We have all heard the stories of raising 35 Blue Marlin and releasing 15 or more of them in a single day while FAD fishing in Costa Rica… well they are true! FAD fishing for Marlin is a fantastic sport fishing strategy that essentially guarantees a great day out on deep sea waters.

With that said there is a great deal of skill and knowledge involved in FAD fishing and while many captains can put you on the FADs, the skill and knowledge of the captain is paramount. It is not uncommon to a see several boats out on the FADs and only one releasing marlin.

FAD fishing is so effective that professional sportfishing circuits such as International Game Fish Association sponsored events, take measures to ensure fair fishing practice and no intentional fishing around any FAD by using GPS to monitor boats. However there are sportfishing clubs that setup specific FAD fishing tournaments. FAD fishing in Costa Rica is a hot topic right now as more sportfishing charter Captains are adding this deep sea fishing strategy to their arsenal.

What is FAD Fishing?

A natural FAD (Fish Aggregating Devices). Feeder fish congregate to structure, and the Apex Predators will frequently patrol and often take residency around natural and article structures.  FAD or Fish Aggregating Devices are relatively recent tactic to be utilized in sportfishing. FADs have been used in the commercial industry for a long time, and we will be discussing that issue later in this article.

FADs are various sized buoys moored in strategically selected spots and depths in the ocean. They can come in many different shapes and sizes. Why do sport and recreational fishermen congregate to FADs? Small bait fish are naturally attracted to these structures and seek refuge around the FADs. Larger predators, such as, marlin, tuna and mahi mahi (dorado), will then congregate to feed and often take up residency in these areas.

FADs have been used for thousands of years in various forms. The earliest surface and mid-water FADs were natural elements such as driftwood, trees or even batches of seaweed.

FAD rigs can vary a great deal, in some cases using advanced technologies, but in general, buoys and floats close to the surface comprise the major part of an aggregating system.

What fish can be caught when fishing FADs in Costa Rica?

FADs have been shown to attract a wide variety of game fish species. The most commonly caught species on FADs can include skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, dorado, wahoo, mackerel, but the real prize is Blue Marlin! You will be amazed of the action you will have while FAD fishing for Marlin.

FAD Fishing with Lures and Fly’s:

If you want to feel and see some spectacular strikes, casting surface lures around the FAD yields some pretty stunning results. For aggressive and tightly schooled fish, flick some poppers, stickbaits or soft plastics like tube flies and then hang on because Marlin are the world champs when comes to crushing surface strikes.

FAD Fishing with Bait:

Slow trolling live bait both just below the surface and down-rigging deep water catch monster Marlin.
Soft plastics and metal slices work well with high speed cast and retrieved but setting up with live baits and slow drifting past the FAD is also extremely productive.

Fishing protocol of FADs is that they are open for anyone to fish, but if the owner comes around to fish, other boats should defer to the person who actually made the FAD. Also you should never tie up to a FAD, unless you own it.

Sport Fishing FADs Verses Commercial

Outdoor sportsmen both on land at sea, are first and foremost conservationist; as a matter of fact they were the first conservationists. Sportfishing enthusiasts understand better than most that the sustainable conservation programs, policies and regulation of our fisheries is critical to marine systems. Following and enforcing catch and release policies for big game species like billfish, and other game fish ensure sustainable and optimum fish populations.

FAD fishing for sport and recreation in Costa Rica not only works diligently to preserve big game sportfishing but contributes more than $100 million more per annum to economy of Costa Rica than the commercial fishing industry.
Commercial FAD fishing is a recognized threat especially to tuna populations as well as other pelagic species. The unregulated and rapidly growing use of commercial FAD fishing on the high seas by industrial-fishing fleets, threaten entire populations of fish.

The commercial fishing industry deploys FADs on a massive scale throughout the Pacific. Once the FADs grow a large population of fish species, the ships net them. Commercial fishing boats will work their own FADS as well as natural FADs and even with FADs that have been placed by conservationists and sport fishermen.

Large commercial FADs that use sophisticated sonar and satellite technology are appearing everywhere and killing everything at an exponential rate. Sportfishing commissions around the globe have put this problem on the top of their agendas.

Fishing the FADs in Costa Rica

There are a number of regions on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast for FAD fishing. For the best FAD fishing experience you will definitely need to do your homework to find out which fishing charters truly have the experience and know-how.

For more information contact Dan Ross directly. With over 30 years in sportfishing, and 16 years in Costa Rica, Dan is one of the most experienced sportfishing and fishing charter experts in Central America and Costa Rica’s leading specialist in FAD Fishing and Fly Fishing for deep sea big game fish.

Below is a video of Dan’s recent FAD fishing adventure with Captain Bobby McGuinness:

“A couple of weeks ago we went to an overnight tour and took Brian Macy to fulfill his dream: to catch a Marlin.

“We went out with the experienced Captain Bobby McGuinness. He took us to a spot were Brian caught 15 Marlin, also on the way back Brian caught a Sailfish. He is another happy customer.” Dan Ross

Phone: 1-888-326-7677
Costa Rica, Mobile: 8345-8346
Email: dan@gofishcostarica.com