We’ve come a long way since purchasing THIS rustic lodge in Costa Rica 12 years ago. Since 2015, the Zancudo Lodge is proud to be the ONLY fishing lodge in Central America to receive TRIPADVISOR’s Traveler’s Choice Award given to the top 1% of all hotels worldwide.
This 2017 Season was a record year for the lodge thanks to some amazing fishing, our excellent staff, luxurious accommodations and our continued commitment to the Sport.
2017 also saw the return of the Marlin on the offshore seamounts! This season, we landed over 300 Blues with double-digit hookups on many days.
The upcoming 2018 season is leading up to be another record year as the booking momentum is stronger than ever. Below are some of the tournament events on our calendar so please give us a call if you are interested in competing in any of the following:
December 7th-10th The HUK Triple Crown of Fishing Tournament
January 8th-11th The Purple Heart Anglers Benefit Tournament hosted by Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants
January 12th-16th The White Water Shoot Out Tournament
WE would love to show you a piece of our paradise so if you are considering booking a fishing trip to Costa Rica, please give us a call soon to reserve your dates!
The rooster bite has been OFF THE CHART with most of the boats landing over 25 per day. The TUNA showed up as well and most are in the 40lb-80lb class. In all my years of tuna fishing, I have never experienced this incredible feeding frenzy and it carried on from the start to late in the day. At 4:30pm, there were massive amounts of 100lb+ tunas jumping 15ft clear out of the water while chasing bait. All in all, I broke 2 off the popper and then hooked one on a popper which was a monster over 100lb.
What an amazing and fun week it was. The Southern Zone of Costa Rica has really put itself on the map as being one of the top BLUE MARLIN spots worldwide.
With an average of only 2 boats offshore per day, this record equates to an astonishing 3 marlins per boat. No doubt, we take our fishing seriously and with the combination of our high speed Contenders and our experienced captains, we got our guests out to the perfect fishing grounds in record time.
We started off the week with my buddy, Dennis Dahle, Captain Tito, Captain Coco and yours truly heading offshore. Once arriving at the seamount, we started the day catching live tuna for marlin bait. As soon as we put out our first bait, the reel started screaming and we were immediately hooked up….. at 8am!!! After a 40 minute battle, we had the 275lb BLACK MARLIN boat side and what a beauty it was. We ended the day with 5 Marlins ……. plus 11 more for the next 2 days!
Also visiting were the well traveled Newlins from Louisiana. In their 3 days of fishing, the couple managed to land 11 Blue Marlins. The Newlins have been hunting and fishing all over the world and they were simply astonished by not only the bite here but also our beautiful beachfront accommodations. We are simply happy to welcome them back next season for their return visit!
Susan and Tom Lewis were the winning bidders on a trip we donated to the Dallas Safari Club and in fact Susan purchased it for her husband as one of his dream trips. This was their first time offshore fishing but they proved to be the offshore experts! On their first day, they went inshore and caught 15 rooster fish. On day 2, Tom hooked a fish of a lifetime and after 90 minutes, released a 400lb Blue Marlin. On day 3, not to be outdone by Tom, Susan managed to catch her FIRST marlin, wrestling a 300lb+ Blue to the boat.
The Friesens from Fresno were on their second trip of this season and both Brian and Marilyn caught their first Blue Marlin and spent another fun filled inshore day with many roosters and snappers. The Friesens are our staff favorites as they have been longtime returning guests of the Lodge. We look forward to seeing them next season as they will be bringing their children for some quality family time.
Dennis Peterson and Lara Prindiville, also from Fresno, visited us 8 years ago and were blown away with all the changes to the Lodge. They decided to fish offshore for 3 days and inshore for 1 and they had an exciting time landing 6 marlins along with an array of inshore species. Marina, our super chef, grilled their fresh catch grouper for the last evening and it was simply water to table delicious!
If you are considering a trip to Costa Rica, please reserve early as we have many sold out dates on the schedule all ready.
As we begin the month of March we are running at full capacity at the lodge and although the bite has been a bit tough going at times our crews are keeping the rods bent and our guests happy. March is considered ‘prime time’ for sailfish in Costa Rica and the fish are definitely here. We’re seeing countless free jumpers offshore and there are days that we had no trouble getting them to bite, while other days they seem to have a serious case of lockjaw.
