Tom Bradwell moves his fleet between Quepos and Flamingo to take advantage of the best fishing seasons
Costa Rica’s Pacific coast has some of the best billfishing in the world. Sails, blue and black marlin, even an occasional striped marlin. But like offshore fishing most anywhere, locations are not productive year round. Each has a window when visiting anglers have the best chance of taking a sail or marlin, and the rest of the time, chances for success are diminished.
Tom Bradwell’s Marlin Azul fleet overcomes this by offering quality fishing at two different locales.
During the December through March season, the fleet fishes out of the Quepos in the south, Costa Rica’s best area for fast action on sailfish. Boats often raise 10 to 20 sails a day, and anglers flock to these calm waters to test their light tackle, even fly fishing skills. A number of fly fishing records have been set here in past seasons, and Quepos is home to several Costa Rican fly fishing tournament.
As the spring approaches, the Marlin Azul fleet moves northward, to Flamingo. Here, sails are abundant throughout the summer into the late fall. In addition, black and blue marlin are prime targets of offshore anglers, with marlin in the 300- to 450-pound range commonplace. These waters have produced marlin in excess of 700 pounds.
And for those who like their action in smaller packages, both locations offer great variety fishing, especially at Flamingo. Dorado, tuna and wahoo are plentiful off shore. In fact the all tackle record for dorado was taken near Flamingo. Closer to the mainland, world-record class roosterfish are a prime target, with 30- to 80-pound plus trophies taken throughout the season. Huge cubera snapper are eager to ambush a topwater plug tossed towards a rocky shoreline, and there’s a host of other grouper and snapper species as well.
Tom Bradwell, owner of Marlin Azul, has been fishing Costa Rican waters for more than 20 years and his small fleet of 29-ft. to 31-ft. fishing cruisers are ideal for these waters. Bradwell’s crews are among the most experienced in Costa Rica, with years of tournament success, and a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to conquer fish, be it via conventional trolling gear, stand-up or even fly fishing. It was with the Marlin Azul that the great Lee Wulff (accompanied by his wife, Joan, and PanAngling’s Jim Chapralis) took his last sailfish. He died soon after at age 86.
Guests chartering Marlin Azul boats-stay at a number of local hotels in each fishing locale. Quepos is close at hand to Costa Rica’s largest national park, Manuel Antonio. The town has a wealth of restaurants and a quaint charm. Flamingo, located at the northern end of the country, offers modern beachfront hotel facilities as well, with air conditioned rooms and pool standard. Both destinations offer non-fishing activities, making them ideal locations for family or couples trips.
Each package includes fishing, use of tackle and all baits, as well as accommodations and lunch aboard the boats. Breakfast and dinner are not included so that guests can take advantage of the wide range of restaurants available in both Flamingo and Quepos.
Reaching either Quepos or Flamingo is easy. Private air charter flights can be arranged from San Jose to either city, with flying time 30 minutes to under one hour. A car and driver can be also be reserved: it may take longer to reach the destination but it’s an ideal way to see more of an interesting and beautiful countryside.
Trips may begin and end on any day. Each of the cruisers can accommodate up to four anglers each, offering a very flexible program for those interested in fishing some of Costa Rica’s most productive waters.
Sample rates: 4 Nights, 3 days fishing: $1420 per person based on parties of two;, $1070 per person based on three per boat. 7 nights, 6 days fishing: $2725 per person based on two anglers per
boat, $2070 per person based on three per boat. Rates include: lunch on board charters, accommodations, guided fishing, use of tackle, baits, local transfers. Rates do not include: overnights in San Jose if required, air charter to Flamingo/Quepos, Breakfast and dinners, liquor, tips, items of a personal nature.