Jungle Tarpon Reserve, Costa Rica

Fly fishing for giant river tarpon

The tarpon inhabiting the inland rivers of northern Costa Rica grow to epic proportions and it’s not unusual to see schools of hunting fish well in to triple digits. Angling in this world of lost waters offers a wonderful chance to have an encounter with the exotic. 

Tarpon Fishing like no other 

The Jungle Tarpon Reserve is a vast system of freshwater rivers, creeks and flooded lagoons surrounded by verdant rainforest and swampland. The tarpon travel many miles to reach these inland lagoons and time their arrival with seasonal rains that flood the area to create an inland sea. The expansive waters are awash with many species of baitfish, washed in by the heavy annual rains, which provide perfect fodder for the aggressive tarpon. The surrounding forest brims with monkeys, wading birds, spectacled caiman and a variety of other rainforest creatures.

Anglers fish from simple river pangas, with two angers per boat. The fishing is varied in this dynamic environment and ranges from sight casting and walking in shallow lagoons and creeks to blind casting in likely areas. There are even times when tarpon congregate at the mouth of one of the jungle’s many creeks and line up in feeding lanes like giant trout. The intimate jungle environment means anglers can often get much closer to their quarry than in other tarpon fisheries. Fisherman can expect shots at fish ranging from 20 to 200lb, and since the tarpon here are feeding actively, and have little exposure to fishing pressure, flies are often grabbed without hesitation.

The season runs from August to December. The jungle environment means conditions change dramatically; while some weeks can be very productive it can also be a challenging fishery at times.

Luxury in the jungle 

Anglers stay in a private house set right on the river. Accommodation comprises four bedrooms and three bathrooms set across two floors. There are two living areas with TVs and comfortable seating, and a small swimming pool. The property is air-conditioned and there is WiFi. The private dock is just a two-minute walk down the floating ramp. Food at Jungle Tarpon Reserve is a combination of gourmet cuisine prepared by cooks from the local community and relaxed home-cooked meals from local families and small businesses. There is no shortage of interesting local dishes and cold beverages to enjoy after a day hunting tarpon.

Beautiful, remove rainforest setting

Jungle Tarpon Reserve is in northern Costa Rica, and around four to five hours by car from the capital, San Jose. Visiting anglers will require a night in San Jose at the start of their trip.

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