Fishing Methods

If you master these basic methods, you’ll become a successful angler.

Beam trawl:

In this type of trawl the mouth or opening of the net is kept open by a beam which is mounted at each end on guides or skids which travel along the seabed. The trawls are adapted and made more effective by attaching tickler chains (for sand or mud) or heavy chain matting (for rough, rocky ground) depending on the type of ground being fished. These drag along the seabed in front of the net, disturbing the fish in the path of the trawl, causing them to rise from the seabed into the oncoming net. Electrified ticklers, which are less damaging to the seabed, have been developed but used only experimentally. Work is also being carried out to investigate whether square mesh panels (see below) fitted in the ‘belly’ or lower panel of the net can reduce the impact of beam trawling on communities living on or in the seabed.


The simplest of costa rica fishing methods can also be the most effective. As its name implies, still-fishing is a matter of putting your bait in the water and waiting for a fish to find it. This method will catch most kinds of fish and can be used from a boat, a dock, a jetty or from shore. Depending on water depth and what you’re trying to catch, you may want to still-fish near the surface, at a mid-water depth, or right down on the bottom. Using a float, or bobber, makes it easy to fish near the surface, or you can add sinkers to your line to fish deeper.

Demersal otter trawl:

The demersal or bottom trawl is a large, usually cone-shaped net, which is towed across the seabed. The forward part of the net, the wings is kept open laterally by otter boards or doors. Fish are herded between the boards and along the spreader wires or sweeps, into the mouth of the trawl where they swim until exhausted. They then drift back through the funnel of the net, along the extension or lengthening piece and into the cod-end, where they are retained.


The term casting actually has two meanings in fishing. It describes the act of using a rod, reel and line to carry your bait or lure out into the water. It also is a specific fishing method, as opposed to still-fishing and other methods we will describe here.
There are times when a moving lure works best, especially for some fish species. At other times you may want to place a lure in a particular spot, such as right next to a submerged stump 30 feet from shore or under a tree that’s leaning out over the water. These situations are when casting is the fishing method that offers the best chance of catching fish. It’s the kind of sports fishing where you cast and retrieve, usually with an artificial lure, to fish waters where fish might be lurking and to coax them into striking. Spinners, wobbling spoons, plugs and spinnerbaits are lures commonly used for casting.


Many of the lures used in casting also work for trolling, because it’s another fishing method that requires movement to be effective. Trolling is simply dragging a lure, bait or a bait-and-lure combination through the water, using a boat rather than casting and retrieving to provide movement.


Some artificial lures function best if they’re worked through the water in an up-and-down motion, commonly referred to as jigging. Lifting and dropping the rod tip is what provides the jigging motion. Leadheads are the most common kind of jig, but for some fish species, especially saltwater salmon and bottomfish, the jigging lure might be a long, thin, slab of lead or other metal in the shape of a herring or other baitfish.

Fly Fishing:

Artificial flies are nothing more than fur, feathers, thread, tinsel and other materials tied around a hook to resemble an insect, a grub, a minnow or some other small morsel that a fish might eat. Because they are often very small and always very light, they can’t be cast like a heavy lure. For that reason, they are usually fished with special lines, rods and reels designed just for this kind of fishing.


Free diving, using mask and snorkel or scuba diving is a traditional method of collecting lobster, abalone, seaweed, sponges and reef dwelling fish, groupers and snappers. In deeper waters helmet diving systems using air pumped from the surface are used.

Gill Nets :
Are walls of netting which may be set at or below the surface, on the seabed, or at any depth inbetween. Gill netting is probably the oldest form of net fishing, having been in use for thousands of years. True gill nets catch fish that attempt to swim through the net, which are caught if they are of a size large enough to allow the head to pass through the meshes but not the rest of the body. The fish then becomes entangled by the gills as it attempts to back out of the net. The mesh size used depends upon the species and size range being targeted.

Costa Rica fishes

Fish that can be caught if you visit COSTA RICA

DORADO:  This interesting fish or mahi mahi, the dorado is one of the most amaizing fishes to catch on light tackle in costa rica fishing seas. This wonderful colorful fish is an extremely fast swimmer. It has been estimated that they can reach speeds of 50 mph in short bursts. You can find plenty of them, from late May to November when the seasonal rains flood the rivers, carrying out debris that forms trash lines close inshore that like to lie under. Schools of dorado can become a nuisance for anglers looking for the larger billfish lurking below the school. The dorado fish is a delicious food fish. The beautiful colour of this elongate compressed fish is prodominately metallic blue green, often with orange or golden flecks and blotches. The fins are dusky though the anal could be golden. Colour changes are possible where silvery blue normally indicates a feeding phase, whereas yellow could indicate stress or capture shock.

