Bloody vegans,* they’re everywhere, including the rivers of Costa Rica where the aggressive razor-toothed Machaca live. The boys from Tropical Fly Collective (IG: @tropicalflycollective) give us the skinny on these chunky little breekers. Hint: aim for lavatorial acoustics.


WHAT: Sharp piranha-like teeth, large receptive eyes, and a powerful tail make the machaca a formidable predator…except it feasts on the most unlikely of prey – fruit and flowers. This aquatic mandolin of Costa Rica’s lowland rivers races with lightning speed and accuracy out of its lies in fast current to demolish vegetarian edibles as they drop from the overhanging branches. Growing to just under 10 lbs. and often found in large groups, this feisty forest fish is sure to emerge as one of the tropical fly-fishing world’s most sought quarries.

WHERE: The machaca inhabits lowland rivers throughout Costa Rica, and relatives of the machaca can be found as far south as Argentina. Some of the best rivers to target machaca are along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, where thick rainforest line the riverbanks and monkeys serenade anglers as they pursue their aquatic prize. Bycatch on these rivers can include rainbow bass, aka guapote lagunero, and Pacific snook.

HOW: The key to fishing fruit patterns is achieving a proper “kerplunk“, or in local lingo “plook” when your fly hits the water. The very best are made of old wine corks sculpted and painted into green and yellow orbs, making the art of tying machaca flies doubly rewarding for the tier (someone has to empty the bottles). Fast-action slightly shorter rods, like the Thomas & Thomas SS series, in 6-8-weight paired with floating lines allow you to chuck and duck with ease.

WHO: With us, duh. Our company runs machaca trips on a single-day float or a multi-day exploration of a variety of rivers. Due to the mighty rivers in which machaca live, they are best targeted from a whitewater raft with an experienced fishing guide. Or strap on some boots and brave the rainforest critters along the bank of most any local river. Whatever your poison, we have you covered.

For more on this wish list fish catch Machaca, check out the trailer for the film by Tropical Fly Collective (AKA Thomas Enderlin and Federico Hampl) below. If/when the Fly Fishing Film Tour gets up and running post-pandemic, it will be doing the rounds. Visit (global) or (South Africa) for a venue near you.

*For the record, we love vegans too.

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