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Playas del Coco is Costa Rica’s oldest beach community. It’s no surprise that Coco has become synonymous with aquatic adventures. Diving, snorkeling, and angling are favorite pastime activities for both visitors and locals. Sportfishing, however, is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do here. Naturally, fishing in Playas del Coco will be our focus in the following sections.
Its enviable location and easy access to the Pacific Ocean have earned Coco the reputation of being the ideal vacation destination for passionate fishos. Not long ago, this tiny piece of paradise wasn’t on every fisherman’s map. But once anglers had realized how incredible fishing in Coco was, it ended up being on everyone’s radar.
Anglers from all over the world flock down to Coco to try their luck at landing prize catches. In this article, we’ll discuss what makes fishing in Coco so alluring and try to answer some of your frequently asked questions. Read on and find out more about the local species, techniques and hotspots.
What fish can I catch in Playas del Coco?
The Pacific Ocean screams possibilities. This means that you can catch almost any imaginable big game fish. Of course, we couldn’t hope to cover them all. But here’s a closer look at the most commonly caught sportfish in Coco.
One of the most frequently caught local fish species is Mahi Mahi. These guys are globally famous for their charming looks and vibrant colors. You simply won’t be able to take your eyes off them. But that’s not all. Mahi Mahi has so much more to offer. Apart from their picturesque qualities, Mahi Mahi brings fighting abilities and delicious bites to the table, too.
Mahi Mahi, better known as Dorado in these parts, are incredibly stubborn opponents. They aren’t the smartest fish in the sea and they’ll bite just about anything you throw at them, but they’ll certainly make you break a sweat. They won’t go down without a fight. More often than not, these leaping brutes will put up an acrobatic show for you.
But before you witness their epic jumps, you have to find and hook them. The most efficient way of locating them is by trolling around offshore structures where they prefer to gather and feed. Once you hit the spot, cast ballyhoo or squid their way and wait for the action to start.
If you thought that Dorado are demanding, just wait to see what Yellowfin Tuna can do. As you warm up with Mahi Mahi, you better get ready for your next-level players. Tuna are indeed advanced gymnasts. These vigorous beasts are spectacular at putting your tackle to the test. And your back, too! So, don’t forget to use a harness when reeling them in.
High-speed trolling is the name of the game when targeting Tuna. To be more precise, chumming and trolling are the winning combo. And steady and short rod pumps are what will wear your rival down instead of you. Avoid sudden hard pulls and try to control the motion as much as possible. To maximize your chances of attracting impressive specimens treat your Tuna with large squids.
Gradually increasing angling game difficulty, you’ll eventually reach the final “boss” level. There’s no doubt about it – Sailfish are your ultimate adversaries. These awe-inspiring behemoths are fast, powerful, and daring. They aren’t afraid of the open waters. So, gear up with the first-class vessel, top-notch equipment, and any help you can get because you’ll need all this to overpower Sailfish.
These predators aren’t afraid to attack your strip baits and devour them. Fast-paced trolling with ballyhoo will be your go-to method when fishing for Sailfish in Coco. Light tackle is particularly challenging but satisfying as well. Just be careful – the moment you hook them, they’ll go airborne. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
As you’d expect, we saved the best for last. While not as ferocious as the above-mentioned offshore celebrities, Roosterfish are feisty and cool. They’re arguably the most hypnotizing underwater residents in Playas del Coco and the most famous Costa Rica locals. So, if you’re thinking about visiting Coco, you can’t go home without snapping a photo or two with these strange-looking creatures.
Roosterfish love shallow inshore waters and the area around cliffs. Similar to their offshore neighbors, Roosterfish are also prone to jumping when hooked. To make them notice you, go with trolling or drifting. If you prefer casting surface lures, do that by directing your lines toward the shore or rocky structures. They tend to follow your bait from the surf to the boat and strike it midway. So, don’t be surprised if they bite just when you were about to give up.
… And More!
That’s it for our best-loved Playas del Coco critters. Now, this doesn’t mean they’ll be your favorites, too. There’s a whole army of equally charismatic and battle-ready Coco beings you can fall for. Marlin, Amberjack, Barracuda, Wahoo, and Rainbow Runner are just a few among many who call these waters home.
Jacks meander in areas closer to the shore. Meanwhile, if you’d rather explore reefs, you can always go after Snappers and Groupers. All in all, the chances of you ending up empty-handed are non-existent. Likewise, a scenario in which you don’t find a fish to fall in love with is highly unlikely.
When is the best time to fish in Playas del Coco?
Coco is a tropical gem you can enjoy year-round. The same goes for angling – come to Playas del Coco any time of the year and a fish will grace the end of your line. There are, however, a couple of useful pieces of information you should know before deciding when to visit Coco.
First and foremost, you should know that Coco is a popular tourist destination between December and April, during the dry season. Since the area is crowded with visitors, it can be difficult to find accommodation and available charter operators. For this reason, we recommend booking everything in advance if you want to fish in Playas del Coco in winter or spring, especially around the holidays.
Luckily, angling is superb outside the busy season. If you visit Coco between May and September, you may expect amazing fishing, fewer people, and afternoon showers as well. So, plan accordingly.
