Sport Fishing in Costa Rica...
In Persuit of the Giant Durado

Fishing in Costa Rica by hand... this is the story of the BIG one that didn't get away!

Few fishing experiences are captured like this one. Victor Otarola - long time fisherman and resident of Montezuma - took to the beaches on a beautiful January afternoon.

John Garner and his son - in the right place at the right time - caught an amazing Costa Rica fishing experience in full color photograph.

With plenty of birds nearby - the conditions were just screaming "fish!".

He was after the BIG one.

And sure enough -- that's exactly what came...

Fishing in Costa Rica
Fishing in Costa Rica
Fishing in Costa Rica
Fishing in Costa Rica

The Perfect Day for Fishing
Victor Otarola - Waiting Patiently for the Hit
John Garner, Watching from Afar

Something took the bait... something HUGE!

It ran like crazy... line peeling and whipping off the spool so fast, it could easily cut you if you weren't extremely careful. Careful - and even more so... experienced!

And so it began.

Read on to learn about this unique style of fishing in Costa Rica - and the outcome of this one-of-a-kind story...

Fishing in Costa Rica by Hand

Fishing in Costa Rica by hand is quite popular - especially among those who live on the Rich Coast. It's certainly more of a challenge than the traditional rod & reel, but with a bit of practice - it's quite enjoyable.

Fishing in Costa Rica
Bare Hand Fishing Essentials

And it's super affordable too - spool, line, hook and weight, can be purchased for under $10.00 at fishing stores - as well as most hardware stores, throughout the country.

A word of caution though - fishing in this manner, while enjoyable - can also be quite dangerous!


Well - when a fish runs with the bait... a BIG FISH to be more specific... there's no mechanical drag system or flexing rod, to ease the tension.

So as the fish is running - the line can freely whip off the spool. You've got to keep an eye on it so A - it doesn't slash against your skin, and B - so you don't get tangled up in it!

With a big enough fish - I'm sure you can imagine...

Another tip. When fishing in this manner - it helps to have a small piece of leather around your thumb for protection. Gently touching the line to slow down a running fish... it's the only drag system you've got!

Fishing in Costa Rica
Sardines are the Perfect Bait

Oh - and let's not forget bait...

When fishing in Costa Rica - Sardines work wonders.

Often they'll wash up along the beach.

These are the days when you see all the birds (pelicans for example) flocking above the water shallows, like in the photo up top.

But with bigger fish - like the one Victor hooked (getting back to our story now)... something a a bit larger works best.

A bonito - a small fish at par say, with a half pound bass... is what he was using on this particular day. And minus a weight too. The idea - with a larger bait like this, is to let it swim freely in the water.

Altogether - it's a bit of work going for the big one. A sardine to catch a bonito, and a bonito to catch a - well...

Read on to see!

The Montezuma Giant

Minus a drag system to slow down a fish this size - it all came down to a tug of war. An edge for Victor... eighty pound test line on the spool - strong enough for this type of angling...

Fishing in Costa Rica
A Grueling 'Tug of War' Ensues...

Getting closer to the sixty minute mark, and after two previous runs out and away from the beach, this very fast, strong and heavy fish - took all two hundred meters of line out to sea.

It was at this point - to prevent losing the catch - Victor waded out past waste-deep water.

But just as he was unable to go any further - finally... it came to a halt.

And after an entire hour...

Fishing in Costa Rica
Alas - the Mighty Montezuma Giant... Brought to Shore!

...he landed a one hundred and fifty pound roosterfish.

Amazing! Especially given the circumstances... a fish this size would normally be taken by shore or boat, with a rod & reel...

By hand? Far from expected - that's for sure!

Among other trophy-sized species caught fishing in Costa Rica, those like marlin, grouper, mahi-mahi, and snapper... the roosterfish is one of the hardest fighting of all.

Fishing in Costa Rica
The Roosterfish!

In season from December through March - they are amazing eating too, tasting similar to a yellow fin tuna - although, with a bit more fibre.

And so ended this one-of-a-kind, Costa Rican fishing tale...

One to be remembered for a long time to come!

But do remember this!

It's true - fishing in Costa Rica by hand... especially going after lunkers like these - can be an exhilarating experience. It is.

But for the inexperienced, going after a fish this size - using just a spool like Victor did - can be very dangerous. If a strong 80, 100 or more pound fishing line gets tangled around you - getting dragged out to sea, is quite the possibility.

Some advice?

Stick to a smaller size spool, line and bait...

Safety first!

And finally - one last part of the adventure. The aftermath of this amazing fishing experience...

Fishing in Costa Rica... the Aftermath

Eighty pound test line, a size six hook - and a tough plastic spool, were the only thing between Victor and this giant roosterfish.

Fishing in Costa Rica
A Day to Be Remembered

And to show you just how powerful a creature like this is, have a look at the photo to the left.

The grueling tug of war that ensued - three very long runs out to sea - left it totally bent out of shape...

Unbelievable it didn't escape!

Something to remember this amazing experience by indeed.

And so, to Victor Otarola - and to John Garner as well, responsible for these excellent fishing photos - a big thank you for sharing this incredible story!

Until next time.