yellow Fin Tuna (Atún)

Description Yellow fin 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 Yellow fin 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 Fishing 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 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.

World Record 388 lbs.

Preferred Water Temps 72 to 82

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Wahoo (Peto)

Description 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 Fishing 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 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.

World Record 158 lbs.

Preferred Water Temps 72 to 80

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Rooster Fish (Pez Gallo)

Description 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.

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..

Peak Fishing 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.

Most Effective 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.

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

World Record 114 lbs

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Red Snapper (Pargo Rojo)

Description 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.



World Record 50 lbs.

Preferred Water Temps 70 to 89

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Cubera Snapper

Description 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.

World Record 121 lbs.

Preferred Water Temps 70 to 89

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Snook (Robalo)

Description Snook have long, pointed heads with strongly projecting lower jaws. The back is gray, with a yellow-green tint, and it is separated from the silvery lower sides and belly by a distinctive black lateral line.

Where Found Stronger concentrations of Snook are found on the Caribbean cosat of Costa Rica, with lighter populations found on the Pacific side. Snook are year-round residents of mangrove-lined bays, estuaries, canals, and lower reaches of rivers and river mouths where the water temperature is 60°F or warmer. They will move between freshwater, estuaries, and saltwater. The species is seldom caught in water deeper than 65 feet. During the spawning season, fish may be seen congregating around passes between islands and mouths of rivers.

Feeding Habits Snook are aggressive predators that seek their prey throughout the water column. Foods include both freshwater and saltwater species of crustaceans and fishes. Some of the items identified in the stomachs are crayfish, shrimps, crabs, pinfish, pigfish, mullet, anchovies, and other small baitfish.

Peak Fishing Season Caught year round here, however better caught in the dry season when nearshore waters and river mouths offer clearer water.

Sporting Qualities Excellent. Snook are hard fighters that often attempt to run for cover when hooked. These fish ae a challenge and great sport on light tackle.

Most Effective Technique Small live baits casted and drifted at river mouths and estuary shore lines or beach heads, have proven to be the most effective technique used to catch this elusive fish. Casted and retrieved plastics and artificials work well also.

Food Quality Excellent. Light, White flaky fillets can be prepared a variety of ways.

World Record 53 lbs. 10 ounces (common Snook) Costa Rica

Preferred Water Temps 60 degrees or warmer

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