Seamount Fishing in Costa Rica

Sailfish Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a world-renowned destination for sportfishing, with its rich marine biodiversity and abundant fishing opportunities. One exciting facet of Costa Rican sportfishing that has gained increasing recognition is seamount fishing. Seamounts, underwater mountains that do not reach the surface, serve as magnets for various marine species and provide unparalleled fishing adventures. This comprehensive guide will explore seamount fishing in Costa Rica, highlighting its practices, benefits, techniques, and everything you need to prepare for this unique fishing expedition.

Sailfish Costa Rica

Understanding Seamounts

Seamounts are essentially underwater mountains, rising from the ocean floor but not reaching the surface. They vary in size and shape and are found in all of the world’s oceans. Seamounts influence the surrounding water currents, causing upwelling of nutrient-rich waters from the deep. These nutrients attract a vast array of marine life, making seamounts prime locations for fishing.

Costa Rica is fortunate to have a large number of seamounts off its Pacific Coast, primarily located 70 to 150 miles offshore. This region has been identified as one of the world’s most productive areas for billfish, with Marlin and Sailfish being the primary targets for anglers.

The Appeal of Seamount Fishing

Seamount fishing offers several unique benefits that set it apart from other fishing methods:

Biodiversity: The nutrient-rich waters around seamounts support diverse marine life. In addition to Marlin and Sailfish, anglers can encounter species such as Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado (Mahi-Mahi), and Wahoo.

Size of Fish: The abundant food supply around seamounts attracts large predator fish. Anglers often report catching exceptionally large Marlin and Sailfish at seamounts, making it an attractive option for those seeking trophy fish.

Fishing Pressure: Due to their offshore locations, seamounts are typically less pressured than other fishing spots, increasing the chances of a successful catch.

Preparing for a Seamount Fishing Trip

A seamount fishing trip requires careful planning and preparation due to its offshore nature:

Charter a Suitable Boat: It’s crucial to book a boat that is equipped for multi-day offshore trips. The boat should have safety equipment, sleeping accommodations, a kitchen, and a restroom.

Fishing Gear: Heavy-duty rods and reels are required for seamount fishing due to the size of the fish. Most charters will provide these, but it’s best to confirm in advance.

Clothing and Personal Items: Pack warm clothing for cool nights, sun protection for the day, and seasickness medication if necessary. Don’t forget your camera to capture the exciting moments!

Fishing License: A valid Costa Rican fishing license is required for all fishing activities.

Food and Water: Ensure you have enough provisions for the entire trip. Some charter companies will provide meals and drinks but always double-check what is included.

Best Times for Seamount Fishing in Costa Rica

The seamount fishing season in Costa Rica typically runs from May to November. This period is known as the “green season” or the rainy season, where nutrient upwelling around the seamounts is highest, attracting a plethora of marine life.

However, keep in mind that weather conditions can affect fishing trips, especially multi-day offshore excursions. It’s always advisable to check the weather forecast before heading out.

Techniques for Seamount Fishing

When it comes to seamount fishing in Costa Rica, trolling with lures or baited hooks is the most commonly used technique. This method is particularly effective for catching billfish, which are the primary target species in these waters. However, each species may require a different approach:

Marlin and Sailfish: These species are typically targeted using trolling techniques. Live baiting can also be effective, especially using baits like ballyhoo or bonito.

Tuna and Dorado: While trolling can also catch these species, they often respond well to poppers and stick baits. They may also be attracted to the boat by chumming.

Remember, seamount fishing requires patience. It may take several hours of trolling before hooking a fish. But the exhilaration of battling a massive Marlin or Sailfish is well worth the wait.

Sustainability and Conservation

When enjoying the sport of seamount fishing, it’s vital to do so responsibly. Practicing catch-and-release helps preserve fish populations for future generations. Using circle hooks and minimizing fight times can increase the survival rates of released fish.


Seamount fishing in Costa Rica is a unique and thrilling experience that offers the opportunity to catch some of the ocean’s most sought-after sportfish. With adequate preparation and responsible fishing practices, you can enjoy this adventure while respecting and preserving Costa Rica’s incredible marine ecosystems.