Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page.

Costa Rica adventure 1.

About three weeks ago my son Richard rang up to ask whether I fancied a week's fishing on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. He'd come across an incredibly cheap all-in deal for flights, food, drink and accommodation so the chance to spend a few days exploring the beaches of the Golfo de Papagayo was too good to refuse. We had no experience of fishing the Pacific Ocean and we'd no intention of spending a fortune on expensive boat trips after sailfish or dolphin (Neither of us really enjoys organised boat fishing - it feels a bit like trolling for giant mackerel and being told what to do). We decided that we would take our usual spinning gear, apply what we've learned about fishing in the tropics and just see what happened.

The flight (direct) was about eleven hours and then after a short bus ride to the hotel we had time to have a look at the sea before our evening meal. It looked fabulous! Fifty metres from the doors of our apartments was the beginning of a three kilometre stretch of beach. At either end were rocky points and the beach ranged from black grit at one end to golden sand at the other. About half way along the shore a small river, easily wadable at low water, ran across the sand. The back of the beach was clothed in trees, palms and massive cacti - we couldn't wait to get started.

We'd guessed that sunrise would be about 05.30 but when we got up it was already light - our first mistake. However, we geared up the four piece spinning rods with fixed spool reels, 30lb braid, short wire traces and Angel Kiss lures, nipped down to the shore and began to cast. I was the first to get a bite which turned out to be a small grouper - a Pacific graysby. A good start. Then Rich had a ladyfish which leapt and rushed about just like the ones we've caught in the Caribbean. Had we known it the grouper and the ladyfish were a sign of things to come. These were by far the commonest species in this bay. In the course of the week we landed a couple of dozen ladyfish and sixteen groupers of three different species although the one I caught first was the usual one. That evening we fished the rocky promontary

The following day we took a ten minute walk with Lilian and Ana (my wife and Rich's girlfriend respectively) down to the next bay along. The path was overhung by trees occupied by a troup of about twenty howler monkeys The bay had a small beach of golden sand and extensive rocky platforms at either end. As we watched a number of turtles surfaced and submerged just offshore. Again it looked wonderful. Later on, when we fished it, we caught more ladyfish, jacks and snappers and I lost a large barracuda (1.5m long??) which broke the size 2 Owner Stinger treble hook on the lure after leaping from the water and making powerful runs at high speed. We hooked (and lost) a couple more later in the week and decided that they were the fastest fish we'd ever encountered. I'll keep the rest of the pictures for my next page.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com

Panama beach.

Rich fishing the river mouth. The camara lens was misted up due to the high humidity (it's the rainy season).'

'Monkey beach'.

What a place.  My big barracuda took as is fished from the rocks in the background.'

Pacific graysby (grouper).

These fish were pretty common around the rocks.'

Broomtail grouper.

We only had one of this species but we saw large groupers which may have been this type.'

Don't know!

Anyone know this one?  Rich caught two of them.'


We had a few decent snappers and they fight like stink.'

Bigeye trevally.

Virtually the same as the horseye jacks we've caught in the Caribbean. Note the black silty sand on it's flank.'