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 normal 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 just use all lures. With this type of fishing, you will troll at a faster speed 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 the use of 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 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. We add a pair of teasers off both outriggers and one teaser in the exhaust alley. The high-speed lures are trolled off 50 or 80 class rod and reels at 9-10 knots. 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, it has the advantage of having a truly natural appeal – a live tuna, (yellow fin, skip jack, bonito), blue runner, goggle eye or sardine etc. – that a sail, or other large predatory game fish would eat as a food source. In order to breath, tunas must constantly be moving forward, and we have specialized tuna tubes, in order to keep a few live ones ready.
Live bait is “bridled” with a floss or Dacron loop, being feed though 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 hook maximum exposure, allows more flexibility to work the way it should, providing higher hook up ratio.
Because the fish is live, the boat will troll at a slower speed to avoid and killing the bait fish. This will limit the amount of the sea you will be covering 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, color, schools of bait balls, fish on surface and whether you in an area that hats reefs, ledges or drop offs that may affect currents and attract bait fish and big game.
Casting – Popper Fishing
Popper fishing, a floating top water 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 on 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 catch 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 bait fish. Others work best if they are reeled in an erratic stop and go, or zig-zag pattern mimicking an injured bait fish struggling to get away. 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 the use of lures called Jigs, made of heavy metal. and is great for kids and for those anglers who enjoy staying busy all day.
When bottom fishing, you generally try to target bottom structure, rocks, reef wrecks or ledges. Inshore, bottom fishing (vertical jigging) where you will target snappers, groupers, amber jacks and more.