HOME                San  Carlos  Sport  Fishing              E MAIL





Tarpon, Megalops Atlanticus , 

Silver King,  Grandes Ecailles,   Youcou yonde...


          Tarpon 80lb / 160lb can jump at 10 feet high,

ta4b.jpg (15747 bytes) 

 Biggest one (over 200lb)  do not jump so high. Most of the time they only shake half of the body out of the water.. But with so much speed and Strength....

JUMP1bb.jpg (36650 bytes) ta1.jpg (19245 bytes)

I suggest you  have a look at my 

   Tarpon Jumps  pictures Galery   



 Tarpon Fishing  Rio San Juan: 

Nicaragua and Costa Rica   


 What to expect ....

Fish 90lb/250lb are present all year round,  In front or close to Lodging. Usual catch 90lb/200lb.

Quiet Fresh Water, No Hard Bara to pass, No sea sick WE DO NOT FISH JIGGING

Professional Local Guides... Most of them with more than  a Thousand tarpon reported

Conventional  fishing on light tackles max 30lb and fly Fishing.

Professional Tackles 50 sets, 1000 lures to choose from

We like to fish light... Max 30lb , Usual 20lb/25lb, for expert as low as 12lb... This whatever size of fish we have optimum conditions here, we can do that.

No or Very very few Mosquitoes..

All year round Sun and Rain, Rain and sun..

We go for tarpon 90lb to 160lb this is the average range, then we have the Big ones 160lb /200lb and the Giants of more than 200lb... Our biggest weighed is 253lb, I report two  fish much bigger released to the boat we figure around 300lb..

In  2006 Tarpon International Tournament  Winner has been 193lb, then 182lb, 160lb, 143, 121lb...

Tarpon are present all year round moving up and down stream, Some migrate some stay there. These are the Big ones different color almost black on the back, gold/green on the side...

During a fishing trip on San Juan river we will go where Tarpon are active...  We have our spots close from Lodge and if we encounter any problems we will chase for them going as far as 45 Miles down River..or in great Nicaragua Lake.

Any Questions? Comments? Suggestion?

upon Tarpon fishing

Please Contact Philippe  at E mail riosanjuan@racsa.co.cr

Or gimme a call at 506 88 42 76 73

Picture bellow : 120lb tarpon on light tackle,

This is the fishing we enjoy so much with our Guests..   Angler  is Mr. Frank Yerich from texas.  http://www.yerich.com/nicaragua.htm


FIGHT IS ALWAYS A SHOW  ... may last 10mn or three hours depending of strength of fish and skill of angler.


wpe69402.jpg (44335 bytes)       MVC-806F.JPG (31292 bytes) MVC-775F.JPG (54331 bytes)      sfmgood.jpg (21449 bytes)


My recommendation fish " Finesse.." Nobody can stop a running tarpon... after the jumps come the moment to start to try to enter  the line because or a short time fish will be tired ( it is a lot of effort for them to jump up to 10 feet !!!!)  but pleased rod down, and do not put a lot of pressure...the more you put the more the tarpon will give you back...After a while tarpon from time to time will surface...You will see the eye...he does not come to see you.. He does that to gulp some air...Tarpon have a double system to breath, the Geals as all other fishes and also a kind of Lumb... If tarpon can surface and fill this "lumb" you will be on for another 15mn... To avoid that  when you feel tarpon try to come up to breathe Try to keep it down, rod at the water or flip it..

 MVC-774F.JPG (58308 bytes)     ta16.jpg (32510 bytes)  ta1.jpg (19245 bytes)     ta11.jpg (29326 bytes)    ta13.jpg (18995 bytes)     ta12.jpg (25082 bytes)     sab9.jpg (110515 bytes)


Releasing Tarpon

Our goal is to release the fish alive and in good condition, the shorter the fight the better The pictures below show Augusto and El Chele in action. According to I.G.F.A Rules once the   knot "line to double"  touch  the tippet of the rod, they can grab the 100lb leader and bring the fish to the boat to quit the lure... Some tarpon are still green it may be to early... You will decide together... Very important once they quit the lures and you shot some pictures it will be necessary to also proceed to a reanimation of fish...

DSCF1637.JPG (834220 bytes)  DSCF1640.JPG (856870 bytes)  DSCF1641.JPG (819668 bytes)  DSCF1633.JPG (819940 bytes)  MVC-789F.JPG (37514 bytes)

   release1.jpg (20005 bytes)  Big Tar.jpg (23278 bytes)   RELEASE2b.jpg (54594 bytes)   realisinga.jpg (19330 bytes)   MVC-790F.JPG (45592 bytes)

Tarpon fishing..


