Since a while we want change our fishing destination, after six year fishing Mexico, Costa Rica seems to be the new "el dorado" for jigging and popping. After several searches on the web and in different publication, Costa Rica seems to be the best spot per its proximity from North america and by the fact some areas were still not overfished. Rod had contacted Rodolpho Dedero to find the perfect place for jigging and popping. After few meeting, we focused our hopes on the nort part of CR where yellowfin tuna was supposed to be in large numbers between August and October.
At the airport exit, we can already feel the GREEN, yes, everything is green during rain season, some region look like absent of any kind of civilisation, we are really happy about this as fisherman explorer. September is not the most sunshine period of the year, but temperature is perfect for sport fishing. At the beginning we were supposed to fish futher north, in Cuajiniquil town, but our fishing guide let us down two week before departure. So, we fell back 100 km further south, close to "Nosara" town where Capt. "Nino" works as fishing guide. Rod had made contact with him through "Rodolpho Dodero", one of the best fishing guides in Costa Rica. My usual buddys (Rod, Mat, François) shared the trip with me.
We rented a car to reach the small town of "Nosara Garza", approximatively 120 km from the airport, took us nearly two hours drive to reach our destination, the speed limit and narrow roads don't allow any speeding (Pura vida!). In "Nosara Garza", the hotel is located in an alley, the hotel looked more like a "lodge" than a hotel, however, it perfectly met our needs of fishermen. Located at 150 meters from the beach, everything is done per walk and without stress. Rooms are very rudimentary, double beds, air conditioner, shower, toilet, the minimum. However, the "lodge" had a pool, which was a real luxury to stretch muscles after a heavy jigging day. Breakfast, Lunches and dinner are not included, the owner of the restaurant (Fernanda) took care of us, preparing our breakfast and dinner every day, she was very charming and she even became the most important person of our well-being. There is a small grocery in the village and that's it.
Our expectations were high, we wanted to catch different species. Of course, always with jigs and poppers and especially we wanted try our "Slow jigging gear", we were targeting tuna, amberjacks, groupers, snappers. Capt. Nino met us at the hotel upon our arrival and he had already planned activities of the week. A character of few words, but who knew perfectly his fishing territory and who turned out to be an excellent fishing guide. He had a multitude of fishing spot as well for chasing rooster or tuna hunting.
The boat was inked at 500 meters from the beach, so to climb aboard, we had to take a smaller boat from the beach. Every fishing days began per a surf crossing, under the supervision of a local guy whose his task was only to bring the fishermen on the inked boats. The Nino boat was 28 'long with a Suzuki 200 HP, a center console, a SunRoof, electronic equipment (Radio, Sonar and GPS) and everything was functional and in good condition.
The coast of Nosara is very steep, formed per different small black/brown sand bays. The water was not very deep, the depth varied between 80 to 170 feet, you have to navigate 12-15 km offshore to find depths (350 feet). The color of the water was less crystalline than in Cuba or Mexico, greenish color, even sometimes muddy because of the silt contained in the rivers (rainy season). The place is also famous for its "Snooks", but we didn't have time to try it, despite all inshore gear were ready.
Two times, we tried Rooster'S fishing, once on poppers and another time by trolling a large bonito. The first time, the Rooster was the winner, breaking Mathieu's fishing leader after 15 minutes fight. The second time is the fish was on board. Personnaly, I think it's not rooster season as water clarity is not perfect, baits are not close to the shore, so less food for the rooster, maybe summer season is better (Junuary to july).
The fishing days last approximately 10 hours, soft drinks, beers and fishing licenses are included in the price. Even as Nino's wife was preparing a "lunch" every day, a box containing rice, black beans and fish or chicken. Nino also offers half-day packages for those who are a little less adventurous.
About fishing gear, here is what we brought:
Another week in Costa Rica, same date as last year (in the rainy season). We were lucky, the rain fell only in the evening. This year, I received my luggage and took full advantage of my 6 days of fishing. We mainly fished with slow jigs because the amberjacks were not very present, however several new species of fish have appeared. We also used live bait (skipjack) to catch larger predators and it was a success. The best time is the first and last quarter of the moon phase, we really saw a big difference, especially on the presence of bait fish. The best jigs to use were: Blink, Slowman, Knocker. We also brought back two cooler of fishes to Canada, it's legal, just need to be declared.
I recommend jigs weight between 80 to 240 grams, Zero Dropper green gold and the Katana blue worked very well for the "Speed". About Slow jigs, we use mostly BLINK, SLOWMAN, KNOCK, TRINITY. A leader of 60-80 lbs is required for the "speed jigging", a 30-40 lbs will be perfect for slow. The size of the braided line to use for SLOW Jigging must be as thin as possible (30-40lb), otherwise the line "drag" and it becomes much less effective. Also, we only put two hooks with slow jig instead four, unhooking the fish became too dangerous!
Use a FG Knot to connect braided line to the leader (10-15 feets) and use a "Uni Knot" to attach the jig.