Kingpin Sportfishing

Kingpin Sportfishing, Tamarindo: Address, Phone Number, Kingpin Sportfishing Reviews: 5/5

Kingpin Sportfishing
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Capt.Carlos and his professional crew are ready to put you on that fish of a lifetime, help you enjoy time with your friends, or make that family vacation a success. Simply put, our mission is to ensure that your time on the water is safe and productive, while utilizing sustainable fishing practices.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
138 reviews
Excellent
121
Very good
9
Average
4
Poor
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Terrible
3

justin s
Charleston, SC21 contributions
Couples
absolutely a top notch day on the water w/ capt. lee and rudy. these guys were good. we had an outstanding day. started out with a nice yellowfin, then released a good size blue, raised a few more marlin that wouldnt bite, billwrapped another, and fought the last one for a few minutes til he charged the boat and spit the hook. luckily my wife has become a great videographer from our various fishing escapades, so now its just a matter of pulling stills from video. speaking of the wife, there were schools of dolphin a quarter mile wide. we live on the ocean, and fish offshore frequently, and have never seen anything like this in my life. it was cool, and she loved it.

the boat (carolina classic 28) is officially on my short list as best express boats under 30 ft, and it was by far the cleanest charter boat i have ever set foot on, as clean (or cleaner) as most pleasure boats too. not that this is a big deal, but it does speak to the level of professionalism on board kingpin.

was in the area for my brothers wedding, and i got to bring him fresh yellowfin for a wedding present, and landed a good sized blue marlin. pretty much a perfect day on the water.
Written August 14, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MtPMom
Charleston, SC22 contributions
Family
We have been deep sea fishing in many areas around the world. We live at the beach as well. I can't say enough great things about Lee and Rudy!! Did we have a great day? We did...two sails and a couple of dolphins. Does it take time and patience...it does. However, Lee put us right on the fish and Rudy went above and beyond managing the poles and lines. In fact, I don't think Rudy stopped for a minute except to cut up pineapple. We brought our two sons and once we caught that first sail for one son, Rudy was determined to get a second for my second son My husband and I would have been happy with just that but we went on to catch a couple of dolphins as well. I have yet to see a team work so hard for us!! No doubt they put a great deal of pride in their boat and making a great experience. Even if we had not caught any fish that day, I would still be writing e a great review. You will not go wrong with Captain Lee and Rudy!!
Written August 11, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

nyokay
Corpus Christi, TX1 contribution
Couples
For my 40th Birthday, we took a FABULOUS "couples" trip to Playa Portrero, Costa Rica. As a lifelong resident of South Texas, fishing has been an "inbred sport" for me since childhood. On Tuesday, June 13th, 2011, we took a Kingpin Sportfishing Charter several miles off the coast of Tamarindo. All I can say is "WOW"!! We have gone deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, Australia and Aruba and this trip beat them all, HANDS DOWN!! Capt. Lee and his crewman, Rudy, were spectacular! Their knowledge, professionalism, hospitality and personalities went ABOVE & BEYOND what was expected and exceeded the "norm" for most charters. We caught 2 sailfish, 3 yellowfin tuna and 1 mahi mahi. We will definitely spread the word about KINGPIN in the hopes that others can experience deep-sea fishing at its finest!!
Muchisimas gracias to Capt. Lee & Rudy...
PURA VIDA,
Atlee McCauley
Corpus Christi, TX
Written June 20, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eric W
Tampa, FL15 contributions
I am an avid fisherman, having fished the Florida west coast my entire life and in the Keys extensively. I have also been fortunate enough to fish in Panama and Costa Rica and many places throughout the Caribbean. So when I made plans to spend a week in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, I was excited to line up some fishing charters. 

Kingpin had glowing reviews so I reserved a full day of fishing with them toward the end of my trip. Earlier in the week I also booked a full day of charter fishing with another outfitter.

We had been warned by friends in advance that it is windy this time of year and that the seas can get rough, so about a month before my trip I emailed Captain Pit and he assured me we could head South and find the wind line so that it would guarantee a smooth ride. 

Three days before our scheduled charter with Kingpin , the wind tables were showing 10-12 mph winds in the morning with some lessening over the course of the day. We fished that day with a different outfitter with white caps everywhere and 3-5 ft swells. Within the first 45 minutes, half of our group was feeling sick and an hour later one person was vomiting. Needless to say, it was not a fun day and we even decided to head in a few hours early because we just couldn't take it any longer.

When we got back to shore, that evening, I emailed Captain Pit of the Kingpin and explained that the first day was very rough for us and we did not want a repeat experience in our next charter with him, which was 3 days away. He said he fished all day that day in super calm waters that he described as being on a "lake" which I found difficult to believe. The wind was blowing all day and we never say flat, smooth water that whole first day.

