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Punta Guiones to Jacó Beach: Fishing is Good All Year

by Jerry Ruhlow

Fishing is reasonably good throughout the year along the Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, but action really picks up in late December when many of the operators out of northern Guanacaste move south to dodge the Papagayo winds that begin about that time.

From December to March or April many base out of Playa Carrillo which has a good anchorage and is protected from the northerly winds by Punta Guiones, but depending on fishing may also move south to Quepos for part of the time. The shelter of Guiones is also an easy run for the Nosara boats just north of the point.

Guanamar Resort Hotel maintains a fleet of boats year around at Playa Carrillo and Pacific Blue Water Adventures operates the "Kingfisher" there most of the year. Pacific Blue Water and the other temporary boats offer lodging options at Guanamar, nearby Sueño Tropical or Las Brisas del Pacifico on the beach in Samara.

Shore fishing can also be good along this area, particularly for snook at the mouths of the many rivers and for snapper and other species off the rocky points The coastline is dotted by many secluded coves and magnificent white sand beaches and the region is famous for its many exceptional surf breaks.

There are scheduled daily flights into Carrillo and Nosara from San José. By road, the area is accessed via the ferry from Puntarenas to Playa Naranjo or the Tempisque ferry fur-ther north, and then through Nicoya and down the coast. Or, you can drive to Liberia and from there to Nicoya. The latter is a bit longer, but a much better road.

The road gets worse as you drive south from Carrillo, and if you want to visit the southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula or Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve your best bet is to take the ferries that run from Puntarenas to Playa Naranjo or to Paquera, or one of the daily flights to Tambor.

A couple of the local beach hotels have transportation meeting the ferries schedule can vary with the season, so check ahead of time.

There's not much sport fishing in the Gulf of Nicoya, which has been worked over by gill-netters and longliners in the past decade or two, but a number of new fishing opportunities have developed on the lower end of the Nicoya Peninsula in the past few years, offering a shot at the inshore action around the Negritas Islands and Bahia Ballena as well as blue water sport outside Cabo Blanco.

Pioneer in that area is Lucky Milhelm, who with his wife Aggie operate the Oasis del Pacifico Hotel and Marina at Playa Naranjo, just a few hundred meters south of the Puntarenas ferry landing.

Lucky has a 26-foot center console with a 100 h.p. outboard and generally fishes inshore, taking jacks, mackerel and snapper around the Negritas or tuna and occasional dorado in the open water outside the islands. He is on a protected bay with good moorage and accommodations for visiting yachts.

Just nine kilometers down the road from the Oasis is Rancho Bahia Gigante, which was offering a 28-foot Bertram with twin engines and tower, a 27-foot trawler-style inboard that dou-bles as a dive boat, and a 34-foot Ocean Master with full cabin, powered by twin 250 outboards. They closed late this year, but are likely to reopen in the near future.

From there it is a long 18 kilometer drive over a dirt road to the town of Paquera, and if you hunt around you might find a local to take you fishing in an outboard skiff.

Continuing around the southern end of the Peninsula, it is another 25 kilometers to what is somewhat euphemistically called the Ballena Bay Yacht Club with a sturdy but well-battered concrete pier, restaurant, bar and a small low-budget hotel.

They have 25 moorings in the well-protected bay, frequented occasionally by visiting yachts and is also home to some of the local commercial boats and quality sportfishing boats that handle guests from the nearby Tangomar and Barcelona resort hotels but can also be chartered direct at BBYC.

For billfish, the boats run outside Cabo Blanco which is about a 40 minute run, but in closer they get a lot of yellowfin, roosters, jacks, mackerel and dorado.

Small snook are found just a few minutes away from the BBYC at the mouths of the tiny Panica and Pachote Rivers that flow into the bay.

From here on around the Peninsula it is definitely four-wheel drive roads.

There are some small hotels between Paquera and Bahia Ballena with modest prices and small out-boards available for fishing at hourly or day rates.

On the other side of the Bay of Nicoya is the port town of Puntarenas. You can find charters through the yacht club, Pacific Marina and a couple of other spots in town, but it's long run out to the blue water.

South of Puntarenas near the Port of Caldera is the Fiesta Resort Hotel, very posh and a lot of water sports, but limited fishing capability.

Punta Leona is located just above Bahia Herradura, and offers a complete resort complex and hotel accommodations in various price ranges. They charter a 44-foot Striker for $150 per day per person with a minimum four anglers, which is about as cheap as you will find a boat in Costa Rica, and also have Scuba diving, jet skies, a river float trip and other amenities.

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