Sport fishing in Costa Rica is an extremely popular activity and for a good reason. With such healthy oceans, there are tons of big fish out there. It’s one of the top activities for adventurous and brave spirits as some fish can weigh up to 100 pounds and more. Many tourists come to Costa Rica specifically for world class sport fishing.
We talked to a local Tico, Carlos “Caliche” Barrera who has a sport fishing company and store in Playas del Coco to learn more about sport fishing in Costa Rica.
Sport fishing in Costa Rica – Interview with a professional
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Carthage because my mother worked at the hospital San Juan de Dios. My family is native to Coco and my grandfather was the first person to do sport fishing trips in El Coco and is part of the testing staff at Penn Reels.
Since childhood I’ve known the sea and worked in this business as an importer and supplier of fishing items. I have been doing this for 5 years and my business is unique in Coco beach because it is the best importer of brand products for sport fishing.
How did your passion for fishing start?
My passion for fishing began as a child. I would go fishing with my uncles Daniel Barrera and Alfonso Barrera but then it was to fish to sell and eat, it was not for sport. At 15, my uncle Adan Barrera began to teach me all about fishing and since then I left everything behind for fishing.
What is the difference between sport fishing and regular fishing?
The difference between sport fishing and regular fishing is that sport fishing is at a more professional level and releases 80% of the catch. There are some species that are only for sport fishing like the marlin, swordfish, and rooster fish (only for release). Most of the regular fishing catches are brought back to the house (for eating, selling).
What type of fish can you find in Guanacaste?
In Guanacaste, you can find diverse species and world record species such as marlin, swordfish, yellow fin tuna, mahi mahi, snapper, wahoo, grouper, mackarel, and the famous and elegant roosterfish. Most of the year it is good to fish in the waters of Guanacaste.
What type of equipment do you use and why?
The equipment I use is from the brand Penn, such as reels and rods, both conventional and spinning. I use the 2 types because the conventional is for trolling and spinning is for coastal fish such as snapper, mackerel and other species.
What is the best advice that you for somebody who wants to start sport fishing?
The best advice for people who is starting sport fishing is first ask for good advice from a professional (or someone who has experience) and then acquire appropriate equipment for the first step in sport fishing.
Have you noticed a decrease in fish? What species? Do you know why?
Of course I have noticed a reduction in several species such as yellow fin tuna. This happens because of the harassment of international tuna companies, the government and the international flag tuna vessels fishing in our water close to our coasts. The government does not have adequate control nor regulation to protect the species.
What is your biggest achievement as a lover of fishing?
My greatest achievement as a fisherman was to be part of the staff to achieve the best brand of rods and reels in USA Penn Reels. I manage the direct importing of the finest fishing brands and also won 3rd Place in the International Tarpon Tournament 2013.
Tell us about the fish that has given you the greatest battle
The largest fish I caught was a grouper or brown tail broom tail grouper which had a weight of 125 pounds. Pulling it lasted about 1 hour, I made this capture while vertical jigging or bottom fishing.
The steps we take during our fishing days are trying to free 80% of the catch and to free the fish in the best way to ensure the recovery of the fish to their environment.