I suggested in my email that perhaps we could try inshore / bottom fishing close to shore in calmer waters. He said the fishing inshore had not been that good and we could play it by ear.

So 2 days later, the day before our scheduled fishing charter with Kingpin, I emailed him again. The wind charts were predicting 15-20 mph winds for the following day, which was worse than our first day of fishing. I told Captain Pit we did not want to troll, that we would be happy just catching anything in calm waters, and I also suggested perhaps shortening the trip from a full day to a half day or 3/4 day. He replied that it was "too late now to change plans..with the wind of tomorrow I cannot do half or 3/4.i wouldn't sell it on my highest time of season.inshore is bad.slow..do not know what to suggest".

I was disappointed with his lack of flexibility given the rough weather conditions. It is ridiculous for a professional captain to ever state that it is "too late now to change plans". I don't even understand what he means when he says "with the wind of tomorrow I cannot do half or 3/4.i wouldn't sell it on my highest time of season" . I guess in his busy season he maximizes profits by forcing charters to do full day of trolling even in windy weather and rough seas.

So I replied that we wanted to then cancel the trip. His reply was "It is windy in front of here.but if I drive South we will find the wind line and fish in calm waters.if I cancel early morning cause of heavy rain or wind is one thing..if you guys cancel there is no refund. .and I should charge in full. .I understand you do not want to troll...and bottom foshing is slow now...what I can do is ,, I loose the day, but the company will not give the deposit back. "

Well, I knew that driving south for 2 hours in rough water to find the 'wind line' was going to get all of us sick in 20 mph winds so I cancelled anyway, losing the $250 deposit.

I guess he preferred to just keep the $250 deposit as opposed to changing to a 3/4 day charter at $950 and staying inshore. I really just don't get it. Maybe its easier to just drag baits through rough water than fish inshore?

He should have been more flexible given the fact that I explained on several occasions that we were concerned about high winds (1 month before, 3 days before, and 1 day before) and the charts were predicting 15-20 mph winds that day.

I felt he misled me about the calm waters and strung me along until it was too late to get my deposit back. Not as professional as I had expected. Be warned. Don't trust.
Written January 7, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
we spoke over the emails already,and thought this argument was over.you want to keep going on ,and be right??if you are an avid fisherman,I AM AN AVID CAPTAIN,and guess who takes the last call on going out in this waters?the captain.did you ever fly out of the country and tell the captain you checked the weather?what are the websites you look at?.you were jut trying to make a point,and change your trip in an 1/2 day.which In windy season I cannot do,i do not run 1,20 hrs both ways for an half day.and the inshore fishing was horrible back then,in the end I said I do not know what else to tell you cause you kept pointing at me your point of view,that was very distance from mine.windy season I can only do full days(as we agreed from before)and go run passed the wind line.you went out with a total different boat from mine(which has a deep V,way smoother on passing the line).i never put anybody in danger,and all the people that trusted me left here happy.so YES `decision on length of tour and on going out or not stays still on the captain,never forget,learn how to trust the professionals.and let other people do their jobs.and since we only have one boat,can you imagine canceling tour in high season,when I have alredy canceled for other people and left you the spot,justcause a random customer checked the weather on his own?i wouod have probably have to cancel 30% of times.but luckly I have some awsemo customers around.enjoy your ride
Written April 26, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

KathyStein
Fairbanks, AK1 contribution
WOW, all I can say is we had a $750 dollar glorious boat ride. There was 5 of us and none of us even touch the fishing rod, Not a single bite. We chartered a FULL DAY but only recieved a 3/4 day due to engine problems, Good thing I guess, due to we were all bored of trolling. We are from Alaska and we do alot of fishing up here and I understand fishing can be unpredictable, however the total time we spent on the boat, we maybe spoke with the Capt 10 minutes and that is only because he came down from the fly bridge to make adjustments to the engine. I guess the only good thing I can say is the boat was clean and roomy. [--]
Written March 9, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MerriAtlanta
Atlanta162 contributions
My husband and I went to Costa Rica for my birthday from April 30 through May 4, 2010. We knew that no matter what, we wanted to spend a day deep sea fishing. My husband searched the internet for charter companies and also polled a local realtor and the hotel for a recommendation. Several people recommended Captain Lee. Even though he was considerably more expensive than some of the other options, Lee assured us that he knew how to catch fish and that's all that mattered to us.

While we agree with the reviews about the boat itself - it is clean and well kept - that's generally where the agreeement ends. Lee did quickly introduce himself and showed us around the boat - and then he headed up to the fly bridge where he would stay for most of the remainder of the day. Rudy tried to be helpful when it came to getting drinks or slicing up pineapple but we came to catch fish.

