View Full Version : Costa Rica Billfishing

03-15-2006, 12:44 PM
I returned about ten days ago from a great fishing experience. We went to Crocodile Bay Lodge in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica for a week of fishing. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone. Catching a sailfish is great fun, but catching one on the fly is a whole new ballgame (this is true with all species).

We went out every day between 15 and 30 miles offshore, in 27 foot center consoles. The captain and mate would set up three hookless teaser lines. We would troll and when the fish came up into the teasers (this is not hard to miss as they are slashing around with their bills like crazy) the crew frantically reels in all the teasers. They would pay particular attention to the lure the fish was following and would reel it to within about 30 feet to the stern and yell "Cast!" just as they snatched the teaser away. Ideally, your lrage popper lands near the fish and after about two goods "pops" - the game is on. The strike is surprisingly deliberate. The fish is usually swimming toward you and the boat, so it must turn to one side for a proper hook set. I had to break the habit of lifting the rod to set a hook because you can snap the line on the bill, you have to set the hook by pulling on the fly line while jerking the rod in the opposite direction the fish decides to turn. At this point, the fish knows something isn't right and most of them would go crazy jumping completely out of the water and tail walking right behind the boat. Our fights ranged from 8 min to 1.5 hrs.

Between my brother and I, we landed 5 sails, 3 on fly rods. We lost several fish due to our inexperience and some inferior tackle. I caught the first one on a T.F.O. 12 wt, and the last two on an Orvis Trident 14 wt. w/Vortex reel. It was much easier on the Orvis equipment.

Back at the lodge we visited with other anglers over dinner and drinks and during our stay several guys fished inshore and caught roosterfish. There was at least one blue marlin landed, a few dorado, jack ceravalle, and others. Puerto Jimenez is about a 45 min commuter plane ride from the capital of San Jose, and Crocodile Lodge has a nice facility with comfortable accomodations, a great fleet of boats/captains, and very good food. We booked the trip through Orvis travel which was very helpful and for the same price if we booked direct.