Snook Fishing in Rio San Juan

In central America exist 7 Different type of snook ....

In Rio San Juan and Nicaragua Lake we fish for two Species:

Big Snook Common snook "Centropodomus undecimalis" Local name Cola Amarilla weight from 10lb to 40lb and more. They are present all year round in some very specific area of San Juan river, apparently some of them stay there, do not Migrate... ( Same than with the Tarpon some goes some stay... )

Small Snook ( Calva , small fat snook ) Fat Snook :Centropodomus paralelus between 4lb to 10lb are abundant during the "run" from October to January ....

Tricks to identify Common Snook

size.. they are "the big snook" the Cola Amarilla...and also in doubt by simply counting the first small ray on the above Fin , Common snook has only a sharp strong small one, other snook does have two

Notes from my Fishing Reports concerning Snook fishing

  • NOVEMBER In this trip We also had our first good size snook of the season in Nicaragua .. ( The week before we had several big Snook but in Costa Rica precisely in Rio Frio, our record still remain a 42 lb caught by Augusto ).
  • December The "calva run" From Caribbean sea to Nicaragua Lake bring in incredible quantity of small snook, we fish them with Plumero , feather Color white or Yellow , some small Rattle trap are also efficient.
  • Definitely Snook do have their feeding hours , this is obvious and very sensitive in our fishing even with the incredible quantity of Small Snook "Calva" we have here
  • Sunny day come a strong rain.. during the rain Snook may be active.. after the rain Tarpon will..
  • Please also have a look at Section Tackle of this site


In color red the record in Central America


  • M-2lb 24lb 4 oz Florida 1995 G.E.Hogan Jr
  • M-4lb 1 oz Florida 1988 Jesse webb
  • M-6lb 41lb 8 oz Florida 1996 G.E. Hoggan
  • M-8lb 41lb 0oz Mexico 1998 N.A. Brown
  • M-12lb 55lb 9oz Costa Rica 1992 J M Brenes
  • M-16lb 49lb 13 oz Costa Rica 1990 G. Cespedes
  • M 20lb 53lb 10oz Costa Rica 1978 G. Ponzi
  • M-30lb 57lb 12 oz Costa Rica 1991 G. Beck}


  • Tippet 4lb 15lb 8oz Florida 1998 Andy Novak
  • Tippet 6lb 22lb30z Florida 1971 Dave Chernansky
  • Tippet 8lb 24lb 8oz Florida 1995 Robert Orth
  • Tippet 12lb 28lb 8oz Florida Martin Gottschalk
  • Tippet 16lb 28lb 8oz Costa Rica 1980 Bill Barnes
  • Tippet 20lb 30lb 4 oz Florida 1993 Rex Garrett


Many world record for Snook "are in Costa Rica" ... I see several reason for that:

  1. Since ever big Snook are present as well on the Caribbean Cost than on the Pacific...For long there have not been much pressure on these fish as well from Sport Fishing than from Commercial Fishing...
  2. Since long Costa Rica is well known all over the World for peace and friendly attitude with tourist it is a very appreciate destination for many Top anglers in the World , many very good angler like to come fishing here.. The more good angler the more possibility of World record , but in fishing history of any destination this is true only for a short period.. because more Anglers also mean more pressure..

Nowadays In Costa Rica , there are snooks, but the pressure on fishing did increase drastically From Sport fishing but worst from Commercial Fishing, Netting even if forbidden is a current practice everywhere even inside the Rivers...

If authority do not act ..( If actual laws were enforce all would be fine but.....) From my personal fishing experience in Costa Rica I do not think than actual Snook World records are going to be beaten in Costa Rica...It is necessary to find new grounds..

So Snook World Record? Where?

For long IGFA was only considering Snook in General.. but nowadays exist two Classification , the Pacific and the Atlantic Snook , this is very interesting and do open possibility of World Record...In Rio San Juan for Atlantic Snook, or on the pacific coast for Pacific snook ...I plan to organize Special expedition.

Note Concerning Pacific Snook . Costa Rica can bring a major surprise .( Yes there are still some very good spots...Our Local Friends of Club National de Pesca do catch big snook...). I have been told of snook caught by local people whose weight was apparently over 80lb... I have been Scuba diving on the Pacific Coast with friends and we found spots whith snooks in my opinion of more than 60lb

Concerning the Caribbean ( Atlantic snook) the situation is not the same... Quality of fishing in usual spots has been decreasing a lot specifically on the Caribbean Cost of Costa Rica , ( Over netting, Nets in the river even if totally forbidden .. are some of the problems...Pollution also ) a pity but present World records are going to be very tuff to beat there is time to look at new destination in neighbor central America Countries as Caribbean I specifically think of the Coast of Panama, Nicaragua, and may be Honduras...I do not know Honduras, but knows Panama and Nicaragua and confirm than nowadays they are peaceful countries where ANGLERS from any part in the World are Welcome.

I figure than in the coming years some new Snook World record will come from these two countries...

In the last two years at San Carlos Sport fishing we report regular catch of Caribbean Snook around 20lb/35lb some interesting snook around 40lb all these weighted Bigest being 42lb and three monsters in the Fifties + + + ..lost to the boat