Shark fishing in Costa Rica isn't generally a sport fish.


This endangered species, especially Hammerhead, Silky and Thresher sharks, are regularly fished in Costa Rican waters by for Costa Rica’s commercial fisherman and foreign fishing vessels, and are listed as “threatened” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Shark, the fins in the first place, is exported, often illegally, mainly to China and Japan. The fillets and steaks of very small sharks, locally called ‘Bolillo’, are a popular and relatively inexpensive table fish in Costa Rican homes, and are also used for ceviche.

See Which Charters Target Shark in Costa Rica

Shark fishing is catch-and-release

Fishing for White tip reef sharks in Costa RicaRecreational shark fishing is not a big attraction. Most anglers who fish Costa Rica usually don’t come with the idea of catching a shark, so it is a bonus when they do hook one. All recreational shark fishing in Costa Rica is catch-and-release.

The most common shark that anglers on inshore sportfishing charters off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast will encounter is the Whitetip Reef Shark. Anglers on Costa Rica fishing trips will find them everywhere, from the Bat Islands near the Nicaraguan border to the north all the way to the Osa Peninsula in the south and Cocos Island.

Whitetip Reef shark are a migratory fish which thrive in extremely warm and shallow waters, and are best known for their round eyes, broad heads and the tell-tale blotches of white on their dorsal and caudal fins.

Thresher Shark use their tail to stun and kill

Fishing for Sharks in Costa Rica is a catch and release activity.Another shark that anglers might encounter on a Costa Rica sportfishing off the Pacific coast is the Thresher Shark. Named for their exceptionally long, thresher-like tail or caudal fin, which can be as long as the total body length, Thresher Shark are active predators.

They are very athletic; their huge tail is used as a weapon to stun and slay their prey. While hunting, they launch themselves with their whole body out of the water and perform wild turns. They love to hunt schools of fish in the open ocean waters and prefer Tuna, Mackerel, and sometimes go after seabirds.

Shark fishing at the FADs

Anglers who fish Costa Rica at the offshore FADs or near ocean humps that rise near the surface will often encounter and hook shark when enjoying night fishing for squid.

On the Caribbean coast, although some shark species are endangered and strict limits apply, adventure-seeking anglers on Costa Rica fishing trips can land several shark species around river mouths and deltas.

Beware the Bull Shark

Bull sharks may be caught, while sport fishing.Most common is the Blacktip Reef Shark. Quite timid compared to other species of shark. They are easily recognizable by the black tip or edge on their pelvic, dorsal, pectoral or caudal fins. Blacktip can be found in more shallow waters where they patrol around reef ledges and sandy bottoms.

The shark that is most notorious is the Bull Shark. Infamous for its attacks on humans. The Bull Shark likes to hang out in coastal areas and even in fresh water rivers and deltas. Anglers who fish Costa Rica on the Caribbean should not swim in the ocean! Bull Shark can grow up to 12ft and can weigh 500 lbs. It got its name from it flat snout and its unpredictable behavior. 

Costa Rica Charters for Shark

[property_overview area=”Shark” per_page=100]