Quepos Fishing is awesome at any time of year. The bays are home to a permanent population of Roosterfish and the reefs are an explosion colorful food fish every month of the year. Offshore, every day offers the chance of a Sailfish, and the rest of the big game species seem to tag each other out over the course of the year to make sure you always have something great to fish for.
The town itself is as welcoming as the surrounding waters, with plenty of great hotels, bars, restaurants, and nearby beaches. It’s no wonder the IGFA keeps coming back here for the world championships - Quepos truly is one of the sportfishing capitals of the world.
It is safe to say that without sportfishing, Quepos wouldn’t be the town it is today. The surrounding waters are an angler’s paradise at any depth and the town is rightfully proud of it. Head out around 20 miles and you will find massive Sailfish and monster Black Marlin. The best Blue Marlin take a lot longer to get to, but it is still possible to find them within an hour’s boat ride.
The town’s inshore fishing scene may not be as famous, but that doesn’t mean it’s anything short of spectacular. Roosterfish swarm the shallows all year round, and the all-tackle record for Snook was also caught in Quepos, weighing in at a jaw-dropping 59 pounds. It seems you don’t need to hit the blue waters to find huge fish around here. Throw in a wide variety of tasty reef and bottom fish like Snapper, Grouper, and Triggerfish and you begin to see why they keep expanding the marina.
What can I do on a half day trip
You won’t really have time to head offshore on a half day trip. What you can do is hit the various river mouths within a few miles of town. These are home to some of the biggest Roosterfish you are ever likely to see, as well as Jacks and Snook. If you fancy getting in some full-on sportfishing but don’t have the time to head offshore, this is the perfect solution.
If your focus is as much on food as fight, then fair enough, fish are delicious! Hit the local reefs and inlets and you will find a ton of great table fare, from Red and Cubera Snapper to Groupers and Triggerfish. You will also find plenty of Barracuda for some extra bite to your bottom fishing.
What if I stay out longer?
Let’s be honest, going to Quepos without fishing offshore is just plain crazy. Full day trips will give you plenty of time to head out in search of Sailfish, Marlin, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and Yellowfin Tuna. Most of the Quepos sportfishing action happens around Furuno Bank, 30 miles out. This is Sailfish central, and in high season (read: everything except the heat of summer) you can expect to hook several Sails a day.
If you are serious about catching the biggest fish out there you may want to consider a multi-day trip. Marina Pez Vela hosts plenty of large sportfishing boats offering multi-day and overnight charters. They will run 100+ miles in search of the biggest Blue and Black Marlin, with grander-sized fish of both species being caught out of Quepos in recent years. This is the quite literally the realm of champions and the real reason the IGFA keeps coming back here - keep your luxury hotels, we’ll sleep on the boat thank you!
How much will it cost?
Quepos sportfishing charters range as much in price as they do in size and you really do get what you pay for. A half day on a center console can cost under $500. Sportfishing boats start at around $750 for something in the 30’ range, and top out at almost double that for the luxury cruisers.
Full day trips start at around $1,000 for a center console, and $1,200 for a basic flybridge boat. If you are planning on heading offshore, do yourself a favor and pay the extra 200 bucks - you won’t regret it when you’re buckled into a fighting chair battling a Black Marlin. The high tech, high-end cruisers start at around $1,700 for a full day, and can easily cost $2,000.
Multi-day trips cost around $2,300-$2,500 per day, depending on the length of the trip. These are usually aboard the high-end forty-something-foot cruisers. Expect the world and you won’t be disappointed: We’re talking ensuite staterooms, tournament-grade tackle, sci-fi fishing tech, and VIP service.
Rules & Regulations
While Costa Rica doesn’t have any strict closed seasons, there are a few rules that are worth bearing in mind. All billfish are strictly Catch & Release by law, and most captains will also release Roosterfish. Only circle hooks may be used aboard charter boats.
Types of Fishing
Every guide has their own way of fishing, and no two anglers will ever agree which way is best. Most areas have go-to fishing techniques for the fish most common to the area, though, and Quepos is no exception.
Deep sea fishing
Slow-trolling live bait is the most common way of hooking billfish offshore, although more sophisticated set-ups are common for bigger boats, with a spread of live Ballyhoo and squid daisy chains earning their place as Costa Rica’s signature trolling rig. Quepos is also a top destination for many fly anglers, who fish both inshore and offshore with their favorite flies. This can be hugely rewarding with sailfish but there is no greater joy than catching a Marlin on fly tackle - if you can pull it off.
Quepos deep sea fishing doesn’t need to be particularly fancy. There are so many great fish out there that you’re bound to hook a couple whatever you are using. One tactic specific to the area is to use large poppers, the splashier the better, to tempt the fish to the surface. The waters are so clear around Quepos that you can easily lure a greedy Cubera Snapper up from shallow reefs with the promise of a tasty meal. If that sounds too fancy for you, just drop some live bait and wait for them to bite - it won’t take long.
This is the other reason fly anglers love this part of the world. Roosterfish and Snook are both a heck of a lot of fun to target of fly tackle. Some charters provide fly fishing equipment, but you shouldn’t bank on it if this is going to be the focus of your trip. The most common way to target Roosterfish in Quepos, though, is with live bait. Some charters won’t even run Roosterfish trips if live bait isn’t available. The most common baitfish are Sardines, Lookdowns, and Bluerunners, all of which make an irresistible meal to hungry Roosters.