Top Sportfish Species to Target in Costa Rica

Big Roosterfish caught in LosSuenos area

With its expansive Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, Costa Rica is a treasure trove for sportfishing enthusiasts. The country’s rich waters teem with a wide array of species, offering thrilling angling adventures. This comprehensive guide aims to provide an overview of the top sportfish species to target when fishing in Costa Rica.

Roosterfish Jaco Costa Rica
Roosterfish Jaco Costa Rica

The Allure of Sportfishing in Costa Rica

Sportfishing in Costa Rica uniquely blends excitement, challenge, and immersion in stunning natural beauty. The country’s commitment to conservation and sustainable fishing practices ensures a healthy population of various gamefish species, making Costa Rica a premier fishing destination.

Whether you’re exploring offshore blue waters, inshore shallows, or freshwater rivers and lakes, the diversity of fishing opportunities in Costa Rica is virtually unmatched. Now let’s delve into the top sportfish species you can expect to encounter.


Marlin is often at the top of the list for sportfishing enthusiasts in Costa Rica, offering one of the most thrilling angling experiences. Three types of Marlin inhabit Costa Rican waters: Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin, each known for its size, power, and acrobatic fights.


Sportfishing for Sailfish in Costa Rica is an adrenaline-charged experience. These fish are renowned for their high jumps and rapid runs. Their abundance, particularly in the Pacific waters from December through April, makes Costa Rica a world-class Sailfish destination.


Roosterfish, a sought-after inshore species, are known for their distinctive dorsal fins and strong fights. The Pacific coast offers excellent Roosterfish fishing opportunities year-round, with the Nicoya Peninsula being popular.

Mahi Mahi (Dorado)

Mahi Mahi, or Dorado, are fast and acrobatic, providing a thrilling sportfishing experience. They’re also highly prized for their culinary value. Mahi Mahi is usually abundant in Costa Rican waters from May to October, although they can be caught year-round.

Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna are prevalent in Costa Rican Pacific waters, particularly from May to November. These hard-fighting fish are known for their speed and endurance, making them a rewarding catch.


On the Caribbean side, Tarpon is the main attraction. These large, silverfish are famous for their hard hits and spectacular leaps. The region around the town of Limón and the Tortuguero National Park is a prime Tarpon fishing destination.


Snooks are a popular inshore species in Costa Rica. They can be found on both coasts, but the largest, known as the Pacific Black Snook, is found in the Pacific waters.

Fishing Charters and Tournaments in Costa Rica

Numerous fishing charters operate in Costa Rica, offering guided trips for anglers of all skill levels. These charters provide the necessary equipment and local expertise to maximize your chances of landing your dream catch.

Costa Rica also hosts several annual sportfishing tournaments focusing on species like Marlin, Sailfish, and Roosterfish. These events offer a fantastic opportunity to test your skills against other anglers and contribute to conservation efforts.


Sportfishing in Costa Rica offers diverse, abundant opportunities for anglers. The variety of species and the country’s commitment to sustainable fishing practices make Costa Rica a top destination for any sportfishing enthusiast. Whether you’re pursuing a Marlin, Sailfish, Roosterfish, Dorado, Yellowfin Tuna, Tarpon, or Snook, the thrill of the chase and the connection with nature make sportfishing in Costa Rica an unforgettable adventure.

Remember, the country’s rich fishing grounds result from careful conservation. Practice catch and release whenever possible, respect local regulations, and contribute to keeping Costa Rica’s marine life thriving for future generations of anglers.