There’s always something to catch here and when the billfish aren’t cooperating, we focus on Yellowfin Tuna, and there’s been some really explosive days when our guests get to feel the might of these hard fighting ocean predators. Let’s just say that there is no shortage of fresh tuna steaks/sashimi at the dinner table. There’s also been a few Dorado around and one angler, Matt Buckingham caught an absolute monster. (Above)
We have had our share of Blue Marlin too and that is a welcome bonus. Inshore, its business as usual; roosterfish aka “Pez Gallo” are always willing to play and we’ve got plenty to go around.
Last week Zancudo Lodge hosted 14 guests from Smith & Wesson (USA) and we thought it would be great fun to have a fun tournament. (See Video) Anglers paired up for five days (7 boats) of friendly competition amongst friends and it turned out to be a huge success. James Debny, Tripper Dickson, Brian Murphy, Matt Buckingham, Lane Tobiassen, John Dineen, Jeff Forsberg, Jim Gianlandis, William Green, Chris Cole, Brian Phillips, Flint Virgets, Larry Massimo and Wylie Smith all had a wonderful time fishing with us.
The group released 3 Blue Marlin, 29 Sailfish, several good sized Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Roosterfish and Snappers during the tournament. Brian Murphy and Chris Cole took 1st place (800 points) during the tournament while Matt Buckingham and Bill Green finished a close 2nd place (750 points), followed by James Debby and Brian Phillips in 3rd place (700 points).
Most of these guys had never been to Costa Rica before but I suspect that many of them will be thinking about returning with their families in the near future to enjoy the best fishing available is Costa Rica.This week we’ve got lots of great photos to share and as they say a “a picture tells a thousands words”. There is still lots of fishing to do this month so please keep on checking our fishing reports and we hope to see you down at Zancudo Lodge soon.
As we approach the end of February there has been very noticeable improvement offshore with more Sailfish showing up between 10 and 15 miles from the Matapalo Point. The bite has been a bit sporadic on a few days but our captains are very persistent, searching the seemingly endless ocean for temperature breaks, rips or anything unusual that may hold fish. I recall a particular day that there were so many free jumping sailfish that I lost count after twenty. Nonetheless, we were able to get the hook in several sails and we’re sure that any day now the bite will explode.
We have also noticed that the billfish are not teasing very well, and the majority of bites, with the exception of a couple all came on the long, chin-weighted swimming ballyhoo baits, fished on very light leaders. When these critters get finicky sometimes its the little things that make all the difference. Scale down the terminal tackle, 50 lb. fluorocarbon if you have to and smaller circle hooks, and I promise you that your odds will improve. The water temperature seems to be returning to normal, currently 84-85 however it still remains a bit too high, and although the tuna schools were around, the bite was a bit tough. Captain Coco and Javier found a few nice sized fish early last week.
There marlin action was not very explosive last week but a couple guests got lucky on a some blue marlin. Rick Sullivan and his wife Sharon were here along with buddy Pete Sails and Amy Spring. Rick’s dream was to catch a marlin and he accomplished just that. The fish was estimated at around 200 lbs. His buddy Pete also released a number of Sailfish too. Congrats Pete on your bucket list fish!
The inshore bite has remained very consistent over the past few months and we are surely grateful for that. Costa Rica touts some of the best rooster-fishing available along the eastern Pacific and not to mention a wonderful Cubera Snapper fishery. You can pretty much run through 40 baits on a typical inshore day here which makes for some really great fun on light tackle. Grouper, Yellowtail and Colorado Snapper, Jack Crevalle, Snook, Sierra Mackerel and Bluefin Trevally are just some of the variety available inshore, and there’s usually plenty to go around. I’d like to give a special mention to Patrick and Julie Nye who came to visit us at Zancudo Lodge to celebrate Julie’s 60th Birthday. This couple are certainly no strangers to Costa Rica and have been returning to the land of ‘pura vida‘ for many years. Julie’s birthday wish was a Roosterfish and on the day, captain Tito put her on a really nice fish; mission accomplished! Congratulations Julie, we know that this was one special trip for both and we are sure we will see you again in the future. Next week we expecting a full house with 8 boats fishing for 5 days so stay tuned in for our next fishing report. I’m sure i’ll have some great stories to tell.
