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 Januay 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.