Skip to content
Roosterfish in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Fish Species

Top Costa Rica Fish Species, some of the species you can spect to catch in Costa Rica

Offshore Fish Species

Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi










Rooster Fish

Rooster Fish









Costa Rica Fishing Calendar

FishJan-Feb-Mar Off ShoreApr-May-Jun Off ShoreJul-Aug-Sep Off ShoreOct-Nov -Dec Off Shore
Black MarlinFairGoodGoodExcellent
Blue MarlinFairGoodFairGood
Black MarlinFairGoodGoodExcellent
SailfishExcellentGood +GoodExcellent
DoradoExcellentGood +GoodExcellent
Yellow Fin TunaExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
FishJan-Feb-Mar In ShoreApr-May-Jun In ShoreJul-Aug-Sep In ShoreOct-Nov -Dec In Shore

Yellowfin tuna

Tuna sport fishing catch common in Costa Rica
Light tuna is not easily confused with other species. However, it is similar in appearance to the Albacore (which has unusually long pectoral fins and fins dark gray), bigeye tuna (which has a very deep body, large eyes, yellowfin edged in black, and an iridescent blue band on the other hand), and bluefin tuna north (which has short pectoral fins, a second dorsal fin is reddish brown and dark yellow wings with black borders).


Yellowfin tuna, perhaps the king of tuna, is characterized by its “related” body, dark metallic blue back, sides yellow, silver, and a white belly with 20 oblique vertical broken lines. It also has very large dorsal and anal fins second that are fairly close together and has bright yellow dorsal and anal fins and narrow black borders.

Typical Location: Open Ocean along the current lines and temperature changes.
Fishing methods: Trolling plastic lures, squid, live bait, or bait strips, often in combination with plastic skirts, or drifting at anchor with hook and bait.

Yellowfin tuna
Costa Rica Dorado Fishing

Dorado – Mahi Mahi

Great to eat, they can be caught in the waters offshore in Costa Rica

El Dorado, Dolphin Fish, gold or “gold” in Spanish, can be easily recognized by its unique shape and bright color. When connected, it lights up with fish, almost neon colors, and puts up and out, jumping, fighting tail walking.

Has a compressed body with a long concave anal fin, a single dorsal fin along the length of the body extends, very long pectoral fins that are greater than half the length of the head, pelvic fins originating on the fins pectoral and caudal fins deeply forked. The fins are typically yellow.


The male has a female head erect and a rounded head. The male is larger and heavier than the female.

Typical Location: In the open ocean around logs, flotsam, weed lines, in the warm currents, and around the buoys.
Fishing methods: Trolling smooth dead, mackerel or squid baits drag strip (often in combination with squid plastic), trolling smaller lures, or drifting with a small live bait (and often with chum). Better, it is known as dolphin, which is most abundant from late May to October.

Skipjack tuna or Black Tuna

Good sport on light tackle and a large live bait
Skipjack tuna could be confused with the Black kite (having 5 to 6 horizontal stripes along their upper sides, but has to distinguish black dots or fails between their pelvic and pectoral fins), the skipjack tuna (8 to 11 broken horizontal stripes along its sides and no points), or the Pacific Bonito Oriental (5-6 oblique dark stripes on the upper back and no points).


This fish is characterized by its appearance as “related,” which is dark blue on the back and silver on its flank and belly. It has a series of four to six horizontally-diagonal stripes along its top sides, and there are no points between the pelvic and pectoral fins; the upper body is dark blue to black, and the lower body is silver with four to six dark stripes long and short pectoral fins.

Typical Location: Along current lines, drop continental shelf and deep reefs in the open ocean around baitfish small.
Fishing methods: Most fish are caught by trolling or casting small lures from a boat. Catches are also made with small flies, bait integral strips, fish, or meat.

Catching Skipjack Costa Rica
Roster Fishing

Rooster Fish

Rooster, the common goal of sport fishing in Costa Rica
One of the most sought-after and exciting inshore fish that roam throughout the west coast of Costa Rica.

They usually are silver and exhibit a wide range of sizes. With an average of 15 to 20 pounds, 40 pounds is common, and more than 80 pounds of fish were taken in the waters of Costa Rica. It is distinguished by its “cockscomb” seven very long spines of the dorsal finfish that made him makes it truly unique.


They are voracious predators that feed mainly on small fish like sardines and other small fish silver; They are traveling in food packages chasing the shore.

A family member Jack is edible but not considered a fish for human consumption primary.

Locations: They frequently travel in large schools and considerable distances, usually after the shoals of smaller bait, located in the hot water temperature in excess of 80 degrees and depths of 100 feet. Outcroppings of volcanic rock are one of his favorite places, but he also roams behind the lines of surf and near the mouths of rivers flowing into the Pacific.

Fishing methods: Rapala Trolling lures or similar will Roosterfish and fishing lures slow crawl belly skirts. Usually, he was surprised with the smooth, controlled, slow, live bait-like sardines just outside the surf line, outward from the coast to about a quarter mile. Roosters can be taken throughout the year but are most commonly caught from November to March.