We patiently waited for some action - knowing from many previous trips that it doesn't happen right away. My husband had asked Lee ahead of time if he used live bait, and he said they did. They never used any live bait. They had ballyhoo on a few lines but left it out for hours without checking it and when they finally it in it was battered. Rudy missed the hit on several lines, several different times - even grabbing the wrong pole on several occasions. We knew that it is protocol to let the first mate grab the pole first but it was about to drive my husband crazy watching our opportunities get missed. For 5 hours, we had nothing and Captain Lee never came off the bridge to talk about trying anything different until he finally had to come down to pee off the back of the boat (though there is a head on board). When we did ask questions, he seemed annoyed. He told us that only one other boat was catching fish.

Lee did try hard to find a fish on the way in - I don't think he wanted us to have to say that we came all the way to Costa Rica and caught nothing. He found my husband a 2 lb fish that he turned around and used for bait - and again nothing! When we got back to shore, we stopped at the restaurant near the pick up point. What really upset us the most was finding out that Captain Lee hadn't been honest with us. A group from a pharmaceautical company had been out fishing on 5 different boats. Every boat caught some kind of meaningful fish - and we didn't take their word for it - we saw the pictures!!

We realize that no captain can promise fish but it just seemed like their was no communication, no trying different things or places and then a lack of honesty over whether other people were catching fish. As much as we were looking forward to this, I sure wish we had the experince that most of you did - we really rely on the trip advisor reviews - but I could not recommend Kingpin based on our experience. My husband has fished over a hundred times, in many different locations, and has never, ever been completely skunked. His opinion was that comparatively, this seemed like an amateurish operation - and inmy opinion a really expensive boat ride!

Merri & Pete Rivers
Atlanta, GA
Written May 9, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Mr and Mrs Rivers contacted us via phone and internet, they seemed to be pleasant people and we spoke or exchanged emails on several occasions. I spoke with Mrs. Rivers mainly, and she asked me about Live Bait and Our Rates! First, we assured her that we DID use live bait when possible, and that the LIVE BAIT that we did use, we caught on site, i.e. out on the ocean. Generally, we drop live bait to the bottom or over structure for Sails, Marlin, Snapper, Roosters, and Grouper. I explained this to Merri very clearly or so I thought. What many people DON’T understand about Live Bait is that you generally use it where you know there is a good bite or a good chance of one in a specific area, meaning you do not have the ability to cover a lot of ground, and will be confined to fishing in a very small area. This would be fine if the fishing had been good in the area, but the days before showed the bite to be quite scattered. That is why we continued with our trolling tactics. Second, OUR RATES based on our location, style, quality of boat / gear, and crew are quite middle of the road, by US standards, we are extremely discounted. The Rivers were offered a large “panga style, outboard boat” at a discounted price. These boats generally claim to have towers but have no controls only a seat for the clients, non licensed personnel, they are generally outboard powered and are not up to US Coast Guard safety standards, they carry no or little insurance, most do not have up-to-date paper work or permits, and most of their equipment is bottom rung. I explained this to Mrs. Rivers via telephone and she seemed to understand my point. I believe that this was simply due to a lack of research. I invite anyone to compare our prices to any boat comparable to ours in Costa Rica and see what they come up with. In response to the River’s other points or concerns. First, the mate did miss a fish he should have hooked, our apologies; he is human and missed one, also, the fish were not super aggressive and Rudy was doing his best. No one is more frustrated by this than me, the captain. Second, Rudy was not running or picking up the wrong pole, the fish was moving from one bait to the other. Third, I did pee off the back of the boat, as do MOST of our Male passengers. Many operations encourage this due to the fact that boats rock and men have terrible aim. The sea was rough and it seemed to be the quickest and most efficient option. I do apologizes if this was in any way offensive. Third, I did not come out of the tower because I was trying my hardest to put us on a fish, not because I am rude… like you said, you came to fish! Me too! Finally, the other boats that did catch fish that day were located in a different area and found a group of Spotted Dolphins with Yellow Fin on them. Speaking with the other skippers they informed me that they caught a few on the first or second pass and then The Bite quit. That is quite common here and was the reason that I did not run the 15 miles to their location. In the end, it was a tuff day of fishing! We tried our hardest and came up short. I offered The Rivers a discount, (you won’t find anyone else who does that) offered to send them T-shirts, and I extended to them our deepest apologies. I don’t feel that their review is accurate but certainly understand their frustration; I invite them to return and give us another shot. Kind Regards, Capt. Lee C. Keidel
Written June 1, 2010
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

RoyalOakAgnieszka
Royal Oak, MI18 contributions
We came to Costa Rica to celebrate my husband’s birthday. He loves to fish so on the day of his birthday I booked a full day of deep see fishing with Captain Lee on January 11, 2011. I liked his boat, I liked his web site and my main objective was to find an experienced captain that will put us on the fish. I thought since we are in Costa Rica that should not be that difficult. We called Lee the day before to confirm and told him that we are very flexible, inshore or offshore, basically whatever bites and whatever his recommendation is. We just didn’t want to wash bait for hours…Of course we would be very happy with marlin but if they are not biting we would rather catch other fish like roosterfish, tuna, snapper, grouper,dorado, etc.

