4. Rio Colorado, Costa Rica
Can't-Miss Fall Fishing
From personal experience, I'd have to say that fishing outside the Rio Colorado River in the fall offers the closest thing to guaranteed tarpon action an angler will find. Fishermen often catch tarpon all day along the conspicuous current lines that may run for miles where green ocean waters butt up against brown river outflow. These "outside tarpon" in the fall average 80 pounds or so. No clear-water sight-casting or anchoring up with live baits here. Rather, anglers mostly troll lures or work jigs from a drifting boat. Listen to the chatter back at the lodge over dinner; rare are anglers who don't enjoy multiple shots each day, often well into double digits. The ocean generally remains blessedly calm during this time, but periods of heavy rains often move through. Fortunately, the river and resorts are within a short run. During the dry months of January through May, it's a different fishery, primarily trolling Rapalas, MirrOlures and Coasthawk jigs inside the river itself. Snook offer the main alternative to tarpon fishing here, and trophy fish can be taken year-round in the surf at the river mouth. During the winter, the lower river can be chock-full of what are known locally as calba snook. While these average only a few pounds or so, you can wear yourself out catching and releasing them all day. To get here, fly into San Jose (served by many major air carriers), overnight in the city and then catch a small plane for a flight of an hour or so to the little landing strip. For more information, visit www.riocoloradolodge.com.
Photo: Penelope Mendiguetti / Silver King Lodge