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Pesca Panama
3699 Lower River Road
Youngstown, NY 14174
Ph: 844-264-2246
Fax: 716-625-1430
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Fishing Report - 01/11/15

After fishing and exploring the endlessly fascinating Coiba chain of Panama islands for over 15 years, you would think the Pesca Panama family would have seen about everything possible here.  But when Chuck Eberly and Mike McConahy organized and brought down a wonderful group of Pennsylvanian anglers this week that included three father/son, teams and proceeded to catch 37 species in five days, we were all shaking our heads in amazement.  That’s not a misprint - 37 species!
The group of fourteen anglers ranged from novice to true expert in abilities, up to 84 years old, and they caught fish every way it is possible to do so using a rod and reel.  Our seamless transfers and hotel arrangements were the norm, as were the hospitality and food on board.  We had evenings eating lobster, various fresh caught fish, ceviche, and sushi appetizers.  The guys were quick to laugh, patient and gracious. I had a blast, and I was honored to have fished with them.  Doc Scott bought the house a round of shots to celebrate his first marlin, as did Gregg for his first ever sailfish - a proper and generous testament to anglers who pursue billfish the world over.  George kept us laughing, Chris shared his insights on marlin fishing (blacks were everywhere this week - we had five fish hook up days and raised many all week), Mike, David, Frank, Kevin, and the Shambaugh father/son team kept the conversation lively and caught excellent numbers of roosterfish, cubera snapper and over thirty other species. Astonishing that this was accomplished in one place, in one week.  Father and son Chuck and Jeff were a great and interesting pair to get to know, and Ron and Chuck Eberly warmed my heart to watch together.  I’m making a special note of the dad’s and sons dear to me.  I lost my dad Friday night.  You fathers and sons out there, don’t wait forever to share all the special memories you can.
This week, instead of describing the day’s events as I usually do, I wanted to tell you about two moments that exemplify the fishing we do at Isla Coiba.  Yes, poppers caught roosters and hard pulling cubera.  And maniacal jacks and trevally were crowd pleasers throughout the week, but one morning a small stretch of shoreline we call “The Snook Hole” lit up like I’ve rarely seen.  There were two 30 yard long pods of fish that were EXPLODING sporadically on small rainbait, gulping mouthfuls of two inch sardines.  The snook were actually clearing the water and cartwheeling while others all around them ate in a frenzy of whitewater.  This is just not something many anglers have seen snook do!
Secondly, after a week of mixed inshore, nearshore, jungle river, and offshore fishing- each boat making a day plan and fishing in the style that they most enjoyed, all five Pesca boats headed to the offshore banks Thursday to try for whatever big game we could find.  The marlin bite was good all week so our attentions were pointed to billfish, and January is a little early in the season for yellowfin, but we were hunting for anything we could catch.  After a slowish morning with three marlin released and a few others missed amongst the five boats, a call went out from Capt Jonathan on our private frequency that he had found sardines and concentrated “good” spotted porpoise eating them. We had been finding scattered bonito for bait, but no groups of sardinas, so ALL Pesca boats cleared their marlin spreads and headed from different locations toward the action.  Instead of finding a large area of fish, what awaited was a large house sized pod of one foot long, tightly packed sardinas, shoulder to shoulder, from surface to thirty feet deep, backs blinking green to blue to black to pink, frantically changing directions as the dolphin smashed in and ate them one by one, hanging them out of their mouths as if showing off- proudly displaying “look what I’ve got!”.  And there were flashes of gold beneath them...
This is what my crews live for, and this is when they really show their mettle.  Capt Tito rocketed his boat right into the middle of the melee and the sardinas immediately tried to find refuge under his hull.  Porpoise were crashing next to our hulls as they shot in and out feeding while Tito grabbed a long handled bait net and filled it with one scoop, passed it to mate Chi Chi who filled the baitwell, handed it back, boom!, another scoop, throw it to Capt Jose’s boat, fill the livewell, pass the net back, next boat, and the next.  Meanwhile the mates have the correct rods out, circle hooks and leaders tied on, baited, drop the sardine in the water and BLAM!!!  Hooked up immediately, rods DOUBLED!!.  All Pesca boats in a circle, all hooked up to 40-100lb tuna, everybody yelling and laughing, grunting over bent rods, high fiving.  Tuna madness, the purest adrenaline rush of fishing.  A fantastic moment you had to be there to really appreciate.  Anyway, it was a great week with a bunch of great, fun men who I’m pleased to have spent time with.  Special appreciative note to Herb, who at 84 wasn’t playing at it - the man fished hard and as he gained experience got better throughout the week.  The three dads, Chuck, Ron, and Herb - a pleasure to know each of you.  Thank you everybody for coming down, enjoying a week with us here at Pesca Panama.  The crew loved your spirit and generosity, Dave’s dry humor, Doc’s constant grin, Gregg’s 6” off the ground infectious energy, loved the whole group.  Chuck - the best - thanks.  
From all of us here at Pesca Panama - Lodge Captain Jaime Bernal, Major Domo Jose Garcia on shore, Chef Irina, all Captains and Mates, Master Mechanic Chollo,  All round Man Friday Big Manny, our mechanics, electrician, welder, watchmen, grocers, drivers and more, from all of us, thank you!
Capt Mike Augat


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