So we end up trolling for first part of the trip (deep see with dead ballyhoo) and didn’t catch anything. So after a few hours we went inshore. I knew we were in trouble when cpt. Lee called his friend on another boat to get the waypoint for where we were going to fish. You would think a cpt. with 9 years of local experience would have a pile of waypoints for where to fish! Anyway, we tried "the spot" and a few others without a single bite. Then the trolling rigs went back in the water and we basically trolled back to the harbor without a single bite.

If you give a captain his choice of species, tactics, and 8 hours to make something happen in pristine sea conditions you would think that he could get you a single bite. We got completely skunked on Kingpin. We know fishing is fishing, no guarantees, but it just didn't seem like cpt. Lee put a lot of effort into changing the program when something wasn't working. On a positive side the boat was clean and fully stucked with beer. Cpt. Lee was friendly enough, but unfortunately this ended up to be a very disappointing and an expensive boat ride.
Written January 31, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Yep! We got skunked…. So did every other boat that fished that day…. just the nature of Big Game Fishing at times. We certainly understand and appreciate the couple’s disappointment. In fifteen years of charter fishing in several locations that range from Central and South America, South Eastern United States and the Gulf, to the Bahamas, Galapagos Islands, and further on… some days the fish simply don’t bite. In regards to the waypoint issue, I was contacting the skipper on the Rhino Charger, a boat that I also captain. I had found a “newer” rock pile a few days earlier while running the other boat and had saved it on the GPS. After hearing that the action in-shore at the “regular” spots had been slow as well I asked the other captain to transfer the information to me so that I could try something a bit more outside of the box in hopes to yield better results than the other boats were having. Experience has taught me that when all else fails it is time to try something new! Inexperience would be to try the same thing as the other boats and expect a different result.
Written March 4, 2011
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Andrew B
New Orleans, LA6 contributions
Couples
We paid $600 for a half day. The boat was an adequate size for the 4 of us (I think they take up to 6 on this boat). We told them we wanted a crack at the big fish (marlin, tuna etc). They had a small take-out box of croissants and a cooler of sodas for us, which seemed like a pretty cheap presentation for having spent the $600. The guide hooked 8 poles and we trolled for 3 hours and only got two bites. Again, can't say they did anything wrong except for the cheap food offering, but that amount of money can be better spent in a beautiful country like CR, unless you're a die-hard fisherman and don't care if you catch anything.
Written July 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi,I am really sorry you had a bad experience.we work everyday hard in order to catch fishes,we do not like to go give expensive rides. According to the drinks,on the open fisherman boat the cooler is smaller,so under the cushions in front we have plenty of storage with extra drinks,we absolutely carry not only sodas,we have beers and waters.on the website we specify ,we do not carry food for half days.it is a 4hrs and 30 min tour,and as soon as I saw your booking my concern was what did you ant to catch....so I sent an email and ask,and your answer was bill fishes and tunas...and I replied it was gonna be close to a miracle in an half day,cause I am very honest and I like to speak the true,better to advise the fishing is slow,if it is slow.i drive kingpin and put a report everyday out with what happen.sometimes we troll 7 hrs and nothing,and all of the sudden the fish comes,and we are heroes....it is fishing ,we never know when is gonna happen,and some slow days,in an half day for that kind of fishing you wanted to try it is a very short time.
Written July 26, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John J
Austin, TX18 contributions
Friends
Great day of fishing! Hooked 4 marlin,brought three to the boat. Caught a mess of dorado for dinner and saw a huge pod of spinner dolphin. Spectacular sight! Capt. Pit is a true "fisherman". Third time out with him and we have always caught something. You can go fishing with anyone. To catch fish you go with Capt. Pit!
Written June 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
That was a great day. .i go home happy when i see people happy..and i love to fish..glad you keep coming back and. Fish with us
Written June 18, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jamleip
Vulcan, Michigan, United States47 contributions
Friends
We came from michigan to catch sportfish, and we did! It was a long hot day on the boat but it was worth it for the fun we had reeling in the sail fish, mahi-mahi & marlin. We even found a huge pod of dolphins and caught a ton of tuna. The dolphins were amazing and swam right next to the boat for a large part of the day. The boat was clean and nice and had a bathroom. The guys knew what they were doing and busted their butts all day for us. It was a great time!
Written January 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
They really do.yoy are right..I have good guys..hard workers.and they love what they do...we all have this in common. And I m glad people see this.
Written March 8, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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