We are in the height of our high season at The Zancudo Lodge and with the club running at full capacity its all hands on deck. The weather has been absolutely perfect with flat calm seas and lots of sunshine and our guests are happy to be out of the cold winter. The HIGHLIGHT of the week would definitely be that the inshore fishing has been excellent all week with lots of trophy size Cubera Snapper and Roosterfish that kept our guests busy with bent rods and tight lines. Every week we record some spectacular catches and this one was no different. Alec Shultz set the bar pretty high,releasing a MONSTER 65+ lb.Roosterfish while fishing with Capt. Javier.
It’s been a really challenging week offshore for billfish and although we have seen some improvement, the Sailfish and Marlin bite has been tough going here and mostly all thorough Costa Rica.
The water temperature has been a bit high lately but as I write this report the conditions have been steadily improving and we did manage to find a few Sailfish offshore. The bite will turn on soon we are sure of that!
Last week Seth Frankel returned to his favorite fishing spot with his sons Zachary and Jacob. This is the Frankel’s 8th fishing trip to Zancudo Lodge and most of the staff here regard them as extended family. The boys had an awesome time chasing sailfish and Yellowfin Tuna offshore and they absolutely crushed the inshore fishing. Seth loves to catch tuna and on their second day out Cap’t Rafa found them. He caught a really solid fish in the high 70’s and Zack also scored a good one on the popper. Both Jacob and Zack also released a few Sails and had a great time inshore catching some really hefty trophy-sized Cubera Snapper.
Alec Shultz also returned to Zancudo Lodge and he also brought his two sons, Carter and Preston along for a short but eventful fishing vacation. Alec released a couple of nice Sailfish offshore, one of them in the 120 lb. range and also scored an absolute monster Roosterfish “Pez Gallo” while fishing inshore (See Above).His boys Carter and Preston also had loads of fun inshore with roosters and a few Snappers.
Returning guests, John and Flo Alonzo were also here at the lodge last week and had a great time fishing with us. Despite the tough offshore conditions, John released a few Sailfish. Like I mentioned earlier, the conditions offshore seem to be steadily improving and we are certain that the billfish bite will turn on again very soon. The great part about fishing the waters of Costa Rica is that you always have options and our guests were more than happy to take the opportunity and fish for what’s biting.
We are into the full swing of things here at Zancudo Lodge and our crews are working hard to get our guests on as much action as possible. The last week of fishing has been really tough going, which is pretty uncommon especially when the bite has been so good all December-January. We have been experiencing some abnormal sea conditions lately with higher than normal water temperatures both offshore and inshore.
Pelagic species such as Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna and dorado are very sensitive to sudden changes in currents and sea-temps so the action has slowed to a crawl. The Sailfish bite has definitely been off all throughout the Pacific coast of Costa Rica but thats the way it goes sometimes.
Some lucky guests did get into the action offshore and for that we are thankful. James and Jen Vorsteg were here with their good friends Kevin and Lisa Holder and really had some amazing luck despite the tough conditions. Kevin had never caught a billfish before so he was eager to get this off the bucket list. On the first day out, he joked into an estimated 225 lb. Blue Marlin and got the release. Congratulations Kevin, you can scratch that one off the list. Jim also managed a Sailfish release that day.On day three it was Jim’s turn on the rod and just after lines down he got his shot at his Blue Marlin estimated at 200 lbs. Jen did not fair too bad either; Captain Tito put her on her first Sailfish ever so it was all smiles back at the dock that evening. It was truly a trip of a lifetime for these two couples.
Oswald Smith and his wife Joan were also here with their daughter Cameron and her husband Mark Hardee, and despite the tough fishing conditions they scored a few Sails offshore and Oswald managed to finally get his big Roosterfish that went around 40 lbs. Overall, the group had a wonderful time and are already planning their return trip to Zancudo Lodge. Conditions change overnight here and we are confident that the fishing will improve over the next few days. Pleases stay tuned to our weekly reports.
