Catch and Release: Big Business and Big Fun
Costa Rica is a world leader in developing and implementing catch and release fishing. The efforts of both conservationists and anglers with the support of resorts fosters a prosperous ecotourism industry. Catch and release fishing plays a critical part in the continued success of this industry.
Costa Rica recognized the economic benefits of sustainable development and that game fish were too valuable a resource to squander earlier than most countries. Fishing pumps $600 million into the economy each year. Protecting fishing populations is critical for the continued success of the ecotourism industry that has sprung up in this popular Central America paradise. Catch and release is big business in Costa Rica. North American anglers are big contributors to the Costa Rica economy. In the US alone, there are over 44 million Americans fishing for sport and probably catching and releasing hundreds of millions of fish annually.
Big game fish, such as marlin, sailfish, snook, roosterfish, dorado, tuna, and wahoo swim in the waters off the Pacific. Costa Rica ranks in the top 100 places in the world for sportfishing and world fishing records. This tropical tourist destination attracts both championship anglers as well as amateurs. Its raw beauty, pristine environment and plentiful fish makes Costa Rica a favorite tourist spot. Anglers go to Costa Rica to catch a billfish along with many other large gamefish, and protecting fish populations is important to keep business returning every year.
Conservation efforts make sure the populations of large threatened game fish such as marlin, sharks, swordfish and tuna thrive. The populations of these game fish are declining rapidly due to commercial fishing practices. Often, the large nets used in commercial fishing that catch fish indiscriminately cause game fish to get caught in the gill nets or hooked by longliners and eventually die. Protecting large game fish is a top priority for conservation and food security issues.
Successful catch and release is an art form to the savvy angler. There are three main factors to ensure successful catch and release. First, the fish must be hooked in the mouth in front of the gills and preferably in the outer rim. Second, keeping the fight time between the angler and the catch to a minimum. Third, always attempt to retrieve hooks and use stainless steel hooks when possible.
Heading out into the ocean at dawn on a hot sunny day to catch a billfish is an exhilarating experience. Anglers have worked hard with conservationists to ensure that the populations of these large game fish continue to thrive in these waters. Protecting these fish by practicing catch and release means big business for Costa Rica and continued big fun anglers and tourists.
Crocodile Bay is a favorite resort among anglers and amateur fishermen to experience some of the best game fishing in Costa Rica.