How can I go fishing in Playas del Coco?
There’s no doubt about it – if you want to venture offshore and pursue Coco’s giants, you need an experienced charter operator by your side. Coco fishing charters will provide a boat, rods, reels, tackle, bait, refreshments, and an amazing crew. But above anything else, they’ll guarantee a memorable experience and fish at the end of your line.
Captains born and raised in Coco know how to reach every nook and cranny in the region. They’re also known for their incredible hospitality. Coco captains will do everything in their power to make you feel at home. So, not only will they take you where the action is, but they’ll also show you what Coco is all about. Rest assured, you’ll be in good hands.
Angling from a panga boat is a common way of fishing in Costa Rica. It’s the traditional approach to harvesting fish. Pangas are usually wooden, narrow, and open but nowadays you may encounter more modern-looking panga boats. One thing is certain though – fishing in Playas del Coco with a panga boat is solely reserved for the grounds closer to the coast.
So, if you’d like to explore the deep blue realm and chase the big game leviathans, then team up with a charter captain with a bigger boat. They’ll be more stable and able to withstand choppy seas. Panga boats, on the other hand, are smaller and suitable for the calmer inshore waters. They can also accommodate a fewer number of people aboard.
When a place boasts prolific inshore fisheries and a beautiful coastline, you’re bound to find a cozy spot for shore fishing. Angling from the beach in Playas del Coco isn’t as blood-tingling as the big blue chase is, but can be rewarding, too. What’s more, if you prefer the sandy beach to wavy offshore waters, shore casting is a perfect choice for you.
One of the fish species you may expect when angling from the beach is Roosterfish. Especially at the south end of the beach. Fly fishing is the preferred method among beach anglers. February and March are the best months for surf fishing in Playas del Coco, though the beach may be swamped with people. So, make sure you get up before beachgoers populate the area.
Where can I fish in Playas del Coco?
While it’s the largest village in the province of Guanacaste, Playas del Coco is still a small place. Superb angling opportunities abide primarily in offshore waters, so pinpointing an actual hotspot is reserved only for the local captains and charter operators. We can, however, tell you where you can kick off your Playas del Coco adventure.
- Coco Beach. If you’re staying in one of several hotels nearby and want to cast a line or two while you’re on your vacation, then Coco Beach is an obvious choice. It’s close, hassle-free, and offers decent angling. With 2 miles of shoreline, you’ll surely find your slice of paradise.
- Playa Tinoco. Move to the south end of Playas del Coco and you’ll come across a secluded beach called Playa Tinoco. The beach is mostly empty and ideal for relaxing and trying your luck at fly fishing.
- Coco Bay. If you’d like to take the advantage of the inshore and nearshore fisheries then Coco Bay is your golden ticket. You’ll be in for a treat when fishing in Coco Bay, with Roosterfish and Jacks patrolling the area.
- Gulf of Papagayo. Further offshore lies a true sportfishing kingdom. You’ll need at least a 30-minute boat ride to reach the border where big game giants rule. But once you hit the spot, a battle of epic proportions with Sailfish or Tuna will follow.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need a fishing license to fish in Playas del Coco?
If you’re casting from the shore, you don’t need to purchase a fishing license. However, if you head out aboard any vessel to pursue big game fish, you must obtain a valid fishing license before your trip.
- Where can I buy a fishing license to fish in Playas del Coco?
You can buy your fishing license from INCOPESCA. Just go to their official website and order it online.
- Can I keep the fish I caught?
Yes. In the majority of cases, you’ll be able to keep the fish you’ve caught while fishing in Playas del Coco. However, there are some exceptions. Sailfish, Roosterfish, and Marlin are “catch-and-release” species. This means that keeping is prohibited. So, in case you get lucky and overpower them, snap a photo, and return them to the water.
- How long does a typical Playas del Coco trip last?
Fishing trips in Playas del Coco usually last between 4 and 8 hours depending on the fishery you want to explore. A half-day trip is ideal for going after Roosterfish. Unlike inshore trips, offshore ventures require a significant amount of time for finding the right spot and then fighting a trophy fish. So, nothing below a full-day trip makes sense if you want to test your skills against Sailfish.
- What should I bring on my Playas del Coco trip?
If you’re angling from a boat with a licensed charter operator, you don’t have to bring anything apart from the fishing license and your personal items. They’ll provide you with all the necessary equipment and in most cases drinks and snacks, too. If you’ve booked a full-day trip, it’s not uncommon that lunch is also included.
- Are Coco fishing charters kid-friendly?
Yes. Coco fishing charters welcome children of all ages. If you’re, however, certain that you’ll be pursuing the offshore giants, then you might want to reconsider bringing your infants aboard.
Playas del Coco Fishing: Angling at Its Finest
We can’t tell you that Playas del Coco is brimming with first-class entertainment and 5-star luxurious resorts, sorry. What we can tell you is that Coco’s waters are teeming with world-renowned fish species. We can also tell you that this tiny piece of heaven is a divine angling destination in Costa Rica. And finally, we can tell you that fishing in Playas del Coco is worth it. You won’t go wrong if you choose Coco as your next angling adventure. Tight lines!
The post Playas del Coco Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.