Feb 24th, 2017
Located in southeastern most Costa Rica, Tarponville is unique operation where fly and conventional anglers pursue large tarpon in a pristine natural setting. Most fish will be caught in 5-20 ft. of water and fly anglers will blind cast, troll and occasionally sight cast to these large, hard fighting fish. In addition, anglers may encounter jacks, dorado bonefish and permit. The lodge has special permit flat, located within a nearby national park that can be booked in advance and consistently provides stealthy anglers with shots at tailing fish.
Tarponville lodge is located in the middle of the Manzanillo/Gandoca Wildlife Refuge, just above the Panamanian border. Howler monkeys, sloths, a numerous number of bird species, and other wildlife can all be viewed from your front porch in the mornings and evenings, making this not only a ‘must go’ destination for fishermen, but wildlife and nature enthusiasts alike. Being that the lodge is located within a wildlife refuge, there is not vehicle access directly to the lodge and a travelers must walk the last 300 yards.
The lodge is comfortable and rustic, with a definite beach comber, fisherman vibe with beautiful beachfront views of one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the Caribbean. The guest rooms are located only a few yards from the water’s edge on a beautiful beach perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or just plain relaxing. The combination of the ceiling fans and consistent ocean breezes make sleeping quite comfortable.
Expert Q&A with Brian Gies
Top reasons to go:
1. Fish for big tarpon and jacks in a beautiful ocean environment
2. Suitable for anglers of all skill levels
3. They offer access to a small permit flat enabling anglers a shot at a Costa Rican grand slam
4. Take advantage of numerous ecotours offered in southern Costa Rica
Where is the lodge?
The lodge is located just out side the southern coast town of Manzanillo inside a national park. You drive through the town to the end of the road and the walk the final 1/4 mile to the lodge.
How do I get there?
Guests fly to San Jose, Costa Rica and overnight. The following morning they will drive overland for 4-5 hours to the lodge.
When should I go?
Their seasons are the month of October and then March – June. Both seasons fish well with the spring being slightly more consistent.
Where do they fish?
The primary fishery is the river mouth located 10 miles south of the lodge. They also fish a number of ocean flats between the lodge and the river. Additionally they have access to a permit flat about a hour to the north.
What are the accommodations and meals like?
Accommodations are at the modest but comfortable Tarponville Lodge. It has four guest rooms with fans and bug netting and en-suite bathrooms with hot water. There is a dining room open to the kitchen where a mother and daughter team prepare home cooked Costa Rican fare.
Describe the atmosphere and style of the lodge.
It’s a very relaxed scene where their local team quickly makes you feel like family.
Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Yes the local manager Delphi is always on site. He has been running the lodge for manly years and is knowledgeable and friendly. Also the owner Mark Martin is on site often and very willing to help.
Is there internet and cell service?
There is decent phone service from local providers as well as a Wi-Fi connection.
How do they fish?
Anglers fish a split day schedule from pangas with two anglers per boat. The main fishing technique used is drift fishing through likely areas. This means anglers cast intermediate sinking lines as far as possible and then twitch the fly as the boat drifts through the targeted area. This means the fishing is available to anglers of all skill levels and also enables both anglers to fish at the same time. There are some areas that demand more casting skill as well the chance to cast for rolling fish.
What fish will I catch?
The main catch is tarpon and most are big. They range from 20 – 200 lbs with the average fish being 60-80 lbs. The river mouth and ocean flats also have jacks, a few snook and decent numbers of trigger fish. The lodge also has access to a small flat that holds permit and some bonefish. This option is available by request for two anglers per day and is an additional fee.
How many fish will I catch?
Fishing for tarpon of this size is not a big numbers game. The goal is to have 2-5 interactions per day with one resulting in a jumped fish. Landing a fish every other day is good and landing one or more each day is great. In addition to tarpon, a number of jacks are typically caught and very lucky anglers will land a permit.
Will we see other anglers?
Potentially yes but most often the only other people you will see will be local fisherman and others from your lodge.
Is there wade fishing?
Not on the main tarpon fishery but there is wading on the optional permit flat.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?
10-20 minutes depending on where you start fishing.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
They have loaner equipment but in limited quantities.
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
A fast-action 12 weight rod is best.
Are there other activities?
Yes absolutely. The lodge is located in a wildlife preserve so numerous ecotours can be arranged.
What are the physical demands?
None as long as guests are comfortable battling large strong fish.
Do the guides speak English?
Yes they all speak English.
What are the guides like?
All the guides are locals that have years of experience chasing trophy tarpon. They are easy going and very knowledgeable.
Are there special skills required?
Not really. Anglers need to know that trophy fishing will be hot and cold so persistence is needed and often rewarded.
Who is best suited to this destination?
Anglers of all skill levels looking to catch a tarpon of a lifetime in a relaxed friendly ocean environment. It is also a great place eco-adventure enthusiasts. The area can get quite warm so you need to be comfortable sleeping without A/C.
Dangers and annoyances:
Very few actually. The southern Caribbean coast is quite benign, the the sun is strong and there can be a few mosquitoes. For those that venture off into the jungle, there are dangerous snakes and such but this is not something that many angling guests encounter. Also there in no A/C.
Are there heath concerns?
Not really. Costa Rica is a very safe country but we still recommend visiting the CDC site before traveling to make sure that the situation has not changed.
Causal comfortable accommodations at Tarponville Lodge
The coast line surrounding the lodge is dramatic and beautiful.
The vast majority of the fish are caught in or near the river mouth using drift fishing techniques
Trips to Tarponville have the added bonus of being able to take a morning off from tarpon fishing to chase permit
If you are looking for a good opportunity to land a tarpon over 100 lbs, Tarponville is a great place to give it a try