MARLIN: Blue and black species can easily approximate 2000 pounds and because of the power, size and persistence each fish is one of the most quite prized by all anglers. Marlin can be found from the southern part of Costa Rica in the Golfito area all the way up to the North Pacific Coast. Top Marlin spots in Costa Rica include Golfito and Drake's Bay in the South, Quepos in the fishing Central Pacific and Guanamar, Tamarindo and Flamingo in the North West. It is regularly agreed that Marlin Fishing is the best in the southern and Central zones during December to April and the North Pacific from May to November. Black marlin tend to show up most during April and May off of Tamarindo (near Flamingo). The little striped marlin is caught year-round. This is possibly the most common marlin of them all in South Africa. Although tuna and bonito are favoured food, this fast predator will eat virtually any fish, especially kingfish, dolphinfish, rainbow runner, yellowtail and squid. The marlin utilizes it is rough bill to slash or impale it's prey. It is mainly a solitary fish wit it more often been caught at depths ranging from 400m to 1000m.

SAILFISH:  Perhaps the most acrobatic of all blue water fish, the sailfish has impressed Costa Rica fishing on every international angler's wish list. There is no wonder why some of the world's most esteemed billfish tournaments are held in Costa Rica. The tournaments are often during June and July but there is not really a particular season regarding sails. The beautiful fish, spending more time in the air than in the water during the fight is not as powerful as the marlin, but always spectacular. Double and triple hookups are not uncommon. Quepos is considered to the be the center of the action, from December to March, with February being the key month with the highest concentration of sailfish and the possibility of 20 or 30 hookups a day. Sailfish often abound throughout fishing Costa Rica's Pacific from the emerging southern port of Golfito to the northern ports of Guanamar, Tamarindo and Flamingo. Year round availability of Sailfish makes it a costa rican leader for angler.

ROOSTERFISH:  The name of this fish comes from the dorsal fin with its fanlike array. It is an inshore species, always found in the surf, over sandy bottoms and often in moderate depths. The all-tackle world record is 114 pounds caught off of Baja, Mexico but many international fishing people speculate that the conditions are right for the next record to come from Costa Rica. An hostile predator, the roosterfish is always exciting when hooked. The Roosterfishes are available all year, but there are more caught in the Fishing Papagayo Bay zone from November through March. Many boats in the northernmost area of this region are fishing inshore during those windy months, and the roosters like the structure of the shoreline and islands where they are found in 50 to 60 feet of the sea.

SNAPPER:  Costa Rica has many species of snapper. Each fish is a shallow water fish preferring a rocky bottom structure that gives bait fish and protection. The cubera is the biggest of the snappers, often going beyond 100 pounds. The dog snapper is the largest of the Pacific snappers with the world record of 78 pounds held by a resort in Costa Rica. Each species will be a tough fighter, particularly on light tackle and although all snapper are delicious eating the flesh of the larger fish can become course.

WAHOO: This fish is a loner and when traveling with other wahoo it is often only a school of five or six. The Wahoo fish can be found everywhere in the Costa Rican Ocean but does seem to concentrate during the summer off of Costa Rica's Fishing Pacific Coast. The first showing starts about the time the rains start in May, peaking in July and August. Most are caught around the rocky points and islands, but you will pick one up occasionally fishing offshore. It isknown as salt water's finest delicacies. Fishes Experts speculate that the wahoo fish is the fastest fish in the ocean and it is no wonder that the first scorching run can burn out the drag on some reels.

YELLOWFIN TUNA: The Yellowfin Tuna fish are often around the size of a football but can reach up to 300 pounds and begin one of an anglers most spectacular fights. A tuna fish must often swim and is one giant muscle. Yellowfin fish are common from January until June and July but look for the larger fish off of Tamarindo and Flamingo during spring and early summer. This strong, torpedo-shaped fish has a depressed head. The upper body is blue-green, but seperated from the silvery flanks by a broad yellow or bronze band which stretches from the snout through the eye and along the entire length of the body. The abdomen is white and the fins are dusky or yellow. The true brilliance of these colours, particularly the bronze band and yellow tail, is only evident in live specimans. These yellowfin fishes can attain a length of 150 cm but fish of 100 cm are more common.

SNOOK:  The Big snook often peak from March through May and again September through the end of November, but those fishes are always the months of the heaviest rain and as the water becomes cloudy the fishing becomes more difficult, the snook preferring rivers, estuaries and back lagoons. Although considered an Atlantic fish, snook do appear in the Pacific coast. The fat snook or calva as it is known in Costa Rica is a very popular species of snook that has emerged for light tackle anglers, maximum size about 10 pounds. Peak from mid-November through late January, but often make an appearance much earlier.

TARPON:  A fishing inshore and offshore, tarpon fish is one of the first saltwater species to be declared a gamefish, and anglers come from every corner of the world looking for Costa Rica's Caribbean Tarpon fish action. The bony mouth and muscular, acrobatic fights make this fighter one of the most difficult and exciting prizes a fisherman can get. The tarpon fish action is not seasonal but is affected by the heavy rains on the Caribbean and sometimes the ability of boats to get out into the ocean. It is not a food fish and always is released.

GUAPOTE: The guapote is the closest thing that Costa Rica has that approximates a bass so the visiting.