Breastplates, Costa Rica Sport Fishing
Wahoo is a dark blue-green fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. Samples have been recorded at speeds of up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) in length and weighing up to 83 kilograms (180 pounds). Growth can be rapid. Wahoo can swim up to 75 kilometers (47 miles) per hour.

Wahoo meat is delicate and white, considered very good in quality. This has made the Wahoo one of the best eating fish in the sea.


Wahoo is characterized by its long, cognate body, blue-green on top and silver on the sides, with a short snout, a huge set of teeth, and a long continuous dorsal fin. 24-30 also has distinctive blue bars, some of which are double Y-shaped, on their sides. There is eight to nine fin between the dorsal fin and the tail fin and nine fins between the anal fin and the tail fin.

Typical Location: Coral reefs with the warm current running near the coast in the open ocean around bait fish, records and current lines, and deep reefs and holes in the seabed.

Fishing methods: trolling lures, minnows, or feather lures near the reef, trolling strip bait often in combination with plastic squid, and smooth drifting live bait or mackerel.

The first sign usually begins with the onset of the rainy season (May), and the peak time is usually July and August.

Wahoo Sport Fishing costa rica
Marlin Fishing in Costa Rica


Marlin is one of the most popular and sought-after game fish in the world. Costa Rica is lucky to have three different types of Marlin roaming cobalt seas:

Blue Marlin: back blue stripes of blue light, silvery-white belly, electric blue fins, and tail. Flat folding pectoral fins have two keels on the union of body and caudal fin, the dorsal fin of lavender, a curved downward short lower jaw, and a short round heavy peak; the beginning of the second dorsal starts to forward the start of the second anal fin.
Black Marlin, the prize in sport fishing, Costa Rica


– Striped marlin: is characterized by its long compressed body, is dark blue above and below, and has silver and blue series of light vertical stripes on its sides. The upper jaw forms a long spear rounded with small teeth. The first dorsal fin striped marlin is dark blue, forming a triangular beak longer than the height of the body; this first dorsal fin ends near the origin of the second dorsal fin.
Striped marlin, the common goal of sport fishing Costa Rica

– Black Marlin: characterized by a long sturdy body that is dark to black blue above, below silvery white, has a limited number of -if any- vertical stripes on the sides and pectoral fins that are not They fold flat against the body as a feature key identification. His upper jaw forms a long spear rounded and has a small long thin beak and teeth

Marlin, Sportsfishing, Costa Rica
The blue marlin is the most common billfish caught in Costa Rica. These range in size up to five hundred pounds, with occasional larger fish shipped. Costa Rica has yet to see a larger, although they have taken several fish over 900 pounds of fish, and more than 1000 pounds have been hooked and lost. Black marlins are also taken in the same waters. Several fish over 700 pounds have been recorded, and it reported that the much larger fish have been connected. These average 150 to 200 pounds brilliant fighters.

Typical Location: Along current lines, leaving the continental shelf, reefs, and shore where the warm current is running or in open bait fish around the sea. Juveniles move to schools of the same age along the coast and islands.
Fishing methods include trolling mullet or mackerel, live skipjack, and other small tuna or squid lures and plastic. Marlin can be caught throughout the year, but better between April and August, with a peak in May.


The most common fish sailfish in Costa Rica is sportfishing.
Sailfish live in all oceans of the world. All species of sailfish are fast growing, reaching 1.2 to 1.5 meters in length in a single year, feeding on the surface or in midwater pelagic fish and small squid. Overall, sailfish do not grow more than 10 feet long and rarely weigh more than 200 pounds, although larger specimens have been seen off the coast of Costa Rica.

People who have registered speeds up to 68 mph, making them the fastest fish in the ocean.


They are blue to gray. Sailfish is characterized by its large first dorsal fin sail-shaped, which is much higher than the width of your body, runs almost the entire length of her body, and has many small common black spots on the front end. The coloration of the Sailfish background is dark blue and white underneath.

Typical Location: Sailfish is a species of tropical and temperate waters, usually located above the thermal gradient in the first 100 feet of the water column. Prefer water at sea from 21 to 28 Celsius temperatures.
Fishing method: Use teasers to bring the fish sailing ship and target them individually with lures or live bait. Caught every month of the year, from May to August, usually the high season. September to November are the slowest months.

Sailfish in Costa Rica
Swordfish Sport Fishing

Swordfish, fishing, Costa Rica

Swordfish are large, highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by a long, flat bill in contrast to the smooth, round bill Marlins. This is one, though elusive popular sport, fishing. Swordfish are elongated, have round bodies, and lose all teeth and scales in adulthood. Reaching a maximum size of 14 feet (4.3 m) and 1,190 pounds (540 kg).

Swordfish are nocturnal, which is why night fishing is becoming more popular among anglers.


Its background color is variable: black, grayish blue, brown, purple, or bronze metal; its sides are dark; under its dirty white belly, The Long and flat upper jaw sword; lacks scales, teeth, and pelvic fins. He has one keel on each side of the body at the front of the queue; the first dorsal fin is high, rigid, and short, and swordfish has big eyes.

