For those that are new to Guapote fishing, Guapote are one of at least 2,000 species of freshwater fish in the Cichlid family. For those who have home aquariums, Guapote is a relative of the Angelfish and Discus. It is also related to, and often confused with, the Peacock Bass native to South America.

See Which Charters Target Guapote in Costa Rica

Rainbow Bass coined by Costa Rica sportfishing legends

The term Rainbow Bass or Guaupote as known by the locals was coined by sport fisherman of Costa Rica.

Guapote are found in Costa Rica – Lake Arenal and the Caribbean coast near the Nicaraguan border – Nicaragua and Honduras. The name Rainbow Bass was coined just over a quarter century ago by a couple of Costa Rica sportfishing legends, Richard Krug and Todd Staley, who wanted a ‘gringo’ name for this feisty, striking freshwater game fish that could be easily pronounced and remembered by foreign-language challenged Americans.

Because of their limited habitat, Guapote are not that well known world-wide, but if anglers come to Costa Rica with Guapote fishing in mind, these fish are definitely worth pursuing.

Practice Guapote catch-and-release fishing

You can fish for Guapote in the tropical lakes and jungles of Costa Rica.

Guapote live in tropical jungle lakes, lagoons, canals and rivers. The larger and older they become, the more colorful Guapote get, with blue fins and a deep purple body. Like many others of the Cichlid family, they develop a big hump on their heads. Guapote are a tasty fish, but anglers should release them, as Guapote/Rainbow Bass are relatively scarce.

Guapote are ambush predators, and hide under fallen trees and other cover. They feed mainly on smaller fish, and dart out from their hiding places to suck them in. They also eat freshwater shrimp and crawfish. Once hooked, Guapote will immediately steam back to where they live among the snags and reeds. Anglers will find that the best time for Guapote is during the drier months of the year, in clear water. In the rainy season, as the water rises, they retreat into the jungles, and are harder to hook.

    Guapote fishing much like Largemouth Bass fishing

    Guapote can be caught by casting to sunken trees and brush. Costa Rica sportfishing enthusiasts will also find Guapote/Rainbow Bass at the edge of weed lines. In the early morning hours, they may even take topwater lures.

    Anglers enjoying a Costa Rican sport fishing trip to the Caribbean coast or to Lake Arenal and decide on Guapote fishing should use approximately the same kind of tackle they would use back in the USA and Canada for Largemouth Bass. Many experienced Costa Rica sportfishing guides will suggest rods about six feet long, with at least 20lb line.

     Guapote fishing on the fly

    While in Costa Rica you should book a trip with Guapote fishing in mind for a fun half or full day adventure.

    Guapote can also be caught on the fly. Anglers on Guapote/Rainbow Bass fishing expeditions will find wet flies very productive, along with small streamers in yellow, red and tinsel color combinations. Shrimp flies in beige, brown and gray will attract when the Guapote are feeding deep.