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I recently booked a few days of travel in Costa Rica, which included a couple of days fishing just south of the capital city, San Jose around the town of Quepos. I booked all of my travel through Costa Rican Vacations (vacationscostarica.com). They can also book fishing guides throughout the country–both ocean and fresh water–so I decided to book five days at the Shana Resort Hotel near Manuel Antonio National Park, and then I added on two days of fishing. Shana Resort is a five star resort – very spacious rooms, beautiful views, private path to a secluded beach, pool and fine full service restaurant. Very safe for families.
I chose to fish one day inshore and another day on a jungle river float trip. The local guide service I was connected to for the inshore fishing outside Quepos was Pez Rey Sport Fishing (pezrey.com) which is ran by an expat from Colorado. We set off for the day on a decent center console boat run by a well-experienced ocean guide, Pepsi who was excellent in finding fish–he was especially good at finding bait fish, which we used on spinning rods to tease up rooster fish.
The way they fish for Roosters is to cast live bait on spinning rods as the boat drifts near the shore. I was then told to cast my fly in the direction of their live bait. I was using an 8 wt fly rod with a tube fly. After a few casts, I was able to hook and bring a nice rooster fish to the boat using this technique. However, after this early catch, fishing dropped off and I was eventually encouraged to switch to live bait and spinning tackle. I soon caught a nice jack crevalle, some red snapper and ocean catfish, and I even hooked but lost two large Snook. This service is really not set up for ocean fly fishing as most of their clients use spinning rods and live bait.
The jungle river float trip fishing for the native species, machaca was much more enjoyable. We spent a good 7 hours fly fishing the Savegre River for these hard hitting fish. We used large black wooly buggers with weight forward tropical lines on a 7-weight Scott fly rod provided by Justin. I was able to catch several as well as a couple of other local fresh water species. I fished with Justin, who is the local manager of the Pez Rey Angling office in Quepos. The rivers were low as January is the dry season, but still a little muddy from a thunderstorm two days previous. We did hit a few rapids –probably Class 1 or 2, not really rough.
Fishing in CR is not an inexpensive proposition. Plan on $1,000 a day for ocean trips and $400 per day for jungle river float trip, not including tip. I would recommend both outings. The river and jungle scenery are great. The in shore ocean fishing offers a variety of fish species – with the understanding that the boat I was on (Pez Rey II) is more suitable for live bait and spinning rods than fly fishing. – Glen Baldwin