Panama Fishing Report - Inshore/Offshore Gulf of Chiriqui - Feb 14-16, 2012
Father and son team Jim and Michael Wright from South Hampton, NY joined us for four nights and three days of fishing last week here at Propiedad de Paradise Lodge on Isla Paridas.
The fishing is still a little slow but is definetely picking up. The cooler water is starting to slowly move up into the Gulf bringing the bait. The water temperatures at Isla Ladrones were 85 degrees while down a little south of Hannibal Bank we were in 82 degree water marking lots of squid on the sonar, seeing lots of tuna, but still not catching a whole lot.
We fished at Isla Ladrones, only fifteen miles from the lodge, the first day. Mike was looking to get a big Rooster or Cubera on a popper. We slow trolled our bridled Bonito/Blue Runner combo as Mike and Johnny, my mate, casted and casted! Occasionally you'd here Johnny scream in his heavy accent "I got it!!!" as he'd hook into a fish. We ended up with a couple nice size Cuberas, a couple Jacks Crevalles, nice Horse Eye Jack, Blue Trevalles, and caught more bait in the PM for the following day.
The second day we made the 42 mile run directly to Hannibal Bank. Upon arrival there were two commercial boats anchored up on the bank that had their deep drop longlines spead across the two primo "high spots." It was fun listening to the local captains curse out the local fishermen on the radio as we navigated around the boats and lines to catch bait. We filled the tubes with Bonito and ran to a spot that was showing a good mark of birds on the radar. A couple miles south of Hannibal was thick with birds and porpoises. Tunas were breaching around us and we saw a couple of nice size tunas checking out Mike's popper as we slow trolled the liveys. We missed a couple of nice Yellowfin Tunas that nailed our bridled Bonitos. One big tuna spooled off about 400 yards of line on the 80 and spit the hook! Mike ended up with a YFT about 30 pounds on a popper. A while later a big Pacific Sail ate a Blue Runner and Jim Wright caught his first Sailfish! Later, we ran in to the "high spot" where the local commercial guys were anchored and set down some live blue runners on a good mark of bait and fish on the sonar. Jim got a nice Mullet Snapper and Mike caught a BIG Cubera. After that we ran the 13 miles over to Isla Montuosa. We worked the reef and shoreline and got another Cubera, another Mullet Snapper, and a Blue Trevalle.
The third day we started out at Hannibal again but didn't have much luck. We ran back early and hit Isla Secas to see if we could get that Rooster for Mike. It was completely dead at Secas. Clean water, but real hot and no bait. So we ran back to Isla Paridas near the lodge and ended up with a couple Jack Crevalles and a nice Rooster!
Mike sent me the link to this video he made.............
Why dont the lodges that fish the bank, work with the government to keep longliners off of it, just like Tropic Star did for the reef there?
It can be done and you would be giving back to the resource. Band together and do some good.
Now, quit killing sails by hoisting them over the gunnel, not impressive.
Unfortunately it's not that easy. Enforcement is the problem. Even though you say Tropic Star has initiated the government to keep longliners off their reef. I can tell you that there are guys longlining that area to this day. I was speaking with a captain buddy of mine who fishes that area and he mentioned that it's the same deal over in Pinas Bay that it is here in the Gulf of Chiriqui. No more big commercial boats longlining but a few small pangas with short longlines still work the area. Our lodge here on Isla Paridas is inside a National Marine Park and very rarely do you ever see a boat patrolling the area to monitor fishermen. ARAP, the section of the Panamanian government that controls the fisheries, never is on the water. Their boats haven't left the marina here in months!
Originally Posted by Bodine
Two years ago the Panamanian government banned all purse seiners and commercial longline boats over 6 tons. So now instead of ten mile long longlines floating out here there are a few short lines, about a mile long, set by locals trying to make a modest living. It's much better now than it was a few years back with the big commercial boats. I don't have a problem with these local guys. They are busting their asses, 40 miles offshore, out on a panga with a 40 HP motor for days at a time catching enough to go back and get paid to support their families. I actually employ a couple of Panamaians whose family members are these fishermen. They help me out regularly with weather and fish reports.
Oh and don't worry we don't kill any billfish. This one was released alive and well.....................