Fishing Costa Rica (Nosara Garza)

Jigging & Popping

Fishing in Costa Rica with Capt. Nino - Popping & jigging Tuna, Amberjack, Rooster, Snapper, grouper

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.

Nosara Garza

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:

Usually, we did fish close to the coast (1-2 km), except for Snappers where we had to travel a few miles. The sea floor drop very gradually, you can find lot of small bumps where aquatic life was in abundance. Sometime the fish finder was covered par so many mark, it look like a big black spot on the screen, especially around structures. It was uncommon to pass over a fishing spot without any catches on board, usually every place we went, we had lot of action, at the moment where the spot don't produce enough, Nino changed spot. We caught a lot of "Pacific Bonito" and often the jig didn't have time to reach the bottom, it was attacked. Marine life is very rich, turtles, whales, dolphins. The bottom of the ocean swarmed with life, often action was on the surface at the same time, enough to create a little mess on the boat between "popping guy" and "jiggers". Yellowfin tuna hunts are always impressive, the best lures were the Halco 105 blue and the Ranger flapper.

It was the first time I tried "Slow Jigging", more delicat fishing allowing to catch any kind fishes in any size. With a smaller line diameter, we felt very well the jig, even how it works, any bite or whim were detectable, SLOW jigging hooks are incredibly sharp (we used Owner Guardian Slow hooks). All the RED snappers were caught with this technic during our stay, fishes were located at 360-380 feets, often the jig just hit the bottom, you already got a fish. Slow jigs are designed to generate action when they are in free fall. Some jigs fall with an oscillating motion and other fall with drifting motion. Fish can not resist ! Fighting fish with a SLOW jigging rod is bit different, you can't pull with the rod, you have to use the power of the reel. As the blank is thin, so you can't use it to lift any large fish to the surface. You must drop the rod tip into the water, bring back the fish slowly using your reel, following fish run as walking a dog.

The biggest difficulty with Slow jigging is when the boat start to drift, caused by the current and the wind. Line must be vertical if you want feel correctly the bottom or bites, Always get control on the jig or you will be in trouble.

After 60 hours on water, four fisherman, 300 fishes were landed on the boat. Of course, most of them has been released !

Need jigging gear, visit us on PECHE SUD

September 2017

September 2018

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.

Costa Rica - Samara - December 2019

Buena vista Sportfishing lodge in Samara (Costa Rica), what a great fishing week with our hosts "Christian and Clarissa" and other French fishermen. We choose the all-inclusive package, six days of fishing including accommodation and meals, even we let them organized the transportation from the airport to the lodge. Everything was perfect, all the guest houses are confortable with AC and have access to a small swimming pool, the meals were very good (French food), from breakfast to dinner, everything was simply awesome. (aperitif included). You can fish with lures for roosters,jacks, cubera (As popper or Flapper), do jigging or live bait fishing for other species as (Snapper, group, bonito, tuna ...). Every morning, breakfast is served at 5.30 a.m., departure is at 6.30 a.m., need to drive twenty minutes to reach Samara beach where the boats are waiting for us. Christian and Péto (Local capt.) know the fishing area very well, several stones are registered on the GPS, the boats are in good condition and fully equipped for those who do not have their own fishing gear. We did 95% of slow jigging and 5% popping. The best rooster lure was the "Flapper" from Robert's lures and for slow jigging, the INFINITE and SLOWMAN slow jigs were the best, we got a reasonable score of 248 fishes, despite an unwanted full moon. Only good comments, a very nice fishing lodge with super friendly hosts. (Note: Most of the customers are from FRANCE, please reserve one year in advance )

Costa Rica - Samara - December 2021

Second visit to "BuenaVista Sport Fishing" in Costa Rica (Guanacaste) with our host Christian Chatard, despite the Covid we even decided to maintain the trip, a group of eight fishermen. The fishing camp can accommodate 12 people, another boat will be launched soon, giving the possibility of having access to three boats in total. Ideally, form a groups of 3-4 fishermen, the price of the package then becomes very affordable and this facilitates the organization of fishing teams and accommodation. A very good week of fishing, totaling 356 catches brought on board, several species caught but especially groupers, roosters and jacks were not there. Half of the team went offshore fishing for marlin and Mahimahi with great success. Christian tells me that the center is already full for this season, the quality of fishing and the service offered is simply amazing, no logistical worries, excellent meals, the aperitif every evening in good company, all you do is fishing and enjoy life (PURA VIDA!). You can contact me for more information, it will be my pleasure to help you.

Thanks to Christian for this great video.

Grouper Groomtail caught on PROMARINE 662H slow jigging rod / Saltiga SASD15LH / Cross factor 40 lbs breaded line


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 40-60 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.