For decades, Costa Rica has been well known for the epic billfish bite that usually occurs every year from around January thru May and this year is no different. We are very happy to report that the annual ‘Pez Vela’ run has begun at Zancudo Lodge. We have been experiencing great Sailfish action just 5-8 miles offshore with some captains reporting up to 15 sails per day. The conditions are absolutely perfect along the Pacific coast with lots of free jumpers so our expert crews are having little trouble keeping our eager guests on the action.There has been a few days when the bite has been really crazy, with multiple hookups especially during the morning periods. Inshore action has also been outstanding and both Roosterfish and Cubera Snapper have been willing to tug on the lines. Several guests had some amazing action with some pretty hefty ‘pez gallos‘ in the 40-50 lb range.
Yellowfin Tuna have also been showing up offshore on a few days, but it seems like getting a hook in them has been difficult lately. We did however manage to get on a few nice fish in the 40-70 lb. range. Out on the seamounts, the action has slowed to a crawl, but there are a few blues around and some guests did manage to score a few.
Jim Brannon and Scott Baird had an epic fishing experience at Zancudo Lodge. It was a bucket list trip for these guys and they had an absolute blast. Both Jim and Scott caught lots of fish including many sails, roosterfish, including Scott’s 50 lb. monster, a few snapper and several other inshore species. Jim had his GoPro handy and shot some really cool footage. Here’s a short video of their trip.
Tom and Julie Magardino from Naples, Florida were also here at Zancudo Lodge last week. It was their second time to the lodge and they also had a fantastic experience, releasing 7 Sailfish from 9 bites.
Tom hooked into a nice Blue Marlin but unfortunately it threw the hook during the fight. Better luck next time Tom; you’ll get them next time. The Kleva Family also fished with us last week and besides from the great fishing, Steven Kelva celebrated his 80th Birthday at the lodge, and no better way to celebrate it than by catching a Blue Marlin. Congratulations Steven, we look forward to seeing you guys again next season and will be sure to have another cake ready for you. Tony and Tawnya Reid also joined us at the lodge last week and it was quite a first experience, especially for Tawnya who released both her first Blue Marlin estimated at 300 lbs. and first Pacific Sailfish. Tony also released a Blue Marlin that went 280 lbs. There’s always so many fish tales to tell but as they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words. I hope you enjoy them and remember to keep checking us out from time to time for more reports. I’m sure we’ll have lots to write about in the next few months.
Fishing Report – 2017 Whitewater Costa Rican Shootout
January is usually the time when things get really heated up down here in the land of ‘pura vida’ and we are happy to report that the conditions are perfect for offshore and inshore game-fishing. The seas have been flat calm lately with stunning sunny blue skies. The bite is definitely on at Zancudo Lodge in 2017.
2017WhitewaterCosta Rican Shootout Last weekend we hosted the 4th annual Whitewater Tournament at Zancudo Lodge. Eight teams, consisting of twenty-four anglers had an absolute blast competing in the 3 day event, and the fishing was nothing short of world-class. There were several qualifying species including Black Marlin, Blue marlin, Striped Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, Yellowfin Tuna, Roosterfish and Cubera Snapper, and bonus points were also awarded for various other inshore species like Bluefin Trevally, Jack Crevalle, Almaco Jack and Red Snapper. This year, each team had an opportunity to fish one day at the offshore seamount and we are thrilled to report that every angler scored at least 1 Blue Marlin release. 27 Blue Marlin were released over 3 days!
Robert Mulchinski, Joe Mastrantoni, Jacque Steffen, Bob Baschnagel, Greg Maher, John Scheone, Teddy Prager, Brian Brown, John Delatore, Mike Desimone, James Hughes, Carlo Valenzisi, John Saia, Anthony Vaccaro, Doug Cibuls, Mike Raymond, Pete Litvinoff, Ronald Cianciulli, Bryce Poyer, Jeff Lamanaco, Jake Gray, John Bauman, Bobby Lee
Day 1 Highlights 13 Blue Marlin, 1 Striped Marlin, 5 Sailfish, 13 Roosterfish, 7 bonus fish released. Team Zancocho scored big on Day 1 with 6 Blue Marlin releases from 10 bites. (2,400 pts.) Team Brown Dog and The Good Die Young tied for 2nd place with 3 Blue Marlin releases (1,200 pts.) and team Flying Fish released 7 Roosterfish and 4 bonus fish.