Typical Location: Swordfish are distributed throughout the world’s marine ecosystems: tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters. They tend to focus on the major ocean currents that meet along temperature fronts. They inhabit mixed surface waters where temperatures are above 15 ° C.
Fishing method: Good bait is key to any fishing dead bait such as mackerel or squid on a good large pin a work platform. I live bait works well, too. You should trim the tails down on the live bait to make them easier for the swords to catch; this will help your hookups.


Bonito, good fish bait for Marlin, Sportsfishing Costa Rica, Bonito could be confused with the Black kite (having 5 to 6 horizontal stripes along its upper side and distinctive black spots) or skipjack tuna (series of 4 to 6 stripes horizontal diagonals along their upper sides and no points).

This is a rather simplified tuna. It is the only tuna with longitudinal stripes on its back. Come to live at least nine years, usually reach sexual maturity at age 2 can weigh 10 kg, and reach a length of one meter.

Bonito has a “similar” appearance, blue-gray flanks silver (darker on the head), a dark belly, and a series of five to six oblique along his upper back stripes. The dorsal fin Bonito is dark, although the second dorsal fin has a white tip. No points between the pelvic and pectoral fins.

Typical Location: Benito can be found throughout the Gulf of Nicoya, often seen on the surface chasing small bait.
Fishing method: Live bait, lures feathers, or is controlled quickly. For the size gets a great fight.

Fishing Gallery

Experience the Diversity of Fishing in Costa Rica: An Angler’s Paradise

Whether you’re an avid fisher or a beginner wanting to immerse yourself in a new hobby, the thrill of casting your line into the crystal-clear waters of Costa Rica is truly unbeatable. This tropical paradise is renowned for its world-class sportfishing, offering a myriad of fish species ranging from impressive offshore catches to unique freshwater species. With its incredible biodiversity, a fishing trip in Costa Rica is not just a vacation but a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Offshore Fishing in Costa Rica

Offshore, or deep-sea fishing, is the star attraction of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Waters teeming with iconic species create the ideal playground for sportfishing enthusiasts.

Experience the exhilaration of catching a Pacific Blue Marlin, one of the world’s largest and most coveted catches. These behemoths are legendary in sportfishing circles, and Costa Rica boasts some of the most abundant Blue Marlin populations globally.

Alternatively, try your hand at catching the agile Sailfish, a world-renowned game fish recognized for its trademark dorsal fin or “sail.” With peak seasons between December and May, there’s ample opportunity to land one of these trophies.

Don’t forget the Yellowfin Tuna and Dorado (Mahi Mahi), known for their sheer power and stamina. With their speed and iridescent color, reeling in one of these beauties is a joy for both novice and seasoned anglers.

Inshore Fishing in Costa Rica

Not to be outdone by its offshore counterparts, inshore fishing in Costa Rica is equally exhilarating. These shallow coastal waters are home to an array of species, ensuring an exciting fishing experience year-round.

Roosterfish, famous for their comb-like dorsal fins and combative spirit, are one of the most sought-after inshore species. Predominantly found on the Pacific Coast, Roosterfish offers an exciting catch-and-release opportunity for anglers.

Another notable species to target is the Cubera Snapper, a hefty fish that offers a great fight, ensuring an action-packed fishing adventure. Tarpons, primarily found on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, are another must-catch species. Their explosive strikes and the tendency for spectacular aerial displays make for an unforgettable fishing experience.

Freshwater Fishing in Costa Rica

When it comes to freshwater fishing, Costa Rica is home to stunning volcanic lakes and rivers teeming with unique fish species. Here, you can cast your line amid breathtaking landscapes that offer both tranquility and adventure.

One of the crown jewels of Costa Rican freshwater fishing is the Rainbow Bass, locally known as Guapote. Found in volcanic lakes like Arenal and rivers, this vibrant fish is highly prized for its aggressive nature and striking colors.

Another freshwater favorite is the Machaca, often likened to Tarpon due to its acrobatic jumps when hooked. This hard-fighting fish is perfect for light tackle or fly fishing and guarantees a thrilling encounter.

Preserving Costa Rica’s Fishing Future

As a country dedicated to sustainable tourism, Costa Rica’s approach to fishing is no different. Many operations adhere to strict catch-and-release policies, particularly for species like the Roosterfish, Marlin, and Sailfish, ensuring that future generations of anglers can enjoy these magnificent creatures.

Costa Rica’s incredible variety of fish species and commitment to sustainable fishing practices make it an angler’s paradise. Whether you’re offshore, inshore, or freshwater fishing, you’re guaranteed a thrilling and memorable experience.


Sportfishing in Costa Rica promises a diverse and thrilling experience for every angler. Whether you’re battling a Marlin offshore, reeling in a Roosterfish along the coast, or seeking the prized Guapote in freshwater, Costa Rica offers an unrivaled fishing experience amid stunning natural beauty. If you haven’t yet dipped your line in Costa Rican waters, it’s time to plan your ultimate fishing adventure in this biodiverse and beautiful country.

SEO keywords: Fishing in Costa Rica, offshore fishing, inshore fishing, freshwater fishing, Pacific Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Roosterfish, Cubera Snapper, Tarpon, Rainbow Bass, Guapote, Machaca, sustainable fishing, sportfishing, fishing adventure.