Fishing in Playas del Coco is an extremely popular activity and it’s an important profession in Playas del Coco, which started as a sleepy fishing village.
It’s common to see locals standing waist deep in the water, throwing a line out during peak hours, bringing back bag fulls of fish.
So when my parents and grandma came to visit me for the first time in Costa Rica, I thought fishing would be a great activity for them. They fish a lot in the lake we live on so I knew they’d love to try it in the ocean.
I’d assume that fishing on a lake is drastically different than fishing in the ocean so I wanted them to have a new experience doing something they love. So if you love fishing and are keen to try it in the open ocean, read on to see what it’s like to go fishing in Playas del Coco!
Fishing in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
We wanted to fish like locals
Now that I am in Costa Rica, we wanted to take them “real Costa Rican fishing”. Which I guess meant not sport fishing… instead we went with a friend who owned a fishing boat and they took us out on the Gulf of Papagayo.
We figured sportfishing might be a bit intense for my parents and my grandmother anyways and they were used to a more calm style of fishing on the lake.
The day before, we went to go buy our fishing line, hooks and bait (sardines) at the local convenient store, one for each of us. My dad looked at the equipment so confused… Where are the poles? There’s not even a reel. I told him not to worry, we’re going to do Costa Rican style fishing.
So out in the water, there we were. The captain, our two friends, me, my parents, my grandmother and Yeison. 8 people, 4 languages, 7 reels, 14 hooks and 1 pole.
Alrighty let’s see how this goes!
Instructions: each person has their own drum with two hooks. Attach the sardine to the hooks and drop the line into the water until it hits bottom. Tighten the line, wait for a bite and pull in the line with your hands. Nothing fancy, just normal fishing. Just like with a rod except just the line.
I knew my parents would love this but they have only fished before with poles so I was curious to see how this would turn out.
I have terrible luck fishing but I knew my mom would probably be the first one to catch a fish or catch the most. She’s always had a magic touch when it comes to fishing and while I was still having difficulty getting my piece of sardine meat to stay on my hook, my mom already caught one.
OK she actually caught fish on BOTH her hooks at the same time. Damn. I was still trying to stick my sardine. We went to a few different places and each time everyone got a hit… except me (I expected this).
Even my grandmother got a few. Most of them were small fishes and our captain, his name is veinte diez kept telling us that our fish were too small. We needed to catch some REAL fish to take home.
So after two hours of feeding the fish, our bucket was still quite empty. We ended up throwing back a bunch of the small ones and finally, veinte diez pulled out the big gun – a fishing pole.
And two minutes later, he came back with a winner. And two minutes after that, I finally got my first fish! That’s all I needed, just one, to show that I can at least get something. I threw it back since it was a little guy but I felt proud that I was able to actually catch something. Now I’m one step closer to being a real Coco local 😀
So I have no pictures of me or my grandmother holding a big ass marlin to show off. I just have this picture of a red snapper but boy was that fish tasty. It fed all six of us for two days! Our fishing trip was still lots of fun, we all had a great time and bonded over something we all liked to do.
If you know you want to do big game fishing in Costa Rica, go sport fishing. There’s over 7 different types of fish weighing up to 400 pounds out there in the coasts so odds are, you’ll probably come home with a belly full of sushi and a picture of you with a huge fish for a pretty sweet souvenir.
Next time, I want to try kayak fishing! Yeison is a pro now but I have yet to experience it. Fishing in Costa Rica is a great experience for the whole family to enjoy!
Fishing tips: If you want to go sport fishing, contact a fishing company like North Pacific Tours. There are several in Coco and offer in shore and off shore fishing.
Read about other activities to do in Playas del Coco here!
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