Pike Fishing – Where to find pike

Pike fishing

The pike (known as the Northern Pike in North America) is a carnivorous fish. They can be found in all types of freshwater in the northern hemisphere (Britain, North America, Europe, etc.) and can be an incredibly exciting fish to catch. If you’re a game angler, catching large pike can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have (whilst angling!). It’s also a fish that has been eaten by people for many years.
As the pike is carnivorous, it’s also (expectedly) predatory, and has developed good techniques for ambushing its prey. This means that the pike can be hard for an angler to find, but this also makes it so much more exciting when you do catch one. The fish can also put up quite a fight when you’re attempting to reel it in, which is all the more fun.
When the pike is ready to strike its prey (or your bait), it will usually accelerate fast and grab the prey sideways in its mouth. It will then either kill or incapacitate the prey and turn to swallow it whole. It will generally eat fish and insects etc., but pike have also been known to eat ducklings and other water-based creatures.
First thing’s first: When you’re pike fishing, you need to fish in a water that actually has pike (I know, this should be obvious, but do check beforehand). Secondly, learn your local waters – pike can be found anywhere from small streams to rivers to lakes (anywhere you can find fresh water). Each of these different habitats have different places for the pike to hide, and they will have learnt to hunt (and ambush and hide) in different places in the water. By learning the water well and experimenting and testing the water for where the pike can be found, you’ll stand a much better chance of actually netting a fish.
You should also note what the pike in the area are eating. To increase your chances of a catch, you’ll need to ensure that the bait you’re using is as close as possible to the fish that the local pike are eating. This will change from day to day, depending on the season and weather.
Searching for pike in lakes can be more successful during the spring. This is because the pike naturally migrate to shallow, weedy parts of the water to spawn. They’ll then remain there to feed on the other fish that are spawning in the same area. In the summer and winter, the pike are more likely to be found in the deeper water where they can find better cover. So in the summer months, using a boat to catch the fish closer to the centre of a lake will usually increase your chances.

How To Clean and Debone a Pike

Eating something you’ve caught yourself can be one the of the most satisfying meals you can have.  Catching and eating fish is something people have been doing for generations.  After you’ve caught a pike, there are many ways to cook it, and it really can be a delicious meal.  (Before killing a pike, please check your local angling laws to ensure you’re allowed!)
Firstly, after you’ve caught the pike and brought it home, you’ll need to clean it and remove the edible parts from the fish.  Take it slowly the first time, as you don’t want to rip the fish apart by mistake.
  • Ensure you’ve got a sharp knife for filleting the fish, and place the fish on the gutting surface on its side.  Under the front of the side fin, cut at a 45 degree angle to the fish’s neck.  Then turn the knife and slice from the neck to the tail, going along the spine.  At this point, do not remove the skin from the fish.
  • Slice with the knife under the bones and cut under the ribs to remove them.
  • Here’s the complicated part: You should be able to see a ridge of bones running across the fish in the thickest part of the fillet.  These are called Y-bones and should also be removed.  Taking the knife, cut above the ridge of these bones.  Push down with the knife until you feel the bone, and then slice down whilst following the curve of the bone.  After you’ve done this to all the Y-bones, cut at a 45 degree angle along the centre of the fillet.  Cut until you touch the Y-bones with your knife.  You should now be able to loosen them and gently work them out of the fillet with your knife.  Be careful during this whole process, and make sure that you don’t pull the fillet to pieces.
  • Now that the bones have been removed (the hard part), simply remove the skin from the fillet by using the knife to carefully slice it off.
After this, you simply need to cook the fish to perfection.  Check out the posts under the cooking section for ideas on how to cook the pike.

How To Bake A Pike

Cooking pike

After you’ve caught and filleted your pike, it’s time to cook it.  Technically, when you’ve filleted it, you can freeze it.  This is useful if you don’t fish often and want to eat the catch over several weeks.  However, fresh pike tastes much better, and it’s so much more satisfying to catch and eat an extremely fresh fish on the day you catch it.
People have been eating pike for generations; and I’ll be posting a few tasty suggestions of how to cook this fish on the site
The first suggestion is the really healthy option: Baked Pike.  It’s simple, good for you (depending on how much butter you use), and still tasty.  You’ll want to grab a large piece of tin foil (by cooking it inside the foil, the fish will cook more evenly).
  • Before touching the fish, spread a knob of butter over the middle of foil.  You can experiment with what to include with the fish, but sprinkling chopped onions and mushrooms on top of the butter is always good.  But green peppers and garlic can also be good additions.
  • Place the fillet of pike on top of the vegetables and spread more butter on top of the fillet (all the butter is where this dish is let down health wise…  If you’d prefer, you can substitute olive oil, but in honesty, it does taste better with butter).
  • Season as desired – salt and pepper is usually good, along with lemon juice.
  • Place more vegetables on top and firmly wrap everything in the foil.
  • Place this in the oven at a medium temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Ensure the pike is thoroughly cooked before serving.
This is a great meal that can be served with more vegetables (carrots, green beans, whatever you’d like) and potatoes.  If you’re a wine drinker (although I’m not), I’m told this goes well with a nice white.  When you’ve tried this recipe, do try the other suggestions in the cooking section.