After fishing in Costa Rica with several people over the years, a set of fishing etiquette guidelines has slowly begun to take shape for me. Practical or silly? That’s up to you to decide…but ultimately, no harm would come out of following the suggestions, as listed below.
The number one guideline for everybody while fishing in Costa Rica…….HAVE FUN! This is supposed to be an adventure! You are fishing in one of the best sport fishing areas in the world. Even for experienced anglers, a new scenario is bound to happen out on the water that has never been played out before, adding to the excitement.
Some of the more basic guidelines for etiquette while fishing in Costa Rica:
1. Be aware that the impact of your behavior, both good and bad, is magnified in a “captive” situation. Other anglers can’t walk away from less than desirable behavior on a sport fishing boat, and the crew will feel the effects of undesirable behavior too.
2. Drink alcohol in moderation. This is directly related to undesirable behavior above, as you cannot easily avoid inebriated people on a sport fishing boat. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration while fishing under the Costa Rica sun.
3. Keep the boat clean and organized to avoid accidents and throw away all refuse as soon as possible to reduce risk of flyaway trash littering the ocean.
4. Recognize that English is usually not the first language of the crew. You may have to repeat yourself when speaking to the crew. The same goes for the crew speaking, you may have to ask them to repeat themselves as well…all while keeping your cool.
And some more advanced etiquette guidelines when fishing in Costa Rica:
1. When a fish is hook set and handed off to angler, help the mate by clearing lines from water. Turn off clicker on reel and reel in lines to boat. In this case, you are helping reduce the risk of tangled lines quicker than just the mate scrambling on deck to clear all the lines from the water.
2. Stay behind the fighting chair while fish is being fought, whether or not the chair is being used, and stay out of the eyeline of the captain. That way, the mate can freely assist the angler fighting the fish, and the captain can maneuver the boat based on position of fish and angler. The fly bridge is a great place for co-anglers to watch the action unfold and out of the way!
3. Resist the urge to provide unsolicited advice to other anglers while they are fighting fish, unless there is an imminently dangerous situation developing, or a real risk of losing the fish. Let the captain and mates instruct the angler, as they are experts, and it completely eliminates the risk of ire directed towards you from the angler if they do not like getting unsolicited advice. After all, you are fishing in Costa Rica, Pura Vida!