Panama Fishing Report - Two Black Marlin at Hannibal Bank!! 02/18/12 - Video & Pics!
Canadians Andy and Sonya Copeland, and their son Max, joined us for a few days at the island last week. Andy wanted to try his hand at some "Deep Sea Fishing" and boy.....was he ever introduced royaly!
We showed up at Hannibal Bank at 8:30 and to my surprise there were no other fishing boats only a Tiara with some spearos working the high spot. Two days before we counted 14 sportfishing boats and 4 commercial boats all on the bank! There was a real good mark of bait on the sonar and Bonitos and Tunnys were busting all around. Johnny, my mate, puts out the Bonito rigs and we begin to troll around to try and pick up some baits. As we are circling around the spearos and their boat I notice a Marlin cruising right next to us! Just then the rod with the Bonito rig on the planer starts to bounce....we get three nice Little Tunnys. Johnny reels them in and put them in the tubes with the quickness. A couple of minutes later minutes later we have all three Tunnys, plus a Blue Runner, bridled and swimming behind the boat. Two Tunnys on the 8/0's flat lines and the Runner/other tunny on the 5/0's up on the outriggers. Not a circle and a half slow trolling around the spearos on the high spot and the starboard flat gets eaten! Johnny open up the 8/0 Tiagra's lever and lets the fish eat! "I GOT IT!!" Johnny screams after letting him eat for a good five seconds. We couldn't tell at first if it was a Black or a Blue because he was so far away but after it's second or third series of jumps we could clearly see the rigid pectoral fins. Once Andy got set in to the harness and began to fight the fish he quickly realized what a strenuous undertaking fighting a huge Marlin really is. After about 45 minutes of the fish peeling off line and cranking on the big Tiagra Andy couldn't take anymore and decides to hand the rod over to Steve the "Fun Director" who was along for the day to take take pictures. I decide to take the camera and video the fight for a while. We have a couple of tense moments while Johnnys at the wheel. He decides to get a little over zealous chasing down the fish. The line for a moment goes loose but Steve does a great job winding down and keeps keeps it tight. No more wheel time for Johnny. Steve fights her another 30 minutes or so and eventually the fish relaxes. Johnny grabs the wind on and she pops off. Great release!
We decide to try and drop a livey down on the high spot near where the spearos are still working the high spot. Right off the bat a fish grabs Andy's Blue Runner and he's tight! A few minutes later, as Andy's fighting the fish, it ends up wrapped on the spearos marker bouy and we think that we've lost it. We can see it down about 50 feet entangled in the plastic rubber line. It's a nice Amberjack. The fish makes a nice run and the Momoi 50# braid cuts right thru the marker buoy's line like butter. The spearos weren't too happy but we ended up with a nice photo then released him.
Later that afternoon we ran to Isla Montuosa. Upon arrival I could see a nice mark on the radar about three miles west of the island. We come up on Porposes in the area with Bonitos and birds. We quickly picked up a few more Bonitos and start to work the area. After about an hour something big comes up on the port rigger and snaps the line down. It doesn't eat and moves to the port flat where it inhales the bait and immediately breaches the water. It's a smaller Black Marlin and it's peeling line off the reel! "I GOT IT!!" Johnny screams again as he puts the hook good into our second Black Marlin of the day. He passes the rod to a hesitant Andy Copleand who doesn't know if he's ready to go at it again. But this time after he's had a little practice, does real well managing the smaller fish. 30 minutes later she's boat-side and Johnny wires the fish and perfectly pops her off for Andy's second Black Marlin release of the day!