Sport Fishing Tactics in the Papagayo Gulf
Our typical trolling spread consists of 2-4 teasers (larger hook-less lures) and 4-5 ballyhoo on circle hooks. This is the standard spread, and we will target sail, marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi and wahoo this way.
If you request to target sail or marlin, the crew will set up a large teaser, baits and lures or use all lures. With this type of fishing, you will troll faster than normal to cover more seas to get that epic bite.
Teaser fishing is the most exciting part of trolling. This type of fishing involves hook-less lures called teasers which attract the fish into the spread behind the boat. This technique is known as “bait and switch”-to pull the teaser away from the fish’s focus and replace it with a hook bait or lure, giving the fish a new target and the angler more control of the bite, improving hook set and hookup ratio. The teasers are pulled at the rear of the boat, which allows the anglers to see the fish trying to eat the teaser/bait.
This spread consists of medium or large-sized high-speed lures running off both outriggers and the shotgun line. The high-speed lures are trolled off 50 or 80 class rods and reels at 9-10 knots. We add a pair of teasers off both outriggers and one teaser in the exhaust alley. The pitch baits can be armed with live bait (Black tuna or Blue runner) or dead bait (Ballyhoo).
Live bait cannot be bought in this area, so the crew will fish beforehand and have them in the live bait tank/tuna tubes. In the case they have no luck, some bait fishing may be required while you’re on board.
Live Bait Fishing is the use of a live fish as bait– a live tuna (yellowfin, skipjack, bonito), blue runner, goggle-eye or sardine etc. – that sail or other sizeable predatory game fish would eat as a food source. Tunas must constantly be moving forward to breathe, and we have specialized tuna tubes to keep a few live ones ready.
Live bait is “bridled” with a floss or Dacron loop, being fed through its eyes socket above the eyeballs, which is used for the secure connection to the circle hook. Placing the hook outside the bait fish’s head, giving the maximum hook exposure, allows more flexibility to work the way it should, providing a higher hookup ratio.
Because the fish is live, the boat will troll at a slower speed to avoid killing the baitfish. This will limit the sea you will cover in a given amount of time while out fishing.
Live bait fishing will be used when we are in the right fishing conditions, and there are signs of big game fish: water temperature, colour, schools of bait balls, fish on the surface and whether you are in an area that hats reefs, ledges or drop-offs that may affect currents and attract baitfish and big game.
Casting – Popper Fishing
Popper fishing, a floating topwater lure, is an active approach in fishing which involves the use of specialized spinning gear capable of long casts and heavy drag. It is also one of the most visual and interactive ways to fish. There are many fishing spots in the Papagayo Gulf where you can spend part of the day casting poppers and catching several different species as long as the weather conditions permit.
Some shaped poppers are best worked by fast ripping them across the surface to imitate a fleeing baitfish. Others work best if they are reeled in an erratic stop and go or zig-zag pattern mimicking an injured baitfish struggling to getaway. There are many times the fish miss on the first attempt but return for a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th try. Roosterfish, Snappers, and Tuna are some of your targets, but you never know what will strike on your popper.
Bottom Fishing – Jigging
Bottom fishing – jigging is a very popular fishing tactic in the Papagayo Gulf due to the many underwater rock formations. This type of fishing is another active, hands-on approach, which involves lures called Jigs, made of heavy metal and great for kids and anglers who enjoy staying busy all day.
You generally try to target bottom structures, rocks, reef wrecks, or ledges when bottom fishing. Inshore, bottom fishing (vertical jigging) will target snappers, groupers, amberjacks and more.