What I REALLY ENJOY THE MOST  is than every time it is different: fish can jump immediately.. or run 100 yards and jump , or run 200yards and stay there no jump or run again..... or no jump for one hour and  then jump 8 times in a row ( Mr Guiton)  or run to the boat, or stick to the bottom .. Bottom hook up..? a log.?.  You go back ...slack line boat turn..3 mn past... Now the lure is under the boat.. You are certain this is Bottom.. You pull hard and then  fish jump in your face. ( Hello Jeff Klassen ) 

Sometime I get mad on reading  articles or book written by some Famous Tarpon Masters. They describe Tarpon behavior as somewhere standard.. Run and Jump.. That is why people (  lose so many Tarpon...) also i do not like articles it because the most interesting with tarpon is than there is no standard behavior.. The most attractive part is than we have no idea of what can happen.. this is probably the reason why after so many tarpon caught we still loves to go for them... 

NOTE In this paragraph I talk of fishing with lures , not with Circle Hooks " it is difficult to set the hook as tarpon mouth is Paved like a stone... "  correct but there are some wick points  Sometime I wonder what exactly  means  set a hook  specifically on a Tarpon.. Most of the time Anglers are using Nylon Mono Filament a lot of stretch whatever the brand ... Just make an experience tied to  any fix point a 20lb Igfa Mono filament line... then walk 20 yards from this point line in hand .. block the drag then stretch the line walking  back and count how many feet  you can stretch the line..( Do that with Bimini knots till the line break ) Well some some people tell you set a hook by Lifting a  rod 6 feet long ?...  Correct eventual way to try to  set a hook on a tarpon using a Nylon line is when fish is running so line in tension then strike shortly 2 or 3 times rod down on the side other way will be  rod in hand using braided like when you feel the first attacks..

I insist  with mono filament  let it run...the point is  in no way strike like crazy but feel the fish be in contact  get progressive pressure  before any action.. Then you can strike Rod down and on the side  in reality you use the speed of the fish.. Easy to say. .but...  Well practice always practice..

All this is effective in 90% of our fishing days on San Juan River and  then you have these days when tarpon do not want to bite.. you can troll, Cast, Fly fish, Bottom, with live bait, change lures color etc nothing happen  they will only eventually  play with your lure.. Translation: You are let say trolling and Tarpon are all around ( I mean Hundreds of them ) and nothing happen, eventually from time to time  line go whistle 2 second.. 10 mn one more time... nothing !! and so on meanwhile  they are here all around.???. ... 1/2 h again... then whistle  and immediate  jump.. at least you saw this one...These tarpon do not grab  the lure they only hit the line or push the lure a bit as a dog would do when he want to warm..,

This kind of situation is known from Tarpon Aficionados... Our SOLUTION... braided line , long medium heavy action rod .. good angler  able to feel the attacks it will  only be two or three little touch.. then immediate strike along the boat rod down parallel to Water level.. Rod down!!!

Tarpon Fishing favorite lures, most of them   

For Tarpon or Snook fishing in the water of San Juan River in Nicaragua and Costa Rica  I have a preference for Rapala Lures  specifically for the Super Shad rap and the Floating magnum in size 11 and 14 . Almost any rapala  colors may be  good according to condition of the day


magnums.jpg (24202 bytes)       Rapala Floating Magnum                 Rapala shad rap                

SanJuan Collection 4.JPG (38918 bytes)     SanJuan Collection 1.JPG (36822 bytes)  

                Rio San Juan Special  color  thanks Janos.

Some  other lures are  efficient Mirow lures.. Bombers , Rebels etc etc...  

Some useful info on Tarpon fishing in Central America, and concerning  some other efficient lures for tarpon fishing  can be found on site of Mr Isaiac hernandez ( site in Spanish )  at: http://www.elanzuelo.com/la_pesca/la_pesca_del_sabalo.htm 

Big fish on, down Rio san juan

In Rodal Del Toro


1 tarpon ok.jpg (21685 bytes) 2 jump1.jpg (20275 bytes) 


 3sup.jpg (60448 bytes) 4 jump2.jpg (25436 bytes)

These  pictures has been   shot from deck of   Fishing lodge close to Rodal del Toro on San Juan River ... Boat is a 28 footer.... Guests Mr. Jim Dillion from Usa ( Photo # 3 and 4), and  Mr. Thierry Artz  from France  ( Photo # 1 and 2). 

We provide all necessary professional equipments...For Trolling, Casting ( Spinning, and Bait Casting ) 40 rods and 500 lures to choose from. Line from 12lb  to 30lb

If you come fishing with us we may ask you to bring us some  specific lures hard to  find here . This is  in order to replace the one we  eventually lost , or the ones   destroy by big tarpon during your fishing days ( My proposal is: I will buy from you the remaining at end of trip) 

         rap1.jpg (13875 bytes)  rapa2.jpg (29745 bytes)  

Obviously you are welcome to bring some of your favorite tackles, Rods, reels and Lures... ....we will be glad to try them here... and also.. I know: " it's not the same to fish with Personal equipment and Guide's ones ..." 

