Panama is what Costa Rica was twenty years ago. It is very sparsely populated with
very little fishing pressure. Unlike Costa Rica, where you can stay in a hotel and
charter a boat for a days fishing, the only decent fishing opportunities are in remote
locations at all inclusive lodges that provide the accommodations, meals and fishing.
At most of them there is very little else to do but fish. No evening excursions to
a nearby casino.
There are two areas where the fishing is concentrated, to the southeast end of the
country near the Columbian border and in the northwestern sixty miles or so of the
country. Tropic Star Lodge is the only choice in the southeast, but there are a number
of choices in the northwest, with a new one popping up every year or so.Two of those
fishing operations are "live-aboard" type trips, where you live on a mothership anchored
in the vicinity of Coiba Island and fish on the smaller sportfishermen.
Tropic Star only offers full week packages from January through March, working on
a Saturday to Saturday schedule. The rest of the year they offer three and four day
trips on fixed schedules. The live-aboard operations only book full week packages.
The other lodges are all land based and are more flexible, both with the number of
days you can book as well as which days you want to fish
Panama is recognized as one of the best places in the world to catch black marlin
and yellowfin tuna. Though available year around, the Panamanian "summer season"
which starts in December and runs through April is the favored time to fish for this
combination, and many of the lodges will book those dates as much as a year in advance.
Blue marlin, Pacific sailfish and dorado are also available year round.
Casting large poppers for yellowfin tuna has become more popular in recent years,
and it is a favorite method of many of the operations in the northwest part of Panama.
Two hundred pound fish are caught regularly on heavy duty spinning rods.
Panama is also one of the best places in the world to catch a large (60 lbs. plus)
roosterfish. Multiple hook-ups on roosterfish are not uncommon and schools of roosterfish
can often be seen chasing your bait. Cubera snapper are also available here in abundance.
The explosive strike of the cubera snapper inhaling a popper is an experience the
inshore angler will remember for a lifetime. Other species such as blue trevally,
jack crevelle, sierra mackerel, rainbow runners, amberjack, various tuna and a host
of other species are available along with a limited quantity of snook. The unmatched
inshore fishing can be enjoyed by anglers year round.
The wahoo bite is from August through December. Here anglers troll around the many
tropical islands fishing for the "reel" screaming strike of the wahoo. Quadruple
hook-ups happen often when schools of wahoo are located.