Costa Rica Tuna Fishing
Known for their incredible and brutish strength, the yellowfin tuna is one of the most challenging fish to fight in the ocean.
It's also one of the most sought-after species in the world, famed for its prized meat by both anglers and commercial operations.
And, you'll be happy to hear, this heavyweight operator of the fish world is no stranger to Costa Rican waters.
According to Costa Rican law, the boundaries for commercial tuna boats are now limited to staying at least 60 miles off the coast. This means the fish are much more plentiful in the waters where you’re fishing, and therefore there are more chances of targeting bigger specimens.
Yellowfin tuna range in sizes from very small to up to 400 pounds. For anglers, the sheer strength of the fish is the challenge, and the prize of all prizes is the amazing dinner you'll bring back to shore.
Yellowfin are as beautiful as they are tasty. Their body is covered in shimmering colors, with long sickle-like dorsal fins. It's these bright yellow fins that give this tuna its name.
Their shape also makes them apt for speed, meaning they're both great prey to pursue and a good predator in the water.
Yellowfin feed on other fish, crustaceans, and squid. The bigger ones sometimes even go after smaller tuna, as well.
Their fast movements allow them to go after speed animals like flying fish and mackerel.
How to Catch Yellowfin Tuna?
The feeding habits of yellowfin tuna make them a tricky but satisfying target.
They can be caught in a variety of ways. Here in Costa Rica, they're commonly found around schools of spinner dolphins. These two species have a symbiotic relationship and when you find one, you typically find the other.
Once you’ve found a school of yellowfin, the best technique used is trolling cedar plugs or rubber squids. The key is getting in front of the traveling school and a bite is almost guaranteed.
The larger fish are also targeted using live bait, which almost always ensures a bite and a nicely sized fish. A few boats in Costa Rica are now targeting tuna with kites or using the green stick method.
You can also really up the ante on skill level and target them with fly equipment. The concept and approach is similar, but going toe to toe with a giant tuna on fly is second to none.
Where to Target Yellowfin Tuna?
Yellowfin tuna are found all over Costa Rica – up and down the coast, and in both oceans.
It's also possible to catch smaller yellowfin near islands or pinnacles inshore. But overall, they're more commonly an offshore pelagic fish.
What's the Best Season for Yellowfin Tuna Fishing in Costa Rica?
Like most other fish species, yellowfin tuna are caught year-round in Costa Rica.
In years past, the tuna run was from mid-April through July. However, since the ban on commercial fishing boats coming closer than 60 miles offshore, there are incredible numbers throughout the year.
The key is finding the spinner dolphins. When you find one, you usually find the other.
Once in a while, you can also catch a big one on its own, since this fish is no longer in danger after it reaches 100 pounds.
If yellowfin tuna is something you’d like to go after, feel free to contact us. A team of local experts will customize a trip especially targeting this species and any other you might be interested in.
Tell us what you want and we’ll provide you with professional advice. Our local knowledge helps guarantee your fishing vacation is fun and successful.