Day 2 Highlights 5 Blue Marlin, 1 Sailfish, 37 Roosterfish, 2 Yellowfin Tuna, 9 bonus fish released.
Team Brown Dog slammed the inshore with 14 Roosterfish and 5 Bonus fish to finish in 1st place on day two (1,650 pts.) Team Teramisu released 4 Blue Marlin, finishing up in 2nd place and Team Dorado finished 3rd with 10 Roostarfish and 1 Bonus fish (1,050 pts.
Day 3 Highlights 9 Blue Marlin, 1 Striped Marlin, 4 Sailfish, 20 Roosterfish, 8 bonus fish.
Team Dorado released 5 Blue Marlin (2,000 pts.) Team Imperial released 4 Blue Marlin and 1 Striped Marlin (1,700 pts) and Team Brown Dog released 10 Roosterfish and 5 Bonus fish (1,250 pts.)
1st Place – Team Brown Dog (4,100 pts.)
2nd Place – Team Zancocho (3,550 pts.)
3rd Place – Team Dorado (3,400 pts)
4th Place – Team Teramisu (3,900 pts)
27 Blue Marlin, 2 Striped Marlin 10 Sailfish, 70 Roosterfish, 2 Yellowfin Tuna and 24 bonus fish caught and released in 3 days fishing.
On behalf of the the Zancudo Lodge Team, we would like to thank all the anglers for making the event such a fantastic experience and we hope to see you all again next January 2018. We surely look forward to having you back at Costa Rica’s premier Sport-fishing destination.
HAPPY NEW YEAR…… It’s another red hot week of fishing at Zancudo Lodge, Costa Rica and there are lots more amazing fish stories to be told. The seamounts have been on fire lately and our expert crews have been getting up to 12 shots at Blue Marlin on most of the days offshore. There are very few places on the planet where this kind of marlin action is even possible and we are very fortunate to be able to enjoy such a fantastic fishery. We are getting bites closer in too but the blue water has been a bit far offshore lately which is very uncommon for this time of the year. The sailfish bite has been a bit slow offshore, but it’s still early. We’re spotting many free jumpers and I suspect that any time now they will be here in big numbers. There’s a few Dorado prowling in the current lines and schools of Yellowfin Tuna are also keeping the rods bent.
The Bayne Family
Last week we hosted the Bayne Family who returned from the UK after a very successful trip last season. Julian and his wife Deborah along with their son and daughter, James and Alexandra had an amazing trip, releasing 10 Blue Marlin, 1 Black Marlin, a few Dorado and several school size Yellowfin Tuna. The great part was that it was the first time any of them had ever caught a marlin. James even caught a Blue on fly by accident. He hooked into a small tuna with a 10wt. outfit and just as he was about to get the fish to the boat, a blue marlin grabbed the tuna within a few feet from the motors. It was a grueling fight but luckily for James, the marlin stayed on the surface most of the time. We had an amazing time hosting the Baynes and it’s really true what they say about good karma and good fishing going hand in hand!
Deborah Bayne on a HOT Blue
Richard Katsma and his wife Chris also brought in the new year with us at Zancudo Lodge. They also got into some serious marlin action offshore releasing 2 Blue Marlin on the second day out and an amazing 6 Marlin from 8 bites, including a Black Marlin on their second trip to the seamount. Richard and Chris also had some good action inshore on some pretty good size Roosterfish and a few Dorado offshore. Our returning guests, Wesley Jess and Chad Somerlot also had a wonderful trip to the lodge. It’s Wes’ eighth visit to Zancudo for obvious reasons; the fishing here is just spectacular.
Wes and Chad-Double Mahi Mahi
They spent the first few days catching Dorado and Snapper with Capt. Rafa and on their third day, Wes and Chad took a trip to the seamount where Chad had an opportunity to catch his first Black Marlin estimated at 500 lbs. Chad also released a Blue while Wes scored 2 Blues that day and Tristan, our resident watersport instructor & photographer also released his first Blue Marlin. We simply could not have had a better week of fishing to begin our 2017 year.