Panama Fishing Report: We only fished eight days the entire month of July 2014 out of Propiedad de Paradise Lodge here on Isla Paridas in the heart of the Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama. We had two sets of repeat clients fish with us and two new groups as the rainy season has begun to set in. We got lucky with nice weather the days we did fish. There was an abundance of bait still to be found out in open water with feeding pods of Porpoises followed by Tunas….but not the red hot action of the couple of month’s prior. It definitely has wound down a bit but we still had some action packed days and caught some pretty impressive fish!
Our first group of anglers from San Diego, California…Bert, Kris, Joe, and Steve came to stay with us at our private island lodge and fish with us for one day offshore. It was looking real good on the way out as we saw a beautiful rainbow that seemed to end at Isla Montuosa. We had a tough time finding the Tunas though as we searched all over. We went from Hannibal Bank to Isla Montuosa and found pretty much nothing. We tried the high spot at Isla Montuosa for a while and only got one Mullet Snapper to show for the time. On the way out in the morning we ran through an area that had some trash and debris floating with a couple of local commercial long line boats that were working the area…probably for Dorado as they are generally found around floating debris and such. I decided to head back up and work that area as we had to get something in the boat to save the day! Sure enough, and at the absolute last minute, before we were going to start heading back in…both the outrigger lines snap down! We hook up a double header and catch two real nice Bull Dorados that went 25 and 35 pounds! Great way to end the day!
Our second group was two days with repeat clients the Joyner brothers Charlie & Jeff, Jeff’s wife Fialeily, and daughter Ashly. The last time we fished with these guys the bite was a bit off….but this time sure made up for that slow day back in March! The first day we head out strait toward Hannibal Bank, with a live well full of Blue Runners (called “Coheenuhas” here in Panama) in search of some bird & Porpoise activity to find the tunas. It was an absolute gorgeous sunny day with some big long swells offshore but a very nice sea. About 10 miles north of the bank we spot a big area with Porpoises feeding and give it a try. After a while we pick up a couple of small Tunas but decide to keep going to see what we can make happen at Hannibal Bank. On the first drift over one of the high spots I could tell it was going to be good. We had a good mark of bait and fish on the sonar and sure enough…Boom!…the clickers on our Shimano Talicas are singing as we hook into some real monster Mullet Snappers. A short time later see some Yellowfin Tunas busting near us on the surface and the guys hook into, and catch, a couple of nice ones….the biggest one goes about 60#s! Good eating size! We catch a few more fish that day back up in the area with the feeding Porpoises…enough to fill quite a few ziplocks full of Tuna steaks!
The second day with the Joyners started out with some rain, wind, and the ride was a bit bouncy but eventually cleared up just as we arrived at Hannibal Bank. Again some big swell but a real nice sea. This time the mark on the sonar was twice as big as the previous day and the action was good! Drift after drift…we hook into more nice size Mullet Snappers and smaller YFTs. We had a triple header then a couple of double headers with constant action! This group did a great job of fighting and controlling their fish amidst all the excitement. I was a bit disappointed as we brought 30 Blue Runners out with us and we were getting short on baits!!! The highlight of the trip comes when one of the bridled baits we are drifting over the high spot comes tight and just a few feet away from us a Black Marlin breaches the surface! He’s pissed off and headed strait for the boat!! I yell at everybody “hold on!!!” and I gun the throttles for a few seconds to get the boat away from the fish and keep the line tight. Jeff grabs the rod and my mate Johnny gets him into the harness quickly. Luckily the fish decided to eat the bait that was on the Shimano Talica 20II (spooled with 65# Momoi Diamond Braid line) and Terez bent butt rod. Thank God that out of the 5 rods and reels we were fishing at that moment….that was the beefiest setup. Lucky! After about 30 minutes Charlie puts on the harness to finish the fight and does a great job maintaining good pressure and staying smooth while fish is pulling and fighting furiously! He gets him boatside and we get a tag in the fish and some nice photos before a healthy release. A 105″ Black Marlin and over 350#s! An awesome accomplishment for these guys and on only 65# braided line! Most definitely a great ending to an epic trip with the Joyner brothers and family. I really appreciate the business guys!
Avid angler and sportswear mogul of the up and coming HUK brand of outdoor gear Drew Herma came back again to fish with us again and came this time with a couple of his buddies/co-workers…Ed McClintlock as the camera/production man and Kasey Scott (better known as KScott) the marine artist who’s oil paintings and designs are pretty bad ass. The focus of the trip was to get some real time testing and some footage/pics of the HUK brand products that will come out in major US stores January 2015. Of the two days that we fished we saw some great activity of feeding Porpoises, huge flocks of diving birds & busting Tunas, and caught a few nice fish but the couple chances we had a some monsters ended up badly! Kasey hooked up on what must have been a 150# plus Yellowfin Tuna in the midst of one of the crazy “Panama style” feeding frenzies we encountered. We pitched a live Blue Runner in front of feeding the Tunas and with a big splash….a monster comes up and crushes the bait! Kasey’s rod doubles over and the Shimano Saragossa 20000 spinning reel starts screaming off 80# braided line! The big fish was pulling super hard and darting very erratically as Kasey is holding on for dear life. After a series of long blistering runs Kasey doing a great job holding on and reeling on the fish…the line goes slack!…The goshdarn swivel snap comes back open! Apparently the fish must have somehow wrapped the leader around the snap and it popped open! Bummer! We did put a few smaller tunas in the boat and had some cool action but I really wanted to get that monster in the boat for these guys. We missed another big fish at Isla Ladrones a Cubera Snapper that took us in the rocks. The high spot at Hannibal Bank wasn’t too productive either but Drew did get a monster Rainbow Runner that ended up as some great sushi for us later that evening! At Isla Montuosa is was kinda dead as well but we did get a couple of decent Mullet Snappers. Although we didn’t the pics of the big ones in the boat…we did see some good action. I think that Drew/Ed got some good footage and I hope Kasey got some good inspiration for some future artwork. Hopefully they can make it back soon and we can give it another shot! Thanks for the opportunity and business Drew! Check out the HUK website at HukGear.com and KScott’s creations at KScottArt.com.
The last couple days of the month we fished out of Seagullcove Lodge again with Miguel Vallarino of Panama City and his sons Pablo and Gabriel. We had some real smooth seas and great weather but the slow fishing trend seemed to continue from the previous couple of days with Drew’s group. But it wasn’t all bad! We did run into the same huge pod of Porpoises that were out in open water around Isla Ladrones but instead of being shadowed by Tunas they picked up some new company….a bunch of Jack Crevelles. The action looked like textbook Yellowfin Tuna time but if the Tunas were there with the Porpoises the Jacks were getting to the baits and poppers first! The Jacks are fun to catch and fight hard. We caught quite a few and the boys had a good time hooking into them on poppers….but they aren’t very good to eat, I didn’t want to ruin a bunch of good live baits on them, and Miguel was looking for some YFT action…so after trying for a while we moved on. The activity over at Hannibal Bank was basically dead, with no Tunas, and we ended up at Isla Montuosa drifting live baits over a good high spot there a few times. Miguel caught a monster Cubera Snapper that went over 40#s, Pablo got a nice gaffer Dorado, but other than that it was also pretty slow. Another great highlight with these guys was a real nice 30# Dorado that Pablo hooked up and caught near a floating log we came across out in open water. Thanks for the business Miguel!