Marlin Camp Billfish School – Costa Rica
Even before Ernest Hemingway graphically depicted the struggle to subdue one of the most iconic gamefish in the history of sport angling, marlin and other billfish have sparked the imagination of anglers around the world. No fish heralds more respect and awe then the legendary blue marlin, and locking into a hot marlin on fly can be one of the greatest thrills of a fly angler’s career as well as the definition of the very apex of our sport. And due to special manmade structures known as FADs, Costa Rica is hands down the best place in the world for fly anglers seeking an encounter with such an awe-inspiring fish.
When a group of pioneering bluewater anglers created the first FAD (fish aggregating device) strategically placed on a seamount off the coast of Costa Rica, they had no idea what it would do for fly fishing for marlin. A FAD is a long steel cable secured to the bottom with a large weight and rising to about 100′ below the ocean’s surface. The top of the FAD has a large cluster of flags and other materials, and this in effect creates artificial structure. In the open ocean, even a small floating piece of driftwood can have an abundance of life, and FADs prove to be incredible at bringing in such life in epic proportions. Staggering numbers of baitfish, small tuna, squid, and other ocean inhabitants take residence in no time, and where there is a multitude of prey apex predators like marlin are very close behind – and by marlin standards the numbers are mind blowing.
The marlin found in this offshore playground are small by marlin standards – 100-300 lbs on average – but the fly equipment called for must be the best and biggest available. 13-15+ weight rods, massive large arbor reels, and plenty of backing. Due to such extraordinary concentrations of billfish this is without a doubt the world’s best destination for targeting a grand slam on fly, and anglers will encounter many blues throughout the expedition with potential for sailfish and striped marlin mixed in. Targeting the prime season (May-January new moons) is your best shot for truly outstanding fishing. The numbers speak for themselves, and when the fishing heats up boats can get shots at 4-20+ marlin per day or more!
Due to the distance offshore (50-100+ miles) this is a true expedition. Our marlin expeditions use a small fleet of fly ready sportfish vessels which double as comfortable and safe motherships to bring small groups of anglers into the heat of the action. Days are spent trolling up billfish for the fly, and at night we gather for dinner and relaxing before returning to our respective bunks. Please keep in mind we are sharing a small space in the middle of the ocean – living conditions are utilitarian and anglers will be roughing it slightly, but the truly incredible fishing all around makes it all worthwhile.
LEARNING AT MARLIN CAMP
Our ‘Marlin Camp’ Billfish School program is designed for any skill level, from experienced marlin fly anglers to total beginners. We will share what we have learned from countless days chasing billfish around Central America. Learn in a very hands on way how to prepare for the bite, set up an effective spread of teasers, tease the billfish close to the boat, properly present the fly, fighting techniques, release techniques, and much more.
Our small groups ensures each participant has ample shots at raised billfish by limiting group size to 2-4 total. Groups of 2 anglers use a 45′ Hatteras and groups of 3-4 use a 57′ Whiticar. For groups of 4+ we can use both yachts and even incorporate the use of a large catamaran for evening leisure and sleeping offshore.
We have also partnered with some of the finest tackle, line, and fly manufacturers available to ensure we take the guesswork out of a successful run to the deep. Anglers will be met with rigged and ready equipment we have tried and tested on countless marlin and sailfish at no extra charge.
If watching a massive blue marlin or lite-up Pacific sailfish smash your popper less then 20’ from the transom and ripping off hundreds of yards of line in less than a heartbeat is a dream you wish to relinquish, then this adventure is for you.
ROUGH ITINERARY BREAKDOWN
- *DAY 1 – Arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO), Option 1) private transport to hotel, lodging in boutique hotel, no meals included, Option 2) afternoon domestic flight to Puerto Jimenez, Osa, private transport to hotel, lodging in oceanfront beach resort, no meals included
- DAY 2 – Option 1) Private transport to airport, early flight to Puerto Jimenez, Osa with Sansa, private transport to pier where sportfish and crew will be waiting, start fishing that morning targeting sails and other pelagics on run out to FADs (offshore ~50-100 miles depending on where the hot bite it), all meals included, sleep aboard vessel, Option 2) private transport to pier where sportfish and crew will be waiting, start fishing that morning targeting sails and other pelagics on run out to FADs (offshore ~50-100 miles depending on where the hot bite it), all meals included, sleep aboard vessel
- DAY 3 – Wake up offshore, fish around FAD for marlin and other pelagics, all meals included, sleep aboard vessel
- DAY 4 – Wake up at FAD, fish all day blue marlin, all meals included, return to pier that evening, private transport to hotel, , breakfast, lunch and snacks included onboard vessel, dinner not included, lodging in oceanfront beach resort
- **DAY 5 – Relaxed morning recovering from your adventure at beachfront hotel with pool, private transport to local airport, afternoon flight to San Jose, breakfast included, lunch and dinner not included, Option 1) private transport to hotel, lodging in boutique hotel, Option 2) departure from Costa Rica
- DAY 6 – Private transport to airport, departure from Costa Rica, breakfast included, lunch and dinner not included
*International arrival time to SJO must be before 12PM
**International flight must depart after 7PM