“Machaca” Fishing in the Rivers of Costa Rica

    A species of fish that is family of the Piranha

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    The Machaca is a species of fish that inhabits most of the rivers of our country, we know that it eats almost everything, it is a family of the piranha and that it adapts easily to different ecosystems.

    We consulted three fishermen from different areas of Costa Rica who gave their opinion on the fishing of this species, in order to guide anyone interested in catching it, always under responsible practices.

    The best moment

    Heiner Murillo, known in the fishing community as Mechas, tells us that in the rivers of Guanacaste you can fish machaca at all times, but in very different conditions for winter and summer in the area.

    Jorge Mora, a fisherman from Turrialba, likes to fish in the rivers of Upala, particularly the Niño River, indicating that he feels more crushing activity in the afternoon as night approaches, but that early morning fishing is also good.

    Wilmer Porras de Sarapiquí, who usually fishes in the river with the same name, agrees with Jorge that the best hours are in the morning and in the afternoon, when the weather is cool, preferably cloudy, or when there is low flow.

    Where To Cast The Lure

    All three agree that observing the environment is essential to determine what the machaca may be eating and try to locate the points where they can be found hunting. In particular, they mention paying attention to the trees with fruit in the vicinity of the riverbed, as well as to the sunken trunks, streams, bends and backwaters in the water.

    During the summer in Guanacaste, Heiner believes that catches are more likely to be obtained by casting the lure under trees that drop fruits into the water, such as espavel, chilamate, among others. While in winter, currents are more effective.

    More Effective Lures

    Wilmer, Jorge and Heiner prefer shallow lures over others in general, leaving the fisherman to choose at their convenience after having read the conditions of the place. For example, after observing the shape and color of the fruit that falls into the water, use a green lure in winter, while in summer use lures with yellow or reddish colors.

    Jorge shows a particular preference for the Whopper Plopper and JitterBug, shallow lures that vibrate in the water when picked up, captivating attention. Heiner frequently mentions the crankbait, operating them superficially, highlighting those with a rounded shape and colors that imitate what the machacas are eating at that moment.

    Fishing team

    Heiner shows a preference for light equipment for machaca fishing, with a rod of 5’6 ” feet or 6’0 ” feet, facilitating maneuverability, but considers that the angler chooses what makes him feel more comfortable.

    Similarly, Jorge thinks, who considers that fighting with the crush feels much better using light equipment and allows him to develop greater dexterity. Suggest 6 to 12 pound line, 6 foot rod, and size 100 reel.

    Wilmer leans more towards Fly Fishing equipment, size 5 to 8, however he suggests baitcasting or spinning equipment with sizes no larger than 4000. In fact, we have a good memory with Wilmer fishing with Fly Fishing in the Sarapiquí River.

    Responsible Fishing

    Jorge, Wilmer and Heiner practice and promote responsible fishing in Costa Rican rivers. All three believe that it is possible by practicing the liberation of species and taking home what is necessary without abuse.

    Carrying out workshops in the communities is one of the initiatives that Wilmer proposes to address responsible fishing, under the idea of allowing the youngest to also enjoy it. Jorge believes that the practice of liberation is very enriching and fills him with satisfaction, so he considers it appropriate to create awareness in this regard, especially among the youngest.

    A release advice provided by Heiner is to avoid dragging or placing the fish on stones outside the river as they may be hot, but try as much as possible to avoid removing it from the water.
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