Fishing Travel News — Costa Rica’s New Marine Reserve, and More

Fishing-travel briefs from around the world


A bill now before the country’s congress would ban large-scale commercial fishing off Costa Rica’s southern Pacific Coast

Boundaries of the new proposed Costa Rica marine reserve
The proposed marine reserve would protect much of Costa Rica’s southern coast from large-scale commercial fishing. Courtesy Tropical Science Center and Google Earth

A bill that would create a marine reserve of nearly 1 million acres off the Osa Peninsula and southern Costa Rica coast is under consideration by Costa Rica’s congress, based on a report prepared by the Tropical Science Center. The bill — titled Reserva Marina Álvaro Ugalde Víquez in memory of Costa Rican conservationist Alvaro Ugalde Viquez — prohibits destructive, industrial-scale fishing practices, including longlines, bottom trawls and drift gillnets.

Yellowfin tuna on a popper
Yellowfin tuna taken off the Osa Peninsula. Tuna purse seiners are already prohibited from fishing with 45 kilometers of the coast, but the proposed reserve would also forbid longlines, as well as drift gillnets and bottom trawls. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Artisinal fishing and — recognizing the important economic contribution made to the country’s economy by visiting anglers — sport fishing would be allowed.


The reserve is intended to “protect the extraordinary marine and coastal resources of the southern Pacific coast,” resources threatened now by “indiscriminate and unsustainable commercial fishing.”

A period of public comment on the bill will continue through August. Comments may be emailed to Sra. Hannia Durán at

Roosterfish caught off Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula
Among the game fishes that the proposed reserve would protect is the iconic roosterfish. This fish, about to be released, was taken nearshore along the Osa Peninsula. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing
See more of southern Costa Rica’s great fishing. Courtesy Crocodile Bay Resort


Overnight stays in Flamingo, jumping-off point for Everglades National Park, will again be possible once construction is completed on new cottages and eco-tents.

Flamingo, Florida
Flamingo sits literally at the end of the road, where anglers launch boats to head out into Florida Bay or north into the Everglades backcountry.. Courtesy Google Earth
A small snook in the Florida Everglades
Snook are one of the species for which anglers from around the country and beyond come to the Everglades. Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

The Virginia-based contractor, Guest Services Inc., which operates accommodations in other national parks, will handle the project. An NPS release says that, now, “Visitors will be able to walk out their cottage door and, within minutes, have the opportunity to see crocodiles, alligators, manatees, sawfish, sea turtles, dolphin, tarpon and more,” noting that Flamingo remains a “world-class fishing paradise.” (Just don’t forget to pack the mosquito repellent!)

You can also do a fish-and-camp deep into the Everglades backcountry. Here’s how. Adrian E. Gray


Anglers are discovering that the waters off lower Australia offer some outstanding fishing for big broadbill.

The waters of the southern Pacific off Victoria, Aulstralia
It’s so not the Great Barrier Reef, but it is so Australia, and the waters off the southern end of New South Wales attract big, hungry broadbill. Courtesy Google Earth

The thought of fishing Australia brings to most yanks’ minds visions of giant black marlin off the Great Barrier Reef and barramundi in northern estuaries, but not necessarily swordfish. Yet far to the south, off the chillier waters of New South Wales, a burgeoning swordfish fishery has been gaining interest and fans, Jim Harnwell tells SF. Harnwell, the recreational fisheries manager for the NSW Department of Primary Industries, says this recent development has gained particular attention thanks to swords running quite large on average, including a recently landed 763-pounder off Victoria.

Trophy swordfish, south Australia
One of many trophy swordfish caught and released in the waters of southern Australia, this one, caught by Trent Killmore after a seven-hour battle, taped out at a length that would have its weight north of 750 pounds. Courtesy Chris Cleaver
Learn how expert skippers are targeting swords by day in Northeast canyons Pat Ford


After a conspicuous absence of nearly 10 years, barracuda — and big ones — are coming over the rails of local sport-fishing boats.

“After a long absence, barracuda have returned to Southern California,” says SF regional correspondent Erik Landesfeind. The summertime staple of LA and Orange County fishermen had been conspicuously absent for the better part of 10 years, he says.

“Captains had first chalked up their disappearance to a cold water La Nina pattern that shifted the migration south into Mexico. Then when the warm water returned it did so with a vengeance and captains blamed El Nino for the lack of Pacific barracuda along the coast,” according to Landesfeind. “Whatever the case, the popular game fish has returned to our local waters in good numbers and the fish have been huge.”

Pacific barracuda on a Southern California partyboat
Not only are barracuda coming back in numbers, quality fish are making anglers happy. Erik Landesfeind

Most years, the majority of barracuda caught are close to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s minimum size limit of 28-inches, a fish around 3 to 4 pounds. “While there are still fish that size being caught this year, the average size in 6 to 7 pounds and fish pushing 10 pounds are regularly caught. These oversized barracuda will readily eat surface iron and plastic lures,” says Landesfeind, and are a motivation for anglers to crowd onto half- and three-quarter-day boats.

If things go as in previous years when the barracuda came to town, they should be available in numbers well into the summer.

Landesfeind notes that sand bass also show signs of a comeback, after being mostly absent for the past six years. Barracuda and sand bass “are the backbone of the local sportfishing fleet and their return is getting people back fishing which the local boats desperately need right now.”

For More California Fishing, Check out Erik Landesfeind’s Expert Tactics for Taking Yellowtail Richard Herrmann


A plan to protect 27 percent of Gabon’s territorial waters promises to preserve its amazing, pristine beaches and estuaries.

Where in the world is Gabon?
Gabon is located on equatorial Africa’s Atlantic coast. Courtesy Google Earth

Gabon has announced plans to create one Africa’s largest marine protected areas. The new area will combine and expand existing marine zones already protecting long stretches of the coast. Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo, says 27 percent of the country’s territorial waters will be protected, particularly from unregulated international fishing fleets.

Gabon's beaches offer surf fishermen great action
Some of the world’s most amazing surfcasting lures anglers to Gabon’s vast, pristine beaches. Courtesy Mark Murray / Tourette Fishing

Mark Murray, head guide at African outfitter, Tourette Fishing, says that Gabon has the longest and wildest stretch of coastline in West Africa. The massive estuary system of and around Gabon’s Loango National Park offers some of the most exciting inshore and beachfront big-fish action in the world. Murray tells SF that what Gabon has done already to protect its coast is “amazing.”

African threadfin off Gabon
Big, powerful African threadfin prowl just off Gabon’s beaches. Courtesy Mark Murray / Tourette Fishing

I’ve seen the effects of Gabon’s laws protecting its coast already,” Murray adds. “Shark numbers have risen tremendously. Six or seven years ago, we saw hardly any sharks. Now we see the free-swimming in the waves off the beaches daily. It’s truly amazing.”

Huge lemon shark off Gabon beach
Game fish numbers remain strong along Gabon’s coast, and that definitely includes sharks like this big lemon that made for quite a battle. It was released just after this photo was taken. Courtesy Mark Murray / Tourette Fishing
Take a Look at the Huge Fish that Gabon Sport Fishermen are Taking in Estuaries and Off the Beaches Mark Murray / Tourette Fishing