Lions and Tigers of the Ocean: Billfish in the Pacific

Billfish: Marlin
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Swordfish, Marlin, Sailfish and Spearfish, these billfish are the lions and tigers of the sea. These billfish are great for sport fishing expeditions. On a hot sunny day in Costa Rica, amateurs and professionals alike head out into the deep blue Pacific waters to catch a billfish. In the Southern Pacific Coast, catching a Marlin is the real adventure and challenge.  You can spend an entire day just waiting to catch one of the giant sea creatures.  August through December is the peak season to catch a Marlin with Sailfish available year round. The challenge is what makes it worth the wait.  Sailfish and Marlin are the most popular billfish caught in the Southern Pacific off the coast of Costa Rica. Anglers travel here from all over the world to fish for these billfish.

Billfish: Sailfish
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These migratory creatures live in temperate and tropical waters traveling along the continental shelves following the major ocean currents.  These cold nutrient filled waters provide the perfect conditions to forage for fish. While in the Pacific, around islands such as the Maldives, billfish is an important component of subsistence fishing. Swordfish are popular for human consumption. But overfishing of the billfish has led to dwindling populations in many areas.  However, most billfish are high in mercury content so they really are better enjoyed caught and then released than they are on the dinner plate. They are among the most coveted game fish. Billfish conservation has had a positive impact on Costa Rica’s tourism and economy and provides an example for other coastal areas to model.

Touching a Billfish
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With the exception of swordfish, most countries have implemented catch and release programs to protect these fish populations from overfishing.  Marlin and Sailfish are slow growing fish with populations that can not sustain commercial harvest. Over the years, populations have dwindled as a result of overfishing and commercial fishing practices. Costa Rica’s catch and release program has maintained a healthy billfish population that grow to legendary sizes making this country a popular destination for sport fishing.  It is among the top places in the world for large game fishing because its fish populations are so strong.

Catching a Billfish
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Billfish get their name because of their pronounced beaks. They use their long bills to slash at schooling fish. The size and aggressiveness of billfish makes them a great challenge for anglers.  In the sea, they are food for Great Whites and Mako Sharks. But the classic battle is the one between man and the billfish especially the Marlin. The predatory billfish becomes the prey. Crocodile Bay can accommodate any sport fishermen trip with expert captains and boats with the latest technology, it is one of the favored resorts among anglers when traveling to the Osa Peninsula.

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