Notes & Reflexions upon Tarpon Fishing

1) IGFA world record

I have a lot of respect for  IGFA who is making a fantastic  job since so many years for all of us Sport fishing men... I am pleased to be a member of this institution...


I understand  than being the tenant of an IGFA world record  may be very important for some  angler.. even more for the fame of Fishing operation


But Problem is than to have a world record registered according to present IGFA rules it is necessary to kill the fish... 


Since 5 years than we are fishing  Rio San Juan  No Doubt we " beat " several  world record for tarpon.. we caught a lot of fish of more than 150lb... many over 200lb we had fun and even been scared with these giant tarpon these one do not jump...1/3 of a body out and just shake... We enjoyed with Guests  these catch on line from  12lb to 30lb.test....

We had several fish over 250lb and two close or over 300lb released to the boat.

These are estimated weight of fish.. We do not go wrong may be a few pounds.. matter of experience.. We also can calculate the weight  with the length and taking the diameter around the geals..( This can be done quickly after quitting the lures , on the side of the boat ...before the final released...) Sometime we do that then estimation is more accurate

Also  we had some accident with fish who were bleeding at the end or during the fight  so they would have anyway died .. I report several weighed fish of more than 200lb and the biggest weighed in  June 2003  253lb ( Augusto as a Guide ) , I have been told this is the Biggest tarpon ever caught in Central America..


Can any body tell me what is the USA record for Tarpon? I guess in Florida may be in Texas.. but how much? What are the State Record?


t139.jpg (13708 bytes)   top1.jpg (46617 bytes)   t140.jpg (21701 bytes)


To be absolutely clear: At san Carlos Sport Fishing we really do not like the idea to Kill Tarpon.

So how could we claim a Record?  with the actual Igfa requirement it is impossible .Imagine take the pictures on each side, hang the fish , weighed it with a certified scale , take  the measurement , aboard a 24 feet long boat...

we would do all this process and then release them? Fish would died. Also it would  be very very dangerous  to do that as well for angler or guide. So sorry  I have no Tarpon  World record registered...

The only eventual exception would  eventually be if fish is Hooked inside , in the geals and bleeding then we may decide as fish would anyway died to summit the record... but would this be really SPORT FISHING?


I will never intentionally kill fish

Alexandre and Alain my two sons  beat many time the kid ( under 10 ) IGFA  tarpon world record.. both of them had their first tarpon when they were 7 years old. Nowadays Alex is at 180lb, Alain 127.. They  only fish on light Tackles ( Max 20lb test ) and catch their fish in 15 till 30 minutes in absolute respect of IGFA regulations... May seem  INCREDIBLE but sorry this is 100% true


Our actual ( 2005) Company records for TARPON are: 

(Fish released these numbers are only Estimations..)

        Children Boy IGFA World record record 90lb beaten many time

        Children Girl IGFA World record  record beaten ONE time

        12lb Men IGFA record 188lb beaten many time

        12lb women IGFA record beaten many time

        All Tackle.. We report two fish released to the boat we estimate over 300lb



Since the middle of 2003 we like more and more to fish for tarpon on light line 20lb test and also on  ultra light  12lb with much lighter Spinning and Bait casting reels and one piece IM7 graphite rods action Medium heavy and heavy 

This is extreme and Challenging fishing...  We do not lost more fish on using these techniques

   ta16.jpg (32510 bytes)  

 ta5.jpg (22182 bytes)  

  ta14.jpg (18023 bytes)


No doubt super fun with our Tarpon  as you can feel the fish much better... with a bit of practice  and for the experts you will be able to predict what fish  will do in next seconds.. This is really for me the TOP in tarpon fishing as we do that using 12lb to 20 lb braided line...

Note.. Careful...with Braided line  Bimini with Braided line should only have 5 to 6 loop...( Minimum 20 with Nylon)

JUMP1bb.jpg (36650 bytes)  ta4b.jpg (15747 bytes) JUMPpp.jpg (35060 bytes)  jump1b.jpg (41561 bytes)   

tailwalking 3.jpg (34274 bytes)    Roy Fish on.jpg (40828 bytes)    Tailwalking 2.jpg (34282 bytes) 



Special: "Paul at Night with a Tarpon.."

Thanks to Mr Paul Mahoney and Photographer Yves Van Derbecke 

AN2.jpg (19086 bytes)  AN3.jpg (17445 bytes)  AN4.jpg (18267 bytes)  AN1.jpg (20487 bytes) AN11.jpg (26606 bytes)  AN7.jpg (27247 bytes)  

AN10.jpg (28488 bytes) AN12.jpg (26881 bytes) AN13.jpg (21366 bytes) AN14.jpg (18344 bytes) AN9.jpg (25768 bytes)



HOME                San  Carlos  Sport  Fishing              E MAIL