“I’ve been fishing everywhere and moved to Costa Rica looking for good waves and new opportunities,” says Pablo Hein. Since 2011, he’s owned and operated Sea Kayak Adventures Costa Rica. “Fishing in Costa Rica means big fish and good exercise,” he says. Hein has put Costa Rica on the map for exotic kayak fishing, hosting big name anglers and producing trophy catches. “Costa Rica should be on every kayak angler’s bucket list,” he says.
[This article is part of our 10 Most Popular Kayak Fishing Destinations According To Google series. See the most searched for kayak fishing hotspots, and get all the inspiration you need for your next dream getaway.]
Jungle cliffs on the Costa Rica coast drop into the deep blue Pacific, bringing pelagic species close to the shore. The most popular kayak fishing targets in Costa Rica are snappers, tuna and trevally. In my opinion, the cubera snapper is king.
Kayak Fishing for Costa Rica Snapper
Most members of the snapper family are about the size of a largemouth bass. Cubera snapper, on the other hand, are much larger and scarier. The fish looks like a cross between a redfish and a dinosaur, with a powerful dark red body and huge teeth.
At the beginning of the pandemic, borders were closed, and hard times hit everyone. Living in Costa Rica is a dream and fishing is unbelievable, but last year was hard. Luckily, the fish were still hungry.
Persistence Pays Off Against Pesky Sharks
The end of May is the end of dry season, and stormy days bring sharks close to shore. Catching anything with sharks around is difficult, because the alpha predators eat everything and leave nothing behind. Nonetheless, I was determined to try my hand.
I started the day catching moonfish for bait. Then, in the next few hours I lost three baits, hooks and weights to hungry blacktip sharks.
If I made a mistake, I knew I would be rewarded with an empty hook.
Persistence is the key to success, so I tied on my last hook. Bam! I was immediately hit by a big fish. I felt strong head shakes and the line didn’t separate, so my hopes were high I hadn’t hooked another shark.
The battle was intense. If I made a mistake, I knew I would be rewarded with an empty hook. After 15 minutes, I accomplished my mission and the trophy cubera was splashing beside the kayak.
Fighting the fish was the easy part—landing this monster with a mouth full of teeth is the challenge. The reward was paddling back to the beach with enough fish to share with our neighbors.
Costa Rica Kayak Fishing Tips
Trolling live bait with a 20-pound conventional rod and reel or casting big lures using a 5000-class spinning combo. My favorite lure is a Rapala Magnum 15.
Where to Launch
Malpais is a small town on a peninsula jutting out into the Pacific, perfectly placed to reach offshore fish close to shore.
Where to Stay in Costa Rica
Fuego Lodge is 10 minutes from the launch and walking distance to the beach and stores.
Where to Eat in Costa Rica
Caracolas Restaurant serves the best ceviche and sunsets are amazing.
Other Costa Rican Attractions
Explore the jungle canopy, go surfing, practise yoga and enjoy some all-around fun in the sun.
This article was first published in Kayak Anger Issue 44. Subscribe to Kayak Anger and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos or browse the digital archives for your desktop here.
Fill the frying pan with snook and snapper. | Feature photo: Pablo Hein