It’s not as though billfish are the only draw here — but the fact is, there have not been a lot of boats fishing these waters for long enough to get it all figured out. Crawford says yellowfin tuna averaging 40 pounds are relatively abundant, and dolphin run about the same size.
Lance Moss, who owns a surfing resort to the south, has done some exploratory inshore fishing, and reports an abundance of snapper and grouper on the reefs, roosterfish along the beach and in the surf, and wahoo in the nearshore seamounts.
“We found a seamount covered up with wahoo while out in our 25-foot panga,” he reports. “We took 14 wahoo, with most over 40 pounds, and a few close to 80.”
The estuary on which Marina Puesta del Sol sits is virtually unexplored, but as with most mangrove habitat along the Pacific side of Central America, there are reports of big snook that both move in with the tide and are resident to the maze of mangrove creeks.
If the fishing didn’t offer enough, visiting anglers can also shoot doves on a nearby farm. It’s possible to fish offshore in the morning then return to the resort for a short helicopter hop for wing-shooting in the afternoon.
“This is a special place,” says Crawford. “Some of the best fishing days of my career have been here.”
After our second morning offshore — when we released two sails and another black marlin, and a few miles north Crawford released seven sailfish — I could well understand his point of view.
Northwest Nicaragua is primarily a destination for sailfish and marlin. Tuna, dorado and wahoo — and a relatively unexplored fishery for swordfish — also await offshore; roosterfish, snapper and grouper haunt the inshore reefs and shorelines, and there’s an unexplored mangrove estuary. Marina Puesta del Sol’s offshore boat has Shimano 50- and 80-pound tackle and all the right rigs for offshore and coastal trolling. For inshore fishing, casting or fly-fishing, you’ll need to bring any gear you think you might need.
Rods: Inshore and surf tackle, plug rods and fly rods suitable for surf and estuary fishing.
Reels: Spin, plug and fly — per your preference for exploratory fishing.
Line: 8- to 20-pound-test mono; 40- to 60-pound braid for plug casting. Knottable cable for leaders.
Lures: Jigs, diving and floating plugs, plastics and all variety of casting baits are in order. Colors are up to you — nobody knows!
Planning Your Trip to Nicaragua
Marina Puesta del Sol is accessible by road from Managua. An airstrip should be in place at the resort by the end of the year, but to date there are no charter flights for anglers from Managua.
The resort is top-notch: Service and facilities are second to none, from the Wi-Fi-equipped rooms to the dockside bar, ample slip space and fuel docks. Well-equipped boats are available at the marina, with a 40-foot Ocean resident and others readily available. Outboard-rigged center consoles are available for inshore fishing.
Where: Northwestern Nicaragua, near Chinandega
When: Summer is best for offshore fishing, but these waters are productive year-round.
Who: Marina Puesta del Sol U.S. Office: Marc Membreño, 408-588-0017; in Nicaragua: 011-505-8883-0781; firstname.lastname@example.org