Species and Techniques to Catch Them

Sámara is located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. We are fortunate to have a wide variety of species both inshore and offshore making it one of the best  fishing destinations in the world. Hunt for marlin, sailfish and tuna offshore or for dorado, roosterfish and wahoo inshore.

Get to know some of our most popular species and learn what we consider some of the best techniques to target them.


Known locally as pez gallo, the roosterfish is a bucketlist species for our clients, and for a good reason! They fight hard and are beautiful to look at. The majority of the largest roosterfish are caught with live bait. Blue runners have consistently been the best. However, bonita, small bigeye trevally, small jack crevalle, sierra mackerel, and mullet also work very well. Small to midsize roosterfish prefer artificial baits. Medium roosters like knife jigs worked between 60-120ft around reefs and rocks, as well as poppers near exposed reef and along the shoreline. Smaller roosters prefer small poppers or jigs casted near rocks.

Pacific Dog Snapper

The pacific dog snapper is commonly known as Cubera. Live baits and poppers work well. Popping with small or large poppers over reefs of 50ft or less can be very exciting.  Jigging with 150g knife jigs is a good technique on deeper reefs from 80ft to 150ft. Dead bait works as well. To fish with dead bait, we have found bonitas work the best, hooked in the tail and drifted out slowly with no weight on reefs 40ft and deeper.

Broomtail Grouper

Mero Negro to the locals, The vast majority have been caught between 100 and 150ft of depth on knife and flutter jigs 100g or more. Bouncing the jig on the bottom several times followed by fast steady retrieve is the most successful technique. Large jigheads 10oz or more with rubber swimbaits pulled over the bottom work well as well as fishing dead bait. As these fish are generally in deeper water, a weight can be used in this case. A 2oz or larger weight about 6ft from a bonito hooked either in the mouth or tail can bring some of the largest groupers to the surface.

Yellowfin Tuna

Atun Aleta Amarilla in Spanish, these fish prefer poppers over almost anything. No matter what size the popper, or the tuna, they absolutely love them. Larger poppers can be casted further than smaller light weight ones. Fast retrieve, slow retrieve, or even popper sitting still has triggered countless bites. When they are being picky (which is rarely the case) they will almost always go after a small xps jig which is a knife jig 30g or less. When we catch these tuna we are usually sight fishing for them. If no tunas are jumping, a great technique is to troll a small to medium size artificial minnow.


Locally known as Vela, trolling artificial squid, flashers, and teasers are some of the best lures for landing one one these, though we can be more succsessful using live bait. Blue runners, bigeye trevallies, and bonita have shown the best results. Some have been hit fast trolling, slow trolling and even sitting still. The average depth for the billfish is between 70ft and 150ft. We usually find them to be more common in the months from March through June, but we see them year-round.


Most of the wahoo we have landed have come on large poppers casted near the ledge or trolled behind the boat while popping slow. Some have also come on knife jigs as well.


Also called dorado or dolphin fish. One of our favorite fish because they are great to eat, beautiful, and they put up an acrobatic fight. They are almost never picky eaters, generally eating almost anything that is thrown at them. We have caught them on all sizes of knife jigs reeled quickly on the surface of the water, many sizes of lures, cut bait and live bait, as well as poppers. They generally hang out around floating debris and current lines deeper than 80ft. Chumming with chunks of bonito is known to bring them in if seen nearby. We commonly find schools of them with an average size of over 15-20 pounds with some hooked that were pushing 80 pounds!

Sierra Mackerel

Macarela are almost always caught on artificial lures or jigs. They love deep diving plugs trolled near the shallows between 20 and 50 feet. Larger mackerel prefer knife jigs between 80 and 150g worked near the bottom in 100-150ft.

Trevally (Bluefin, Bigeye, Golden, Diamond, Queen)

All these trevally like to hang around the exposed reef and near shallow rocks. Jjigs are the best for them and when they are picky the crappie jig is sure to get some strikes. Also, shallow diving lures and smaller poppers casted along the rocks is a great technique.


Smaller corvina (15 pounds and under) are caught in shallower areas 30ft and under near rocks and river mouths. They like xps jigs and bucktails worked slowly near the bottom. Larger corvina will occassionally school up near deeper rocks at a depth of 120ft to 150ft and prefer large knife jigs 80-200g bounced on the bottom.

Almaco Jack/Amber Jack

Mula to the locals, are always found around structures like exposed reef near deeper water or rocky bottom ranging from 35-250 foot depths. They have been known to go for poppers off the surface. They also like live bait drifted slowly around the reefs or dead baits drifted slowly to the bottom without a weight. Large knife jigs can also get their attention. These are very strong fish that will try to dive into reefs and structure to break your line. They have to be fought with tight drag and are a very fun, challenging fight. They are also a delicious fish to eat!


Mullet Snapper

In Spanish these are called Pargo Mullet. These snapper tend to school up in large numbers around reefs  ranging from 30ft to 150ft. They spook easily but have been known to hit medium size minnows, xps jigs, cut bait, medium poppers, as well as live blue runners and small bonita.

Pacific Black Snook

Larger snook are hooked on live lookdowns in shallow water less than 20ft. They also have been known to hit shallow diving medium or small lures and white bucktail jigs. Costa Rica has consistently put up the world records for largest snook.  Some locals claim to have landed 70+ pounders but we have not seen them ourselves. They are a challenge as they have been known to throw the hook just like tarpon. Generally the dry season (December – March) is the best time to target these awesome fish.

Rock Snapper

Pargo Roquero are most commonly hooked on xps jigs bounced on the bottom around the exposed reef, steep ledges and rocky bottom anywhere from 15ft to 150ft. They have also been known to take live bait as well as cut bait. A chunk of bonito or blue runner dropped to the bottom is sure to get a strike from one. These are very strong fish, so be ready for a fight with some tight drag!

Yellow Snapper/Spotted Rose Snapper

Pargo Amarillo are some of our most common catches. They hang out in all depths from 10ft to 150ft. They are almost always found around rocky bottom or exposed reef. They like knife jigs and xps jigs from 20g all the way to 150g. They are also frequently caught trolling deep diving lures near shallow reefs.

Goliath Grouper / Jewfish

Called Mero Gigante by the locals, these fish have to be one of the toughest fish in our waters to land. They can grow to more than 600 pounds and have been known to even eat sharks! They hang around any type of structure from 20ft to 300ft of water.


Marlin are a relatively common sight in our waters. Costa Rica is one one of the best places in the world to target marlin. We have seen them free jumping as shallow as 40ft.  When fishing from our boat or panga large trolling lures and cedar plugs have triggered bites, but live bait is the best way to go, either drifting slowly or trolling at a fast pace.