The blue marlin fishing off Costa Rica is arguably the best in the world right now, with some incredible numbers posted by several boats that have been on the bite. One of those is Capt. Bubba Carter on the charter boat Tijereta, a 43-foot Island Boat Works based in Los Sueños Resort Marina. On a recent four-day trip, his angling team of Tom Wheaton, Reese Bowles and his son Zach Bowles had red-hot fishing: they raised 84 blue marlin, had 66 bites and released 56 (plus one sailfish), including 25 blue marlin releases in a single day. The team pitch-baited each fish using dead bait and 30-pound-test tackle. This is Carter’s recount of that day.
We headed for the seamounts that are 114 miles off Los Sueños. The tops come up to about 2,900 feet of water from 9,000 feet all around it, and there’s always a ton of bait on it. We left on June 1 and fished on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, coming home late that evening of the 5th. A trip like that is like camping out on this boat, but we had a great team of anglers and it was a lot of fun to fish with those guys. And the weather was perfect, no wind and slick-calm seas.
The first day we caught 11 blue marlin, either pitching small bullet bonito or ballyhoo on chugger heads on 30-pound-test. Big Oh was out there with us and caught 11, and Victor Julio on Tranquilo caught 11. Those boats were leaving by noon the next day though, so we thought it could get really good if we were the only one still there.
We started fishing early the next morning and had our first blue marlin release at 5:15. We caught 11 blue marlin by 11 a.m. and then got to 19 releases by 4 p.m. That broke my personal best of 18 blues in one day, but we still had a couple hours left to fish and caught six more before it got too dark — 25 blue marlin in one day. The next day slowed down a little but we still released 14 blue marlin, then on the last day we had six more blues and one sailfish before we left to come home.
Overall it was very consistent fishing, averaging one blue marlin about every half-hour, and we only had one doubleheader. There would be a little lull in the action around noon but then around 2 in the afternoon., here they come again. Sometimes we would be right on the seamount in the bait and other times we would be as far as a mile off it to stay on the bite.
Of all the places I’ve fished in the world, this is the best. Right now, it’s the most consistent blue marlin fishing anywhere.