ther is a jewel of a fishing resort on the Pacific coast…it’s El Ocotal
The boat comes alive. “Mar-leen!” the mate yells. For an instant confusion wins out, but then the drill that you played over and over again shifts into gear. The marlin hits and begins those spectacular greyhounding leaps for freedom. The reel screams. The engine roars. Line melts off the reel. The captain is in hot pursuit of marlin. Thrill of billfishing; the magnetic excitement that draws anglers to El Ocotal, the posh resort on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.
Situated in the Guanacaste province, at the north end of Costa Rica, El Ocotal’s home waters, the Gulf of Papagayo, are among the most potent in the Pacific. Several IGFA world records have been set in these waters. Sails are abundant, and often quite large, with 100 pounders not uncommon. These waters are perfect for anglers who prefer light tackle methods such as casting plugs or flies to a teased “lit-up” sail. The high concentrations of sails means lots of opportunities, so experimentation makes sense. And if bigger quarry are of interest, this is a prime area for both black and blue marlin. Both average 300 to 400 pounds, though 500 pounders are not atypical. Huge trophies over 700 pounds have been boated by guests. The largest marlin, an estimated 1000-pound black, was released after an extended, exhilarating battle.
Offshore, anglers have their hands full with dorado (the all-tackle world record came from this region), tuna and wahoo. Along the many islands that dot the rocky coast, trophy roosterfish and aggressive cubera snapper are abundant and eager to challenge anglers. These waters may very well produce the best roosterfishing in the world. There are about 25 important gamefish available from El Ocotal.
El Ocotal maintains a fleet of 32-ft. twin- engine Morgan fiberglass cruisers. Each has top quality tackle and baits aboard, plus an experienced captain and mate who know the local waters intimately and are familiar with all types of fishing techniques from big-game trolling to fly-fishing. Each boat has a cabin, head, tuna tower, plus single fighting chair. The resort sits on a high bluff overlooking the ocean. As the day begins, El Ocotal guests enjoy breakfast on the tiled-veranda. And when anglers return from a day of satisfying fishing, the main lodge features a large dining room with superb meals (guests order freely off the menu as part of the camp package), plus an _ bar and outside patio. One level below there’s a swimming pool, with tennis courts also for the energetic lot Accommodations are deluxe. Double occupancy rooms all include air conditioning, private bathrooms and electricity. For the non-fishing guest, El Ocotal offers a wide array of activities. Below the resort is a small private beach.
The lodge runs one of Costa Rica’s most sophisticated scuba diving programs. A number of well known National Parks and private biological reserves are close by and guided tours can be arranged easily, along with access to hiking trails and horseback riding. Trips can start and terminate on any day. Normally guests are transferred to the lodge from San Jose by car, a picturesque ride of just over four hours. A private air charter can also be arranged for an additional charge.