Rainbow Bass Fishing

Rainbow Bass Fishing

Rainbow Bass

Rainbow Bass
  • Size 3 to 10 lb
  • Food Value Good
  • Game Qualities Excellent
  • Habitats Lake, River

(Parachromis Dovii)

One of the top freshwater angling experiences in Central America, Rainbow Bass fishing is worth traveling for. Caught in a relatively small geographical area, this smart, aggressive sport fish is a go-to species for any die-hard fisherman looking to lengthen their catch list. 

What is a Rainbow Bass?

A member of the Cichlid family, Rainbow Bass should never be confused with its relative the Peacock Bass – although it’s just as striking to look at. This purple-hued predator is locally known as “Guapote” (“handsome” in Spanish), and it also gets the nickname of the “Wolf Cichlid” – perhaps thanks to its aggressive attitude when hunting its prey.
Sporting a compilation of spots and stripes, when the fish matures it develops a large lump on its forehead, just like a freshwater version of the Humphead Wrasse. Even if that doesn’t call out “handsome” to you, it’s certainly a look you won’t forget!
Just like the Peacock Bass, Rainbow Bass isn’t really a Bass at all. But like its namesake, the Largemouth Bass, it is notorious for its intelligence. This is one species that you can't fool twice, so make sure you set your hook properly when it bites – you’re unlikely to catch it again!
Angler fly fishing for Rainbow Bass

How to fish

Rainbow Bass is usually found in jungle lakes and rivers. Lake Arenal, the biggest lake in Costa Rica, is one of the most popular hotspots, although you can also find it in rivers across the region. 
These fish are ambush predators, who stay in wait under the cover of fallen branches, sunken trees, and weedlines as they wait to pounce on their prey. Cast close to cover, and get ready – once they bite, they tend to speed back into the undergrowth. Heavier line (around 20 lb test) is generally the most effective, as there’s real danger of snagging in these conditions.
Guapote usually feed on smaller fish and river shrimps. But while live bait is a fail-safe fishing option, they’re more rewarding to target with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Topwater fishing and fly fishing can be effective in the mornings, while some anglers choose to troll with deep diving crankbaits later in the day in larger waterways. 
The best time to fish for Rainbow Bass is in the dry season, between January and May. This is when the fish will be closer to the surface of the water, before the rivers swell and push the fish deeper into the jungle. 

Good to eat?

Very. This is some of the best-tasting freshwater fish you can get in Costa Rica and the surrounding area. Although it’s popular when made into fillets or baked, many anglers prefer to release their catch, due to its relative scarcity.
Whether you’ve always wanted to catch a Rainbow or you just want to find out what all the fuss is about, we bet you won’t be disappointed by Rainbow Bass. As well as offering as good of a fight as any freshwater sport fish, its unique looks will certainly find their way into your vacation photo album. Well, it is “guapo,” after all!

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