Fishing In Costa Rica

Snapper fishing in Costa Rica

A number of Snapper species are found in Costa Rica including Cubera, Mullet, Pacific Red, Yellow, Rock, Spotted Rosy Snapper and more. The Snapper is highly sought after by recreational fisherman who are after a tasty meal. All of the above species of snapper boast a flakey, white, sweet meat.

Snapper typically prefer rocky structures or reefs that offer ledges and caves which provide them shelter from predators. There are a couple different ways to fish them. You can coerce them to emerge from the comfort of their protective cover with deep vertical Jigs (typically using live bait) or you may even entice them to the surface using poppers.

Snapper don’t particularly like being on the surface, so the noisier the popper the better, and you will need to be prepared for them to make a beeline back to the rocky protection of the reef where they are likely to break you off. You might want to consider a tighter drag and heavier test line to help prevent a deep run.


All species of Snapper are plentiful in Costa Rica. And, while your dinner will be fantastic with any variety of Snapper on your plate, the Red and Cubera Snapper are what we typically like to target since they tend to be the largest and most prolific of the bunch – providing you with a meal large enough for your entire party as well as a great photo op!

 Red Snapper (called ‘Pargo Rojo’ in spanish)

As the name suggests, Red Snapper are pinkish to red in color. They can grow to nearly 3.5 feet long and can top 80 lbs in weight. They have a spiny dorsal fin and very sharp needle-like teeth, so be careful when handling them out of the water


Cubera (a.k.a. ‘Pacific Dog Snapper’)

The Cubera Snapper can have a reddish hue, similar to the coloring of the Red Snapper (although usually more of a reddish-brown, golden brown or bronze tone). However, what clearly distinguishes the Cubera Snapper is its large, pronounced canine teeth. While the Red Snapper has small needle-like teeth, the Cubera has very large, very menacing dagger like teeth protruding from both the upper and lower jaws.

Although it is not particularly active or aggressive – once you’ve successfully landed your Cubera you definitely want to exercise caution – getting you finger caught in their mouth could result in serious injury.

As previously mentioned, this is the largest of the Snapper family potentially reaching a length of over 5 feet long and a maximum weight of around 125 lbs!       Yowzer!      Let’s go fishin’ eh!?


There isn’t a particular Snapper fishing season in Costa Rica, they can be snagged year round. They can also be found just about anywhere in Costa Rica and not that far off-shore, making them one of the most convenient targets. However, we have observed a slight uptick in prevalence or “catchability” if you will, from January – July.

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