Types of Fish in the Gulf of Papagayo

The coasts of Costa Rica have different types of fish available to fish throughout the year in the North Pacific Papagayo Gulf.

Cubera Snapper – Pargo Colmillon

It’s a territorial fish in the Gulf of Papagayo, and grows around 200 pounds or more, its habitat is in shallow and deep waters of 300 feet, also it is opportune to catch it when we are doing roosterfishing in small sizes. It is a good eating fish when 10 pounds, catch and release is strongly recommended when are more than 80 pounds for the all anglers and preserve the species.

Mahi-mahi – Dorado

This fish is in short season in the Gulf of Papagayo, they mate and spawn in the months of March and thrive in just 6 months, reach the height of up to 4 feet, weight approximately 40 pounds, their rapid growth is due to the abundance of food dragged by the oceanic currents which cross the Gulf of Papagayo from south to north.

They like the warm, clean waters, their favourite food is Ballyhoo and Skipjack.

Roosterfish – Pez Gallo

This species occurs throughout the year in shallow waters and the best water conditions are turbid and warm, its favorite food is black tuna – Bonitas.
The rooster is popular as a good fighting fish, but are not considered a good species to eat, catch and release are strongly recommended for the all anglers and make sure preserve the species. The average size can reach over (4ft and more) in length and over (110pds).

This species abounds in the Gulf of Papagayo North Pacific Costa Rica.

Pez Marlin

The Black Marlin from the Gulf of Papagayo, in relation with the sailfish, is referenced by its size and the sail, it is a species of large size and weight, also gives a great fight as 4 hrs when it is hooked, its favorite food is the ballyhoo and Bonita baitfish, it is a fish from the deep ocean.

The marlin reaches a maximum weight of about 1,300 pounds, they like to swim in clean and deep waters, with respect to the Gulf of Papagayo, at the months of winter they enter in flat water as up to 30 feet with optimal conditions of temperature and clarity in search of small dorados that abound in the gulf by the winter months and fishing turns in good action on inshore Papagayo.

Sailfish – Pez Vela

The sailfish is a species of large size, weight reaches up to 300 pounds at most. It is a species that gives a great fight when it is hooked, its favorite food is the ballyhoo and small bonitos baitfish. With respect to the Gulf of Papagayo, they enter the flat water in search of food at 50 feet with optimal conditions of temperature and clarity and they stay for a few months on the shores of the Gulf of Papagayo.

The Yellowfin Tuna

The yellow fin tuna is an overexploited species in our country by internationals companyes, but noaw this specie is in growing in this Gulf, they moves in the currents of the sea and travels through the continents, they seek shallow waters for their reproduction and when they reach maturity, they deepen.

Specimens of up to 400 pounds are caught in deep water, in the Gulf of Papagayo you can get up to 70 pounds in the shallow waters.

Red Snapper

In the Gulf of Papagayo, fishing locations abound as rocky bottom which are attractive places for the red snapper.

Species desired by the artisanal fishermen who make their daily and monthly budget, and in its preference are those from 2 to 5 pounds of weight that is first quality. Also with regard to sport fishing, it is practiced as bottom fishing and is a great attraction but there are always good-sized ones like 12 pounds in some months but they are mostly small due to their over-exploitation.

The red snapper of bigger size is in the months of March and April (Summer), this activity is accelerated with the arrival of the oily sardine, of good taste for snapper in the Gulf of Papagayo and the entire Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

Skipjack tuna – Bonita – barrilete

This type of fish, usually known as bonito(a), belongs to the group of tuna, this species is abundant in the Gulf of Papagayo throughout the year and is stocked with small sardines. This black tuna as it is also known serves as special bait for many other types of fish which include sailfish and roosterfish using it as live bait or butterfly when they die.

It is also a form of Sportfishing with a Light tackle to enjoy their resistance when fighting. Its weight usually does not reach 10 pounds.

Hamberjack – Ojaran

Amberjack is a territorial fish, it is a specimen that grows up to about 200 pounds of weight, it lives on a rocky bottom and feeds on small fish. When you are fishing for the roosterfish, there is also the opportunity to fish them, since the same bait is used as for the roosterfish, with very good meat to eat better even when it is juvenile.

Grouper – Cabrilla

Its habitat is deep in the ocean from 100 feet to 500 feet deep, also the meat is very good to eat, arrive on the shores of the Gulf of Papagayo in search of warmer waters when it is too cold in the depths.

We do bottom fishing for grouper in the summertime from Jan to March, its weight can reach up to 150 pounds, its food is small fish, crustaceans, squid, and other animals from the seabed.

See Bass – Robalo

The snook is a territorial fish, it is found at the mouths of rivers and beaches, this is a fish with white meat and very good to eat, so its approximate weight is about 12 kilos. It is a predator and its crustacean diet is primarily of worms, small fish, sea urchins, and other sea creatures. The best way to fish in Papagayo is from the shore, or from a boat with light fishing gear.


This species in the Gulf of Papagayo is a winter season fish since the best water and temperature conditions are present in those months, in the months of June and July is when they are in pairs and when they are most sighted on the Pacific coast, they are also found in the deep sea, their size and weight vary up to 5 feet and with a weight of 60 pounds, their speed goes up to 40 miles, his favorite food is small fish.

In Papagayo Fishing we do bait fishing with Rapala lures using wire as a guide line, normally when we do rooster fishing, they chase our bait fish and cut our fishing lines.

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